Digital Training Centres To Be Opened In Europe…Facebook

Facebook on Monday said it would train people by opening three new centres in Europe

 

The social media giant said it was determined to training one million people as part of its drive to show its contribution to the bloc over the next two years.

 

The U.S. company said it would open three “community skills hubs” in Spain, Poland and Italy. It has faced Regulatory pressure in Europe over challenges ranging from privacy to antitrust

 

It said it would also invest 10 million euros (12.2 million dollars) in France through its artificial intelligence research facility.

 

“People are worried that the digital revolution is leaving people behind and we want to make sure that we’re investing in digital skills to get people the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told Reuters.

 

“The community hubs will offer training in digital skills, media literacy and online safety to groups with limited access to technology, including old people, the young and refugees,’’ she said.

 

Facebook said this in view of its commitment to train one million people and business owners by 2020.

Facebook Gives Users A Feature To Help Deal With Stubborn Friends

One of the biggest problems Facebook users had has been the issue of the numerous contacts that a person could have. The problem expanded to users having problem managing their friends, thereby making social media addicts move to other social media networks where they could keep a small circle of friends, and could decide if their visibility.

Facebook has recently launched a ‘snooze’ feature that will allow users to mute a person’s posts for up to 30 days. This feature is a less extreme version of the ‘unfollow’ feature and is a welcome development especially for people that have to deal with multiple unwanted posts clogging their timelines.

To use the feature, simply select snooze in the top-right drop-down menu of a post, and the posts you want to avoid will temporarily disappear from your feed. The accounts you’ve snoozed won’t know about it and you’ll get a notification when the snooze period ends.  You can also end the snooze prematurely by manually turning it off.

 

Facebook Bans Women For Speaking Against Men

Facebook has surprised users by placing a ban on women who speak against men. This is coming after chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg warning of a potential backlash against women as scandals rock companies and political institutions.

Following the multiple sexual harassment and abuse scandals across the globe, Facebook has been suspending women for “hate speech” against men after posting variations of the phrase “men are scum”.

New York-based standup comic Marcia Belsky was banned in October for 30 days from Facebook for posting “men are scum” as a comment on her friend Nicole Silverberg’s photo album detailing the abuse Silverberg had received after writing a list of ways men can treat women better on Twitter.

Facebook says that threats and hate speech directed towards a protected group violate its community standards and therefore are removed. The social network told the Daily Beast that “men are scum” was a threat and therefore should be removed.

Facebook said that it is working hard to remedy harassment issues, and has repeatedly stated that it wants the social network to be a safe and respectful space for all. After footage of shootings, murders, rapes and assaults were streamed live on the site, Facebook said it was adding 3,000 extra moderators to its staff and that it would refine its moderation policies.

Facebook has still not created a ban on men who spoke against women

Facebook Launches Chat App For Children

Facebook on Monday unveiled a version of its Messenger application for children, aimed at enabling kids under 12 to connect with others under parental supervision.

Messenger Kids is being rolled out for Apple iOS mobile devices in the United States on a test basis as a standalone video chat and messaging app.

Product manager Loren Cheng said the social network leader is offering Messenger Kids because “there’s a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want.”

Facebook said that the new app, with no ads or in-app purchases, is aimed at 6- to 12-year-olds. It enables parents to control the contact list and does not allow children to connect with anyone their parent does not approve.

The social media giant added it designed the app because many children are going online without safeguards.

“Many of us at Facebook are parents ourselves, and it seems we weren’t alone when we realized that our kids were getting online earlier and earlier,” a Facebook statement said.

It cited a study showing that 93 percent of 6- to 12-year-olds in the US have access to tablets or smartphones, and two-thirds have a smartphone or tablet of their own.

“We want to help ensure the experiences our kids have when using technology are positive, safer, and age-appropriate, and we believe teaching kids how to use technology in positive ways will bring better experiences later as they grow,” the company said.

Facebook’s rules require that children be at least 13 to create an account, but many are believed to get around the restrictions.

Cheng said Facebook conducted its own research and worked with “over a dozen expert advisors” in building the app.

She added that data from children would not be used for ad profiles and that the application would be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).

“We’ve worked extensively with parents and families to shape Messenger Kids and we’re looking forward to learning and listening as more children and families start to use the iOS preview,” Cheng said.

AFP

Facebook Denies Secretly Recording Users’ Conversations

Stories have emerged about Facebook allegedly listening in on a conversation via a mobile’s microphone and using the info for targeted advertising purposes.

 

Rumors that the social network has been surreptitiously engaging in this practice have been around for years, but one of its executives has just been forced to deny them once again.

 

PJ Vogt—the presenter of tech podcast Reply All—spoke about the claims on a recent show, which involved people calling in with their own tales of possible Facebook spying. This led to the company’s president of ads, Rob Goldman, responding with a tweet that read:

“I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true.”

 

There are thousands of people who believe that after discussing a certain topic in the real world, a related ad later appeared on their Facebook feeds. While the site is filled with adverts, conspiracists say these particular ads feature the same obscure or specific products they were talking about, proving the company is up to no good.

