Tag Archives: Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg finally addresses the string of violent deaths on Facebook

Facebook has unintentionally played host to an unfortunate string of horribly violent incidents over the last few months and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is finally addressing the issue head-on. In a new post on his personal Facebook account, the young leader announced the company will be expanding its operations team – which already has over 4,500 members – with 3,000 new hires in order more efficiently respond to and deal with violence-related reports. Here is the full post: Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook — either live or in video posted… Posted by Mark…

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Why this former Facebook Messenger product manager is investing in AI

Outsourcing, automation, and connecting strangers on chat apps are among some of the biggest opportunities in conversational commerce forming around chat app platforms, former Facebook Messenger product manager turned investor Seth Rosenberg told VentureBeat.

Last Wednesday, amid a rush of Facebook news from F8, Greylock Partners announced that Rosenberg would join its consumer investment team to make seed or early round investments in startups working with bots, AI, messaging, AR/VR, and other fields.

Until late last year, Rosenberg had been part of the Messenger team working with businesses and a developer community to create a bot ecosystem for the Messenger Platform. During Rosenberg’s three years at Messenger, the chat app launched its bot and game platforms and grew from 200 million to more than one billion monthly active users.

About the series of changes made this week to increase the discoverability of bots on Messenger — the new discover tab for popular or featured bots, chat extensions to bring bots to groups, bots for Workplace by Facebook — Rosenberg said he wasn’t surprised, and that in this case it’s good to be predictable.

“It was really a signal of reinvestment in the platform and tools that were universally requested and practically useful. Every year you don’t want some kind of ‘this is the future of world’ bomb drop,” he said. “It’s kind of refreshing actually for everyone involved to not be super surprised by some of the announcements. Like ‘OK, they’re doubling down on the same platform, they built a lot of tools based on feedback we’ve given them,’ and people are starting to get more visibility to it, which is helpful.”

He told VentureBeat he’s interested in investing in companies making services to connect people outside of each other’s network for platforms like Messenger, WeChat, Kakao, and Line.

Companies that connect people include visual A-B test bot Swelly, as well as bots like NearGroup and Foxsy that connect people interested in dating or making friends nearby.

“It’s still an open space for using messaging to connect with people that are not in your close network,” Rosenberg told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “A lot of people have tried this, but nothing has really taken off yet.”

Above: Left to right: Wingstop CIO Stacey Peterson, Facebook Messenger Product Manager Seth Rosenberg, Fandango SVP Mark Young, and panel moderator Stewart Rogers of VentureBeat. Panel participants discussed opportunities and challenges in commerce and bots at MobileBeat, a two-day chatbot and artificial intelligence gathering held July 12-13 at The Village in San Francisco.

Image Credit: Michael O’Donnell / VentureBeat

Rosenberg also believes there are big opportunities on chat platforms for communication within and between businesses because “email is still the default.”

“There are obviously companies like Slack and Microsoft Teams, but beyond the Silicon Valley bubble, email is still the way businesses communicate with each other. And I still believe there’s something [there for] either those companies or others who tackle it in a slightly different way or who tackle verticals like SMBs or have more of a hybrid approach to messaging,” he said.

Rosenberg sees chat platforms as a vehicle for automation and outsourcing in the workplace, with the potential to “unlock a distributed sales force on mobile.” The most interesting of these companies fuel entrepreneurship that could play a big role in the way people work and think about work.

Several startups in enterprise and other businesses are working on such services. On Friday, Magic launched a bot to complete office tasks in a Slack channel for $ 35 an hour. The now-defunct Tina assistant bot connected a Slack channel to a network of tens of thousands of freelancers in the Philippines to complete administrative tasks. TARA bot automates recruitment and project management.

Other companies exploring the chat gig economy include Ask Wiz, which currently allows tech experts to accept tips from $ 2 to $ 10. There’s Sensay, which intends to allow its anonymous advice givers to get paid, and therapeutic and medical chat services from Talkspace and HealthTap.

