At least, that’s the word from Recode, which says the social network is in talks about a partnership withSecret, the app that lets you anonymously share gossip and other chatter.
At first blush, the two companies sound like strange bedfellows. After all, Facebook has always required the use of real names and identities, and Mark Zuckerberg has long said that the company is on a mission to make the world more “open,” not provide ways of keeping things hidden. But both Facebook and its users could benefit from this change in tack. Judging from the use of apps like Secret and others, part of the population is certainly drawn towards Secret-like anonymity, and more than any other operation on the net, Facebook wants to run a service that can be everything to everyone.
Such a partnership may be especially appealing to teenagers, and that’s someone Facebook has a particular interest in reaching. With parents hovering around their Facebook accounts, teens have retreated to more private types of sharing, including texting services like WhatsApp and ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat, and the new wave of anonymity apps — including Whisper and Yik Yak as well as Secret — have similar appeal. Unlike Facebook, these services don’t serve as a permanent record of what you’ve done online. On many, teens can pick a temporary handle one day and abandon in the next. Some systems, like Snapchat, even destroy old content as a matter of course.
When Tara Taylor put a photo on Facebook, she thought she was just showing off her daughter's hair. But thanks to friends' observations, that post ended up saving her 3-year-old's vision instead.
According to Memphis' News 3, the Tennessee mom uploaded a photo of her daughter, Rylee, wearing hair bows to the social media site. The girl's eyes looked like a flash washed them out, but the right one appeared larger and yellowish.
Two of Taylor's Facebook friends pointed that out and said something seemed off.
One of those friends, Stacy Carter, told TODAY that she thought the yellow in the eye could mean something is wrong. “I just texted Tara and told her, ‘Hey, it could be nothing, it could just be the flash, but there could be something wrong with Rylee’s eye,’” she said.
So Taylor took Rylee to a pediatrician, and then to an eye specialist. They discovered she had Coats' disease -- a condition that causes blood vessels to develop abnormally behind the retina and leads to sight issues and blindness.
Although mom explained that her daughter showed no indicators that she had an eye problem, the Coats' Disease website says that the "yellow eye" occurs during the early second stage of the five part disease. Dr. Jorge Calzada, an ophthalmologist specializing in retinal surgery who diagnosed Rylee with the condition, explained to Yahoo Shine that her yellow glow resulted from a scar in the back of her retina.
Luckily, social media helped catch the problem early, but as TIME points out, it wouldn't be the first time.
Three years ago, Deborah Kogan wrote a Slate article about how social media helped save her son. After posting pictures of him while sick on Facebook, friends urged her to go to the hospital. As they predicted, her then 4-year-old had Kawasaki disease and doctors treated him in time.
A report by the Journalism Project at Pew Research Center (PRC) has found that a third of Americans get their news through Facebook.
The number of people, which is three times more than the amount of individuals who got their news from the social network in 2012, isn’t all that surprising since many news sources have Facebook pages that broadcast stories and considering Facebook users often share news among themselves. In fact, 78 percent of those who receive news through Facebook say that it's not the reason they use the site, but that they notice news while logged on to Facebook for other reasons.
Facebook experimented with making news an integral part of the site with its Social Reader feature in 2011, but the app failed greatly in 2012. Facebook rebranded it as Trove and moved it to a mobile format. Faceboo now also has a Paper iOS app, which isn't marketed as a news reader but functions like one.
Users say entertainment reporting is the most common type of news they see on Facebook, followed by local stories and events. Fifty-five percent say they regularly see political news on Facebook, but apparently that doesn’t include political rants, which are pretty much unavoidable on Facebook.
