Update Saturday, Oct. 21 - Oct. 27, 2017
Goodbye: Pioneering AOL Instant Messenger to be discontinued
AOL announced on Oct. 6, 2017, that it will
discontinue its once-popular Instant Messenger platform on Dec. 15. (AP
Photo/Axel Heimken, File)
AOL announced Friday that it is discontinuing its
pioneering Instant Messenger chat platform after 20 years of service.
An article on AOL’s website says AOL Instant
Messenger will be discontinued on Dec. 15. In a blog post, a spokesman
for AOL’s parent company explained the platform’s demise as the casualty
of the evolving way people communicate.
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and
ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each
other has profoundly changed,” wrote Michael Albers, vice president of
communications at Oath.
The program will still function until Dec. 15.
After that date, users won’t be able to sign in and all data will be
deleted. AOL says people with an aim.com email address will still be
able to use it.
Launched in 1997, AOL Instant Messenger was at the
forefront of what was called at the time the biggest trend in online
communication since email.
The platform, which provided instant access to
friends and contacts on a user’s “buddy list,” was wildly popular for
the first few years after its launch. It claimed more than 100 million
registered users in 2001.
AOL was fiercely protective of its dominance in the
instant messaging market. It fended off rivals, including Microsoft, by
blocking their messaging platforms from communicating with AOL users.
Its actions prompted a coalition of rivals to complain to the federal
government ahead of AOL’s ill-fated merger with Time Warner that was
completed in 2001.
Its popularity as a communication tool waned amid
the rise of text messaging, Google Chat and social networking sites.
Despite the decline in usage, the announcement made
the platform a trending topic online and revealed an outpouring of
nostalgia. Some users posted images of the AIM’s famous “running man”
logo outfitted with wings and a halo. Others reminisced.
In his post, Albers noted the strong affinity many
feel for the messaging platform and its place in the evolution of
“In the late 1990s, the world had never seen
anything like it,” he wrote.
‘human review’ of
potentially sensitive ads
Facebook says it will begin manually reviewing
advertisements that target certain groups and address politics,
religion, ethnicity and social issues.
The company has informed some advertisers about the
new “human review” requirement, warning them that it might cause delays
before their ads can appear on the social media platform.
Facebook has had to apologize amid recent
revelations of rampant abuse of its automated advertising process to
broadcast false news or promote divisive and hateful messages, such as
ads aimed at people who’ve expressed anti-Semitic views. The company is
also under increasing congressional scrutiny after revealing that ads
linked to a Russian internet agency were seen by an estimated 10 million
people before and after the 2016 election.
Axios first reported on the written notice to
advertisers. Facebook confirmed it Saturday. (AP)
Update Saturday October 14 - October 20, 2017
Google drops “first click free,” loathed by many publishers
Google said Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, it is
ending its so-called “first click free,” a policy loathed by many
publishers and media because it required a limited amount of free
content from them before readers could be subjected to a paywall. (AP
Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
New York (AP) -
Google is ending “first click free,” a policy loathed by publishers and
media because it required them to provide a limited amount of free
content before users of the world’s biggest search engine could be asked
to pay for it.
Publishers will now
be allowed to decide how many, if any, free articles they want to offer
readers before charging a fee, Richard Gingras, vice president of news
at Google Inc., wrote Monday in a company blog post.
Chrome, Google’s web browser can pick and choose what they are willing
to pay for.
Publishers had been
required to provide at least three free items under the search engine’s
magazines have shut down in droves or shrunk operations drastically
worldwide because of the influx of stories, images and video jettisoned
across the interment, largely at no charge. Technological changes have
fractured the advertising market and constrained revenues for almost all
Much of the
content, created and paid for by media companies, travels through
Google’s Chrome, which captured nearly 60 percent of all searches in
September, according to NetMarketShare.
The decision was
hailed immediately by major media companies.
