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Facebook

  • Facebook evens the playing field by discontinuing ‘dark posts’

    At the end of October, Facebook broke the news that it planned to introduce a new advertising feature that would lead to any paid posts run by brands becoming readily visible to anyone who visited the page. What this effectively means is the end of the concept known as "dark posts", which allowed brands to choose not to publish specific pieces of content organically to their page, but instead, only promote them to a highly specific audience via paid budget amplification. Although the change comes as a direct response from Facebook to combat unfair paid political tactics on social media channels,...

  • Facebook has more duplicate accounts than Snapchat has users

    Facebook's userbase is a curious number. Not only is it the largest of any social network on the planet at 2.07-billion users per month, it also has more duplicate accounts than Snapchat has users. The company's earning report, released Wednesday, announced a spike of over 60-million users in Q3 2017. Daily active users are also up, now tipping the 1.4-billion mark. But lurking within these numbers are some 207-million duplicate accounts. "This quarter, we implemented a new methodology to help identify duplicate accounts," noted CFO David Wehner in an earnings call. "As a result, we increased our estimates for duplicate accounts to approximately...

  • Facebook’s AI led to the wrongful arrest of a Palestinian man

    Facebook has been touting its artificial-intelligence services as a way to quickly identify those promoting terrorist content on the platform, but not all of these services are as foolproof as the company would have us believe. Last week, Israeli police arrested a Palestinian construction worker when Facebook's translation tool mistakenly translated the Arabic for "good morning" to "attack them" in Hebrew, and "hurt them" in English, according to Gizmodo. Police were notified of the post, and were suspicious of the accompanying image that showed the worker leaning on a bulldozer, which has been used as a weapon in previous terrorist attacks. No Arabic-speaking police officer...

  • Don’t expect a separate Facebook tab for friends’ posts any time soon

    Facebook has been testing a feature that separates friends' posts from public pages' in six countries, but it says there are no current plans to roll the test out further. The test is a response to user complaints about clogged News Feeds that are now filled with the likes of memes and recipe videos rather than friends' personal updates. In Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, Facebook currently has two tabs: one for the common News Feed, which is purely personal posts from friends, and one called Explore, with posts from pages. This "Explore" tab is different in other parts of the world,...

  • Videos of little girl robbing women in Cape Town goes viral on Facebook

    Two videos of a little girl coerced into stealing items from shoppers' handbags in Cape Town have gone viral on Facebook. Published on 19 October by Facebook user Tyron-Nicklaus Norman, the two clips have since accumulated a combined 1.6-million views with an additional 21 000 shares. In the post, Norman explains the circumstances of the second video in which his wife was a victim. "Hi everyone, My wife was a victim of pick pocketing this evening. The part that is most sickening is that it was a little girl that did it," he writes. "She was being forced by a grown up woman...

  • US customers can now order food through Facebook

    If you're too lazy to visit a restaurant, or even open your favourite food ordering app, Facebook now lets you place orders for delivery or pick up directly from its app and website. The company's VP of local Alex Himel today announced the move in a press release. "Today, we’re taking the time out of finding what you want to eat by officially launching the ability to order food for pick-up or delivery, directly on Facebook," he writes. "People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants, and seeing what their friends say about...

  • Facebook execs to get ‘candid’ about ‘hard questions’ in live interviews

    Facebook executives are gearing up to "push  toward even greater transparency" in a series of live interviews with digital news site Axios. As part of the company's Hard Questions series -- heretofore existing only in the form of blog posts -- the company is opening up to reporters and editors from multiple news outlets and independent groups. At least in the case of Axios, Facebook says that the reporters will "fully control the questions and resulting coverage". The company says that it looks to take on the "most crucial topics in social media" -- including terrorism, hate speech, and Russian propaganda. The first interview will see...

  • Yes, Facebook and Instagram are down for some users

    Facebook and Instagram users across the world are today experiencing connectivity issues. Reports from users on Twitter and websites like DownDetector and Outage Report suggest that connection issues began around 5pm SAST. Facebook is having issues since 11:11 AM ESThttps://t.co/YbrNS7dpo9 RT if you're also affected #facebookdown pic.twitter.com/b5q3KqwkKs — Outage Report (@ReportOutage) October 11, 2017 On Facebook, users were unable to post status updates while Instagram users experienced a similar issue. The outage affected users across the world, including Japan, Brazil, India, the majority of Europe and the United States. In our tests, both Facebook and Instagram are seemingly up in South Africa. #FacebookDown began trending on Twitter...