 

 

Facebook is open about its audio recording capabilities, but these only allow users who have opted-in to identify and tag music or television programs playing in the near vicinity. If the feature is enabled, it uses a microphone for 15 seconds when a person is writing a status update; it isn’t used for advertising purposes, according to the company.

 

 

It’s incredible just how many people claim to have experienced this ‘listening’ phenomenon—often more than once. I know a few people myself who swear it has happened to them. But in reality, it’s hard to imagine that one of the largest, richest firms in the world would risk throwing everything away–and probable jail time—just to improve targeted advertising. Moreover, it’s likely that Facebook doesn’t yet possess the technology to make it possible.

 

 

Remember: Facebook does know a lot about you and your friends, and its ad algorithms use this data all the time. Perhaps some people forgot about a search they performed that was related to the conversation in question. But most of all, a lot of this comes down to pure coincidence.

 

 

Or maybe that’s what they want you to believe.

 

Facebook Casually Considers Annihilating The Digital Media Industry

In the world of online media, Mark Zuckerberg is a capricious king, able to boost or sink a publisher with a small tweak of Facebook’s code. While news companies have slowly learned not to rely on the social network for traffic, nearly half of Americans still get some news from Facebook, making it by far the single most important digital media platform. But as pressure mounts on Zuckerberg to place more controls on the kind of news content users see, Facebook is reportedly considering more far-reaching changes to its content strategy in what could represent a seismic shift in the publishing world.

It’s hard to overstate the dominance of Facebook, which is responsible for about 40 percent of all referral traffic to editorial content online. Historically, there has been no need for publishers to pay to promote that content because it tends to spread organically; publishers like BuzzFeed’s Tasty have grown simply by distributing viral videos using the site’s News Feed. But that may change soon—according to a Guardian report, Facebook is testing a “major change” that would make news stories harder to find—unless publishers pay up.

Last week, Facebook launched a secondary news feed called Explore, which features posts from Facebook Pages that users don’t follow. (Facebook Pages are profiles for businesses, media organizations, public figures, and other groups.) This is different from News Feed, the primary feed where users are shown posts from Pages they follow, and from their friends. In six markets, The Guardian reports, Facebook is running a test wherein it removes all posts published on Facebook Pages from the main News Feed, integrating them into the “Explore” feed instead. Now, users’ main News Feed is only for posts from friends, advertisements, and posts that groups running Facebook Pages pay to promote. In other words, in markets where the test is active, Facebook is no longer a free playing field for digital publishers.

Currently, the test is active for users in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia—a number of post-conflict countries that would ostensibly stand to benefit from independent journalism. Slovakian journalist Filip Struhárik first wrote about the effects of the test on Monday. “Consequences?” he wrote. “Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach. Reach of several asked Facebook pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days. Sixty biggest Slovak media pages have four times fewer interactions (likes, comments, shares) since the test. It looks like the effect in Guatemala and Cambodia is the same.”

Facebook says it has no plans to roll out the test globally. But the metrics the tech giant is eyeing are telling: Facebook isn’t looking at whether the changes make for a better informed or more engaged citizenry but at whether they keep users on the platform longer. “The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content,” Facebook’s head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, said in a blog post. “We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further.”

De-emphasizing its news product could be a strategic move at a time when Facebook is facing mounting scrutiny for its power as a media hub—a power it mismanaged spectacularly during the 2016 election, and which it has since been forced to acknowledge publicly. In the face of looming regulatory threats from Capitol Hill, the test could give Facebook leeway to claim it isn’t the information gatekeeper that lawmakers fear. By moving the goalposts so that it’s not considered as much of a media company, it could avoid being regulated like one.

Source: Vanity Fair Hive

Head Of Facebook’s Secretive Hardware Lab, Regina Dugan Is Leaving

Regina Dugan, the head of Facebook’s secretive hardware lab called Building 8, is leaving the company after just 18 months. Dugan’s departure was announced internally on Tuesday, and in a post she wrote that she’s leaving to “lead a new endeavor”. Dugan will stay at Facebook into early 2018, to ensure “a smooth transition,” she added.

 

It’s unclear who will take over Dugan’s role leading Building 8 on a day-to-day basis. Facebook recently promoted Andrew “Boz” Bosworth to run all of the company’s hardware projects, but that also includes Oculus hardware, not just Building 8.

“There is a tidal shift going on in Silicon Valley, and those of us in this industry have greater responsibilities than ever before,” Dugan said in a statement provided by a company spokesperson.

“The timing feels right to step away and be purposeful about what’s next, thoughtful about new ways to contribute in times of disruption.”

 

Dugan made a big splash when she arrived at Facebook in early 2016. Not only did she join to run Facebook’s hardware efforts, which were totally new and garnered a commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars from the company, but Dugan has an impressive background. Before joining Facebook, she led Google’s Advanced Technology and Products team, which built things like modular smartphones and clothes outfitted with micro-sensors. Before Google, Dugan was the director of DARPA, the special research lab that builds new technology for the U.S. military.

