Social Circles: This Week in Social Media (Oct. 19, 2014)

As part of a new segment, I’ve compiled the must-read social media stories from around the web in one simple list.

This week features another enormous photo hack, Twitter further mimicking Facebook, and asks whether Ello is already a thing of the past. Without further ado, here’s the top 5:

5) Fears over ebola continue to spiral, and unsurprisingly many have taken to social media to share their concerns or vent their frustrations. As ebola concerns grow in the United States, a creative new hashtag is helping to educate the public on the realities of the disease. #FactsNotFear has been latched on to mostly by journalists and news outlets in cities across the U.S., but also by some government agencies, in hopes to provide important information to the public and quell fears over the virus. (Via Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

4) Realizing the important role it plays in helping loved ones connect during natural disasters, Facebook has launched a new feature called “Safety Check”. Facebook will identify your geographic area, and if you’re in an area affected by a natural disaster will send you a message asking if you’re okay and prompting you to let friends know you’re safe. Of course, for some people, checking in on Facebook may not be top of mind when your community has just suffered severe damage or lost lives. (Via Mashable)

3) Twitter is ruffling some feathers this week as they announced in a blog post that they will be introducing curated tweets to the platform. The company said that it ran a test and users responded positively. Basically, Twitter will now show you tweets from people you don’t follow in your timeline, but that an algorithm decides you may be interested in. Many are upset by the news, including NYU professor Jay Rosen, who said Twitter is about to “go full Ice Bucket on us| if it continues down this road, and lose its important purpose as a site for sharing news. (Via Forbes)

2) Ello, the quirky, ad-free, minimalist anti-Facebook platform could be struggling to stay relevant, according to The Guardian’s Charles Arthur. Doing analysis through Google search history, Arthur found that the number of searches for the site has dropped to a level seen nearly a month ago – don’t forget, the site is just over two months old), and in that time has claimed over one million users. Of course, search frequency is only one measure to use, and should not necessarily mean that Ello is on the backslide already – but it is something to watch. (Via The Guardian)

1) Three days after the hack was first announced, and speculated to be a rumour, approximately 200,000 hacked Snapchat photos were leaked online. Many of them included nude photos. The massive hack and leak comes off the heels of the so-called “Fappening,” where a number of celebrity nude photos were leaked, which led to an oft-quoted discussion with actress Jennifer Lawrence in a Vanity Fair cover story. Snapchat initially fired back at criticism, saying that these photos were obtained from a third-party app which Snapchat’s TOS explicitly prohibits, a story which was corroborated by SnapSave, the app that was hacked. SnapSave allows the receiver of a photo to “save” it, rather than have it delete after a set amount of time. Regardless, Snapchat has responded by opening it’s API up to the public, and saying that it vigilantly monitors for third-party apps on the App Store and Google Play, and is successful in taking many down. However, what impact the leak will have on its more than 100 million monthly users will have to be seen. (Via Fast Company)

Feel like something is missing from this list? Leave it in the comments section below.

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