Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he pays his Facebook and Twitter fees just like everyone else

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RocketNews24:

Has Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fallen for one of those “Facebook to start charging” hoaxes?

Abe found himself the butt of the joke in parliament this week after slipping up on the subject of social media. The prime minister proudly told the House of Councillors on Wednesday that of course, he pays his Facebook and Twitter membership fees.

When Democratic Party politician Tsutomu Okubo asked Abe the question in an exchange during a budget meeting on Wednesday, he was clearly hoping to catch him out. And he succeeded.

Okubo first asked if the prime minister operates his social media accounts himself, to which Abe stated that he has help from staff, but the content of the tweets is all him. “My personal account, that one’s run by myself and my staff, basically I decide what we’re going to post about,” he told the assembly.

Next, Okubo asked with a cheeky smirk on his face: “And have you ever paid Twitter and Facebook service fees?”

He must have been delighted when the prime minister walked right into his trap, replying that yes, of course he pays his fees.

▼ Okubo looking pleased with his clever question.

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Like many world leaders, Abe has two sets of social media accounts, one under his own name, and an official account of the administration of the prime minister (the Kantei). He told the assembly that the fees on personal accounts are the responsibility of the individual:

“Of course, I pay my own fees for my personal social media accounts. But as for the Kantei accounts [the office of the PM], that’s paid for by the Kantei.”

Smiling, Okubo went on to explain what every schoolchild in this day and age knows: that Facebook and Twitter are free to use. For everyone. When he continued to poke the prime minister, asking, “Who are you paying these fees to, then?” there was audible laughter around the room.

▼ Even Abe’s team looked amused at the blunder.

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Abe rose again to counter with:

“I don’t actually know about the details of how it works. I decide the content of the posts and my staff do the rest. I think that’s to be expected really.”

“Dogs Wearing Pantyhose,” a popular new meme in China

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Two dogs dressed in pantyhose and high heels

Laughing Squid/Kotaku: 

Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku is reporting that “dogs wearing pantyhose” is a popular new meme in China. He writes that Hong Kong site Sharp Daily has reported that users on the Chinese social network Weiboare uploading gag photos of their dogs wearing panty hose, joking how ‘sexy’ the mutts look.”

According to Chinese site Sina, “bored” people on Weibo started the meme. Apparently, Weibo user Ulatang, who noted that the pets rolled their eyes after getting dressed in pantyhose, uploaded the first “dogs wearing pantyhose” pic (above). That image has been commented on over 16,000 times in China.

 

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Filipino American co-founder of Snapchat, 26-year-old Bobby Murphy, is 2nd youngest billionaire in world

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Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy

ABS CBN News:

The Filipino-American co-founder of Snapchat is the world’s second youngest billionaire on Forbes’ Billionaire list. 

Bobby Murphy, 26, is estimated to be worth $1.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The baby-faced Murphy made his fortune from Snapchat, along with his friend Evan Spiegel, who at 24, is the world’s youngest billionaire.

Snapchat is a popular temporary photo messaging app. It is currently valued at $10 billion and has 100 million users a month. Forbes estimates both Murphy and Spiegel have a 15 percent stake each in Snapchat.

Murphy, whose mother emigrated from the Philippines, grew up in Berkley, California. Murphy and Spiegel met while they were students at Stanford University. They were both members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Murphy was a mathematics and computational science major, while Spiegel was in the product-design program.

In an interview with Forbes magazine in 2013, Murphy said they “weren’t cool (in college), so we tried to build things to be cool.”

They first worked together to develop an online software called Future Freshmen, but it didn’t take off. For their next project, a fellow Stanford student and friend, Reggie Brown (who would later sue the company for ownership), came up with suggestion for an app to send disappearing photos.

Spiegel decided to tap Murphy, who had just graduated, to develop the app. It was originally named Picaboo.

After the company received a cease-and-desist letter from a photobook company of the name, they changed the app to “Snapchat.” Spiegel called this the “biggest blessing ever.”

Evan and I got started Snapchat in the summer of 2011, basically understood that visual content that was the most engaging, interesting form of content there was. We wanted to create a way that would enable that to be a means of communication, rather than a piece of content around which communication actually happens,” Murphy said during a Google Cloud Platform Live session in 2014.

Spiegel is the good-looking, outspoken public face of Snapchat, while Murphy, the chief technology officer (CTO), is the brains who developed the app. Little is known about Murphy, who was described by Forbes, as the son of state employees from Berkeley.

I’d describe him almost like a monk,” David Kravitz, Snapchat’s first employee, told Forbes in 2013. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him upset.”

Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel (left) and Bobby Murphy at the Time 100 gala in New York, April 29, 2014.

Why do most concerts held in Japan prohibit taking pictures?

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RocketNews 24:

For anyone who enjoys live music, part of the fun is taking photos of the band or recording video to relive the experience at home or show off on Facebook. It’s a tradition that strengthens the connection between bands and their fans long after a concert is over. Especially in this digital age, many bands depend on the power of social media to connect with new audiences they could never reach before.

If you’ve ever attended a concert in Japan, you know this is not the case. You will almost always see “No photos” and “No video” signs posted all over concert venues. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching a foreign artist or a local one, you are not allowed to take pictures, and a host of security personal will remind you of the fact.

Find out why this is the case, and which big musical act might be turning the tide, after the jump.

