June 18th, 2013
01:54 AM ET

Dictionary acknowledges humans can tweet, too

The Oxford English Dictionary has finally gotten around to acknowledging that tweeting isn't just for the birds.

In its latest update, the dictionary that describes itself as "the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium" has revamped the entry for "tweet" to include its social networking usage.

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Filed under: Social media • Technology • Twitter • United Kingdom
Pinterest content-sharing site is hacked
Pinterest is a content-sharing site on which users can show whatever they want to share.
February 22nd, 2013
06:52 PM ET

Pinterest content-sharing site is hacked

Pinterest said Friday in an e-mail to its users that the pinboard-style photosharing social network site was breached via its vendor Zendesk.

"We recently learned that the vendor we use to answer support requests and other emails (Zendesk) experienced a security breach," said the content-sharing service. Users "pin" images and videos to their pinboards.

"We're sending you this e-mail because we received or answered a message from you using Zendesk. Unfortunately your name, email address and subject line of your message were improperly accessed during their security breach."

Report: Eastern European gang hacked Apple, Facebook, Twitter

Security experts: Times hacking story a wake-up call

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Filed under: Security breaches • Social media • Technology
German education minister loses Ph.D. over plagiarized thesis
February 6th, 2013
03:23 AM ET

German education minister loses Ph.D. over plagiarized thesis

Her doctoral thesis dealt with how we form our conscience. Turns out she plagiarized chunks of it.

A university stripped Germany's education minister of her Ph.D. on Tuesday, after a blogger caught the plagiarism and spent months vigilantly presenting the evidence to the public.

Annette Schavan is the second minister in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet who has this embarrassing distinction.

Former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg stepped down in May 2011, after large passages of his dissertation were found to have been directly copied from other sources.

At the time, Schavan sharply criticized Guttenberg publicly for his shortcomings, according to German media reports.

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Filed under: Education • Germany • Social media • Technology • World • World Update
The Buzz: Fiasco performance ends in ... fiasco
Lupe Fiasco's performance ended at a Sunday inauguration concert ended early.
January 21st, 2013
12:34 PM ET

The Buzz: Fiasco performance ends in ... fiasco

Twitter is still buzzing about rapper Lupe Fiasco’s removal from the stage during a Sunday inauguration concert in Washington.

Concert promoter @hypervocal released a statement saying Fiasco was asked to move on after a “bizarrely repetitive performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied.”

Fans are saying anti-Obama rhetoric contained in a song he was performing prompted his removal. We may never know for sure why Fiasco got the hook - but the lyrics to his "Words I Never Said," as posted by Reddit, might provide a clue (contains strong language).

Self-described hip-hop historian and journalist @mrdaveyd blogged about the incident, but admits he wasn’t there.


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Filed under: Music • Politics • Showbiz • Social media
The Buzz: When Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o collide
January 17th, 2013
10:03 AM ET

The Buzz: When Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o collide

What will your co-workers be talking about this morning? Here's a roundup of some of this morning's big social conversations.

Just hours before Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah is scheduled to air, the International Olympics Committee has asked Armstrong to return the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympic Games. Lance has not publicly tweeted since January 8 and so far has not issued a response. But that isn't keeping everyone from talking about him.

And speaking of sports stars and possible untruths...

Even if you're not a college football fan, there are many things to consider about the Manti Te'o hoax. In short, the Notre Dame football star claims he was the victim of an elaborate online hoax in which a woman he formed an emotional attachment to turned out not to exist. But there is speculation he was in on it and may have used it to increase his brand value.


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Filed under: Social media
The Buzz: Your morning cup of social
"Unfollow Lance" will allow users to share their frustration with Lance Armstrong by publicly unfollowing him on Twitter.
January 16th, 2013
09:51 AM ET

The Buzz: Your morning cup of social

Each day we're going to try to highlight the conversations bubbling across your social circles. As we find stories that are trending, issues that are being hotly debated, and interesting tidbits that are spreading like wildfires on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or other social media, we want to tell you about them.

So, what will your co-workers be talking about this morning? Here's a roundup of some of this morning's big social conversations.


