EU Begins Regulating Social Media Firms

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and numerous other social media platforms that dominated consumer control are being regulated in the European Union. Announcements were issued that after 2020, largescale corporations operating in the technology marketplace will receive yearly reviews. The European Parliament has begun tackling harmful & illegal content that’s listed on platforms like Facebook.

Implemented restrictions eliminate these social media services from governing over consumer data, which prevents largescale corporations from promoting their services over competing firms. Evidence indicates that Apple & Google have purposely eliminated applications from the App Store, then months later release an application with evident similarities.

The European Parliament won’t tolerate Non-Compliance. Social media platforms have received warnings that refusing to co-operate will prompt millions in fines. EUROPA threatened to terminate those platforms all together if compliance isn’t achieved. The harsh stance seen by EUROPA initiated after evidence indicated all largescale corporations operating social media channels being guilty. Proposals by EUROPA Politicians wanted 10% of these companies European Turnover awarded to government agencies. That proposal was accepted & marked the moment where companies like Google began taking EUROPA seriously.

EUROPA named this legislation the “Digital Services & Digital Markets Act”, which comes into effect on January 1st. Agents from the European Parliament sent this legislation to the United Kingdom & requested its consideration. Brexit transitioning guaranteed this legislation wouldn’t be approved. However, announcements were issued from the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) in Great Britain. Details noted that legislation is being written now, with hopes to have ministers review governance measures for these companies by December 31st. It means that EUROPAs legislation is denied.

Before the European Parliament made their formal announcement regarding the “Digital Services & Digital Markets Act”, largescale corporations were informed of the press conference date and time. Multiple leaders in America like Tim Cook & Mark Zuckerberg didn’t react positively to learning they’ll be governed to extremes. Members in Europe’s Parliament were considerably happier, as sentiments mentioning how the golden age of digital growth is about to begin. It’ll be interesting to see how these largescale firms respond to EUROPA.

Facial Recognition

There are two very opposing views regarding facial recognition software. The one side sees it as a brilliant way of technological advancement that enables authorities to protect the nation, to locate missing people, to aid the visually impaired and to be used to combat terrorism. The other side is concerned about the immense invasion of privacy, the results if this kind of technology falls in the criminal hands and the absolute control that can be accomplished over a nation. Hence here we discuss many ways to minimize the impact of FR software if you feel that it scars your privacy as well as what the accepted protocols are for recording this kind of data.

Minimize Data Sharing

Often the concern is rooted in the fear that data collection was done for a particular purpose, but is then applied for a completely different meaning. This is the result when you have entered your data in one place and not being aware that this will now be sold to a third party for another purpose. This data often include images as well. To be able to obtain a certain degree of control over what happens to your information, it is best to share as little as possible.

It is often the case that we store images and videos of friends and family for lengthy times on digital devices. These can be accessed in many ways. The advised length of the period, which is accepted for data storage depends on the application of the data and the reason for storing it. For many users, this is the only way that they ever store their visual data, but if you do want to minimize the risk of having your images exposed to FR software, it is advised to shorten the time during which it can be accessed.

Whenever any company or government agency is either filming of photographing the people in public places where they go to for other purposes than that of FR, there needs to be explicit notification of the fact that they are doing it. Companies should allow the public to take the necessary precautions or avoid it entirely if they don’t want to be captured on FR software.

Reducing the Collateral Information Collected

This is mostly applicable to the body cameras worn by a policeman. Often at a crime scene, much more data is captured than that what is relevant to the crime committed. Whenever footage is not appropriate to a particular stage, it should be deleted to minimize the collateral information collected to protect the privacy of the bystanders.

When companies require the completion of forms to obtain necessary data of individuals, they need to give these individuals a choice to either opt-in or out of their data being shared. The decision that was made then should be adhered to and respected at all times.

Best Apple Watch Apps

Ever since the launch of the Apple Watch, we’ve seen the little device on our wrists deliver some fantastic features. This doesn’t only relate to fitness tracking, but daily things such as reminders and tasks as well.
Now, with the latest iOS 5 for Apple Watch, third-party app developers manage to take things even further. Now, we have games for Apple Watch, individual password keepers and various other apps that allow these smartwatches to shine with brilliant benefits. Below, we have a look at the latest Apple Watch apps and what they have to offer.

