Showing posts with label facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label facebook. Show all posts

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Military Wives Strip Down to Raise Awareness About PTSD: Battling Bare

young bare girls

Ashley Wise's husband Rob is about as tough as they come. The career soldier spent 8 years in the Marines before joining the Army after 9/11 and serving on two tours of duty in Iraq, but in April this year, he hit a wall. He locked himself in a hotel room with guns and alcohol and told his wife "he might do something stupid."

Thankfully, he came back home alive. Ashley reached out to the Family Advocacy Service at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where they are currently stationed, and discovered that, like many other soldiers who are suffering from mental anguish or who might have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), finding the help he needed without putting his career in jeopardy would be a struggle. When Wise, believing her conversation to be confidential, divulged to a counselor that Rob had once become physical with her, an MP was immediately brought in. Husband and wife were not allowed contact for 72-hours and Rob now faces domestic assault charges (which Wise is trying to have dropped).

"The last thing a soldier needs is to be separated from his wife," Wise tells Yahoo! Shine. "Guys kill themselves because they think they are such a burden to their families." Wise says soldiers avoid telling anyone they are feeling depressed, angry, or even suicidal for fear of being dishonorably discharged. "Take the number of men who actually report having PTSD and multiply that by 50."

That evening, Wise told a girlfriend, "I want to streak across the 101st command building, because then maybe the general or someone would listen to what I'm saying." Instead she grabbed an eyeliner pencil and had her friend write these words on her back:

"Broken by battle,

Wounded by war,

I love you forever,

To you this I swore:

I will quiet your silent screams,

Help heal your shattered soul

Until once again, my love, you are whole."

Wise posted a picture of her naked back on Facebook, invited other military wives to share images of themselves, and the organization Battling Bare was born. "Our initial intent was to take Facebook by storm," says Wise. She says, at heart, she simply wanted families to be able to enjoy normal things together like "eating at Chuck E. Cheese's or going to the fireworks." When she spoke to other women and "realized how big the problem is, we knew we had to do something."

Now, just two months later, Wise is working with seven other military wives to launch a non-profit organization to raise awareness about PTSD and the impact it has on spouses and children. In three years, they aim to have a chapter in every state in place to support military families and hold workshops based on a model developed by Operation Restored Warrior.

While some people are critical of their bold approach--she says she's had some ugly feedback and got a call from a stranger who called her "an attention grabbing whore"--the military isn't asking them to take their website or Facebook page down. Wise tells Shine that Battling Bare is "on the Pentagon's radar," and when she spoke to Colonel William Gayler, Fort Campbell's Chief of Staff, he assured her, "I want to fix this."

News by Yahoo

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Facebook May Launch Smartphone by Next Year

New Facebook Smartphone
Facebook Smartphone
Facebook may be gearing up to launch its first-ever smartphone by next year, a new report suggests.

According to The New York Times, engineers have been sought by recruiters to work on building hardware for a Facebook smartphone. This would be the social network’s third attempt to develop a smartphone, the report said, citing sources close to the matter.

The news comes as search engine giant Google completed the acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion earlier this week. This move could help Facebook counter that with its own foray into the smartphone hardware business.

Rumors about a possible Facebook phone have been circulating for the past few years. Although Facebook was reportedly first working on a smartphone in 2010, sources said the initiative stopped due to development complications. Meanwhile, AllThingsD has reported Facebook and manufacturer HTC were working together to develop a mobile device under the code name “Buffy.”

It’s believed that “Buffy” may still be in development. Hiring engineers to work specifically on building Facebook phones would position the company to explore other smartphone projects, as well.

Do you think a move into the smartphone business would be smart for Facebook or would it overextend itself? Would you buy a Facebook phone?

News by Mashable

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pakistan blocks Twitter over contentious tweets

pakistan blocks twitter
 Pakistan blocks Twitter

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan blocked the social networking website Twitter for several hours because it refused to remove tweets considered offensive to Islam, said one of the country's top telecommunications officials.

The tweets were promoting a competition on Facebook to post images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, said Mohammad Yaseen, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication's Authority. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.

The government restored access to Twitter before midnight Sunday, about eight hours after it initially blocked access, possibly because of public criticism it received for its censorship.

Twitter spokesman Gabriel Stricker said the company had not taken down any tweets or made any other changes before Pakistan stopped blocking the site.

Yaseen said Sunday afternoon that Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology had ordered the telecommunications authority to block Twitter because the company refused to remove the offending tweets.

The ministry informed Yaseen to restore access to Twitter Sunday evening, but he did not know what led to the decision.

Yaseen said Facebook had agreed to address Pakistan's concern about the competition.

Facebook confirmed in a written statement that it blocked access to the content in Pakistan. The site noted that it occasionally restricts content when it is illegal or offensive out of respect for local laws and culture.

A top court in Pakistan ordered a ban on Facebook in 2010 amid anger over a similar competition. The ban was lifted about two weeks later, after Facebook blocked the particular page in Pakistan. The Pakistani government said at the time that it would continue to monitor other major websites for anti-Islamic links and content.

