Digital Marketing News Update – Facebook Phone, Social Network Privacy and Apples Gay Rights


Launch of the new “Facebook phone”

INQs new Cloud Touch is set to be released soon and reviews are starting to pile up. It’s pegged as THE mobile for Facebook users but also comes with a whole host of other features. As well as having all of the regular functions you’d expect from a mobile, the entire design has been worked around the user’s interaction with Facebook in some very clever ways. To start with the handset’s home screen icons are all Facebook categories so you can jump straight to news feeds or send a message without having to open and download an app. Your friend’s area can be customised to give you updates only from your favourite people rather than having to see endless updates from people you only have a mildly tenuous link with and were only added to boost your friend numbers. Yes we all have them. The phone comes with a 5.0 megapixel camera which takes good quality images and includes auto-focus and geo-tagging and the high quality screen makes browsing images and video more enjoyable than some other android phones. They’ve also taken the predictive text to the next level with a predictive word function which claims to reduce key strokes by up to 50%. And of course the user can make use of the thousands of other apps available through the Android Market. Even the website is quick and easy to use with a simple layout and only one page to view the different functions with some great design elements. The target audience for the Cloud Touch is clear as day from the look and feel of the phone itself to the website and promotion around it. The price is also attractive too at the lower end of the pay monthly market which sits well with the target group. While Facebook hasn’t put its name to the product, the product is at the core of the design and INQ certainly seem to know their audience well. I’m bracing myself for the onslaught of pestering from my own avid Facebook follower which will no doubt follow its release on the 6 April.

You can find out more about INQs Coud Touch on their website.

Social networks set to give users control of their data

The powers behind the EU privacy laws which are set to come into force in May this year have disclosed plans to force Social networking sites to give control of data back to the users. The EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding believes that social networking sites that have a large number of EU users should adhere to EU laws even if their base site is elsewhere, and she intends to make this a reality. The commissioner will be unveiling a series of proposals before the Summer around online privacy and giving the user more control over their data as well as ensuring the right to be “forgotten” online. Companies who target their services at EU users could be subject to enforcement by EU watchdogs and even legal proceedings if they fail to comply. Facebook have already received a warning following the changes in their privacy settings which resulted in many users’ profiles being automatically open to the public and their current privacy settings have been deemed too complicated for the average user to navigate. However Facebook are already working with Brussels officials to ensure they are compliant with the new laws and have released a statement giving their full co-operation. Although they appear to be more than happy to co-operate, redesigning their systems to incorporate the proposed changes will be a costly process and giving the users the option of opting out of allowing Facebook to collect and store their data could potential lose a lot more in advertising revenue based on user behaviour. However it turns out, the new laws could change the online landscape significantly and impact on many of the larger brands currently dominating the social media market.

Check out Guardian Media for more on this story

Apple Appstore and gay rights rows
Apple have been at the centre of a media flurry this week and not for the right reasons. First they were slammed for authorising an app which aimed to cure people of being gay which didn’t go down well with gay rights activists who have heralded Apple as irresponsible for allowing the app to be made available on their app store. The app was produced by Exodus inc. and claims to “cure” individuals through the power of Jesus and was slammed from the minute it hit Apple’s app store. The product has now been removed following the submission of a 146,000 strong petition to Apple.
And now it seems Apple is at the centre of another media storm as it attempts to sue Amazon for using the term Appstore for its…erm…app store! According to Apple, their customers already identify the term with their own store and for Amazon to use it may cause confusion for the user. While I can see their point, any confusion is likely to wind up being in Apple’s favour rather than Amazon’s and seeing big companies suing each other feels a little tacky. As long as Apple continue doing what they do best it’s unlikely the move will do anything to affect their standing with consumers so I say ditch the lawyers and get back to making lots of cool new toys for us to play with.

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