1Password

1Password is an excellent addition for anyone who uses the 1Password app on their iPhones. The watch variation is a lighter version, which doesn’t include all the same features as that would be too much on the smaller display. Instead, it gives you a quick view of your saved passwords and even uses the watch for two-factor authentication.

It’s certainly a low easier to quickly tap on the watch to find your credit card pin or the code for a security door than having to rely on your phone the whole time, especially when your hands are full! The app is free for the watch, and the iPhone version includes both free and paid versions.

Calcbot

It’s quite strange that Apple didn’t include a calculator with their Apple Watch as it would be an excellent feature for those quick sums. However, you can always rely on third-party app developers to create what they forget. Calcbot is the perfect answer for anyone who wants a calculator on their Apple Watch. It works on all the series and even the those with the 38mm screens.

Of course, it’s even better on the bigger screens but works well enough. It offers all the features you need, including add/minus, multiplies/divide and the standard features. Thus, don’t expect to find a full scientific calculator, but rather one that does the job. The app is 100% free and available from the Apple store.

Camera Plus

Here we have one of the most potent Apple Watch apps and by far the most popular camera app for your watch. Sure, the Apple Watch comes with a camera app that gives you some control such as snapping a picture or start recording, but it’s somewhat limited when it comes to settings and previews.

Well, with Camera Plus, you get to take full control over your phone’s camera. Not only can you snap pics and start videos, but the app also gives you an instant preview after taking the picture. Even with videos, it keeps you in control with a live feed directly to your wrist. Need to switch between selfie and back cameras? No need to pick up the phone as the camera Plus app has it all and does it within seconds. The app comes with a price of 99c, which is a small price to pay for those who want more control over their camera functionality directly from their wrist.

Facebook to Utilize A.I. To Detect Profiles of Users That Died

Facebook has recently announced that artificial intelligence will be used to detect the profiles of users that have passed away. The use of AI is to prevent painful reminders to family and friends when it is the deceased birthday. The major social network added that it would be adding a section of tributes to the account that is memorialised, designated as to belong to a person that has passed away. Friend and family will still be able to add posts or even share photos in the designated area to remember these loved ones.

Facebook is Tightening the Rules

The rules are tightening on Facebook around who exactly could memorialise the account of a deceased person. Until recently, anyone was allowed to memorialise an account by directly sending the social media network proof of that the account holder had died, which would require an obituary. Due to the new rules, it has to be done by a family member or a friend. These changes followed the response of users that experienced the profiles of their loved ones pop up on Facebook after they passed away. The company explained that sometimes, people are not ready to memorialise the profile of a person who has passed away immediately one they die. For many, it is a huge step, and they need to have the time to get ready for it. Facebook, on the other hand, will utilise AI intelligence to prevent these profiles from showing up in any place where it could cause distress; this includes reminders about upcoming birthdays.

Facebook Tributes Help Grievers Cope

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, lost her husband in 2015 and the tributes on Facebook to her late husband, helped her cope with the grief. The Facebook profile help many deal with their pain and is seen as a way to keep their memories alive.

The CEO of Facebook has also recently spoken out in New York regarding stricter regulations regarding harmful content, data and privacy portability. Mark Zuckerberg also told the Washington Post that regulators and governments should be more active in internet policing. More regulation is needed to prevent harmful content and baselines are required that prohibits specific content.

He feels that the privacy rules such as that of the General Data Protection Regulation taking effect last year in Europe should be adopted worldwide. These statements follow only days after Facebook was slated for the New Zealand killings that were broadcasted live on the site. Zuckerberg and others realise that it’s the wild west of the internet where social media sites are used for hate speech. For this reason, stricter rules and regulations are needed from government entities.

For more than two years, Facebook was criticised for privacy lapses as well as the spreading of disinformation. The site was also guilty of allowing Russian agents to use it for hate speech and abuse. The Facebook CEO shared that he is shifting the focus of the media site to messaging services designed to ensure privacy.

New BIC Pen ‘For Her’ Gets Scathing Reviews

Pen manufacturer Bic has recently introduced a new range of pens especially for women. The ‘Bic Cristal for Her’ is a ball point pen available in pastel colours, and is slimmer than usual in order to fit a woman’s hand.

One retailer describes the pens as follows:

Cristal For Her ballpoint pens are reserved for women and feature a diamond-engraved barrel for an elegant, unique feminine style. The tinted, hexagonal barrel is thinner for better handling for women and still keeps the ink supply visible.

