Twitter is on the brink of sealing the deal for yet another round of funding, which will value the microblogging site at around $1 billion, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday.
While not yet finalized, the company is expected to raise around $50 million, with most of it coming from New York-based Insight Venture Partners. All but a done deal, Chief Executive Evan Williams feels confident enough it will go through that he's announced the latest round of funding to employees.
Twitter's website recorded 44.5 million visitors in June, representing a 15-fold year-over-year increase, according to data from comScore.
"When something like Twitter or Facebook becomes a cultural phenomena, it's much more than the sum of the parts. It's really tapping into a cultural shift," said Salil Deshpande, a general partner at venture firm Bay Partners. "As the network effect increases, the value increases."
Just how popular is Twitter? By the end of the year, some 18 million U.S. adults will access the microblogging service on any platform every month. That's more than the population of Switzerland, Singapore, and Norway combined, and also a 200 percent increase over 2008 stats. By 2010, that number's expected to jump to 26 million, representing another 44 percent increase.
The numbers come courtesy of eMarketer, who notes that the final tally might be even higher due to users accessing Twitter not just through the service's website, but via text messages, mobile apps, and various desktop applications as well.
"Since our earlier Twitter user estimates were published in April of 2009, the number of Twitter.com visitors has risen sharply," said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna. "In addition, research data shows healthy -- and growing -- percentages of U.S. Internet users adopting the popular microblogging platform. These two factors compelled us to upwardly revise our previous forecast.".
On the flip side, eMarketer says "large numbers" of users end up abandoning the service after a short stint, and yet others only Tweet their latest happenings on an infrequent basis.
Surprised by Twitter's explosive growth? Hit the jump and sound off. And if you want follow us on Twitter, you can do so here:
“I want everybody here to be careful about what you post on Facebook,” Obama told a group of 40 ninth graders. “Because in the YouTube age, whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life. And when you’re young, you make mistakes and you do some stupid stuff. ”
Recent studies have shown that an increasing number of hiring managers closely examine the social networking profiles of job candidates. So, a bit of caution on the part of these kids will at least ensure that they don’t remain unemployed because of social networking gaffes.
You can argue that some people have an unhealthy addiction to Twitter, but anyone who offers to do it for 24 hours straight is either pulling a publicity stunt, or needs serious help. In the case of screenwriter and director Kevin Smith, it luckily appears to be the former in promotion of his new book “Shootin’ the Sh*t With Kevin Smith”. Anyone who wants to catch the blow by blow should tune into @ThatKevinSmith on Monday September 7th, and hopefully you’ll give the poor guy somebody to talk to.
According to the press release issued by his agent “This is not news at all. In fact, it’s kinda stupid. But I wanna see if I can do it. I’ve been training for this my whole life, simply by being a lazy fat-ass who’d rather stare at a screen than better himself with a brisk constitutional. Someone asked what my training regiment is gonna be, and I told them I’ve already stockpiled lots of Count Chocula.”
Is this funny? Desperate? Pointless? Let us know what you think.
uSocial is currently offering all the friends/fans packages at introductory prices. While 1,000 Facebook friends or fans can be bought for $177.30, the price for 5,000 friends is $654.30. The current cost of adding 10,000 fans is $1167.30. Although many doubt the worth of buying friends, uSocial founder Leon Hill claims his company delivers targeted friends. "We are getting, basically, targeted friends and fans who are saying, 'Yes, I want information on this,” he told the Associated Press in a phone interview.
Thanks to the inherent irresponsibility that comes with singing up for any social network, the IRS has been tracking down tax evaders thanks to people’s Facebook, MySpace and Twitter habits.
Mining through posted information such as relocation announcements, professional profiles and financial gains, agents with the IRS have been able to collect all sorts of bucks from would-be tax dodgers. One Nebraska agent was able to collect $2,000 from a disc jockey after he advertised on MySpace that he’d be working at a big public party. “These new supplements are often far more efficient than the older ones, such as reading the local newspaper or making inquiries at barbershops and church meetings,” said Jim Eads, director of the Federation of Tax Administrators. Another agent was able to collect $30,000 of unpaid taxes after a Google search lead him directly to his target.
