Don't be a Twit and be careful about what you TWEET, and what users should know about the Wonderful and not so Wonderful World of Facebook.
Prosecutors don't have to get a warrant to subpoena your tweets, even if you delete them, because they're public information owned by a third party, a New York judge ruled on Monday. But the lawyer for the Occupy Wall Street protester trying to block a subpoena says the judge mixed up his metaphors in the ruling. Malcolm Harris, who's been fighting a subpoena of his Twitter account, faces as many as 15 days in jail for disorderly conduct after his arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge last November.
In his decision Monday, Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. wrote that there was no precedent in New Yorkfor an order to quash a subpoena to a "third-party online social networking service seeking to obtain the defendant’s user information and postings." But he wrote that "an analogy may be drawn to the bank record cases where courts have consistently held that an individual has no right to challenge a subpoena issued against the third-party bank." Sciarrino ruled that Harris couldn't quash the subpoena, but he didn't necessarily rule that the tweets or other information would be admissible as evidence.
A different kind of 'update'
Facebook has revised its terms after users complained that it could be misconstrued as an excuse for censorship, resulting in the social networking site reopening the consultation into other changes made to those conditions.
Users sent in their concerns over the suggested amendments to Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities in the midst of a consultation period run in March, with the site revealing on Friday that it would open up another comment session until 27 April for any proposed changes.
"Based on your feedback during the recent comment period for our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), we have decided to revise some proposed changes [PDF] and further explain many others. We are also re-opening our comment period," Facebook stated on their governance page, the only place where users can find out about any changes made to its terms.
Facebook also took into account the fact that several users had asked whether the social network would censor activities undertaken by activists or other users.
In the amendment Facebook filed Monday to its S-1 SEC filing, some of the best information about the company is embedded in the infographics it used to illustrate its points. They show a company that's booming, with rampant growth of users and revenue, but they also show a behemoth that's saturated much of the globe save for one glaringly dark patch where China sits.
There was the big blue box at the top of the filing, with news that the company had hit 901 million active monthly users, 3.2 billion likes and comments per day, 300 million photos updated per day, and 125 billion friendships. Last we heard these metrics, around Feb. 1, it was 845 active monthly users, 2.7 billion likes and comments, 250 million photos per day, and 100 billion friendships. So you know, progress. But those big blue and white numbers don't capture the imagination nearly as much as the above map.
Look at the mass of darkness where China is located, the stark border of Russia, the largely un-Facebook penetrated Africa, and the bright slash of Indonesia (at one point, Indonesian became the most-used Asian language on Facebook). That dislocation between population and Facebook users bears out some of the projections the company follows with in its filing, in particular its expansion plans: The first point in its "strategy" rundown reads as follows:
Expand Our Global User Community. We continue to focus on growing our user base across all geographies, including relatively less-penetrated, large markets such as Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. We intend to grow our user base by continuing our marketing and user acquisition efforts and enhancing our products, including mobile apps, in order to make Facebook more accessible and useful.
Bhatia also expressed concern about the increasing number of Zynga shares being released onto the open market. Less than 30 days ago, the number of Zynga shares available to the public was around 100 million, but that is expected to hit 800 million by mid-August, Bhatia said.
The increase is mainly due to insider selling as the lock-up period following the company's public debut in December expires, he said.
"We expect continued pressure on the stock, especially given our belief the company's growth is slowing," he said.
A company spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
THE BIG PICTURE: Zynga makes popular Facebook games such as "Mafia Wars" and "Cityville." It shares revenue made on small in-game purchases with Facebook, but it is trying to get people to also play on its website, Zynga.com, where it won't have to face such a fee.
THE ANALYSIS: Bhatia has an "underperform" rating on the stock and a price target of $7.
SHARE ACTION: Zynga shares dropped 46 cents, or 5 percent, at $8.75 in afternoon trading, after earlier trading down as much as 6.9 percent. The stock has been on a volatile ride since its initial public offering at $10 in December, falling to $8 in January but hitting a peak closing price of $14.69 in early March. The company reports its first-quarter earnings on Thursday.
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