Even when Twitter was blocked Sunday, many people based in Pakistan continued to use the website by employing programs that disguise the user's location. There was widespread criticism of the government's action by those on Twitter, who tend to be more liberal than average Pakistanis.

"Another cheap moral stunt by Pakistan," tweeted liberal Pakistani columnist Nadeem Paracha.

The 2010 Facebook controversy sparked many in Pakistan's liberal elite to question why Pakistanis could not be entrusted to decide for themselves whether or not to look at a website. Some observers noted that Pakistan had gone further than several other Muslim countries by banning Facebook, and said it showed the rise of conservative Islam in the country.

There were a handful of protests against Facebook back in 2010, often organized by student members of radical Islamic groups. Some of the protesters carried signs advocating holy war against the website for allowing the competition page to be posted in the first place.

News by AP

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg weds on day after IPO

married photo of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A day after the historic Facebook IPO, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg updated his status Saturday to "married."

Zuckerberg wed 27-year-old Priscilla Chan, his girlfriend of nearly a decade, according to a guest authorized to speak for the couple. The person spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

The couple married at his Palo Alto, Calif. home in front of fewer than 100 stunned guests who thought they would be attending a party to celebrate Chan's graduation from medical school.

Zuckerberg gave his new bride a ring he had designed with a "very simple ruby" to end an incredibly eventful week, according to the guest.

On Monday, Zuckerberg turned 28 and Chan graduated from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, where she'd studied pediatrics.

Then on Friday, Zuckerberg took his blue-and-white web behemoth public in one of the most anticipated stock offerings in Wall Street history.

The seemingly well-coordinated timing was largely a coincidence, the guest said. The wedding had been planned for months and the couple was waiting for Chan to finish medical school, but the date of the IPO was a "moving target" not known when the wedding was set.

Attendees, including Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, were told after they arrived that they were not mere party guests but wedding guests.

"Everybody was shocked," the guest said.

The person would not discuss the names of others who attended to protect their privacy.

Ditching his trademark hoodie and sneakers, Zuckerberg sported a dark blue suit and tie with a white shirt for the ceremony, while Chan wore a traditional white wedding dress with veil and lace.

Food was served family-style and included dishes from the couple's favorite Palo Alto sushi restaurant.

Zuckerberg met Chan at Harvard, where he founded Facebook in a dorm room in 2004, and have been together for more than nine years.

Chan's own Facebook page, which now lists her as married to the founder, said she is a native of Braintree, Mass., and attended high school in nearby Quincy.

She graduated Harvard in 2007 then taught science to fourth and fifth graders at the Harker School in San Jose for two years before starting medical school, according to her profile.

Her page also says she "loves cooking and soft things."

Even after the IPO, Zuckerberg, who grew up in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., remains Facebook's single largest shareholder, with 503.6 million shares, and he controls the company with 56 percent of its voting stock.

The site has grown into a worldwide network of almost a billion people and made its founder, Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2010, one of the most famous businessmen of the Internet age.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Facebook raises IPO price as offering nears

NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook on Tuesday increased the price range at which it plans to sell stock to the public, as investor enthusiasm in the offering continued to mount and boost the potential value of the world's most popular social network.

The Menlo Park, Calif. company said in a regulatory filing that it now expects to sell its stock for between $34 and $38 per share, up from its previous range of $28 to $35. At the upper limit of $38 per share, the sale would raise about $12.8 billion.

The IPO is expected to be completed late Thursday and begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Friday under the ticker symbol "FB."

The increased range is a sign of high demand from investors to own a piece of the world's most popular social network. The initial public offering is the most hotly anticipated in years and would value Facebook at more than $100 billion.

Facebook is selling 180 million of its shares in the IPO. Another 157 million shares are coming from existing stockholders, including the company's earliest investors and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Even after the IPO, Zuckerberg will remain Facebook's single largest shareholder. And he will control the company through 57 percent of its voting stock.

The IPO is expected to be the largest ever for an Internet company. It is expected to raise more than 10 times as much as the $1.67 billion raised in Google Inc.'s 2004 IPO.

At a value of $38 per share, the high end of Facebook's expected range, Facebook would generate $6.84 billion on its shares. Existing stockholders would collectively make $5.98 billion.

Facebook has more than 900 million users who log in at least once a month.

Even at the higher price range, it's going to be tough for the company's fans and everyday investors to get in on the IPO. Most of the shares are expected to go to people with connections to the company or large, active accounts with one of the big banks or brokerage firms directly involved in the stock sale.

Morgan Stanley leads the team of 33 underwriters selected for the Facebook offering, followed by JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

The inclusion of online broker E-Trade Financial Corp. as an underwriter was seen as a glimmer of hope that Facebook might make more shares available than usual for retail investors through discount brokerages. But chances of getting any are very slim regardless.

Analysts say there's so much interest in Facebook's stock that some underwriters are closing their books as early as Tuesday. This means they won't be taking any more orders from potential buyers.