Rosenberg sees both pitfalls and opportunity in the way tech is reshaping the workplace for many people.

“You have essentially a fork in the road where on one hand you can have a large group of people that are kind of left behind in this new economy, and it can lead to unhappiness and societal unrest and drug problems and political issues and war and conflict and Brexit, and you’re starting to see signals of that right now. But the other fork in the road is that services like Etsy, Uber, and Shopify are building tools to enable micro entrepreneurship, and they’re replacing giant corporations that you worked at for 40 years in a cubicle, and you can actually replace that with something better where people have more control of their time but still have the same level of security, just through more distributed services.”

“That’s one kind of outcome of AI that I think is interesting to invest in, which is the future of work,” he concluded.

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United Airlines and Cleveland Facebook Live killing reveal the best and worst of social media

Social media gets something of a bad rap for its always-on flow of information that gives everyone a voice, even if they don’t have anything of much consequence to say.

Sometimes we’re reminded of the true power Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the like have to capture and communicate important messages that may otherwise have been lost. Other times, we’re reminded that social media is capable of capturing events that have no place on a public forum.

Two incidents in particular from the past week help illustrate social media at its best and at its worst.

Last week, United Airlines hit the headlines over the way it forcibly removed a passenger from one of its planes after it failed to find volunteers willing to give up their seat on an overbooked a flight. A number of videos captured from the plane were shared on social media almost immediately, revealing to the world the potential horrors that await United Airlines passengers who “refuse to volunteer” to be “re-accommodated.”

On the one hand, the videos made for disturbing viewing — a grown man screaming and bloodied, yanked from a flight he’d paid for by cops at the request of a billion-dollar corporate giant. It wasn’t pleasant to watch, but it helped highlight why social media can be an immensely powerful force. Without smartphones and social media, the incident would not have garnered the global attention it subsequently received, and United Airlines would not have been forced to reconsider its procedures for managing overbooked flights. And the Chicago Police would presumably not have suspended the officers responsible.

On the flip side, as I write this, police in Cleveland, Ohio are hunting for a man who broadcast himself on Facebook Live as he killed a stranger at random. This isn’t the first time such a thing has happened, either. And the video remained online for hours after the shooting before Facebook finally removed it from the suspect’s Facebook Page.

Everyone now has a smartphone in their pocket, meaning everyone has the potential to be a journalist and a one-person film crew — recent history is awash with examples of ordinary people who have captured major events and shared them with the world.

But as United Airlines strives to overhaul its company policies and practices in the wake of damning media coverage captured by a handful of citizen hacks, the Cleveland killing has given us a stark reminder that in the wrong hands, social media really can be the darkest of forces.

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Facebook Messenger now lets you prove you’re “OMW!” in real-time

Just a few days after Google added live location sharing to Maps, now Facebook is doing something similar on Messenger. You could already share your location on the app, but it was basically just a quick snapshot of your location on a map. Now you can see where your friends are in real time as they move around a city, which will come in handy for all those times your friends are “on their way” but haven’t even finished taking a shower (or make it harder for you to lie about where you are).   To try it out, simply tap…

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Facebook bars developers from using data to create surveillance tools

Facebook Mobile App

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc barred software developers on Monday from using the massive social network’s data to create surveillance tools, closing off a process that had been exploited by U.S. police departments to track protesters

Facebook, its Instagram unit and rival Twitter Inc came under fire last year from privacy advocates after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a report that police were using location data and other user information to spy on protesters in places such as Ferguson, Missouri.

In response to the ACLU report, the companies shut off the data access of Geofeedia, a Chicago-based data vendor that said it works with organizations to “leverage social media,” but Facebook policy had not explicitly barred such use of data in the future.

“Our goal is to make our policy explicit,” Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, said in a post on the social network on Monday. He was not immediately available for an interview.

The change would help build “a community where people can feel safe making their voices heard,” Sherman said.

Racially charged protests broke out in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in the aftermath of the August 2014 shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

In a 2015 email message, a Geofeedia employee touted its “great success” covering the protests, according to the ACLU report based on government records.

