Twitter Revises Terms of Service, Privacy Policy

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Twitter Friday announced revisions to its terms of service and privacy policy.

The social network announced the changes via tweet (embedded below), and it offered more details in a support post:

In our terms of service, we’ve reorganized and simplified the structure, removing sections that are duplicative of the Twitter rules and the privacy policy. We have also made some updates to reflect the international aspects of the service. Some of these changes are only relevant in certain jurisdictions.

In our privacy policy, we’ve added a section with information about our participation in the European Union-U.S. Privacy Shield program. In addition, we’ve made a series of updates to clarify how our various services have evolved over time. In particular, we have clarified what information you provide is public, what information is private and how you can control your information. To that end, we’ve added a new section to provide more detail about your non-public communications, like direct messages. We have also explained that you can have multiple accounts on Twitter, and that we receive information when you use our services even if you are logged out or have not created an account. We have created a new section to consolidate information about how our advertising services work and what information we use for them.

Readers: Thoughts?

Facebook tests ‘Messenger Day’ in another swipe at Snapchat Stories

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook’s quest to be more Snapchat-like is far from over. ;

Nearly two months after the release of Instagram Stories, Facebook is testing another similar mobile storytelling format inside Messenger. The feature, called Messenger Day, launched Friday and is apparently only available to Messengers users in Poland.

Not unlike in (read: nearly identically to) Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, Messenger users can stitch together photos and videos and layer on text, stickers and doodles. Each image can be displayed for up to 10 seconds. The feeds disappear in 24 hours, just like Snapchat pioneered with “My Stories” back in 2014. ; Read more…

More about Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, Apps And Software, Snapchat, and Messenger

Mobile Game Roundup: Infinite Tanks, Tiny Miners and More

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

If you’re looking for a new mobile game to play this weekend, there are lots of new options for you to try, including Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders from Microïds and Artefacts Studio. The adventure game is based on the novel by Agatha Christie, and it allows users to become detective Hercule Poirot, on a quest to solve the case of the A.B.C. serial killer.

Next, Disney released Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot. The level-based puzzle game is similar to Peggle, and it asks users to shoot snowballs at ice formations in the center of the screen.

In addition, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Open Wager Studios released EXTRA Slot Stars this week. The slot machine game allows users to play on slot machines inspired by television show Extra.

Finally, Ubisoft released Face Up: The Selfie Game. The multiplayer quiz game allows users to take selfies as they act out expressions for other players to guess.

If you’re looking for a different game to play, here’s a look at some of the additional mobile games that were released this week.

Infinite Tanks ($4.99 on iOS) – This tank battle game from Atypical Games allows players to customize their tanks in terms of their engines, bodies, tracks, turrets, guns and more. Users can also change each tank’s paint color. As a player changes a tank’s parts, they may also change the tank’s stats. Users begin with a few tank parts, which are represented by collectible cards, and they can collect additional parts as they play. Infinite Tanks includes a single-player mode as well as multiplayer gameplay. The game features six different gameplay maps.

Age of Heroes: Conquest (Free on iOS, Android) – This turn-based role-playing game from 5th Planet Games allows each player to create a team of heroes and defend a kingdom from enemies. Users can recruit more than 45 different heroes for their teams, each with different skills. Users can upgrade their heroes over time, and they can also give them new equipment. In addition to single-player gameplay, Age of Heroes: Conquest includes guilds and player-vs-player events.

Two or More (Free on iOS) – This puzzle game from Idea Creator Games challenges players to clear colorful blocks from the board by drawing lines through two or more touching blocks of the same color. While lines can contain 90 degree turns, they can’t be drawn diagonally. In the game’s classic mode, users are challenged to earn the required number of points in each stage to move on. Elsewhere, the game’s Five Steps mode also challenges players to earn the required number of points in each stage, but users can only draw five lines per stage. Finally, the game’s Flash 60 mode challenges players to earn as many points as possible in 60 seconds.

