Facebook introduces Rooms app
Two weeks ago I revealed that Facebook was about to offer users the ability to interact with each other anonymously. Last week saw these plans come to fruition with the release of ‘Rooms’, an app that allows users to discuss whatever they want, under whichever guise they want.
The app sees the evolution of old style chat forums into virtual ‘rooms’ for the smartphone generation. After downloading the free app, users can create and/or join private or public rooms to share photos, videos and texts.
Rooms does not require a Facebook account to use and is currently only available for the iPhone. An Android version is due for launch in early 2015.
Twitter acquires Twitpic
Twitter has acquired the website and photo archive of Twitpic, a service that allowed users to attach photos to their tweets.
Earlier this year Twitpic announced it was shutting down following a legal wrangle with Twitter. However, concerns were raised that the closure of Twitpic would result in the loss of a vast number of user photographs. The acquisition of the Twitpic archive by Twitter means that this content will now be protected.
In other Twitter related news, after a period of experimentation it seems that the social media platform is now set to add tweets from people they don’t follow to a user’s timeline. Tweets will be selected based on a number of factors, such as how popular the tweet is and how people in the users’ network are interacting with it.
The move has caused upset amongst some social media commentators and users who see it as the “trolling” of timelines by Twitter.
The director of product management at Twitter responded by saying that “Choosing who to follow is a great first step – in many cases, the best tweets come from people you already know, or know of. But there are times when you might miss out on tweets we think you’d enjoy”.
Whisper suspends a number of its editorial team
Last week I revealed that Whisper (which allows users to send and receive anonymous messages) had been uncovered tracking the location of users, including those who had opted-out of geolocation services.
This week the news doesn’t get any better for Whisper with the suspension of a number of its editorial team following a summons from a U.S senator to discuss concerns over its privacy practices.
It appears the Whisper exec team believe the reaction to the allegations by key editorial staff, which included several rants on Twitter over the “vicious lies”, detracted from the real issue. In response Whisper’s CEO has promised to “strive to do right” by all its users, revealing that members of the editorial team had been placed on leave pending an internal review.
Ello secures £3.4 million in funding
Invitation only, beta social networking site Ello has raised a substantial £3.4 million in venture capital funding despite reiterating that it will never make money from selling ads or user data. And critically, that no future acquirer can do so either.
Described by some as the “anti-Facebook”, Ello plans to offer a freemium pricing strategy which will allow investors to recoup some of their capital, while sticking to its uncompromising ethics.
Earlier this month the Ello site crashed due to an unexpected barrage of traffic following mass media exposure, with invitations to the site selling on Ebay for as high as $500.