In its Tuesday filing, Facebook also adjusted the timetable for finishing its $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, saying it expects the deal to close sometime in 2012. Previously, it had said it expected to complete the deal in the second quarter.

Some have speculated that the acquisition of the photo-sharing network would come under regulatory scrutiny. If the deal doesn't close by Dec. 10, Facebook could have to pay Instagram a breakup fee of $200 million.

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Facebook Buys Mobile Discovery Service Glancee

Facebook,Mark Zuckerbergs
Facebook, Mark Zuckerbergs
Facebook has scooped up another startup in its path toward mobile dominance. This time, it’s Glancee, an ambient location-based service that competes with Highlight.

From Glancee’s home page:

    “We started Glancee in 2010 with the goal of bringing together the best of your physical and digital worlds. We wanted to make it easy to discover the hidden connections around you, and to meet interesting people. Since then Glancee has connected thousands of people, empowering serendipity and pioneering social discovery.

    “We are therefore very excited to announce that Facebook has acquired Glancee and that we have joined the team in Menlo Park to build great products for over 900 million Facebook users. We’ve had such a blast connecting people through Glancee, and we truly thank our users for being a part of the Glancee community.”

Less than a month ago, Facebook acquired the mobile-based photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, and the world’s largest social network has expressed its sights are set on mobile.

Glancee fits the bill. It was one of the hot passive location startups at SXSW this year, along with Highlight and Sonar.

Facebook’s just weeks away from an initial public offering. The company announced its shares would be priced at $28 to $35, putting the company at a valuation of $85 billion and $95 billion. Facebook did not disclose the terms of the Glancee acquisition.

How do you think Glancee’s service might change Facebook on mobile? Push notifications when you’re near friends? Would you like Facebook to be able to do that? Tell us in the comments.

News by Mashable

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yahoo! readers help raise more than $20,000 for cancer patient’s treatment

cancer patient Randy Cox
Cancer Patient: Randy Cox
On Tuesday, we told you about 6-year-old Drew Cox, who in one day raised $10,000 for his dad Randy's cancer treatment—all through his lemonade stand.

In the story, we linked to a GiveForward donation's site established by Randy's longtime friend Tameka Royal, an ER nurse in Texas. After more than 12,000 Yahoo readers linked to the article on Facebook, Royal says the GiveForward page went viral.

"I was unaware it was on Yahoo News but I knew something happened and the story got out because the GiveForward site just went viral," Royal said in an email to Yahoo News. "I never imagined we would surpass the goal I set of $5,000. I am praising God with every donation because this family has not asked for anything but our prayers."

Donations to the page, 48 hours later, have surpassed $20,000. Royal plans to keep the donations page open until June 1.

Royal says she has been friends with Randy since the two were classmates in high school, and she has known his wife, Tonya, even longer. The pair took a dance class together when Royal was just 6 years old, the same age as Randy's son Drew.

"Many people have asked what made me make the site. Well, when I heard of Randy's diagnosis my heart dropped for him and his family," Royal said.

"I wanted to do something to help and allow others to help so I prayed about it. Then the morning Tonya posted Drew's lemonade stand for his dad on Facebook, I was like, I have to make a site were people who hear or see the story and say 'oh I wish I could give,' would be able to give."

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Friday, April 20, 2012

The Pregnant Man splits from his wife just as he finalises his female to male gender surgery

Nancy and Thomas, with their children Susan, Austin and Jensen
Thomas Beatie, who is known across the world as 'The Pregnant Man', has announced his split from his wife of nine years.

Thomas Beatie, 38, revealed the break-up from his wife Nancy during a taping of the syndicated CBS show 'The Doctors'.

He also admitted during the interview that he had undergone his final gender reassignment surgery from female to male.

'Nancy hasn’t seen the new me yet,' said Beatie in a taping for the show which will be screened on Monday May 7.

'Like all marriages, we have our ups and downs, and we’re going through a rough patch right now.

'At the moment, we’re separated.'

Mr Beatie was born as a woman, Tracy Lagondino, in Hawaii in 1974, but says he always felt like he wanted to be a man.

When he was in his twenties he began having testosterone injections, giving him facial hair, a lower voice and altering his sexual organs.

In 2002 he had a mastectomy and legally became a man - but he chose to keep his vagina, uterus and other female sexual organs so the couple could have children, as his wife had had a hysterectomy.

He posed for an infamous picture in 2007 which displayed him as heavily pregnant but with facial hair.

He told Oprah on her show four years ago: 'I wanted to have a child one day. I didn't know how. It was just a dream.'

In an interview in March of this year Beatie and Nancy explained the stresses and strains they faced on a daily basis since coming into the public eye.

‘We have had a rough ride,’ said Beatie.

‘We have had death threats, crazies. I’ve been called a freak. The really nasty stuff has come online, with email, Facebook and YouTube.

‘Some of it has just been weird — such as people going to Hallowe’en parties dressed as me, “The Pregnant Man”.

