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Social Networking

December 16, 2010 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
Who knew 140 characters could be worth so much? Twitter Inc., the social networking sensation, raised $200 million from investors Wednesday. That placed the value of the San Francisco Internet company at $3.7 billion, nearly four times its valuation a year ago. Gartner Inc. analyst Ray Valdes said the valuation reflects rising investor interest in hot Internet companies. "The valuation is not outlandish," Valdes said. "It reflects their growth and the time we are in. " Twitter, one of the Web's most popular social networks and increasingly a pop culture phenomenon, lets users send 140-character messages, or tweets, to followers.
November 7, 2007 | Jessica Guynn, Times Staff Writer
Facebook Inc. wants to turn the members of its popular online hangout into champions of the brands that advertise there. Trying to mine its commercial potential, the social networking site Tuesday unveiled an advertising strategy that piggybacks on one of its most powerful features: the news feed, which shows users a streaming list of what their friends are doing. Facebook hopes the news feed also will help users promote its advertisers.
February 11, 2010 | By Ben Fritz and Jessica Guynn
In the latest blow to what was once the jewel of News Corp.'s digital empire, MySpace Chief Executive Owen Van Natta unexpectedly exited Wednesday after less than 10 months on the job. Van Natta's departure comes as the media conglomerate struggles to reshape MySpace, a former giant in social networking that has been overtaken by Facebook and confronts new challengers such as Twitter. MySpace's rapid decline also illustrates the perils of placing big bets on digital media, where websites can quickly rise and fall by the mouse clicks of fickle users.
March 26, 2010 | By Jenn Garbee
After unpacking takeout from a nearby diner, Eileen Funke knocks on the glass doors of several group work spaces flanking the communal lounge at the Writers Junction, a membership-based office that opened recently in Santa Monica. "Lunch is here," announces Funke, whose self-appointed duties as co-owner and general manager include orchestrating occasional group lunches. Poet Ashaki Jackson emerges from one of the designated "quiet" rooms, where talking and cellphones are not permitted, and settles into the dining chair next to Funke and Alyss Dixson, a former Paramount Pictures production vice president-turned-novelist.
January 12, 2011 | Dawn C. Chmielewski and Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
Rupert Murdoch, the head of media giant News Corp., was brimming with confidence when his firm's Myspace was the reigning social networking site three years ago, noting it was "not just looking up friends," as rival Facebook was doing. Now Myspace could use some friends. Hobbled by dramatic declines in advertising revenue and monthly visitors, Myspace announced a sweeping restructuring Tuesday that will result in the loss of 500 jobs worldwide, or about 47% of the workforce at the Beverly Hills company.
February 3, 2012 | David Lazarus
Welcome to the post-privacy era. What's most striking about Facebook's initial public offering isn't that it values the 8-year-old company at up to $100 billion, or that this will be the biggest-ever IPO for an Internet firm. What's most striking is that Facebook is serving up to investors the prospect of 845 million users (read: consumers) worldwide being a captive market for businesses looking to sell them stuff. And in a twist that would have been unimaginable before social media took the Net by storm, we've become willing partners in the devaluing of our privacy.
May 27, 2011 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
Facebook Inc. fired back at a New York pellet salesman who claims he's entitled to part of Mark Zuckerberg's stake in Facebook. In a court filing, the Palo Alto company alleges that Paul Ceglia doctored a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg that he says entitles him to as much as half of Zuckerberg's stake in Facebook. Last month, Ceglia filed an amended complaint in U.S. District Court in Buffalo, N.Y., that included excerpts from alleged email exchanges between him and Zuckerberg that he said supported his claim.
May 11, 2012 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - California is one step closer to becoming one of the first states to ban companies from asking job seekers and workers for their user names and passwords on Facebook and other social networking websites. The state Assembly on Thursday passed a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose) that would make anything workers designate as private on social networks off-limits to employers. The bill, which passed the Assembly without a dissenting vote, now goes to the California Senate.
May 22, 2010 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
Facing growing protests over its handling of users' personal information, Facebook plans to make changes to the privacy settings available on the world's largest social networking website. But the steps, to be unveiled as early as next week, may not go as far as critics would like. Lawmakers, regulators, privacy watchdogs and some Facebook users have unleashed a storm of criticism of the Internet company since it launched a program that shares user data with three third-party websites.
June 20, 2012 | By Jessica Guynn and Michelle Maltais, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - It's every parent's worst nightmare: Three adults pretending to be teenagers contacted kids on the mobile social networking app Skout and sexually assaulted them in three separate incidents, police say. Skout Inc. shut down its forum for 13- to-17-year-olds last week and assigned a team of security specialists to determine whether it can make the app safe for teens. If not, the San Francisco company plans to close that forum for good. The alleged assaults on two girls, ages 12 and 15, and on a 13-year-old boy underscore how tough it can be to keep kids safe on a new generation of mobile apps.
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