Paul McCartney; One Direction; Taylor Swift; these are only some of the artists who have played or are scheduled to play big shows in Japan in 2015. The Asian market is huge, and the top musicians aren’t skipping out on Japan when they go on tour. Die-hard Japanese fans have noticed that footage and photos of concerts held outside of Japan are constantly being uploaded on Facebook and Twitter, even though fans in the Land of the Rising Sun have to settle for expensive DVDs to relive their concert experience at home.

Oddly, copyright infringement isn’t always the culprit here. If the video and audio recordings are only being reproduced for personal use, then the recording isn’t breaking any laws. The concerns generally lie elsewhere. In order to avoid chaos at a concert site, sponsors and venue executives can establish specific regulations.

And then avoid this…

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Even without using big, professional photographic equipment, fans holding handheld cameras or phones above their heads will block the field of vision of concert goers behind them. Plus, if there is a rush of people wanting to take pictures of the musicians, it can get very dangerous. For the concert sponsors and organizers, there is a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the fans.

But with more and more foreign artists playing shows in Japan, organizers are starting to take notice of what the fans want. There is a slow but steady movement of Japanese artists who are experimenting with allowing pictures and video to be taken at their concerts.

Japanese rock band Sekai no Owari is nonchalantly leading this charge as they allow their fans to take photos and recordings of their concerts.

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It seems to be just a politeness factor in Japan, but with the growing number of smartphones and the advent of social media, this system might certainly change. In the future, you might be able to record a concert in Japan for your own viewing at a later date, and you can thank the music group with the clown in it. Be sure to remember to remember that.

Chinese web firms delete more than 60,000 accounts as new rules loom

Wall Street Journal: (by Josh Chin)

Chinese Internet companies have deleted tens of thousands of user accounts as the country prepares to enforce new registration rules that will further cement government control over online discourse.

A total of more than 60,000 accounts across a number of Chinese Internet platforms were deleted in recent days, chiefly because of misleading or harmful usernames, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement dated Thursday. Among them were accounts that masqueraded as government departments, carried commercial names such as “Come Shoot Guns” and “Buy License Plates,” spread terrorist information or sported erotic avatars.

Unverified accounts falsely claiming to represent state media were also shut down, the agency said, adding that it covered everything from microblogs to chat accounts to online discussion forums. Companies listed as having taken part in the cleanup included top U.S.-listed Chinese tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , Tencent Holdings Ltd. , SinaCorp. and Baidu Inc.

The comprehensive creation of a clear and bright Internet space requires active and positive conduct from enterprises,” the regulator’s statement said.

The new rules aim to further tame the country’s already tightly controlled Internet by prohibiting the use of deceitful or harmful identities and requiring Internet users to submit genuine personal information when registering for online services. They were announced earlier this month and go into effect March 1.

China has attempted to implement similar limits in the past, with mixed success. The current effort, however, arrives at a time of intense ideological and political tightening as Chinese President Xi Jinping moves to reassert Communist party dominance over public discourse, particularly online.

Venture capitalist and Chinese blogging pioneer Isaac Mao warned that requiring users to register with their personal information to use any Internet service would stifle expression and creativity online.

It definitely has a chilling effect,” Mr. Mao said. “In the long run, freedom of speech and freedom of innovation will be dramatically harmed.

Weibo Corp. ’s microblogging service deleted 5,500 accounts, according to the regulator’s statement. They included accounts that spread information related to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group from the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Tencent canceled instant messaging and other social media accounts related to gambling, firearms, fake invoices and fake food-safety information, the regulator said.

Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.

Some analysts have warned that the new rules could make things challenging for Chinese Internet companies by increasing operational costs while reducing total user numbers.

Yet tighter registration might also improve the quality of their users, said Xiaofeng Wang, a senior analyst at Forrester.

Marketers and consumers have become more mature. They’re getting past the stage where they care only about the total number of users,” she said. “They’ve realized the important thing is the actual, active users.”

Baidu dismissed the idea that the deletions would have an impact on its business. The search giant removed more than 23,000 accounts from its popular PostBar, or Tieba, discussion forums, mostly for promoting “vulgar” culture or featuring erotic avatar images, the agency said.

It’s a vanishingly small percentage of the total number of Baidu PostBar accounts, which number in the hundreds of millions,” said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo. He declined to comment further on what the company was doing to comply with the new requirements.

The regulator didn’t say whether Alibaba had deleted any accounts, but said the company had set up a special working group to manage usernames on its various platforms. Alibaba declined to comment.

Ms. Wang said further restrictions on speech could hurt the attractiveness of social media platforms, but said that companies were unlikely to resist. “With the Internet, you always have to obey certain rules if you want to operate a business in China,” she said.

New Chinese Trend: Female Armpit Hair Selfies

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Weird Asia News:

Adults naturally grow hair on certain parts of their bodies. However, many people make a habit of shaving off their body hair, for hygiene and other personal reasons.

But these ladies in China choose not to.

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Pictures of women’s armpit selfies in China have gone viral in social media. This trend of showing armpit hair by women has become the talk of the town for a couple of months.

Included have been a host of negative comments about it being “unladylike,” while others say that people don’t have the right to judge these women because it’s their bodies and nobody else’s decision or business.

Nevertheless, this “armpit selfie” trend is really weird.

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