theEweekly Wrap 19 June 2009

Empty Space

Troubled social networking site MySpace has announced it will be shedding 30 per cent of its workforce in an attempt to reduce losses. The site, which has been bleeding users to rivals Facebook and Twitter, will cut 420 roles across the United States. It is also reported bosses are considering shutting down offices in France, Italy and Spain.

The beleaguered site has been under pressure to stem the recent slump in registered users. Chief executive Owen Van Natta described the move as 'necessary' in order to guarantee the long-term profitability of the property.

"Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company," said Van Natta.

"I understand that these changes are painful for many. They are also necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace. Our intent is to return to an environment of innovation that is centered on our user and our product."

Bargain bucket

Online retailer Amazon was left red-faced after a technical problem allowed customers to download a number of popular music albums for just 29p on Wednesday 17 June.

It is believed a pricing error was responsible for the issue, which saw albums from Lily Allen, MGMT and Calvin Harris available for 3 per cent their original value. theEword has no comment regarding the calibre of the material on offer.

The mistake was rectified after four hours.

Viva La Twitter

Twitter is providing protesters in Iran with a means of communication amid Government clampdowns across the internet. The social networking service is being used to inform individuals of the times and locations of demonstrations against suspected vote rigging in favour of the current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranians have been using the service to coordinate protests in the country. Despite government pressure and a blanket block of any file-sharing content - such as Facebook and YouTube – many anti-government protesters have been using proxy servers to avoid monitored gateways.

Iran Twitter photograph

Protesters have been using Twitter to upload photographs of the demonstrations

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the US government requested Twitter delay essential upgrades to its software in order to minimize any disruption for Iranian users. Twitter had planned to complete maintenance work across the site on Monday 15 June. It has been revealed that the US state department requested the company delay the downtime until Thursday to precipitate the demonstrations in Iran.

A statement on Twitter read:

"A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran. Tonight's planned maintenance has been rescheduled to tomorrow between 2-3p PST (1:30am in Iran)."


Government officials in Montana have come under fire after it was revealed job applicants for posts have been required to hand over their personal internet information when applying for official roles. Any individual applying for a local government position in the city of Bozeman has been asked give out their details – including usernames and passwords – for a number of websites, including MySpace, Google and Facebook.

The move is thought to be part of a vetting process in order to assess applicants’ suitability for a position. City official Greg Sullivan said the move was a necessary precaution.

"We have positions ranging from fire and police, which require people of high integrity for those positions, all the way down to the lifeguards and the folks that work in city hall here. So we do those types of investigations to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the city."