Kolkata: With politicians boosting their social media presence in the election season using fake online followers, Facebook has started cracking down on fraudulent accounts showing suspiciously high number of ‘likes’.Data from the Facebook team show that close to 52,000 pages exist for politicians and political parties in India. Of them 60 are verified pages. “We’re always focused on maintaining the integrity of our site, but we’ve placed an increased focus on abuse from fake accounts recently,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed response.The social networking site, which has around 93 million monthly active users in India alone, has built up a combination of automated and manual systems to block accounts used for fraudulent purposes and ‘Likes’.Company officials say action is being taken against sellers of fake clicks and are helping to shut them down.With the growing power of social media, politicians across parties have taken to the digital medium to interact with the youth through Facebook and Twitter this election season. It is suspected that many ‘Likes’ and ‘followers’ on these platforms are from fake account holders.Among the pages for politicians on Facebook, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is a clear winner with a massive 1.2 crore ‘Likes’ followed by Arvind Kejriwal 48 lakh, Mamata Banerjee 670,000 andAkhikesh Yadav 475,000. PTI
Based on the immediate reaction to Tuesday's surprise announcement that Facebook is buying VR headset maker Oculus, you'd have thought the move was effectively a death sentence for what was previously the most promising virtual reality technology in decades. At the extremes, some particularly vitriolic commenters even felt comfortable enough to suggest the death sentence should extend to the technology's creators and their families.
"We expected a negative reaction from people in the short term, [but] we did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls that extended to our families," Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey said in a reddit post this weekend. "We know we will prove ourselves with actions and not words, but that kind of shit is unwarranted, especially since it is impacting people who have nothing to do with Oculus."
Elsewhere in the reddit thread, Luckey said that the initial reaction wasn't really surprising, but it still obviously felt undeserved from his point-of-view. "We expected a kneejerk reaction from people who don't have all the information we do and will not have it for some time," he wrote. "We expected a negative reaction, that does not mean we think the reaction is warranted. My primary goal is the long term success of VR, not short term warm and fuzzy feelings."
Luckey's statement comes after a Game Informer interview last week in which Oculus VP of Product Nate Mitchell also expressed surprise at the extent of the initial negative reaction. Still, Mitchell added that he thinks opinions are starting to turn around with the passage of time.
"We assumed that the reaction would be negative, especially from our core community," he told the magazine. "Beyond our core community, we expected it would be positive. I don't think we expected it to be so negative. As people begin to digest it a bit and think about it, you can see that Twitter and reddit are swinging back the opposite direction. The onus is on us to educate people, and we want to share everything we’re doing."
All that said, Luckey admitted he might have reacted similarly if he were a VR fan simply following the news from the outside. Responding to a reddit commenter asking "wouldn't you have been pissed," Luckey responded, "Knowing what the public knows, maybe. Knowing what I know, seeing the technology this deal will directly enable? No."
Meanwhile, Id Software co-founder and current Oculus Chief Technology Officer John Carmack took to a Tumblr comment thread to offer his most direct defense yet of what he sees as the benefits of the acquisition:
There is a case to be made for being like Valve and trying to build a new VR ecosystem like Steam from the ground up. This is probably what most of the passionate fans wanted to see. The difference is that, for years, the industry thought Valve was nuts, and they had the field to themselves. Valve deserves all their success for having the vision and perseverance to see it through to the current state.
VR won't be like that. The experience is too obviously powerful, and it makes converts on contact. The fairly rapid involvement of the Titans is inevitable, and the real questions were how deeply to partner and with who.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting Facebook (or this soon). I have zero personal background with them, and I could think of other companies that would have more obvious synergies. However, I do have reasons to believe that they get the Big Picture as I see it and will be a powerful force towards making it happen. You don't make a commitment like they just did on a whim.
(Reuters) - Facebook Inc is harnessing satellite, drone and other technology as part of an ambitious and costly effort to beam Internet connectivity to people in underdeveloped parts of the world.
The world's No. 1 social network said on Thursday it has hired aerospace and communications experts from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and its Ames Research Center for the new "Connectivity Lab" project.
"Today, we're sharing some details of the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is doing to build drones, satellites and lasers to deliver the internet to everyone," Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Facebook.
