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Squidoo To Move Content Over To HubPages After Being Acquired by @mattsouthern

Seth Godin, prolific marketer and founder of Squidoo, announced late last week that his content platform is getting acquired by HubPages. Popular content on Squidoo will move over to HubPages following the acquisition. Squidoo and HubPages are both content publishing platforms that have been dubbed “Web 2.0″ sites. As you’re most likely aware, those types of sites are prone to abuse, so both Squidoo and HubPages have had their run ins with Panda in the past. That makes this acquisition and content migration especially intriguing. Godin says combining the platforms will lead to “a stronger, more efficient, more generous way […]

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After Zelda Williams Abuse, Twitter May (Finally) Protect Users

In response to hateful tweets to Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda following her father’s death, Twitter issued a statement claiming that it is “evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one.” 

This is cold comfort for those Twitter users who attempted to bring attention to Twitter’s impotent user protections during CEO Dick Costolo’s CNBC’s #AskCostolo interview. And it’s unclear how “evaluating policies” will aid Twitter users targeted with rape and death threats, and other forms of abuse on the site. 

Harassment is a known problem on Twitter, and the Internet overall, and it’s largely geared towards women. Some women suffer harassment every day, including rape and murder threats.

In Amanda Hess’ article “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet,” she describes a scenario in which an anonymous account was created specifically for sending her rape and death threats, and when she took it to the police, they did nothing.

According to a PewResearch study, 12% of Internet users have been stalked or harassed online, and 4% of have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online. 

But even after years of outcry from users, it took a famous person, and the world paying attention, to make Twitter admit it needs to change its policies.

Harassment Leads To Quitting Twitter

On Tuesday, amid the Internet’s ongoing commemoration of her father’s life, Zelda Williams, 25, announced on her Twitter and Instagram accounts that she was abandoning social media, maybe forever. 

As she posted on Instagram:

I will be leaving this account for a bit while I heal and decide if I’ll be deleting it or not. In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends. Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary.

Since her father’s death announced on Monday, the younger Williams shared her grief on the Internet, along with her father’s fans, posting a poignant farewell to her father on Tumblr. Unfortunately, between the tweets of condolences, Williams received cruel messages that eventually drove her off the social network.

In response to this very bad publicity, Twitter suspended the accounts which harassed her, and Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement that the company is working to improve its policies.

We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter. We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.

The statement is notably vague on how Twitter will enforce any improved policies that might emerges from this evaluation. (Twitter refused to provide information to ReadWrite beyond the statement.) Further, the statement is targeted specifically to Zelda Williams’ situation and experience, so it’s also unclear whether any policy changes will apply to those countless users who receive other forms of harassment such as rape and death threats. 

Twitter’s Silence Equals Consent

Twitter is historically hesitant to address harassment experienced by its users, and current tools are largely ineffectual. 

Twitter’s current system recently came under fire during CNBC’s July 28 Twitter chat #AskCostolo. Over 30 percent of the questions aimed at Twitter’s CEO asked about the company’s faulty safety policies, including criticism of the complicated reporting process, and the length of time it takes for someone to be reported in the first place. Twitter didn’t officially address the criticisms from the #AskCostolo question and answer session, but Costolo himself replied to a handful of inquiries, and said the team was working to address those concerns the very next day. 

For many people, blocking and reporting abuse isn’t enough. Sometimes harassers create multiple accounts when theirs are blocked, and trying to get rid of them all is like playing an impossible game of whack-a-mole. 

In one case, when Feminist Frequency host Anita Sarkeesian reported a rape threat to Twitter, the company responded that the account was not in violation of Twitter’s rules. Our own editor-in-chief Owen Thomas recently ran into problems while trying to report a rape threat against a another person, but was told by the company it would not act because he was not the individual involved, or responsible for her safety.

In December of last year, Twitter riled critics by changing the “block” function to effectively mute someone in an effort to keep trolls from antagonizing blockers once they’ve learned they’ve been blocked. Twitter erupted in outrage, and in response, Twitter quickly backtracked and reinstated the block feature—adding a separate mute function months later to silence annoying tweeters without letting them know. Twitter, for its part, implemented a block function in 2007 when the service was still a year old.

To combat perpetual harassment, users created their own workarounds. 

Former Twitter engineer Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, now a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, recently launched “Block Together,“a tool that allows users to automate block functions, and share their block lists with other people on Twitter to help prevent harassment. Other user-created products like BlockBot and Flamin.ga provide similar services.

