Facebook acquires FriendFeed


The two best websites for connecting with your friends have suddenly connected with each other. Facebook has acquired the life-streaming website FriendFeed, the companies announced Monday. The sites will both continue to operate independently for the time being until the companies can decide the best way to integrate their products.

The integration will be delicate work. While the two sites have much in common, there are several hurdles relating to privacy, feature redundancy and the big question of what to do with all that FriendFeed data that need to be overcome.

“The exact plan for how the integration is going to be handled is something we’re still discussing,” FriendFeed founder Paul Buchheit tells Webmonkey. “In the short term, nothing changes.”

Friendfeed and its API will both remain working normally until further notice, the company explained in a blog post Monday. Also, according to the official press release posted at Facebook, FriendFeed’s employees will join Facebook, and the site’s four founders will take on new roles within Facebook’s engineering and product teams.

At this point, details are slim. Both FriendFeed and Facebook folks have made it clear that the long-term plans for merging the products are still being ironed out.

Read the full story on the WebMonkey website.


ITV sells Friends Reunited for £25m


ITV has announced the sale of its Friends Reunited business as it reported a £105 million half-year loss. The broadcaster said it had agreed to sell the social networking site to DC Thomson, publisher of the Beano and the Dundee-based Courier, for £25 million.

ITV, which bought Friends Reunited for £120 million in 2005, said the deal was subject to approval by the competition authorities. DC Thomson said the acquisition of Friends Reunited would create Britain’s leading genealogy business by bringing together the Genes Reunited site and findmypast.com.

Friends Reunited, which has 20.6 million members, was launched in 2000. Genes Reunited was launched in 2003 and has 9 million members worldwide and over 500 million names listed. Friends Reunited has suffered in recent years as rival social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo and MySpace emerged on the scene.

ITV revealed that television advertising across the market suffered its worst year-on-year decline on record during the six months to June 30. The firm said its net television advertising revenue (NAR) fell by 15%, or £108 million, but said this was better than the overall market decline of 17%.

Read the full story on the Yahoo! News website.

Murdoch and Google eye Twitter


As the media world’s most powerful figures gather in Sun Valley, Idaho to discuss the state of the industry the topics are likely to range far and wide.

But aside from subjects like the economy and the influence of the internet, one question is likely to dominate conversations among the event’s moguls and millionaires: will anyone broker a deal to buy Twitter?

The hyped internet company’s chief executive, Evan Williams, is one of hundreds of faces attending the shindig – a high-profile but secretive event organised by investment group Allen & Co.

The fact that his fellow attendees reads like a Who’s Who of the internet industry – including Google boss Eric Schmidt, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, new AOL chief Tim Armstrong, and media magnates Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch – has lead some to speculate that an acquisition could be on the cards.

“Ev is going to be the belle of the ball,” Mark Pincus, founder of online games company Zynga told the Associated Press. Pincus, who will also be attending the conference, said that the web industry could have something to teach the rest of the crowd.

In the past Twitter – which has more than 30m users worldwide – has turned down offers from a variety of companies, including an approach from Facebook valued at $500m.

Other attendees of the conference include billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer, Vivendi chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy and Bob Iger, the president and CEO of Disney.

Read the full story on the The Guardian website.

Hackers launch attack on Facebook


Facebook has been working to clean up its site after its 200 million members were targeted by hackers. Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt wouldn’t comment on how many accounts had been hit but he did confirm it was blocking any that had been compromised.

The hackers used a common “phishing” scam to get hold of users’ passwords. After breaking in to people’s Facebook accounts they sent out emails to friends of members asking them to click on links to fake websites.

The sites are designed to look like legitimate pages from Facebook but have been set up and are controlled by the hackers. Then it’s a simple case of tricking users into handing over all sorts of details from passwords to e-mail addresses.

All of this is done with the overall aim of being able to provide lists of addresses which can then be targeted to help spread spam.

Read the full story on the BBC Newsbeat website.

Twitter can make you immoral


Social networks such as Twitter may blunt people’s sense of morality, claim brain scientists.

New evidence shows the digital torrent of information from networking sites could have long-term damaging effects on the emotional development of young people’s brains.

A study suggests rapid-fire news updates and instant social interaction are too fast for the ‘moral compass’ of the brain to process.

The danger is that heavy Twitters and Facebook users could become ‘indifferent to human suffering’ because they never get time to reflect and fully experience emotions about other people’s feelings.

US scientists from the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California (USC) say the brain can respond in fractions of seconds to signs of physical pain in others.

Read the full story on the Mail Online website.

10 more things we didn’t know


1010 things we didn’t know, from last weeks news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

Courtesy of BBC Magazine Monitor, your recommended daily allowance of news and culture.

  1. Sugar does not cause hyperactive behaviour.
  2. Oliver Twist was not hungry when he asked for more.
  3. Leonard Cohen’s original Hallelujah has more than 80 verses.
  4. Sneezing can be a sign of sexual arousal.
  5. It’s legal to serve legal papers by Facebook, in Australia.
  6. It’s a bad idea to put out a chip-pan fire with a wet tea towel.
  7. The world’s oldest singer and actor is 105.
  8. Some villages in Wales still don’t have mains electricity.
  9. Japan has its own version of the foot-measurement called the kanejaku.
  10. The average global temperature is about 0.7C above pre-industrial times.

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