So, if you’re the type of person that likes to boast about income that hasn’t been reported on Twitter, think twice. The IRS could be, and probably is, watching.
Social networking sites are all fun and games until you contract a nasty virus and lose your data, or worse yet, lose your identity to the highest bidder in a seedy underground market. But that's the risk the average social networker is taking by failing to perform basic security measures, suggests a new study by AVG and the CMO Council.
The study surveyed a random sampling of 250 consumers. According to the poll results, 86 percent of the respondents participate in a social network at home or at work. Almost half of those surveyed said they have been victims of malware attacks, 55 percent said they have seen phishing attacks, and nearly 20 percent have experienced identity theft.
Despite past experience, barely a third of respondents change passwords on a regular basis, while 57 percent said they infrequently or never adjust privacy settings.
"The fact that users understand the risks, and yet are failing to take the basic steps to protect themselves presents an interesting challenge to companies, like AVG, that are working to create a safer cyber community," said Siobhan MacDermott, head of Public Policy, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, AVG Technologies.
See all of the results here, as well as some basic security tips that should be second nature to most power users.
As it turns out, taking Facebook quizzes and posting for the world (or at least your network of friends) to see exactly "What Sex and the City Character Are You?" or "What is Your Vampire Power" isn't just incredibly lame, it's also pretty risky, suggests the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who warns of privacy concerns.
"Millions of people on Facebook who use third-party applications on the site, including the popular quizzes, do not realize the extent to which developers of quizzes and other applications have access to personal information. Facebook's default privacy settings allow nearly unfettered access to a user's profile information, including religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, photos, events, notes, wall posts, and groups," the ACLU warns.
The ACLU thinks Facebook should be doing more to protect its users and suggests that the social networking site upgrade its privacy controls so that quizzes can only see what people want them to see. One way to do this, the ACLU says, is to make the process for apps to access a user's friends' data opt-in rather than opt-out.
Facebook doesn't deny the ACLU's concerns, and in an email to Cnet, said it generally agrees with the ACLU's recommendations. The Facebook spokesperson also said the site has recently disabled hundreds of apps that were inconsistent with Facebook Platform policies.
Is Facebook doing enough? Hit the jump to weigh in with your opinion.
If you're concerned about privacy, it might not be enough to hide your profile or limit who can view your personal information, a new report suggests. That's because social networking sites are sharing your personal info with tracking sites, according to the report.
"When you sign up with a social networking site, you are assigned a unique identifier," says Craig Wills, professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). "We found that when social networking sites pass information to tracking sites about your activities, they often include this unique identifier. So now a tracking site not only has a profile of your web browsing activities, it can link that profile to the personal information you post on the social networking site."
The study specifically points out Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter -- three of the most popular social networking sites on the planet -- as being guilty of leaking information. Using your unique identifier, a tracking site could then learn all kinds of things about you, including your name, address, email addy, gender, date of birth, what school you attend, where you work, and tons more.
But is it much ado about nothing? Only the tracking sites know for sure, and Wills admits that researchers have no idea what these sites do with the info, if anything at all.
Facebook late last week announced plans to roll out tighter integration between the social networking site and Twitter. More specifically, you will soon (if not already) be able to publish Facebook updates to your Twitter accounts automatically, however this will only link Facebook Pages to Twitter and not your individual profile.
"If you manage a Facebook Page, you now will be able to decide whether to share updates with their Twitter followers, and you also will be able to control what type of updates to share: status updates, links, photos, notes, events or all of them. If you have multiple Pages, you will have the option to link each of those Pages to different Twitter accounts. This new feature will soon be available at http://www.facebook.com/twitter," Facebook wrote in a blog.
According to Facebook, there are a number of celebrities and organizations on Facebook already using this feature, including Dane Cook, LIVESTRONG, The World Wildlife Fund, and the NBA, WNBA, and D-League.