THE GLOBE AND MAIL - July 12 - Pavel Durov, of Russia's popular social media network, VKontakte, stands up to Federal Security Service, or FSB, requests to shut down the page of political activist Alexei Navalny and turn over personal data on Ukrainian users. Rather than take part in what he calls “political censorship,” the 29-year-old Durov posted the FBS letters to his VK page, stepped down as CEO, and fled the country.
Mr. Durov and VK have been in the center of Russia's struggle between social media's freedom of expression and the corporations and government trying to control it, since late 2011 when VK pages gave young Russians a place to vent their political frustrations following Putin's return to power. At that time, Durov refused to block the profiles of protest groups prompting Russia to pass Internet laws that would make it harder for him to say no in the future.
Growing weary of all the political and corporate pressure on the company due to Russia's growing battle over the future of Ukraine, and an ongoing struggle over ownership of VK, Durov chose to take on the role of a political fugitive forced to leave Russia. In the wake of his departure, Russian lawmakers continue to pass laws that place restrictions on the Internet.
CSMONITOR - July 13 - A Dutch nonprofit is urging users to stop using Facebook for a period of 99 consecutive days and then report on their experiences. The campaign is one of many responses to the news that Facebook deliberately manipulated the emotions expressed in users' feeds for purposes of an academic study.
WANT CHINA TIMES - July 13 - After blocking Google and its services in China in June, China's internet censors blocked Line and Flickr on July 1. Instagram, the online photo and video sharing platform owned by Facebook, has now undergone a similar fate.
ARABIANBUSINESS - July 11 - Saudi Arabia plans to introduce classes about social networks. The lessons would be included within the computing and information technology syllabus. Use of social media websites are restricted and highly monitored in the conservative kingdom.
VENTURE BEAT - July 11 - Sobrr is a new social network that erases everything after 24 hours. Sobrr encourages users to go out and live in the moment,” says its founder, Bruce Yang. “The fact that everything will disappear soon keeps the user engaged with things in the present.”
VOICE OF RUSSIA - July 11 - Scott Rosenbaum started RentaFriend.com, a site which offers up the services of professional friends. The site launched one year ago and claims ~500K users worldwide. It's increasingly popular in Britain, with ~26K users. Users can pick their friends based on their interests and listed character traits. ‘Friendships’ can last for less an hour or for an entire day, depending on the arrangement between the parties. Friends charge between £10 and £150 per hour.
ECNS - July 7 - Facebook has already rented space in a business district tower for three years. Facebook has been eyeing the Chinese market for a long time. It has so far registered ~60 trademarks in China since 2007. Facebook currently remains inaccessible in the Chinese mainland. Its business performance in Asia has been growing rapidly in recent years. Facebook gained revenue of $354M in the Asian market in the Q1, accounting for 14% of its total revenue.
INSIDE FACEBOK - Jule 3 - Terms of the deal were not disclosed. LiveRail is a 7 years old ad tech company that has worked with ABC, Major League Baseball, A&E Networks and Gannett to improve the quality of ads seen in videos.
by Justin Lafferty
See full article at Inside Facebook
DECCAN HERALD - July 2 - With ~100M users and 900K small and medium businesses in India, Facebook is in the process of monetising in India. India is Facebook's second largest market, after the US. Facebook wants to "enable commerce" -- help small and medium businesses to find customers and expand their business, in turn helping Facebook grow.
TECH CRUNCH - June 30 - The deal price was $100M. TapCommerce helps mobile businesses retarget their ads, i.e., target ads based on previous user activity. The acquisition was part of Twitter's broader strategy in mobile marketing, which it kicked off last year with the acquisition of MoPub. 80% of Twitter's ad revenue comes from mobile.
VENTURE BEAT - June 30 - Orkut will shut down on September 30. Users will not be allowed to create new Orkut accounts starting today, and Google will offer existing users the ability to export their data until September 2016. Although Orkut never took off in the U.S., the social network was once one of the most popular sites in Brazil.
MARKETWIRED - June 30 - Yik Yak, the social messaging app, has secured $10M. The money will be used to build out infrastructure, hire new engineers, and bring the app to all U.S. college campuses by the end of the year. The funding will also enable international expansion of Yik Yak communities.
BUSINESS INSIDER - Twitter will now allow all advertisers to purchase its mobile app install ads, which ask people if they want to download or use a mobile app while they're browsing Twitter on their phones. Twitter has been testing the app install ads with selected partners since November. Advertisers will be able to target users by interests, keywords, and the TV shows they watch.
WSJ - June 26 - Foursquare is negotiating with the heaviest users of its data to pay fees or offer services in return. It will affect under 1% of the 63K companies that use Foursquare's database. Foursquare has struggled for years to build a sustainable business model around local advertising. Foursquare was on track to generate $15 - $20M in 2013, up from $2M in 2012.