Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘facebook’ Category

More New Facebook Newsfeed News

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Friday afternoons. Where breaking news goes to die.

Which makes you wonder why Facebook would drop this news about its most recent adjustment to the Facebook News Feed.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Facebook executive Adam Mosseri indicated the company would start ranking news sources in its feed based on user evaluations of credibility.

The most “broadly trusted” publications—those trusted and recognized by a large cross-section of Facebook users—would get a boost in the news feed, while those that users rate low on trust would be penalized. The change only applies to U.S. users., though Facebook plans to roll it out later internationally.
– via WSJ

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post:

As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly. (We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.)
– via www.facebook.com

He went on to explain that “this update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.”

So, we (the community) decide who to trust, and Facebook will then act on the data.

This should be interesting.

Written by turbotodd

January 19, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Posted in 2018, facebook

Another New News Feed?

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Facebook has announced it is once again fundamentally changing the nature of its underlying News Feed algorithm.

The New York Times is reporting that it would prioritize what peoples’ friends and family share and comment on while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands.

As of 10:00 A.M. EST this morning, Facebook stock is down nearly 4%.

The Times reports that over the next few weeks, Facebook users will start seeing fewer viral videos and news articles shared by media companies, and instead will highlight posts that friends have interacted with.

The changes are intended to maximize the amount of content with “meaningful interaction” that people consume on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview. Facebook, he said, had closely studied what kinds of posts had stressed or harmed users. The social network wants to reduce what Mr. Zuckerberg called “passive content” — videos and articles that ask little more of the viewer than to sit back and watch or read — so that users’ time on the site was well spent.
– via www.nytimes.com

The goal of the overhaul, ultimately, is for something less quantifiable that may be difficult to achieve: Facebook wants people to feel positive, rather than negative, after visiting.
– via www.nytimes.com

Wall Street obviously doesn’t take kindly to this move, and so what about Facebook’s 2 billion users. That I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

But here’s a novel concept: Give Facebook users themselves more control over what they see in their feed.

Give me access to Facebook’s new machine learning models and AI algorithms so I can “tune” the engine and get just the right mix of skateboarding bulldogs, fake news, and pictures from the high school reunion I didn’t bother showing up for.

In other words, start treating us like adults and put a stop to the social network nanny state.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2018 at 9:05 am

Facebook Targeting Discrimination

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Facebook’s multicultural challenges continue.

USA Today is reporting that Facebook is responding to criticism from black lawmakers in the U.S., and has indicated it will temporarily block advertisers from excluding racial and ethnic groups when placing ads on the social network:

The move is the most serious response yet to concerns Facebook’s “multicultural affinity marketing” feature can be used to discriminate against minorities, particularly in sensitive areas where historically they have faced discrimination such as housing, credit and employment.
– via USA TODAY

Facebook says it’s suspending the targeting capability while conducting an audit of how advertisers exclude groups. The audit will include groups beyond multicultural affinity such as the LGBT community and religious groups, the company said.
– via USA TODAY

USA Today goes on to report that the results will be shared with the groups focused on discrimination in ads, and will work with those groups to make improvements and also publish the measures it’s taking.

In an unrelated report from Facebook, TechCrunch is reporting that Facebook unveiled a “slew” of philanthropy-minded features at the second Facebook Social Good Forum yesterday in NYC.

Facebook is eliminating its 5% fee on donations so 100% of money sent through its Donate buttons go to the desired non-profit. Previously it took 5% to pay for credit card processing and verifying the 750,000 charities on its platform, but will now nobly eat that cost. However, personal fundraisers can still incur fees from 6.9% to 8.8%. It’s setting up a $50 million per year Facebook Donations Fund to match giving on its app to causes like natural disaster relief. Facebook is expanding charitable giving tools to 13 countries in Europe plus Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. It’s launching a Fundraiser API to sync Facebook fundraisers to offsite campaigns, starting with Susan G. Komen, JDRF, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Movember, with plans to connect to 500 non-profits by end of Spring 2018. Its new Community Help API delivers data from Facebook’s crisis volunteering feature to disaster response organizations to assist them with routing resources. After signing up 4 million blood donors in India, Facebook will expand the program to Bangladesh in 2018.
– via TechCrunch

Also…

Finally, it’s launching a new Mentorship feature through partnered non-profits starting with iMentor for education and The International Rescue Committee for crisis recovery. People over 18 in need of addiction recovery, career advancement or other personal help will be matched with vetted mentors who will guide them through an on-Facebook curriculum of education materials.
– via TechCrunch

Written by turbotodd

November 30, 2017 at 8:48 am

Posted in 2017, facebook, philanthropy

New Face, News Feed

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Facebook’s running some new tests of its News Feed in several countries, including Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guetemala, and Cambodia.

According to a post by its Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, “the goal of this test is to “understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content.”

Uh, how about, “NO!” And why didn’t you just ask?!

We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further. There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore. Unfortunately, some have mistakenly made that interpretation — but that was not our intention.
– via media.fb.com

According to a story in The Guardian, the results don’t look promising for those who don’t wish to pay to play:

A new system being trialled in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka sees almost all non-promoted posts shifted over to a secondary feed, leaving the main feed focused entirely on original content from friends, and adverts. The change has seen users’ engagement with Facebook pages drop precipitously, with publications reporting a 60% to 80% fall [Emphasis added]. If replicated more broadly, such a change would destroy many smaller publishers, as well as larger ones with an outsized reliance on social media referrals for visitors.
– via the Guardian

Matti Littunen, a senior research analyst at Enders Analysis, was dubios about the move:

the move was “the classic Facebook playbook: first give lots of organic reach to one content type, then they have to pay for reach, then they can only get through to anyone by paying.”
– via the Guardian

 

And Filip Struhárik, a journalist with Slovakia’s Dennik N newspaper, got more to the point:

“Newsfeed without news. Just friends and sponsored content. People will find out how boring their friends are,”
– via the Guardian

I can’t wait to see what all my friends had for lunch again.

