Opinion

Anthony De Rosa

Most people don’t care about their digital privacy

Anthony De Rosa
Dec 17, 2012 20:28 UTC

Most of us simply don’t care about our digital privacy. Sure, you see people citing their displeasure every time Facebook changes their terms of service, but with more than a billion users, few actually leave. Today, Instagram took a chance on its own privacy policy, betting that people will treat its service the same way. Instagram now will feature advertising on its mobile application that uses your name, likeness and content, tracks your location and shares the data with Facebook.

The geek chorus is again warming up its pipes. However, I doubt that many will bother to stop taking fauxstalgically filtered photos of every waking moment.

Here are the key additions from Instagram:

Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. 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.

You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

Personally, it doesn’t bother me because I know and accept the tradeoff. I understand, begrudgingly, that I have to be vigilant about checking my account settings on Facebook, for example. Every time Facebook makes a change to its terms, I must review them to make sure it hasn’t added some default sharing function that I need to switch off. I accept this in exchange for using the service for free. I realize if I don’t like the rules it has set, I can leave anytime I want to.

Facebook brings new ad opportunities to brands

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 29, 2012 19:36 UTC

Facebook unveiled a number of new opportunities for advertising on their social network today, the biggest being the ability to post ads to mobile devices, which they had not yet been offering.

Facebook calls the new ad opportunities “Premium for Facebook” and it opens up the following placements:

    Larger ads on the side of the Facebook home page that users see when they first log in Ads that run inside the Facebook Newsfeed Ads on mobile devices Ads that appear when a user logs out of Facebook The ability to run video ads on all these placements

Can Pinterest sell your content?

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 29, 2012 15:40 UTC

Excitement around the meteoric rise of Pinterest may come at a cost to those jumping on the social media site. Its terms of service say it can distribute, license and sell any content you put on their site. What?! That’s right. And it is creating an uproar in the online world with many people wondering – can Pinterest really do this? I get to the bottom of this legalese with the help of tech, media and business lawyer and consultant, Ash Kalb.

Three challenges for Facebook’s IPO – Tech Tonic

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 25, 2012 05:38 UTC

Can Facebook live up to the hype? I uncover three problems standing in the way of Facebook’s future growth.

Red flags in the Facebook S-1 filing – Tech Tonic

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 25, 2012 05:29 UTC

Sam Hamadeh of PrivCo talks with me about the potential pitfalls in Facebook’s S-1 filing yesterday and why he’s bearish on Facebook’s IPO. Watch and find out why you might want to hold back some irrational exuberance when FB shares debut.

Pinterest stands apart in a crowded social network world – Tech Tonic

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 25, 2012 05:06 UTC

Watch out Facebook. One of the fastest growing social network’s online right now is newcomer, Pinterest. Pinterest is exploding in popularity. A skeptic at first, I show how Pinterest works, how small businesses can take advantage of it and if its success can be sustained.

Tumblr’s first executive editor Jessica Bennett

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 3, 2012 12:31 UTC

Tumblr, the microblogging platform that has been experiencing explosive growth which I detailed recently, has hired Chris Mohney to become their editor-in-chief, along with Jessica Bennett, who will act as executive editor.

What exactly will they do? I spoke to Jessica to find out.

What do you envision the content you’re going to create to sound like? Will it be entirely on the staff blog or will there be some other platform?

What will the content sound like… I think it’ll sound a lot like the stories I write now. Probably less women’s issues, and certainly no Jerry Sandusky, but it will be real journalism — stories that are both about Tumblr’s users, what those users are creating, the social trends and cultural observations that are growing out of that creation, and the broader ideas and themes that surround it all. So: think trend stories — the democratization of creation. Think on the ground: who are the teen tumblr users in a remote town in Ukraine, and how did they find the platform? Think big picture: how is social media changing the way we interact and engage? Think data: what can Tumblr users tell us about the current presidential race? How do men and women interact differently online? Is it possible to find love on Tumblr? The mandate is broad, and the format will go beyond the written word. It’s really an opportunity to think outside the box, to experiment with what works — and to have some fun while we’re doing it.