The Bic website notes that the pens are available in Europe, but Amazon makes the pens available in the United States.

CONSUMER RESPONSE
Far from appealing to the women they were targetting, the company has received scathing product reviews and sarcastic comments onAmazon.

E. Bradley “LuckyLady1978″ from New York wrote: “The delicate shape and pretty pastel colours make it perfect for writing recipe cards and checks to my psychologist (I’m seeing him for a case of the hysterics), and tracking my monthly cycle. Obviously, I don’t use it for vulgar endeavors like math or filling out a voter application, but BIC Cristal for Her is a lovely little writing utensil all the same. Ask your husband for some extra pocket money so you can buy one today!”

Another reviewer by name name of bicGirl states: “I don’t understand all the 5 star reviews- this is the WORST eyeliner I have ever used! I can’t get it off for the life of me.”

Men have also been commenting on the pastel-hued pens.

Reviewer Dan Kaufman wrote, “Men, don’t stand for this. Aren’t there enough products specific to women already? First it was tampons, now these pens? What other products will I have to suffer the indignity of being unable to purchase just because I’m a male person?”

The internet is abuzz with snarky blog posts, views and criticism for the product. Feminist website Jezebel has also featured this topic.

BIC’S DEFENSE
Bic hasn’t apologized for the pens and the company has no intention of pulling them from the market or changing their branding.

Bic’s spokeswoman Linda Kwong said that the company always appreciates to hear customer feed back.

Kwong responded to a request for comment with the following statement: “We appreciate hearing honest feedback from all of our consumers, whether it is regarding a promotion, advertising campaign, or product. As a global consumer products company, BIC wants to hear these important comments.”

OUR OPINION
Pens are pretty gender nuetral, so it doesn’t make much sense to market them to women only. The ‘ladies only’ distinction ensures that for every woman drawn to the product, there’ll be a man who is driven away by the ‘for her’ label. Business-wise, it’s a silly move.

Yes, of course Bic’s branding is unneccessarily sexist and plays heavily into gender biased stereotypes, but wait… why is this any cause for surprise? From food to toiletries to razors to cleaning supplies, certain product lines have always been targetted to women. You can see it in packaging, marketing and advertising and this goes well beyond the ‘make it pink’ phenomenon. I don’t ever remember seeing a washing detergent or cooking oil ‘for him’.

That doesn’t make it okay, but I just don’t understand the shock and rage at these pens specifically. Gender stereotyping is a larger issue that needs to be addressed but attacking one product isn’t going to do it. On the other hand, the Amazon reviews section makes from some fantastic crowdsourced comic relief from the seriousness of the issue at hand.

Coffee Planet Hosts Coffee Mob For Facebook Foodies In Lahore

Pakistan’s first ever ‘coffee mob’ took place at local cafe Coffee Planet in Lahore earlier this month. The event was hosted specifically for the Facebook group ‘Foodies R Us’.

The Coffee Planet staff welcomed the guests into the three storied café where on the left one could browse through the Coffee Planet merchandise shelved neatly, and on the right a coffee bar offered filtered and brewed coffees for coffee lovers.

Food enthusiast Asad Sheikh talked about the ‘Foodies R Us’ group and the coffee mob being held, saying: “Foodies R Us has a membership of more than 1,100. We are foodies from all around Pakistan and in the group we simply celebrate our passion – that is food. As for the coffee mob at Coffee Planet, it’s all about the café proving its mettle to us food enthusiasts. We have gathered here for the tasting of the Coffee Planet products that it’s offering to us at discounted rates for today.”

“We will be arranging coffee mobs in other cafés around Lahore in coming weeks as we seek to comparatively rate the coffee places around us, giving others our valued advice” he added.

The coffees offered for tasting included Syphron, B 360, Mocha Master and Aero press, Espresso, Latte, Cappuccino as well as flavored coffees including English Toffee, French Vanilla and Nutty Coffee flavors. Snacks offered for the coffee mob included Cadbury cupcakes, Butterscotch cupcakes, Walnut Brownies and Fudgy Brownies.

Members of a biker group of Lahore also showed up at the mob to enjoy the discounted deals being offered.

Enjoying the jovial ambiance, CEO Coffee Planet Kashif Anwar talked about the coffee mob as he greeted guests. “The outcome of the coffee mob is really good. Guests keep on coming in and with minutes still left on the clock, I assume the visits will be going over 200. We are receiving great reviews by the foodies of the invited group, and we look forward to other such food enthusiasts approaching Coffee Planet to taste our line of coffees and snacks”.

