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  • Facebook Trending updates, now adds context to network’s hot topics

    In its new-found bid to highlight genuine news on its network, Facebook has announced updates to its Trending feature. Trending, a feature added to the social network in 2014, shows users "popular topics being discussed on Facebook that they might not see in their News Feed" based on algorithms and reviewed by a company team. It's a lot like Twitter's trending hashtag system, and allows users to gauge what's currently hot on the social network. But this doesn't always mean that what's hot is actually relevant, or even factual. According to Facebook's product management VP, Will Cathcart, the company will be making...

  • Oculus: Hugo Barra’s next move revealed

    It was only a few days ago that Xiaomi Global vice-president Hugo Barra announced he was leaving the Chinese smartphone conglomerate. The former Googler said at the time that he was returning to Silicon Valley, giving no clue as to what he'd actually be doing. Now, it's been announced that Barra will be joining Facebook and Oculus -- and not just in any old role. In fact, he'll be the vice-president of VR, leading Oculus and Facebook's VR efforts in general. "I'm excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team," Zuckerberg wrote on the social network. Hugo...

  • Gang rape of Swedish woman broadcast live on Facebook

    According to a grim tabloid report from Sweden, three men on Monday recorded and broadcast an alleged gang rape using Facebook Live -- the social network's live video streaming service. The incident, which took place in Sweden's fourth largest city Uppsala, is currently undergoing a "preliminary investigation", according to police officials. Police were alerted by a concerned member of the closed Facebook group in which the video was being broadcast. According to a member of the group, around 200 people were watching the broadcast simultaneously. Reports also suggest that there might be two videos currently circulating on Facebook. Police, in a press...

  • Facebook blocks Russia’s RT prior to Trump inauguration

    Both Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg aren't having the best of weeks. While Zuck is out in Hawaii settling land disputes, Facebook has looked due East, blocking an influential Russian media network. Kremlin-funded RT revealed yesterday that it was briefly blocked from posting multimedia and articles to Facebook. "RT has been blocked from posting content to its Facebook page," the network announced on its website. "The ban, according to the Facebook bot, will last until Saturday 10:55pm Moscow time (2:55pm EST) and will extend across US president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration." According to the company, a live stream rights issue caused the ban...

  • Zuckerberg forces sale of Hawaiian native land

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ran into some trouble when purchasing land for his US$100-million family sanctuary. Much of the land purchased by Zuckerberg is owned by Kama'aina families, who have rights to the land. This unexpected turn of events has backed Zuckerberg into a corner, so much so that he's now trying to force the sale of the land rights, as first mentioned in a Hawaiian publication. Using what's known as the "quiet title and partition", which challenges the individual's claim to the land, Zuckerberg aims to put the land up for public auction. Donald Eby, a real-estate attorney who isn't involved in the case, explained how...

  • Vodacom launches Facebook Flex for free status updates, comments

    Vodacom wants to get you updating your Facebook status again, but its new product will let you do this for free. Dubbed Facebook Flex, the product is the "first of many" and will allow Vodacom users to access Facebook's basic version. This means that users can post comments, update their status and keep in touch with others' text posts without depleting their data stores. Vodacom explains that Facebook Flex will aim to reduce the cost of communicating with friends and family in the country. Facebook Flex will allow users to update their status, comment on users' posts but not view photos or...

  • Facebook debuts ‘fake news’ tools in Germany ahead of elections

    We're only three weeks into the new year, but "fake news" could already be the phrase of the year. After reports suggested that fake news on Twitter and Facebook contributed to Donald Trump's win in last year's US Presidential election, the latter is finally clamping down on the issue. The company has announced new tools to curb fake news in Germany, presumably as a measure ahead of the country's August 2017 elections. "Last month we announced some tests to address the issue of fake news on Facebook," Aine Kerr, the company's manager of journalism partnerships, wrote in a press release. "In the...

  • A face(book) for radio: social network gets Live Audio

    Live video streams have been something of a hit on Facebook since its introduction earlier this year, but the network isn't stopping there. Now, it's introduced live audio streaming functionality as well. Facebook's Live Audio functionality is pretty self-explanatory, allowing streamers who prefer audio to ditch bandwidth-intensive video. "We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video. We’ve even seen some Pages find creative ways to go live and reach audiences with audio only by using the Facebook Live API or by adding a still image to accompany their audio broadcast," the social...

