Facebook Pivots Into Stories

All users will soon have access to the new Facebook Camera feature that lets them overlay special effects on photos and videos. They can then share this content to a Snapchat clone called Facebook Stories that appears above News Feed on mobile and works similarly to Instagram’s 24-hour ephemeral slideshows. Users also may share these posts to News Feed, individual friends through the new Facebook Direct private visual messages that disappear once digested or any combination thereof.

“As people mostly post photos and videos, Stories is the way they’re going to want to do it,” says Facebook Camera product manager Connor Hayes, noting Facebook’s shift away from text status updates after 10 years as its primary sharing option. “Obviously we’ve seen this doing very well in other apps. Snapchat has really pioneered this,” explained Hayes, less shy to mention the competitor by name than some other Facebook executives.

But really it was the rapid ascent of Instagram Stories to 150 million daily users that he says inspired Facebook to start testing its own Stories in January, and keep expanding it to 12 countries before today’s rollout. Surprisingly, Hayes says Facebook Stories is “additive,” not detracting from News Feed sharing or usage of its other Stories products. “We’ve tested in markets with Instagram Stories and Messenger Day, and we’ve seen this as accretive. They end up posting more and they like using the Stories format across apps.”

That’s the worst news for Snapchat and best news for Facebook since the world’s biggest social network adopted the strategy of copying the competitor that refused its acquisition offer.

Facebook Rewards 10-yr-old With $10,000 For Finding Instagram Security Flaw

Earlier this year, a 10-year-old — who is not even old enough to sign up on Facebook — impressed Mark Zuckerberg by hacking Instagram, the photo-sharing application owned by Facebook.

The Helsinki-based boy genius, called Jani, received $10,000 from Facebook for identifying a security bug, Forbes reported.

Jani uncovered a flaw that allowed him to delete any written content on the social media platform by altering the code.

“I would have been able to eliminate anyone, even Justin Bieber,” the wunderkind told Finnish publication Iltalehti.

An aspiring security expert, Jani sent his discovery to Facebook via email.

He verified his report by deleting a comment the company posted on a test account, a spokesperson told Forbes.

The bug was resolved at the end of February. In March, the tech giant informed Jani of the fix and gave him his monetary reward.

Jani plans to use the reward to buy a new bike, football gear, and new computers for his brothers, he said in the interview with Iltalehti.

He ousted a 13-year-old to become the youngest ever recipient of Facebook’s bug bounty program, which offers rewards to people who identify and report legitimate security risks.

Since it launched in 2011, Facebook’s bug bounty has awarded over $4.3 million to more than 800 researchers.

The program determines the payout based on a bug’s risk, rather than how complex it may be.

In 2015 alone, 210 researchers received $936,000 with an average payout of $1,780.

Facebook and Whatsapp Dump BlackBerry Platforms

Social media and instant messaging applications Facebook and Whatsapp will no longer be available to users of Blackberry, Nokia and Windows phones by the end of 2016.

Whatsapp, an instant messaging application owned by Facebook, was the first to make the announcement after it celebrated the seventh year of it’s existence in February.

“When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today. The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia,” the Whatsapp blog reported.

“Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time.

“As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use. So, by the end of 2016, we will be ending support for WhatsApp Messenger on the following mobile platforms: Blackberry (including Blackberry 10), Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1 and Android 2.2,Windows Phone 7.1.

“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future. This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.

“If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone before the end of 2016 to continue using WhatsApp.”

In a statement released by the company, Blackberry said it is ‘extremely disappointed in Facebook’s decision as they know so many users love these apps”.

“We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands.

“Despite this, we have worked hard to ensure our end users have the best experience in light of this decision, and are continuing to search for alternate solutions.”

The company encouraged users to let Facebook know how they feel on the social media.

However, Blackberry has provided alternatives for users to move to the web-based version of Facebook.

“As of March 31st, 2016 BlackBerry smartphone users will have to perform an update for the BlackBerry Facebook application in order to continue using Facebook.

“Those wishing to continue using Facebook are encouraged to move to the web-based experience which will provide the most feature rich alternative.”

Instagram To Also Follow Facebook In Showing Posts Out Of Order

Instagram is testing a more personalized feed for its users, the company said today. The reorganized feed relies on an algorithm to sort images and videos based on what users are likely to be most interested in. The social media platform currently organizes posts from newest to oldest, which often leads to missing posts from friends. The new feed more closely resembles that of Instagram’s parent company, Facebook.

Instagram co-founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom told the New York Times that people miss an average of 70 percent of the posts in their feeds. “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible,” he said.

The company is using machine-learning technology, as well as other signals of interest, to determine how to sort content. The timeliness of the posts and the relationship between users will also play a role, so that people you interact with more often appear higher in the feed.

The feed experiment reflects the social media platform’s increasing popularity and the resulting surge in content. It currently has more than 400 million regular users — 75 percent of whom live outside the United States. Mike Krieger, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, told the Times that international users often miss posts overnight due to time differences.

For now, only an unspecified single-digit percentage of users will test the algorithm. The results of the initial tests will determine whether the changes are made permanently across the platform. But there’s every reason to assume they will be — among other things, Instagram recently de-emphasized timestamps on posts by shrinking them and putting them underneath the photo.

Twitter also changed its users’ feeds to emphasize quality over chronology earlier this year. Like Instagram, the company began sorting tweets by a personalized algorithm. Twitter still allows users to opt out of the new feed, though, whereas Instagram suggested the new feed will not be optional.

Use Social Media For Progressive Ideas – Senator Ashafa

The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has asked all users of new media to share progressive ideas with each other and strive for the cultural and social integration of Nigeria on those platforms.

He said social media should be seen as an enjoyable and uniting factor, and not for causing disaffection. He added that his constant use of Facebook and Twitter has increased his level of engagement with his constituents and helps him get news faster.

The senator said this in a press release announcing the verification of his Facebook page, which was concluded on Wednesday, 24thFebruary, 2016. The page, https://www.facebook.com/gbengaashafa/, is now the only authentic profile belonging to the Senator on Facebook, the world’s largest social media site with 1.44 billion monthly users.

“Our youth owe it to each other to use social media responsibly,” Senator Ashafa said. “Great ideas, which can save our economy and create jobs, can be shared, analysed and executed through social media. It is borderless, fast and effective. Let us use it to unite our country at all times.

“I have found it as a very useful tool for engagement. I believe it should be self-regulating, meaning those who see someone doing something wrong or illegal with it should either caution the offender or report to the appropriate authorities. That way, we will keep the space clean and government would not have an excuse to invade that space.”

The Senator promised to announce the second leg of his job creation initiative via social media. The first one was held in 2012, when he sponsored 15 engineering graduates from his constituency for training in at the Siemens Power Academy in collaboration with the Lagos State Electricity Board.