He gave few specifics and did not specify a time frame.
The move extends the social networking company's Internet.org effort, aimed at connecting billions of people who do not currently have Internet access in places such as Africa and Asia. Facebook has been working with telecommunications carriers to make Internet access more available and affordable.
"We're going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too," Zuckerberg said in his post.
Facebook envisions a fleet of solar-powered drones as well as low-earth orbit and geosynchronous satellites delivering Internet access to different regions of the world. Invisible, infrared laser beams could allow Facebook to dramatically boost the speed of the Internet connections provided by the various aircraft, Facebook said on a Web page that explaining the project.
Facebook's plans to take to the skies underscore the company's rising ambitions to exert its influence beyond the confines of its 1.2 billion-member social network and to set the pace for new technology that will shape society. On Tuesday, Facebook announced plans to acquire Oculus VR Inc, a maker of virtual reality goggles that Facebook hopes could become the computing platform of the future.
Facebook is following in the steps of Google Inc, the world's largest Internet search engine, whose Google X division is working on a variety of so-called "moonshot" projects including self-driving cars and wearable computers.
Google announced plans last year to use solar-powered balloons to deliver Internet access to remote regions of the world
The 47-year-old designer and longtime girlfriend of Mick Jagger was found dead in her Manhattan apartment on March 17, but the timing of a photo posted to her Facebook page, depicting dresses hanging from a tree, seemed a bit odd. L’Wren Scott was found hanging from her doorknob, by her assistant, who called 911. HollywoodLife.com spoke to the NYPD who told us that she was found “unresponsive” and then declared dead by the EMS when they arrived on the scene. Roughly two hours after she was found dead, a picture was posted to her Facebook page, that had a dozen dresses hanging all over a massive old tree. Given the circumstances of her death, the picture seemed beyond sad and strange. L’Wren Scott Suicide — Eery Photo Of Designers Posted After Death The designer’s boyfriend, Mick Jagger, is “devastated,” he was in Australia when he was told the news. “He is completely shocked,” his rep tells HollywoodLife.com. “And devastated by the news.” The couple had been dating since 2001.
After years of courting the nation's biggest advertisers, Facebook is going after the 99%.
That figure represents the long tail of advertisers; the plumbers and dentists, restaurants and political candidates, app developers and direct-response advertisers. These small and mid-sized businesses don't have Facebook account reps and are left to figure out Facebook advertising for themselves.
It's an operational challenge for the social network, which has invested heavily to educate big brands and agencies about its products. To tackle the long tail, it won't build out a large customer-service teams like YP or Gannett, which specialize in local sales. The idea is to make the product intuitive and steer Facebook page administrators to "boost" posts that are performing well with some ad spend through notifications on their page.
"All the traditional things people think about -- like a sales channel through YP or a call center -- they're all good, but we're dealing with a scale that's really unprecedented," said Dan Levy, Facebook's director of small business. "And trying to figure out how you unlock that is intellectually fun, but really hard."
Mr. Levy's team has doubled since he took on the role in July 2012. (It's in the "hundreds" across a few offices, including a call center in Austin.) It's recently started to do outreach to customers whose ads are under-performing -- a departure from its past strategy of just responding to people who've flagged an issue.
But there are only so many small and medium-sized businesses Facebook can talk to. From insights it gleans during those calls, it will get better at simplifying the ad-buying experience for a broad swath, according to Mr. Levy.
"In an ideal world, I don't have to call [someone]. I can do that marketing on Facebook," he said. "But until we've figured it out, that's what we're going to do. It's a lot of prototyping until we can build stuff into the product."
Facebook is borrowing from its big brand and agency strategy in one respect. It's formed an SMB Council comprised of 12 businesses, a structure that's reminiscent of its Client Council that includes chief marketers from P&G, Coke, Walmart and Unilever among its members. With both groups, Facebook solicits feedback on how its products can be improved. (For the big spenders, it also gives a peek at what's on the product roadmap.)
