Monthly Archives: January 2017

Israel’s Netanyahu tweets like Trump. Great idea!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech at a Cyber Security Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner


(Reuters) – Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t just appreciate Donald Trump’s politics. He is starting to sound like him on Twitter.

Over the past year, Netanyahu has increasingly taken to social media to make policy statements. He also uses it to deride the Israeli media for its reporting on him.

“It’s fun. I enjoy it,” he told the foreign media at a gathering last month. While he fully supported press freedom and the right to criticize, he added: “Guess what? We should have the freedom to criticize them, and that’s what I do on occasion. And it’s a lot of fun.”

In recent weeks, in the build up to Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration and in the days since, some of Netanyahu’s posts have adopted the president’s unmistakable rat-a-tat syntax.

“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu tweeted on Jan. 28, posting pictures of the U.S. and Israeli flags next to each other.

Trump retweeted it to his 23 million followers, contributing to it getting far more attention than Netanyahu’s tweets normally do: 53,000 retweets and more than 100,000 likes.

The ramping-up of Netanyahu’s presence on Twitter and Facebook has largely taken place since he appointed a new English-language spokesman in early 2016 – American-born David Keyes, who has a background in online video campaigns.

“He speaks directly to the people and can bypass the often deeply biased traditional media,” Keyes said last month. “The prime minister’s innovative use of social media is making Israel accessible and understood to countless people around the globe.”

The 67-year-old prime minister also employs a 24-year-old, Topaz Luk, as director of social media strategy.

The right-wing Israeli leader has dreamed of a Republican in the White House throughout his four terms in office, including three awkward years with Bill Clinton and eight years of dust-ups with Barack Obama. Obama’s term ended with Netanyahu using Twitter to accuse the outgoing president of secretly backing an anti-Israel U.N. resolution.

Trump has promised to carry out policies that Netanyahu has long sought, such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, rethinking a nuclear accord with Iran and keeping quiet while Israel builds more settlements. The two men will meet in Washington on Feb. 15.

Trouble

Netanyahu’s critics say social media can cause trouble when posts are misunderstood.

In the case of his tweet about Trump and walls, it prompted a formal protest by the Mexican government, which saw Netanyahu as taking sides on a bilateral issue by supporting Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S. southern border.

Netanyahu said he was not commenting on U.S.-Mexican relations or the wisdom of Trump’s wall, simply responding to comments from Trump that praised Israel’s own wall-building.

Trump may have been referring to the concrete-and-steel barrier Israel has built along and inside the occupied West Bank, which Israel refuses to call a “wall” at all, and which Palestinians regard as an illegal land grab.

The wall Netanyahu boasted about in his reply is a smaller, less controversial steel barrier on the border with Egypt largely designed to stop illegal migrants from Africa.

But whatever the source of the misunderstanding, Netanyahu knew who to blame.

“The left-wing media is engaged in a Bolshevik hunt, brainwashing and character assassination against me and my family,” he said in Hebrew, before going on to invoke one of Trump’s favorite phrases.

“It happens every day and night. They are producing about us a flood, there is no other word for it, a flood of fake news.”

(By Maayan Lubell and Luke Baker. Editing by Peter Graff)

Social – VentureBeat

Google commits up to $4 million to help those impacted by Trump’s immigration order

Google CEO Sundar Pichai


As part of the largest crisis campaign of its company history, Google is expected to raise $ 4 million in support of people affected by President Trump’s immigration order, which was announced Friday.

News of Google’s campaign follows statements against the controversial ban by company CEO Sundar Pichai and the participation of its co-founder Sergey Brin in a protest at San Francisco International Airport, USA Today reports.

The $ 4 million—a composite of a $ 2 million fund put up by Google, and up to $ 2 million more in employee donations—will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the International Rescue Committee and the United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR.)

According to Pichai, Trump’s controversial order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. affects 187 members of Google’s staff alone.

“We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.,” he said in a statement. “We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”

Google is not the only tech company to speak out against Trump’s order.

Facebook, Apple, Lyft, and Uber have voiced varying degrees of alarm, Fortune’s Tory Newmyer reported Sunday.

Executives at Tesla Motors, Netflix and Airbnb (airbnb) have also denounced the policy. The latter announced this weekend it would offer free accommodation for refugees and others affected by the clampdown.

“Barring refugees and people who are not a threat from entering America simply because they are from a certain country is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected. The doors to America shall remain open, and any that are locked will not be for long,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote on a note to employees posted on the company’s website, Sunday.

