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Yes, Facebook is a giant company, actually – and apparently they have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. Apart from being a social network, it's also known for acquiring various companies which may or may not be directly related to what they do – some examples include Instagram and Whatsapp – a photo-sharing proto-social network and popular instant messenger. Another example, on the other end of the social media spectrum, is its acquisition of a drone manufacturer. This spring the company was shopping around for solar-powered UAVs; while initially it was expected to buy Titan Aerospace, Google swooped in and acquired that company, while Facebook decided to go for a UK-based Ascenta. The deal eventually should lead to Facebook providing internet access to remote areas with lacking infrastructure though high-altitude drones, roaming the skies on solar power. And more internet users, of course, leads to more Facebook users – so yes, not that surprising after all. 

But, back to where we started. So what's up with scientists working for Facebook? Oh, nothing, just a giant psychology experiment in which users did not explicitly agree to participate. Apparently the researchers anipulated the content seen by almost 700,000 users, attempting to analyze how this would affect their emotional state. The paper with a scary name “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. According to the document, the researchers show “that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.” The scientists report: quote “We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues. “

So what they did is they tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds. Now, you're probably familiar with the constant changes, which are largely dependent on what you click and what you read – Facebook always adapts and tries to give you what you want, including advertisements you would be probably interested in.

But not this time. Researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. In other words, they deliberately gave more positive feeds to some people and negative to others. Facebook then analyzed what those users posted over the course of a week to see if they responded with increased positivity or negativity in. This experiment thus determined whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Well, that's true if external factors do not come into play, sure. However, giant sample size gives reason to believe that indeed researchers had a valid method – and, well, their findings are not that surprising. Emotional states can be transmitted across a social network.

Author : Peter Lekarev

Source : https://sputniknews.com/voiceofrussia/radio_broadcast/36172287/274159973/

 


Read more: https://sputniknews.com/voiceofrussia/radio_broadcast/36172287/274159973/

Categorized in Social

Facebook’s internal search engine is one of the most underrated and under-used tools we come across every day. Also, apart from Google’s search engine, it’s one of the most powerful search tools that we have at our fingertips.

Our most Facebook search activity is limited to typing the names of friends and pages in the search box and seldom we use for other purposes. This isn’t entirely our fault. After the introduction of Graph Search in 2014, apart from becoming more popular, Facebook’s search engine has become trickier. Now, there are many option and query syntax.

What exactly can I find using Facebook search?

If you take a look at Facebook’s search prompt, it says “Search Facebook.” That’s right, this search lets you search any post you’ve seen before on Facebook, all the friends, all publicly shared items, etc.

But, to do so, often Facebook needs you to phrase your search queries using natural language. Basically, it’s very different from Google’s search engine. As you enter a phrase or friend’s name, Facebook starts showing you prompts and suggestions that are automatically generated. These suggestions are personalized, which means that they are different for all Facebook users and vary according to their past activities.

1. Use Facebook to find friends, groups, and pages, obviously

Facebook experience is all about your friends and there are many ways you can search your friends. Apart from directly searching for any user, you can sort the search results based on city, education, work, and mutual friends. Alternatively, you can also use following patterns:

  • My friends
  • My close friends
  • Friends of my friends
  • Friends of Sarah

2. Tips and trick to easily search interests, likes, photos, etc.

The new Facebook search makes it easy to find what your friends have liked. For example, you can start typing Friends who like…. and it’ll start showing top suggestions. To narrow the search results, you need to click on a filter like People, Photos, Pages, etc.

facebook-search-tips-tricks-1

You can use phrases like Photos of…. to look for your photos, pictures of your friends, etc. You can also search your previously liked photos and posts. Simply search Photos/posts liked by me. You can also use this search syntax to find the photos/posts liked by your friends and family. Simply replace me by my friends or some particular friend.

Facebook search also supports other keyword searches to help you find what you’re looking for. You can start searching with keywords like cake recipe Carol, Lisa wedding, etc. You can use the phrases that you remember from a particular post.

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3. Find hotels, restaurants, etc. using Facebook

Just in case you’re looking for some pizza place nearby, you can try related searches. As Facebook supports search for places, you’ll be able to search for hotels, businesses, restaurants, services, etc. You can combine phrases like liked by my friends, liked by me, etc. to get more specific results.

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4. Search videos using Facebook search

You can also search for videos on Facebook. Simply use phrases like videos, trailer, music video, etc. to get what you want. Ex. La La Land Trailer

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5. Find latest news articles on Facebook

In recent times, Facebook has emerged as one of the most common source of news for its users. You can use phrases like Links/news/posts about… or use hashtags to specify the search result:

facebook-search-tips-tricks-10

6. Search games and music

Facebook is also home to various games and music. You can search for games like Candy Crush, Words With Friends, etc. You can also search your favorite music artists and bands, and get updates on their latest releases and videos.

facebook-tricks-search

7. Find things on Facebook and shop

You might haven’t realized but you can do shopping on Facebook. Simply search for the thing you’re looking for and narrow down the query using the top filters. You also get the option to sort the shop results according to their price.

facebook_search_tips_tricks_11

8. Search your own Facebook history

Apart from using Facebook search option to find your posts and photos, you can search your activity log by visiting this URL: https://www.facebook.com/me/allactivity

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9. Find phone number on Facebook


Last but not the least, you can search for a phone number on Facebook. Simply enter your phone number (if it’s public), you can see it for yourself.

