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This Week in Social: Safety First and the Startup Manifesto

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Inevitably, the global growth of social media is accompanied by threats to private and sensitive data. These are made worse by failing to understand how the latest software update or algorithm may affect the way your personal information is handled online.

As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Staying on top of social media news helps us protect ourselves, on both the company and individual level. That’s one of the reasons we do this weekly roundup of the latest on the social web: so you, too, can be in the loop of news that affect you, whether you manage social media channels for your company at the office, or use it to connect with friends and coworkers on your personal account.

Latest from the Big 4

Every week Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ announce policy changes, updates, design tweaks, new features and other changes that can affect how you use their tools. Here are this week’s highlights:

LinkedIn rolls out new security tools

In light of recent discussions around the online safety of sensitive information, LinkedIn’s launch of three user-centric security tools couldn’t be more timely. After all, it’s one thing to leave your Facebook account vulnerable for joke status updates when you forget to log out; LinkedIn is where your professional network lives! To avoid this risk, users can now see where they are logged in to LinkedIn, and sign out of the unwanted sessions. The professional network also allows you to export your data archives, and monitor security-related changes such as new passwords.

Facebook launches Privacy Checkup

Online Safety Facebook Privacy Checkup

Facebook is not too far behind LinkedIn with an online safety tool of its own. Facebook announced a Privacy Checkup feature that prompts you to evaluate the privacy of your personal information and settings on the social network. The tool pops up on the user’s News Feed in form of a survey, and takes you through several areas of your profile: Sharing settings, Apps access, and personal information such as your place of work and residence. The option should be available to all Facebook users in the coming days.

Old font comes back to Twitter, exec says to expect experiments

Typeface enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief as the user darling Helvetica Neue returns as the main Twitter font. The announcement came in a Tweet from social network’s official account, citing speed and readability as the reasons for the change.

Twitter’s VP of Engineering wrote a post about the experiments users may periodically notice on their feeds. “Ultimately, our goal is to learn and keep making the product better; we aren’t necessarily looking to launch all of the experiments we roll out,” Alex Roetter writes. This also explains why we, along with all tech reporters, never skip Twitter in our weekly roundup of social media news.

Reddit launches a standalone AMA app

After years without official mobile software, Reddit makes a return to the iTunes store (with a later release on Google Play) with a new AMA app. AMA, or Ask Me Anything, is an essential part of the Reddit experience, where users can engage in open discussions with public figures, or other users with unique perspectives to share. This is a significant move for the popular Internet forum, as Reddit has avoided releasing mobile apps since a cool reception of the last release in 2011. The AMA app is a good place to start, as the event happens over a limited time, when not all interested users may have access to a desktop computer.

AMA

Next big thing

The social web is a dynamic landscape, with new players constantly shaking things up. Whether it’s a new class of Y Combinator startup stars announcing their big ideas, or a surprise venture capital investment in an app rumoured to be the next Snapchat, this industry moves fast.

Fitbay offers a fresh take on the changeroom selfie

Online shopping has been quietly replacing brick-and-mortar store trips for the consumers’ preferred activity, but one hurdle that has been in the way of total success for web-exclusive retailers is sizing. A Copenhagen-based startup Fitbay aims to curb the lengthy process of dealing with an ill-fitting item by pairing its users with “body doubles,” people with similar measurements wearing tagged clothing. All FitBay users are encouraged to post selfies wearing various clothing items, tag the retailers, and input their body measurements for better “body double” discoverability. If a user is eyeing an item online, they can do a search in Fitbay to see if anyone close to their size has bought the garment and photographed themselves in it.

Readyforce helps students explore job options

The first post-grad job is a source of anxiety for many college graduates, and the stakes of making the wrong choice seem higher than during any other job hunt. This sentiment, expressed by many students, lead to the creation of an “Explore Your Options” feature in Readyforce, a professional social network for students. CEO Alex Mooradigan told TechCrunch that many students end up taking job offers out of the fear that nothing comes up. The new feature attempts to remedy the situation by allowing companies to browse through those profiles whose owners have received job offers, and seeing if they can make a counter-offer—thus giving more choices to the job seeker.

Long Read: The Startup Manifesto

Over 150 startups and investors have endorsed the Startup Manifesto, a document published by the Coalition for a Digital Economy. The document outlines 24 ways in which the next UK government can make the country a leader in innovation. Those include financial encouragement for tech innovators, attracting talent outside of the European Union, and creation of a legal Bitcoin network. The 52-page document doesn’t just list demands; it also provides the legal and regulatory frameworks necessary for such changes to be implemented.

One of the notable proposals is the need to retrain professionals whose jobs have been made redundant by disruptive technology. This is seen as the healthier way to address a constantly shifting field of technological innovation, instead of protectively blocking innovation in fear that it may result in negative consequences for industry workers.

While this manifesto is UK-specific, it outlines the influence which a government has on technological innovation in the country—and it may cause professionals all over the world ponder on the digital environment in their own backyards.

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