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Social media helps Nepal Earthquake survivors

In the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, social media and other technology operators have come to the aid of those affected.

Facebook has enabled its ‘Safety Check’ feature, making it easier for people to check that their loved ones are safe following the disaster. The app works by sending GPS notifications to users in the affected area, asking them to click a button and confirm that they are alive and well. This status is then shared with friends and family, helping to ease concern. Similarly, Google has launched its ‘Person’ Finder feature, which crowdsources information; giving people the option to look for someone, or spread information about the safety of others.

Is Facebook about to host content from other publishers?

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook may be about to begin hosting content from major publishers as early as this month. The initiative, dubbed ‘Instant Articles’ will help publishers to speed up article load time for users accessing content via Facebook’s mobile app.

While some publishers are wary of aligning themselves too closely to Facebook, to encourage sign-up Facebook is reportedly considering changes to its traditional revenue-sharing model; allowing publishers to keep all the revenue made from certain advertisements.

Meerkat pulls Facebook into the live streaming battle

In the ongoing battle between Periscope and Meerkat for the live streaming crown, Meerkat has made a significant move by cosying up to Facebook.
While Meerkat, initially dominated conversation in the live video steaming space, it has suffered since Twitter removed access to its distribution and communications tools following the purchase of competitor app Periscope.
Striking back, in its latest update, Meerkat is “making it easier than ever to discover and interact with the people you already know by integrating with your phone’s address book, and giving you the ability to push live and upcoming streams directly to your Facebook Page.”

It is the first time that either Meerkat or Periscope have offered a Facebook option, and, the first time that users can watch Meerkat videos without a Twitter account.

LinkedIn follows Twitter with disappointing results

Following the news that Twitter shares took a dive last week, LinkedIn quickly followed suit, seeing some $7 billion wiped from its market capitalisation as it warned sales would fall below Wall Street’s forecasts. Following the announcement, LinkedIn shares fell as much as 25 % in after-hours trading. The results mark the first time since LinkedIn became a public company that it has not exceeded its forecasts.

Facebook to open up internet.org

A few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg used a blog post to refute claims that internet.org doesn’t follow net neutrality guidelines. Now, following a backlash against the initiative – which aims to connect the two-thirds of the world that don’t currently have internet access – Facebook has agreed to allow more websites and other online services to join its free mobile data scheme.

Critics had attacked internet.org, claiming that that it goes against the principles of net neutrality as it favours access to some sites and apps over others. However Zuckerberg has responded by saying that it’s more important to widen internet access than defend an “extreme definition” of net neutrality. Despite this defence, Facebook will now allow other developers to join the internet.org platform.

To qualify, online services cannot be data-intensive, must be able to run on cheaper feature phones as well as more powerful smartphones, and should encourage the exploration of the broader internet if possible (to encourage users to ultimately pay for access). In addition, sites that join up to internet.org will not be able to use HTTPS encryption.

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