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Important: Combine the search keywords

As said above, you can combine these phrases together and add things like time, location, interests, likes, etc. to get more specific results. For ex., Photos of my friends before 2000. You should also keep in mind that Facebook’s Graph Search isn’t a typical web search engine. It’s best for searching specific content types like photos, people, posts, places, and businesses.facebook-search-tips-tricks-6

It goes without saying that the search results are affected by the privacy settings. Facebook also makes sure that your privacy settings are taken care of.

Source:  https://fossbytes.com/facebook-search-engine-tips-tricks

Categorized in How to

JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU see on TV is presented by one of a handful of media conglomerates. A similarly small number of telecommunication companies provides your cable service. If you have Comcast and you’re watching NBC, the content and the delivery infrastructure are owned by the same people. This tiny world will concentrate further if regulators approve AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.

The internet was supposed to alleviate this. Instead, it may compound it. Amazon, Facebook, Google, and a handful of others are displacing media companies and telcos. They already host much of the content you consume, and produce more and more of it. They own much of the infrastructure carrying that data, and they’re starting to sell Internet access.

These tech titans didn’t plan to take down the telcos. But they depend upon you having fast, reliable internet, so they’re bringing everything in-house. This promises to make things drastically better for you as a consumer, so if you hate big telecoms, you’ll feel schadenfreude at their demise. But you might end up with more of the same as the new guard becomes the old guard.

May the Best Signal Win

You’ve probably heard about Google Fiber and its shift toward wireless Internet over fiber-optic cables. Google Fi mobile service could be even more radical. Instead of building cell towers, Google resells access to Sprint and T-Mobile networks. Companies like Cricket and TracFone do this too, but Google-Fi lets your phone use the best signal available at any moment.

Granted, most mobile devices hop among networks as you roam—but only if your carrier’s signal is unavailable. If you’ve got one lousy bar of signal with your carrier, tough luck. Traditional roaming won’t let you switch to another carrier’s stronger signal. Google-Fi offers the best signal, period, no matter where you are. 

That could change the economics of wireless service. Instead of signing up with a single carrier, you’d sign-up with a broker—called a mobile virtual network provider—and use the best network available. Today’s carriers would become invisible wholesalers competing to offer access at the cheapest rates. That could save you big money while providing superior service.

Falling in Line

The big carriers will resist this, of course, but it creates opportunities for smaller players like Artemis Networks. The company created a wireless network using what it calls pCell technology. Traditionally, it would have to offer people service plans, just like AT&T and Verizon. Instead, founder Steve Perlman plans to sell the service to virtual network providers.

Google is also building a service that would let people connect to public Wi-Fi using a common login. Obviously, a blanket of public WiFi connections will make Google-Fi more viable. But before Google can stitch this massive network together, others must build pieces of that network. That’s where Facebook comes in.

Earlier this year, Facebook unveiled networking gear designed to beam the internet into remote locations and dense urban areas. It isn’t interested in becoming an internet service provider; instead it sees others using these open source tools to deliver high-speed wireless internet to new areas.

As new technologies and expanded access to the wireless spectrum drive down the cost of operating cell services, Google and other wireless brokers will be able to create nationwide–even worldwide–networks. That would make wireless service a commodity and shift the balance of power from incumbents like AT&T to companies like Google.

Dark Fiber

Even if tech companies don’t wrest wireless service from the telco’s grasp, they can weaken the giants in other ways.  Amazon, Facebook and Google have long built their data centers and leased or bought unused fiber-optic infrastructure–so-called “dark fiber”–to connect them, bypassing traditional telcos.

This has big implications. Amazon, for example, runs what most experts consider the world’s biggest cloud hosting service. Untold numbers of apps and websites rely upon this service to carry their data. Traditional telcos have no part of that. Google and Facebook hope to lure more companies into hosting content on their AMP and Instant Articles services, respectively.

It’s hard to determine the scale of this private infrastructure. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2013 that Google had about 100,000 miles miles of fiber-optic routes–far more than Sprint’s 40,000 miles. Meanwhile, the research firm Telegeography reports that private networks account for about 60 percent of trans-Atlantic data traffic. If Amazon, Google and Facebook don’t already control more telecommunications infrastructure than the largest national telcos, they soon will.

Oligopoly

Put it all together and you can see a day when you’re watching content that Google produced disseminated via infrastructure that Google owns on a phone that Google made using wireless service Google brokered.

Many people find this appealing. Its hard to find an industry loathed more than telcos, which have a reputation for lousy service, opaque billing, and rising rates. Tech companies, on the other hand, generally are seen as innovators. And they’re making things better. Comcast and AT&T already offer faster connections in areas where they compete with Google Fiber.

