Your Instagram photo might end up in an ad

Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 12:17 PM
Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 12:17 PM


            Instagram is demonstrated on an iPhone Monday, April 9, 2012, in New York. Facebook is spending $1 billion to buy the photo-sharing company Instagram in the social network's largest acquisition ever. Instagram lets people apply filters to photos they snap with their mobile devices and share them with friends and strangers.
            Karly Domb Sadof

Instagram, whose parent company is Facebook, released an updated version of its privacy policy that's gotten quite a bit of backlash from users. The brouhaha is over how photos will be used.

The New York Times was the first outlet to report on this.

From USA TODAY: "Initially, Instagram's privacy policy update seemed innocent enough: make sharing data with its new owner Facebook easier while fighting spam and other unenjoyable stuff for users.

"But new details on its revised Terms of Use suggest Instagram may start pulling user photos and incorporating them into ads -- without pay."

"To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf. " (Instagram Terms of Use)


Kashmir Hill, over at Forbes.com, raises a good point: Uh, aren't most grams ALREADY ads? "It’s almost flattering: your grams are worth paying for. You are as good a photographer as you imagine yourself to be as you take that smartphone snap and choose the perfect filter to highlight the exquisite texture of the home-whipped cream you just applied to your bounty of winter fruits. It’s just that you’re not the one who gets paid for the right to use the photo.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a page from the Facebook book. It sounds like Instagram is planning something along the lines of “Sponsored Stories.” So if you go into a business and gram your experience, the business can use the gram in ads, probably targeted at your friends to encourage them to do the same."

If you're not a fan of the new policy and want to delete your Instagram account, here's the official help page with instructions. Basically, it will direct you to "request removal" and prompt you to log in to the site. If you want to back up your photos before deleting your account, here's a how-to from the media news site CNET.

What do you think about this?

Snapchat introduces location-sharing with Snap Map

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 5:21 PM

Snapchat is introducing a new way to locate your friends with the Snap Map. 

The social media platform announced the news this week, revealing that the location-sharing feature will allow friends to find each other or anyone in the world using its map. 

>> Read more trending news

“We've built a whole new way to explore the world! See what's happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure,” the company said in a statement

So how does it work?

Pinch your Snapchat camera home screen to access it. The feature, which only updates when you open the app, allows users to scan the page, spotting friends no matter where they are on the globe. 

RELATED: Snapchat update allows you to create stories for groups of friends

Your friends will pop up as ActionMojis, users as cartoons, and you can tap on one to watch their story or send them a direct message. 

There are also snaps that don’t show up as ActionMojis. Instead, they appear as circular thumbnails. These posts are from other Snapchat users, and areas that are red indicate a lot of people are snapping from one place.

Related: Snapchat’s latest update includes limitless snaps and more

The update comes in addition to the app’s existing location geofilters. If you are not interested in making your location known, use the “Ghost Mode” button. With this function, you can still access the map, but others won’t be able to find you on it. 

Or you can select “My Friends” or “Select Friends” to choose exactly who can view where you are. 

The feature may raise concerns for parents, but USA Today reported that Snapchat addressed those concerns in a statement:

“The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works. With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time. It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat.”

Take a look at the video below to learn more. 

Can one man survive for a day with only Apple Pay?

Published: Monday, January 23, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

When there's no Apple Pay option or a wallet, coins scrounged from the inside of a car are one way to pay for gas.
Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In the large list of calamities that could happen to you on a given day (let’s not dwell on the possibilities), forgetting your wallet at home is a pretty minor one.

It happened to me recently and would have been absolutely no big deal, except…

1. I live about 45 minutes outside of Austin and didn’t realize the wallet was missing until I was long gone. I couldn’t just run home on a break and retrieve it.

2. I didn’t have any cash of any kind around. There was no $20 bill hiding in my car’s glove compartment or an envelope of petty cash in my desk. I was without dollars, completely.

3. I didn’t bring a lunch to work with me.

4. My car was already running very low on gas.

But I am resourceful and I am a technologically capable man about town in the year 2017. So this should be no problem, right? I have an iPhone and I have Apple Pay, with one of my credit cards housed in the digital guts of my device, like a tiny and very accommodating financier. I imagine him a little guy who wears a monocole and says things like, “Care for a spot of Starbuck’s, sir? I think the Flat White sounds agreeable, don’t you?”

I decided to see how long I could last for the day using only Apple Pay and not asking co-workers for a loan or, say, selling my blood. (Do people really buy blood? Is that a thing?)

My first stop was Company Kitchen, the semi-automated snack area at my workplace where you grab stuff and pay for these items at an ATM-like kiosk. Company Kitchen has a thumbprint reader and it knows my thumb well from dozens of purchases of Topo Chico drinks and maybe lots of bags of chips. Don’t judge.

I rolled up to Company Kitchen to see if lunch might be in order. My Company Kitchen balance was 52 cents, not enough to buy anything, really. I was getting hungry and my thumb would not save me. I considered ordering food from a delivery service such as Favor or UberEATS, which I have installed in my phone with a credit card enabled. But I wasn’t going to be in one place long enough to wait 30 minutes to an hour; I had an appointment to keep.

The next stop, hunger growing, was a local mall for an Apple Store Genius Bar visit. My computer mouse got mangled in an unfortunate drop and my iPhone battery has been inconsistent lately. I asked the Apple employee who was helping me where someone could use Apple Pay at the mall since Apple doesn’t sell anything edible in its store. “Well, you’ve got Starbucks and Chick-fil-A and…” He took a thoughtful pause, “…that’s about it.”

looked on Apple’s website to make sure I might not be missing another nearby Apple Pay-friendly eating option. Nope. He was right.