  • Cape Town restaurant slammed over ‘racist’ incident

    Popular Cape Town restaurant/bar Clarke's has been hit with a slate of poor reviews on social media after an alleged racist incident took place on Friday. According to patron Nicholas Vries, a "random white lady" sat down at his table and insulted his group of friends, calling them "common coloured and just being full on racist". After repeated requests to management to have the person removed, Vries said his group was told to leave instead and the person was allowed to stay. A second person, Lee Sophia Piedt, ostensibly part of Vries's group, corroborated the story in a post on the Clarke's Facebook page. "The...

  • Facebook reveals world’s, SA’s most talked about topics in 2016

    Facebook's Year In Review is finally published on the company's press portal, and it makes for interesting reading for South Africans and the greater international community. According to Facebook data analyst Sheida Neman, the most talked about moments in the world in 2016 included the US Presidential Election (rather obviously) in first place, with "Brazilian Politics" and Pokemon Go rounding up the podium. They are followed by: Black Lives Matter Rodrigo Duterte & Philippine Presidential Election Olympics Brexit Super Bowl David Bowie Muhammad Ali As for South Africa's biggest moments, the US Elections was also a big talking point, but not as...

  • SuperSport to livestream Proteas vs Springboks cricket on Facebook

    Sports broadcaster SuperSport has experimented with new technologies and trends quite a bit this year. From broadcasting eSports events to featuring more live content on social media, the company is slowly drifting away from its satellite roots. In its latest move, the company announced that it will broadcast tonight's Mandela Legacy T20 Cup cricket match from Newlands, Cape Town, live on its Facebook channel. The match, which sees the South African cricket team face the South African rugby team in honour of former South African president Nelson Mandela, is an annual event usually reserved for audiences signed up to DStv. It's...

  • Another Stellenbosch bullying video makes rounds on Facebook

    Just when you thought the bullying videos were over for the year, another incident stemming from Stellenbosch has social media up in arms again. The new video, taking place once again at Stellenbosch's Luckoff High, was initially uploaded to Facebook by the Crime Intelligence and Community Awareness (CICA) page. According to CICA, the incident took place this week at Luckoff, and was sent to them by a follower. The video depicts a larger female pupil attacking a smaller female pupil. Although the video is just under 60 seconds long, a few punches are thrown before a male pupil steps in to...

  • Lufthansa’s Mildred joins Facebook’s bot family

    2016 has truly been the year of the chat bot, as Facebook, Microsoft and Google get in on the action. The latest company to craft a chat bot? Why, that would be Lufthansa... The German carrier has announced the availability of Mildred (at least it's not Gertrude), a Messenger chat bot that simply allows you to search for ticket prices via Facebook. As you'd expect, Mildred makes use of natural language processing, so you can pose questions in a human fashion rather than going for the search engine-style approach. It's all rather straightforward, as you specify a language (English or German -- more...

  • Cape Town resident slammed on Twitter for Facebook post

    Update 1.20pm, 5 December: Cape Town resident Vanessa Hartley has published an apology to her Facebook timeline, before deleting her account: I would like to apologise for comments that were made on Facebook via my phone as my phone was at the bar … and someone thought they were very funny but now they upset me and a lot of people. Original article: Twitter users were on Sunday outraged after a Facebook post published by Cape Town resident Vanessa Hartley went viral. Hartley, a resident of Hout Bay, Cape Town, posted the below status update to her timeline, questioning the number of...

  • Zuckerberg’s posts mistakenly stripped from Facebook

    What is it with companies taking down their CEO's social media messages this month? First Twitter's Jack Dorsey, and now Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg The latter reportedly removed several posts published by the Facebook CEO in what it's calling a "mistake". Eagle-eyed reporters at The Verge noticed that Zuckerberg's posts about fake news on the social media site, as well as commentary on the US elections, were stripped from his timeline Tuesday, only to later be restored just before 8pm SAST. Facebook's fake news problem One of these posts included a statement made by Zuckerberg on 18 November, regarding misinformation on Facebook. "The bottom line...