Messaging, commenting, blogging, sharing and “liking” now fill up 22 percent of all time spent online each month, according to Nielsen, a market research firm. Nielsen published statistics on Tuesday saying that people spend one in every four and a half minutes of their online time on a social network or blog. The study says that this is the first time social networks or blogs are “visited by three-quarters of global consumers who go online.” This number has also increased 24 percent since the same time last year. In addition, Web users spent almost six hours during the month of April on social sites, versus 3 hours, 30 minutes during April of last year. The most popular social brands online are Facebook and YouTube. In Brazil, the list includes Orkut, a social networking site owned by Google. Last week, comScore reported that Web users were watching 13 billion videos on YouTube a month. Facebook also said that its users were watching 2 billion videos each month. According to the Nielsen report, Facebook managed to steal the show in terms of global time spent online. Its nearly half a billion users spend six hours a month there. Facebook also proved to be the most popular social site in Italy. Two-thirds of Italian Web users visit the site each month. Brazil seems to be the most socially connected country, with 86 percent of its Web users visiting a social network for an average of five hours a month. And Australians spend the most time on social sites, racking up an average of 7 hours 20 minutes in April
Australian police have been asked to investigate internet giant Google over possible breaches of telecommunications privacy laws, the attorney general said on Sunday. The investigation follows complaints from members of the public about activities of Google employees while taking photographs for Google Maps, the search engine’s maps page. The “Street View” service has recently come under fire in several countries. The company has said it inadvertently picked up personal data from some unencrypted wi-fi services over several years. Google said on Sunday it would cooperate with the Australia police investigation. The probe comes amid a wave of criticism worldwide over collection of personal information by internet giants, including Google and Facebook
The Australian prime minister has been following porn sites online – all because of an inadvertent setting on his Twitter account. In addition to having his wife, Therese Rein, as a supporter, he has been accidentally following several seedy sites. These include a porn blogger, an online adult superstore and a handcuffed bare-breasted woman, in addition to dozens of dodgy accounts.
A spokesman for Mr Rudd has since admitted an Twitter automated programme made the prime minister’s account auto-follow those who followed him. “While the Kevin PM Team try to monitor the follow backs, with more than 900,000 followers this is a very large task,” the spokesman said. Although it normally requires a Twitter account holder to view another person’s profile before following, an option allows this to be done automatically.
This can be helpful for people with large followings – Mr Rudd follows around 200,000 Twitter users through his KevinRuddPM account. Industry experts warn that users should be aware that social media networks such as Twitter do have potentially dangerous implications.
“There seems to be an attitude with new media like Twitter that anyone can just get on and have a go without a problem,” Young Media Australia vice president Elizabeth Handsley told the Herald Sun newspaper. “We need to understand the platform and know how it works before using it safely – this is an example of that,” she added.
According to the paper, other profiles followed by the premier include sex show webcams and a gay resort in Thailand’s Phuket region. Mr Rudd has been a keen user of social media and has used Twitter to reveal new policies and even the impending wedding of his son.
Australia is to announce new rules which will force tobacco companies to use plain packaging, reports say. Manufacturers will be required to drop all colour and branding logos from cigarette packets within two years. The move, which is being billed as a world-first, comes after recommendations were made by the World Health Organisation. PM Kevin Rudd, who is to hold elections this year, aims to cut smoking-related deaths to under 10 percent by 2018. The decision is expected to be confirmed by Australia’s Health Minister, Nicola Roxon. Smoking kills 15,000 Australians every year and is the largest preventable cause of disease and death in the country. The law will require all tobacco products to be sold in a standard colour and style with government health warnings by 2012. It follows regulations on tobacco advertising which have helped cut smoking significantly, from 30.5 percent of the population aged 14 and over in 1988 to 16.6 percent in 2007. An Australian think-tank has said that the rules amounted to compulsory acquisition of physical property and warned that it could result in expensive compensation claims.
Australia’s Nine Network said it will be the first terrestrial broadcaster in the world to offer 3D programing, as it announced plans Tuesday to film and broadcast the annual National Rugby League State of Origin series to viewers in 3D, beginning in May. With the first game in the three-match series kicking off May 26, Nine will be ahead of other broadcasters worldwide who are planning to offer matches from the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in June and July in 3D. The State of Origin rugby league series is one of the highest-rated telecasts in the country each year. All three games in this year’s series will be broadcast in 3D. Nine has been planning the telecasts for some months with the assistance of local electronic goods retailer Harvey Norman, the NRL and the federal government. The government is providing digital terrestrial spectrum on a trial basis for the broadcasts. TV manufacturers started bringing 3D capable digital TVs into the country this month, but it’s expected that audiences for the initial broadcasts will be mainly in cinemas, pubs and clubs.
The United States has raised concerns with Australia about the impact of a proposed Internet filter that would place restrictions on Web content, an official said Monday. The concerns of Australia’s most important security ally further undermine plans that would make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among the world’s democracies. Internet giants Google and Yahoo have condemned the proposal as a heavy-handed measure that could restrict access to legal information. The plan needs the support of Parliament to become law later this year. Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says the filter would block access to sites that include child pornography, sexual violence and detailed instructions in crime or drug use. The list of banned sites could be constantly updated based on public complaints. If adopted into law, the screening system would make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among the world’s democracies. Conroy declined to comment on the U.S. concerns. Some critics of Australia’s filter have said it puts the nation in the same censorship league as China
An Australian government proposal for a mandatory web filter has been criticised by key internet players Google and Yahoo as a heavy-handed measure that could restrict access to legal information. The government says the aim of the filter is to block access to sites with material that include child pornography, sexual violence and “detailed instruction in crime”. But advocates of free information are concerned that compulsory screening could eventually grow to bar other controversial but otherwise legal material. The statements from Google and Yahoo were among 174 submissions sent to the Australian Department of Communications as part of a public consultation exercise on the proposed filter. Stephen Conroy, the Australian communications minister, said the views would be considered before the final draft goes to parliament later this year. Conroy has previously said he wants the filter introduced to bring the online world in line with censorship standards applied in Australia to material such as films, books and DVDs. The Australian plan was criticised earlier this month by media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which said the proposed filter would hurt free speech. As a result RST placed Australia on its list of countries under surveillance in its annual “Internet Enemies” report on online freedoms.