Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica over biggest ever data breach
Facebook has suspended the account of political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica - the company that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign - after they violated the platform's policies to harvest an estimated 50 million Facebook profiles without approval. The data was collected through the 'thisisyourdigitallife' app, built by academic Aleksandr Kogan, which paid hundreds of thousands of test users to consent to their data being collected for academic reasons. However, the app also collected the information of participant's Facebook friends and this data was then shared with Cambridge Analytica without consent. Both parties claimed the data was destroyed at Facebook's request back in 2015.
Facebook opens Instant Games to all developers
Following a successful two year trial period, Facebook announced last week that it will open up Instant Games - a platform which lets developers build mobile-friendly games using HTML5 for Facebook and Messenger - to all developers. Facebook has also rolled out a set of new features, including the launch of the ads API, to help developers grow, measure and monetise the games they create for the network. In-app purchases are still being tested.
Snapchat adds creator-made lenses to its platform
After years of shying away from featuring third-party creative on its app, or adding tools to help influencers and artists make better use of the platform, Snapchat will now feature creator-made Lenses in its carousel from late-March. The new scheme, Creator Boost, will only be directly opened to a limited number of artists to begin with; however all Snapchat users will still be able to create a Lens through Lens Studio and submit their creations to be considered for the carousel.
Rihanna shames Snapchat over ad mocking domestic abuse
Just days after users called out the tasteless Snapchat ad from mobile video game 'Would You Rather', which made light of the 2009 domestic violence case involving Rihanna, the star took to Instagram Stories (Snapchat's main competitor) to release an official statement against the platform for allowing such an ad to be published. While the ad was purchased via Snapchat's self-service advertising platform, and not a direct creation of the platform, steps are supposed to be in place to review all ads before release and the company has cited an internal error for allowing the mistake. Just an hour after Rhianna's statement was released, Snap's share price fell 4.9 percent.
Twitter increases its focus on breaking news
Currently being tested as an extension to its 'Happening Now' feature, Twitter is testing algorithmically curated timelines for big news to help users keep up-to-speed with the latest developments. During big news events, Twitter will curate tweets from news outlets and users and promote them within a separate thread accessible via a module at the top of the home screen. The test - which started last Wednesday with tweets about the congressional special election in Pennsylvania, the death of Stephen Hawking and more - is currently taking place with a small group of users in the US. If successful, it could eventually include multiple timelines for the same news event, including recaps and specialist comment.