Facebook Builds App for Private Sharing with Close Friends

Micro-sharing just got easier for Facebook users. Instead of using complicated privacy controls, Facebook is working on an app codenamed “Moments” that will let Facebook users choose which sets of friends can see their content. The app focuses on audience rather than content, so each group of “co-workers,” “family,” and “high school pals” will have their own tile in the grid design. Facebook may auto populate the groups in the new app based on users’ Facebook activity. Continue reading Facebook Builds App for Private Sharing with Close Friends

Facebook Aims to Connect the World, Starting With WhatsApp

While WhatsApp will continue to be an independent app, its acquisition by Facebook should help it reach up to three billion users, suggests Mark Zuckerberg. WhatsApp had 450 million users around the time that Facebook agreed to buy it for $19 billion, but has now reached 600 million. Facebook currently reaches around 1.3 billion people, which is half of the world’s Internet connected population. The company is focusing on spreading Internet access around the globe. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Connect the World, Starting With WhatsApp

Short-Form Video a Top Priority at Facebook, Says Zuckerberg

According to Facebook, its users have watched an average of more than one billion videos per day on the social network since June, with more than 65 percent of video views occurring on mobile devices. Facebook is planning new YouTube-like features that should appeal to content producers. Starting this week, users will be able to see the number of views a video has received, which could help people discover popular new videos. Facebook is also testing the ability to display related videos once a clip has ended. Continue reading Short-Form Video a Top Priority at Facebook, Says Zuckerberg

Facebook Changes News Feed Results, Apologizes to Users

Earlier this week, Adam D. I. Kramer, the Facebook data scientist in charge of a study about the impact of news feed content, posted a public apology on his Facebook page for the anxiety caused by recent research. The study sparked a public outcry when users discovered that Facebook had manipulated the news feed results of over 500,000 randomly selected users. The company changed the number of positive and negative posts users saw to study how emotions are spread on social media. Continue reading Facebook Changes News Feed Results, Apologizes to Users

Twitter Now More Popular Than Facebook Amongst Teenagers

According to Piper Jaffray’s 26th semi-annual teen market research report, Twitter is now a more important social network than Facebook for many teens. The report suggests that 26 percent of teenagers call Twitter their most significant social media site, while 23 percent claim their most important site to be Facebook, down from a high of 42 percent. However, Twitter is not without competition; the photo-sharing site Instagram, for example, is also doing well amongst teens. Continue reading Twitter Now More Popular Than Facebook Amongst Teenagers

Mobile: Mark Zuckerberg Talks Facebook Home with Wired

Facebook’s newly unveiled Home is the social networking giant’s attempt at making the transition to mobile. Home is not the long-rumored Facebook Phone, but a suite of apps that turns any phone into a Facebook device. Even with the lock screen on, users can see photo streams and friends’ activities, as Home puts people front and center. Updates also appear on the home screen. Home places an emphasis on Facebook as a primary communication tool.  Continue reading Mobile: Mark Zuckerberg Talks Facebook Home with Wired

Facebook Launches Redesign with More Engaging Front Page

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief exec, unveiled a significant redesign of the social network’s homepage yesterday. During the news conference, Zuckerberg explained that he wants Facebook to be “the best personalized newspaper in the world,” with a more engaging “front page,” especially on mobile devices. The makeover is intended to fend off growing competition and attract advertisers. Continue reading Facebook Launches Redesign with More Engaging Front Page

Zuckerberg Vision of Sharing Everything We Do Online a Terrible Plan?

  • Farhad Manjoo, writing for Slate, offers a compelling counterpoint to Facebook’s updated “share everything with everyone” philosophy.
  • The article suggests that Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook’s newly-designed profile feature (“it’s called Timeline, and it’s beautiful”) involves encouraging sites to develop social apps within Facebook, a grand vision that could dramatically change our digital lives. On the surface, this sounds like a fascinating idea, but there may be problems that evolve from too much sharing.
  • “If Facebook’s CEO has his way, everything you do online will be shared by default,” explains the Slate article. “You read, you watch, you listen, you buy — and everyone you know will hear all about it on Facebook.”
  • The article uses Spotify, Netflix and Hulu to illustrate Zuckerberg’s concept of “frictionless” sharing: “What he means is that I don’t have to bother with the ‘friction’ of choosing to tell you that I like something. On Facebook, now, merely experiencing something is enough to trigger sharing.”
  • Manjoo does not have privacy concerns or hesitation regarding Facebook’s financial gain based on his personal information. However, the author believes that the “nightmare” of “frictionless sharing” is more about Facebook killing taste. He believes that Zuckerberg is essentially lowering the bar by providing an all-access pass to things we don’t necessarily share with everything because they aren’t worth mentioning in the first place (read: boring).
  • While Manjoo enjoys sharing and discovering new media via Facebook and Twitter, he fears the day these services no longer serve as tools for navigating recommendations once they are bogged down in minutiae.
  • “That’s why I welcome any method that makes it easier for people to share stuff,” he writes. “If you like this article, you should Like this article. And even if you hate this article, you should Like this article (add a comment telling your friends why I’m a moron). But if you’re just reading this article — if you have no strong feelings about it either way, and if you suspect that your friends will consider it just another bit of noise in their already noisy world — please, do everyone a favor and don’t say anything about it all.”