Sheryl Sandberg, the 44-year-old chief operating officer of social media giantFacebook, has dumped 26 million of her 41 million shares (or 63% of her total holdings) in record liquidation time for a top insider at prices ranging from the low $20s per share all the way up to a recent peak of $72.30 a share. And she’s rocketed on to the iconic Forbes listing of the newest billionaires in the world.
When Facebook announced its two-billion-dollar acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus Rift, the big question was, how will they integrate virtual reality with the Facebook experience? With our new Oculus Rift integration, HootSuite has the answer.
Engaging with fans and customers is the bedrock of a successful social media strategy, and there’s no better way to connect than with an immersive virtual reality experience. When so many businesses struggle to include social media as a part of their business reality, virtual reality becomes the perfect environment to easily improve engagement.
With the HootSuite-Facebook-Oculus Rift integration, you can:
Collaborate in virtual command center environments to handle high volume or sensitive social media responsesTest messaging in simulated scenariosImmerse yourself in customer feedbackStylize analytics reports in augmented realityAvoid carpal tunnel by pushing virtual buttons, not real ones
Your boss won’t be able to doubt the value of social media when he can see the dollar signs flying in. Get your HootSuite VR Dashboard today.
In the lead-up to its blockbuster IPO (expected to be the biggest since Facebook’s), Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been on quite a shopping spree, shoring up its fortifications against assault from internet rival Tencent. Now it’s getting into malls, spending $692 million for a 26% stake in Intime Retail, a department store operator that will help the company reach people who prefer to do their shopping the old-fashioned way.
Unlike Facebook, which has been frantically snapping up businesses that might one day become the future of technology, Alibaba has been mostly buying into industries that have been around for years, if not decades.
More than a year ago, Facebook unveiled plans for a drastic redesign of its website's News Feed that would place a greater emphasis on pictures and look a lot more like the social network's mobile app.
Ultimately, Facebook discarded that look and went with a less drastic redesign, and the reason for that decision was that many of the company's users still have older computers and laptops, according to a blog post by Julie Zhuo, the social network's product design director.
"While I (and maybe you as well) have sharp, stunning super high-resolution 27-inch monitors, many more people in the world do not," she wrote. "Low-res, small screens are more common across the world."
More users have smaller screens, and on those monitors, the planned redesign did not work well. In some instances, users couldn't even see one full Facebook post on their screens without having to scroll. This meant that the planned redesign made using Facebook a worse experience for many.
"These people may not be early adopters or use the same hardware we do, but the quality of their experience matters just as much," she wrote.
Zhuo explained Facebook's decision following a blog post by Dustin Curtis, an entrepreneur. He wrote that the company decided to kill the bold redesign because it would have generated less ad revenue.
"It was performing so well from a design standpoint that users no longer felt the need to browse areas outside of the News Feed as often, so they were spending less time on the site," Curtis wrote. "Unfortunately, this change in user behavior led to fewer advertisement impressions, which led, ultimately, to less revenue."
Zhuo dismissed Curtis' statements, saying that the planned redesign would have been better for revenue, but the company decided to go with the look that would improve user experience for all.
"This isn’t about short-term metrics versus long-term value. (The dangers of that I’ve articulated here). This is about designing something that works for the hundreds of millions of people who use the Facebook website every day, from all over the world, on all types of computers," she wrote.
Yes, I think Facebook Inc. probably overpaid in its $19 billion acquisition of Whatsapp . And yes, I think it also probably overpaid in its more recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR.
But even if these recent ideas don’t pan out, I disagree with those who think that CEO Mark Zuckerbeg has gone plum crazy.
When you’re a company like Facebook FB +0.70% , deals like Oculus are the ones you have to make.
It’s either that, or risk dying slowly.
Your Facebook status update delivered via drone?