Oreo Pakistan Appoints Digitz As Digital Media Agency

New entrant to the local market Oreo Pakistan has appointed Digitz as its digital media agency.

Digitz aims to promote the biscuit on Pakistan’s digital media landscape. The brand is currently present on Facebook, Instagram as well as Twitter.

The iconic Oreo brand has was recently launched in Pakistan by Continental Biscuits Ltd. (CBL), the makers in Pakistan of the LU brand of biscuits and an exclusive affiliate of global snacks group Mondelēz International (previously known as Kraft Foods).

Diane Von Furstenberg’s ‘Shoppable’ Google Hangout: First Of Its Kind

High-end designer Diane von Furstenberg’s collaborated with Google last week to create a ‘shoppable’ Google hangout where participants had the ability to DVF products while communicating with the designer herself.

The unique event was a first for Google’s social network, which, according to brandchannel, is still struggling to make a play for mainstream social users.

The event showed off the site’s features as it displayed a window of DVF products for sale to the right of the video window on users’ screens.

The shoppable hangout is the first of its kind in a string of planned partnerships with other CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) designers, Von Furstenberg being the first as president of the organization.

Google’s next partnership will be with designer Rebecca Minkoff, as per brandchannel. Minkoff has previously partnered with Tumblr and Instagram to debut new looks ahead of runway launches.

Kenneth Cole Tweets About Syria, Faces Backlash For Being ‘Insensitive’

US fashion designer Kenneth Cole has posted a controversial tweet referencing Syria on his personal Twitter account, drawing in widespread criticism for being insensitive.

The tweet, posted Thursday afternoon, makes light of the Syrian conflict in order to promote his line of footwear:

Cole is no stranger to corporate tweeting faux pas. In February 2011, he tweeted about Egypt, using the Cairo protests to promote his website: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC.”

Then in April this year, after the Senate failed to pass legislation to expand background checks on gun buyers, Cole tweeted a link to an ad stating “Regardless of the right to bear arms, we in no way condone the right to bare feet.”

Though the Cairo tweet was later deleted after Cole issued an apology, the tweet referencing Syria is still online.

In a statement issued through a spokesperson, Cole responded to the criticism of his tweet as follows:

“For 30 years I have used my platform in provocative ways to encourage a healthy dialogue about important issues, including HIV/AIDS, war, and homelessness. I’m well aware of the risks that come with this approach, and if this encourages further awareness and discussion about critical issues then all the better.”

Kellogg’s Tweet Shop: Tweets Are Currency

Last week, Kellogg’s opened a pop up ‘Tweet Shop’ in London to promote the launch of its new Special K Cracker Crisps.

The promotion lasted for a week and created waves in the world of marketing and social media.

Venturing into savoury snacks is a first for the brand, but that’s not all. What set this shop apart was that it didn’t actually sell the cracker crisps for money; it offered ‘free’ samples in exchange for tweets about the product.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
So all you have to do is walk into the shop, choose from three sample tweets from the menu on the wall or create your own adding the hashtag #tweetshop, and post it online to all your followers. In exchange, you get a box of Special K Cracker Crisps.

One of the sample tweets reads: “Special K has gone savoury. 3 flavors to try–salt and balsamic vinegar, sweet chili, sour cream and chives #tweetshop #spons”

Photo credit: Coraline Despeyroux/beingcoraline.com/@corakorka

In the words of Kellogg’s Sarah Case, “The value of positive endorsements on social media sites is beyond compare so we’re excited to be the first company to literally use social currency instead of financial currency to launch this new product in our bespoke Special K shop… This is big news for Special K and we are hoping the brand’s move into crisps and the high street will create a major buzz on and offline.”

OUR OPINION
In a world where Kim Kardashian can make $10,000 for one tweet, this kind of marketing move seems like the next logical step.

It’s a solid idea and I can see the concept being used by hundreds of brands. In fact, even if tweeting wasn’t required for ‘purchasing’ products, I’m certain this kind of a pop up store would generate a lot of social media buzz regardless.

Kudos to UK events agency Slice for coming up with the idea for the shop and carrying it out effectively.

In other news, seeing as how I couldn’t make it all the way to London I did actually get in touch with Kellogg’s with my irresistible offer of tweets in exchange for free stuff. Still waiting for a response…