Facebook buys Ozlo to boost its conversational AI efforts

Comments Off on Facebook buys Ozlo to boost its conversational AI efforts

 Facebook has gone ahead and purchased Charles Jolley’s conversational AI startup Ozlo. Jolley, formerly Head of Platform for Android at Facebook, will not be returning to the company. The Ozlo team is expected to join Facebook to work on natural language processing challenges. Read More

August 1st 2017 Android, Facebook

Snap joins rivals Facebook and YouTube to fight terrorism

Comments Off on Snap joins rivals Facebook and YouTube to fight terrorism

 Snap Inc has joined the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which sees consumer internet companies cooperating to stop the spread of terrorism and extremism online. Facebook, Google and YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter formed the GIFCT last month, and tomorrow it will host its first workshop with fellow tech companies plus government and non-governmental organizations. Read More

Facebook, Autodesk partner with a design organization geared toward underserved kids

Comments Off on Facebook, Autodesk partner with a design organization geared toward underserved kids

 Facebook and Autodesk have partnered with nonprofit organization Inneract Project, which is geared toward bringing design to young people in underserved communities through free, hands-on classes and mentorship. Read More

August 1st 2017 Design, Facebook

Survey results: Here’s what 376 marketers say is working in online marketing

Comments Off on Survey results: Here’s what 376 marketers say is working in online marketing

Wondering about the current state of the industry? Columnist Jayson DeMers shares highlights and stats from a recent survey of digital marketers.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

July 22nd 2017 Facebook, Internet Marketing

Get Ready to See Even More Ads on Facebook as Company Revenue Slows Down for 2017

Comments Off on Get Ready to See Even More Ads on Facebook as Company Revenue Slows Down for 2017

Facebook is running out of places to put ads. As a result, the world’s leading social networking service is expecting a slowdown in revenue for 2017. Despite having over 2 billion active users last month, the social media platform is reportedly planning to experiment with new ad spaces to increase its bottom line.

Facebook has already been placing ads in a number of areas, including its News Feed, Instagram, and even its videos. Earlier this year, the website started offering advertisers a way to run ads via video content. Users can now expect videos uploaded on Facebook to be interrupted by ads similar to YouTube’s advertising methods.

Unlike YouTube, video ads on Facebook run in the middle of a piece of content instead of at the start. Apparently, users are less likely to stop watching the video if an ad plays in the middle. While if the traditional way of advertising on video is applied, users can easily close the video if presented with an ad on the onset.

Over the past five years, News Feed has been Facebook’s primary revenue source, allowing all types of businesses across the globe to purchase ad space. But now it seems that the areas to place ads on News Feed without sacrificing user experience have been maxed out according to reports.

The social media giant is attempting to counter this problem by focusing on ways to sell advertising space on Instagram Stories, Messenger, and even Marketplace — its Craigslist-style platform that allows people to buy and sell used goods.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it would start selling advertising space on Messenger after testing the service in Australia and Thailand. The company is planning to start off with a small percentage of affected users.

Meanwhile, marketing firms are preparing to capitalize on the new ad space on Facebook Messenger. Interested companies will be able to purchase ads from Facebook’s ad manager to target any demographic in the website’s massive user base.

The post Get Ready to See Even More Ads on Facebook as Company Revenue Slows Down for 2017 appeared first on WebProNews.

July 19th 2017 Facebook, Social Media

Facebook Reaches a New Milestone — Two Billion Users!

Comments Off on Facebook Reaches a New Milestone — Two Billion Users!

Facebook has surpassed the two billion-user milestone, doubling its number of monthly active users in five years. The social media giant reached one billion monthly active users in October 2012, a few months after the company went public.

Facebook’s new milestone makes its user base larger than the population of any single country. In fact, its users represent more than a quarter of the world’s 7.5 billion people.

“As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people!” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

This new milestone marks Facebook’s growth from a college curiosity, which Zuckerberg started in 2004 in his dorm room, to the world’s largest social media network. In March, the Menlo Park-based company’s quarterly financial results reported that it had reached 1.94 billion monthly active users, a growth of 17 percent from a year earlier.

Each day, more than 800 million people “Like” something on the site. To celebrate the occasion, Facebook will start rolling out new features over the coming days that users will gain access to.

One of these features is Good Adds Up, a personalized video, featuring “inspiring stories of people using Facebook to bring communities together.” Another is Celebrating The Good People Do. “After someone reacts to a friend’s post with Love, wishes someone happy birthday or creates a group, they will see a message in News Feed thanking them,” says the site.

While Facebook has been making it a mission to get people to join more groups and communities on the site, Zuckerberg intends to raise that figure to a billion. According to him, 100 million users are currently part of “meaningful communities.”

Facebook defines an active user as a registered user who has logged in and visited Facebook through its website or mobile application, or used its Messenger program in the past 30 days. It does not, however, include users of the Instagram or WhatsApp networks but not Facebook. According to an estimate from last year, duplicate accounts may have represented some six percent of its worldwide user base.