'Some of it has been terrifying. One man has made videos pretending he has kidnapped Susan. He has a Susan doll and he hits her over and over. It’s sick.

‘The FBI have been involved and they monitor things for us. The world is full of crazy people and we have to have our wits about us.’

The couple bought sperm from an anonymous donor and Mr Beatie underwent artificial insemination. After an ectopic pregnancy which led to emergency surgery, he eventually fell pregnant with Susan in late 2007.

He had his next two children in quick succession, as he only had a short window of not taking testosterone.

Mr Beatie was having just eight menstrual cycles a year instead of 12, and only half of these cycles were useful for conception as he had previously had a fallopian tube removed due to the ectopic pregnancy.

He said at the time: 'I am only able to get pregnant four days out of the year... We had our babies in a short space of time because we don't have the luxury of waiting years between each child.'

Keeping life as normal as they could for their children Susan, Austin and Jensen, public interest in their unconventional family has always been intense with probing questions being asked of them, including how their sex life worked.

‘There are physical issues there obviously, but they aren’t the things that get in the way. The biggest problem is that we have three small children.

'Our challenge is actually getting the bed to ourselves!’ explained Beatie.

While Thomas and Nancy desperately tried to be an ordinary family, it was clear there were issues at play that never could be resolved.

pregnant man
Thomas gives birth to son Jensen James Beatie with his wife Nancy by his side

Thomas, in particular, felt the full burden of the world’s disapproval, including accusations of making money from the whole pregnancy experience.

pregnant man gives birth to baby
Healthy baby boy: Jensen was born weighing eight pounds, nine ounces
But that’s not the case,’ said Beatie.

‘We did make a bit of money, but we lost a lot more. My t-shirt printing business went under — partly because we had to close the doors to stop all the crazies coming in.

‘It cost me thousands of dollars to become a man, and many more to get pregnant. Then I had to hire a lawyer to be allowed to call myself the father on Susan’s birth certificate.

‘Legally, it has been a nightmare. The authorities wanted to put Nancy and me down as “parent and parent” on the birth certificate, as they do for same-sex couples, but I wasn’t having it.

‘I am legally a man, and I am the father. It all got so confused that at one point they put Nancy down as the father and me as the mother.

‘That took a bit of sorting out. In the end, we had to formally adopt the children, even though they are biologically mine, from my eggs. It’s unfair and, of course, it cost us thousands in legal fees.’

In fact attention fell on Beatie's difficult childhood as a way for conservatives to understand his and Nancy's decision to become a family.

His mother committed suicide when he was 12, and he and his father were never close.

He was born a girl and given the name Tracy, but says that he was always a tomboy.

By the time he reached his 20s, he was convinced he was a man trapped in a woman’s body. At 24, he started taking male hormones — the first step towards a sex change.

By this time he had met Nancy, a body-builder. She is 11 years older than him and has two teenage daughters, Amber and Jen, from a previous marriage.

However, at the age of 28 she had a hysterectomy because of severe endometriosis — where cells from the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body — so she couldn’t have any more children.

The couple married in Hawaii in 2003.

Thomas had already had a mastectomy to remove his breasts, and hormone treatment that gave him an outwardly male appearance.

In March Mr Beatie revealed he had filed for bankruptcy and was desperately seeking a job to get his family off welfare handouts and pay his $5,000-a-month mortgage

He tried to appear on celebrity dance show Dancing with the Stars last year but was pipped to the post by transgender contestant Chaz Bono.

He also revealed that he would be having a hysterectomy in an interview with 'The Doctors' last year.

News by Dailymail

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Facebook to Buy Photo-Sharing Service Instagram for $1 Billion

Instagram, an Internet start-up in San Francisco, has no revenue and about a dozen employees. It has not yet celebrated its second birthday. But to Facebook, it is already worth a billion dollars.

Facebook announced on Monday that it would pay that much in cash and stock for Instagram, the latest big winner in an industry that seems to be more awash in money by the day.

Instagram joins other out-of-nowhere Internet hits like Groupon and YouTube. The acquisition, which is Facebook’s largest to date, could give it a stronger position on mobile devices.

Instagram is essentially a social network built around photography, offering mobile apps that let people add quirky effects to their smartphone snapshots and share them with friends.

It has dozens of competitors, but Instagram stands out for its fast ascension and almost cultlike following. It has 30 million users who upload more than five million photos a day, even though it was available for only Apple devices until last week, when the company released an Android app.

For Instagram’s founders, two Stanford graduates in their 20s who are now worth in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars, it has been a productive couple of years. The other big winners will be their early investors at venture capital firms.

“It’s the Web fairy tale that all start-ups dream of,” said Melissa Parrish, an analyst with Forrester Research, who added: “They took a simple behavior — sharing pictures with friends — and made it a utility that people want.”

Facebook is getting ready for its own big payday. It is aiming for a public offering as soon as next month that could value the company around $100 billion. That means it can easily afford Instagram’s price, if only to keep a rising star out of the hands of competitors like Google.

