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Facebook Makes Further Steps to Shut Down Clickbait

clickbaitIn a continuation of their battle against misinformation and misleading news, Facebook has announced further updates that target clickbait specifically. They have been working to create a tool that can identify clickbait based on specific articles and posts rather than certain sites that often create clickbait type articles. An initial update was focused on just illuminating repeat offenders or websites that put out a lot of clickbait type articles, while this is focused more on individual posts and their headlines.

 

The new tool that Facebook will be using is going to be focused on the headline of an article and whether or not this headline is hiding key information to inspire people to click it or exaggerating certain information for the purpose of clicks. Posts that are found to have some key identifiers that make their headlines likely to be clickbait, will be pushed down in the news feed so that viewers are a lot less likely to run into them and click on them. This is good news for Facebook users that commonly are attracted and disappointed by these different types of posts.

 

Facebook’s anti-clickbait tool has been trained to focus on specific signals that generally show that a page is clickbait. They focus on which words often are seen in clickbait headlines and not in reputable news articles. The tools have been extended to recognize clickbait headlines even when articles are not in English. This is going to be a process that is automated throughout Facebook to match different phrases with clickbait criteria that has been previously identified.

 

Ever since the US presidential election, Facebook has been working to clean up its platform to make sure that it can eliminate misinformation and sensationalized headlines. The new update is yet another one targeted at eliminating misleading news and preventing the spread of this throughout the platform.

Facebook Adds New Tools to Prevent the Spread of Revenge Porn

facebookOne of the problems that Facebook has faced in the past is the spread of pictures within their various platforms. The way that Facebook sharing and the internet in general work can make it challenging to stop the spread of an image once it is out there. This can be frustrating and unpleasant for people who have their pictures being distributed without permission. Facebook has recently been working on tools that can help prevent the spread of these different images and especially of what is often called “revenge porn.”

 

Initially Facebook had been controlling the spread of these images simply by having users report them and then removing them as they appeared. The main problem with this was that the images would still continue to spread as people would see them and share them or save them before the image could be reported. For this reason, Facebook has extended the tools it uses. They will now be using image matching software to find images that have been previously reported and removed. When someone tries to post this image or send it to another user, they will automatically receive an alert saying that the content violates Facebook policy.

 

Some people have voiced concern about how this software will work. Many are worried about the way that the images will be stored so that Facebook can use them with photo matching software. Facebook says that the images will be kept for a certain period of time, but then they will be reduced to data that is essentially the image’s virtual fingerprint. Photos cannot be reconstructed from this information, allowing for greater privacy. Images that are stored temporarily will have parts blurred out to further protect privacy.

 

It is likely that a recent case involving a young girl in which Facebook was found to have fault for failing to prevent the spread of these images has contributed to Facebook’s desire to control these different types of images better. While pictures will still have to be reported initially, Facebook will be able to use software to prevent the images from appearing again within their various platforms.

Facebook Adds a Feature to Accept Donations for Personal Fundraising

donate buttonFacebook has announced that their newest feature will allow customers to conduct personal fundraising through Facebook pages. People will be able to make pages that ask for donations that go to a personal account. The feature that Facebook is planning to add will be similar to GoFundMe and other crowd raising websites that gather money for people who are in need.

 

The plan is for the feature to roll out over the next few weeks in the United States. It will only be available to those who are 18 and older on the website. These individuals will be able to set up a dedicated Facebook page to include information about the fundraiser. The page will feature a blue donate button that will allow other Facebook users to donate money to the cause. One of the benefits of having these pages be a part of Facebook is that they will be linked with individuals so people will know who they are donating to.

 

The new feature will put Facebook into competition with different website like GoFundMe. For now Facebook is going to only allow fundraisers to cover education expenses, medical bills, pet medical bills, crisis and disaster relief, personal emergencies, and assistance for family members after a death in the family. They plan to have a 6.9% transaction fee in addition to a fee of 30 cents per donation to cover the costs of processing the donations and reviewing each fundraiser before it goes live.  

 

With this new feature in place Facebook pages will be created to help accept donations for different things. People visiting the page will be able to read about the fundraiser and also share the information with their own friends in addition to contributing money to the situation. The feature will be a way to fund raise directly with Facebook rather than sharing pages outside of this social media site.

Facebook Policy Update Prevents Data from Being Used for Surveillance

facebook surveillanceThis week, Facebook announced a new update to their policies that more clearly forbids developers from using Facebook as a place to gather data for surveillance tools. Facebook feels that tools that use the data on their platform for surveillance discourage users from sharing openly on Facebook. Part of the goal of the new policy is to help people feel safer when they are using Facebook so that they don’t have to filter what they say on social media as much.

 

The update is partially a result of Facebook’s work with the ACLU and other civil rights groups. A recent report by the ACLU uncovered that police were using a surveillance tool that acquired data through Facebook to keep tabs on protests in Oakland and Baltimore. If people worry that police might be targeting their posts and keeping an eye on them, they might be less likely to use Facebook in different ways. Since Facebook is concerned with civil rights, they are implementing this update to help prevent apps connected to Facebook being used to spy on members of the Facebook community.

