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The Chilean telecommunications regulator Subtel has banned mobile operators from offering so-called zero-rated social media apps – services like Twitter and Facebook that, through deals with the carriers, can be used without having to pay for mobile data. Subtel says such practices are illegal under Chilean net neutrality law. These offers are particularly popular in developing markets because they give the carriers a way to get people familiar with the mobile internet, which is something they may have previously avoided due to high perceived cost. The user will get to see and use Twitter, for example, for free, and will then be encouraged to move across to paid data so they can click through the links.

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Social media is an irreversible phenomenon of unprecedented scale. It has already affected social behaviour more than many other technological breakthroughs. Social media are everywhere, including in the workplace, in the company’s systems and equipment, but also in the employees’ portable devices. That is why the mere blocking of social media websites by the companies does not prevent the employee from using their particular cellphones to access them while working or even post a comment about the company from the personal computer at any other time. This is an issue of growing importance in Latin America. With its improving internal revenue, the region, and particularly Brazil, is the home of several avid users of the different forms of social media. In 2013, Facebook had 156 million users in Latin America, with 56 million users in Brazil alone. Brazil also ranks second in number of Twitterusers in Latin America, with more than 33.3 million. Moreover, according to Reuters’ Digital News Report 2013, 60% of Brazilian respondents said social media was one of the top five ways in which they view news online, compared to 30% in the US, and 17% in the UK. Brazilians are also particularly enthusiastic about commenting on news stories posted on social networks; 38% of respondents said they comment on news items via social media at least once a week, compared to 21% in the US, and 10% in the UK. Further growth is all but guaranteed, Brazil has a population of around 200 million; this means that more than 30% of the country’s inhabitants have an account with at least one social media platform. Other countries in Latin America also show impressive figures: Mexico ranks second in the social media market, with 35.6 million users; while Argentina ranks third, with 17.4 million users. According to US market research firm eMarketer, by 2017 the number of Mexicans and Argentines using social media will reach 56.3 and 22.5 million respectively; Brazil will have approximately 91 million users. Considering that social media is a relatively new addition to Latin American workplaces, companies are still learning how to deal with the phenomenon in a satisfactory manner. It is perhaps incumbent for businesses, whether they are national or international, and their in-house counsel to consider recent guidance on social media usage in the workplace in these three jurisdictions.

The battle between Twitter and Facebook has made both products worse and caused weird restrictions to users on both sides, such as the walls both companies have installed between Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is now ultra-paranoid, defensive, aggressive, and full of annoying ads. Facebook’s core product is a mess as it continually tries (and fails) to capture the usage and style of Twitter, while annoying people more and more to keep its ads effective. (At least Facebook is consistent: they’ve always been getting worse.)

Worse – Marco.org via everybody

Bruce Sterling, who gave the opening keynote, went on his typical rant about how artists are forced to create work from things they can’t control, such as GPS and data surveillance networks. He then explained that the NSA was present at the birth of computation as a form of information gathering and as a control system. Sterling believes that this methodology has now transferred over to corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, who are mining their customer’s data to feed into a growing advertising algorithm that will ultimately target us for ads before we know what we want. This realization was coupled with the prognoses that “the rot of data is our heritage, stop pretending that bits don’t decay, the internet of things is at hand, and that corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Facebook, and Google are impositions that destroy [one’s] self-respect and self-esteem.” This type of prophecy was evident in most of the panels, speakers, and overall discussions around the conference floor. It is precisely the fact that these kinds of future-facing topics abound at Transmediale that makes the festival a much more interrogative platform and exchange layer for visitors, artists, and attendees than most of the other big media art festivals around the world.