Chrissy Teigen joins other celebrities in Snapchat ‘boycott’

The company has faced much controversy since a new layout and design was released for the app in February.

Chrissy Teigen has had it with Snapchat.

The model and cookbook author announced over Twitter on Saturday that she had stopped using the social media platform because of several factors– including the controversial advertisement Snapchat ran earlier this month, that alluded to the 2009 domestic violence incident between Rihanna and Chris Brown.

The advertisement was for a game of “Would You Rather,” which in turn asked users if they would rather slap Rihanna or punch Brown.

“I stopped using snap,” Teigen, 32, tweeted. “The update, the constant complaints of people not being able to find me, plus the Rihanna poll…no bueno.”

The Lip Sync Battle host’s complaints come two weeks after Rihanna took to Instagram to give a heated statement about the incident.

“Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there!” She posted to her Instagram story,”But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!”

CNN reports that the platform lost $800 million in stock market value after the pop star’s statement.

“This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause I don’t have much of them…but all the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet…you let us down!” Rihanna, 30, continued.
“Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”

This all comes less than a month after Kylie Jenner criticized the app’s new design, tweeting, “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” Jenner’s tweet resulted in a reported $1.3 billion loss in market value for the company.

#OscarsSoWhite creator speaks out on latest Academy invitee class

April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite, is not satisfied with attempts by the Academy to diversify.

April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite, is not satisfied with attempts by the Academy to diversify.

Reign began using the hashtag in the wake of the announcement of 2015 nominees from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

The Oscars 2015 did not contain any “person of color” in major acting categories, precipitating the hashtag. Following the Twitter campaign by Reign, notable African American entertainers such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the 2015 ceremony.

A major problem, as pointed out by Reign and others, was the fact that most of the people voting for the Academy Awards are older white males.

As a reaction to the public outcry, the Academy announced that it had committed to diversifying its voters, attempting to double its number of women and people of color by 2020.

The Academy released its newest voter invitee list on Wednesday.

“It seems impressive on first glance. I am encouraged by the inclusion of additional women and people of color and those from marginalized communities,” said Reign in an interview with the L.A. Times.

“As I read the list, there are definitely some names that were shocking to me from the standpoint of why some of these people aren’t already members of the academy,” continued Reign. “The academy is righting a wrong here.”

“Yes, a lot of work still must be done. For women, if the academy is supposed to be representative of the population, it should be a lot closer to 50%. And the 11% [people of color]… is not representative of all people of color in this country,” concluded Reign.


Rolling Stone settles lawsuit with university fraternity over debunked rape story

After three years, a fraternity associated with the University of Virginia has agreed to accept $1.65 million from Rolling Stone magazine .

After three years, a fraternity associated with the University of Virginia has agreed to accept $1.65 million from Rolling Stone magazine in settlement of a defamation suit arising from the publication of a since-retracted story about an alleged gang-rape on campus, a report by ABC News said.

“The Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity has agreed to settle and dismiss its defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Sabrina Erdely arising from the magazine’s publication of the November, 2014 article A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” the fraternity said in a statement, as reported by ABC News. “It has been nearly three years since we and the entire University of Virginia community were shocked by the now infamous article, and we are pleased to be able to close the book on that trying ordeal and its aftermath.”

The retracted story, written by Sabrina Erdely, involved a young woman called “Jackie” who claimed to have been gang-raped UV’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity during her first year at school.

The fraternity has pledged that a substantial part of the settlement amount will go to organizations involved in preventing and treating sexual assault.

“The chapter looks forward to donating a significant portion of its settlement proceeds to organizations that provide sexual assault awareness education, prevention training and victim counseling services on college campuses,” the statement said.

Airline passenger complaints nearly double after high-profile incidents

The Transportation department reported 1,909 complaints for April 2017. There were only 1,123 in Apri last year.

United Airlines wasn’t the only airline that faced blowback from the public over its infamous use in April of armed security guards to drag a passenger from an overbooked flight. Airlines across the United States recorded 70% more complaints that month from the same month last year, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation statement Wednesday.

The Transportation department reported 1, 909 complaints for April 2017. There were only 1,123 in Apri last year.

This year’s spike follows the widespread backlash against Incidents such as United’s forced removal of David Dao from his seat on an April 9 flight. Viral videos that recorded Dao hitting his head and breaking his nose during the removal provoked a massive outcry against the airline and the practice of overbooking in general. But Paul Hudson, founder of the passenger rights group, said that the public backlash may have emboldened customers to speak out about other airline issues that displease them, and that this is why complaints are up.

