Social

Twitter began life as a public company today as it started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in the most closely watched initial public offering of the year.

The San Francisco-based company priced its shares on Wednesday at $26 a piece. It will raise about $2.1bn by selling 80.5m shares, or about 13 per cent of the company.

The shares closed up 73 per cent at $44.90.

 

Hannah Kuchler

The first advert on Instagram, the social photo app owned by Facebook, was published on Friday to a chorus of complaints from users. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

The much-anticipated Twitter IPO (TwIPO?) has arrived. Twitter chose to announce it, of course, on its own site:

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Federal judges evaluated the privacy and free speech implications of a California law that would create a database of online identities for sex offenders, noting the shift in public sentiment around such data collection since voters passed the law last November and today, as revelations about the US’s monitoring of online communications continue to emerge.

“We’re living in a post-Snowden world,” said Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, referencing the surveillance practices revealed by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden and questioning whether a database of email addresses and online identities intended to help solve sex crimes could be used to monitor people’s political speech.

Mr Bybee was one of three judges hearing oral arguments in a case about Proposition 35, the California law that requires convicted sex offenders to register their email addresses and user names for online news sites and social networks. The initiative was passed by a majority of voters last November, after receiving financial backing from Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer between 2005 and 2009. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Twitter’s chief executive Dick Costolo is facing intense scrutiny about when the messaging site will go public. His appearance at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco taught us little about that, instead going back to first principles of managing a company – whether brand new or about to IPO. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Snapchat’s investors were betting on growth first, monetisation later when they put $60m into the pioneer of ephemeral messaging.

That growth is continuing apace, Snapchat’s co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel said on Monday, with 350m “snaps” sent every day last month, up from 200m in June.

But the LA-based company is slowly starting to think about ways to make money, too, saying that Chinese internet giant Tencent – which makes much of its income from in-app purchases – was a “role model” for Snapchat. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It doesn’t seem so long ago that many people thought social networking was done, and that anything that wasn’t Facebook would become a feature, app or acquisition of the social juggernaut.

In the past year, however, that’s started to change. Snapchat brought ephemerality to photo sharing, Nextdoor is reconnecting real-world neighbours and Whatsapp, WeChat and Line are fighting for mobile instant-messaging dominance.

Now, backed by some of Snapchat’s original investors, comes Whisper – an app for sharing (and viewing) secrets, posted anonymously. Read more

Robert Cookson

A disgruntled British Airways passenger has bought adverts on Twitter to complain about the airline’s customer service, in an unusual reversal of the way that big brands use social media.

Hasan Syed, a businessman who goes by the Twitter username @HVSVN, took the action on Monday out of frustration with the way that British Airways was handling his father’s lost luggage. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Four billion check-ins later, Foursquare is finding new ways to use all the location data that users have shared with the four-year-old smartphone app.

That includes both new features for users – and new ways to make money from the body of data it’s collected, with third parties. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Many thought that Instagram’s addition of 15-second videos to its photo-sharing app would kill Vine, Twitter’s fledgling video app.

Apparently not.

Twitter on Tuesday said that 40m people have signed up to watch and share six-second videos on Vine. Read more

It takes some nerve to sell a company for $850m and then describe it as “the biggest repository of online cock and balls ever recorded”.

Step forward Michael Birch, founder of social network Bebo, who, after repurchasing the site for $1m in July, has now launched a spoof video to promote its impending relaunch. Read more

Facebook will report second quarter earnings on Wednesday, with Wall Street expecting $1.62bn in revenues and 14 cents earnings per share.

Analysts will be looking for signs of increased advertising spending among small businesses and in international markets, as growth from large US advertisers is believed to have levelled off. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

For such a simple little app, Snapchat provokes some strong opinions.

Much of the reaction to its fundraising, announced on Monday, was one of amazement that the two-year-old ephemeral messaging app could be worth $800m. After all, that’s more than Facebook paid for Instagram last year ($715m after Facebook’s stock slumped from the time of its initial $1bn offer). Read more

A New York man who rented his apartment through Airbnb was found to have violated the city’s residency laws, marking the first legal setback for the peer-to-peer home rental start-up as it faces a growing number of regulatory questions.

An administrative law judge ruled that Nigel Warren had broken a 2010 New York City law when he accepted about $600 from a Russian tourist to stay in his apartment for a few days while he was out of town. The law prohibits apartment owners from renting property for less than 30 days, and was intended to crack down on landlords who bought affordable housing units and then converted them to hotels to make more money. Mr Warren was fined $2,400. Read more

African-American teenagers are more likely to use Twitter than their white counterparts, according to a study out today from the Pew Research Center.

Researchers noted a significant jump in Twitter use among teens in general, but found that 39 per cent of African-American teens used the microblogging site compared to 23 per cent of white teens. Read more

Robert Cookson

What does Bitcoin have in common with 3D printing, besides both being technologies loved by geeks? On the face of it, not much: one is a digital currency and the other allows you to reproduce almost any small, solid object in the world.

But as lawmakers are starting to realise, there is a key similarity: both Bitcoin and 3D printing have the potential to reduce the power of the state and put it into the hands of individuals. Read more

LinkedIn has long been seen as the ugly duckling of social networks, but now it’s starting to preen its feathers. The site is now allowing users to add photos, presentations and graphics to their profiles, creating a “unique professional story” that is rather more glamorous than just a few lines of text.

“Will the resume be displaced?” is how LinkedIn bills the feature. It is trying to do for the CV what Facebook once did for the college yearbook. There’s no particular reason why someone’s career should appear online as it would on a printed page. Read more

Wall Street is anticipating another positive earnings report from Facebook after markets close on Wednesday and the social network states first quarter results.

Analysts expect to see a bump in revenues from advertising products launched last year, and hope to hear plans for future ad products, in particular, video advertising and ad plans for Facebook Home, the new super app Facebook launched for Android phones in April.

Though business in the first quarter tends to slow compared to the preceding quarter, which included the holidays and the US presidential election, analysts are expecting 36 per cent revenue growth year on year. Consensus estimates are for 13 cents in earnings per share on $1.44bn in revenue. Morgan Stanley predicts mobile advertising revenues will be $314m for the quarter, representing 25 per cent of overall advertising revenues, up from 23 per cent in the last quarter. Read more

Foursquare’s future is veering toward e-commerce, as the company’s social media roots have failed to yield revenues strong enough to excite investors.

What began as a virtual social competition for clocking the most “check-ins” at local restaurants and coffee shops is evolving into a play for a cut of local retail business.

“Twenty per cent of Foursquare check-ins are happening at retail locations, like clothing stores and shoe stores,” said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive and co-founder. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook is an incredible innovator, but one of its greatest strengths is its ability to absorb – the less charitable might say copy – its competitors’ best features. We saw it with Twitter and status updates; with Foursquare and Places; with Pinterest and last autumn’s Collections tool; and most recently Snapchat and the Poke app.

That’s fine when startups are nipping at your heels, but does that work when you’re competing against the tech industry’s biggest platforms?

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