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MySpace Plans Gaming Push, Allows Devs to Launch Games

100°
261w ago - News Corp's latest strategy to turn MySpace into a cool place to be at again is to turn it into a videogame platform.

MySpace will attempt to expand as well as allow developers to launch their products on the site.

To quote: News Corp's latest [Register or Login to view links] to make MySpace into a go-to destination for Web surfers is to turn it into a gaming platform, according to News Corp digital head Jonathan Miller.

Miller told the Fortune Brainstorm: TECH conference in Pasadena, California that he wanted to expand the site's videogame platform and offer developers the ability to launch their products on the site and mine user data to develop better games.

"None of the traditional media conglomerates are also significant video game players, so to speak, and I think that that's the missing piece of the equation, particularly when you see how much time is spent playing games online," Miller said.
 

Facebook sees decline in users

50°
336w ago - Social networking site Facebook has seen its first drop in UK users in January, new industry data indicates.

Users fell 5% to 8.5 million in January from 8.9 million in December, according to data from Nielsen Online.

This was the first drop in user numbers since July 2006 when Nielsen began compiling data on the site.

Nic Howell, deputy editor of industry magazine New Media Age, said the site was no longer as popular among its core audience of young people.

"Social networking is as much about who isn't on the site as who is - when Tory MPs and major corporations start profiles on Facebook, its brand is devalued, driving its core user base into the arms of newer and more credible alternatives," he said.

Plateau

Facebook, along with its main rivals Bebo and MySpace, lets users set up personal web pages and communicate with each other.

Alex Burmaster, European internet analyst at Nielsen Online, said that it was inevitable that the site's early growth rates could not be sustained and user numbers were likely to plateau.

Nielsen's figures showed that there are 712% more Facebook users than a year ago.

"Just as one swallow doesn't make a summer, so one month of falling audiences doesn't spell the decline of Facebook...
 

Cyber thieves target social sites

50°
343w ago - It is not just the average net user who is a fan of social network sites, so are hi-tech criminals.

So say security professionals predicting what net criminals will turn to in 2008 to catch people out.

The quasi-intimate nature of the sites makes people share information readily leaving them open to all kinds of other attacks, warn security firms.

Detailed information gathered via the sites will also help tune spam runs or make phishing e-mail more convincing.

Friendly faces

There was no doubt that 2007 was the year that sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Orkut rose to prominence as millions of people signed up to use them and started posting information about themselves and what they were up to.

But in 2008 these sites will become an attack vector for the hi-tech gangs who are now behind the vast majority of cyber crime.

Mary Landesman, senior security researcher at ScanSafe, said social sites would prove popular for two reasons.

"The technologies that play there and the third party add-ons make it an environment that is susceptible to compromise," said Ms Landesman.

Already at the end of 2007 Brazilian users of Google's Orkut were subject to an attack by a worm that tried to steal bank account details. The malicious...
 

Hi-tech tools divide social sites

50°
345w ago - Social network sites are moving to make it much easier for software developers to write add-ons for the hugely popular web destinations.

Bebo, Facebook, Meebo and Friendster have unveiled plans to help them become more than places to keep in touch.

The add-ons will allow users to add extras, such as video and music clips, to the personal profiles they maintain.

The alliances behind the technologies also reveal the fierce competition between social sites for users.

Tough choices

In one of the broader announcements Bebo unveiled its Open Application platform which will produce a set of common interfaces that developers can use to create programs and applications that will work with the social network site.

At the launch Bebo unveiled partnerships with more than 40 developers, including NBC Universal, Flixster and Gap. A sample application produced using the tools allows Beboers to create an interactive avatar that models Gap clothes.

Significantly, Bebo's interface tools will work with Facebook's already announced development system. This will make it possible for the many developers who have written applications for Facebook to use their code almost unchanged for the Bebo network.

Despite the tie-up on tools, Bebo and Facebook will...
 

Young warned over social websites

50°
349w ago - Millions of young people could damage their future careers with the details about themselves they post on social networking websites, a watchdog warns.

The Information Commissioner's Office found more than half of those asked made most of their information public.

Some 71% of 2,000 14 to 21-year-olds said they would not want colleges or employers to do a web search on them before they had removed some material.

The commission said the young needed to be aware of their electronic footprint.

Vetting tool

The ICO also said young people could be putting themselves at risk of identity fraud because of the material they post on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.

The data regulator's survey found that two thirds of those questioned accepted as friends on such websites people they did not even know.

Some 60% posted their date of birth, a quarter put their job title and almost one in 10 gave their home address.

ICO deputy commissioner David Smith said: "Many young people are posting content online without thinking about the electronic footprint they leave behind.

"The cost to a person's future can be very high if something undesirable is found by the increasing number of education institutions and employers using...
 
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