Snap Preps for IPO Roadshow, Touting Spiegel as a Visionary

This year Snap Inc. will go on a roadshow to market its expected IPO, and founder Evan Spiegel is expected to play an out-sized role, with the company’s IPO bankers and executives depicting him as a Steve Jobs-like visionary for millennial products. The goal is to portray Snap as a company that will become a media/content behemoth that can meet and exceed its hoped-for $20 billion to $25 billion IPO valuation, in a class with Apple and Facebook, rather than Twitter, which has deflated since its 2013 IPO. Continue reading Snap Preps for IPO Roadshow, Touting Spiegel as a Visionary

Zuckerberg Says Facebook ‘Not a Traditional Media Company’

Using Facebook Live for a year-end video chat, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg discussed fake news and the company’s identity. Although Zuckerberg has steadfastly held that Facebook is not a media company, he changed the message just a bit: “Facebook is a new kind of platform,” he clarified. “It’s not a traditional technology company, it’s not a traditional media company. You know, we build technology and we feel responsible for how it’s used.” Continue reading Zuckerberg Says Facebook ‘Not a Traditional Media Company’

Facebook Amps Up Visuals with Group Video Chat and Masks

After adding a new camera to its messaging app Messenger, Facebook is now enabling group video chatting, with support for up to six different users at the same time. The move fits in with Facebook’s strategy of emphasizing videos and photos, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s statement on the company’s November earnings call that, “soon, we believe a camera will be the main way we share.” That may be good for Messenger users, but a challenge to several video-messaging apps just receiving venture capital infusions. Continue reading Facebook Amps Up Visuals with Group Video Chat and Masks

Facebook Takes Multiple Steps in Effort to Combat Fake News

After accepting some responsibility for the fake news plaguing Facebook, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has begun to institute steps to get rid of the worst offenders. Facebook has identified sites that consistently peddle fake news and will demote their posts from news feeds. Fact-checking will be outsourced to groups affiliated with the Poynter Institute, including ABC News, Associated Press, Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org. Facebook users will also find it easier to flag stories they believe to be fake. Continue reading Facebook Takes Multiple Steps in Effort to Combat Fake News

Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facebook plans to fund original productions and license original video content from media companies and digital celebrities for its platform. To be led by Facebook head of global strategy Ricky Van Veen, the new initiative is still in its nascent stages; a spokesperson only says the company is reaching out to many potential partners. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has steadfastly insisted Facebook is not a media company, but given this decisive move towards content, that will be a difficult position to maintain. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facebook Considers Artificial Intelligence to Battle Fake News

After being heavily criticized for the spread of fake news during the latest U.S. presidential election, Facebook is now looking at the possibility of using its research in artificial intelligence to gain control over the problem. Facebook has done research in AI since late 2013, when it hired its current director of artificial intelligence Yann LeCun. But the company is moving gingerly into the field, still trying to figure out the pitfalls of AI, and how to introduce it sensibly and responsibly. Continue reading Facebook Considers Artificial Intelligence to Battle Fake News

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Lists Options for Managing Fake News

After weeks of accusation that fake news on Facebook, much of it favorable to Donald Trump, impacted the election, Facebook chairman/chief executive Mark Zuckerberg published a post describing ways the social media company might handle the issue. Among the potential steps are third-party verifications, improved automated detection tools and simpler ways for an ordinary user to flag suspicious content. Zuckerberg originally stated that the idea Facebook influenced the election was “a pretty crazy idea.” Continue reading Facebook’s Zuckerberg Lists Options for Managing Fake News

Google, Facebook Ban Fake News From Earning Ad Revenue

During the U.S. presidential election, the preponderance of fake news on various social media sites got a lot of attention. Now, Google says it is updating its policies to ban fake-news websites from using AdSense, its ad-selling software. The company defined fake news as “pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the [website’s] primary purpose.” Following in Google’s footsteps, Facebook similarly banned fake news sites from using its advertising network. Continue reading Google, Facebook Ban Fake News From Earning Ad Revenue

Facebook Takes on Snapchat with New Flash Messaging App

Facebook launched a picture and messaging application that’s nearly identical to Snapchat, something it has already attempted to do twice. Both previous attempts — Poke and then Slingshot — failed. But this new app, Flash, which is about one-third a big as Snapchat’s Android app for Google’s new Pixel phone, is aimed specifically at emerging markets where Wi-Fi and connectivity are both scarce commodities. This move makes it clear that Facebook hopes to dominate in a market that Snapchat has not yet taken over. Continue reading Facebook Takes on Snapchat with New Flash Messaging App

Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

After acquiring the face-tracking and 3D face replacement company MSQRD, Facebook integrated its augmented reality selfie lenses, dubbed Masks, starting with a Halloween skeleton, witch and pumpkin. Users in the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand, and public figures, will be able to use the iOS version of Masks on Facebook Mentions. The company says it will rollout masks to Android and other countries in coming months. Facebook also demonstrated stylized filters, which will be a real-time processing option for Live Video. Continue reading Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

Oculus Connect Unveils Wireless Headset, Social VR, Web VR

At the third Oculus Connect, the company revealed Santa Cruz, a new prototype headset that doesn’t require external cameras or towers to move through digital space. The cameras detect real motion, which matches the virtual environment. Also shown was a new social VR experience that allows the user to hang out with friends, who appear as icons, in a real-world 360-degree scene. Oculus debuted the ReactVR JavaScript framework for building WebVR experiences that will be able to run on Carmel, Oculus’ upcoming VR Web browser. Continue reading Oculus Connect Unveils Wireless Headset, Social VR, Web VR

Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Several tech companies want to provide Internet access to developing nations via drones, satellites and balloons, but they all face obstacles, including getting approval to operate in foreign airspace and use radio spectrum to broadcast signals to the ground. Google already conducted its first tests of Project Loon, using high-altitude balloons, and OneWeb is at work on multiple satellites to deliver the Internet from space. Now Facebook is talking to several countries to create trial Internet broadcasts from drones. Continue reading Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Facebook at Work will be unveiled in London on October 10, marking the first time that Facebook has launched a global product outside of the U.S. The work “conversation” platform was developed in Facebook’s London office, and some major European companies — including Telenor and the Royal Bank of Scotland — took part in the closed beta. Facebook vice president of EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn will lead the event, with other Facebook leaders and “special guests” in attendance, although it’s not clear if Mark Zuckerberg will be there. Continue reading Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Chan Zuckerberg Fund Invests $3 Billion in Medical Research

Facebook chief exec Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan announced they plan to invest more than $3 billion over the next 10 years to develop tech focused on research to combat disease. “The first investment by the couple’s for-profit philanthropic arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, will be $600 million to create a research lab of engineers and scientists based in San Francisco,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “This focus on building on tools suggests a road map for how we might go about curing, preventing and managing all diseases this century,” said Zuckerberg. Continue reading Chan Zuckerberg Fund Invests $3 Billion in Medical Research

Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

A Falcon 9 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX exploded during a prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral yesterday, destroying a satellite and its payload that was scheduled to launch into orbit on Saturday. The accident marks a setback for Facebook’s effort to bring Internet access to the world. The satellite was a joint venture between the social giant and France’s Eutelsat Communications, part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to help get unconnected people online and lower the cost of Internet access. This particular satellite would have reached more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

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