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Twitter Announces Stories Feature, #RIPTwitter Trends Worldwide

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Twitter confirmed it’s testing a new feature, called Fleets, which is similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories.

Kayvon Beykpour, product lead at Twitter, made the announcement and previewed how it will look.

Twitter Announces Stories Feature, #RIPTwitter Trends Worldwide
Twitter Announces Stories Feature, #RIPTwitter Trends Worldwide

As Beykpour explains, this is what makes Fleets different from composing regular tweets:

  • Fleets disappear after 24 hours
  • Fleets cannot be retweeted or liked
  • Fleets cannot be replied to publicly
  • Fleets can only be reacted to via DM

You can see the similarities between stories and Twitter’s new don’t-call-it-stories feature.

Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · 19hReplying to @kayvz

Fleets are a way to share fleeting thoughts. Unlike Tweets, Fleets disappear after 24 hours and don’t get Retweets, Likes, or public replies– people can only react to your Fleets with DMs. Instead of showing up in people’s timelines, Fleets are viewed by tapping on your avatar.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz

I know what you’re thinking: “THIS SOUNDS A LOT LIKE STORIES!”. Yes, there are many similarities with the Stories format that will feel familiar to people. There are also a few intentional differences to make the experience more focused on sharing and seeing people’s thoughts.5516:01 PM – Mar 4, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy292 people are talking about this

Also, like stories, Fleets can only be accessed by tapping on a user’s avatar. Fleets will not show up in the regular timeline, so they shouldn’t be too obtrusive for people who strongly dislike story-type content.

It should also be noted that Fleets are in the early testing stages and will only be available in Brazil for now.

However, that hasn’t stopped Fleets from receiving a fair share of criticism. In fact, the announcement immediately created an uproar that caused the hashtag #RIPTwitter to trend worldwide.

Twitter Announces Stories Feature, #RIPTwitter Trends Worldwide

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Peoples’ criticism primarily stems from the fact that Fleets is a feature no one asked for. Whereas requests for features like an edit button, on the other hand, continue to go ignored.

yas@Adoomies2

Everyone: can we get an edit button?
Twitter: No but y’all can have stories #RIPTwitter2,7942:17 AM – Mar 5, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy883 people are talking about this

Why is Twitter Doing This?

According to Twitter’s announcement, the company is doing this in an effort to make people more comfortable with sharing content on Twitter.

Apparently, some users are put off by the fact that tweets can be replied to by anybody and have metrics associated with them such as likes and retweets.

Users also say that tweets feel more permanent, even though they can be manually deleted at any point in time.

Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · 19h

🧵

Every day, people come to Twitter to see what’s happening. One of the unique things about Twitter is that “what’s happening” is fueled by people sharing their thoughts openly, through Tweets. But sharing your thoughts publicly can be intimidating!

Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz

People often tell us that they don’t feel comfortable Tweeting because Tweets can be seen and replied to by anybody, feel permanent and performative (how many Likes & Retweets will this get!?). Many of us can probably empathize with this: https://twitter.com/Hocclevefanboy/status/1234331475874656256 …Will Rogers@HocclevefanboyMy draft folder is full of funny tweets I’m afraid to tweet.2246:00 PM – Mar 4, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy89 people are talking about this

In an effort to address the reservations people have about tweeting, Twitter will be testing this new Fleets feature.

The test begins today on iOS and Android in Brazil only. Presumably, if the feature tests well, it will be expanded to other countries in time.

Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/twitter-stories-fleets/353310/#close

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Facebook group calls soar 1,000% during Italy’s lockdown

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Facebook has seen usage across its platforms surge in countries that have brought in virus lockdowns.

Italy – with some of the toughest restrictions – has seen the biggest rise, with group calls rocketing by more than 1,000% in the last month.

The social media giant said total messaging traffic on all its platforms had increased 50% on average across the hardest hit countries.

Facebook owns Instagram along with popular messaging app WhatsApp.

But the company said the higher usage won’t protect it from expected falls in digital advertising across the world.

“We don’t monetize many of the services where we’re seeing increased engagement,” Facebook wrote in a post on Tuesday.

Italy has a death toll now above 6,000 people from the virus.

Along with the huge rise in time in group calls (three or more users), the country has seen a 70% rise in time spent on Facebook-owned apps.

