Tag Archive: Facebook



Although Facebook has been blocked in China for over a decade, the social media giant is on a hunt for an office space in Shanghai that it would use to make hardware.

Citing sources, The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the office could also help Facebook with its broader ambitions in China.

Facebook’s plans are tentative and would depend on approval from the Chinese government.

“We have long said that we are interested in China and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country in different ways,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.

Facebook’s new hardware initiatives would require plugging into China’s electronics supply chain, which helps build some of the world’s most popular gadgets like Apple’s iPhone.

The office would first be used by the employees of Facebook’s hardware effort called Building 8.

In 2015, Facebook obtained a license to open an office in Beijing but the permit lasted only three months and it could not establish a space in that time.

Oculus, the virtual reality company Facebook bought three years ago, already has an office in Shanghai.

At the moment, Facebook uses third parties and its own employees to sell ads in China.

Facebook employees run special security software on devices when they travel in China and do not have access to secretive or critical business information – all due to cyber-security concerns.

China is a large market for Facebook because it has the world’s largest population of online users.

Earlier this year, Facebook released a Chinese version of its Moments photo-managing app through a small local company.

Facebook has been selling advertisements to the Chinese companies hoping to reach the rest of the world. The Chinese ad sales, supported from its office in Hong Kong, are some of the largest in Asia, the report added.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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Facebook is gearing up to make money from WhatsApp, the messaging service used by more than a billion people every day

WhatsApp will be testing new features to make it easier for people to communicate with businesses they want to reach on WhatsApp, the messaging service said in a blog post.

“We’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks,” according to the blog post.

WhatsApp has already started a pilot program that would feature a green badge next to a business contact, indicating that the business was verified by the messaging service.

“We do intend on charging businesses in the future,” Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Reuters had reported in March that a potential revenue source for WhatsApp was to charge businesses that want to contact customers, citing company documents.

Started in 2009, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for an eye-popping $22 billion in 2014. While WhatsApp had little revenue at the time of the deal, the purchase price was slightly more than the market value of Sony Corp.

Facebook has not focused on WhatsApp so far. The social network had started showing ads inside its Messenger app in July to further monetise the chat service.

Idema declined to describe the paid features or say when they would make their debut, according to the WSJ report. “We don’t have the details of monetisation figured out,” he told the Journal.

” We’ll be listening carefully to feedback during our test phase and keeping people informed as we make these tools more widely available,” WhatsApp said in the blog post.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Facebook inflates the number of people who can see the advertisements on its platform, a Pivotal Research Group analyst said in a note.

Facebook’s Ads Manager claims a potential reach of 41 million 18- to 24-year olds and 60 million 25- to 34-year olds in the United States, whereas US census data shows that last year there were a total of 31 million people between the ages of 18 and 24, and 45 million in the 25-34 age group, the analyst said.

“While Facebook’s measurement issues won’t necessarily deter advertisers from spending money with Facebook, they will help traditional TV sellers justify existing budget shares and could restrain Facebook’s growth in video ad sales on the margins,” said research analyst Brian Wieser, who maintains a ‘sell’ rating on the stock with a price target of $140 for year-end 2017.

Facebook said, “they (reach estimates) are designed to estimate how many people in a given area are eligible to see an ad a business might run. They are not designed to match population or census estimates.”

The estimations are based on several factors such as user behavior, user demographics and location data from devices, Facebook said in a statement, in response to the research note.

In September last year, Facebook told advertisers that the average time users spent viewing online ads was artificially inflated, because it was only counting videos that were watched for at least three seconds, its benchmark for a “view.”

In November 2016, Facebook launched a new blog on its website called Metrics FYI, to share updates and corrections for its data.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Instagram, one of the only Facebook-owned services that hasn’t yet reached one billion active users, said on Wednesday people are spending more time than ever on Instagram app — nearly half an hour. The reason: Stories, a Snapchat-inspired feature which the company introduced exactly one year ago. More than 250 million people use Instagram Stories every day, the company said.

