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

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder Meets Lola

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

Reports say that 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.’’

FIN now meet in thousands in cities all around the world.

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.’’

“I’m Not Running For Public Office” – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his New Year’s resolution to visit and meet people from every U.S. state this year doesn’t mean he’s currently running for public office.

“Some of you have asked if this challenge means I’m running for public office. I’m not,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post late Sunday.

Speculation that Zuckerberg may be preparing to run for office has flourished during his “listening tour,” in which he has been travelling the country — and posing for photos at a Ford plant, on a tractor, feeding a cow and sitting down to dinner with an Ohio family he surprised.

But even before the outright denial Sunday night, both experts and people who worked with Zuckerberg expressed doubt the executive has the temperament — or even the interest — in running for political office. Still, at least one reporter noted the statement doesn’t preclude future political aspirations.

For now, at least, Zuckerberg insisted in his post that the point is “to get a broader perspective to make sure we’re best serving our community of almost 2 billion people on Facebook and doing the best work to promote equal opportunity at the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.”

In 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan pledged to donate 99% of their Facebook (FB, Tech30) stock to charitable causes through the initiative.

Zuckerberg said his biggest takeaway from his tour so far is that “relationships shape us more than we think.” He added that Facebook is looking to connect users with people they should know, such as potential mentors, rather than just connecting users with people they know.

“We’ve built AI systems to recommend ‘People You May Know.’ But it might be just as important to also connect you with people you should know — mentors and people outside your circle who care about you and can provide a new source of support and inspiration,” Zuckerberg wrote. Facebook is exploring models to make this work.

Andela to Expand in Nigeria

Andela, the Lagos-based technology hub visited by Mark Zuckerberg during his visit to Nigeria has announced plans to expand into other parts of the country in order to cover Southern and Northern Nigeria.

It has launched calls for applications for its two boot camps that will be located in Calabar and Abuja. These boot camps will serve the South-South and South-East, and the North-West/ North-Central, respectively.

The deadline for applications for interested youth who seek empowerment in this line is the 20th of March.

According to a statement provided by Modupe Durosinmi-Etti, the Outreach and Partnership Associate at Andela, “The only requirements are that the candidate is hardworking, detail oriented and has a passion for technology. (If you are a University graduate, please ensure that you have completed or about to complete your NYSC)… We’re receiving applications continually for the next month”.

After successful completion of the bootcamp, accepted candidates will be inducted into the Andela Lagos Fellowship Program.

Osun Defender recalls that Andela received a $24 million Series B funding round from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative founded by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

Andela describes itself as an “engineering organization that connects leading technology companies and talented software developers from around the world”. It is backed by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV (Google Ventures) and Spark Capital.

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.
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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.