Facebook Is Developing Cryptocurrency Payments System

Facebook is currently recruiting financial firms and online merchants to launch a “cryptocurrency-based payments system on the back of its gigantic social network,” reports The Wall Street Journal. At its center is a digital coin that users would be able to send to one another and use to make purchases on Facebook and on the broader Internet. This has the potential to significantly disrupt, or even up-end, “the traditional, lucrative plumbing of e-commerce and would likely be the most mainstream application yet of cryptocurrency.”

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Facebook Unveils First Design Changes to Enhance Privacy

Under the dark cloud of various privacy-related scandals, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced the first of a series in design changes meant to shift the social media platform away from town square-style communication and toward more direct, private communication between users and groups. On Tuesday at Facebook’s annual developer conference, the company showcased a redesign of its mobile app and desktop site, both of which add new features to promote group-based communication rather than a focus on the News Feed.

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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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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

Investigations Into Social Media Accounts With Ties to Russia

Four Russian-linked Facebook accounts that bought ads during the U.S. election period were active, posting divisive messages, as late as this past August. “Secured Borders,” “Blacktivist,” “Heart of Texas” and “Being Patriotic” collectively had almost one million followers, before Facebook removed them for misrepresenting their identities. On “Secured Borders,” which had 133,000 followers, messages included those calling for the killing of Muslims and dubbing illegal immigrants “rapists, murderers and child molesters.” Google, Facebook and Twitter are expected to testify before Congress about Russian ties to ad buying, search manipulation and fake news. Continue reading Investigations Into Social Media Accounts With Ties to Russia

YouTube Introduces In-App Video Sharing and Chat Globally

YouTube has been testing a feature in select markets that allows the platform to become a kind of mobile messenger. The feature, which began testing in mid-2016, lets users avail themselves of a new tab in the mobile app to send videos to their friends and chat. After a soft rollout to users in Canada at the beginning of 2017, YouTube later launched the new feature in parts of Latin America. The global rollout  this week, but will take a few days to appear on all users’ phones. YouTube also tweaked the user interface in several ways. Continue reading YouTube Introduces In-App Video Sharing and Chat Globally

Artificial Intelligence Now Powers Photo Searches on Facebook

Facebook’s Lumos computer vision platform, which was originally created to help visually impaired members of the social network’s community, is now being used for a more sophisticated image search. It allows users to find images on Facebook via key words that describe content, rather than a search that is limited to tags and captions. “Facebook trained an ever-fashionable deep neural network on tens of millions of photos,” explains TechCrunch. “The model essentially matches search descriptors to features pulled from photos” and “ranks its output using information from both the images and the original search.” Facebook may apply the tech to videos in the future and potentially raise the bar on its targeted ad offerings. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence Now Powers Photo Searches on Facebook

Twitter Shifts Gears, Describes Itself as a Place to Get News

After years of struggling to effectively define its purpose, Twitter CMO Leslie Berland told a CES audience that the company has overcome that challenge. According to Berland, the platform no longer views itself as a social network, but rather a place to go for the latest news and world events as they unfold. “The beauty of Twitter is that you can see all sides of any conversation that is happening at any moment in time,” she said, placing an emphasis on neutrality. Instead of denying the many terms and clichés used to describe Twitter in the past, she embraces them. “We were a platform, a product, a service, a water cooler, a time square, a microphone, and we are every single one of those things,” she said. Continue reading Twitter Shifts Gears, Describes Itself as a Place to Get News

Facebook Integrates Social and Utilitarian with New Features

Facebook has a strategy to become more useful in everyday life, combining and improving on the services similar to those from Yelp, Foursquare and others. The added value, says Facebook, would be its network of social connections and businesses. That idea is behind the updates the company is now unveiling, which will allow users to order food from a restaurant’s Facebook page or make an appointment at the beauty salon. Retailers must use third-party services such as Delivery.com, Slice, HomeAdvisory or MyTime for it to work. Continue reading Facebook Integrates Social and Utilitarian with New Features

Instagram Adds Snapchat-Like Features in Social Media Battle

Facebook tried and failed to acquire Snapchat, and now Facebook-owned Instagram is having a go at beating Snapchat at its own game. The photo-sharing company just debuted Instagram Stories, which in format is very similar to Snapchat Stories: users can share photos and videos that last no more than 24 hours. This might spark a battle between the two apps, which have never been in direct competition. Both mobile apps are now trying to increase digital advertising, which could bring the issue to a head. Continue reading Instagram Adds Snapchat-Like Features in Social Media Battle

Pinterest Unveils Visual Search Tools to Enable E-Commerce

In the next few months, Pinterest will unveil a way to use the smartphone as a visual search tool. The user goes to search, taps the visual search button, points the camera and Pinterest will “recognize” objects in the camera’s view. The user can then tap any recognized object to get a recommendation for similar ones, and resize the image box to refine the search. Pinterest has always placed a major focus on visual search, and the most recent update now connects that visual search with e-commerce. Continue reading Pinterest Unveils Visual Search Tools to Enable E-Commerce

Microsoft Announces Deal to Purchase LinkedIn for $26 Billion

Microsoft just announced that it plans to acquire professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion ($196 per share) in an all-cash deal expected to close this year. The merger will enable Microsoft to offer services to LinkedIn’s 433 million users. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is slated to remain head of the LinkedIn unit and join the new parent company’s senior leadership team. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the deal will be “key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes” as the tech giant continues its push toward becoming a vital enterprise hub. Continue reading Microsoft Announces Deal to Purchase LinkedIn for $26 Billion

Weibo Tests Going Beyond 140 Characters, Twitter to Follow

Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, is contemplating raising its character limit to 2,000, just weeks after Twitter announced similar plans. Weibo, owned by Chinese Internet company Sina Corp., will begin testing its lengthened character limit with so-called VIP users, beginning January 28, offering the feature to its 200 million users a month later. According to Weibo, about 10 percent of original posts exceed 120 characters. Twitter, meanwhile, has said it is contemplating raising its character limit to 10,000 characters. Continue reading Weibo Tests Going Beyond 140 Characters, Twitter to Follow

People Can’t Get Enough of the Peach Social Network App

It looks like the next big thing in the world of mobile apps could be yet another social network and messaging service. Peach allows users to share statuses, pictures, locations, GIFs and songs. People can also like their friends’ posts and send each other emoji. It sounds very similar to every other social networks available today, but due to Peach’s functionality and short-cut feature for sharing, it has caught the interest of early adopters. The app, which was created by Vine founder Dom Hofmann, is growing so fast that it crashed last week. Continue reading People Can’t Get Enough of the Peach Social Network App

Facebook Testing New Emoji in Ireland, Spain for Wide Release

Facebook just announced something fans have been wanting for a long time: in addition to the ubiquitous “like” button, fans will have other icons to express emotions. The new emoji, designed after months of research to find expressions that would work globally, include surprise, anger, love, laughter, sadness and a supportive cheer. Although many users have lobbied for a “dislike” button, Facebook declined to add one. The tests in Spain and Ireland are just the first of a round before the emoji are widely released. Continue reading Facebook Testing New Emoji in Ireland, Spain for Wide Release

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