Tag Archives: Facebook

Facebook Testing $1 Fee for Messages to Non-friends

The social networking giant Facebook has figured out yet another way to monetize the site. According to Facebook, it is testing a new service that will enable advertisers (or anyone) to send messages to Facebook users with whom they are not connect with, and guarantees that this message will be delivered right into the users’ inbox, rather than the rarely-visited folder “other.”

That sounds like “premium” spam messages to me.

Facebook launched the “other” folder back in 2011, which was basically used to store messages that were sent from a non-Facebook friend. In other words, the “other” folder acts pretty much like a spam folder. However, with the new service, users will be able to pay $1 to route their messages to the inbox.

Facebook states that this will benefit both the sender and the receiver:

“For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their inbox.”

“For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.”

Also it worth noting that messages sent to [email protected] from your regular email services like Gmail will also end up in the “others” folder.

Facebook said the new $1 fee could help reduce spam or irrelevant messages from being sent to inboxes. They have said the option will only be presented to a “small number” of users in the U.S. at this point, and people will be limited to one paid message per week to start.

Facebook Bans Popular Extension F.B. Purity, Again!

FB-PurityWith the turf war between social media services heating up, these services are getting more and more hostile. Startups that were once proud of their open gardens have begun constructing walls to keep out competitors. Recently we saw Instagram pulling support for cards from Twitter, possibly in reaction to Twitter blocking Instagram’s friend import feature. Facebook and Google had earlier tussled over access to contacts data. Now, in a controversial move, Facebook has slammed the ban hammer on F.B. Purity.

F.B. Purity, which stands for Fluff Busting Purity, is a browser extension (actually an userscript) that promises to get rid of all the bloat from Facebook. It filters out the annoying and irrelevant pieces in your newsfeed, such as application spam, ads, and sponsored stories. F.B. Purity’s relationship with Facebook has always been tenuous. Facebook had threatened to ban F.B. Purity as far back as 2010 for infringing on its trademark. However, the developer managed to reach an agreement with Facebook and the script survived.

Now, Facebook is outlawing F.B. Purity because “Facebook’s terms specifically prohibit interference with the way Facebook is rendered to its users”. It also alleges that the script breaks Facebook’s ToS as it doesn’t connect via Facebook API, which is the approved method for interacting with Facebook’s services. Last time around Facebook tried sniffing F.B. Purity to render it useless. However, the developer managed to quickly find a workaround. So, this time Facebook didn’t even try. Instead, it banned the developer’s Facebook account, imposed a site-wide ban on the fbpurity domain, and threatened legal action.

Of course, a cursory investigation of the way F.B. Purity works is sufficient to unravel Facebook’s allegations. F.B. Purity is neither a Facebook client nor a Facebook application. It’s an userscript or an browser extension. It doesn’t directly access Facebook’s services. It’s a client-side script that modifies the page after the browser has downloaded it. In some ways it can be considered to be a browser feature. Hence, its ridiculous to force F.B. Purity to use Facebook’s APIs.

Facebook owns its services, and as such is free to do whatever it feels like. However, its latest complaint against F.B. Purity is simply thinly veiled bullying. If courts start buying Facebook’s logic, pretty much all browser extensions and scripts including ad-blockers and pop-up blockers will become illegal. I can appreciate that Facebook is trying to protect its interest. But, it is doing so by clearly inconveniencing the users and stepping on their freedom. It should be up to the user to decide how he wants the pages to be parsed by his browser, not Facebook.

Facebook Messenger For Android Updated; Sign Up With Just Name And Phone Number

We have good news for Android smartphone and tablet users. Facebook recently rolled out a new update for its not-so-popular Messenger app. The latest update brings the ability to sign up with just your name and phone number. You heard it right! Now, even if you have not yet created a Facebook account, you can still use the Facebook Messenger app and connect with your friends on the go.

This feature was already available on the popular cross-platform mobile messaging app, Whatsapp, which allows you to sign up with just your name and phone number. The first countries to get this feature are Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Venezuela. Facebook will roll out this feature for users in other countries in the coming weeks.

Similar to Whatsapp, the Facebook Messenger app allows you to send messages and images to anyone on your phonebook and does not even require a Facebook log-in. Currently, this update is available only for Android users and the company is planning update their iOS app in the coming days.

Rumor Has It That Facebook is Looking to Buy WhatsApp

Everybody’s been questioning if Facebook is actually going to acquire the Internet’s most loved and poplar messaging tool WhatsApp. No one from Facebook (or the WhatsApp developers team) has replied to any of the queries about the acquisition. However, with no official confirmation, this still remains a rumor.

The news was first reported by TechCrunch earlier today leaving several users on the Internet wondering if it’s really going to happen, and if it does so, it would be one of the worst things to happen, as WhatsApp users tweet out of frustration on Twitter.

