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.

 

FaceBook, Google Lose $123m to Scammer

The Court of Appeal of Lithuania has decided to extradite to the United States a Lithuanian scam artist identified as Evaldas Rimasauskas, who conned $123 million out of FaceBook and Google by sending fake emails.

“Assumption that the damage was done to the companies registered in the United States became the ground for the extradition of Rimasauskas,” the court said in a press release on Friday.

The decision to extradite the scammer was irrevocable, the court said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York accused Rimasauskas of wire transfer fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, news agency Elta reported.

It is alleged that Rimasauskas took part in the scam using e-mail correspondence and posed as an Asian computer hardware manufacturer to persuade Google and FaceBook to accept fraudulent invoices and transfer funds to the company established under the same name in Latvia.

The funds were transferred to the latter company’s accounts in banks in Cyprus and Latvia.

The court underlined it has not been assessing the circumstances of the crime and the proof of guilt as it “should trust the information provided by the judicial authority of the country which applied for the extradition.”

Rimasauskas is suspected to have conned 23 million dollars from Google and 100 million dollars from FaceBook.

He was detained in Lithuania on March 16. On April 18, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Lithuania received the U.S. Justice Department’s request to extradite the suspect.

Rimasauskas has denied the charges.

Meanwhile, the attorney of Rimasauskas claimed that the investigation of the suspected crime must take place in Lithuania as the allegedly criminal actions were carried out within the country, local media reported.

Lithuania has a bilateral extradition agreement with the United States and this case “meets all the criteria”, the chairman of the court underlined.

Building A Purpose-Driven Company The Facebook Way

 

When Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, hit the stage in June to announce the company’s new mission to a hall filled with community group heads in Chicago, Illinois, it was obvious that something revolutionary – or at least, profound – was about to happen.

The tech-entrepreneur told Facebook users across the world – all 2 billion of them – that the company is doing what it has not done in 10 years – it is changing its policy direction from its mission to develop a platform to ‘make the world more open and connected’ to one that has a broader value proposition: ‘Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.’

In a 3,000 word treatise that followed, Zuckerberg took time to explain the rationale behind the company’s move stating that rather than moving away from its mission of connecting friends and family, Facebook is simply embarking on a social mission broadening its focus to enable people to connect with ‘meaningful communities’. He said communities help users find common ground, which helps people engage with new perspectives and become aware of different issues. Groups also offer individuals personal support, which gives them bandwidth to look outward and address the biggest human problems, like climate change, global health issues, domestic violence, substance abuse, and more.

Essentially Facebook is on a mission to help people across the world gain perspective by providing them with a platform to engage in groups.
“We’ve been thinking about what our responsibility is in the world,” Zuckerberg said in an interview. “Connecting friends and family have been pretty positive, but I think there is just this collective feeling that we have a responsibility to do more than that and also help build communities and help people get exposed to new perspectives and meet new people — not just give people a voice, but also help build common ground so people can actually move forward together.”

Many private organisations across the world are increasingly seeing the need to engage in activities that are traditionally the sole prerogative of public institutions and governments. We are increasingly seeing brands who consider impacting the lives of citizens and communities as a mission that must be accomplished with or without the collaboration of government or its institutions.

Like Facebook, other companies like Chivas Regal which organizes ‘The Venture’ – an international contest open to social entrepreneurs using business as a force for good – and the Union Bank Centenary Innovation Challenge – an initiative set to impact Nigeria by unearthing and supporting innovative ideas for addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in entrepreneurial ways – are taking Corporate Social Responsibility a notch higher by taking on far bigger national and global challenges.

RED, the media company which I co-founded with my partner, Chude Jideonwo perhaps takes it a bit further by placing its core-growth ideology around inspiring and enabling young people to engage towards inclusive growth and active nation-building.

With this shift in approach, it is increasingly apparent that companies are realising the need to step beyond the laser focus on profits, eschew the tokenism that has hitherto been regarded as CSR, and invest resources in directly impacting the lives of people and communities around them for the greater good. It is hard to argue against this business philosophy as the way to go moving into the future.

Here are some benefits derived by companies who dare to exhibit some humanity while taking care of business.

Brand differentiation: Brands with a focus on innovation and impact tend to, in the medium and long term, build a reputation among potential customers, consumers and stakeholders as the go-to entity when they need practical solutions to their problems.

For example, brands with established initiatives towards enrolling children displaced by insurgency in the North-west of Nigeria or that which invests massively in providing entrepreneurial training for start-ups across the country would have succeeded in not only building top-of-mind awareness in solving nagging societal challenges, but also gathering a groundswell of goodwill with which they can draw from in the future.

