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  • Twitter updates verification process after verifying Nazi

    Twitter landed itself in hot water last week after verifying a known US white supremacist -- and now it's trying (again) to allay criticisms of its complicity in the rise of global nationalism. Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon — Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2017 Twitter's first response was that it didn't realise verification status was being used as an...

  • 150k Russian Twitter accounts targeted Brexit referendum

    More than 150 000 Twitter accounts -- previously only tweeting about the conflict in Ukraine -- turned their focus to Brexit in the days leading up to the June 2016 vote, data scientists from Swansea University and the University of California, Berkeley have revealed. The researchers looked at accounts that tweeted in English, but had their language set to Russian. These accounts, which posted 1000 tweets a day before the vote, amped their activity up to 45 000 in the last two days, and 39 000 on the day of the election. It is unclear whether these accounts were pushing for...

  • Netflix survey suggests users are unashamed of watching in public

    The invention of the television pulled many people away from public cinemas and back into the privacy of their own homes. But now, as smartphones make it easier to watch movies and series anywhere you go, entertainment is finding itself once again moving out into the public sphere. Interested in the way its users were interacting with its content outside of their homes, Netflix surveyed over 37 000 users in 22 countries (unfortunately not including South Africa). It found that 67% of users were willing to watch content outside of their homes. These users are apparently so into their streaming that they...

  • #ZimbabweCoup: follow the developing ‘bloodless transition’ on Twitter

    #Zimbabwe, #ZimbabweCoup and "Mugabe" were all trending topics on Twitter across the world this morning. And there's no real surprise as to why. The country's president Robert Mugabe has been overthrown by the military, with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly instated as temporary leader. It's a rapidly moving story, changing from minute to minute. And that's probably why social media is your best bet for keeping abreast of the ever-breaking news. Below you'll find a number of accounts live-tweeting news and opinion, owned by politicians, parties and news organisations, with their bios below. ZANU PF (@ZANUPF_Official) The #Official #ZANUPF Twitter handle. #ZANUPF is a product of the Unity...

  • The five-minute story of Zimbabwe’s ‘bloodless transition’

    There are two words you're going to hear a lot today: Zimbabwe, and coup. According to numerous reports, Zimbabwe is now under the control of its military. President Robert Mugabe and the first family has been "detained". Last night the first family was detained and are safe, both for the constitution and the sanity of the nation this was necessary. Neither Zimbabwe nor ZANU are owned by Mugabe and his wife. Today begins a fresh new era and comrade Mnangagwa will help us achieve a better Zimbabwe. — ZANU PF (@zanu_pf) November 15, 2017 The latest wave of political upheaval comes after President...

  • Justice League movie review: idk it’s just good

    If you're a fan of DC comics, and have, like the rest of us, been disappointed by Zack Snyder's direction of the cinematic universe, then feel free to let go of that breath you were holding: Justice League is no Batman v Superman. It's narratively coherent, only two-hours long, includes believable plot points and characters you root for. Simply put, the film is thoroughly entertaining. In an attempt to catch up to Marvel's dominance of superhero cinema, DC has finally placed its winning team up to bat. For the first time in cinematic history, Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash...

  • Uber-rival Lyft goes international, expands to Toronto

    For the first time in its history, on-demand ride-hailing company Lyft will expand to a city beyond the United States. On Monday the firm announced plans to jump the northern border to Canada. It's first destination will be the country's largest city, Toronto. "We’ve been looking forward to taking our brand of ridesharing international for some time, and we’re super pumped to share this with our close friends up north," Lyft wrote in a statement. The company has partnered with other ride-hailing companies outside the US, namely China's DiDi Chuxing and India's Ola, but its name wasn't associated with that expansion. The move...

