Remember back when Vine first came out and everything was porn? Well, the Twitter-owned mobile video service has just made an update to its terms stating that sexually explicit content is now prohibited.
In other words, Vine's porn days are pretty much now over. Vine previously dealt with NSFW content by providing users with an option to report videos that viewers thought might be inappropriate, which would trigger an initial warning message to anyone else who tried to watch the reported video.
For more than 99 percent of our users, this doesn't really change anything," Vine explained in a blog post. "For the rest: we don't have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet -- we just prefer not to be the source of it."
If you're wondering exactly what might or might not be classified as "sexually explicit content" on Vine, check out this FAQ article for more clarification.
Photo © Vine Labs, Inc.
When it comes to consuming media on a smartphone or tablet, would you say you spend more time using mobile apps that you've downloaded already, or more time browsing the mobile web? Read this if you're not quite clear on what the difference is.
According to a new cross-platform report published by Nielsen, 89 percent of our time is spent consuming mobile media through mobile apps. The other 11 percent is spent consuming media via the mobile web. Mobile apps are the clear winner here.
What's possibly more shocking is that the average U.S. adult spends about 33 to 35 hours a month using a combination of both mobile apps and the mobile web, depending on whether you're male or female. The stats in this particular study suggest that women generally spend up to a whole hour-and-half longer using mobile apps than men do.
It's obvious that mobile apps are the popular choice right now, but throwing thousands of dollars at an app developer for a professionally made, custom built native app is not always the most suitable option for business owners. Check out these 5 Mobile WordPress Themes for a quick and simple option to instantly optimize the layout of your website or blog when visitors are viewing it from a mobile device.
Photo © Jorg Greuel / Getty Images
Twitter and live television are like peanut butter and jelly: everyone can pretty much agree that they just sort of belong together.
If you tuned in to Sunday night's 86th Annual Academy Awards to watch Ellen DeGeneres host the show, you probably watched her tweet that first #blurry selfie in the first hour. But it hardly compared to the group selfie she snapped later on during the snow, which featured some of the biggest celebs in Hollywood -- from Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts to Kevin Spacey and Brad Pitt.
Ellen's award-worthy selfie racked up over 450,000 retweets on Twitter within the hour after she tweeted it, eventually making its way to surpass Barack Obama's most-retweeted tweet of November 2012, which currently has about 780,000 retweets. Her star-studded selfie has now been retweeted more than 2.5 million times.
In the short moments after Ellen posted the selfie, the quick surge in user reaction and activity actually sent the whole site down for a little bit. "We crashed and broke Twitter," she announced during the show. "We made history."
And if you loved the selfie as much as the entire Internet did, you'll probably also love this an epic photobomb by Benedict Cumberbatch standing behind U2, which was just one of the other many photos that went unsurprisingly viral during the show last night.
Photo: Screenshot of Twitter.com
There are a lot of great places all over the world that you can visit on Google Street View without ever needing to get on a plane and actually go there. A new location was just added to the list exciting places to view -- this time, featuring an endangered Arctic species in some of the imagery.
To celebrate International Polar Bear Day, Google headed north to Churchill, Manitoba near Hudson Bay in Canada -- also known as the polar bear capital of the world. The company used special vehicles with cameras mounted to them to navigate and capture the best tundra imagery for its Street View maps.
If you spend some time browsing through this newly added location on Street View, you should see be able to see spot a polar bear or two walking along the shorelines, hiding in the snow, sleeping and even interacting with the Polar Bear International team that helped Google out on its mission to map Churchill.
Google said that it hopes the new images help raise awareness about climate change and its impact on the wildlife, like the polar bear, that are a part of these northern regions. If you haven't checked it out yet, you can visit the polar bears right now on Google Street View.
Photo © Annie Katz / Getty Images
Two trendy new apps have been turning a lot of heads lately and racking up a lot of extra downloads because of it. Both of these apps -- one called Secret and the other called Whisper -- have one thing in common: they encourage you to anonymously share your deepest, darkest secrets.
The main difference between the two is that Secret connects you with your current friends so you can share with them anonymously, while Whisper hooks you into its huge network of anonymous users (complete strangers) for sharing. Both of them are set up similarly to Instagram or Snapchat, featuring photo-based posts with confessional text written on top of it.
As you might as expect, these two apps are being picked up by a lot of younger people. You'd think that by now, after all the privacy kerfuffles dealt with by Snapchat, they would recognize the fact that there are consequences to be faced when posting too freely online. If only it were that simple.
Photo: Screenshot of Whisper.sh
The results? Well, it appears that out of the five cities involved in the study (New York, Berlin, Bangkok, Sao Paulo and Moscow), more than 55 percent of people found to have taken selfies are women. Women also seem to tilt their heads more than their male counterparts who take selfies, and the overall selfie trend age group is actually quite young -- the median age being about 23 or 24.
