Secret Twitter: Official Test Accounts

TheTwoffice

We all get excited about finding things we weren’t meant to see, but for an Internet historian there’s a special kind of excitement in discovering official Twitter test accounts. Continue reading Secret Twitter: Official Test Accounts

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Google Search Now Has Limited Lifespan

Twoogle

Google has now been the King of Search for about a decade and a half, and most people envisage that the organisation’s supremacy cannot be challenged. However, Google’s basic foundations are now old, and well out of date. Although the Mighty G has continued to tackle attempts to game its system over time, we’re now close to the end of the road. The key problems with Google Search are no longer about controlling spam tactics per se. They’re about the fact that Google is a machine, using an outdated concept, whilst the Internet is increasingly human, and behaves very differently from the way it behaved 20 years ago. Continue reading Google Search Now Has Limited Lifespan

How To Find Twitter Users’ Previous Usernames

You Cannot Hide on Twitter

This comes in a line of posts which could be placed into the general category of: “Don’t think you can behave like an absolute plank on social media and then remove all trace of what you’ve done”. Social media is terrible at keeping secrets, and when it comes to username changes on Twitter, that couldn’t be more true. Even after Twitter accounts have been deleted and are long gone, it’s still often possible to track their username progressions, and establish an overview of what the users were up to. Continue reading How To Find Twitter Users’ Previous Usernames

Microsoft Privacy Update: What You REALLY Need To Know

Microsoft Privacy 2

With Microsoft updating its Services Agreement and Privacy Statement from 1st August 2015, the usual, weasel-worded emails have been dropping into our inboxes, expressing how much the business cares for our privacy and gives us… ahem… ‘control’. As I said in an article about Soundcloud, the only real concern data-mining businesses have about our privacy, is how much they can invade it, and then gloss over their gross invasions with soundbyte PR. But let’s not jump the gun. Here’s Microsoft’s soundbyte PR…

We remain committed to protecting your data, being clear about how we use it and putting you in control. For example, we do not use the contents of your email, chat, video calls, documents, photos or voicemail to target advertising to you.

Sounds great, doesn’t it. Of course, they have to protect everyone’s data within the bounds of the law, so it always makes me laugh the way these companies pitch data protection like it’s some sort of luxury commitment, offered out of the goodness of their hearts. And just because Microsoft doesn’t scan your private communication and content for the purpose of targeting ads, it doesn’t mean the organisation doesn’t scan. Indeed, it has to scan email – otherwise how on earth would it recognise spam? Continue reading Microsoft Privacy Update: What You REALLY Need To Know

How To Find a Twitter User’s Join Date When It’s Not Displayed

You’ve probably noticed that some Twitter accounts display a ‘Joined’ date on the profile page, just below the bio and location/website details. You can see that whilst my @Twirpz account doesn’t show the join date…

Twirpz Twitter

… My @Meetaplex account does… Continue reading How To Find a Twitter User’s Join Date When It’s Not Displayed

Cookie Horrors: Extreme Data Mining and Online Spying

Extreme Data Mining and Online Spying

Do you block or regularly delete Web cookies?… Nice one! Unfortunately, however, not everyone wants to congratulate you. Indeed, it’s probably fair to say that the Internet as a whole hates your very guts. But don’t worry. The Internet has many sly solutions to your increasingly futile attempts to regain some privacy, and the more of us who block or delete cookies, the worse things are likely to get. Continue reading Cookie Horrors: Extreme Data Mining and Online Spying

Why Twitter Users REALLY Protect Their Accounts

Twirpz Quote B

When most people see a protected Twitter account, they’ll either Follow it, ignore it, or, if my relevant blog stats are anything to go by, come to this site in a bid to find out how to covertly spy on it. But when I see a protected Twitter account, my initial instinct is none of the above. What I want to do, is find out why. Why did that user protect his or her account? There has to be a reason. There’s a reason for everything. Continue reading Why Twitter Users REALLY Protect Their Accounts