WSJ's Reed Albergotti explains Facebook's latest efforts to deliver the Internet to the most remote corners of Earth.
We can moralize about the fact thatOculus was crowdsourced into a buyout target or that Facebook’s stock is structured into two classes that give Zuckerberg near-dictatorial power to make decisions.
And we can speculate all we want about what fraction of the 450 million Whatsapp users will ever be “monetized” effectively by the tech giant, or whether Oculus will ever turn a profit.
But to me, tech companies stay on top by making bold moves that look far down the road rather than focusing on the short term.
So while only time will tell if Facebook was right or wrong on these recent deals, investors should not fault Zuckerberg for his tactics one bit.
What Facebook is doing right
It’s easy to roll your eyes and say the Oculus deal makes no sense. Shares of Facebook are down about 10% in the last week in part because traders just don’t get it.
And besides, looking at a picture of folks using these wacky virtual reality glasses makes it hard to keep a straight face.
But broadly, I think Zuckerberg has his head in the right place by thinking beyond the current Facebook platform and trying to move where he thinks the market is headed instead.
In the future, will virtual reality be as useful to me as the video conferences I hold at work via GoToMeeting? Will a virtual reality chat be as emotionally satisfying as the regular Skype chats my little girls have with Grandma?
Nobody knows for sure. But since it’s impossible to predict precisely where technology is headed, the best a tech company can do is follow its instincts.
And sometimes, that pays off big-time.
Take Google Inc. GOOG -0.09% with its 2005 acquisition of Android , a little-known company that it snapped up for an estimated $50 million. Nothing came of the deal for a while, and the initial reception of the operating system was pretty mild in 2007 as the first generation iPhone captivated the market.
But almost 10 years later, it’s hard to imagine that even the most optimistic Google engineer would have seen just how ubiquitous smartphones have become — or thatAndroid would be on roughly 8 in 10 of these devices worldwide.
Sammy Wasem was 15 when he started a Ferrari fan page that would become one of the most popular car sites on Facebook. Six years later, he is in a legal battle with his favorite Italian sports-car maker in a case that may help define freedom of expression rights in social media. Wasem, an amateur race-car driver, and his father Olivier have filed a criminal complaint against Ferrari SpA, claiming copyright infringement as they lost control of their site. Ferrari has sued the Wasems, arguing they misused the company’s trademark to advertise non-Ferrari merchandise and for personal messages such as invitations for Wasem’s 18th birthday. “They dared to take away a kid’s dream,” Sammy Wasem said in an interview. “They have no scruples.” The case is emblematic of the challenges companies have dealing with copyright and trademark rights on social media. In the years Wasem spent his adolescence building up a marketing tool for Ferrari, social media has grown up as well. Facebook Inc.’s revenue rose 55 percent to $7.87 billion last year. “The issue isn’t with Facebook or with our fans but with those who try to use Ferrari’s intellectual property to make money out of it,” said Stefano Lai, a spokesman for the Maranello-based carmaker. The company hasn’t been informed of a criminal complaint, he said. The Wasems made no money selling merchandise on the site, Olivier Wasem said. Brand Damage Ferrari’s standoff contrasts with the approach of Coca-Cola Co. in a similar situation, where it ended up hiring the fans. The power of social media is such that there’s an increasing tendency for brands to shun lawsuits over social media disputes, even where there’s clear damage to their brand. “There’s a change happening in the behavior of IP lawyers to defend their clients,” said Benoit Van Asbroeck, a lawyer at Bird & Bird in Brussels who specializes in intellectual property and information technology. “We now try to be very friendly to avoid an aggressive reaction on the Web.” The alternative is risking lengthy legal battles that can fuel a backlash from fans on the Internet. Nestle SA learned this the hard way in 2010 in a dispute over a YouTube video. Greenpeace had made an ad that said the food company’s palm oil sourcing was destroying rain forests. KitKat Video The video showed an office worker biting a KitKat bar that turned into a bloody orangutan finger. Nestle asked YouTube to take it down, so Greenpeace published it on other sites, attracting more than 1.5 