Written by turbotodd

October 24, 2017 at 9:13 am

Posted in 2017, facebook, news feed

The Knowledge

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Happy Friday. Or better put, TGIF.

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Hurricane Maria had her way with Puerto Rico and parts beyond. The earthquake in Mexico City shook the metropolis to its core. The United Nations General Assembly was filled with bombast and bluster, and now “Rocket Man” is threatening to explode a hydrogen bomb somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

It may be time for a cocktail. Okay, not now, at 9:00-something in the morning, but very soon.

There could be plenty of time for cocktails soon for Uber drivers in London. Big news today on that front: Uber has lost its license to operate in London.

No, not because the drivers (or Uber’s AI) couldn’t pass “The Knowledge,” London’s infamous taxi driver test. No, it was said to be because of the firm’s approach to reporting serious driver offenses, its approach to driver medical and safety checks, and the users of its secret “Greyball” software to dodge transport officials.

The firm has 21 days to appeal the decision.

In the meantime, 40,000 Uber drivers and 3.5M Londoners using the app will need to make other arrangements. And you just thought the London Underground is crowded now!

Back across this side of the pond, some exciting news from Facebook that they needed like a hole in the head. They “announced” two weeks ago they had discovered more than 3,000 ads addressing “social and political issues that ran in the US between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with a Russian entity know as the Internet Research Agency.”

Facebook will now “share these ads with congressional investigators,” according to a post by its general counsel, Colin Stretch. Here’s more of Stretch’s comment:

We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election. That is an assessment that can be made only by investigators with access to classified intelligence and information from all relevant companies and industries — and we want to do our part. Congress is best placed to use the information we and others provide to inform the public comprehensively and completely.
– via newsroom.fb.com

My Take: The whole Russian Facebook advertising situation puts Zuckerberg and company between a rock and a hard place.

If they admit any culpability, then hey, Facebook Ads are AWESOME, they work really, really well, as they helped Russia elect an American president. Raise the CPM and let’s party like it’s 1999 on the Facebook Ad exchange!!

If they suggest, on the other hand, that they had no role whatsoever in helping Vlad and his cronies with their mission to bring the Trump Organization into the White House, then wait a minute, those ads are worthless, I want my rubles back!

Like a Facebook relationship status, “it’s complicated.”

Now where’s my Moscow Mule!

Written by turbotodd

September 22, 2017 at 9:38 am

Posted in 2017, facebook, russia, uber

A Messenger Day

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Let the SnapChat clones begin.

Today Facebook announced it was globally launching Messenger Day.

This new app will roll out on top of Facebook’s chat app on both iOS and Android, plus in Facebook desktop Messenger. The new feature will let you share with the public or a custom friend decorated photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.

That is, of course, unless the CIA has already broken into your iOS or Android phone, in which case all bets are off.

All joking aside, I don’t think we can laugh this thing away out of the gate.

As TechCrunch observed, 1 billion people a day use Facebook Messenger, and Facebook is not afraid to copy great ideas. Why should somebody step out of Facebook and go over to Snapchat if they can just do what they need to on Facebook?

To whit, Snap Inc. chat is settling into the $22 range this afternoon, now that the news has sunk in. It appears that its messages aren’t the only thing disappearing at SnapChat.

Here’s what Facebook’s blog post introducing the feature explained the new Facebook Messenger Day capability:

Here’s how Messenger Day works: First make sure you’ve updated your Messenger app so you have the latest version. Open Messenger, and tap on the camera highlighted with a sun to celebrate this launch. Doing so drops you right into the full-screen camera. Or, tap the “Add to your day” button at the top of your inbox to get started. Snap a quick selfie or take a photo or video of what’s around you. To add art and effects, tap the smiley face icon in the top right and then tap to add to your photo or video. You can also add text over your images by tapping the “Aa” icon, and you can overlay a drawing by tapping the squiggly line in the top right corner. Once you have your photo or video the way you want it, tap the arrow in the bottom right corner. You can then add directly to your day, save it to your phone’s camera roll, and/or you can choose to send it to a specific person or group of people. The photo or video that you add to your day will be viewable for 24 hours.
– via newsroom.fb.com

Written by turbotodd

March 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Apple Developing Content, Facebook Goes To J-School

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If you’ve been wondering how Apple is looking to expand its profit-seeking horizons, Apple Insider may have the story for you.

They’re reporting that Apple is looking to get into the “original programming” business, which would include serialized drama and feature-length pieces.

Apparently the company already has three projects underway, including a “Carpool Karaoke” spinoff, a “Planet of the Apps” reality show focused on developers building….wait for it….apps….and an apparent semi-biographical show about Dr. Dre entitled “Vital Signs.”

Book that table for the Golden Globes as early as possible.

If you’re more interested in the journalism route, Facebook’s also making its own moves, introducing its “Facebook Journalism Project.”

The rationale:

we’re announcing a new program to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.
– via media.fb.com

The program will include three primary segments, one focusing on the collaborative development of news products, one for training and tools for journalists

You can get the full details here.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2017 at 8:52 am

Posted in 2017, apple, facebook, journalism

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