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Everything you wanted to know about Facebook’s F8

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Zuckerberg made a few big announcements at Facebook’s F8 conference.

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What you missed at Facebook F8

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 Developer Conference. San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center was abuzz with innovation and I was abuzz with excitement — and perhaps a few too many complimentary espresso shots — as I learned what the social media giant has been working on recently.

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Here’s a brief breakdown of what Facebook’s unleashed:

Camera Effects Platform

Get ready to look through your camera with a whole new lens: founder Mark Zuckerberg describes this feature as “the first mainstream augmented reality platform.” Using the built-in cameras on mobile devices, the Camera Effects Platform allows developers to create interactive experiences by layering art and technology over the real world.

Right now, these effects range from fun, flowery frames and silly faces to more advanced animated masks and borders.

Eventually, however, the goal is for the platform to be able to recognize objects and layer relevant information or animations over the physical scenery. Zuckerberg’s example was children sitting at breakfast watching sharks swimming in the milk of their cereal bowls. While that idea actually sounds a bit frightening to me, I’m kind of into the idea of Cap’n Crunch himself sailing jovially through my late-night snack.

Facebook Spaces

Because “VR is better with friends”. The company’s new social virtual reality platform lets you hang out with your friends even when you’re far away, but here’s the twist: you’re all cartoons.

Think The Matrix meets The Sims.

You can call your friends with Messenger and video chat with them when they’re in VR, and you can even take selfies of your cartoon selves during a VR chill sesh. And you thought BitMojis were cool.

Messenger 2.0

This one’s maybe the most relevant, considering Messenger is already used by 1.2 billion people every month. The popular platform now has a few new features:

  • Discover helps users browse through bots to find the best ones, find nearby places they can message, and businesses offering support
  • Chat extensions let people bring bots right into their conversations to handle mundane tasks like splitting payments, create shopping lists, ordering food or sharing music
  • Parametric Messenger Codes let businesses see which bots are being scanned the most

Then for all you nerds, here are some technical enhancements to Messenger:

  • Hand-over Protocol lets businesses work with multiple developers to make different experiences in one bot
  • ID Matching API lets businesses personalize communication with customers by pairing ASISs and PSIDs between an app and a bot that belong to the same business
  • Open Graph Template allows bots to send open graph content to threads directly
  • The Platform Design Kit is a new library of components for designing bots
  • Bots have access to referral information when users enter through Messenger Ads
  • Business owners can make primary CTAs other than “Message Us” on Facebook pages with bots, like “Shop Now” or “Get Support”

Overall, the theme of Facebook’s new features is, not surprisingly, building connections. Who would have thought that posting on a friend’s wall would one day evolve into hanging out with them in your own private animated world? And this is just the beginning.

#F8

Helen Irias is a Staff Writer at The American Genius with a degree in English Literature from University of California, Santa Barbara. She works in marketing in Silicon Valley and hopes to one day publish a comically self-deprecating memoir that people bring up at dinner parties to make themselves sound interesting.

Social Media

Facebook wants your nudes now to protect you from revenge porn later

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook, attempting to get in front of revenge porn, is requesting that users send in all of their nudes.

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In a heroic and totally innovative attempt to combat revenge porn, Facebook has come up with the following solution: “PM US UR NUDEZ.”

No seriously. They want your nudes.

But don’t worry, they’re only going to be viewed by a small group of people for manual confirmation of said nudes, and then stored temporarily… for reasons.

That part gets a little fuzzy. Some sources report that Facebook isn’t actually storing the images, just the links. This is meant to convert the image to a digital footprint, known as a hash, which is supposed to prevent the content from being upload to Facebook again.

Others say Facebook only stores the images for a short period of time and then deletes them.

What we do know, is this is a new program being tested in Australia where Facebook has partnered with a small government agency known as e-Safety and is requesting intimate or nude photos that could potentially be used for revenge porn in an effort to pre-emptively prevent such an incident.

Revenge porn is basically when someone uploads your personal and private photos online without your consent. Rather than address the issue of whether or not it’s such a good idea to take photos on a mobile, hackable device, it’s better to just send a large corporation all your nudes… through their Messenger app. /sarcasm

For your protection.

According to the commissioner of the e-Safety office, Julie Inman Grant, however, they’re using artificial intelligence and photo-matching technologies… and storing the links!

If this isn’t convincing enough, British law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP wrote in a statement to Newsweek, “We would expect that Facebook has absolutely watertight systems to guard the privacy of victims. It is quite counter-intuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient.”