Facebook, in fact, is currently looking forward to boost and improvise mobile experience for Facebook users, and perhaps this deal could make some ‘sense’ to them, however, if the deal goes through, I think it is neither right for Facebook, nor it is right for WhatsApp. However, what Facebook can learn from WhatsApp is making its current Facebook mobile services a lot better, very much similar to WhatsApp offers, rather than making it the other way round, if they have any plans to do so.

Facebook to Buy WhatsApp

The cross-platform instant messaging application was developed in 2009 by Santa Clara, California based company, and is available for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian, and Windows Phone, delivering text messages as well as images, audio, and video messages. The app, however, is ad-free and reportedly has about 100 million daily users, with a presence in 250 countries on a variety of platforms.

The developers of WhatsApp have their own reasons and explicitly disallow adverting on WhatsApp. However, that said, it could change if the deal is trough. There are possibilities that if Facebook takes control over the app, they could even use it to sell mobile ads as the company is currently looking to effectively optimizes advertisements for its mobile service.

The social networking company’s current most high profile acquisition is the photo-sharing company Instagram, which it finalized the deal for a whopping $1 billion. Well, we still aren’t sure if Facebook is really going to acquire WhatsApp, and we also do not have any details on how much Facebook is looking to spend.

Don’t Bother About Facebook Privacy Notice That Your Friends Are Sharing – It’s False

Several number of Facebook users are posting and sharing about Facebook privacy notice that declares their copyright ownership of all content they post on the social networking site. If you are wondering what the fuss is all about, then don’t bother about it, as the message shared by your friends and other users is simply a hoax.

This isn’t the first time that this hoax message is spreading on Facebook. Earlier in July, we had reported that a fake “Facebook privacy notice” spreading across the network, with users copy-pasting the message on their Timeline. The message reportedly confers copyright privileges to individual Facebook users that are different than the ones they agreed to when using the service.

False Facebook Privacy Notice

This is one of the biggest problems with Facebook. Users blindly update their Timeline with such hoax message, which eventually creates a controversy. It illustrates how little users know about their digital rights and wanting to take control over what they post on Facebook.

The so-called “privacy notice” that users are spreading across the network reads as follows:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates…

The message mentions that any violation of user’s privacy is punishable by law – Uniform Commercial Codes “UCC 1-103 1-308,” which is nowhere related to Facebook’s privacy policy. This clearly makes its inclusion irrelevant, and the entire message a fake.

Facebook has made an official announcement stating that the above spreading message is a rumor:

There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been. Click here to learn more – www.facebook.com/policies

This rumor is very much similar to “Facebook or its third-party advertisers to user photos in ads“, which also has been reportedly spreading rapidly on the social networking giant.

iTunes Digital Gift Cards Now Available Through Facebook

Today, Facebook announced that users can now purchase iTunes Store digital gift cards via Facebook’s Gifts platform. This makes it easier for users to send iTunes credit to their networks of Facebook friends. The digital gift cards are available for $10, $15, $25, or $50. In addition, upon purchase, Facebook users can suggest what music, video, or apps their friends should spend their iTunes credit on.

AllThingsD notes that this partnership increases visibility for the iTunes Store and gives Facebook a part of what is currently estimated to be a $260 million business in iTunes Store gift cards for third-party retailers.

Apple and Facebook have had a bit of a bumpy history, with the two companies failing to have reached an agreement to offer Facebook integration in Apple’s failed Ping social networking service for iTunes. However, the companies have been working more closely recently, with Facebook integration in iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion.


Official Twitter and Facebook Apps For Android Updated; Still Sucky As Ever!

Last night, the official Twitter for Android app and the Facebook for Android app got major updates. The Twitter For Android update brings with it quite a few changes aimed at improving the ‘tweeting’ experience of Android users. Sadly, the app’s UI is still nowhere near the Holo guidelines laid down by Google.

 

Even then, the update adds support for Photo Streams, inline preview of photos, videos and articles and more. Below is the full change-log of the update -:

See what’s popular on Discover.
– Tweets now appear right in the stream
– These Tweets show photo, video, and article previews so you can engage easily
Get a new perspective when you search.
– Photo streams show what’s happening
– Results also show media previews
Manage your account with ease.
– Reset your password in a few simple steps
Other improvements and fixes.

The latest update for the Facebook app also brings quite a lot of new features. Sadly, the update does not bring the native version of the app that Facebook promised it is working on, quite sometime ago.

The most important change brought about by the update is the ability to share any news feed item on your timeline with your friends, which has been long requested by both Android and iOS owners. Other changes include the ability to create an album from the Photos tab on Timeline, and some other bug fixes.

The update is already live in the Play Store and can be downloaded from here.