Facebook may also need Instagram to help it keep up with the constantly changing whims of the online audience. Facebook was born in the computer-and-browser era and is trying to adapt to a world that is increasingly mobile-centric. Instagram is a purely mobile creation.

Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at the Altimeter Group, said buying Instagram would help Facebook with one of its most urgent needs: making its service more appealing on smartphones.

“It’s easier to update Facebook when you’re on the go with a snapshot rather than with text,” Ms. Lieb said.

Kevin Systrom, who founded Instagram with Mike Krieger and is now its chief executive, has been on the radar of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, for some time. Mr. Systrom was a sophomore at Stanford in 2004 when he developed a service called Photobox that let people send large photo files to each other. The service caught the eye of Mr. Zuckerberg, who offered him a job. But Mr. Systrom decided to finish his studies and went on to found Burbn, which let people post photos and other updates.

Burbn never attracted more than a few hundred users, but they uploaded a lot of photos. So Mr. Systrom and his team stripped it down and released a sleeker version for the iPhone, calling it Instagram. It gained early momentum because it allowed users to also post their pictures to Twitter, piquing the interest of those who saw links to the photos in their feeds.

For most of Instagram’s early days, the company consisted of just four employees, including its two co-founders. They worked in what had been the early offices of Twitter in the South Park neighborhood of San Francisco, crammed in with other start-ups.

The walls were painted dark gray and Ikea lamps sat on the ground, lighting an otherwise gloomy ground-floor space that looked almost the same any time of day or night. The team sat in the middle of the room at four desks pushed together to make one large table — though none of the tables lined up quite right. This year, as staff members were added, Instagram moved to a larger office across the street.

In early 2011, Mr. Zuckerberg reached out to Instagram to discuss buying the company, but Mr. Systrom chose to keep it independent and focus on expanding it, two Facebook employees who asked not to be named said last year.

At the time, Instagram had less than seven million users. Now celebrities like Justin Bieber and brands like Gucci post regular updates.

Not everyone was applauding the acquisition. Soon after the news broke, many Instagram fans began voicing their displeasure on the service and on Twitter and Facebook. Some, like Paul Ahlberg, seemed upset that Facebook would have access to their personal information. “I liked Instagram when it was stupid pictures and filters, not a Facebook data collector,” he wrote on Twitter.

Others lamented the loss of what they saw as an alternative to Facebook and threatened to delete their accounts. “So Facebook just bought Instagram,” a Twitter user named Robert Wagner wrote. “In other news, I just quit using Instagram.”

Some fans were concerned about the fate of Instagram, since Facebook has bought several small start-ups to grab their talent and then shut down their original offerings.

But both Mr. Systrom and Mr. Zuckerberg stressed repeatedly in separate blog posts that Facebook planned to keep Instagram up and running as a separate service, at least for the time being.

“It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network,” wrote Mr. Systrom in a company blog post. Instagram and Facebook executives declined to comment further on Monday.

Though Facebook has tended to write much smaller checks in the past, Instagram’s momentum probably compelled Facebook to make a billion-dollar deal. Last week, Instagram closed a roughly $50 million financing round with several investors, including Sequoia Capital, an early backer of Google; Thrive Capital, the firm run by the real estate heir Joshua Kushner; and Greylock Partners, an early investor of LinkedIn.

The financing round valued the photo service at about $500 million, according to one person with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity because the discussions were private. With Facebook’s purchase, one week later, that investment doubled in value. The short time frame may indicate that the deal came together in a matter of days.

Instagram has talked about bringing in revenue by allowing brands to drop sponsored photos into the stream on user’s screens, or being paid by brands when users tap to buy something from them, but it has not yet announced any such plans.

Facebook has also been trying to figure out how to make money as people spend more time on smaller screens.

“We really don’t know how Facebook will monetize mobile platforms,” Ms. Lieb said. “The first step is to make Facebook friendlier on mobile devices, and this will certainly do that.”

News by The New York Times

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Facebook launches patent counterattack against Yahoo

Facebook Vs Yahoo
(Reuters) - Facebook fired back on Tuesday in its legal battle with Yahoo by accusing the Web pioneer of infringing 10 of Facebook's patents, according to a court filing.

The counterclaim from Facebook, filed in a San Francisco federal court, comes after Yahoo a sued Facebook for patent infringement last month.

The dueling claims mark an expanding web of patent litigation that has already caught up the smartphone and tablet sectors and high-tech stalwarts such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.

Yahoo's lawsuit against Facebook came at a delicate time, as the world's largest Internet social networking service is preparing for an initial public offering that could value the company at up to $100 billion.

Observers have said that companies are usually more vulnerable to patent suits when they are in the IPO process, as investors scrutinize the risks involved in the business.

But Facebook's counterclaim comes as Yahoo addresses its own challenges: the Web pioneer has seen declining revenue, and newly installed Chief Executive Scott Thompson is facing a contentious proxy fight with activist hedge fund Third Point.

Yahoo spokesman Eric Berman said Facebook's counterclaim is "nothing more than a cynical attempt to distract from the weakness of its defense."