Facebook outlined steps it is taking to increase capacity during the heightened traffic as people are stuck indoors and working from home.

“We’re monitoring usage patterns carefully, making our systems more efficient, and adding capacity as required,” the post from Alex Schultz, vice president of analytics, and Jay Parikh, vice president of engineering wrote.

But it admitted this could become harder. “Maintaining stability throughout these spikes in usage is more challenging than usual now that most of our employees are working from home. We are experiencing new records in usage almost every day.”

Facebook has lowered video quality in Europe to help reduce demand on internet service providers. Amazon, Apple TV+ and Netflix have all announced similar measures.

The changes mean each video will use less data, putting less strain on networks already struggling with increased traffic as people stream more content while self-isolating at home.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52029737

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WhatsApp “Martinelli” hoax is back, warning about “Dance of the Pope”

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If you follow @NakedSecurity on Twitter, you’ll have noticed that we warned last week about an old WhatsApp hoax that suddenly reappeared.

The bogus news is generally known as the “Martinelli hoax”, because it starts like this:

If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague has advised that a video comes out tomorrow from WhatsApp called martinelli do not open it , it hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word.

When we last wrote about “Martinelli”, back in 2018, we noted that the hoax was given a breath of believability because the text above was immediately followed by this:

If you receive a message to update the WhatsApp to WhatsApp Gold, do not click!!!!!

This part of the hoax has a ring of truth to it.

Back in 2016, hoax-checking site Snopes reported that malware dubbing itself WhatsApp Gold, was doing the rounds.

The fake WhatsApp was promoted by bogus messages that claimed, “Hey Finally Secret WhatsApp golden version has been leaked, This version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too.”

So WhatsApp Gold was actual malware, and the advice to avoid it was valid, so the initiator of the Martinelli hoax used it to give an element of legitimacy to their otherwise fake warning about the video.The world’s best visibility, protection, and response.Start Online Demo

The latest reincarnation of the hoax has kept the text of the original precisely, including the five-fold exclamation points and the weird extra spaces before punctuation marks.

The new hoax even claims that the video first mentioned several years ago still “comes out tomorrow.”

But there’s a new twist this time, with yet another hoax tacked on the end referring to yet another video “that formats your mobile.”

This time, the video is called Dance of the Pope:

Please inform all contacts from your list not to open a video called "Dance of the Pope". It is a virus that formats your mobile. Beware it is very dangerous. They announced it today on BBC radio. Fwd this message to as many as you can!

Ironically, Snopes suggests that this piece of the hoax – which is basically the same as the Martinelli hoax but with a different video name – is even older than the Martinelli part, dating back to 2015.

Quite why the hoax has reappeared now is not clear, though it may have been triggered by March 2020 news headlines about wunderkind Brazilian footballer Martinelli.

Martinelli currently plays for Arsenal in England, but has been tipped to appear in the Brazilian national squad at just 18 years of age; he’s also been the subject of media speculation that he might get poached from Arsenal by Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid.

Is it even possible?

In theory, playing a deliberately booby-trapped video file on your mobile phone could end up in a malware infection, if your phone has an unpatched bug in its media player software that a crook could exploit.

In practice, however, that sort of bug is very rare these days – and typically gets patched very rapidly and reported very widely.

In other words, if the creator of this warning knew enough about the “bug” to predict that it could infect any mobile phone, and could warn you about this “attack” in a video that isn’t even out yet, it’s highly unlikely that you wouldn’t have heard about the actual bug itself either from the vendor of your phone or from the world’s cybersecurity news media.

Additionally, even if there were a dangerous bug of this sort on your phone and your phone were at risk, it’s unlikely that “nothing would fix it”.

As for the imminent and unconquerable danger of an alleged double-whammy video attack of “threats” that first surfaced in 2015 and 2016…

…well, if the videos were supposed to “come out tomorrow” more than four years ago, we think you can ignore them today.

What to do?