Facebook Testing Notifications with Sound

It appears that the social networking giant Facebook is testing a sound to alert users whenever they receive a new notification on the site. As usual, Facebook selectively or randomly rolls out such test features for users to test and provide feedback.

According to Meredith Chin, Facebook Manager of Corporate Communications, said the notification sounds were “currently just a test,” and there is no update on if or when they would be rolled out to all users. Depending on the feedback provided by users, Facebook will then decide whether to implement and roll out the feature to all users or not.

At present, Facebook notifications are displayed below the globe icon on the top-left corner, with a small red box and a number appearing on top of it indicating the number of new notifications. You are notified when your Page or content receives a Like or comment.

Now, each of this notification might be accompanied by a sound, which is showed in the video below.

To enable this feature, or check if you’ve got the feature, go to your Account Settings and select Notifications. From there, click “View” on the top tab and uncheck the box that says “Play a sound when each new notification is received.”

Facebook Notifications Sound

If the above mentioned option isn’t available, then there is no other way of getting the sound notifications. Don’t bother installing any Facebook apps to test similar feature.

Facebook Glitch Exposes User Accounts

A serious flaw has been discovered that allowed anyone to basically login to other’s Facebook account without the need of a password.

The flaw, which was posted on The Hacker News website, uses a search string. When you google this search string, around 1.34 million results of different Facebook profiles are obtained and when you click on some of the links, you will automatically log in to the profile associated with that particular link.

The flawed links are the ones that are mailed to users to notify them of comments or other notifications. These are designed to help users to respond quickly to those notifications without having to login. Those URLs are designed in such a way that they will only work once, Matt Jones, a Facebook engineer said in a comment made at the Hacker News.

For a search engine to come across these links, the content of the emails would need to have been posted online.

Regardless, due to some of these links being disclosed, we’ve turned the feature off until we can better ensure its security for users whose email contents are publicly visible.

Facebook has now disabled the feature to protect its users and is helping exposed users with securing their accounts. Most of the exposed users are said to be from Russia and China.

Facebook Planning to Introduce Classified-ad Services

Rumor has it that Facebook is testing out a new service that could possibly make Craigslist a history. Two sources from within Facebook have revealed private information about the social media giant planning on a project that would directly compete with Craigslist. It is said that the project is likely to be finished sooner and we can expect the social networking giant announce the feature very soon.

With Facebook classified-ad services, users will be able to create ads for jobs, house rentals, and item sales, which will show up on their friends’ news feeds. However, it is said that this service will only target users based on certain criteria. Advertisers will also be able to add photos, links, or any other related information to their advertisements. In simpler words, whatever you do on Craigslist can be done with Facebook classified-ad service.

Facebook

The service is expected to work very much like Facebook’s promoted posts. For instance, say that you have an apartment and you intend to give it out for rent. Using the new classified-ad service, you can create an ad by paying a nominal fee (less than $5) and your ad will start appearing in your friends’ news feed.

Back in 2007, with only 22 million users, Facebook had launched a similar service called Facebook Marketplace. However, it didn’t grow as expected and eventually Facebook handed it over to another company called Oodle in 2009.

We still haven’t got any confirmation on this, however, it would be great if you can let us know on what you think of classified ads on Facebook by adding your views in the comment section below.

[via]

Facebook Testing New Timeline Layout

Ever since Facebook launched the Timeline, users have been complaining about the complexity and cluttered organization of posts. With that, users have also disliked the permanent switch to the new profile layout. The switch was made as a beneficial factor for Facebook’s advertisers and marketers, ignoring the concerns of its users.

However, looks like the social media giant is about to bring about a change by tweaking the Timeline, making it more of a single-column layout.

According to Inside Facebook, the social media giant seems to be testing a new layout for user Timeline, which “puts all posts in a single column on the left and any activity modules in a narrower column on the right.”

This change will make the entire left column a little wider to house all posts published by the user while the column on the right hand, which will be slightly narrower, will include the active modules. According the test profile shared by Inside Facebook, all the user wall posts appear on the left hand side, while open graph actions such as songs listened to on Spotify and recent activity will be stuck on the right hand side. Everything else — tabs, profile picture, cover image and dates along the right hand side — seem to remain the same.

Here’s how the new layout looks that Facebook is testing:

Facebook New Timeline Layout

Facebook New Timeline Layout

The Next Web reports that they got in touch with a Facebook spokesperson and told that, “This is a new design Facebook is testing with a small percentage of people to make navigating timeline even easier.”

Well, if Facebook had separated wall posts and activity modules, I’m sure many users would have loved the Timeline rather than hating it and finding ways to disable it. Nevertheless, Facebook hopes that this change will enable users to navigate through the Timeline easier and reduce the clutter caused by the current layout.