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Filed under: Social media
Instagram backtracks after user privacy revolt
Language in Instagram's new terms of service raised privacy concerns until the company backtracked Tuesday.
December 18th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Instagram backtracks after user privacy revolt

Faced with a loud and angry backlash from some of its most active users, photo-sharing app Instagram backtracked Tuesday on new language that appeared to give the company ownership of their images.

"The language we proposed ... raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement," Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog post. "We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we're going to remove the language that raised the question."

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Filed under: Social media • Technology
November 29th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

New York cop's act of kindness goes viral

[Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET Friday] Here's how a simple act of kindness can become a worldwide inspiration and a public relations bonanza for the New York Police Department.

In a case of being in the right place at the right time, a tourist from Arizona, who happens to work in law enforcement herself, was visiting New York City earlier this month when she noticed a man without shoes asking for change near Times Square.


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Filed under: Facebook • New York • Social media • Times Square
Instagram down in mass power outage
June 30th, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Instagram down in mass power outage

Breakfasts everywhere went undocumented on social media Saturday morning because photo-sharing site Instagram is still down after a line of powerful storms caused mass power outages across the Midwest  and Atlantic Seaboard on Friday night.

Fierce thunderstorms and high winds, some topping 80 miles per hour, whipped across Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Washington and Virginia, leaving debris, hot temperatures and no power to combat the record-breaking heat.

In addition to Instagram, Mashable and Forbes reported that on Friday night Netflix and Pinterest, powered by Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, also were down because of weather affecting the region. The majority of those accounts, and the sites themselves, appear to be up and running again.

However, on Saturday morning, people were still taking to Twitter and Facebook, complaining or poking fun at the impact of Instagram, based in northern Virginia, going dark.

Some tweets encouraged people to enjoy the blackout by leaving technology behind for the weekend, that it's OK to eat breakfast and drink coffee without sharing a photo of it with the rest of the world via social media. Other tweets joked that many people would go undocumented on Facebook or Twitter as long as Instagram was down because of the site's various photo-enhancing filters.

A similar conversation ensued when Twitter experienced a widespread outage on June 21, its largest since October 2011.

More on social media:

Photos: Our mobile addiction

When losing e-mail is like a snow day

Instagram: My addiction and affliction

Viral vigilantism, Tony Hawk style

Instagram and the rise of photo apps

Instagram wants photos to be seen beyond 10-hour window

How to behave on Instagram

Do you fly into a panic when your favorite social media site goes temporarily dark? Or does it allow you to disconnect? Let us know in the comments below.

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Filed under: Social media • Technology
Texting while walking a dangerous experiment in multitasking
Lucky Larroso didn't think she was in any danger as she crossed West 57th Street in New York while typing a text message.
May 26th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Texting while walking a dangerous experiment in multitasking

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN Radio National Correspondent

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast from Steve Kastenbaum about the dangers of texting while walking.

The old joke about a not-so-bright person goes, “He’s so dumb, he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Very little thought goes into either task. But what happens if you combine walking and texting?

“People aren’t watching where they are walking. They’re texting, they’re on their cell phones, they have their iPods on, and they’re just not aware of their surroundings,” said Thomas Ripoli, the police chief in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum reports on the potential dangers of texting

There has been an increase in the number of pedestrians struck by cars in his town this year. Four such incidents ended in death. So Ripoli went on a mission. He told his cops to look out for people who are not paying attention while crossing the street.

“Our focus is to make people aware of their surroundings and to keep their eyes focused on where they’re going,” Ripoli said.

Is texting while walking really dangerous, though? Most of us think we’re capable of doing more than one thing at once. Professor Earl Miller said that may be an illusion.

“We’re not wired to multitask well,” said Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “So when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”

In the case of texting while walking, Miller says that cost is potentially the loss of life.

“The danger is that you don’t see what’s coming. The same constraints that make it a bad idea to text while you drive make it a bad idea to text while you walk.”

His studies show that the brain has a limited capacity to take in information at any one time.