  • Don’t spread unsubstantiated or already-debunked stories online via any messaging app or social network. There’s enough fake news at the moment without adding to it!
  • Don’t be tricked by claims to authority. Anyone can write “they announced it today on BBC radio,” but that doesn’t tell you anything. For all you know, the BBC didn’t mention it at all, or announced it as part of a hoax warning. Do your own research independently, without relying on links or claims in the message itself.
  • Don’t use the “better safe than sorry” excuse. Lots of people forward hoaxes with the best intentions, but you can’t make someone safer by “protecting” them from something that doesn’t exist. All you are doing is wasting everyone’s time.
  • Don’t forward a cybersecurity hoax because you think it’s an obvious joke. What’s obvious to you might not be to other people, and your comments may get repeated as an earnest truth by millions of people.
  • Don’t follow the advice in a hoax “just in case”. Cybersecurity hoaxes often offer bogus advice that promises a quick fix but simply won’t help, and will certainly distract you from taking proper precautions.
  • Patch early, patch often. Security updates for mobile phones typically close off lots of holes that crooks could exploit, or shut down software tricks that adware and other not-quite-malicious apps abuse to make money off you. Take prompt advantage of updates!
  • Use a third-party anti-virus in addition to the standard built-in protection. Sophos Intercept X for Mobile is free, and it gives you additional protection not only against unsafe system settings and malware, but also helps to keep you away from risky websites in the first place.
  • Don’t grant permissions to an app unless it genuinely needs them. Mobile malware doesn’t need to use fancy, low-level programming booby-traps if you invite it in yourself and then give it more power that it needs or deserves.

Source: https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2020/03/23/whatsapp-martinelli-hoax-is-back-warning-about-dance-of-the-pope/

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Apple’s iOS 13.4 might launch on March 17 — here’s what to expect

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With much of Europe on a coronavirus lockdown, one thing’s for certain: We’re gonna spend a lot more time on our phones. Which is why the potential launch of iOS 13.4 is a bit more interesting than usual because, hey, we might actually notice the updates for once.

And — if the rumors are to be believed — it might be launching pretty damn soon. Specifically, March 17. Or at least that’s what this Twitter post, reported on by MacRumors, suggests:

Khaos Tian@KhaosT

🤔

According to some marketing materials from Alipay, iOS 13.4 will be released on March 17th https://www.ithome.com/0/477/879.htm 

View image on Twitter

284:18 AM – Mar 16, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy16 people are talking about this

If the details above are true, iOS 13.4 will be arriving on your iPhone potentially within 24 hours. After the initial excitement (don’t contradict me), the next question is simple:

What new features are there in iOS 13.4?

To be honest, there’s little here to blow your mind, but we’ve not got much better to do, so why not run through them?

Universal purchases for Mac and iOS apps

Actually, I’ll eat my words. This is quite a big step for Apple and its goal to unify the App Store across its devices. The idea with this update is that, if the developer wants to, they can turn on a feature that bundles their app across platforms.

Effectively, this means that on iOS 13.4, if you buy an app on your iPhone, it’s now possible for it to appear on your Mac. If the developer is cool, of course.

iOS 13.4 developers will be able to use the CarKey API

We covered CarKey before, but as a refresher, this is a feature that will eventually turn your iPhone into a, uh, car key.

One assumes that no vehicles will actually have CarKey support on iOS 13.4’s launch, but I’d assume that companies will begin developing apps to take advantage of the feature. Then, in the next couple of months, we’ll see a lot of car manufacturers to get involved. Hopefully.

New Memoji

I… really don’t care about this. But maybe you do. So, there’ll be 9 more Memoji stickers on iOS 13.4. Woo?

Say hello to a new toolbar on the Mail app

The Mail app is kinda shitty, but iOS 13.4 will improve this with a toolbar with some more, really standard functions.

This includes stuff like Move Message, Send to Trash, Flag, and a gamut of reply options that have been available on Gmail forever.

iCloud folder sharing

As the name suggests, you’ll be able to share specific iCloud folders with people. This definitely won’t be used for piracy.

An ‘always-on’ mode for Siri

An easy way to let Mr. Tim Apple personally listen to everything you’re saying.

Seriously though, this means you can access the voice-activated assistant on iOS 13.4 while your device is face-down or out of action. Don’t worry, you will need to turn this feature on, so don’t worry about spying too much.

Anyway, there you have it! A quick update of what to expect from iOS 13.4, which will be hitting your phones very soon. When it’s downloaded, let us know on Twitter which of these new features are your favorites. Happy quarantining.

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