Richard Waters

Facebook has announced a new social search service at an event at its HQ in California today.

Mark Zuckerberg has gone out of his way to stress that “graph search” is not intended to be a Google-killer. But for advertisers, this could be a significant moment. With a trillion social connections, Facebook believes that searching the social graph will yield something more revealing than trawling links on the Web.

Read our blow-by-blow analysis live from the event as the news unfolded.

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The right balance between commercial imperatives and editorial purity has been debated since Benjamin Franklin first made a habit of carrying advertising in the Pennsylvania Gazette. But when the Associated Press announced on Monday that it would be sending out sponsored tweets from Samsung during the Consumer Electronics Show, the news agency still managed to raise eyebrows. Read more

Duncan Robinson

Buzzfeed, the social news website that publishes everything from funny pictures of cats to long-form reporting on the US presidential race, has secured $19.3m in funding to bulk up its original editorial content and expand internationally.

The website will launch an office in London later this year, according to Jon Steinberg, Buzzfeed’s president and chief operating officer.

“London is the natural next expansion,” said Mr Steinberg. Although the office will include both editorial and sales staff it will be “very small” with “fewer than 10” staff. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla have made their biggest charitable donation yet, giving Facebook stock worth $500m to a Silicon Valley foundation. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Twitter has topped 200m active users, more than doubling its audience since September last year.

While 2011 saw Twitter come to the fore in political events such as the Arab Spring protests and the UK scandal over superinjunctions, 2012 has seen it gain more mainstream attention through international events like the US presidential elections and the London Olympic games, as well as on-screen promotions of tweets and hashtags on TV news and talk shows, where its live, up-to-the-minute updates can really shine. Read more


Interesting commentary from around the Web on a tech story that made headlines last week.

Users of Instagram and Twitter were caught in the middle of a photo turf war this week. Instagram’s announcement that it would no longer allow its photos to appear in Twitter feeds raised concerns over whether web companies are holding user content hostage as they try to monetise their platforms. Read more

Facebook’s push for more frictionless sharing is now reaching into the depths of photo albums past and future.

The social network is promoting Photo Sync, a new feature for its mobile app that allows people to automatically upload every picture taken with their mobile phones to a private Facebook album. They then choose which photos to share on Facebook, but the automatic upload makes that process much faster and easier.

Turning Facebook into a catch-all photo repository also gives the company a new glut of information about its users from the geo-location data attached to the photos. The company can now tell where you are, when, and with whom, even if you don’t make the images public. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced a management reshuffle following another significant departure from its executive ranks.

The leading social gaming company said Dave Wehner, its chief financial officer, had resigned and was joining Facebook. The company lost John Schappert, its chief operating officer, and Jeff Karp, chief marketing officer, in recent months, among a string of executive departures as Zynga reported disappointing earnings and its share price plummeted. Read more

With many major events these days, record-breaking levels of engagement on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are customary, and this week’s presidential election was no exception.

After his re-election was announced, a photo of President Barack Obama hugging his wife that was posted on Twitter and Facebook became the most liked and most popular tweet of all time. But others argued big data might have been the real winner of this year’s presidential election. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Many Twitter users were confused and alarmed this morning by an email from the service saying that their accounts had been “compromised” and forcing them to change their passwords. Read more

Flooding in New York

A monumental presidential election in 2008, social revolutions in the Middle East last year, and now Hurricane Sandy.

Photos of water lapping at the base of the Brooklyn carousel and spindly trees crashed upon car roofs have, er, flooded social media channels.

Just as Facebook burst into the mainstream during Barack Obama’s first presidential election campaign, today Instagram, the photo-sharing app now owned by Facebook, is finding widespread use as the preferred storytelling medium of the biggest storm in decades to hit the east coast. Read more

In the 2002 film Minority Report, John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, walks through a shopping mall of the future, where a storefront camera equipped with facial recognition technology recognises him and delivers a real-time, hyper-personalised ad: “John Anderton! You could use a Guinness right now.”

That future is now, with digital billboards able to determine a passer-by’s age, gender, and racial background, and even in some instances, an individual’s exact identity.

US regulators are anticipating the spread of these technical capabilities, attempting to protect consumer privacy before it gets breached. The Federal Trade Commission issued a set of recommendations on Monday for the evolution of facial recognition technology, beseeching companies that use it, like Facebook and Kraft, to design such features with a privacy-first approach. Read more

The increasing number of people using Facebook on mobile phones is driving revenues for the operators of the mobile networks, as people accumulate charges on their phone bills by scrolling through their newsfeed, and then calling their friends.

Vaughan Smith, Facebook’s vice president for mobile partnerships and corporate development, said that the company’s analyses show that Facebook users make 40 per cent more phone calls than non-Facebook users, and that the primary reason people are signing up for data connections on their mobile devices is to use Facebook. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

In January, Twitter sparked an outcry when it announced a modification to its famous maxim that the “tweets must flow”.

The Californian company, often hailed as a defender of free speech, said that it would block users in specific countries from seeing tweets or accounts that broke local law, while maintaining the ability of people beyond the border to see the offending messages. Activists such as Ai Wei Wei and other free-speech campaigners were quick to voice concerns about potential censorship.

However, it may salve the concerns of those who suggested that Twitter would readily kowtow to the daily whims of undesirable regimes to know that almost 10 months later, it has only now put those tools into action. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

General Motors’ pullback from Facebook ads in May became a touchstone moment for doubts about the social network’s business model, just before it went public.

But as we report in today’s FT analysis of the growing turf war in the social networking market, GM has been spending money on Twitter for two years – and is now “beyond experimenting” with ads there. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Demo Fall 2012 is underway with more than 75 new ideas being pitched in six-minute presentations by startups at the annual event in Silicon Valley.

Hardware, software and services are being featured covering the social, entertainment, media, commerce, communications, big data, infrastructure, health and education sectors. A sample of the most impressive demonstrations – from a tabloid social-network app to an Instagram for video – is after the jump. Read more

Maija Palmer

News that TV mogul Simon Cowell and, singer with the Black Eyed Peas are considering launching an X-Factor style reality show to find the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates has caused a combination of amusement and disbelief across the technology sector.

But the idea of bringing a bit of glamour into the industry is not without merit. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Twitter has been touting its success as a “mobile first” social network, capitalising on the biggest perceived weakness of its main rival Facebook.

One recent estimate from eMarketer has even suggested that Twitter will generate more revenues from mobile ads than Facebook this year.

But new data show the scale of the threat that Twitter faces from explosive growth at Instagram, the photo-sharing app acquired by Facebook. Read more

Maija Palmer

For a tech start-up the aim is nearly always to “go viral” and spread as far and wide as possible. So it is no surprise that TechHub, which provides work spaces for fledgling technology businesses in London, is looking to colonize more cities starting with Manchester.

The company has teamed up with Town Centre Securities, a  property developer, to open an office with 50 desks permanent desks and a drop-in work space in a Grade II listed building in Manchester’s Piccadilly Basin. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock, founder of LinkedIn and an early Facebook investor, is still “bullish” on the world’s biggest social network – but even he wouldn’t buy Facebook shares right now. Read more