When you first got a Facebook account, you probably haphazardly friended everyone you knew from middle school, high school, college and work before considering the consequences. Years later, those coworkers and classmates are still posting quotes from celebrities every hour, on the hour, followed by pictures of memes from the darkest corners of the Internet, but you can’t bring yourself to unfriend them. What if they found out? Well now they don’t have to, thanks to the myriad options Facebook gives to ignore your friends. More →
It pains me greatly to acknowledge it, but blurting out whatever comes to mind on Twitter, Facebook or any number of social channels is a terrible idea. You already knew that, of course, but I’m talking about something more serious. Pecking out a furious tweet with a couple of typos is fairly embarrassing, but lately I’ve become fixated on the long-term consequences that are yet to be fully realized. It’s a notion I haven’t been able to shake since Justine Sacco was hastily fired from her job in December of 2013, and I’m not entirely certain that the world at large paused long enough to digest what that sequence of events truly described.
For those who were off preparing for the holidays, here’s a synopsis: Sacco fired off an admittedly less-than-glamourous tweet before boarding a long flight that was devoid of Wi-Fi. Hours before, she was relatively unknown from a celebrity standpoint. As she was passing through customs at her destination, it became clear that she no longer had a job.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that her undoing wasn’t necessarily what she said, but where she said it. More →
Facebook on Thursday unveiled Paper, its own Flipboard-like news-and-social application that will launch on iPhone on February 3rd – an iPad-optimized version of the app has not been confirmed, and Android Paper plans are yet to become official. Just as previously rumored, Paper will include a variety of news sources, allowing users to customize their reading experience based on their specific preferences, but it will also compete directly against Facebook’s own mobile app. More →
More documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detail another bulk data collection spying initiative that consists of monitoring services like Facebook and Google’s YouTube and Blogger in order to accurately observe trends with the general, worldwide population, and even predict certain events. NBC News has obtained a copy of a presentation delivered by GCHQ to the NSA in 2012 that details a “Squeaky Dolphin” mass surveillance program – a real-time user and data collection initiative that monitors YouTube views, Facebook likes and Blogspot or Blogger visits for analysis. More →
Facebook has ambitions that go well beyond being just a social network. In fact, the company has designs on becoming a ubiquitous online powerhouse with clout that’s at least on par with Google. Sriram Krishnan, who works on Facebook’s mobile ads platform, now writes that he and his team are “running a small test to explore showing Facebook ads in third-party mobile apps,” which would represent a major expansion of Facebook’s reach in the mobile advertising world. More →
Earlier this week we highlighted a study from Princeton that used Google search trends to predict that Facebook would lose 80% of its users by 2017. The study seemed so flat-out ridiculous to us that we gave it our coveted “WTF of the Week” award… and apparently we weren’t alone in questioning its methodology. Facebook data scientist Mike Develin has decided to use similar methods to give Princeton a taste of its own medicine and “prove” that Princeton’s enrollment will crash all the way to zero in less than a decade. More →
If you’re a mobile app developer looking for a consistent, reliable way to monetize your work, Facebook might have an answer. According to a recent post on the company’s developer site, Facebook is testing a new mobile ad network for free apps which could be hugely beneficial to both advertisers and publishers. Facebook’s Sriram Krishnan says that the company is currently “running a small test to explore showing Facebook ads in third-party mobile apps.” If the test is successful and the team decides to fully implement the network, those targeted advertisements on your Facebook news feed could soon start appearing every time you open an app. For now the test is “limited to a few advertisers and partners,” but Facebook plans to expand the program in the future following successful testing.
We’re used to zany Wall Street analysts making wacky predictions about the tech world, such as the amazing prediction made by Money Map Press analyst Keith Fitz-Gerald last month about a merger between Microsoft and Apple. It’s a little bit rarer to see WTF-worthy tech predictions coming out of established universities that nominally have reputations to uphold as respectable learning institutions. Nonetheless, The Guardian reports that some researchers from Princeton are projecting that Facebook will lose a whopping 80% of its user base over the next three years alone. More →
While Facebook may have a “teen problem,” it may not be as bad as a report from iStrategy last week suggested. According to a report from GlobalWebIndex, Facebook’s usage among teens dropped 2% from Q2 to Q4 in 2013. That is not nearly as nearly as sharp a drop as the 25.3% drop among high schoolers from 2011 to 2014 that was reported in iStrategy’s report. More →
Even though it failed to take over home screens on Android with the Facebook Home experiment, Facebook is still very much interested in the mobile ecosystem, where it plans to launch several standalone applications this year, The Verge has learned. The company issued major updates for its Messenger app on iOS and Android recently, and Instagram, still a popular photo service, has received its own update not long ago. But Facebook is not done when it comes to mobile apps. More →
There has been plenty of back and forth over the past year or so regarding whether or not teens and other young users are abandoning Facebook in favor of rival services. The theory is that parents and other family members use Facebook too often to keep tabs on their children, so children are moving away from Facebook to services like Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks that offer more privacy. It makes sense, of course — no one wants their grandparents to see a scantily clad bathroom selfie. More →
Facebook will reportedly launch a Flipboard-like news reading feature later this month either as a standalone application for mobile devices or as a “web experience” optimized for mobile devices, people familiar with the matter have told Re/code. Apparently known as “Paper,” and part of a bigger “Project Reader,” the news reader app would offer users quick access to various publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others, as well as status updates from friends, “all in a visually stunning ‘paper-like’ format.” More →
The mobile app for Facebook, much like its desktop counterpart, is constantly seeing tweaks and revisions, but when the team switched from custom to native development on iOS and Android, they lost the ability to A/B test their releases. In the latest post on the Facebook Engineering Blog, Ari Grant and Kang Zhang detail the complex system they built to take the place of their previous method. More →