Banner Saga 2 ($4.99 on iOS, Android) – This strategy role-playing game from Stoic and Versus Evil is the sequel to The Banner Saga. In the game, players will lead their viking clans on a journey, and they must make “leadership decisions” to help their characters survive. The game allows users to compete in turn-based battles, and users can level up their characters’ stats over time. If a user has played The Banner Saga, they can bring their story and choices from the first game into Banner Saga 2. Players also have the option to start from scratch with “pre-set character options.”

numDance (Free on iOS) – This number puzzle game from Pine Entertainment asks users to earn as many points as possible in each game by tapping on number tiles to cause adjacent matching number tiles to merge and form larger numbers. Specifically, on each turn, the player can tap on a tile containing the number one or the number two. When a user taps on a number, the number is cleared from the board, and any adjacent matching number tiles will merge and become the next number. Users have the ability to create chain reactions and clear large sections of the board on each move. After each move, any blank tiles are filled in with the number one or the number two, and players can take another turn. Games end when players run out of valid moves. In addition to this original gameplay mode, users can also try the “Adventure of 2” mode. In this mode, the number one has been removed, and the game board will become larger as players create larger numbers.

Election Warz (Free on iOS) – This zombie shooter from Blue Angel Games allows players to help Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and other politicians defend the White House from zombie candidates. In addition to playing as candidates from the 2016 U.S. presidential election season, users can also unlock characters such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln using in-game currency or real money, depending on the character. During each level, players can move their characters and aim at enemies by sliding their fingers around the left and right sides of the screen, respectively. Users can also activate power-ups while playing by shooting at them. Some power-ups temporarily give players stronger weapons.

Instant Regret – “He Said / She Said” Election 2016 (Free on iOS) – This multiplayer word game from Blue Loop allows users to fill-in-the-blank in sentences related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Users can play with friends or strangers, and each game can support four to 11 players. In each round, players can type their own responses to fill in the blank in the current sentence. An anonymous judge is randomly assigned for each round, and they will be able to choose the submission they like best. The first player to reach seven points wins the game.

Left R Right (Free on iOS, Android) – This endless survival game from Must Play Games challenges players to swipe left and right to help a shape turn around corners on an endless path. Users can collect diamonds as they play, and they can spend diamonds to continue playing when they fall off of the path. In addition, users can spend diamonds to unlock new color themes for the game. Color themes can also be unlocked by earning specific scores while playing.

Tiny Miners (Free on iOS, Android) – This level-based mining game from About Fun allows players to mine for coins and crafting materials by swiping to move their miners left and right as they automatically dig into the earth. Players will need to watch out for obstacles such as rocks and bombs while playing. As players collect crafting materials such as logs, light bulbs and candles, they can use these items to create new gear for their miners. In addition, the game allows users to complete quests to earn extra coins.

In addition to these new releases, here are some of the previously released games that have come to new platforms.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius from Square Enix – Free on Amazon; previously released for free on iOS and Android.

Looty Dungeon from Yodo1 and Taco Illuminati – Free on Android; previously released for free on iOS.

Micro Machines from Chillingo – Free on Android; previously released for free on iOS.

Facebook Plans Major Campaign to Promote Facebook Live (Report)

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook is planning a major campaign backing its Facebook Live livestreaming feature, including television spots and billboards, Deepa Seetharaman of The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to Seetharaman, the social network’s in-house ad studio, The Factory, created the campaign with the aim of encouraging more “regular” Facebook users to try out Facebook Live, which has exploded in popularity with media companies, publishers, celebrities and public figures.

The campaign will feature clips of live videos explaining how the feature works, a source familiar with the effort told Seetharaman.

Readers: Are you surprised that Facebook is taking the rare step of turning to TV ads to boost awareness of Facebook Live?

Messenger Day: Facebook Messenger’s Take on Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories?

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Is it time for the Facebook Messenger version of Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories?

Reader Franciszek Georgiew, founder of Poland-based social media agency Social Tigers, shared the screenshots below with SocialTimes of a new Messenger feature called Messenger Day.

UPDATE: A source familiar with the test told SocialTimes Facebook often tests features in certain countries before launching them globally, adding that there is no timing for an expanded launch of Messenger Day, nor is it guaranteed that the feature will launch at all.

And a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement emailed to SocialTimes:

We know that people come to Messenger to share everyday moments with friends and family. In Poland, we are running a small test of new ways for people to share those updates visually. We have nothing more to announce at this time.