 

At Facebook, Dugan oversaw a number of hardware efforts, none of which have actually launched, including a video chat device and a smart speaker, according to Business Insider. Dugan also lead the company’s “brain computer interface project,” a new type of technology meant to translate a person’s thoughts directly from their brain and onto a computer screen. Dugan unveiled the project onstage at Facebook’s annual developers conference in April.

 

Now she is leaving and it’s unclear whether or not her departure will affect any of Facebook’s existing projects. The Building 8 team is now “hundreds of people,” according to a Facebook spokesperson.

After China’s Uncertainty, Now Russia Threatens To Ban Facebook In 2018

Facebook users in China recently complained about the application been unavailable to some due to the country’s security protocol, Russia has just said it will ban Facebook in 2018 if the social network fails to comply with local data storage laws.

Alexander Zharov, head of communications regulator Roskomnadzor, was quoted by official state media outlets saying “the law is obligatory for all. In all cases we will make sure the law is complied with, or the company will stop working in the Russian Federation. There are no exceptions here.”

Russia’s law on personal data storage came into effect in September 2015 and It requires companies that collect the personal data of citizens to store the information on Russian soil.

Zharov said his agency has not been in contact with Facebook but added that the company needs to comply with the law soon. “In 2018, we will think about it, and maybe we will check,” Zharov told state media that Roskomnadzor had received a letter from Twitter saying it would comply with the data storage law starting in 2018.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Facebook is a commercial enterprise earning money in Russia, and therefore it must comply with the law.

Companies Will Have To Pay For Business Tools – Whatsapp

The company WhatsApp is currently preparing to monetize its services by charging large enterprise businesses for tools that will allow them to better communicate with their customers.

WhatsApp enterprise solution will allow global companies to provide their customers with useful information such as delivery confirmations, flight times and other updates regarding their purchases or possible new products.

The chief operating of Whatapp company officer Matt Idema provided more details on the company’s current monetization plan, saying:

“We do intend on charging businesses in the future.  We don’t have the details of monetization figured out.”

The company is also planning to release a free app which will cater to small-to-medium sized businesses though no information regarding its functionality or release date has yet to be released.

WhatsApp also officially announced its closed pilot program which uses a green check mark to show that a business has been verified and is neither fake nor a personal account.  The company has been testing this feature for a few weeks now and it is a good first step on the road to monetization for the app.

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 and since then the app has gotten rid of its $1 annual subscription fee and both companies have objected to putting ads on the messaging app over fears of degrading the user experience.

By charging enterprises for additional features to better reach customers, WhatsApp may have found the best way to earn money without alienating its one billion daily users.

Facebook’s New Safety Check Gives Info On Dangers Involving Users

Facebook announced on Monday that it has made it simpler to see whether friends have checked in as “safe” on the online platform during disasters or other dangerous events.

A Safety Check feature was given its own dedicated tab along with friends, groups, events and other main categories at the leading social network’s mobile application and desktop pages, according to the California-based company.

“Safety Check helps our community let loved ones know they are safe during a crisis, find and give help, as well as learn more about a crisis,” Facebook said in an online post.

“There’s now a single place to go to see where Safety Check has recently been activated, get the information you need and potentially be able to help affected areas.”

The modification began rolling out on Monday.

Facebook added the Safety Check feature three years ago as a way for people to check on the well-being of loved ones during natural disasters.

It broadened to include terrorism and other major violence after horrific attacks in Paris in 2015.

Osun Chief of Staff Disclaims Having Facebook Account 

The Chief of Staff to the Governor of Osun state, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola has disclaimed Facebook account regarding it as impostor account.

 

This was contained in a statement made available to our correspondent on Saturday.

 

The statement condemned the act of scam by an unknown person or body.

 

The statement read “My attention has been drawn to the existence of impostor on Facebook masquerading and hiding as, and impersonating me. I have received series of information on the accounts opened referencing me as the owner of such accounts.

 

“The impostors ply their scams with the names “ISIAKA GBOYEGA OYETOLA” and “ALHAJI  GBOYEGA OYETOLA” and feed unsuspecting members of the public with false information and updates as regards my person and the office I hold with the Government of the State of Osun, under the pretense of soliciting for funds, job and contract opportunities with the sole aim of duping them.

 

“I strongly dissociate myself and my office from these shady personalities and warn the general public to beware and discountenance such dubious and irresponsible solicitations. I acknowledge the advent of the social media platforms with its attendant benefits, though with few skirmishes and negatives inferences such as this,

 

“I do not operate or have any Facebook account on any social media platform as at today, neither did I authorize nor ask anyone to solicit on my behalf for donations or advertise vacancies for job opportunities.

 

Oyetola further warned any body or group of people who are behind such scheme.

 

He said “Whoever is behind this evil and wicked act is warned to desist from such operations forthwith before it is too late, as there would be dire consequences when eventually caught. I am also working on rendering such mischievous accounts completely inactive.

 

Members of the public are also advised to be watchful and observant, as operators of these pseudo and fake accounts should be called out and alarm raised, report such impostors to the law enforcement agencies. He added.