 

The main focus of the update is to make it easier for Facebook to shut down apps using Facebook data for surveillance purposes. The updated policy is intended as a barrier against developers who could use their access to Facebook information to provide information to law enforcement or other agencies. Facebook hopes that the language of the new update will make it clearer what isn’t allowed so that apps can easily follow the policies.

 

The new update to this policy is just another update on top of previous updates that have helped to prevent discrimination within the platform through third party sources. Other recent changes to the policies have includes ones to prevent discriminatory adds and using Facebook data to help in the process of approving or denying loans.

Instagram Launches New Update Allowing Up to 10 Pictures and Videos Per Post

instagramThis week, Instagram announced an update to allow users to post up to ten pictures and videos within each post that they make. The update will make it so that these pictures and videos are displayed in a carousel format so that friends can scroll through the photos to get even more. This allows people to share pictures from one event or even create a step by step tutorial for something. The new update brings Instagram in line with competitors like Facebook that already offer the ability to put multiple pictures into a post.

 

When users utilize the new function, they’ll find that they are able to share up to ten pictures and videos at a time. They’ll even be able to mix pictures and videos together so that there are pictures and videos from an event within the same post. Once the post is live, friends will be able to see only the first photo initially when it appears in their feed. They’ll also be able to see an icon that shows that there is more to see, allowing them to scroll through the other images or videos. The new feature will allow users to share a lot more without having to post one picture at a time, filling up people’s feeds.

 

Instagram says that their main reason for making this change is that they have received a great deal of feedback from people saying that they wished they could share more than one picture from an experience and that it was often a challenge to pick just one. Their goal with the new update is to help people add additional depth to their post and share more with their friends.

 

To use this feature simply open your Instagram account and hit the plus sign. Here you’ll find an option that says “select multiple”. You’ll then be able to choose up to ten photos and videos from your phone’s library. Once you’re done tap next. This section allows you to select the order of the pictures and what filters to use on each one. From there you’ll be able to post this group of pictures and videos in a single post.

Facebook Steps Up Measures to Stop Discriminatory Advertising

facebook policiesAfter Facebook was criticized for having different advertisements for housing and employment that were excluding people of ethnicities visible on their site, Facebook announced in November that they would be making changes to fix this. We are finally beginning to see the new changes rolling out now. Facebook has updated rules for advertisers stating that ads should not be discriminatory. They’ve also added some new tools to prevent discriminatory ads from going out on their website.

 

The first part of Facebook’s update actually changes the advertising policies for the website to make it clear to advertisers that this kind of advertising practice will not be allowed. They have added a section which not only outlines the new anti-discriminatory policy, but also provides advertisers with a range of resources from government agencies and civil rights groups to help further educate advertisers on the subject. As advertisements for housing, employment, and credit opportunities that exclude groups on the basis of ethnicity are in violation of federal anti-discriminatory laws, these are the ones that Facebook is currently targeting the most.

 

In addition to the changes to advertising policies, Facebook has implemented some new tools that will flag advertisements that might be in violation of the policy. These tools evaluate the ad to see if it is about employment, housing, or credit opportunities and prevent the ad from appearing on Facebook if it is found to be an ad like this that is using multicultural affinity targeting as well. The information about the violation is then sent to the advertiser.

 

While these new tools target specific ads and keep them from showing up on Facebook if they are in violation, advertisers still have ways to appeal these decisions. Since these tools might not identify the subject of the ad properly, advertisers will be able to request a manual review if they feel that their ad is being wrongfully blocked. Facebook’s new policies and tools are just the start to preventing discrimination in advertising on their website.

New Update to Facebook Allow Users to Search for Photos Using AI Technology

image searchFacebook has just begun to roll out a new feature that will allow users to search for photos within the platform. This new feature can be used by searching for keywords that describe the image. The search will then return pictures from your friends that match that description in some way. In addition to using captions and comments on photos as clues to help the search bring back relevant results, Facebook is actually using special software that will allow its search function to actually return result based only on the image itself.

 

Releasing this update comes after updating Lumos, a piece of AI technology that Facebook had already been using to help recognize individuals and to tag them in various photos. This new update to the technology being used allows Lumos to actually look at photos on the pixel level so that it can describe the photo in various ways. This new AI technology is highly innovative as previously search engines relied on captions and descriptions to search images.

 

The new features show a big change in search technology on the whole as previously even image searches relied on text surrounding pictures to identify them. Of course, this method was flawed in that a person could write anything down as a caption and in other cases images didn’t correspond to surrounding text or didn’t have a caption at all. With the new ability to use image understanding, Facebook’s search feature is able to return more relevant results. Although it still seems to use keywords in descriptions and comments for more abstract searches, it is able to also use information that it has gathered from the photos themselves. This makes it so that photos that might not have any comments or a caption will still show up in the search.