Five of the patents asserted by Facebook target features related to Yahoo's online advertising business, which Facebook pegged at 80 percent of Yahoo's 2011 revenue, according to the counterclaim.

Yahoo's Flickr photo sharing service infringed various Facebook patents involving the ability to connect with other users on the online service, to identify people in a photo and to generate personalized news feeds, according to the filing.

At least one of the patents asserted by Facebook -- a method for tagging digital media -- lists its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, as one of the inventors, according to a U.S. government database.

Facebook General Counsel Ted Ullyot said the company had indicated that it would defend itself vigorously in the face of Yahoo's lawsuit.

"While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo's short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation," Ullyot said in a statement.

Yahoo has claimed Facebook infringed 10 of Yahoo's patents, including several that cover online advertising technology. In its lawsuit, Yahoo said Facebook was considered "one of the worst performing sites for advertising" prior to adapting Yahoo's ideas.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Yahoo Inc. v. Facebook Inc., 12-cv-1212.

Yahoo shares fell 2.4 percent to $15.09 in afternoon trading on Tuesday.

News by Reuters

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wikipedia to shut for 24 hours to stop anti-piracy act

wikipedia-jimmy wales
Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia
(Reuters) - Wikipedia, the popular community-edited online encyclopedia, will black out its English-language site for 24 hours to seek support against proposed U.S. anti-piracy legislation that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said threatens the future of the Internet.

The service will be the highest profile name to join a growing campaign starting at midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday that will see it black out its page so that visitors will only see information about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

The information will urge Wikipedia readers to contact their local congressman to vote against the bills. Other smaller sites leading the campaign include and Cheezeburger.

"This is a quite clumsily drafted legislation which is dangerous for an open Internet," said Wales in an interview.

The decision to black out the site was decided by voting within the Wikipedia community of writers and editors who manage the free service, Wales said. The English language Wikipedia receives more than 25 million average daily visitors from around the world, according to comScore data.

The bills pit technology companies like Google Inc and Facebook against the bill's supporters, including Hollywood studios and music labels, which say the legislation is needed to protect intellectual property and jobs.

The SOPA legislation under consideration in the House of Representatives aims to crack down on online sales of pirated American movies, music or other goods by forcing Internet companies to block access to foreign sites offering material that violates U.S. copyright laws. Supporters argue the bill is unlikely to have an impact on U.S.-based websites.

U.S. advertising networks could also be required to stop online ads, and search engines would be barred from directly linking to websites found to be distributing pirated goods.

Google has repeatedly said the bill goes too far and could hurt investment. Along with other Internet companies such as Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and eBay, it has run advertisements in major newspapers urging Washington lawmakers to rethink their approach.

White House officials raised concerns on Saturday about SOPA saying they believe it could make businesses on the Internet vulnerable to litigation and harm legal activity and free speech.

"We're happy to see opposition is building and that the White House has started to pay attention," said Wales.

News of the White House's comments prompted a prominent supporter of the bill News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch to slam the Obama administration.

"So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery," he posted on his personal Twitter account Saturday. News Corp owns a vast array of media properties from Fox TV, the Wall Street Journal to Twentieth Century Fox studios.

Wales said the bill in its current form was too broad and could make it difficult for a site like Wikipedia, which he said relies on open exchange of information. He said the bill also places the burden of proof on the distributor of content in the case of any dispute over copyright ownership.

"I do think copyright holders have legitimate issues, but there are ways of approaching the issue that don't involve censorship," Wales said.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Yahoo names PayPal's Thompson as CEO

Thompson, CEO, Yahoo
Jan 4 (Reuters) - Yahoo named PayPal President Scott Thompson as its chief executive on Wednesday, hoping the well-regarded Internet technology and e-commerce expert will replicate his success at eBay Inc and turn around the struggling company.

Thompson, credited with driving growth at eBay's online payments division PayPal, joins Yahoo during a period of turmoil, as the company plows ahead with a strategic review in which discussions have included the possibility of being sold, taken private or broken up.

Shares of Yahoo were down about 2 percent in mid-morning trading, as Wall Street assessed how Thompson's hiring would affect the hopes of some investors that Yahoo would be sold or spin off its Asian assets, as well as how Thompson's background fits in with Yahoo's core online media business.

"It's a positive outcome, but not as positive as a sale of the company," said Lawrence Haverty, a fund manager with GAMCO investors, which owns Yahoo shares.

"The risk element is that his background was in payments. And this is not a payment company; it's a marketing, technology company," he said.

Thompson, a former Visa payments software platform designer, joins the company four months after the firing of previous CEO Carol Bartz as the one-time Web powerhouse Yahoo struggles to compete with newer heavyweights Google Inc and Facebook.

"I'm from Boston, we're the underdogs since the beginning of time. Hopefully that spirit has held through. I like doing complicated, very difficult, very challenging things," Thompson said in an interview.

