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theEweekly Wrap

Facebook lawsuit gets 25k supporters – Netflix beats HBO revenue – Twitter hints at shopping feature

Lawyer suing Facebook attracts 25,000 supporters

An Austrian lawyer who plans to sue Facebook for alleged invasion of privacy has said that 25,000 users of the social networking site have signed up to his class action lawsuit.

Max Schrems is a data privacy campaigner who alleges that Facebook breaches EU laws in its monitoring of users' activity both on-site and off, and also accuses the social network of complying with PRISM, a US surveillance data-mining program.

More than 3,700 Austrian Facebook users had signed up to the cause as of 6th August, making it the second-most participatory country after Germany, which has now amassed more than 5,000 applicants.

Schrems says that most of the 25,000 supporters are European, though people from more than 100 countries have signed up. On Wednesday, only 944 UK users had joined the suit.

Schrems explained that at one point last week, a new supporter was joining the cause every six seconds. He also commented:

"We hoped for large support, but the number of participants in such a short time exceeded my most optimistic expectations. Nevertheless, we have to limit the claims after this short time, because we will have to verify and administer every individual claim."

Facebook were recently criticised for conducting an experiment on 689,000 users without their consent, in order to gauge emotional reactions.


Netflix beats HBO in subscriber revenue

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said that the streaming service has surpassed premium cable network HBO with regards to revenue from subscription. Netflix reported it had made $1.15 billion (£683,000,000) from subscriber fees, while HBO had made $1.14 billion (£677,000,000) in the same period.

In late July it was revealed that Netflix had reached the 50 million mark for worldwide subscription - 36.2 million from the US and the remaining 13.8 from elsewhere. Though HBO does not reveal subscriber figures, it is believed that it has around 28.7 million in the US.

Hastings believes that Netflix's original series House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, both of which have been very well-received, were instrumental in the recent subscription boosts.

Rival HBO is the network behind highly popular shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and most recently Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire - both of which are still running.

In the UK, Netflix was the only platform on which viewers could keep up to speed with Breaking Bad, as no British TV channels aired it after it was dropped by FX and Channel 5.

The only other option for Breaking Bad fans was to wait and buy the box-sets or illegally download. However, as the government has recently announced it will issue more warnings to copyright infringers, many more viewers could potentially turn to paid streaming services like Netflix.

Hastings commented that HBO is still way ahead of Netflix when it comes to profits, "but we are making progress. HBO rocks, and we are honoured to be in the same league."


Twitter hints at shopping services

A handful of Twitter users have noticed 'Payment & Shipping' options in their settings menus, though they have all reported that it seems dormant at present, as nothing happens when it is clicked.

The option has only been seen in Android apps so far, but it strongly hints that the recent rumours that Twitter will launch a shopping service in the near future are true.

At the end of June, 'Buy Now' buttons started to appear in tweets that contained links to products from the ecommerce site Fancy. Those who first discovered this said that clicking the button led them to checkout pages, while latecomers found that tapping the button did nothing.

In mid-July Twitter's rival social network Facebook revealed that they would trial a 'Buy' button in an attempt to delve into ecommerce. In reaction to concerns about privacy, they said that the credit and debit card information customers divulged would not be shared out amongst other advertisers.

Written by Rachel Hand


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