The photo sharing network said people under the age of 25 spend more than 32 minutes a day on its app each day. Rest everyone spends 24 minutes exploring the app, on an average. The company didn’t breakdown how much time people are spending on Stories, a feature that lets people share remarkable moments from their day in the form of videos or images that disappear on their own in 24 hours.

Speaking of which, Instagram said its take on Stories is attracting businesses as well. Over 50 percent of businesses on Instagram produced an Instagram Story last month, the company said. One of five such stories from businesses elicited a direct message from customer.

Since launching Instagram Stories last year, the Facebook-owned app has also added a range of businesses-focused features to make stories more engaging. Play with time, for instance lets businesses run time-sensitive alerts (think of shopping deals).

Instagram on Wednesday also shared some country-focused data. Stories by actresses Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Parineeti Chopra, and Shraddha Kapoor have been most viewed by Indians.

It’s unclear exactly how popular Instagram is in India – Facebook hasn’t shared any data. Gadgets 360 spoke with marketing research firm Sensor Tower, which noted that between May 2016 and May 2017, Instagram was installed about 34 million times during the same time across the App Store and Google Play, a figure which amounts to about 8.4 percent of its worldwide downloads.

In comparison, Snapchat was downloaded approximately 10.6 million times on the Indian App Store and Google Play, the firm told us. This number amounts to about 3.6 percent of its worldwide downloads. Sensor Tower added, “In May 2017 alone, Instagram had about 3.8 million downloads in India on the two stores, a 137.5 percent year-over-year growth from last May’s 1.6 million.”

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Governments around the world are enlisting “cyber troops” who manipulate Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to steer public opinion, spread misinformation and undermine critics, according to a new report from the University of Oxford.

Adding to growing evidence of government-sponsored efforts to use online tools to influence politics, researchers found 29 countries using social media to shape opinion domestically or with foreign audiences. The tactics are deployed by authoritarian regimes, but also democratically-elected governments, the authors said.

“Social media makes propaganda campaigns much stronger and potentially more effective than in the past,” said Samantha Bradshaw, the report’s lead author and a researcher at Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Research Project. “I don’t think people realize how much governments are using these tools to reach them. It’s a lot more hidden.”

Online behavior of the government-backed groups varies widely, from commenting on Facebook and Twitter posts, to targeting people individually. Journalists are harassed by government groups in Mexico and Russia, while cyber troops in Saudi Arabia flood negative Twitter posts about the regime with unrelated content and hashtags to make it harder for people to find the offending post. In the Czech Republic, the government is more likely to post a fact-check response to something they see as inaccurate, said the report.

Governments also use fake accounts to mask where the material is coming from. In Serbia, fake accounts are used to promote the government’s agenda, and bloggers in Vietnam spread favorable information.

Meanwhile, government actors in Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Venezuela and elsewhere use automation software – known as “bots” – to spread social media posts in ways that mimics human users.

“Cyber troops are a pervasive and global phenomenon,” said the report published by the group that is studying how digital tools are being used to manipulate public opinion.

Propaganda has long been a dark art used by governments, but digital tools are making the techniques more sophisticated, according to Bradshaw. She said governments over the past several years have taken note of the way activists have used social media to spread a message and build support, and are adopting some of the same methods. Online tools such as data-analytics software allow governments to more effectively tailor a message for specific groups of people, maximising its impact.

Bradshaw said that while Russia and authoritarian regimes get most of the attention for manipulating social media, Western democracies have been using similar techniques. In the UK, the British Army created the 77th Brigade in 2015, in part for psychological operations using social media. Bradshaw said democratic governments aren’t forthcoming about their digital propaganda efforts.