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com. Copyright 2017

Social – VentureBeat

Twitter shares 2 redacted National Security Letters from the FBI

At the Twitter Flight developer conference in San Francisco on Oct. 21.


Twitter today published redacted versions of two National Security Letters (NSLs) that it received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the past two years.

Typically, these information requests are under gag order, meaning that recipients can’t even disclose their existence to their users or the people who are targeted by the requests. But the FBI “recently informed us that the gag orders have been lifted and that we may notify the account holders,” Elizabeth Banker, associate general counsel for global law enforcement at Twitter, wrote in a blog post.

The move comes a few weeks after Cloudflare published a redacted NSL that it received in 2013, and Google in December posted eight it had received. This is the first time Twitter is indicating that it has been served NSLs.

One NSL, drafted in September 2015 by Michelle Klimt, special agent in charge of FBI’s Jacksonville, Florida division, sought information on a single account from December 1, 2014 up until the present. The other, which is dated June 10, 2016 and came from Michael Anderson, acting special agent in charge at FBI’s Houston division, demanded information for an account “from inception to present.” (The term “present” means the date that the recipient processes the NSL.)

Both were addressed to Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde. And both letters asked for the names, addresses, length of services, and “electronic communications transactional records for all services” for the account holders in question, whose identities are redacted.

“We continue to believe that reporting in government-mandated bands does not provide meaningful transparency to the public or those using our service,” Banker wrote. “However, the government argues that any numerical reporting more detailed than the bands in the USA Freedom Act would be classified and as such not protected by the First Amendment. They further argue that Twitter is not entitled to obtain information from the government about the processes followed in classifying a version [of] Twitter’s 2013 Transparency Report or in classifying/declassifying decisions associated with the allowed bands. We would like a meaningful opportunity to challenge government restrictions when ‘classification’ prevents speech on issues of public importance.”

In October, Twitter said it had 317 million monthly active users.

Social – VentureBeat

Alibaba’s Ant Financial is buying MoneyGram for $880M to expand its global presence

moneygram-2 Alibaba is taking a big step into the U.S. — but it isn’t necessarily what you might think. Its affiliate Ant Financial has revealed it is buying U.S. payments firm MoneyGram for $ 880 million. Ant Financial is paying $ 13.25 per share for NASDAQ-listed MoneyGram, a jump on the $ 11.88 price it held at the beginning of trading on Wednesday. The deal is subject to regulatory… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Jiobit finds $3 million for kid trackers that work indoors, not just at the park

Jiobit's kid trackers work indoors and outside. Chicago startup Jiobit wants to use wireless technology to bring parents peace of mind whenever and wherever their kids may roam. Its flagship product is a location tracker that can stand up to the rough and tumble activities of a toddler or a tween, with a long battery life, and mobile app that sends alerts to parents when a kid has gone outside an expected range. Jiobit CEO and founder… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Is Nintendo Switch going to completely replace the 3DS? GamesBeat Decides

No. That's crazy. They're not going to do that.


The Nintendo Switch is cool, but I think that New Nintendo 3DS XL 2 has a nice ring to it.

Nintendo is insistent that its upcoming Switch system is a home console that you can take with you, and that means that some people still think that the publisher is going to introduce a new, dedicated handheld. Well, the GamesBeat Decides podcast is here to decide if that’s going to happen (it isn’t) or if it’s crazy (it is).

Additionally, host Jeffrey Grubb and cohost Mike Minotti discuss the five best 3DS games.

The topic:

  • What are the 5 best 3DS games?
  • Will there be a 3DS followup alongside the Switch?

Listen by pressing play here or on the video above:

https://cast.rocks/player/6274/GB-Decides.mp3?episodeTitle=17%3A%20Nintendo%20won’t%20make%20another%203DS&podcastTitle=GamesBeat%20Decides&episodeDate=January%2024th%2C%202017&imageURL=https%3A%2F%2Fcast.rocks%2Fhosting%2F6274%2Ffeeds%2F7QE8N.jpg&itunesLink=https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fpodcast%2Fgamesbeat-decides%2Fid1176366805%3Fmt%3D2

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  • Watch the episode live every Monday on our Facebook page, just hit the Like button to get notifications.
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  • Subscribe on iTunes (also please leave us a review to help other people learn about the show!).
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Social – VentureBeat

500px launches photographer directory and unveils Adobe Stock licensing deal

500px launches a directory to make it easier to find the photographer you want.