Representatives of Geofeedia could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. The company has worked with more than 500 law enforcement agencies, the ACLU said.

Geofeedia Chief Executive Officer Phil Harris said in October that the company was committed to privacy and would work to build on civil rights protections.

Major social media platforms including Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube have taken action or implemented policies similar to Facebook’s, said Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties policy director at the ACLU of Northern California.

Ozer praised the companies’ action but said they should have stopped such use of data earlier. “It shouldn’t take a public records request from the ACLU for these companies to know what their developers are doing,” she said.

It was also unclear how the companies would enforce their policies, said Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice, a nonprofit that opposes government use of social media for surveillance.

Inside corporations, “is the will there, without constant activist pressure, to enforce these rules?” Cyril said.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Bernard Orr)


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Google and Facebook to help French newsrooms combat ‘fake news’ ahead of presidential election

Google / Google France

Google and Facebook are to help a host of French news organizations combat the growing scourge of fake news ahead of the upcoming French presidential election campaign.

With CrossCheck, Google has partnered with First Draft and Facebook to support a coalition of notable newsrooms — including Le Monde, Agence France-Presse (AFP), France Télévisions, BuzzFeed, Global Voices, and Les Echos — to help the French electorate “make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches, and general online news consumption,” according to David Dieudonné, Google’s News Lab lead in France.

“With combined expertise from across media and technology, CrossCheck aims to ensure hoaxes, rumours, and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported,” said Dieudonné. “With the French presidential election approaching, journalists from across France and beyond will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads, or news sites.”

Though it’s far from a new phenomenon, the “fake news” problem has received renewed attention in the wake of two notable political events in the past twelve months — Brexit and the U.S. presidency. The extent to which hoaxes and fake news articles influenced the outcome of those political campaigns is up for debate, but technology companies and news organizations are embracing new tools as concerns grow over the online spread of false information, or “alternative facts.”

Already this year, Le Monde has launched an anti-fake news platform constituting a suite of fact-checking products powered by a database of hundreds of “unreliable” source websites. And Facebook, for its part, has already introduced fake-news thwarting tools in some countries, including Germany. Moreover, back in November, Facebook acquired CrowdTangle, an analytics tool that tracks how links are shared on social media services — which could help measure the spread of viral content. Facebook’s support of CrossCheck will also include broader “media literacy efforts that will help to explain the [news] verification process” while keeping “relevant audiences up to date with confirmed and disputed information relating to the election,” according to First Draft.

Google too has been pushing to help stymie the spread of false information online, and last September it partnered with First Draft and other news organizations to launch Electionland ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

The French presidential election takes place on April 23, 2017, and if no candidate wins a majority, a follow-up election between the top two candidates will take place two weeks later. Now with CrossCheck, news organizations will be able to tap collectively fact-checked sources for their own articles and broadcasts.

However, it’s not entirely clear whether any of this will ultimately make much difference, given the belief held by some that people don’t make decision based on facts.

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Facebook employees protest travel ban by boycotting flying

Facebook VP Regina Dugan

While some of Facebook’s top executives have already spoken out against President Trump’s immigration moratorium, other company employees are protesting the ban by boycotting flying.

A handful of Facebook employees have committed to either fly less or completely boycott flying for the next 90 days in protest of Trump’s order, which bars people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days and bars the admission of all refugees for 120 days.

The protest was organized by Facebook vice president of engineering Regina Dugan, according to a post on her Facebook page Friday. Dugan was poached by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from Google in early 2016 to lead the social giant’s mysterious Building 8 hardware division.

“Last Sunday, I felt heartbroken,” Dugan wrote Friday in reference to Trump’s executive order. “And I decided that I had to do something. Before I knew it, a small rag tag team of citizen coders had formed. A designer made a logo. We put down words, took shifts, encouraged each other through sleepless nights. Two days later, nofly90.com was live.”