Thompson, who takes over on January 9, will also join Yahoo's board. He ran eBay's PayPal since early 2008, and was previously its chief technology officer. Under his leadership, Yahoo said PayPal increased its user base from 50 million to more than 104 million active users. PayPal processed $29 billion in payments in the third quarter of 2011.

EBay's shares fell 3.5 percent as analysts said the online retailer would miss the respected Internet executive.

EBay Chief Executive John Donahoe told staff in an internal memo that Thompson's move was a "shock."

"Scott informed me Tuesday afternoon, saying that despite his passion for PayPal, this was an opportunity he felt he had to take," Donahoe said.

At PayPal, Thompson was known as a leader who was not afraid to make bold strategic bets. He came up with the idea of taking PayPal beyond its online stronghold and into the physical world by allowing PayPal payments in retail stores -- an opportunity analysts believe could prove much bigger than its existing business.

That kind of strategic risk-talking could be particularly useful at Yahoo. The Sunnyvale, California-based company, whose services include mail, search, news and photo-sharing, was a Web pioneer that grew rapidly in the 1990s. But in recent years, Yahoo has struggled to maintain its relevance and advertising revenue in the face of competition from rivals Google and Facebook.

"They really need that push to the next level," said Ryan Jacob, chairman and chief investment officer of Jacob Funds, which includes the Jacob Internet Fund and counts Yahoo as one of its largest positions.

"Ideally what they would do is rather than just follow where today's Internet leaders are moving, try to really be on that front edge," he said, citing Yahoo's need be better positioned in mobile, social networking and other fast-growing technology trends.

During a conference call on Wednesday, Thompson cited mobile as a key area that he expected to focus on at Yahoo, and he said he viewed the company's treasure trove data about its users as one of Yahoo's key assets. But he said it was too early to comment on his overall vision for the company.

Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock told analysts on the joint conference call with Thompson that Yahoo has no intention of being taken private.

Bostock also said Thompson would not be distracted by decisions related to the Asian assets.

Yahoo recently has been discussing slashing its stakes in China's Alibaba Group and its Japanese affiliate as part of a share deal worth about $17 billion, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Alibaba has also hired a Washington lobbying firm in a sign that the Chinese e-commerce company would be willing to make a bid for all of Yahoo in the event that talks to unwind their Asian partnership fail.

Several Yahoo investors said they believed the plans to spin off the Asian assets would remain on track with Thompson at the helm.

"If they can successfully complete the Asian asset transactions, in a way that is beneficial to Yahoo shareholders, I think it will buy them some time and they'll have a chance to build for growth," said Jacob, of the Jacob Funds.

"The sale of the Asian assets is what happens first and what happens afterwards is just a question of how they deploy the cash they get from the sale," said Jordan Rohan, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

In 2008, Yahoo rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from Microsoft worth about $44 billion. Its share price was subsequently pummeled during the global financial crisis and its current market value is about $20 billion.

Co-founder Jerry Yang stepped down in late 2008 after being severely criticized by investors for his handling of the bid. The company cut thousands of jobs and later agreed to an advertising and search partnership with Microsoft.

Thompson said in an interview that Yahoo was in a strong position with its large user base of more than 700 million people.

"The traffic itself that these sites generate is a very big number, the collection of assets that sit below this core business I think are not well understood and clearly have tremendous opportunity to be leveraged as we look forward to the future."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where are they now? The Vancouver riot Kissing Couple

kissing picture
Kissing Couple
On June 15, 2011, Vancouver burned. The riots that followed Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final turned parts of the British Columbia city into chaotic scenes of looting, arson, violence and clashes with overwhelmed police.

It was there, amidst the anarchy, Alex Thomas fell to the ground and was too frightened to move. It was there that Scott Jones, her Australian-born boyfriend of six months, climbed on top of her and kissed her to comfort her as riot police marched around them.

Photographer Richard Lam preserved that moment in the most iconic image from the riots, one that became an instant sensation around the world and was recently named Esquire magazine's Photo of the Year.

It was a singular, beautiful moment — which is something Jones has had to explain to the couple's fans since they became The Kissing Couple of the Vancouver Riot.

"Just about everyone has asked us to recreate the photo," said Jones, speaking from Australia this week to Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy. "It was just in the moment. It would be just so cheesy for us to do it again. Why couldn't someone else do it again in all the riots going on around the world?"

Today, Jones and Thomas share a flat in Melbourne, having relocated there during the summer. "We had always planned to move," he said. "The picture was taken about three days before we planned to leave Vancouver. We were going to holiday in California for three weeks and then leave for Australia."

It was in California that they began to reclaim their anonymity, following a whirlwind of media attention after their identities were revealed. The photo ended up on Jones' Facebook page, after a friend recognized him and tagged him in the image. His sister saw the connection and contacted the media. Jones' father, a motivational speaker, publicized that his son was indeed part of the "kissing couple."

At first, Jones and Thomas were reluctant to say anything about the moment. "We weren't sure if we should say anything," he said.

The couple spoke with Lam before going public; finally, they decided to meet the press to clear up some of the misconceptions being passed around about them and their kiss.