Facebook has a bigger user population than other similar companies combined. In April, Twitter reported its monthly active users at 328 million. Snapchat estimated it had 166 million daily users by the end of the first quarter. WeChat, a service widely used in China, said in May that it had 938 million monthly active users in the first quarter.

Facebook has gained popularity outside the United States, Canada, and Europe. Those regions accounted for 38 percent of users three years ago, compared with about 30 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The company has rolled out optimized versions of its mobile applications, which use fewer data to increase usage rates in developing nations. It has also been developing solar-powered drones that aim to extend internet connectivity around the planet.

Due to the appeal of its massive user base, the social media site has been able to increase its number of advertisers annually, offering highly targeted marketing features based on data collected from its users. Facebook now claims to have over five million advertisers using its platform since the end of the last quarter.

The post Facebook Reaches a New Milestone — Two Billion Users! appeared first on WebProNews.

June 30th 2017 Facebook, Social Media

Facebook Uses AI as a Weapon Against Terrorism

Comments Off on Facebook Uses AI as a Weapon Against Terrorism

In the wake of recent terror attacks, Facebook has issued a statement through their newsroom on countering radicalization. The social media platform is immensely popular, with worldwide users reaching 1.94 billion each month. It also can’t be denied that even terrorist groups have easy access to their website. As a result, Facebook has been faced with criticisms over their lack of efforts to eradicate terrorist propaganda from their pages.

Throughout the first half of 2017, there have been 571 terrorist attacks recorded, which resulted in 3,924 fatalities around the world. Infamous perpetrator groups involved in these separate attacks include Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban, Boko Haram, PKK, and other unknown entities. Just last year, it was discovered that these terror groups have also invaded the web with their illegal activities. They were using Facebook to create closed groups to buy and sell weapons and make secure payment through Messenger.

Facebook finally decided that they’ve had enough, deploying one of their best soldiers to stop terrorists from using their website—artificial intelligence. As explained by the team, the technology is similar to that used to block child pornography. The algorithm also aims to eradicate hate speech and the efforts of jihadist recruiters.

Currently, the social media platform’s AI algorithms can counter-terrorism in the following ways:

Trace Terrorist Content: Although it is still in the experimental stage, Facebook aims to perfect its “language understanding” algorithm. This can help identify terrorist content through text-based signals.

Find Terrorist Clusters: The AI is designed to look for terrorism-associated pages, posts, groups, personal accounts, and other materials that support terrorism content. It can also determine whether an account that has been disabled for terrorism shares the same attributes with an active account.

Image Matching: The algorithm also helps the social media site to recognize images or videos that have previously been flagged. Doing so will prevent the upload and sharing of any terrorist propaganda.

Furthermore, Facebook is said to be currently developing another algorithm that will help them investigate terrorist activity across other platforms. WhatsApp and Instagram, which belong to the family of Facebook apps, are also popular among terrorists.

To strengthen their defenses, the company has admitted to using human efforts as well. From academic experts on counterterrorism, former law enforcement agents and analysts, former prosecutors, to engineers, Facebook has employed a lot of these professionals to continue the fight against terrorism the best way they know how.

The post Facebook Uses AI as a Weapon Against Terrorism appeared first on WebProNews.

June 16th 2017 Facebook, Social Media, Technology

New Facebook Badge Connects Elected Officials With Their Constituents

Comments Off on New Facebook Badge Connects Elected Officials With Their Constituents

Facebook has now expanded its Town Hall concept, which allows people to reach out to their elected officials, as it came up with a dedicated feature for politicians themselves.

With this feature, elected officials can further determine the pulse of their constituents, and better represent their voices in Congress.

In relation to this, Facebook has introduced three new features:

    • Constituent Insights: This allows elected public officials to determine which among the issues is most relevant to their constituents. The content can come in the form of a news story, personal experience, or advocacy. The politicians can immediately share their opinions to further clarify a point or address a problem.
    • Constituent Badge: This makes it easier to connect the elected public official with their constituents. Facebook even has filtering controls to weed out those pretending to be living in the same district as the government representative. It does this by limiting the address entered by users to one each. If the user changes the address, the badge will also be removed.
    • District Targeting: This allows for instantaneous feedback, as politicians deal with their constituents directly through Facebook. The filtering tool already explained above ensures that they are only dealing with people within their districts.

In addition, politicians can also choose to engage with their constituents, rather than just waiting for them to raise their concerns. Informal polls using this feature may be an important tool in representation.

While this is part of Facebook’s intention to be a positive force in encouraging public discourse, this new feature connecting politicians with their constituents will still depend largely on social media users actually capitalizing on the town hall features of the platform.

Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of helping tilt public opinion toward President Donald Trump in the run-up to the November 2016 elections by not adequately curating false information against Hillary Clinton. The former state secretary under the Obama administration called out Facebook several times on the issue.

In his February manifesto, Zuckerberg said that Facebook is taking a more active role in developing communities, instead of just connecting families and friends.