  • Smartcall launches SmartyFI WiFi vending across South Africa [Sponsored]

    Smartcall, market leaders in prepaid cellular services and products, has officially begun the roll out of SmartyFI -- a fully portable data hotspot and data vending solution. SmartyFI allows vending of data using WiFi at a margin for the owner (the vendor) of the SmartyFI device. The solution is portable as no fixed line internet is required to power SmartyFI (it is powered by cellular data) and allows the vendor an opportunity to create a data hotspot on-the-go where users can purchase data using small cash or coins. “As a SmartyFI mobile data vendor, you could walk into a park with...

  • Facebook Stories and Messenger Day are now the same thing

    Messenger Day -- the Facebook Messenger version of WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories -- is no more. Instead, the feature has been rehashed and renamed. No longer will Messenger Day be treated as a standalone feed. It will instead form part of Facebook Stories -- a Snapchat clone that already features on the base Facebook app. "Starting today, we are introducing a new experience called Stories, connecting Messenger Day and Facebook Stories," the company wrote on its Messenger page. "Any photos or videos you add to your Stories will appear on both Facebook and Messenger, and will be shared with the same...

  • ‘Writing the Daisies’: UCT’s exam tent has become an impromptu meme

    In the midst of student protests, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has confirmed that exams will go ahead as scheduled. But perhaps not in the venues previously decided. "The university management has had to take the extraordinary step of arranging an examination venue on the upper campus rugby field," the institution's registrar wrote in a statement. "It is a decision that has not been taken lightly. It was an outcome of an assessment of what arrangements would offer the best chance of conducting and successfully concluding the examination programme in the current circumstances of threats of disruption." The venue, pictured in...

  • When will Cape Town run out of water? This tool imagines the scenarios

    For the second week running, Cape Town's dam levels have fallen sharply. As summer draws nearer, the City continues to plead with residents to reduce consumption, as it juggles solutions to the crisis. But taking into account the City's current consumption rate, the dams' current storage levels, and the likelihood of augmentation schemes coming online in the new year, when will Cape Town likely run out of water? It's a multi-million rand question that UCT CSAG's "Big Six Monitor" allows users to imagine. Named after the six largest reservoirs in the Western Cape Water Supply System and created by CSAG's Piotr Wolski,...

  • Cape Town’s dam storage drops again to 36.8%

    Every one of Cape Town's largest dams, bar one, lost storage capacity over the past week, this according to the City of Cape Town's latest dam level report (pdf). This comes after dam levels fell from 38.5% to 37.8% a week ago. The second successive drop in the Western Cape Water Supply Scheme now puts Cape Town's dam storage at 36.8%. That's an overall loss of around nine-billion litres, or just over two-week's worth of water at our current consumption rate. A dam-by-dam breakdown paints an even bleaker picture. Image: City of Cape Town The Theewaterskloof Dam fell by 1.2% over the previous week,...

  • Amazon to produce ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV show

    Amazon has acquired the global television rights to adapt Lord of the Rings, based on the classic novels by JRR Tolkien, into multiple seasons. The series will not follow the beloved story of Frodo and his friends, but rather new storylines set in Middle Earth preceding The Fellowship of the Ring.  "Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings," said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. If all goes to plan, Amazon's deal will include the potential for spin-off shows. Peter Jackson's...

  • Uncovering the science behind the internet’s best viral video trends

    How often do you think about the sheer coincidence of your existence? The fact that that you were the sperm that reached the egg, that you were born to your specific family in that country in this time period? Your life is a mixture of very specific moments in history coming together to create right now. Ready to take that concept and make it less deep? The same is true for viral videos. And while we can't explain all of the random events that led to their existence, we can explain (or give educated guesses on) some of the science. So here's what...

  • Here’s what Twitter’s saying about the #FeesCommission report

    The long-awaited Fees Commission Report has finally be released -- albeit over 30-minutes later than advertised -- and Twitter has responded in earnest. After waiting years for the ANC government to take a firm stance on the possibility of free tertiary education, users not only crashed the official website, but also pushed #FeesCommission to top trending nationwide. The first issue on the table? The official document's (found here) 752 pages -- though a few have already offered sub-280 character summaries. Can the law students kindly read and then give us a summary. I practically got a headache just looking at so many words....