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10/03/2013

Instagram users: prepare for ads in your photo streams

InstagramPeople who use the popular photo and video sharing social network should prepare to deal with something they have never had to deal with before: advertising.

So far, Instagram has never had any advertising in the app experience. Don't forget, the service has been completely free.

Instagram, however, is owned by Facebook. It was bought by Mark Zuckerberg and co. for $1 billion more than a year ago. And if you're a public company with shares that trade on the stock exchange, you better show investors return on investment.

The ad announcement from Instagram came via an official blog post Thursday.

In it, Instagram says part of its plans involve building the social network “into a sustainable business.” Sustaining a business that doesn't sell advertising or charge user fees is like trying to live without food or water.

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09/08/2013

Hospital opens digital detox unit, family lives like it’s 1986 to deal with tech addictions

People addicted to various substances sometimes need to seek professional medical help. Sometimes it involves a trip to the doctor, sometimes it involves a stay in a hospital to get the right treatment.

And when you think of addiction, it’s usually alcohol and drugs that come to mind.

But digital addiction is becoming such a growing problem that a hospital in the United States has  dedicated a unit to helping people overcome that.

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09/03/2013

Disgruntled British Airways passenger buys promoted tweet to complain about lost luggage

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Complaining about poor customer service on Facebook and Twitter is almost the norm these days. That's why companies spend big bucks on monitoring social media, to respond and react to complaints (and sometimes praise).

Well, one air travel passenger decided to spend money on voicing his discontent with an airline, going as far as to buy a "promoted tweet."

A promoted tweet is when a tweet appears at the top of other people's' streams.

Hasan Syed, Twitter user @HVSVN, sponsored this tweet after British Airways apparently lost his dad's baggage after a flight.

According to Mashable, which got a screenshot of the tweet, the message said: "Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous."

Hvsn_british_airways_tweetThe Twitter tirade from Syed continued, as someone from the @BritishAirways account asked him to provide the baggage tracking number, but Syed said he wanted to do it over a direct message - which couldn't happen because BA still wasn't following him.

How much did this disgruntled customer pay to advertise his discontent?

According to a tweet sent Tuesday night, @HVSVN says he dished out $1,000.

The payoff? Almost 77,000 impressions, 14,000 engagements and a story that went viral.

The Guardian reports that British Airways eventually released a statement, saying "We would like to apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused. We have been in contact with the customer, and the bag is due to be delivered today."

Do you take to Twitter and Facebook to express your complaints and/or praise about companies? 

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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08/15/2013

Toronto man fired after Twitter pot request

Twitter-bird-white-on-blueAn online search for marijuana has turned into a job hunt for one Canadian Twitter user.

Sunith Baheerathan caused an online stir when he issued a tweet requesting prospective pot sellers to bring some of their wares to a Mr. Lube location in a Toronto suburb.

That location was Baheerathan's place of employment until Tuesday, according to both the company and Baheerathan's own tweets.

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08/14/2013

Canadians more addicted to Facebook than Americans: stats

Canadians check Facebook on their phones and tablets more often than people from any other country, new statistics from the social network suggest.

According to the metrics, 13 million Canadian users access Facebook at least once a month on a smartphone or tablet.

But let’s be honest – most people are checking Facebook more than once a month. So here are the numbers to back it up: 9.4 million people in Canada use Facebook on a mobile device every day.

That means about 74 per cent of Facebook users in Canada hop on the social network every day.

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07/23/2013

Royal baby news lights up Twitter

The royal baby’s arrival into the world lit up the world of social media on Monday.

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07/15/2013

When should social networks hand over user data?

Should social networks give your details to the police? What about if you're really obnoxious?

In France, Twitter has been forced to give the personal details of several people to the police, after a long court battle. The users were Tweeting via the accounts 'UnBonJuif' (a good Jew) and 'UnJuifMort' (a dead Jew). The Tweets were antisemitic, and Twitter removed them after it found out what was going on. But the French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) was not satisfied. It asked a judge to make Twitter disclose the posters' personal details, so they could be prosecuted.

In France, there are laws against publishing racist and discriminatory hate speech.

Twitter fought the request in court, but in January, the judge said that it had to hand the data over. Twitter tried to appeal, but last month, the appeals court refused to hear it. So, it just handed over the data.

You might think this is an easy thing to judge. Antisemites aren't the most likeable of people. But what about if others posting on Twitter are more in line with your views,and the authorities want their data?

This isn't the first time that Twitter has handed over information. Twitter has handed over details of people operating Twitter accounts associated with Wikileaks, and it has also handed over messages from Occupy activists that were no longer public on the site, says the Guardian.

It's a tricky one. What do you think? When should social networks hand over user data, or old messages? Should they ever?

Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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07/09/2013

Facebook’s new search function goes deep into your past

Facebook_graph_searchAfter launching a beta version of their new deep search tool, Facebook is announcing this week that Graph Search is being rolled out to even more users.

Starting Monday, Facebook Graph Search will be available to all users with their language settings set to US English.The search feature is supposed to help you find places and things that your friends – or random other people who haven’t locked down their privacy settings – are interested in.

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To give it a shot, I tried the search ‘Photos of my friends before 2009.’ I forgot some friends actually had hair, and I forgot how youthful we all once looked.

The idea is that you search for things involving your friends, and that should be better than the search results you’d typically get form Google. So a better practice search would be 'Restaurants my friends have been to in Toronto.'

The feature isn’t particulary new, having been out since in beta to some users earlier this year. But Facebook says it’s a lot better.

It’s supposed to be faster than it was at launch, better at understanding what you’re asking it to find, and ultimately better at delivering search results that are actually useful to you.

But because searching for photos of your friends from about years and years ago can bring about undesirable results, you’ll definetly want to take a gander at your privacy settings, and lock them down.

In the top-right corner of your page you’ll see a lock icon. Click on it, and then dive deep to adjust what others can and can’t see when searching for you on Facebook.

Are you looking forward to Facebook Graph Search? Already have it – What do you think of it? Will you ditch Google for it?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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04/04/2013

Cdn. woman arrested for Instragram photo of cop – censorship?

Anarcommie_montreal_police_instagram_photoA Montreal woman is facing charges after posting a photo of a well-known Montreal cop to Instagram – which has some people wondering if the police force is exercising censorship.

It wasn’t just any cop, but Montreal police officer Ian Lafreniere. And the photo was graffiti of Cmdr. Lafreniere with a bullet hole just above his eyes.

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03/27/2013

Why are people changing their Facebook profile pictures to equal signs?

575655_10151537626668281_250692150_nA whole bunch of my friends have changed their Facebook profile photos from pictures of their beautiful faces and pets to pictures of an equal sign on a red background.

I know many change their names in an effort to remain anonymous and private on the social network - but why a red block with two white horizontal lines?

This trend is part of a growing movement for equality.

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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