Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

The Snappening: Snapchat suffers security breach

Snapchat hit the headlines last week as it was revealed that almost 98,000 of its users’ photos and videos had been hacked. The files, all of which had been saved using the third-party service Snapsaved.com (which allows users to save and access their snaps online) date back to October 2013.

In a robust defence, Snapchat has since stated that its own servers were not hacked. Instead, it put the blame for the leak (nicknamed “The Snappening”) firmly at Snapsaved.com’s feet, citing the unlawful use of its API.

A messaging service, that allows subscribers to send pictures or videos to a recipient which ‘self-destruct’ after a specified time, Snapchat is one of the fastest growing apps on the market. However, in an official statement Snapchat warned that: “when you give your login credentials to a third-party application, you’re allowing a developer, and possibly a criminal, to access your account information and send information on your behalf”.

Questions are now being raised, over whether Snapchat has done enough to prevent such third-party apps from exploiting flaws in its security model.

In related news, reports that file saving and sharing site Dropbox was hacked this week, with the theft of almost seven million log-in credentials appears to be false. Dropbox has hit back at the claims stating that “recent news articles claiming that Dropbox was hacked aren’t true” and that “your stuff is safe.”

Google Hangouts improves desktop experience

Google Hangouts users can now engage in conversations via their desktops, without opening a web browser. In the latest release, Google Hangouts now offers an easier way to call and message, without distracting users from whatever they are doing on their PC.

As well as moving visually into Facebook Messenger territory, the app also allows users to make and receive calls, voicemails and SMS messages directly into Google Hangouts. As well as viewing and continuing conversations across devices.

Only last week I revealed that Google was in the process of creating a new mobile messaging application that would not require a Google login. This latest update confirms that messaging is very much at the core of Google’s market acquisition strategy as it moves into 2015.

Facebook to allow anonymous interactions between users

According to a report in the New York Times, Facebook is about to offer users the ability to interact with each other anonymously. If the report is accurate, a new app will allow people to use pseudonyms to talk about topics they may not be comfortable discussing under their real names.

Earlier this year Facebook faced a backlash after its strict user policy led to the suspension of a number of drag queen and transgender accounts due to users not identifying themselves under their legal names. Having since apologised for the controversy, it is not yet clear whether this latest update will see a change to Facebook’s policy.

The app is set to launch in the coming weeks.

New survey reveals teens prefer Instagram to Facebook

A recent study by Investment banking company Piper Jaffray entitled “Taking Stock with Teens”, has revealed Instagram as the social media site of choice for US teens. The survey, which was taken by 7,200 teenagers, found that Instagram’s usage had jumped from 69% to 76% between spring and autumn this year. Over the same period, Facebook’s usage fell substantially from 72% to 45%.

The results are likely to come as little shock to Facebook. The social media giant acquired Instagram in 2012 as part of a wider, long-term strategy to retain the youth market.

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