“They are using the same tools and techniques as the authoritarian regimes,” she said. “Maybe the motivations are different, but it’s hard to tell without the transparency.”Following the US election, Facebook and Twitter have been criticised for not doing enough to filter out fake news and offensive content. Facebook, which had no immediate comment on the report, has hired more human curators and partnered with fact-check organisations in an attempt to keep misinformation out of people’s feeds.

Twitter spokesman Ian Plunkett referred to a June a blog post that said the company “should not be the arbiter of truth,” and that others on the site do a better job of highlighting wrongdoing. The company has taken steps to crack down on the use of bots. Bradshaw said there isn’t an easy solution when balancing the benefits of sharing information across the Internet against the problems with spreading propaganda. She said one improvement would be tools that make it more clear when a government is involved. “There’s a fine line,” she says, “between free speech and censorship. ”

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


In the war of social media platforms, we have reached a point where it is becoming hard to distinguish which features are exclusive to any particular platform. Every platform is now borrowing the best features from its rivals, in an attempt to attract audiences. In what seems like a continuation of this trend, Facebook is reportedly working a feature that would enable select publishers to push curated content directly into a user’s News Feed.

The social media networking giant’s rumoured feature ‘Collections’ works similarly to the Snapchat Discover feature that displays content in an organised way from media partners, as per a report by Business Insider. The report adds that early partners have been told the content will be added to the user’s News Feed by Facebook, and therefore reach a much wider audience.

As of now, publishers have to either gather enough likes or pay the website through its sponsored post program in order for their content to turn up in a user’s News Feed. It will be interesting to see how this new feature from the company, if it does roll out eventually, is received by users considering the recent flak it received on accusations of spreading fake news. Facebook declined commenting about the feature when being contacted by Business Insider.

Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook has been working on fake news or misinformation issue for a quite some time now. He said that the problem at hand is complex both technically as well as philosophically. He went on to outline the steps that are already under-way to curb the distribution of fake news.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Facebook on Friday announced it has bought startup CrowdTangle, which specializes in tracking hot content on social networks for media agencies and others.

“Publishers around the world turn to CrowdTangle to surface stories that matter, measure their social performance and identify influencers,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email statement to AFP.

“We are excited to work with CrowdTangle to deliver these, and more insights to more publishers.”

CrowdTangle confirmed the acquisition in a message at its website, but neither company disclosed financial terms of the deal.

CrowdTangle said that its technology helps identify stories picking up traction and influential sources as well as their performance on social networks.

The startup claimed that thousands of journalists use its tool daily, with its customers around the world including newspapers, television stations, digital media outlets, nonprofits, and sports teams.

The list of users at CrowdTangle included Google, BuzzFeed, Vox, the British BBC, RTL Group in Luxembourg, and Switzerland-based media group Ringier.

CrowdTangle is also used by nonprofit groups such as Greenpeace and Unicef, according to its website.

The CrowdTangle platform is tailored to spot news that is catching fire at online venues like Facebook, its subsidiary Instagram, and even competitors such as Google-owned YouTube or Twitter.

The US startup also provides tools for media to see how much attention its own stories attract and to identify who is sharing their content, according to its website.

The CrowdTangle team will continue to run the operation, and the plan was to go on supporting support integration with Twitter, YouTube and other clients.

Facebook expected CrowdTangle technology to enable it to provide more meaningful insights to publishers at the social network.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Facebook on Friday said that it will begin allowing more graphic or potentially disturbing newsworthy posts to be shared at the leading online social network.

“We’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to public interest – even if they might otherwise violate our standards,” Facebook vice presidents Joel Kaplan and Justin Osofsky said in a blog post.

They explained that they were working with the social network’s community and partners on how exactly to recalibrate standards regarding which posts are deemed too offensive to allow.

“Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them,” Kaplan and Osofsky said.

Facebook has become a major platform for sharing news stories, and that has come with criticism for censoring some content despite it having historical or editorial value.

The California-based social network on Friday apologised for taking down a breast cancer awareness video because the images were flagged as offensive, saying the move was “an error”.

