November 13, 2017

Social media, blogging updates: double tweet size, WhatsApp delete, security lapses and vulnerabilities

Tweets finally are double their earlier character length


After a pilot run with 280 character limit for tweets, Twitter has finally implemented it. It shares the behavior of Twitter users during the experiment: people were initially excited and did silly things to bloat their tweets beyond 140 characters, but not many were found using space much beyond this earlier limits. However, it has led to ease in writing tweets and users are likely to spend less time in editing tweets to squeeze them into the tight character limit.  

You can now delete your messages on WhatsApp from others' phones too!


WhatsApp has introduced this long-awaited feature now. You can delete a message sent to an individual or a group within seven minutes of sending it. But for this to work, you and message recipient must have latest version of WhatsApp on their Android, iPhone or Windows Phone.

Hope, this helps reduce the embarrassment or damage that is caused by sending a wrongly worded message, a wrong photo or a message to a wrong recipient. But no luck if the recipient(s) have already seen it before you could delete it, isn't it?

Of course you can delete a message from your own device.

Both these features work when you press and hold the message and get options to delete the message for everyone or only yourself.

 

How safe are your social media accounts in the hands of the giants?


We generally feel safe when their accounts are with tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. The thought that comes to mind is that at least for their business and reputation, these biggies would take all cautions so that public information is safe and there is no risk that their information is leaked except legally.

Ok, there are numerous cases, when governments have asked these biggies to pull down an account or share information in that account often with the excuse of an investigation into cases of hate crimes, pornography, drug pedaling, terrorism etc. (One news report later in this very post!)

However, I am talking even of that. What comes as a shock is that Donald Trump's account on Twitter was taken down INTENTIONALLY by a Twitter customer support employee on her last day in that company! It remained unavailable for about 11 minutes on November 2 before being restored. Consider what would happen to our accounts with these giants if a low-level employee could play with the account of someone who is not only the present US President, he is also one of the top Twitter personalities in the world. 

That raises a biggg question: Are internal controls good enough in internet giants, especially Twitter?

Afghanistan bans chat sites, revokes ban after protest


Afghanistan's move to block popular messaging platforms, WhatsApp and Telegram, seems to have backfired.

The ban was enforced early November, for 20 days. First it was said to be for security reasons, and then the concerned ministry explained that the closure 'request' was to improve their services. But in the wake of widespread protests, the government had to take back the ban within four days. Sigh!


Lurking outlaws and social media use by teens


The Australian Psychological Society has found that around 15% of teens are contacted by strangers on a daily basis, on Facebook alone. Ten percent are reported to be 'actively communicating' with strangers. Please remember that friendly-looking strangers can be bad guys out there to goad innocent victims into crimes!

bad guys are lurking in social media
What is equally worrisome is that 60% parents among the 1000 people interviewed said, they never monitored their child's social media accounts.

Shows, once again, the type of threat is lurking on social media and how careless and indifferent the society is towards it.

Source: ABC News
 

Wordpress plugins can be a big security hazard


Wordpress is so poor without plugins. And there are thousands of plugins available free and on payment, for almost everything that a website or blog can do: SEO, listings, polls, security, displaying images, editing, even e-commerce. However, not all plugins are of high quality, and the issues range from a bloated code to poor execution of code to serious security issues.

In the face of reports of even erstwhile good plugins getting vulnerable to new forms of web attacks, it is recommended that bloggers with plugins on their Wordpress blogs/ websites should apply only reputed plugins and then keep updating them.

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