Internet Rejoices as Reviled Pharma Kingpin Martin Shkreli Is Arrested
The Twitter masses are rarely, if ever, in agreement. Which is what makes today so momentous, for today is the day that Martin Shkreli, who may be the most hated man of 2015, was arrested. For this one day, the people of the Internet put aside their differences and celebrated.
Far be it for us to delight in another person’s misfortune, but when that person is Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical CEO who gained infamy for jacking up the price of a life-saving drug called Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet, we’re allowed a righteous snicker or two.
According to Bloomberg, Shkreli was arrested early this morning on suspicion of securities fraud, a charge that’s completely unrelated to the price-gouging scandal. The 32-year-old allegedly paid off debts from his time as a hedge fund manager with stock he obtained illegally from his company, Retrophin, which he founded prior to starting his most recent company, Turing Pharmaceuticals.
And yes, this also means that Shkreli probably had no business spending millions of dollars to buy that Wu-Tang album in the first place.
Shkreli has, himself, been active on Twitter since the price gouging scandal broke open, even trolling presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who have both spoken out against Shkreli on the campaign trail.
Now that he’s been arrested, the pharmaceutical CEO is, well, getting a taste of his own medicine.
Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus: https://t.co/MEzMQ8KlUh
— Adam Sternbergh (@sternbergh) December 17, 2015
Government warning: national schadenfreude reserves expected to run dry before the end of the week
— Dean Burnett (@garwboy) December 17, 2015
I love a little karma with my coffee in the morning. Martin Shkreli has been arrested for securities fraud. https://t.co/Pzdd5rvgHG
— Capt. Brooks Solo (@byobrooks) December 17, 2015
Martin Shkreli’s bail was going to be set at $500,000 but they raised it to $27,500,000 just for him.
— Kelsey D. Atherton (@AthertonKD) December 17, 2015
Martin Shkreli got arrested pic.twitter.com/vgBfOc0NqZ
— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) December 17, 2015
As excited as social media hecklers were, they also expressed concern—about the whereabouts, safety, and future of that rare Wu-Tang album.
martin shkreli arrested. now, it’s the government’s responsibility to seize his assets and share the wu tang album. https://t.co/UCGtVKeNIL
— zach sims (@zsims) December 17, 2015
so what becomes of that Wu Tang Cd? https://t.co/v2QxMAtPOp *snickers*
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) December 17, 2015
Re Shkreli: as was said on FB, so what if the police seized his assets and the Wu-Tang album ended up at an auction?
— Ned Raggett (@NedRaggett) December 17, 2015
Shkreli may be a pretty universally reviled person, but we have to say, we’re kind of grateful for his rise and fall. After a year of incessant in-fighting on Twitter, a detestable ripoff artist has, somehow, brought us all together. A holiday miracle, indeed.
Twitter has decided to make one if its experimental features available to all. Over the next few days, users will begin to see the option to add a poll to their tweets, letting them quantify their social media spats like never before. Polls remain live for 24 hours, and all votes will remain secret.
The company made the feature official in a tweet, though curiously forewent the opportunity to poll its followers as to whether they would use the new polls or not. That may not ultimately matter, though; poll creation seem destined to help drive brand engagement more than individual accounts. “For poll creators, it’s a new way to engage with Twitter’s massive audience and understand exactly what people think,” writes Twitter project manager Todd Sherman in an accompanying blog post announcement this morning. “For those participating, it’s a very easy way to make your voice heard.” The audience Sherman refers to, of course, is only as massive as your follower count, give or take a few retweets, meaning Justin Bieber should be able to work a poll far more effectively than a Twitter civilian.
— Twitter (@twitter) October 21, 2015
Further limiting the potential audience, for now at least, is that Twitter polls only appear in the official Twitter app or on the desktop. Users of Tweetdeck, or third-party Twitter apps, will simply see the question posed, without the option to tap their preferred response.
Polls joins other recent Twitter initiatives like Moments, which lets users follow specific events through a curated collection of tweets, and removing the character limit on Direct Messages, give it an entrenchment in the messaging wars. If Jack Dorsey’s first few months as interim-cum-permanent CEO are any indication, Twitter’s going to see plenty more experimentation to come.
Instagram is killing it, and it wants you to know so. The social network just said it now has 400 million people posting carefully plated food and pristine landscapes to its service every month.
The milestone announced in a blog post on Instagram’s site shows a five-year-old social network that continues to luxuriate in reliably steady growth. What’s more, the Facebook-owned company said more than 75 percent of those Instagrammers live outside the US; among its last 100 million members to join, more than half live in Europe and Asia. Instagram highlighted David Beckham from the UK, Indonesia’s Raffi and Nagita, German soccer player Toni Kroos and South Korea’s T.O.P. as some of the more noteworthy new non-US members.
The company also reports more than 80 million Instagrams, which altogether enjoy 3.5 billion daily likes. In total, more than 40 billion photos have been shared on its site.
To be sure, 400 million users is a nice, round number to publicize, especially with Ad Week right around the corner. It also shows the company is still doing much better than Twitter, which has 316 million monthly active users and is still going through a rocky phase as it struggles to find a permanent CEO. Instagram is also outpacing digital scrapbooking site Pinterest, which recently hit 100 million users.
But the news of Instagram’s success is not altogether surprising. The company’s enjoyed a few major coups lately, including snagging the first surface image of Pluto, and it’s announced a couple of well-received features, such as support for landscape and portrait formats, as well as an all-new search and explore function.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Turns out they’re also worth millions of users.
A million users visiting the same Internet service on the same day. This isn’t all that cool. You know what’s cool? A billion users on the same service on the same day.
And now it’s been done. So says Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg says one billion—yes, ONE BILLION—users signed onto Facebook on Monday. While the company claims around 1.5 billion monthly users of its service, this is the first time that many of them have clocked in on the same day:
And, in a video narrated by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the company celebrates the news.