"All of these stories started coming out … people were just making stuff up. Like I wasn't really her boyfriend, stuff like that," Jones said.

There were also claims that they had staged the kiss. "I know where that came from, because apparently there had been another photo that was staged," said Jones. "But once we came out with the story, and there was video footage … it was a little hard to fake. But people were so adamant."

They did a slew of print, radio and television appearances, including a satellite linkup with the "Today" show on NBC. They were instant celebrities, hiring a manager named Max Markson to handle media requests and explore any financial windfall from their accidental fame.

"Then we went to California. And we were anonymous again," said Jones.

After California, the couple moved to Australia, where they were met with more media attention. "Everybody who knew us had seen the picture and recognized me," recalled Jones. "We didn't know if it was going to carry on, or if Max had anything in store for us."

The local fame lasted only a few weeks; today, Scott Jones and Alex Thomas are random citizens, albeit ones with an extraordinary tale. The couple plans to return to North America at some point, as Jones would love to visit New York City and Thomas has family back in Canada.

Thomas, who graduated with a degree in environmental engineering from the University of Guelph in Ontario, is doing water management work for Yarra Valley Water. Jones said he's managing a bar called The Green Room located in Back of Chapel. He's yet to have a patron stagger up to him and give him grief for the kissing photo. In fact, it rarely happened this year.

"We had one random guy who came up to us in San Diego who saw us on TV. And then a lady in the airport," he said.

His standup comedy career is dormant at the moment, although he shares some comedic thoughts, videos and images on his Facebook page — where he jokingly refers to himself as the "Riot Romeo."

Didn't their surreal adventure last summer provide ample material?

"I think looking back on it, it might be a funny situation. But it wasn't a particularly funny moment," he said.

Jones, who said he and Thomas don't have wedding plans yet, hopes the moment is a lasting one.

"It would be good if it's a photo everyone talks about. If the photo carries on. That would be quite special," he said.

"To me it's very hard to judge. There's nothing else really to compare it to. The photo means something different to everybody, so it's hard to say if it'll mean something in time."

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Friday, November 18, 2011

PayPal makes sending money via Facebook

AFP - The online payment service PayPal (eBay group) Thursday launched an application to exchange money with friends, with an application designed for the website Facebook. "We are the world's largest online payment on the world's largest social network, to make it even easier to send money to friends or family members," said a marketing manager PayPal, JB Coutinho, the blog of the company.

"Our new application 'Send Money' (send money) is used to transform messages in real gift," she added. Such remittances may be posted on the site illustrated with maps, videos or simple photos. Click the links can then make the money transfer. Transactions, reserved for the U.S., are free and can be performed with normal bank accounts. "PayPal is where friends and families gather," said Ms. Coutinho. "Imagine the smile when you receive money to buy a cold beer with the message 'this tour is for me"

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Facebook hit with unsolicited porn, violent videos

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Tuesday that it is investigating a rash of unsolicited graphic images that hit some users' accounts this week.

The images, Internet links and videos depicting pornography and violence have hit some people's Facebook newsfeeds in recent days.

"We experienced a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement emailed to Reuters. "Our efforts have drastically limited the damage caused by this attack, and we are now in the process of investigating to identify those responsible."

Facebook does not know yet who was behind the attack and a motive was not clear, Noyes added during an interview with Reuters.

Facebook users were tricked into pasting and executing "malicious" javascript in their browser URL bar, which led to them unknowingly sharing the content, Noyes explained.

Facebook engineers have been working to reduce this browser vulnerability, he added.

Facebook and other "Web 2.0" sites are easy targets for such attacks because they pull in a lot of content from outside sources, according to Paul Ferguson, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro Inc.

"It seems every other day there is some new Facebook 'threat,' but this is just the new reality of Web 2.0 and social networking," Ferguson said. "It is 'low-hanging fruit' for criminals."

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

A man who claims to share Facebook ordered to return to the United States

AFP - The U.S. court on Thursday ordered the return to the United States of a complainant who claims half of the internet giant's shares held by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to provide evidence. Paul Ceglia, a resident of the State of New York (Northeast U.S.), was ordered Thursday by a judge in charge of his complaint to return to the country by December 2. The judge asked to receive "all computers and electronic files in the possession, deposit, or under the control of the complainant in June 2010." Otherwise, the complainant will have to explain their loss.

Justice does not indicate where he is, but according to U.S. media, Mr. Ceglia resident in Ireland for several months. Mr. Ceglia, which launched the process in 2010, claims to be a former professional relationship of the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. He claims that under a contract signed in April 2003, he was to receive for the design of a website called "The face book" 1000 dollars and shares of the company that the operator (set at 50% account Given the date of delivery).

Facebook and Mr Zuckerberg reject allegations they see as an extortion attempt carried out by an "inveterate con man" and "habitual criminals". Facebook, launched in 2004, is one of the most visited websites in the world with 750 million registered on its network. Forbes magazine estimated the fortune of Mr. Zuckerberg to 6.9 billion.

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