  • Zuckerberg promotes VR with footage of disaster-stricken Puerto Rico

    Mark Zuckerberg has made some pretty tone-deaf moves in his time. Earlier this month, the Facebook CEO implied that people upset about Russian propaganda were as bad as those who wanted liberal content removed from Facebook. But just when you think he can't do worse, he goes and scores a personal best. This time, the Zuck appeared in a livestream promoting a Facebook VR tool as a cartoon version of himself in disaster-stricken Puerto Rico. Along with Facebook's head of social virtual reality Rachel Franklin, Zuckerberg toured the flooded areas as Puerto Ricans worked around his smiling, high-fiving avatar. Many citizens in the US-territory are...

  • Facebook to add info on news articles in the hopes you start re-trusting the media

    US President Donald Trump and his administration have made it their mission to sow a distrust for the media throughout the US -- and the prevalence of  "fake news" sites isn't helping -- but Facebook is looking to restore the broken relationship its users have with journalism. The company has begun a test to give users more information on the news articles that appear on their timelines. This information -- accessed by clicking a lower case "i" -- includes a background on the original publication, a look at related articles, and a map of where the article is being shared. It will also...

  • Russian propaganda ads reached 10m US Facebook users

    Facebook has revealed that 10-million US users were shown Russian propaganda ads that may have interfered with the 2016 US election -- and that may not be the final number. In a blog post connected to the company's Hard Questions series, Vice President of Policy and Communications Elliot Schrage provided more clarity on an issue that has been intentionally left murky. Schrage said that the total reach of dubious Russian ads was 10-million people, but only 44% of ad impressions (the number of times ads were displayed) were before the election. The company has not clarified user reach prior to the election. In 2016, the...

  • Twitter addresses Russian bots as Zuck faces the web’s wrath

    Twitter has finally broken its silence on the role its platform played in enabling Russian interference in the 2016 US election, but it's staying tight-lipped on the nitty-gritty. In a blog post that mostly addresses bots in general, the company announced that yesterday its VP for public policy Colin Crowell had met up with staff from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss the way Russian-owned accounts advertised on its platform. Twitter revealed that of the roughly 450 accounts Facebook removed earlier this year in relation to the debacle, 22 had related Twitter accounts -- all of which had "already been or immediately were...

  • Instagram ‘advertises’ itself on Facebook with rape threats

    Instagram has come under fire for advertising itself on parent company Facebook's platform with a screenshot of an email that read "I will rape you before I kill you". Instagram is using one of my most "engaging" posts to advertise its service to others on Facebook 😂pic.twitter.com/lyEBHQXMfa — Olivia Solon (@oliviasolon) September 21, 2017 The Guardian reporter Olivia Solon had posted the image to her feed a year ago. Her caption read: "This is an email I received this afternoon. Sadly this is all too common for women on the internet. I am sure this is just an idiot rather than any kind...

  • Russian Facebook pages may have organised pro-Trump rallies

    Suspected Russian Facebook page Being Patriotic organised pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rallies in the build-up to the 2016 US election, The Daily Beast has found. On 20 August 2016 -- less than three months before the election in November -- the page created a number of events collectively titled "Florida Goes Trump!" It called for supporters to rally together in 17 different cities and towns. The position in Florida is crucial, as it is a swing state that could have reasonably been won by either party. US President Donald Trump won 49.1% of the vote in Florida, as opposed to Hillary Clinton's 47.8%. The Daily Beast found proof...

  • Facebook removes ads targeting ‘Jew haters’

    Facebook profiles can be obnoxious. With no vetting procedures on the information provided for education or employment, friends can say they attended Hogwarts or that they work at NASA despite failing high school maths. But while some have been using these self-reporting fields to make harmless jokes, others have been using them to spew hatred -- and it's been revealed that advertisers could have specifically targeted these individuals. On Thursday, a report by Propublica revealed that advertisers, who have the ability to select which demographic they'd like to target, have been able to select the likes of "Jew hater", "how to burn Jews", and "history of...