“A lot of people have realized that things are bad and that they can complain about it,” said Hudson.

Most complaints did not involve broken noses or head trauma, however. Cancellations and flight delays were the sources of most complaints, followed by overbooking.

Flight delays and cancellations also rose, according to the Transportation department report. It found that 78.5% of April 2017 flights arrived on time, down from 84.5% the prior April. And whereas 0.9% of April 2016 flights were cancelled, 1.9% of flights were cancelled in April 2017.

American Airlines was on the receiving end of the most complaints, with 324 for the month. Delta and United came in second and third with 297 and 265, respectively.

A wave of deadly violence follows police walkout in the Brazilian city

More than one hundred people have been killed and scores of others injured in the Brazilian City of Vitoria after military and police officers went on strike, demanding better pay and benefits.

More than one hundred people have been killed and scores of others injured in the Brazilian City of Vitoria after military and police officers went on strike, demanding better pay and benefits.

Since Saturday, officers haven’t reported working while their families have been protesting outside stations blocking patrol cars from going around.

Most of the day to day policing in Vitoria is done by military police who are not allowed to officially go on strike in Brazil and could be discharged or face up to 2 years imprisonment.

According to civil police homicide investigator Walter Santana Lopes, around 110 people have been killed, while robberies and lootings have shot through the roof. Vitoria is the capital of Espirito Santo state, which saw 37.4 violent deaths for every 100 thousand residents in 2015, according to the Annual Brazilian Public Safety Report.

The violence has caused public panic and fear with schools closing down and public transport being withdrawn. Thousands of people have taken to social media, posting videos with the hashtag “#Espedesocorro” (Espirito Santo needs help).

The videos posted appear to show daylight carjackings, people being robbed at a bus station, a shootout taking place in the street and stores being looted.
Through the Facebook page, “Movimento das Familias PMES” (Movement of the Families of Espirito Santo’s Military Police), the organizers of the strike, have said officers will only return to work once they are granted a 100% pay hike.

During a recent press conference, Espirito Santo governor Paulo Hartung accused the group of “open blackmail.”

Facebook debuts international video product to rival Google

Facebook launches its Watch video service to users worldwide in a renewed bid to take on YouTube and Netflix with its original shows.

Facebook Watch is now available to its 2.23 billion monthly users worldwide, hosting original shows and live programs commissioned by the social network, comparable to the push into original content seen by rival technology firms YouTube and Netflix.

Notably, the video service has been trialed in the United States for more than a year.

This marks the first time international Facebook users have been able to view any of the content created for the platform.

In order to access the Watch feature, Facebook mobile users need to tap the ‘Play’ logo in the navigation bar that runs along the bottom of the app. Those on desktop computers will find the icon in the column on the left-hand side.

Watch is the latest move from the scrutinized social network to engage its expanded users, following months plagued by privacy scandals and reports of plummeting usernames in a number of key demographics, including 18-24 year-olds.

In an overnight post, Facebook confirmed the feature would be ‘available everywhere’ starting today.

Facebook says it will provide a platform for publishers and content creators to market their videos to a worldwide audience.

‘With the global launch of Watch, we are supporting publishers and creators globally in two critical areas: helping them to make money from their videos on Facebook and better understand how their content is performing,’ the company said.

With user-generated content airing alongside professional shows, Facebook demonstrates suggestive behavior proving that the launch of Watch is a bid to cash in on the changing viewing habits of consumers.

Dr. Luke slams Kesha allegations; attorney claims ‘trial by Twitter’

Kesha is in the middle of trying to get out of a recording contract.

Dr. Luke is lashing out at Kesha’s supporters through his attorney, claiming he is facing a “trial by Twitter” over allegations he raped the singer.

Dr. Luke, who is 42, is one of the most famous producers in the music business. His career started kicked off in 1997 when he was made the lead guitarist for the Saturday Night Live house band, and he rose to prominence producing remixes for Bon Jovi and Gravediggaz, to name a few artists. His breakout was in 2004 when he produced the Kelly Clarkson hit single “Since U Been Gone.” that would place her in contact with Dr. Luke, who she accused of raping and manipulating her, according to a Reuters report.

The allegations have prompted Taylor Swift to donate $250,000 to Kesha, and other singers like Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson, and Ariana Grande have posted messages of support on social media under the hashtag #FreeKesha.

