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Facebook Goes to Work

Facebook is developing a specialized social network for employees to communicate with one another in the workplace. Facebook at Work would allow users to maintain a personal profile and a work profile. Facebook has not commented on the project, which would compete with other established business-messaging products including Salesforce Chatter, Google Docs, Box, and Dropbox as well as LinkedIn, which is the largest professional social media network with roughly 332 million users worldwide. Facebook has about 1.35 billion monthly active users. Observers say it may be helpful, but its use may cause issues such as the unintended release of sensitive corporate information. (CNN Money)(WIRED)(BBC)

Russia Creating Wikipedia Alternative

The Russian Federation is preparing its own version of Wikipedia to provide detailed information to users about the nation. Wikipedia “does not have enough detailed and reliable information about Russian regions and the life of the country,” according to the Russian Presidential Library, which is working on the project with organizations including the Russian Library Association. The site will also serve as a virtual museum of regional development and host other resources. This comes as the Russian government has made various moves to control Internet access, including forced registration of bloggers with 3,000 or more readers per day. (BBC)(The Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library)

 

UK Government Tasks ISPs with Terrorism Reporting

The UK government is asking the nation’s major ISPs to help “tackle online extremism.” Although no specific agreements have yet been made, the ISPs will provide stronger filtering and a “public reporting button” for reporting terrorism materials, according to the BBC. The filtering would reportedly be similar to that which is currently used to filter pornography or gambling websites at a network level. Officials say this could be a problem as some extremist groups use popular social networks such as YouTube or Twitter. The Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit has been charged with removing terrorism-related material from various websites, including 34,000 pieces of content in the past year. It is now taking down one terrorist-related posting every 10 minutes, or about 5,000 per week. Downing Street is continuing negotiations on the matter with ISPs including Virgin, Sky, BT, and Talk Talk. (BBC)(The Telegraph)

Hachette and Amazon Strike Multi-Year e-Book Deal

After months of intense and bitter negotiations, Hachette Book Group and Amazon reached a multi-year agreement regarding US-based e-book and print sales. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, much of the contention revolved around the setting of prices. Hachette’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Pietsch stated that the deal “gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of (their) most important bookselling partners.” When negotiations originally stalled, Amazon removed pre-orders for Hachette books and delayed delivery of Hachette titles, which prompted affected writers to form Authors United. Forrester Research principal analyst James McQuivey told Reuters that neither side won. “They both lost precious months in participating in important book promotions. In the end, they agreed to terms they probably would have earlier.” Hachette is the fourth-largest book publisher in the US. The terms of the contract will be effective in early 2015. (Geek Wire)(Reuters)

Google Mystery Barges Scuppered After Coast Guard Calls Them Fire Traps

Google was found to be creating two four-story floating structures in San Francisco and Portland, Maine that were scrapped before they could be used as a showcase for the company’s products. The reason behind the end of the project has been as mysterious as the barges’ origins. Now, it’s been disclosed that the US Coast Guard deemed the barges fire hazards, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reported that one e-mail stated: “These vessels will have over 5,000 gallons of fuel on the main deck and a substantial amount of combustible material on board.” Google had not been able to adequately address the safety issues based on the expected number of visitors per day Construction was halted in October 2013. (Mashable)(The Wall Street Journal)

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