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America loves the Internet, what we discussed on Facebook over the past year, Walmart takes mobile payments, Popcorn Time for Music is no more, and YouTube looks back over 2015.

Internet Use in the United States

The United States of America is becoming increasingly addicted to the Internet. According to the latest statistics from the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of Americans go online at least once a day, with 21 percent admitting to being online “Almost constantly”. Just 13 percent of those polled do not use the Internet at all.

The ubiquity of smartphones How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life Your smartphone could be ruining your life, or at least have the capacity to do so in the future. Read More has a lot to do with this, as 87 percent of Americans who own smartphones go online daily as opposed to 65 percent who don’t own smartphones. The figures are even more telling in terms of constant use, with 27 percent of smartphone users admitting to being online all the time as opposed to just 8 percent for non-smartphone owners.

This increased use of the Internet is fairly even across gender and race. However, age, education, and income all make big differences: Teenagers, graduates, and high-earners are all likely to spend more time online than retirees, school dropouts, and low-earners.

So, it might be time to ask yourself, are you addicted to the Internet? If so, perhaps it’s time to take a break Take A Break From the Internet - You’ll Thank Yourself Later [Opinion] Take A Break From the Internet - You’ll Thank Yourself Later [Opinion] Oh, the Internet. One of the most world-changing inventions of the past century, perhaps even in all of human history. Never before has everything been so available in so little effort for so low a... Read More .

The Biggest Stories on Facebook

We have already looked at the stories which dominated Twitter in 2015 Safer Browsing on Android, 2015 According to Twitter... [Tech News Digest] Safer Browsing on Android, 2015 According to Twitter... [Tech News Digest] Google gives Chrome a safety boost, Twitter launches #YearOnTwitter, Facebook shuts down its creative arm, Netflix adds originality to its lineup, and floppy disks are still a thing! Read More , and now it’s Facebook’s turn to take a look back over the past 12 months with its Year in Review for 2015. Facebook has pinpointed 10 news stories which were widely discussed on the social network in 2015, with the video embedded above providing some background to them all.

1. The U.S. Presidential Election
2. The November 13 Attacks in Paris
3. The Syrian Civil War and Refugee Crisis
4. The Nepal Earthquakes
5. The Greek Debt Crisis
6. Marriage Equality
7. The Fight Against ISIS
8. The Charlie Hebdo Attack
9. The Baltimore Protests
10. The Charleston Shooting and Flag Debate

As you can see from the list, the majority of the most-discussed stories involved bad news. This is not only reminder of what a terrible year it has been in terms of things happening in the world, but also a reminder that people are increasingly turning to social media to talk about these issues. Both for good and for bad.

We would love to know which of these stories resonated most with you, and which you found yourself having heated discussions about on Facebook. After all, this year, possibly more than any previous year, has shown that being friends with someone on Facebook doesn’t guarantee you’ll agree with them about everything. Especially Donald Trump Clicking Consequences: Why Donald Trump Is Your Fault Clicking Consequences: Why Donald Trump Is Your Fault Every time you click an article about Donald Trump, the media thinks that is what you want to read, and so it spends more time talking about Trump. Stop clicking! Read More .

Walmart Launches Walmart Pay

U.S. retailer Walmart has launched Walmart Pay, its own mobile payments platform designed to go head-to-head with Apple Pay, Android Pay and others Everything You Need to Know about Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay Everything You Need to Know about Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay all have their advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at exactly how each of them works and who can use them. Read More . Walmart Pay will be introduced in selected stores today (Dec. 10), with additional stores coming online over the holidays. It should be available across the United States by the middle of next year.

Walmart Pay is free to use and integrated into the Walmart app. According to Reuters, it’s available both on Android and iOS, and is compatible with “any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift cards.” Using Walmart Pay requires you to scan a code at the checkout counter using your smartphone camera, with an e-receipt being sent to the app.