Armed with an excuse to eat fast food without my kids around, I ordered a chicken salad sandwich, a light lemonade and some waffle fries. I paid with my phone by tapping it on the pay terminal and mashing my thumb on the home button. Easy. Fast. But, unfortunately, not a widely available option given all the food choices around the mall and in the food court.

I had an event in the evening and wasn’t able to start commuting home until close to 10 p.m. that night. I was starting to get hungry again, but made myself wait to eat until I got home. All I had to do was get there. Which was a problem as my car, a Prius, was already edging toward empty.

Let me tell you something about owning a Prius; it makes you feel like you have conquered energy. Even when the tank is on empty, the gas gauge blinking and beeping at you in a miniature panic, you know you’ve got at least 20 or 30 miles before the situation gets dire. You can go quite a ways on no gas.

My empty indicator went off before I’d even left Austin. Could I really make it 50 miles on fumes? I wasn’t sure I was willing to find out.

About 20 miles into my trip, I began to get panicky, my devil-may-care Prius attitude replaced by sweaty fear. I pulled over to see what my gas station options might be with Apple Pay. Exxon and Chevron accept Apple Pay, but it seemed like every station I passed was Valero or Shell. I finally pulled over at a Shell station, hoping against hope that some agreement had been brokered with Apple and new pay terminals installed since the last time I checked. Nope. The cashier was more than adamant: no Apple Pay. No gas.

I wondered if pulling over, shutting down my engine, and starting it back up was going to waste more gas than if I had just kept going. I had visions of tow trucks and embarassing calls to my wife and needing to be bailed out. It didn’t feel great.

I ransacked my car, looking for any loose change under the floor mats, in the plastic storage compartment between the seats, in the glove compartment. A collection of pennies, a few quarters and some grimy nickels and dimes began to add up. I found a token from Pizza Piper Pizza and stared at it in my hand in disgust. In all, I collected $1.50 in usable coinage. I took it to the cashier. I got enough gas to maybe get home and the cashier got to grudgingly count out a handful of coins.

The next 30 minutes were filled with anxiety. But I thought I could make it.

I finally got off on my exit, where there’s an Exxon station. I decided to give it a try, filling up my tank so I wouldn’t be in such a panic taking my kids to school the next morning. A sign placed on all the pumps read, “CREDIT/DEBIT DOWN. PLEASE PREPAY CASH INSIDE.”

I went home, empty tank, with plans to never forget my wallet again.

Here’s the thing about mobile payments: they are clearly the future. They’re easy, convenient, and more intuitive to use than carrying around pieces of plastic and paper. 

But mobile payments are far from ubiquitous. After I mentioned my predicament online, friends suggested great local coffee shops, restaurants and delivery services that accept Apple Pay. But even though it’s getting more common, Apple Pay never seems to be at the right pay terminal. It’s never a problem you don’t have to think about, or the purely in-the-moment experience Apple probably hopes its users are having.

Apple Pay, and alternatives such as Android Pay and Samsung Pay, aren’t always where you want them when you need them. It only takes a day of scrambling for a meal and a tank of gas to show that we’ve got a long way to go.

Facebook adds fundraising option to Safety Check, among other updates

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 11:12 AM



Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Facebook’s Safety Check feature will soon allow users to start fundraisers to directly help victims of a particular crisis.

» RELATED: Facebook introduces rainbow reaction to celebrate LGBT Pride Month 

The upgrade is one of four new updates coming to the tool, Facebook announced last week.

According to TechCrunch, fundraising could potentially mean big business for the social media conglomerate.

>> Read more trending news

Facebook’s personal fundraisers have a 6.9 percent plus 30 cent fee that flows into payment processing, vetting and security, TechCrunch reported.

Facebook nonprofit fundraisers have fees of 5 to 5.75 percent. With the new fundraising update, Facebook fundraisers could get even more attention.

» RELATED: Facebook accused of helping advertisers target ‘insecure’ teens 

In addition to the fundraising tool, Safety Check will include the Community Help feature on desktop, which launched on mobile earlier this year, for users to find and give help in terms of food donation, shelter and transportation.

The third update includes a feature for people to add a personal note when marking themselves as safe during a crisis to “reassure friends” and “provide more context.”

» RELATED: Facebook users can now use GIFs in the comment box

And lastly, Facebook will be integrating informational crisis descriptions into the feature for more context about the disaster. Information will feed from NC4, a third party global crisis reporting agency.

The Safety Check feature, first introduced in 2014, has been activated more than 600 times and has notified people that their loved ones are safe more than one billion times, according to Naomi Gleit, vice president of Social Good at Facebook.

Gleit said she and her team hope the latest Safety Check updates continue to help keep the community safe.

» RELATED: Facebook to hire 3,000 to review videos of crime and suicide 

The new improvements will be rolling out in the “coming weeks” for U.S. users.

Click here to read the full news release.

‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature coming to iPhone iOS 11

Published: Monday, June 05, 2017 @ 6:14 PM

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Apple made a number of announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, but one feature may be a true life-saver.

>> Read more trending news

USA Today reported that Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi announced at the San Jose, California, conference that a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode will be available on iPhone and iPads this fall.

The feature is part of the new iOS 11.

“It's all about keeping your eyes on the road,” Federighi said. “When you are driving, you don’t need to be responding to these kind of messages.”

The Verge reported that iMessage, the native text message app on iPhones, will send an automatic message to any texts that come in to say that the user is driving.

The screen will remain dark with muted notifications.

Those not driving can exit from this mode. Users can also mark certain contacts so that any messages they send show up on the phone even if the user is driving, so that “you have the peace of mind that you can get contacted … and that message will go through,” according to Federighi.

A specific release date for iOS 11 has not yet been announced. CNET reported that iOS beta is available for developers Monday.