So, congratulations to you, Facebook. Now, if you could only do something about auto-play video…
Facebook says it will give video creators and publishers a way to remove copyrighted videos that have been uploaded to its popular social network without the proper permission.
The company has come under fire from video creators, like YouTube star Hank Green, for allowing users to embed and post videos on the site, even if the content doesn’t belong to them. But this may soon change.
Facebook responded to such concerns in a blog post today, saying that it will soon be testing a “new video matching technology,” allowing video partners to check whether their content has been uploaded without their consent.
“This technology is tailored to our platform, and will allow these creators to identify matches of their videos on Facebook across Pages, profiles, groups, and geographies,” the company explained in the post. “Our matching tool will evaluate millions of video uploads quickly and accurately, and when matches are surfaced, publishers will be able to report them to us for removal.”
During its testing period, the service will be available to several media companies, multi-channel networks, and individual video creators, Facebook says. But it plans to make the tech available to more partners in the future.
The tech sounds a whole lot like what YouTube uses to keep copyright owners happy. Developed in 2007, YouTube’s system, called Content ID, allows creators to discover when any audio or video content they own is uploaded without their consent. When that happens, users can then choose to have it removed, monitored, or monetized by ads placed by YouTube.
In its post, Facebook does not mention any plans for monetization of its videos. But a matching system like Content ID seems like an obvious, and necessary, first step. Video, after all, has become an increasingly important part of Facebook’s News Feed. Earlier this year, the company said that it serves up four billion views a day.
But to keep video creators happy, and willingly uploading their best content, the company will need to reassure them that it won’t be stolen. And as the battle between Facebook and YouTube heats up over those very creators, and the much-desired video ad dollars they bring along, this will likely only be the first step in creating a more conducive environment for video creators, and advertisers, alike.
Investors who bought into Twitter’s public debut officially dipped underwater today. On Thursday, for the first time, shares of the embattled social media company dropped below $26—the pricing set during the company’s November 2013 initial public offering. The stock recovered slightly to close at exactly $26—a nearly six percent drop—leaving those first investors at break-even. (The stock peaked just after Christmas 2013 at more than $73.)
The decline in Twitter’s stock price began around three weeks ago following the release of the company’s second-quarter earnings. During a call with analysts, Twitter executives acknowledged that the challenge in attracting new users is that Twitter remains “too difficult to use.” Though the company boasts 316 million monthly active users, the platform has yet to extend beyond its niche user base of journalists, celebrities, and other “influencers” to truly reach the mass market.
Twitter’s board has also struggled in its search for a new CEO. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has taken over in the interim, but it’s uncertain whether even he is still in the running for permanent CEO. (Dorsey also serves as CEO of Square, the mobile payments company he co-founded in 2009.)
During the earnings call, Twitter’s chief financial officer, Anthony Noto, called for patience. But now it seems Wall Street’s patience has run out.
Are you a “haha,” “hehe,” or “lol” person? Typically I’m an “lol” girl who mashes her keyboard with “HAHAHAHhahajakakjahaahkajkjjsdhfkajdsfk” to convey real, body-quaking laughter. If you thought your preference for online laughter was meaningless, think again. According to a post from the Facebook research team, “e-laughing is evolving” and the social network has been analyzing the data we use in its platform since the end of May. (Definitely hit the link for the deep dive; it’s a fascinating study.)
To likely no one’s surprise, the most common expression of e-laughing is “haha” followed by emoji. Facebook goes deeper yet into the nuances of who uses what sort of online laugh:
Age, gender and geographic location play a role in laughter type and length: young people and women prefer emoji, whereas men prefer longer hehes. People in Chicago and New York prefer emoji, while Seattle and San Francisco prefer hahas.
Most people stick with one type of e-laugh, while about 20 percent will switch between two. And while “haha” and “hehe” or even “hahaha” and “hahahahahahaha” and “hahahahhhhahahahaha” (a misspelled, elongated “haha” that most of us might interpret as “this is so funny I don’t care that these letters are in the wrong order”) might seem like they belong in the same category, there are subtle inferences to make about them each.
The six letter hahaha is also very common, and in general, the hahaers use longer laughter. The hahaers are also slightly more open than the hehe-ers to using odd number of letters, and we do see the occasional hahaas and hhhhaaahhhaas. The lol almost always stands by itself, though some rare specimens of lolz and loll were found. A single emoji is used 50% of the time, and it’s quite rare to see people use more than 5 identical consecutive emoji. Perhaps emoji offer a concise way to convey various forms of laughter?
If you’re a visual learner, thankfully Facebook broke out all the graphs and charts to illustrate how we laugh online.
Today, you can watch life in the West Bank unfolding live on Snapchat in the app’s Live Story feature. After the social-media app highlighted sea-side Israeli city Tel Aviv in a Live Story earlier in the week, Palestinians and others on social media petitioned Snapchat to also do a live-stream of life on the other side of the checkpoints.
— ForeverEating ~ (@Aishjayx3) July 9, 2015
The guy in the tweet above has been dancing from Ramallah all morning, much to my delight. I just returned from a short trip to Jerusalem and my biggest regret was that I was not able to visit the West Bank while I was there—the closest I got was reading beautiful Palestinian poetry in a bookshop in East Jerusalem. After learning about #WestBankLive on Twitter this morning, I signed up for Snapchat (I know, I’m late!) just to get a glimpse of life in a part of the world we in the US hear so much about but rarely see inside. The feed looping right now shows everything from the Bethlehem check point with Israel to delicious traditional foods and clothing to the four lions at the center of Ramallah’s main square. It will update throughout the day.
After today, like all Snapchats, the West Bank feed will self destruct.