According to Georgiew, Messenger Day appears over the recent conversations section of Messenger, displaying tiles atop the screen with topics to post on and “days” of users’ friends.

Swiping up opens the camera, and users can prepare and curate their content, which remains live for 24 hours, Georgiew said, adding that the feature basically mimics Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, but with no filters or memories (although older photos from users’ camera rolls can be included).

Stickers are prominent within Messenger Day, as Georgiew said large groups of stickers and themes cover almost the entire screen, labeled as “Your Feelings.”

Georgiew shared his opinion of Messenger Day:

(The user interface) is really poor, on every level–nothing like Instagram Stories. I think Facebook is trying to hijack some Snapchat users with both Instagram and Messenger stories and stop the growth of the application. Looking at the stickers, it’s 100 percent targeted to younger demographics–really full of colors, big, noisy, really invasive.

Readers: What was your initial reaction to this potential Messenger Day feature for Facebook Messenger?

My Day: Facebook Messenger’s Take on Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories?

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Is it time for the Facebook Messenger version of Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories?

Reader Franciszek Georgiew, founder of Poland-based social media agency Social Tigers, shared the screenshots below with SocialTimes of a new Messenger feature called My Day.

UPDATE: A source familiar with the test told SocialTimes Facebook often tests features in certain countries before launching them globally, adding that there is no timing for an expanded launch of My Day, nor is it guaranteed that the feature will launch at all.

And a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement emailed to SocialTimes:

We know that people come to Messenger to share everyday moments with friends and family. In Poland, we are running a small test of new ways for people to share those updates visually. We have nothing more to announce at this time.

According to Georgiew, My Day appears over the recent conversations section of Messenger, displaying tiles atop the screen with topics to post on and “days” of users’ friends.

Swiping up opens the camera, and users can prepare and curate their content, which remains live for 24 hours, Georgiew said, adding that the feature basically mimics Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, but with no filters or memories (although older photos from users’ camera rolls can be included).

Stickers are prominent within My Day, as Georgiew said large groups of stickers and themes cover almost the entire screen, labeled as “Your Feelings.”

Georgiew shared his opinion of My Day:

(The user interface) is really poor, on every level–nothing like Instagram Stories. I think Facebook is trying to hijack some Snapchat users with both Instagram and Messenger stories and stop the growth of the application. Looking at the stickers, it’s 100 percent targeted to younger demographics–really full of colors, big, noisy, really invasive.

Readers: What was your initial reaction to this potential My Day feature for Facebook Messenger?

How Instagram Stories Can Help Your Brand Gain Relevance

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the social media landscape is flush with flatterers.

Consider how Facebook borrowed the hashtag from Twitter. In turn, Twitter lifted the algorithmic feed from Facebook. More recently, Instagram adopted Stories from Snapchat, although Instagram appears to have improved upon the feature.

Similar to Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories allows users to create rolling montages of pictures. After users draw on the photos, type words over them or apply various filters, the creations vanish into the ether after 24 hours.

While Snapchat puts Stories in a side menu, Instagram Stories are featured front and center. Users can find them at the top of their main feeds. They can also pause, rewind and view anyone’s story–even if they’re not following them.

The feature is about more than flexibility, though. It’s a chance to tap into the medium people seem to be using to comment on the world around them: images. It’s not about archiving the best moments in life, but discussing them–a fact not lost on marketers.

Adding to the conversation

Nike’s first Instagram Story racked up 800,000 views in a mere 24 hours. That figure dwarfs the attention received by the company’s best video on Snapchat, which garnered about 66,000 views.

It’s perhaps not shocking that Nike saw so much buzz considering its inaugural Instagram Story was a well-polished masterpiece to unveil new uniforms for the University of Michigan’s football team. Another way to garner attention could be adding authenticity to your content by allowing users to go behind the curtain, so to speak.

A restaurant brand, for example, may already use Instagram to post pictures of new dishes. With Stories, it could shoot a quick video detailing how the dish was made or capture footage of a well-known food blogger weighing in on the cuisine.

Instagram Stories offers an opportunity for users to get back to the roots of social media. You can establish a one-on-one conversation with consumers, improving the level of engagement–and creating some buzz while you’re at it.