A New York judge ruled on Friday that the 28-year-old singer couldn’t be released from her contract at Sony despite the 2014 sexual assault lawsuit, sparking outrage among her supporters.

But Dr. Luke’s attorney, Christine Lepera, said Kesha’s allegations of rape and emotional abuse are unfounded, and that Dr. Luke was a victim of a “smear campaign.” Dr. Luke countersued in 2014. So far the cases are awaiting trial.

Kesha, formerly known as Ke$ha, rose to prominence as a singer in early 2009 after appearing on Flo Rida’s single “Right Round,” which went to the top of the charts. She found success with her albums Animal and Cannibal, and had two number-one hits in “Tik Tok” and “We R Who We R.” She had a number of top-ten singles as well.

Photographing life impairs memory formation, study says

Taking pictures impairs our memories of the events being captured, according to a new study.

Although documenting life through images on social media is a staple of mainstream culture, a new study suggests that taking photographs impairs our memories of the events being captured.

“People think that taking a photo will help them remember something better, but it’s actually quite the contrary,” said UC Santa Cruz doctoral student Julia Soares, who led the study.

Soares asked participants to examine computerized paintings in a virtual museum tour with the knowledge that they would be tested after. The participants were tested on how well they remembered paintings when they took pictures using Snapchat, when they took pictures with a camera phone, and when the just looked at the images.

The results revealed that picture-takers scored as much as 20 percent worse on multiple choice tests tested their knowledge of what they observed.

“Whenever they used a camera, they were less likely to remember as well as when they just observed,” Soares said.

She believes that it’s possible that stepping out of any given moment to take pictures decreases focus, a phenomenon she called “attentional disengagement.” In addition, taking pictures could create a false sense of intimate knowledge of the subjects in question, which Soares calls a “metacognitive illusion.”

“I’m not saying people shouldn’t ever take photographs, but they might want to be mindful about deciding when they do it.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

Instagram announces new shopping feature via Stories

Major apparel retailers anticipate the use of Instagram’s Stories feature, exposing products to over 300 million social media users daily.

Social media giant Instagram reveals a strategy to expand its existing shopping options. The feed’s buying options will be complemented by the addition of stickers to Instagram Stories that will lead to further details about the product attached.

Adidas, Louis Vuitton, and Aritzia are expected to be the first retailers to launch the feature with regular users to follow in the near future.

With a projected estimate of 300 million Instagram Stories daily users, brands will increase advertising and experiment with various presentation methods.

In early 2018, Instagram promoted news that its 800 million-plus users are able to see 90% of their desired content with the current algorithm, which calculates the order of a user’s feed using three main factors: Interest, Recency, and Relationship.

Interest refers to how the app uses machine learning to analyze user behavior and decide which posts users will likely care about most. Recency relates to how Instagram prioritizes recent posts, while Relationship accounts for the assumed relationship between a user and the original poster, basing the judgment upon likes, comments, and tagged photos.

Further influences include Frequency and Usage, two factors that change depending on how much and how often Instagram is used. These combine to show consumers posts that may have been missed since their last visit, delving into the recent post catalog as more time is spent browsing.

Congress members petition Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Huawei data sharing

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could be in for another Senate hearing involving data transmitted to Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL.

Chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez and Senator Bob Corker received a letter from Senator Ed Markey, making a request to demand Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about Facebook’s practice of sharing private user data with mobile phone companies.

Within the letter, Markey expressed concerns regarding the data provided to Chinese companies Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another instance of actions by US technology companies potentially impacting American national security,” wrote Markey, “and it is incumbent upon our committee to exercise oversight in this regard.”

Notably, Markey is the ranking member of the East Asia, Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy Subcommittees. The letter sent to Zuckerberg was cosigned by Senator Richard Blumenthal, seeking answers to questions over the recently reported practice.

This weekend, the New York Times reported that Facebook had provided detailed user data to at least 60 mobile device makers, which allowed them to offer Facebook-like features at a time when a Facebook app wasn’t available for all devices.

While these partnerships allowed companies to offer Facebook’s messaging, Like buttons and address books to their customers, it also reportedly gave them information on Facebook users like political leanings, religious affiliations, events they planned to attend and relationship statuses.

The setup also let these companies retrieve information from their customers’ Facebook friends, in addition to their friends’ friends, without those individuals’ consent.