 

Heightened brand appeal: We only do business with brands we like. And if the brand in question appeals to your emotions by offering quality services while taking care of collective challenges – even better. It’s therefore little wonder why financial institutions such as GTBank and its likes invest resources in lifestyle engagements. This is clearly to position itself as a 360-degree brand with a focus on satisfying the daily needs of the rapidly increasing, highly dynamic, attention challenged, digitally-active customers.

Good old trust: Looking closely at the Facebook’s example, it is clear that the global company has chosen the path of trust. With its new mission, the brand has taken another important step in deepening its relationship with users who interact and share information on the platform daily.
Positioning your business as a purpose-driven entity with the sole objective of building a better future etches its essence on the minds of customers and stakeholders alike as a partner, rather than a faceless entity with no soul.

Regardless of the size of your brand, it is becoming a growing imperative to adopt ideas that reach beyond profit making. The real path to growth is exploiting the values that lie in caring for the holistic well-being of the next person. As Zuckerberg maintained in his address: “We have to build the world where everyone has a sense of purpose and community. That’s how we’ll bring the world closer together. We have to build the world where we care about a person in India or China or Nigeria or Mexico as much as a person here. That’s how we’ll achieve our greatest opportunities and build the world we want for generations to come.”

The future starts now.

 

Source: The Guardian

Mark Zuckerberg Meets Founder Of FIN, Nigerian Facebook Group, Lola Omolola

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, on Tuesday received Nigeria’s Lola Omolola, founder of a secret Facebook group called Female in Nigeria.

FIN was founded in 2015 by Omolola, a movement of women focused on building compassion and providing support for one another, with the goal of having up to 1000 members in the group.

However, the group exceeded its target as it recently hit one million members.

According to Zuckerberg’s Facebook page on Tuesday, he will be meeting with Lola and a few hundred of other top Facebook group admins in Chicago later in the month for the first ever Facebook Communities Summit.

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve been meeting group admins across the country that are building meaningful communities on Facebook and will be at the summit.

“Two years ago, she founded a secret Facebook group called Female IN, or FIN,’’ Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg said FIN is “a no-judgment space where more than a million women come to talk about everything from marriage and sex to health issues and work problems’’

“It is helping to end the culture of silence that exists for women in some parts of the world.’’

He said for the past decade, Facebook had been focused on making the world more open and connected.

The Facebook founder expressed the willingness of the platform to continue to connect persons, adding that there was the need to do much more by bringing people closer together and build common understanding.

“One of the best ways to do that is by helping people build community, both in the physical world and online.

“I have written and talked about these themes throughout this year, especially in my community letter in February and at Harvard Commencement in May.

“The Chicago summit will be the next chapter and we’ll discuss more of what we’re building to empower community leaders to bring the world closer.

“I’m looking forward to meeting more admins like Lola and talking about how we can help them do even more to build community.

“I’ll share more info on the summit as we get closer, and I’ll stream the event live from my profile later this month.’’

Reports Facebook Won’t Censor Suicide Videos

Authorities world wide have made efforts to have social media companies censor live videos following the various suicide and murder videos released by social media users through facebook live-feed.

Facebook will reportedly continue allowing people to live stream self-harm attempts because the social media network doesn’t want to censor or punish people in distress.

The Guardian news website has reported on Monday that while Facebook also believes videos showing violent deaths are disturbing they don’t always have to be deleted as the footage can help build awareness around issues, including mental illness.

The news site also says Facebook doesn’t believe photos of non-sexual physical abuse or child bullying should be deleted or ‘actioned’ unless there is a ‘sadistic’ or celebratory element.

It also says Facebook uses software to intercept some graphic context before it is published on the site, the Guardian says.

The rules are contained in a dossier that’s been leaked to the Guardian and is likely to reignite the debate between freedom of expression, safety and censorship on the internet.

Anyone who may be feeling distressed can contact the following organisations for support.

 

Facebook to Pay 110m Euro Fine for Deceit

European Union (EU) antitrust regulators on Thursday said they would fine Facebook 110 million euros (122.4 million dollars) for providing misleading information over its purchase of messaging service WhatsApp in 2014.

Calling it a “proportionate and deterrent fine,” the European Commission, which acts as the EU’s competition watchdog, said Facebook had said it could not automatically match user accounts on its namesake platform and WhatsApp but two years later launched a service that did exactly that.

“The Commission has found that, contrary to Facebook’s statements in the 2014 merger review process, the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users’ identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility,” the Commission said.

The commission added that the fine would not reverse the Commission’s decision to clear the purchase of WhatsApp and was unrelated to separate investigations into data protection issues.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Facebook was set to be fined.

Reuters