May 2016

Changes Made to Facebook Trending Topics After Accusations

facebook home pageFacebook was recently accused of altering the trending topics listed on their site to purposefully remove conservative topics from the trending ones on the side of the main page. After a personal investigation, Facebook didn’t see that there was any wrongdoing, but despite this fact, they have decided to make a couple of changes just so that they can make sure nothing like this ever happens.

 

During the investigation that Facebook did on their process for choosing trending topics they found that conservative and liberal topics were actually represented almost equally making it so that topics like the Black Lives Matter campaign were just as likely to come up as a story from the conservative side of things. They determined that there was no bias on their website when it came to picking the stories that they would mark as trending.

 

To make sure that the process stays unbiased, Facebook is making a few changes. They are planning to remove their reliance on a specific list of news outlets to validate different stories and look at their relevance as a whole. They are also going to stop having an importance level given to the topics based on their prevalence in top news outlets. The goal is to make the algorithm much less biased this way.

 

One of the other big changes they will be making is to crack down a bit on their team of individuals that actually review the different topics that are trending. These teams will have meetings to talk about making unbiased decisions on what shows up and what doesn’t. They will also be watched more closely to ensure that there are not unfair decisions that are being made based on a person’s individual ideology. With these changes they hope to improve their lists of trending topics and continue to provide an unbiased list of high ranking topics.

Instagram Update Brings Changes in Design to Phone App and Windows 10 Users

old instagram iconWhile many of the social media platforms have been struggling with change for a while now, Instagram has recently decided that it is time for an update of their own. They released their update earlier this week giving a new look to the Instagram app. The new look caught some users by surprise, especially when Instagram further updated the look of their site for Windows 10 users as well.

 

The main change during this update is a cosmetic one rather than anything extreme in the programming itself. Instagram says that their intention is to change their site so that it focuses just on pictures rather than site design. They have reduced the look of their site to a black and white format so that there is nothing to distract from the color of the pictures themselves. The idea is to make the eye automatically focus on what Instagram is all about: the pictures.

 

Along with the change to the background display, Instagram has made a big change with the logo that goes with this app. The logo has been changed from the look of the old fashioned camera and now features a rainbow background with the camera outline in white. The new logo was the most controversial move out of everything about the new update.

 

Already many customers are starting to complain about the new icon and want to go back to the old one. Instagram decided to make the change in their logo to make something that would be more universal than the old camera look. The stencil look of the app also fits better with the look of similar apps that are designed by the same company. This has not stopped many users seeking solutions so that they can change the logo back.

 

Overall this rather minor update is just one way that Instagram is working to remain competitive in photo sharing. The app will allow customers to use it in the exact same way while focusing much more on the photos than any other aspect of the website. It’ll be interesting to see what future updates might bring.

Facebook Looking to Launch a Feature Supporting 360 Degree Photos

panoramic pictureOne of the strange problems that many have after taking a panoramic photo is that there is no real way for you to share this kind of a photo with your friends. Panoramic photos typically turn into long drawn out lines of picture that are too small to look at easily on social media sites. Facebook is seeking to remedy this problem by providing a space for 360 degree photos.

 

Facebook recently announced that in the coming weeks Facebook users will be able to start sharing panoramic shots in a way that will actually allow people to interact with them more meaningfully. The plan is to offer something that will allow you to click and scroll around the photo much like Google Street View or if you are on a mobile device you’ll be able to use the phone like a viewfinder turning it to see more.

 

Many are saying that the reason that Facebook is launching this system is that they have to build content that can be used with new virtual reality software. Already several companies are developing different software that can make it so that a person can view a space as if it were all around them. The new feature would also target those using new devices that are built to specialize in panoramic photos.

 

The new feature will certainly benefit Facebook because it will help to provide content that will be viewable by their new Oculus device which is an early leader in virtual reality. It will also help them to flesh out their goal of becoming a place where users can come to explore the world around them in new and unique ways.

 

This new feature will be a wonderful new way for users to connect with one another. Now when a person is at a beach or enjoying vacation in a foreign country, they will be able to snap a panoramic photo and actually share it with their friends in a way that allows them to really experience the place rather than having to squint at a tiny elongated picture. Users will be able to see places that their friends are at in a way that is really meaningful.

Twitter Connects Users in a Totally New Way

Twitter followAs Twitter continues to update its site hoping to attract more users, it has announced yet another update. Twitter has decided to add a tab to their Twitter app to make it so that users can find accounts that they may be interested in following. Twitter has had recommendations in the past, but the algorithm used for this was not very sophisticated.

 

Twitter’s new tab is simply called “Connect” which makes it clear what the tab is all about. Users who visit this tab will find a list of different users that they are recommended to follow. Twitter says this part of the app will use information on what people have liked and followed in the past as well as what others in their location have enjoyed to make it so that they are able to find accounts that are actually more relevant to users.

 

The new tab replaces the “find friends” tab that previously existed on the app. The goal of this new tab is to provide better suggestions than the ones that people were getting in the past. In addition to just looking at what you’ve shown interest in, this new algorithm will suggest accounts based on current world events. This will help keep suggestions relevant to the individual user and to the time when a person is looking for new accounts to follow.

 

The new tab also utilizes a cell phone specific source of information to decide what a person might be interested in seeing: their contact list. The algorithm will access the address and phone book in a cell phone to find out who people are interested in connecting with. This will make it so that users are automatically notified if a friend from their phone book joins Twitter or has a Twitter page that they are not yet following. The app lets you know why it suggested different people adding further sophistication to the process of connecting individuals.

 

Twitter has added this change as a part of many other updates that are coming in the next few months. Twitter’s goal is to prevent further drops in their user base, especially after seeing a recent decline in total tweets as well as new user growth. They are hoping to cater to a range of people by making Twitter more functional on many different levels. The new Connect tab is just one way that they envision making the website a lot more attractive to new users and especially those on cell phone platforms.