See Also: The People Who Make Twitter Don’t Look Like The People Who Use Twitter

Luckily, resources like Block Together provide examples of what the company should be building internally. And while harassment on Twitter won’t magically disappear over night, finally taking it seriously and admitting new policies are needed to better handle Internet bullies, may result in a safer Twitter in the future.

It’s just a shame that it took a tragedy to finally push Twitter to change.

Lead image by xinem.

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Expedia Becomes A New York City Hotel After Google’s Pigeon Local Update

On June 24, 2014, Google released a major local search algorithm update, we named Pigeon. Google told us the new algorithm will lead to a more useful and relevant experience for searchers seeking local results. But like with any new algorithm launch, there are always bugs, unexpected outcomes and…



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The “New” SEO After Google’s Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds – Business 2 Community


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The “New” SEO After Google's Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds
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The “New” SEO After Google's Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds image seo blog 300×291 We are often asked to help companies with SEO. Everyone would like to be on Page 1 of Google's Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). And while the exact …
What is Link Building?Search Engine Watch
4 Steps to Boost Your Online PresenceRealtyBizNews

all 3 news articles »

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Developers Are Starting To Chase After Apple’s Swift

Apple really wants developers to switch to Swift. And it looks like the feeling is mutual.

Six weeks after Apple unveiled Swift, the new programming language for iPhone and Mac applications is attracting a noticeable level of interest from developers. Phil Johnson at IT World crunched the numbers, and at least on GitHub, developers are picking it up.

See also: Apple Wants Devs To Love Swift, Its Shiny New Language—But There’s A Catch

Swift is now the 15th most widely used language on GitHub, with more than 2,600 new Swift repositories created since June, according to Johnson’s study. More significantly, Johnson believes that interest in Swift is directly replacing interest in Objective-C:

“From the beginning of January through the end of May, developers created about 294 new Objective-C repositories per day on GitHub. Since Swift was released in early June, that average has dropped to about 246 repos per day. That drop of 48 repos per day is pretty close to the average number of new Swift repositories created per day since its release and initial spike in interest.”

Apple has shown a marked interested in getting developers to adopt Swift, even going so far as to launch a surprisingly open and friendly development blog.

See also: Why Apple’s Blogging About Swift, Its New Programming Language For iPhones And Macs

From Apple’s perspective, Swift is a simpler, safer, faster-to-run alternative to the somewhat clunky and error prone language Objective-C now used to write apps for iPhones, iPads and Macs. But even if Swift is the magic bullet Apple conveys, it’s still going to have to rally developers to switch from the old way of doing things to an unproven new language.

The GitHub data shows that at least some developers are turning a new leaf.

View full post on ReadWrite

Google+ Drops Controversial Real Name Policy After 3 Years

Google+ has revised its real names policy. According to Google the previous restrictions “helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names”.

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Google Ad CTR Goes Up After Removal Of Authorship Photos by @mattsouthern

Google made the decision late last month to remove authorship photos from search results. This led to speculation that the decision was made as a result of the impact of authorship photos on the CTR of paid search ads. Larry Kim,  CTO at Wordstream, set about looking for evidence to support this theory. Larry recently published his findings in a new report. In the report, Larry examined the CTR of a search ad before and after Google’s announcement. Evidence was found that the CTR of the search ad he examined went up significantly when author photos were no longer displayed […]

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Google To Go After Amazon By Stepping Up E-Commerce Offerings by @mattsouthern

Cnet reports that Google wants to challenge Amazon’s dominance in the e-commerce market by expanding the resources of its Google Shopping Express service. Shopping Express is a service that lets users buy products from local retailers, and delivers them to their doors the same day or next day. It was first announced in March 2013. Recode was first to release a report detailing Google’s plans to beef up the Shopping Express service by investing as much as $500 million into it. However, Cnet says that number is “quite exaggerated”, according to sources close to Google. What is clear though, is that […]

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‘What The Experts Say’: What’s Changed After Panda 4.0? by @wonderwall7

At the end of May, I wrote a round-up post of expert opinions on the latest big Google updates: Panda 4.0 and Payday Loan 2.0. Now that it’s been a month or so, I thought I’d ask another group of experts for their opinion on how the update has continued to be reflected in their clients and their own SEO progress. I asked our experts the following: “Now that Panda 4.0 has been out for about a month, have you seen any long-standing changes to website traffic or SERPs? If so, what is your recommendation for first action steps to make the […]

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EU Commissioner Hints at YouTube Probe After Google Investigation

Europe’s competition commissioner said he could investigate Google’s YouTube if he saw any attempt by the company to abuse its dominant position in online video searching.

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