Telling your story

While Instagram Stories presents significant opportunities, a question still remains about how to use the tool to improve brand relevance. Here are six pointers to get you started:

  1. Stay the course: You don’t need to completely overhaul your brand’s marketing strategy. Instead, look for creative ways to share your stories on the platform. Start with the content you already share on social networks. Can you expand on it in some way? Whatever you do, be sure to cater your content to the audience of each platform.
  2. Share blog posts: Leveraging social media to get the word out about a blog is nothing new. As social media is the ideal place to share content, create something that users will want to broadcast to their own networks. Instagram Stories presents an opportunity to flash teaser images to drive audiences back to the blog.
  3. Give sneak peeks: Do you have something new on the horizon? Give your followers a sneak peek with a short video. Even if it’s only a prototype of a new product, early adopters would be thrilled to have a glimpse of the future.
  4. Seek feedback: What better way to get feedback than soliciting it on Instagram Stories? Throw several options into one post and ask followers which they prefer. Think Amazon’s pilot season, which gives viewers a chance to choose which pilots will be ordered to series. It encourages audiences to engage with the product before it has launched.
  5. Tap influencers: Brands already tap Instagrammers to promote contests and giveaways. Why not add immediacy by getting a social media star to announce a promotional event or offer in a short video? You instantly gain access to her followers, which easily can reach into the hundreds of thousands.
  6. Plan a takeover: Takeovers are similar to tapping influencers, but they raise the stakes a bit. Consider partnering with an Instagram influencer to encourage his or her followers to watch Stories on your Instagram account. Of course, your Instagram Stories should feature the social media star to make it an official takeover.

There’s undoubtedly some crossover between Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories. With a little bit of experimentation –and a whole lot of measuring and repeating–you can determine where each fits into your marketing strategy. It’s all about developing a unique voice for your brand and having some fun in the process.

Tony Tie is a numbers-obsessed marketer, life hacker and public speaker who has helped various Fortune 500 companies grow their online presence. Located in Toronto, he is currently the senior search marketer at Expedia Canada.

How the scary potential of AI brought tech competitors together

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

We are racing toward a future we barely understand. Our stuff will be smart, sometimes smarter than us. Our cars will be their own backseat drivers. Our doctors will get second opinions from silicon. Much of the most eye-popping innovation we’ll see in the coming decades will be a direct result of the collection of technologies best known as Artificial Intelligence.

And it scares the hell out of people.

SEE ALSO: Google launches Allo, its AI-centric messaging app

There are now multiple organizations, including The Future for Life Institute and the OpenAI project, that have picked up the baton of AI, seeking to spread it, understand it, control it and maybe police it. This week we added the Partnership on AI to the mix. It’s an unusual consortium of technology and AI competitors: Amazon, Facebook, Google (via DeepMind), Microsoft and IBM. Each is deeply involved in the development and distribution of AI- and Machine Leaning-infused products and services. Some, like Amazon and Microsoft, compete in the AI-backed digital assistance space. Others, like IBM, Google and Facebook munge mounds of personal and public data to feed current and future AI engines. Read more…

More about Apple, Ibm, Facebook, Google, and Artificial Intelligence

Ubisoft Launches Face Up: The Selfie Game on Mobile

By Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Ubisoft announced the release of Face Up: The Selfie Game on iOS and Android. The multiplayer quiz game is similar to charades, and it allows users to act out expressions for other users to guess by taking selfies.

In Face Up: The Selfie Game, users can challenge their friends or strangers to two-player matches. In each game, players will take selfies as they make faces based on emotions or other prompts.

Specifically, on each turn, a user can choose from three expressions or prompts to act out. As examples, users may be able to select options such as “migraine” or “cute.” Once a user chooses an expression, they’ll need to take a selfie as they act out the expression. Users have the option to decorate their selfies with stickers.

Once a user takes a selfie, the opposing player will see the selfie and the same three options, and they must choose the option that matches the selfie.

While the game contains a free selection of expressions to act out, users can purchase additional expression bundles in the game’s store. For instance, players can purchase bundles based on “music” or “romance,” among other themes.

Finally, in addition to playing with other users online, users can play against others in the same room by sharing a single device.

Face Up: The Selfie Game is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.