Swedish cancer charity Cancerfonden had put out word that its video explaining to women how to check for suspicious lumps, featuring animated figures of women with circle-shaped breasts, had been removed from Facebook.

“We find it incomprehensible and strange how one can perceive medical information as offensive,” Cancerfonden communications director Lena Biornstad told AFP.
Facebook faced outrage in September for repeatedly deleting a historic Vietnam War photo included in a post by Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

It said the iconic photo of a naked Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm bombing violated its rules, but it later backtracked on the decision.

Facebook has a ban on posts that contain nudity, with some exceptions, such as images of works of art and women breastfeeding, or educational content. The social network also bans posts inciting violence or hate.

The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that some Facebook employees lobbied at the social network to have some posts by US presidential candidate Donald Trump – such as those calling for a ban on Muslim immigration – branded hate speech and removed.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg rejected the request on the grounds it would amount to censoring a political candidate, according to the Journal.

Facebook boasts having some 1.7 billion users around the world.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


While women tend to outnumber men in social media platforms the world over, they constitute just 24 percent of total Facebook users in India, according to a new report.

“On average, women account for 38 percent of Facebook’s users around APAC (Asia Pacific) – a figure that is already lower than it should be – but in India, women account for just 24 percent of the country’s users,” said the report by Britain-based consultancy We Are Social.

“In Bangladesh that figure is just 23 percent, and in Pakistan, it’s even lower, at barely 22 percent,” the report noted.

In New Zealand, 59 percent of Facebook users are women and they dominate the social media platform in several other countries of the region including Australia, Mongolia and the Philippines.

The report noted that social media penetration level in the region went up an impressive 31 percent March 2015.

“One potential reason why social media use remains so low in South Asia is the exceptional disparity in access between men and women,” the report said.

“This iniquity of access between men and women may explain part of the reason why digital connectivity levels are so low across South Asia,” it added.

“Facebook reports its user figures based on active user accounts, not devices used, so their data is unlikely to be skewed by issues such as shared computers or mobile handsets. As a result, we can only assume that too few women have access to social media in these countries,” it noted.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Facebook will soon let users enable Safety Check on their own in an emergency situation or a crisis. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday revealed company’s plans to be working on the feature that would let users create an alert on Facebook through which their relatives and friends can know if they are safe in disasters or other tough conditions.

While holding a townhall meeting in Rome’s Luiss University on Monday, Zuckerberg received a question from audience regarding the future of Facebook’s Safety Check in the wake of recent earthquakes in Italy. “Yes, we’re working on that already.” he said, confirming that the feature might soon be tested and rolled to the public. Adding to his statements, Zuckerberg highlighted that Facebook is not only made for fun moments with friends, but also to ensure safety of the users who’re in peril or such extreme situations throughout the globe.

Facebook introduced Safety Check back in 2014, saying, “We want to provide a helpful tool that people can use when major disasters strike, so we’ve created safety check” in a blog post. Since then, Facebook could be seen activating this feature in several emergency situations and natural disasters in the world, including terrorist attacks – events that Zuckerberg says have “just been too common over the last few years”.
Zuckerberg said in a video of the townhall meeting posted by him on the social-networking website,”If we’re building a community product, this is one of the moments of truth for us…” He added, “We’re working on what you say. When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago, it was only for natural disasters. The next thing we need to do is make it so that communities can trigger it themselves when there is some disaster.”
Facebook recently has been receiving a lot of criticism for the activation of Safety Check only in select places or as a few point out, in the “West”. The Paris attacks saw Facebook deploying this feature extensively throughout the affected region. Later, the California-based Internet company was slammed for being biased for not activating it during the Nigeria blasts, to which company reacted and made the feature available in the region.
While it’s still unclear how this feature will come in use and what all users would ‘qualify’ to be able to create an alert, Facebook surely seems to be sidelining itself from all the backlash it received in the past for being biased.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)