 

While Facebook has been using Lumos already to identify faces and landmarks that can label who is in the photo and even where it is taken, the new update allows Lumos to extend its abilities to identifying what is actually happening in the photo as well. By doing this, Facebook has made it so that they can offer a search function that can help users find pictures that they would like to see again whether it is images of a pizza that they cooked a few months ago or of their friends playing in the snow. Users will be able to have access to this function right away as Facebook is currently rolling out image searches to all users whether they use Facebook on the computer or on a mobile device.

Facebook Makes Updates to Its Trending Feature to Reduce the Prevalence of Fake News

fake newsIn the wake of the presidential election in November, Facebook received a great deal of criticism for spreading fake news that may have contributed to people’s views on different topics during the election. As a result, Facebook has been working on making some updates that are targeted at eliminating fake news and preventing the spread of fake news through Facebook. Some new changes have begun rolling out today that are made to control the spread of fake news through Facebook’s “trending” feature.

 

This feature was launched back in 2014 as a way for Facebook to help people find interesting and relevant discussions that were happening within Facebook. By making some changes to this feature, Facebook is hoping to avoid spreading fake news that many people are already discussing on their site by drawing further attention to it. They’ll be adding headlines that come directly from news sources and placing a line with the source below this to make it easier for people to see where the news is coming from.

 

In addition to adding clear statements about where the news is coming from, Facebook will stop targeting their “trending” topics at the individual and will instead be choosing topics that are more broadly targeted. This should make it so that the items that come up in this section are a lot more relevant to a larger number of people on the whole. It should also help to get the focus off of smaller articles that may be fake pieces of news.

 

One of the main ways that Facebook will now be working to block fake news stories is that they will have the “trending” feature ignore topics that come from a single news report in favor of ones that are covered by many media outlets. This is a good way for Facebook to prevent fake news stories from trending even if they are pieces that have a lot of people talking about them. By making these updates today, Facebook is hopeful that it can keep fake news out of the “trending” feature.

Snapchat Makes It Easy to Make Connections by Adding a Search Bar

searchFor a long while, users of Snapchat have been waiting for some kind of tool that they can use to easily go through snaps and find the ones that they might be interested in. While the app has been criticized in the past for having a confusing layout, it is clear that Snapchat is now making progress toward creating an app that is a lot more organized. On Thursday, a new update rolled out a new search function to many Android users.

 

While other social media features have had search bars for a very long time, Snapchat is new to the search function. By adding a search bar to their app, they have put themselves in line with the standards of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Users will now be able to look for friends, media companies, and search the app for things that might interest them on the whole. This feature adds a new level of accessibility to the app by allowing people to more easily use the app to connect with friends and with their favorite brands.  

 

The universal search has made it a lot easier for people to find new people to follow on Snapchat and to make it so that followers can find them as well. By using the search function, users are able to find people making different snaps about subjects that interest them the most. Snapchat hopes to use this new feature to encourage new users who may have been previously discouraged by the lack of a search feature.

 

In addition to this search function, Snapchat has been working on creating a much more organized layout on the whole. Part of this update has meant changing the layout so that Snapchat users are able to access their profile from any screen by tapping the ghost icon or Bitmoji. This makes it easier for Snapchat users to continue using this app without getting lost in the app altogether. With the new features as a part of this app, Snapchat may be able to quell complaints that focus on their layout being overly complicated or confusing.

An Edit Button for Twitter? It Might Happen in 2017

editWhile Twitter made a lot of different changes during 2016 one of the main criticisms by users was the fact that they didn’t make changes on highly requested items, such as an edit button that would allow users to make changes to tweets after these had been posted. Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey decided to start the new year by asking users what they want to see on Twitter. Of course the edit button was one of the main things to come up as usual. What is new, is Dorsey’s response to the idea.

 

In responses to several different Tweets about the edit button, Dorsey asked further questions about what users would like to get from this button and whether they wanted long term editing or just short term. He suggested that the edit button was something that he had been thinking a lot about and talked about perhaps allowing a short window of time for editing or a revision history for edits done later on. This makes it seem like Twitter is taking the possibility of this update seriously.

 

This has of course caused a great deal of excitement among Twitter users just because this is something that they have been asking for regularly. Users have stated that the edit button is necessary to help fix grammar and spelling mistakes and also for clarifying information that may get misconstrued while trying to stay within the 140-character limit. At this time, users are able to delete tweets, but often this is a bit of a hassle for a misspelled word.  

 

Now that Dorsey has admitted that the edit feature is something the site is beginning to consider, many people are starting to get excited over the idea. Some are theorizing that Twitter might be more open to user suggestions due to a disappointing year in 2016. With low user growth and job cuts within the company, it is clear that Twitter has been looking for changes. The edit button just might be a good one to add as it is a feature that competitors including Instagram and Facebook already have.