Dugan’s website explains that the boycott is intended to make a statement “that is hard to ignore.”

“Approximately 2 million people fly each day in the United States,” it reads. “If one out of every ten of those people boycott air travel for 90 days, it will make a $ 5B statement. And that is a roar that is hard to ignore.”

“The boycott of public buses in Montgomery lasted 381 days,” the website continues. “Now it is our turn.”

Some Facebook employees, including several who work within Dugan’s Building 8 division, have shared the website with the hashtag “#nofly90.” Employees from Google and other tech companies have also shared the hashtag.

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that the company wasn’t affiliated with Dugan’s protest and that no company resources were used to create the website.

Mark Zuckerberg was one of first in a long string of tech CEOs to speak out against Trump’s order last week. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg later came out and said that the ban defies “the heart and values that define the best of our nation.”

This story originally appeared on Www.businessinsider.com. Copyright 2017

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Facebook reportedly creating app to bring videos to the television

Facebook video search on mobile.

Facebook is reportedly working on a way to bring its video content to your television. The social networking company could be developing an app that lets you stream premium content it curates through set-top boxes such as Apple TV.

The Wall Street Journal shared that the unnamed app is one of several projects Facebook is undertaking to shift itself from a mobile-first to a video-first entity. By extending itself beyond the confines of a mobile phone or computer and onto additional screen real estate, the thought is it would not only improve ad load, but increase opportunities for targeting and providing quality ads to people watching videos on their televisions.

Facebook declined to comment.

In July, Facebook chief financial officer Dave Wehner made a remark that concerned advertisers, suggesting that the total number of ads the company would be able to show each user would be “a relative non-factor” for predicting Facebook’s future revenue growth a year from then. The following quarter, it warned investors that its ad revenue growth would be slowing down in 2017, which is now.

So in order to find ways to expand its advertising, Facebook is looking at the television. As a vocal proponent of videos — look at the push towards Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Live, Messenger Daysurfacing longer videos within News Feed, and more — why not combine it with ads? This is where pre- and post-roll ads could fit in.

Other social companies have launched apps for set-top boxes, including YouTube and Twitter’s Periscope. However, YouTube, which continues to be a major player in the online video space, is the only one that appears to have any way to monetize what’s shown on the television. Facebook’s entry could certainly shake up the market and give YouTube a run for its money.

All eyes will be on Facebook tomorrow as the company declares its fourth quarter earnings results to see if its status as an advertising behemoth has changed.

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Nokia teases yet another Android phone in a cryptic Facebook post

Nokia is finally getting busy. Shortly after announcing plans to launch its first Android handset later this year, it appears the Finnish company has more surprises in store – and quite possibly another smartphone on the way. In a new Facebook post teasing the arrival of its forthcoming Nokia 6, the company dropped a cryptic clue suggesting “more announcements” will follow on February 26. While the date coincides with the start of Mobile World Congress, the phone-maker has refused to give out any further details as to what these “announcements” could involve – but it seems the company may unveil an…

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Facebook says people sent 63 billion WhatsApp messages on New Year’s Eve


Facebook-owned WhatsApp today announced that people sent 63 billion messages on New Year’s Eve, setting a new record for the app that lets people have chats and make voice and video calls.

Within those 63 billion messages, there were 7.9 billion images and 2.4 billion videos, a WhatsApp spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

For the sake of comparison, Messenger and WhatsApp combined were sending 60 billion messages per day, Facebook cofounder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said at the company’s F8 developer conference in April, as the Verge reported.

In January 2015, WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum said that people were sending 30 billion messages per day on WhatsApp. By February 2016, that number was 42 billion.

People were sending 15 billion messages per day on Telegram as of February 2016. And in 2014, people were sending 40 billion iMessages per day, according to Bloomberg.

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, and WhatsApp now has more than 1 billion monthly active users. In April, WhatsApp enabled WhatsApp end-to-end encryption by default.

The SMS message protocol was at one point handling 20 billion messages per day, Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans wrote in a 2015 blog post.

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