Oh, she wasn’t joking.

I’m not sure how many people still hold onto old intimate photos of themselves, but I am doubtful that it’s enough for this to really be effective as it only prevents intimate photos from being shared on Facebook. At least that’s the plan.

Reactions to this announcement have largely been met with amusement and criticism ranging from commentary on Mark Zuckerberg and Co. being total pervs, and theories of shared Facebook memories: “”Happy Memories: It’s been 1 Year since you uploaded 47 pictures of you in your birthday suit”!

Either way, I can only imagine someone’s inbox is flooded with crotch shots right now, and Zuckerberg has a potential new industry in the works.

Just sayin’.

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Social Media

Twitter might make a profit for the first time… ever

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter seems to be very popular but it may surprise you to know that this is the very first time they might make a profit.

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Twitter reports that after a year of slashing expenses and putting itself in a position to sell data to other companies, it’s expected to be profitable. What’s surprising (considering how #huge Twitter is) is that this the first time that it will be profitable based on “generally accepted accounting principles” – #GAAP!.

In the 11 years since Twitter took to the field, it has never once met this standard, operating at a loss of nearly 2.5 billion dollars since its inception.

Twitter has struggled of a number of reasons, but particularly after going public in 2013 it suffered declining user growth, the rise of the #twittertrolls (coincidentally, Troll’s are discussed in my favorite TIME piece about the internet – located here), and competition from Facebook for the tough realm of advertising.

Since 2013, shares fell steadily, but things have increased thanks to some optimistic changes – the promise to crack down on harassment and abuse, a feed arranged by algorithm instead of time, and Twitter’s most vocal fan of late, President Donald Trump.

For the numbers fans, Reuters provides some input: Twitter’s loss narrowed to about 21 million down from 103 million this year. They have worked to cut a great deal of expenses -16 percent across the board broadly impacting sales, marketing, and R&D.

This kind of focused core improvement (can) help tip the balance sheet on the expenses side – but generating revenues remains a challenge due to slow growth. Twitter hopes to relieve this by working out some deals to sell data – the currency of the 21st century.

Several months ago, TechCrunch made perhaps the most important observation – that despite the fact Twitter has changed the world, changed our marketing, and empowered us to connect with other people, it has remained unprofitable. Many small and large businesses profit from Twitter, but in these 11 years the company hasn’t #sharedinthewealth.

Twitter is touching every realm of business and for American’s, is touching every aspect of their lives given its new form as the preferred medium of the political sphere. Given that, they have much to do to change.

Facebook commands an audience five times the size of Twitter – and their ability to reach success for the future seems #questionable. And how Twitter’s success changes the scape of influence, outreach, and entrepreneurship is something else to be seen.

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Social Media

Is Facebook a potential Slack killer?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook’s steady ascent from social networking into the business world is giving Slack a run for their money.

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When it comes to the business realm, Facebook has steadily been increasing their reputation. Though Facebook is pinned as the social network, they are now proving to everyone that they can dominate in the professional sector as well.

Last year, Facebook launched an ad-free version of the site meant for the office called Workplace. Initially, 1,000 companies were signed on to try out this “Facebook for the office” in its starter phase.

As of last week, Facebook announced that 30,000 organizations currently use Workplace. These aren’t just small time companies. Some of Workplace’s users include Starbucks, Lyft, Spotify, Heineken, Delta and most recently Walmart.

It seems that overnight it grew from another side project to a valid rival for other professional communication tools like Slack.

Slack is the go-to site for business professionals. With over 6 million users and acquiring more every day, Slack is the place for teams to collaborate in real-time. It has virtually replaced email and external software when it comes to internal communication.

Slack has been successful at acquiring small corporations to use their service.

The problem is that Slack has yet to join forces with larger clients that have now turned to other applications. Just last year, Uber left Slack because they could not handle their large-scale communication needs.

In addition to being able to handle the needs of large companies, Facebook also offers cheaper services than Slack. A premium account with Workplace costs $3 per user each month while Slack charges double at $6.67 per user each month.

With the rapid growth and major reputation of Facebook behind it, many predict that Workplace will replace Slack, and other sites like it, in the not so distant future.

Recently, Facebook also launched the Workplace desktop app and plan to include group video chat. The biggest obstacle Workplace faces is the association with Facebook. It is ironic, since it is also their greatest strength.

The truth remains that many people think of Facebook solely as a social media network. Many companies forbid the use of it at work so the transition from the personal to the professional realm is still an uphill battle.

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