“It only takes in the world little bits and chunks at a time,” Miller said. You may think that you have a seamless thread of data coming in about the things going on around you, but according to Miller, the reality is your brain “picks and chooses and anticipates what it thinks is going to be important, what you should pay attention to.”

So if you text, or look at an iPad, or even just listen to music in your headphones while walking, your brain does not receive all the information it may need to keep you safe.

Texting while driving laws are becoming commonplace across the country. So far no one has passed a texting while walking law, but that could change. In New York, a state senator wants to ban using cell phones, iPods and other gadgets while crossing the street. A local lawmaker in Arkansas has proposed similar legislation.

Filed under: Social media
Overheard on CNN.com: 'I saw this one coming a mile away,' reader says of Facebook
This thumb points upward at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, but many readers see things differently.
May 23rd, 2012
07:11 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'I saw this one coming a mile away,' reader says of Facebook

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

We've seen a lot of talk about the Facebook IPO's less-than-stellar debut. Some are surprised; some aren't. We decided to look back at the comments from our readers and see how views have changed or indeed whether they have changed. Here's some comments from before and after the IPO; looks like many are saying "I told you so."


Back at the end of January, we were seeing a lot of cynicism about the IPO. Much of it was centered around the idea that going public might affect the course of a business' mission. We also heard from a lot of readers who said they didn't like Facebook in general. To be fair, there were also plenty of folks who said they thought it was a good move for CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Co.

Facebook IPO's meaning: Zuckerberg faces reality

People at that time were talking about increased focus on profit after an IPO.

BossMoney: "Facebook is now 100% profit-driven ... expect it to turn into an advertising billboard and your personal info to be sold to commercialists as shareholders demand mega-profits from this ... Facebook and Zuckerberg are on the way out ..."

zeitsev: "This will be the end of Facebook. Just like all other companies that thought this was a good idea, a business-minded (not consumer-minded) Board of Directors will oust the CEO, and install another businessman who will ruin everything that Zuckerberg built. Like him or not, Zuckerberg has largely been consumer-oriented and won't allow ads to impede usability. That won't be the case when an MBA gets a hold of it."

Fr33Th1nk3r: "I miss the old, non-corporate capitalism. Where small business thrived, and big business didn't sell your privacy to the highest bidder."

Others were feeling cynical about Zuckerberg.

URKiddinMe: "Now he's going to have to answer to shareholders. I hope they beat him down to a pulp. Can't stand the guy or FB."

whatfor2name: "You cannot compare Zuckerberg to Gates and Jobs. The first one is manipulative and sick, the other two are creative and mature."

BanHammer: "Jealous much?"

This reader was more optimistic. FULL POST

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Filed under: Business • Facebook • Finance • Overheard on CNN.com • Social media • Technology
May 22nd, 2012
03:58 PM ET

Girl grew from online punishment, mom says

When ReShonda Tate Billingsley let her daughter open an Instagram account, the Houston novelist made clear to her what would be appropriate to post to the picture-sharing site.

So the mother wasn’t impressed when she saw a couple of weeks ago that the 12-year-old took a picture of herself with unopened alcohol bottle from her father’s bar and posted it with the caption, “Wish I could drink this vodka.”

Billingsley decided the online faux pas should also be punished online.

She not only temporarily banned her daughter from Instagram, the mom took a picture of her daughter holding a sign announcing her punishment (but not showing most of her face). She posted it to her daughter’s Instagram account to chastise her and to the mother’s own public Facebook page, hoping to persuade other parents to monitor their kids’ online activity.

“Since I want to post photos of me holding liquor, I am obviously not ready for social media and will be taking a hiatus until I learn what I should and should not post. Bye-bye,” the sign read.

Within hours, more than 10,000 people shared Billingsley’s Facebook post, and hundreds of others shared it on Twitter. She says she didn’t expect so much attention, but she thinks it’s made the lesson more effective.

“She saw how this picture has gone viral, but … now she sees that if it had been the picture of vodka that went viral, it could have ruined her life,” Billingsley said Tuesday. “It’s vodka today, but it could be underwear five years from now if this isn’t nipped in the bud (and she doesn’t learn) the consequences of posting on social media.”


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Filed under: Social media • Technology • Texas