Tectonic Shift: What You Should Know About the New Facebook

  • We’ve received a flood of interesting articles and posts about newly announced changes to Facebook that emerged from yesterday’s F8 developer’s conference. You can check out the submissions stream on ETCentric to access all the write-ups and opinions, but in the meanwhile, the following provides a a quick snapshot…
  • Timeline: Your entire Facebook life. It condenses information the further back in time you go, allows you to navigate specific years, and provides the option to feature, add or remove items. It is important to note however, this is not merely a new feature. It will completely replace current profiles, according to TheNextWeb.
  • Ticker: This is a status feed that updates your activities, but is separate from your status updates that appear in the Newsfeed. This feature is now especially important to keep an overwhelming amount of information from coming through the new Open Graph Apps. “The Ticker is Facebook’s assault on Twitter,” reports Gizmodo. “Facebook is hoping that the tiny aspects of your life that you currently share on Twitter, you’ll be more likely to share on Facebook. One site for all your social networking.”
  • Open Graph Apps: Includes a variety of apps such as Spotify and Hulu that automatically update your Ticker and Timeline based on the settings you create for each app. Friends see what video you’re watching, what music you’re listening to, what games you’re playing, and more. This feature is available now, while Timeline will take a few more weeks.
  • It is worth mentioning that since music, news, video and more will be shared with friends and family, it may also be shared with marketers. Open Graph will enable an ecosystem for developers. Your Facebook profile will become “the story of your life” which is written for you in real time as you curate your personal information and your use of apps. Similarly, you will learn more about your friends. And all this personal information will be used to serve you with micro-targeted ads. People will be given the option of privacy even though most will probably not alter the default settings.
  • Social Sharing: By essentially creating a discovery engine for all your apps, Facebook hopes to dramatically change how we interact and share media electronically (through what Mark Zuckerberg calls “serendipitous discovery”). The Gizmodo post features a video on social sharing that provides a great view of how the Open Graph app sharing works.
  • Prior to the F8 event, eMarketer published a report forecasting that Facebook would double its global revenue to $4.27 billion in 2011.

Is Facebook Poised to Become THE Social Entertainment Operating System?

It seems we cannot escape ongoing speculation in recent weeks surrounding the potential impact of a collaboration between social networking giant Facebook and European music service Spotify. Whether you subscribe to the opinion that such a partnership will change the face of music discovery, distribution and consumption — or you agree with Peter Kafka who wrote in WSJ’s All Things D that the deal would simply “be a nice feature for Facebook and a nice promotional outlet for Spotify” that would merely provide “limited amount of free music, and the option to upgrade to a paid subscription” — the bigger issue involves the direction of online social media and Facebook’s ultimate role.

If the Spotify deal serves as a stepping stone for Facebook’s involvement with other forms of media — music, movies, games, news, video, etc. — the social networking site may be on its way to serving as much more than a way for “friends” to share information and photos. It could become a powerful online hub for media distribution.

When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at the e-G8 Forum in Paris last week he explained (again) that he has no interest in becoming the CEO of an entertainment company. However, increased integration between Facebook and entertainment media is clearly in Zuckerberg’s sites.

In March, Warner Bros. became the first Hollywood studio to offer movie rentals directly on Facebook, starting with The Dark Knight; Netflix has reportedly been discussing with Facebook the possibility of integrating social networking tools; Facebook began allowing third-party developers to offer games on its site four years ago (since then, social-gaming companies like Zynga have become among the largest in the industry); and now the deal with Spotify may help extend media integration. ZD Net reports that four months ago, “Spotify signed an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment, and three months ago, it struck a deal with EMI Music. The company thus has two of the four major music labels; the other two are Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest label, and Warner Music Group.” The Spotify/Facebook deal could lead to competition with streaming and cloud-based music services.

As the trend of electronically sharing thoughts and interests continues to grow amongst consumers of all ages, it makes sense that the leading social networking site would be poised for successful integration with the media people regularly discuss. In doing so, Facebook (which currently has nearly 700 million users) may become the ubiquitous entertainment layer of the Internet. At the very least, it may help serve as an EPG of sorts for media.

“Listening to music is something people do with their friends,” Zuckerberg said in France. “Movies, TV, news, books — those types of things are things I think people just naturally do with their friends. I hope we can play a part in enabling those new companies to get built, and companies that are out there producing this great content to become more social.”

Related Wall Street Journal article: “Chill Out! Spotify on Facebook Is Cool, Not a Game Changer” (5/25/11)

Related GigaOM article: “Amidst Spotify Rumors, Facebook CEO Talks Music and Media” (5/25/11)

Related Bloomberg article: “Facebook’s Zuckerberg Says Music, TV Are Social Frontiers” (5/25/11)

Related ZD Net article: “Rumor: Facebook is partnering with Spotify” (5/25/11)

Related TechCrunch article (including Spotify slides): “Behind The Scenes: Making Spotify More Convenient Than Piracy” (5/30/11)

Related Forbes article: “Facebook To Launch Music Service With Spotify” (5/25/11)

Related New York Times article: “Facebook Is Developing Ways to Share Media” (5/26/11)

Related ETCentric story: “Spotify Launches Music Download Store and iPod Syncing” (5/13/11)

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