The RIAA Has Killed Aurous

Aurous, also known as the Popcorn Time for Music, has shut down for good, with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) bullying the service out of existence. The RIAA sued Aurous Microsoft Begs You Not to Switch, Amazon Sues Fake Reviewers... [Tech News Digest] Microsoft Begs You Not to Switch, Amazon Sues Fake Reviewers... [Tech News Digest] Microsoft adds a begging screen, Amazon sues over a Fiverr, Google Books a fair use judgment, Aurous goes offline, the Nintendo Entertainment System turns 30, and Louis C.K. has a rant. Read More days after it launched in October 2015 Popcorn Time for Music Arrives, Facebook Filters Bad Memories... [Tech News Digest] Popcorn Time for Music Arrives, Facebook Filters Bad Memories... [Tech News Digest] Try Popcorn Time for Music, filter Facebook's On This Day, teasing the new OnePlus X, fighting back against revenge porn, Donald Trump wins something, and watch Star Trek: Renegades for free. Read More , and two months later, it’s dead as a dodo.

Aurous allowed users to play pretty much any song in existence by pulling music from 120 sources, including YouTube and SoundCloud. Unfortunately, not all of the sources were entirely legal, which led to the RIAA launching a lawsuit on behalf of the record labels it represents.

The lawsuit has now been settled for $3 million, with Aurous signing over its domain name and intellectual property to the record labels. According to TorrentFreak, Aurous co-founders Andrew Sampson and Danielle Astvatsaturova are banned from committing infringing actions in the future.

Watch YouTube Rewind 2015

And finally, YouTube Rewind takes a look back over 2015 with the YouTubers, videos, and memes that dominated over the past year. I think it’s fair to say that no one will recognize everybody and everything in this video. And if you do then you really need to get out more How to Recognize and Overcome Your Tech Addiction How to Recognize and Overcome Your Tech Addiction Overcoming tech addiction doesn't mean ending your use of that technology, it just means using technology to improve the quality of your life. This guide shows you how to manage your online cravings. Read More .

The video features a heady mix of mainstream celebrities and people only famous on YouTube. Which, as Wired points out, demonstrates how the lines are blurring as YouTube grows up and evolves. YouTube Red isn’t for everyone 4 Reasons YouTube Red Is Bad for the YouTube Community 4 Reasons YouTube Red Is Bad for the YouTube Community Google just announced YouTube Red. YouTube is a different kind of service with a big community. So, is YouTube Red good or bad for the video site in the long term? Read More , but it’s a sure sign of a maturing platform.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you think you’re addicted to the Internet? What stories did you discuss on Facebook in 2015? Are you likely to ever use Walmart Pay? How do you feel about the RIAA killing Aurous? What YouTube channels have you watched most over the past 12 months?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: Chris Potter via Flickr

  1. A41202813GMAIL ..
    December 11, 2015 at 10:12 am

    ROMANS Discovered 2000 Years Ago, The Human Being Needs 2 Things To Live - Bread And Circus.

    Internet Is, Hands Down, The Cheapest Circus Around - Less Than 30 Dollars A Month.

    Have No Doubt, If Budget People Are Not Addicted To The Internet, They Are Considering Committing Suicide Several Times A Day - Yikes.

    Cheers.

  2. Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
    December 10, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Lol, I have to say, your listing of Marriage Equality is totally propaganda as it is only about marriage equality between couples ... a long way from marriage equality !

    • Dave Parrack
      December 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      How is my listing of it propaganda? That's Facebook's list, not ours. Also, who else is meant to get married than "couples"? You can't marry yourself, or your pet, or your house.

      • Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
        December 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

        That's like saying who else is meant to get married than those of the opposite sex , right ?
        I thought only redneck conservatives believed that ?

        • Dave Parrack
          December 10, 2015 at 8:49 pm

          Where did I say that? "Marriage Equality" was one of the most-discussed stories on Facebook, nothing more, nothing less.

          You were the one who suggested marriage equality is only about couples. Unless you want to marry yourself I'm not sure what you're talking about.

        • Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
          December 10, 2015 at 8:56 pm

          There is always 3 (or more) for those who are bi-sexual or other. I wonder why they weren't included in the initial suit ? Not worth losing the gay vote maybe . :)

        • Katharine Wood
          December 11, 2015 at 3:03 am

          I'm trying really hard to understand what your gripe actually is, but it's completely confusing. Are you mad that they didn't make marrying more than one person at a time legal? Mad that same sex marriage is now legal? I really can't tell. But you should know that being bisexual does not mean that a person is in a relationship with more than one person at the same time. It means attracted to more than one gender, not necessarily concurrently. Obviously same sex marriage covers bisexuals too, if they wish to marry someone of the same gender.

        • Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
          December 11, 2015 at 6:13 pm

          The gripe is that while a suit was filed complaining that "opposite sex marriage only" was a discriminatory regulation violating other people's rights; there was no suit at all regarding the discrimination of only allowing couples to marry but not 3's or 4's, etc .

          This certainly would/could include bisexuals who are still prevented from marrying to this day.

          Despite that, some idiots still refer to what happened as "marriage equality".

        • Katharine Wood
          December 12, 2015 at 12:30 am

          Bisexuals are not prevented from getting married? If they want to marry one person they can, now regardless of gender. The Supreme Court decision regarding same sex marriage says that States cannot bar marriages on the basis of the gender of the people wishing to be married. This obviously covers anyone wishing to marry someone of the same gender, including bisexuals, lesbians, gay men, etc. I don't know why you seem to think that most bisexuals want to marry more than one person at a time. That is not a distinguishing feature of bisexuality. You are talking about polyamory which is something completely separate from sexuality, and is engaged in by people of all sexual orientations. It's true that people cannot be legally married to more than one person at a time, which you obviously feel badly about, but if you feel strongly about it, I encourage you to seek the change you want. The courts can only address what is brought before them. The couples that were suing the states in question were couples, and so the question of multiple marriage was not the question before the court, and as I've said, it has nothing to do with sexual orientation, which was the discrimination at issue in these cases.

        • Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
          December 12, 2015 at 1:09 am

          They are prevented from marriage if they have two lovers ! That's almost like saying gays were not prevented from getting married either.... they could marry someone of the opposite sex.

          But that overlooks the fact that restricting marriage to just 2 people is still a discrimination against polygamists in general.

          Equality before the law is a prime principle for the government. That it restricts some groups/contracts to just 2 people in certain circumstances but not others is a violation of that principle.

          But none of that even changes the final fact that the ruling only brought about equality for couples only and not equality in general regardless of the reason the court chose to continue to discriminate against groups greater than 3.

  3. fcd76218
    December 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    "The United States of America is becoming increasingly addicted to the Internet. "
    Statistics can be used to prove any assertion as true, you just gave to pick the correct numbers. I spend only a couple of hours a day on the Internet but my computer is on and has a browser running on it between the hours of 6 AM and 9PM. Am I "addicted" to the Internet? NO. But my life is structured around the use of the computer. A PC has become a necessary tool in the same way a car is a necessary tool. On some days I spend hours in my car. Does that mean I am "addicted" to the car? NO, I just have to run errands and public transportation is not available in my area.

    "As you can see from the list, the majority of the most-discussed stories involved bad news."
    It is a truism in journalism that if it bleeds, it leads. Good news does not sell. People are not titillated by good news. They want blood, guts, misery and gore. Bad things happening to others make them feel better because it is not happening to them.

    • Dave Parrack
      December 10, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      That's true in a sense, but I'm sure not everything you do online is absolutely necessary.

      I have to admit I find social networking sites extremely negative at times because of the amount of bad news stories being discussed and analyzed to death. I guess that's why cute cat videos are so popular, as they break up the horribleness.

    • fred
      December 11, 2015 at 3:24 am

      *yawn* not breaking news :-)

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