The most interesting data points in Facebook’s IPO

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 1, 2012 22:09 UTC

Here are some of the most interesting bits of information in Facebook’s IPO filing:

    Zynga accounted for approximately 12% of Facebook revenue Net income rose 65 percent to $1 billion in 2011, off revenue of $3.71 billion Sheryl Sandberg’s 2011 Facebook compensation: $30.9 million Facebook CFO David Ebersman’s 2011 total compensation was $18.65 million Advertising accounted for 85% of Facebook revenue in 2011 Mark Zuckerberg’s compensation in 2011 was $1.49 million 845 million active users on Facebook Total capitalization as of Dec 31, 2011: $4,899 million Full time employees increased from 2,127 as of December 31, 2010 to 3,200 as of December 31, 2011 Mark Zuckerberg holds stock with total voting power before IPO of 56.9% Facebook major ownership: Mark Zuckerberg : 28%, Accel (invested in 2005) :11.4% Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz 7.6% DST: 5.4% Peter Thiel: 2.5% Mark’s letter in the middle of the IPO filing Mark Zuckerberg’s annual salary will fall to one dollar starting 1/1/2013 Facebook had 483 million daily active users on average in December 2011, an increase of 48% as compared to 327 million in December 2010 425 million monthly active users of Facebook’s mobile products in December 2011 An average of 2.7 billion likes and comments per day were generated by users during the three months ending December 31, 2011 Facebook cites Google+, Cyworld in Korea, Mixi in Japan, Orkut in Brazil and India, vKontakte in Russia as competitors Also cited by Facebook as competitors: Renren, Sina, and Tencent if they “are able to access the market in China in the future”

Peter Lauria points out that 85% of revenue dependent on advertising makes it more reliant than CBS, the most ad-dependent old-media firm.

Another interesting section addresses risks:

Any number of factors could potentially negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if:

Lingering concerns about Twitter’s censorship policy

Anthony De Rosa
Jan 31, 2012 15:03 UTC

There’s a bit of a debate going about whether Twitter’s new censorship policy is reasonable or not. My colleague Paul Smalera wrote one of the better posts leaning toward Twitter’s policy having some merits, in the way it makes it easier for those outside censoring countries to see what’s being censored. But I also see some flaws with this, which Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin helped me realize. She calls it “a polite step down a slippery slope”

First, the very act of tweets being censored in those countries, even if those outside the country can read them, removes an early warning system for the folks in country to know of incoming danger. Let’s say, for example, there is a riot on the march toward the village they live in, or there is police activity by an oppressive regime under which they’re force to live headed their way. Twitter’s supposedly enlightened method of censorship isn’t going to protect them.

You also can’t assume everyone is a geek. Some activists use Twitter simply because it’s a broadcast medium and have no idea how to hack their way around censorship. They may have no knowledge, for example, about Tor, an application that can help sidestep the type of blocks that countries try to use to stop citizens from reaching certain bits of information or, in some cases, the entire Internet.

President Obama hangs out on Google+

Anthony De Rosa
Jan 30, 2012 23:39 UTC


A social media first occurred this evening when President Barack Obama held a Google+ Hangout to take live questions from five Americans and a few people who were taped beforehand, including a homeless veteran and an Occupy protester.

He answered questions about the economy, job creation, small business, and the use of drones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama referenced a New York Times story on the use of drones, which he called “overwritten,” and said that the use of drones had not resulted in an unusual number of civilian casualties. Asked about the anti-piracy legislation that set the Internet on fire, Obama said, ”When SOPA came up on the hill, we expressed some concerns about the way the legislation had been written.”

Almost as fascinating as the Hangout itself was the discussion of the Hangout on Twitter.

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