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By Jay Bonggolto
Twitter seems to be surveying users about potential features for its subscription model
by Jay Bonggolto
Last month, Twitter posted a job listing as part of its search for a software engineer for its new team, codenamed Gryphon, which would be responsible for developing a subscription platform. Now, Twitter appears to be advancing its push for a subscription model.
The micro-blogging site is said to have started a survey asking users what features they would want to see in a paid service. The poll comes more than a week after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed that his company was exploring the idea of subscription options for users. Screenshots of the new survey have been shared on Twitter by reporter Andrew Roth.
In the survey, the company presents a number of capabilities that it may be considering adding to its paid tiers, such as the ability to undo tweets shortly after they are posted and customize the font or theme colors on mobile devices and desktops. Potential premium features also include the option to post longer videos with a higher resolution than normal and auto responses in reply to tweets. Survey participants are asked to rate the suggested features based on their importance.
Twitter also appears to be gauging whether users would like to pay for an option to see fewer ads or remove these completely. In addition, the social networking site seems to be concerned about how users might react to a subscription model as it will limit some of its features to paying members.
Dorsey recently disclosed that Twitter was in an early stage of exploring new ways to monetize its platform. Time will tell whether any or all of the features listed in its latest survey will make it to a public release.
Facebook hopes to shine a light on true COVID-19 case numbers
by Paul Hill
Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook will release an opt-in survey for users all around the world in a bid to figure out how many coronavirus cases each country really has. The official number of cases published on tracking websites only reveals confirmed cases but in many countries, there are just not enough tests to test everyone.
The survey is already available in the United States where Facebook has partnered with health researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The survey asks people if they have any symptoms including fevers, coughs, shortness of breath or a loss of smell – symptoms that are all associated with COVID-19. It said the millions of results it has had so far are promising and correlate with publicly available data on confirmed cases.
In order to make its data even more useful, the team at Carnegie Mellon is building an API which will let researchers access the results and develop applications using the data. In order to serve people outside the U.S., Facebook will be working with the University of Maryland.
In the United Kingdom and the United States, the health firm ZOE has been developing an app called COVID-19 Symptom Tracker with various educational institutions over the last few months. In the UK, it uses data to build maps showing coronavirus hotspots and was the project which revealed that a loss of smell and taste were stronger indicators that a person had COVID-19 than having a fever. While this project will remain relevant, it does not have the reach that Facebook’s tracker will have.
By Steven P.
Less than three percent of people would use Facebook Libra cryptocurrency
by Steven Parker
According to a survey conducted by messaging app Viber, which by the way is direct competition to Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Viber asked 2,000 participants from the U.S. and UK if they would trust Facebook to keep their information secure when using its new crypto payment service, Libra which launches next year. Nearly half of all Americans (49%) say they would not trust Facebook at all, and barely 3% of Americans say they would be willing to try Libra for payments.
Over in the UK, only 1.4 percent of Brits would consider trying Libra, while 49% also said they did not trust Facebook at all to keep their information secure. In addition, 13.9 percent of Americans and 16.6 percent of Brits said that they definitely wouldn't use Libra for payments.
When the survey results are broken down by gender, women are much less likely to trust Facebook, with only 1.8 percent of women from the US willing to try Libra for payments, compared to 3.2 percent of men. In the UK, only 1.7 percent of men were willing to try Libra for payments, while even less women at 1.1 percent were willing to use the currency.
Gen Z users are the most likely to try the Libra cryptocurrency at 2.7 percent, while they were also the most trusting in that they also agreed that Facebook would keep their info secure at only 4.1 percent. In the UK though, this position is reversed, with zero percent of Generation Z willing to try Libra payments, while 1.5 percent of baby boomers, and 2.1 percent of Millennials would.
The results are hardly surprising given the widely reported scandal on Cambridge Analytica where it became clear that Facebook sold data on its users. Facebook are facing a fine north of $100 million from the to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the privacy breaches, while the UK's Information Commissioner’s Office levied a fine of £500,000 on the company in relation to its privacy violations last October.
You can read the full Viber report here, but it's clear that Facebook has a long way to go in winning back the trust of its users and even whole countries, with France questioning the currency, as well as Japan and China conducting its own investigations, among others.
Source: Viber via BetaNews
By Ruel Revales
Instagram eclipses Snapchat as the most-used app among American teens, according to survey
by Ruel Revales
Instagram's Stories feature surpassed Snapchat in terms of daily usage in August last year. Today, the multimedia messaging app might be in for another blow to its stats as a new survey conducted by investment banking firm Piper Jaffray has revealed that Instagram has gained a lead over Snapchat as the most-used social networking application among teenagers in the U.S.
According to the company's 36th semi-annual "Taking Stock With Teens" report, which polled 8,600 teens aged 16 on an average across 48 states, 85% of teens said they use Instagram at least once every month while 84% stated that they use Snapchat on the same frequency. It is worth noting that this is the first time the Facebook-owned service has eclipsed its closest rival in that respect since the spring of 2016, based on Piper Jaffray's surveys.
Even so, Snapchat continues to be the most favorite social media platform among teenagers, with 46% of them choosing the service, in comparison to 32% picking Instagram. While both platforms remain two of the most-used applications among American teens, Twitter and Facebook are trailing behind.
Source: Piper Jaffray via Yahoo Finance
Apple is asking for direct feedback on key features from iMac Pro buyers
by Sharath Ravishankar
If you're an iMac Pro user, you should be receiving a survey from Apple asking you about your use of the various features that accompany the device on the hardware front.
The survey includes questions about which of its features you use most, asking users to pinpoint the ones that could use some improvement and the ones that they already find themselves pleased with. It would appear that through some of the questions - namely, the ones that question users over their decision to buy their iMac Pro over other Macs and PCs - Apple is trying to gain a better understanding of the demographic it is catering to.
Given Apple has a dedicated "Pro-Workflow Team" tasked with tailoring its computers for professional users, it is possible that this very team is responsible for the survey's circulation.
One could also infer that Apple is trying to not repeat the mistakes it made with its original trashcan-esque Mac Pro, a product that Craig Federighi himself admitted could have been a lot better designed for its target market of power-users. A new Mac Pro is in the works for a reported 2019 release, and Apple is perhaps also attempting to better distinguish this upcoming device from the iMac Pro through the questions it has asked here.
Source: a f waller (Twitter) via MacRumors | Image via Apple