Facebook Reports Q3 Earnings; Makes $1.26 Billion in Revenue

Facebook just reported its earnings for Q3 2012, and the numbers are looking good. It reported $1.262 billion in quarterly revenue, with an operating profit of $377 million, and a net loss of $59 million. While revenue growth was impressive at 32% year-over-year, it posted a loss primarily due to a huge tax bill.

Of the total, it generated $1.09 billion from advertising and $176 million from payments and other fees. Its ad business seems to be improving, and there is still ample room for growth, with Facebook yet to figure out an optimum monetization strategy for its massive mobile user base.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, said:

“As proud as I am that a billion people use Facebook each month, I’m also really happy that over 600 million people now share and connect on Facebook every month using mobile devices. People who use our mobile products are more engaged, and we believe we can increase engagement even further as we continue to introduce new products and improve our platform. At the same time, we are deeply integrating monetization into our product teams in order to build a stronger, more valuable company.”

Facebook’s monthly active users hit 1.01 billion as of September 30, 2012, while its daily active users increased to 584 million. Mobile monthly active users were around 604 million, and continues to grow at a rapid rate.

It made a number of new releases last quarter — it updated its apps for Android and iOS, upgraded its SDK for developers and launched Facebook Gifts, a ton of new advertising products and completed the Instagram acquisition, which seems to be its best yet.

via Facebook

Facebook Apps Harvest and Sell Private Information in the Open Market

It’s often said that if you are not paying for something then you are the product. The reckless abuse of privacy information by millions of free apps available in various repositories regularly drives home this point.

Bogomil Shopov stumbled upon a deal selling more than a million Facebook profiles, each of which accompanied with the name and email address of the user, for only five bucks. Although he didn’t specify the source, it is probably the GigBucks listing pictured below. According to the offer description, the list consists only of active Facebook users, mostly from the US, Canada, UK and Europe. The data was harvested through Facebook apps.

Facebook-App-Sells-Private-Information

An opt-in list with a million verified email addresses and names would have easily fetched hundreds of dollars in the decade gone by. However, now, it’s available for just five bucks. That in itself suggests that perhaps lists like these are not all that rare or difficult to find. Social media services like Twitter and Facebook have dramatically lowered the expectations of privacy among users. Most people will think twice before signing up for a dicey looking website, but will not hesitate to sign in through Facebook to play a quiz or take an IQ test. A little bit of carelessness and a little bit breach of trust is all it takes for your name to appear in a list like this.

Facebook Testing Profile Completion Meter Like LinkedIn

If you haven’t completely filled all the information on Facebook, then you will soon see a profile completion percentage bar in the About tab of your profile. Facebook is testing out a new feature that asks user to provide their current city in the info section right under their profile picture, and also displays a profile completion meter.

The Facebook profile completion meter feature was first spotted by Inside Facebook, has shared the following screen shot of the profile completion meter appears:

Facebook Profile Completion Meter

The profile completion meter is placed in the top right corner of the About tab on a user’s profile page/Timeline. This new feature is similar to the profile completion percentages on LinkedIn and Google+. If the meter shows a low percentage, it indicates that you have provided very less information. That is, the more information a user provides, the larger is the percentage.

At this point of time, Facebook does not provide users with any suggestions on which areas to fill in, however, filling in basic details such as birthday, gender, religion, languages, and interests, as well as contact information such as phone numbers and address, will help you increase the profile completion meter.

However, we believe that in the future when Facebook actually releases this feature for all users, it would ask users to fill in specific details or provide guidance on what information to fill in first.

This feature is currently being tested, and there are possibilities that you may never see this feature come into existence. This only happens if Facebook isn’t satisfied with its test results. The only reason why Facebook wants its users to completely fill their profile is advertising. Every bit of user information helps Facebook to target the right audience with right set of advertisements, which basically means more money for Facebook.

Facebook Launches Mobile App Install Ads

With more than a billion active users, Facebook is the undisputed social media champion. However, if there is one weakness in Facebook’s armor, it will have to be mobile. As pundits have pointed out again and again over the past year or so, Facebook’s mobile usage has been growing in leaps and bounds. However, the social networking giant hasn’t managed to monetize mobile particularly well. Today, Facebook is hoping to change that.

A short while back, Facebook rolled out Mobile App Install Ads for iOS and Android. App developers can take advantage of these demographics and interest based targeted ads to increase adoption of their apps. These ads will be integrated with the Facebook mobile app, and when clicked, it will take the user to the iTunes App Store or Google Play store page for the advertised app.

Facebook-Mobile-Ads

Facebook has been testing these ads since August with select developers and Preferred Marketing Developers. TinyCo, one of the chosen partners for the beta testing program, witnessed 50% higher CTRs (Click-through Rates) and significantly higher conversion rates compared to their current mobile channels, as well as a significant increase in player engagement. Nanigans, a Facebook marketing developer, experienced 8-10x the reach compared with its other mobile ad buys.