“If the change is
properly introduced, the impact will be profoundly positive for
journalists everywhere and for the cause of informed societies,” News
Corp. CEO Robert Thomson said in a prepared statement. “Fake news has
prospered on digital platforms which have commodified content and thus
enabled bad actors to game the system for commercial or political gain.”
between Google and publishers is complex. With readers opening tablets
and phones rather than picking up a newspaper from the stoop or lawn,
Google has vexed publishers as it gobbles up advertising dollars for
content produced by those publishers.
But they need
powerful search engines to spread their content and gain readers as they
transition to digital.
A Pew Research
Center analysis of data from AAM shows that total weekday circulation
for U.S. daily newspapers - both print and digital - fell 8 percent in
2016, marking the 28th consecutive year of declines.
subscriptions are rising rapidly for major established newspapers.
In July, news
outlets sought permission from Congress for the right to negotiate
jointly with Google and Facebook, given the duo’s dominance in online
advertising and online news traffic. The News Media Alliance, which
represents, nearly 2,000 news organizations, say that because Google and
Facebook are so dominant, news publishers are forced to “surrender their
content and play by their rules on how news and information is
displayed, prioritized and monetized.”
stronger protections for intellectual property, support for subscription
models and a bigger share of the online advertising market. Google and
Facebook combined will account for 60 percent of the US digital
advertising market this year, according to the research firm eMarketer.
Google decided to
offer more flexibility to publishers based on additional research,
feedback from publishers, and extended experiments with The New York
Times and Financial Times, Gingras said.
Google says it’s
working with publishers to streamline whatever payment form they would
like to pursue so that it’s easier for users to decide what they wish to
pay for. The goal is to help publishers identify possible subscribers
and build a better subscription model, Google said.
Update Saturday October 7 - October 13, 2017
Twitter explains why Trump North Korea tweet wasn’t removed
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
- Twitter cited President Donald Trump’s
“newsworthiness” and the public interest as reasons why it declined to
remove a tweet that added to the fiery rhetoric between the United
States and North Korea.
Saturday: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If
he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much
longer!” On Monday, North Korea’s top diplomat called the tweet a
declaration of war. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
responded by calling the suggestion of such a declaration “absurd.”
Twitter’s rules state
users “may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including
threatening or promoting terrorism.” This includes direct as well as
The company responded
to questions about why Trump’s tweet wasn’t removed Monday by posting in a
series of messages on its public policy account that “newsworthiness” is one
of the factors it considers in determining if a tweet breaks the platform’s
“This has long been
internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect
it,” one message read. “We need to do better on this, and will.”
The company also stated
it is “committed to transparency and keeping people informed about what’s
happening in the world.”
Calls for Twitter to
curtail Trump’s use of the platform are not new. The company has said in the
past that it doesn’t comment on individual accounts, but it has cited the
importance of hearing from leaders in order to hold people accountable.
Trump’s account wasn’t
affected in July, when Twitter announced that it was taking action,
including suspensions, on 10 times the number of abusive accounts than it
did a year before.
Keeping the president
on the service also makes business sense: Trump’s tweets are constantly in
headlines, calling attention to Twitter and, ideally for the company,
getting more users to sign up.
Need more room? Twitter testing 280-character limit
New York (AP) -
Need more room to type those deep thoughts? Twitter is testing a
280-character limit for tweets, doubling the current length restriction
that’s been in place since the company’s founding 11 years ago.
The test is being made
available to a small subset of users and applies to languages other than
Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. That’s because in those languages, Twitter
notes, you can convey about double the amount of information in one
character as you can in others.
140-character limit was created so tweets would fit in a single text message
back when people used Twitter that way. But most people now use Twitter
through its mobile app, where there isn’t the same technical constraint.
Twitter has already
eased the restrictions, and doesn’t count photos, videos, polls and other
things toward the character limit. And users have found creative ways to get
around the restrictions, including taking screenshots of blocks of text and
highlighting relevant phrases.
Twitter said in a blog post Tuesday that 9 percent of all tweets in English
come up against the 140-character limit, compared with just 0.4 percent of
tweets in Japanese.
“Also, in all markets,
when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and
actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting - which is
awesome!” the blog post reads.
the “emotional attachment” some users might have toward the 140 characters.
But it said the new limit, while double the size, is “still brief.”