Social Media Newsfeed: Skype Surveillance | Facebook Questions for Pages

By Tim Sohn 

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SkypeNSA Docs Boast: Now We Can Wiretap Skype Video Calls (CNET)
Skype now has a backdoor that permits government surveillance of users’ video and audio calls, according to a new report in The Guardian. The report, based on leaked slides from the National Security Agency, appears to confirm growing suspicions about the popular video chat service — and indicates calls may be monitored as easily as an old-fashioned phone call. The Guardian Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept Web chats on the new portal. The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail. The New York Times The Guardian, which did not release the N.S.A. documents that it quoted, said that Microsoft had also provided the F.B.I. with access to its SkyDrive service, a cloud storage service with millions of users. Microsoft, according to The Guardian, also worked with the F.B.I. to study how Outlook allowed users to create email aliases, while Skype, now owned by Microsoft, worked with the government to help it collect both the video and audio of conversations. It also reported that information collected through the N.S.A. program code-named Prism was shared with both the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. VentureBeat “When we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request,” Microsoft said in a statement. “There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.” The Next Web If these allegations are true, Microsoft will have egg on its face after it denied participation in Prism. The program came to light thanks to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is currently in flight, fearful of prosecution over leaking state secrets.

Facebook Pulls Questions Tool For Pages (AllFacebook)
Facebook quietly pulled the plug on its questions tool for pages, but the feature is not completely dead yet. After several readers emailed AllFacebook to inquire about no longer having access to the questions tool, Facebook responded with the following statement: “We’re no longer offering questions as an advertising product, or as a tool for all pages on Facebook, but we’re exploring the value questions bring to pages that produce public content — like news organizations, for example …”

More Moves Abroad for Twitter’s Top Brass as Three Execs Head Overseas (AllThingsD)
Three of Twitter’s top execs are moving away from the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, charged with overseeing international offices across multiple countries. The changes, noted in the three executives’ Twitter profiles on Thursday, are likely an effort to continue building out the company’s international presence and leadership, while potentially grooming Twitter’s U.S.-based executives for eventual expanded roles within the organization.

Study: Twitter Rarely Beats News Outlets to Breaking News (SocialTimes)
In related news, Twitter advocates often claim that the social network breaks news faster than newswires. But a study conducted by researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow found that Twitter generally followed wire services, though it did beat them sometimes.

10 Mom Blogs Full of Inspiring Advice (Mashable)
Mommy bloggers reside in a very special corner of the Internet. This list selects some of the top mom bloggers today, in no particular order. They offer support, inspiration and tips that resemble a well-curated Pinterest board.

Heads Up, Marketers: Twitter Data Shows the Back-To-School Conversation Starts in July (AllTwitter)
Now that school’s out for the summer, it’s time for marketers to begin planning their back-to-school push. Especially since new data that Twitter shared on its advertising blog suggests the buzz around back-to-school shopping can begin as early as July.

Miranda July and Jonah Peretti on Reading Other People’s Email (T Magazine)
For her latest project, We Think Alone, the filmmaker, artist and author Miranda July took other people’s e-mail as her raw material. Earlier this month, she launched a service that compiles personal emails sent by noteworthy figures to other people in their lives.

What it Takes to Get Banned from BuzzFeed (The Daily Dot)
It’s not a knock on BuzzFeed’s writers to say that pretty much anybody can write a story there. But if you make fun of them — and you’re mean — you’re liable to get banned.

Vine for Android Gets Homescreen Shortcut for Instant Video Recording Plus iOS Features (TechCrunch)
Vine has brought its Android app up to speed with the iOS counterpart, adding revining, camera tools, channels and more, along with one more update that the iOS doesn’t have – a capture widget. The little homescreen widget immediately boots up the Vine video recording screen so you don’t miss the beginning of those sudden, sharable moments.