More people in Sao Paulo and Bangkok smiled in their selfies. But in Moscow, they smiled significantly less. Women from Sao Paulo striked the most expressive poses in their selfies, particularly with the head tilt pose.
You can read more about these findings here. Check out some of the visual graphs too, which actually display thumbnails of the selfies that were included in the study by hovering your mouse over the dots.
Neat. Of course none of the study's results seem to be all that surprising, but I'm looking forward to seeing where the strange selfie phenomenon takes us into the future, and how it might eventually evolve.
Photo: Screenshot of Selfiecity.net
What the heck is WhatsApp? That's the questions that a lot of people were asking after news broke earlier this week about a $19-billion Facebook acquisition for a mobile messaging startup that most had never even heard of before.
Since then, a whole bunch of articles and blog posts have been popping up about the deal, attempting to explain why Facebook forked over such a huge amount of money for an app seemingly less popular than so many others, like Snapchat or Instagram (which Facebook also bought for $1 billion back in 2012).
For those who aren't aware, WhatsApp is a real-time mobile messaging app that lets individuals and groups send an unlimited number of text messages, photos, videos and audio to one another using their data plans as an alternative to SMS messaging. It's huge in developing countries, and has over 450 million monthly active users with 70 percent of them active on a daily basis. It's among one of the most popular apps that teens are using these days.
"The acquisition supports Facebook and WhatsApp's shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably," reads the Facebook Newsroom announcement post. "The combination will help accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies."
As far as the $19-billion price tag goes, everyone seems to have their own theory about why Facebook was willing to pay so much. BuzzFeed points out that Facebook is absolutely terrified of cool and trendy new apps like WhatsApp moving in on the mobile turf it's so desperately trying to own. Other theories include Facebook's desire to establish itself further in private data sharing (as opposed to the public stuff you share on your Timeline and in the News Feed) as well as a need to attract more users in Europe and around the world.
WhatsApp explained in its own blog announcement post that nothing is going to change on the current WhatsApp platform. But Facebook obviously didn't pay $19 billion for nothing, so time will only tell us what's about to change on this now Facebook-owned messaging app.
Photo © WhatsApp
Have you seen those weird little web comics that people are posting all over Facebook? You know, the ones that feature your friends as colorful large-headed cartoon characters in a short comic strip about a weird or funny story that they recently experienced? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
Bitstrips, the fun little app behind all those personalized comics, just raised $15 million in venture capital funding on top of the $3 million it raised in December -- for a grand total of $18 million. Amazingly, this is an app that only launched in October of 2013. A couple weeks later, it was number one in the App Store.
If you're not familiar with it, the whole idea is to basically turn your entire life into funny comics. (Yes, even the boring parts.) To do it, you just download the app for iPhone or Android (or just get it on Facebook) and then start creating characters that looks like you and all your friends.
Once you've got a bunch of characters created, you can choose from more than 2,000 different scenes to build funny, exaggerated stories about you and your friends and then post them all over Facebook. New scenes are added daily to the app, and now with more funding on the way, you can bet that Bitstrips will probably ramp things up with even more customizable features in order to keep up with the interests of its growing user base.
Despite all of its crazy viral success lately, not everyone has become an instant fan or hardcore Bitstrip-sharing freak. Those little comics might seem hilarious to the creator and their friends included, but for the people who are forced to see them take over their Facebook News Feeds, they're often just plain annoying.
Lifehacker Australia explains how to block Bitstrips from showing up in your News Feed if you're one of those people whov'e just seriously had enough of them.
Photo © Bitstrips
Kickstarter is the latest major website to be hacked. Yesterday, the crowdfunding platform published a security notice on its blog stating that it had been informed by law enforcement officials regarding unauthorized access to some of its customer data.
The hackers were able to access user information like addresses, phone numbers and passwords, but the company confirmed that no credit card information had been stolen. Immediate action was taken to close the breach once Kickstarted learned about the hack.
As a precaution, Kickstarter is recommending that its users create new passwords. You can read the full blog post with FAQs here.
Photo © Kickstarter
It's Friday, there's a full moon out tonight and it just so happens to be Valentine's Day. Let the sugar-induced insanity begin!
Maybe your past relationships from previous V-Days didn't end up lasting forever, but at least Rejected Candy Hearts seems to keep coming back, year after year, ever since it first went viral on Twitter in 2011.
Check out the real-time stream of tweets coming out now for the #RejectedCandyHearts hashtag on Twitter. You can even go ahead and write your own offensively bitter and totally unromantic message on a candy heart image easily with Cryptogram.
But really though, I hope you have an awesome Valentine's Day. If not, at least you'll have all those fabulous sales on leftover chocolates and candy to look forward to this weekend, and also this great list of awesome Valentine's Day cocktail recipes to help take the edge off.
Photo from KnowYourMeme.com