“For the past decade, Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families,” Zuckerberg said. “With that foundation, our next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community.”

He added, “Giving everyone a voice has historically been a very positive force for public discourse because it increases the diversity of ideas shared.”

The post New Facebook Badge Connects Elected Officials With Their Constituents appeared first on WebProNews.

June 12th 2017 Facebook, Social Media

Instagram CEO Denies Company Copied Snapchat, Says They Were ‘Building Upon the Technology’

Comments Off on Instagram CEO Denies Company Copied Snapchat, Says They Were ‘Building Upon the Technology’

For some time now, Instagram has been accused of stealing ideas from Snapchat. Now, the social media company’s CEO has broken his silence to put a stop to all the talk.

One of the glaring copying offenses that Instagram has been accused of concerns its Stories feature, which is reportedly a virtual reproduction of Snapchat’s own version. It’s a new feature introduced last year, which allows users to post photos or videos that will be expunged forever after just 24 hours.

However, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said in an interview that, while there are similarities, it certainly “doesn’t mean that you’re copying.” He insisted that what they are doing instead is “building upon the technology” that Snapchat started.

Systrom then harkened back to the old days when the only car was the Ford Model T. Pointing out that countless vehicle manufacturers have come up with different models since then, but they still all have wheels and windows like the first car.

“The first time you see a product show up somewhere else it feels a lot like copying, but imagine a world where the only car was the Ford Model T,” he explained.

This is a sensitive issue for Snapchat, considering that Instagram managed to flip more people into using the feature compared to them. There are reportedly 200 million users who are active customers of Intagram Stories daily compared to Snap’s 166 million.

Rubbing salt to Snapchat’s wound is Facebook’s own decision to roll out a similar feature on its platform, as well as on Messenger and WhatsApp.

Nevertheless, Systrom appears to be skirting the issue since he was quoted once before about Snap’s direct influence on Instagram Stories. In an interview with reporters in August of last year, he was asked point-blank about Snapchat’s similar concept, and he conceded that “they deserve all the credit.”

“This isn’t about who invented something,” he said. “This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”  

Systrom said the practice of building on the technology is not exclusive to Instagram. For instance, Snapchat copied face filters and slideshows from somewhere else. Twitter started hashtags, then Facebook copied it. Similarly, Pixar and Dreamworks are the leaders in computer animation but they are not the same.

While he said Instagram Stories might be similar to Snapchat, they definitely add more value to this sharing feature, which is the reason why more people are actively using it on their platform compared to the competition.

The post Instagram CEO Denies Company Copied Snapchat, Says They Were ‘Building Upon the Technology’ appeared first on WebProNews.

June 1st 2017 Facebook, Social Media

Facebook Offers $250,000 for Original Content, Partners With Buzzfeed and Vox

Comments Off on Facebook Offers $250,000 for Original Content, Partners With Buzzfeed and Vox

Social media giant Facebook has started to farm out original content as it linked up with Buzzfeed, Group Nine Media, Vox, and others for its future video service.

Reports revealed that Facebook is planning to roll out two types of video content. First is a 20- to 30-minute episode, where it holds sole proprietary rights. The other is short “unscripted shows,” which will be good for about 10 minutes maximum. The latter will probably be supplied by Buzzfeed, among others.

This is part of Facebook’s plan to push for original videos on its platform. The videos will not be limited to skits and scripted shows, but also sports and game shows as well. In March this year, Mark Zuckerberg and company inked an agreement with Major League Soccer and Univision Deportes to air live football matches via streaming.

According to the alleged proposed business arrangement, Facebook will pay $250,000 for the 30-minute scripted shows because the company will essentially be buying the video. For shorter clips, the company is offering between $10,000 and $35,000, as well as a cut of the ad revenue.

Assuming proprietary rights is the same business model introduced by Netflix and Amazon on their original shows. It’s not clear, however, if Facebook will accept user contribution for videos.

Zuckerberg said late last year that they are pushing for the whole community to utilize the video tab on Facebook. By partnering with Buzzfeed and Vox, the company is clearly targeting millennials.

Earlier this year, Facebook hired Mina Lefevre, former EVP and head of scripted development at MTV, to head its original programming division. She follows the hiring of Ricky Van Veen, formerly of College Humor, who is now the head of global creative strategy.

If this pans out, it will be another potential revenue stream for Facebook as each video content will feature ads during breaks. The company is offering over half of the ad income to its partners. That would be a huge guarantee considering that Facebook users generally ignore proprietary laws in sharing content.

Another advantage for third-party video providers is that they are assured of viewers owing to the immense size of the Facebook community. The social media giant hopes that any qualms about their videos being stolen will be offset by the long-term gains.

To date, Facebook has not yet issued a statement on the report about the social media giant paying third-party providers for videos.

The post Facebook Offers $250,000 for Original Content, Partners With Buzzfeed and Vox appeared first on WebProNews.

May 29th 2017 Facebook, Social Media