million views, according to the group. Nestle later held meetings with Greenpeace and won its approval by changing purchasing policies. This case “was the trigger for us to say to our clients we have to do it much quieter and more smoothly,” said Van Asbroeck, whose law firm does some work for Nestle, according to its website. “Social media is a really important tool for us to communicate with consumers and with stakeholders” such as non-governmental organizations, said Chris Hogg, a spokesman for the Vevey, Switzerland-based maker of Nespresso coffee and Lean Cuisine meals. He declined to comment on whether Nestle requested the video be taken down. One of the biggest-name examples of companies avoiding such a legal battle involves Coke in 2008, when the world’s largest beverage company saw the potential of working with two creators of a Facebook page about the soft drink that had reached millions of “likes” or fans. Coca-Cola contacted Dusty Sorg and Michael Jedrzejewski, offering to make theirs the official company fan page and giving them resources to build it further. Coca-Cola Likes The Atlanta-based company’s Facebook page went from almost 2 million “likes” or fans, when Coca-Cola first partnered with Dusty and Michael more than five years ago, to more than 80 million fans today, said Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola’s senior vice-president Global Sparkling Brand Center. “In a socially networked world where everyone has 24/7 access to media to express a point of view - good or bad - it is crucial that we embrace our fans and followers,” Clark said in an e-mailed statement. Facebook’s rules state that users can make fan pages about brands as long as they don’t claim to speak for the company and violate intellectual property rights. Official brand pages must be administered by the company. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, declined to comment on the dispute. 2009 E-Mail Ferrari took a strong-arm approach in the dispute with the Wasems. The car company began with a March 2009 e-mail to Sammy and Olivier Wasem that congratulated them for their work after gaining more than 500,000 fans within a year of creating their Ferrari fan page. The company then said “unfortunately legal issues force us in taking over the formal administration of the fan page.” Nobody has the right to take over such a site “just like that,” according to Joris van Manen, a lawyer at Hoyng Monegier LLP in Amsterdam who specializes in intellectual property and the Internet. Creators of fan pages can rightfully claim copyright on their contributions and their work, he said. Van Manen isn’t involved in the Ferrari case. While the Wasems agreed to make their site the official fan page for Ferrari, they say the carmaker named managers for the site without communicating with them. Ferrari offered the Wasems lifetime membership to its Scuderia club and sent them logos the company said they could use. Civil Lawsuit They began to work on the page for the car company without getting the terms they wanted in writing -- financial compensation that could help fund Wasem’s car-racing. They continued for four years before losing their administration rights. They filed a civil lawsuit in February 2013, saying they’re owed compensation for more than 5,500 hours of work. The Wasems’ mistake may have been agreeing to become Ferrari’s official page before signing a written contract. “If you hand over an account, you have to negotiate possible financial compensation before doing so,” van Manen said. The Geneva prosecutor is analyzing the Wasems’ criminal complaint against Ferrari and will determine what action to take, Henri Della Casa, a spokesman for the prosecutor, said by telephone. The Wasems have demanded compensation of at least 10 million Swiss francs ($11 million) in their lawsuit, and they’re asking the prosecutor to investigate Facebook’s role. The prosecutor has agreed to meet with them in April, according to Gerald Page, the lawyer at Page & Partners representing the Wasems. The issue of how to react in such cases will become more common as social media expands. “Now each time it’s a balancing act: will we go after that or just leave it like that because the risk for negative publicity is too big,” said Stijn Debaene, a lawyer specialized in intellectual property law at the Brussels office of Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP. To contact the reporters on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at firstname.lastname@example.org; Andy Hoffman in Geneva at email@example.com To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Risser at firstname.lastname@example.org; Anthony Aarons at email@example.com