Photography social network 500px has launched a directory it hopes will increase exposure for photographers looking to get hired. Additionally, it has signed a licensing deal so select photos from its site can be sold through the Adobe Stock Premium Collection.

Unlike more common user-generated content sites, like Flickr and Instagram, 500px is in pursuit of more professionally oriented photographers looking to monetize their work. Over the past few years, the company has released tools aimed at improving the exposure its users receive, such as a smarter search feature that lets you browse photos by color or design. It even debuted a mobile app called RAW, which provides powerful editing tools right on the go.

500px's photographer directory lets you search by location and specialty.

Above: 500px’s photographer directory lets you search by location and specialty.

Image Credit: 500px

But even with all of these tools to empower photographers, there also needs to be a way to find them. This is why 500px has launched its photographer directory that lets you find the right person based on speciality and location. The site lists more than 49,000 photographers from more than 11,000 locations across 191 countries. The directory provides an alternate way of finding the professional with the right eye, whether you’re looking for someone to photograph a wedding, pets, or 360-degree photography.

It’s one thing to look at photos and then select someone, but you’d have to parse through hundreds, if not thousands, of images just to get a good sample. The directory provides a quality group first and then you can weed through them all. The search results will show you the relevant photographers, the number of people following them on 500px, and give you the option of hiring them. You can click on their profile to view more about the photographer, along with their portfolio.

This photograph of surfers on 500px is an example of one selected for licensing through Adobe Stock.

Above: This photograph of surfers on 500px is an example of one selected for licensing through Adobe Stock.

Image Credit: Jan Kasi/500px

Eventually, 500px plans on publicly launching a directory API — it’s currently in private beta. It will allow developers to embed lists of photographers right into their apps or websites, allowing others to cycle through local photographers and their work.

And the latest licensing deal with Adobe is intended to maximize the work featured on 500px. As with EyeEm, a select group of images will be licensed through Adobe Stock to be used in commercial work. 500px has not shared which photos have been chosen or talk about the revenue split, but it did share in vague terms that “each image has been carefully selected by a team of expert curators for its striking visuals, emotional engagement, and impeccable technical quality.”

This is the latest opportunity for photographers to monetize their work. Besides Adobe Stock, photos can be licensed through 500px’s marketplace.

Social – VentureBeat

Why empathy and objectivity are the keys to product success


When BiC designed a ballpoint pen ‘For Her’, the company could hardly have imagined the negative backlash from women insulted by the pink and purple pens, ‘designed to fit comfortably in a woman’s hand’. However good the company’s intentions, the results were embarrassing and patronizing – almost as if women had not been consulted as part of the design process. No matter who you’re designing for, there’s always a chance you can get things wrong if you don’t pay attention to your users. Simply keeping them in mind is not enough – for a product to be a real success,…

This story continues at The Next Web


The Next Web

Fintech firm creates app to monitor Trump’s social media for stock markets

Donald Trump.


Just in time for his inauguration, London-based fintech firm Trading.co.uk is launching an app that will generate trading alerts for shares based on comments made on social media by Donald Trump.

Keeping one eye on the U.S. President-elect’s personal Twitter feed has become a regular pastime for the fund managers and traders who invest billions of dollars daily on world stock, currency and commodity markets.

Trump knocked several billion off the value of pharmaceutical stocks a week ago by saying they were “getting away with murder” with their prices. Comments earlier this week on China moved the dollar and a pair of December tweets sent the share prices of Lockheed Martin and Boeing spiraling lower.

That plays to the growing group of technology startups that use computing power to process millions of messages posted online every day and generate early warnings on when shares are likely to move.

Trading.co.uk chief Gareth Mann said the Trump signal generator used artificial intelligence technology to differentiate between tweets or other messages that, for example, just mention Boeing and those liable to move markets.

“It is impact analysis,” he said. “We can let you know when Trump tweets. We can let you know when he mentions a particular stock, or when he mentions a stock and a country. But if he just says he’s riding on a Boeing 747 the system will do nothing.”

(Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Mark Potter)

Share price performance for companies after Trump tweeted about them.

Above: Share price performance for companies after Trump tweeted about them.

Image Credit: ThomsonReuters

Social – VentureBeat

Lobster nets £1M to scale its user-generated content licensing marketplace

lobster U.K. startup Lobster is gearing up to scale its user-generated content licensing marketplace, as it closes a £1 million Series A. It’s expecting to have closed out the round next week, with 85 per cent of the funding committed at this point and only its decision on the last few investors outstanding. Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch