Social

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). 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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?

 

If I didn’t already obsessively look at my phone in search of distraction, while waiting for the train or a friend who’s running late, Facebook has just made it ten times easier to get a quick fix.

With the new Facebook “Home” for Android, photos and status updates from my Facebook newsfeed will be the first thing I see when I pick up my phone. (I’ll have to explain the demotion to my cat, Lucas, whose yellow eyes will no longer stare up at me from the screen on first swipe).

Instead, a rolling stream of photos passes over the screen as they are being uploaded and posted by friends. If I want a closer look, I just tap once. One more tap and I can see who Liked or commented on the photo, or type a comment myself. 

The digerati are having fun with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ruling that US companies can use social media to distribute market-sensitive information such as earnings reports. “Facebook Flap Forces SEC Into 21st Century,” says Forbes.

Not so fast. The US regulator’s decision to drop its inquiry into Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive, who boasted about new viewing figures on his personal Facebook page, is only an incremental advance into the new millennium. It makes sense for the SEC to acknowledge the growing use of social media (I’m guessing more people saw Mr Hastings’ Facebook post than have viewed any regulatory announcement in corporate history), but I don’t think the decision will prompt fearful CEOs to tweet their earnings much more than they do already – and, even if it does, it won’t make much difference to investors.