Silicon Valley Pioneers Question Today’s Dysfunctional Internet

Testifying before Congress, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg listed all the ways his company has erred, from fake news to hate speech and data privacy — and then apologized for not taking “a broad enough view of our responsibility.” He isn’t the only Silicon Valley leader to take stock of the state of the Internet and worry about its future. Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, has warned about what social media is “doing to our children’s brains,” calling it a “dangerous form of psychological manipulation.” Continue reading Silicon Valley Pioneers Question Today’s Dysfunctional Internet

Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress Next Week

In light of Facebook’s latest revelation that data from as many as 87 million users — not the 50 million figure originally reported — was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted he made a “huge mistake” by not paying more attention to the potential for abuse. Facebook further revealed that marketers, using a now-disabled feature that distributed profile data connected to email addresses and phone numbers, could have harvested data from “most people on Facebook.” Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before federal committees next week. Continue reading Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress Next Week

Changes to Facebook News Feed Plan to Curb Misinformation

Under pressure from lawmakers, regulators, and some of its two billion monthly active users to fight misinformation, Facebook is tweaking how information is presented on its News Feed. Users in the U.S. will now be able to easily see a news publisher’s Wikipedia page along with a given story and can see how frequently it’s been shared on the social network. Facebook is under renewed criticism following reports that Cambridge Analytica “improperly accessed data on millions of Facebook users,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

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Facebook’s New Centralized Page for Editing Privacy Settings

In response to the recent outcry regarding how Facebook handles personal user data, the social media giant announced a new centralized page for users to control their privacy and security settings. Instead of having to visit multiple pages across the platform to change all privacy settings, users will now be able to use one centralized page. Users will also be able to review data the platform has collected about them over time. Facebook will officially introduce the system to users across the world in the coming weeks.

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Mozilla and Others Pull Facebook Ads Over Privacy Concerns

Following the now widespread reports of Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook user data, some companies are pulling ads from the social media giant, in large part due to “consumer backlash and questions from lawmakers” over the company’s privacy policy, reports Engadget. Mozilla has pulled its ads, claiming to have taken a closer look at Facebook’s current privacy settings, particularly related to third-party apps. Many other companies around the world are considering a similar ad-related move, according to the article.

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Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

Lawmakers in the U.S. and U.K. are demanding answers from Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after reports surfaced over the weekend that data analytics company Cambridge Analytica was able to exploit the personal data of 50 million Facebook users without their permission — data that was reportedly used in the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum. Facebook announced that it suspended Cambridge Analytica after learning Facebook policies specifying how third-party developers can deploy user data had been violated. Continue reading Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

Twitter to Hire Experts, Accept Proposals to Stop Bad Actors

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has brought his own company to task, for what he said is a less-than-stellar performance in handling malicious activity. More specifically, he said that he did not move quickly enough to take action against the Russian efforts to create divisions between Americans. Dorsey, who has previously expressed contrition for his slow reaction, has now made it clear that the company needs to take actions to prevent this from happening again, rather than just reacting after the fact. Continue reading Twitter to Hire Experts, Accept Proposals to Stop Bad Actors

Facebook Profit Jumps, Investors Wary of News Feed Tweaks

Since Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg tweaked the social platform’s algorithm so that people see more content from family and friends than publishers in their News Feed, investors have been concerned that users won’t spend as much time on the platform and discourage marketers from placing ads. Facebook is now making the argument that the changes will actually benefit business, with the time people spend on the platform becoming more valuable. Its case is buttressed by a recent jump in revenue and profits. Continue reading Facebook Profit Jumps, Investors Wary of News Feed Tweaks

Big Tech Firms Batten Down the Hatches for Midterm Elections

As the midterm elections approach, some tech companies are making changes to minimize harm and build credibility. Facebook plans to let users rank news sources they see as most trustworthy, as a means of prioritizing high-quality news. Twitter, which is still cleaning house from the presidential election, reports it has discovered 1,062 more accounts linked to an official Russian propaganda unit. Google and YouTube chief executives have promised to examine videos and other content more closely to ferret out misleading news. Continue reading Big Tech Firms Batten Down the Hatches for Midterm Elections

Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

Facebook has again tweaked its News Feed, this time in a major way. The social media giant will now prioritize what a member’s friends and family share and comment on, rather than content from publishers and brands. The change, meant to maximize what chief executive Mark Zuckerberg calls “meaningful interaction,” will take place over the next few weeks. Likewise, Facebook wants to diminish “passive content,” which is defined as that which requires nothing of the viewer than to sit back and watch or read. Continue reading Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

After testing out AR face masks with selected outside developers, Facebook is now rolling out its Camera Effects Platform to any outside developer to build AR features for its in-app camera. HBO used it to build masks for “Game of Thrones” fans to become the Night King, and Lucasfilm used it so “Star Wars” fans could become Kylo Ren. With the wide introduction, we’re likely to see all kinds of AR face masks and effects. Facebook AR Studio, its AR platform, debuts this week and will be live to all in a couple of days. Continue reading Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook has resisted the practice of pre-roll ads. Now, according to knowledgeable advertisers, in a major shift the company says it plans to test such ads for Watch shows. The ban on pre-roll ads came directly from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who stressed that users came to the site to look at a feed, not watch one specific piece of content. This year, however, Facebook debuted Watch, where TV studios, publishers and celebrities can try to sell advertising against their shows, an ideal format for pre-roll ads. Continue reading Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook Creator App Offers Tools to Fine-Tune Social Video

In an effort to foster growth of video communities, Facebook recently rolled out its Facebook Creator app, providing social influencers with tools for creating feature-rich content. Available to all on iOS (and soon on Android), the product is an update and rebrand of the Facebook Mentions app, originally only offered to verified public figures. The new app includes enhanced fan engagement tools to help influencers add intros and outros to their streaming video broadcasts, cross-posting to Instagram and Twitter, and a central inbox for Facebook, Instagam and Messenger. Creator also features expansive analytics. Continue reading Facebook Creator App Offers Tools to Fine-Tune Social Video

Facebook Plans to Buy Content Outright, Strikes Sports Deal

Facebook, which launched its video tab Watch three months ago, is mulling over changing how it works with the media companies that bring new shows. Sources say that Facebook will switch to buying projects outright — dubbed “hero” shows — rather than partially funding their production. The goal is to provide more funding for the shows crucial to Watch’s success. Among the so-called hero shows are teen drama “Five Points” produced by Kerry Washington, Simon Fuller’s “Skam” and some short-form and mid-form series. And in a new deal, Facebook also plans to stream more live college sports. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Buy Content Outright, Strikes Sports Deal

Social VR Platforms Proliferate in the Next Digital Land Grab

The typical VR experience is solitary, but an increasing number of companies are exploring the possibility of virtual realty in the context of a social platform. That trend was made clear by Microsoft’s acquisition of AltspaceVR. High Fidelity is an environment that lets users create their own avatars and social worlds, with a marketplace where they can buy avatars and other 3D elements. And vTime, a stationary platform, lets four people at a time engage in fully rendered environments. Continue reading Social VR Platforms Proliferate in the Next Digital Land Grab

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