Google-Fi, Amazon’s rumored Internet service and Facebook’s open source hardware could spur greater innovation from entrenched telcos. The risk, of course, is that those tech companies simply replace telcos as the new oligopoly.

Author : KLINT FINLEY

Source : https://www.wired.com/2016/12/the-end-of-telcos/

Categorized in Social

Facebook & Google dominate the list of top best applications of 2016. Know the full list here!

Facebook And Google Dominate The List

Facebook (FB) might not be as cool as Snapchat in terms of its geo filters or YouTube in terms of watching tons of videos. However, it still on top as the most popular app in the US, according to a Nielsen report for 2016 published Wednesday.

"From new digital devices coming to the market (and grabbing headlines) to the growing interest in virtual reality thanks to new apps, 2016 was a big year for digital. As the year comes to a close, Nielsen looked at some of the top trends in digital, including the top U.S. smartphone apps and operating systems."

According to Tech Crunch, mobile applications from Facebook and Google dominated the new list of the year’s top apps released today by Nielsen. Not surprisingly, Facebook again grabbed the number one spot on the list, with more than 146 million average unique users per month, and 14 percent growth over last year.

In fact, Facebook scored several spots on the top 10 chart, thanks to its affiliates such as the Facebook Messenger and Instagram. The FB Messenger came in the second place this year. The app proves that it can have over 129 million unique monthly users. The third spot is YouTube, with over 113 monthly unique viewers.

The apps with the highest year over year change, Nielsen said, were Amazon App, which grew 43 percent and Instagram, up by 36 percent over 2015, as reported by Tech Wire. The survey conducted is a majority of smartphone owners use Android devices (53 percent), while 45 percent use IoS phones. A mere 2 percent use Windows phone, and the once mighty Blackberry now claims only 1 percent of users.

Top Mobile Apps Of 2016

Facebook took first and Facebook Messenger took second place in Nielsen's ranking. Instagram, which Facebook bought for $1 billion in 2012, was 2016's eighth most popular app, with 74 million average monthly users. The photo-sharing app's user number grew by more than one-third from 2015.

The search engine titan, Google, claimed five spots on the Top 10 list, with a combined 508 million users across its popular apps. There five apps are YouTube, Google Maps, Google Search, Google Play and Gmail.

YouTube, the mega-popular streaming site it owns, was Google's largest contribution, with 113 million people using the app. Google Maps followed with 105 million users. Google Search, the Play Store and Gmail had 103 million, 99 million and 88 million users, respectively.

Methodology

"Nielsen’s Electronic Mobile Measurement is installed with permission on panelist smartphones (approximately 9,000 panelists ages 18+ with Android and iOS handsets). The panelists are recruited online in English and include Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Native American and Alaskan Native and other mixed racial background consumer representation.

This method provides a holistic view of all activity on a smartphone as the behavior is being tracked without interruption. Data is based on Nielsen’s monthly survey of 30,000-plus mobile subscribers aged 13 and up in the U.S. Mobile owners are asked to identify their primary mobile handset by manufacturer and model, which are weighted to be demographically representative of mobile subscribers in the U.S. Smartphone penetration reflects all models with a high-level operating system (including Apple iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry)."

Author: Monica U Santos
Source: http://www.itechpost.com/articles/69647/20161229/top-mobile-apps-2016-facebook-google-dominate-list.htm

Categorized in Others

LONDON — Another study has proved what we already knew but didn't want to admit — Facebook 'lurking' is making you miserable. 

A new study by the University of Copenhagen has revealed that regular use of social media such as Facebook can harm your emotional well-being and overall satisfaction with life. The study also presented a solution — one that many of us might not like. 

The study found that taking a break from social media will have an overwhelmingly positive impact on your overall wellbeing. But, the study also conceded that taking a break isn't necessarily the best option for everyone.

Take a break 

The University of Copenhagen conducted a week-long experiment with 1,095 participants in Denmark in late 2015. The participants were put into two groups; one continued to use Facebook as usual, and the other group stopped using Facebook entirely for a week. 

By comparing the two groups, researchers found that taking a break from Facebook has a positive impact on two aspects of wellbeing, rendering our life satisfaction and emotions more positive. And, the results showed that this impact was significantly greater for users who "envy others on Facebook", "passive users" and "heavy Facebook users". 

During a pre-test, participants were characterised based on the ways they used Facebook. "Facebook-related envy" was calculated in participants by asking them to answer questions about how they felt when they were confronted with information about other people's success and happiness on social media. Active and passive Facebook use was assessed based on how often participants post status updates or photos, comment on friends' posts, and browse newsfeeds and friends' profiles. 

"The participants who took a one-week break from Facebook reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life," reads the study, published in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking journal.

You might not have to quit altogether

The study also showed that the impact of wellbeing varied in relation to how people use Facebook — with "heavy", "passive" and "envious" Facebook users each reporting different effects. 

"These findings indicate that it might not be necessary to quit Facebook for good to increase one's well-being. Instead an adjustment of one's behaviour on Facebook could potentially cause a change," reads the study. 

"To make things clear, if one is a heavy Facebook user, one should use Facebook less to increase one's well-being. And if one tends to feel envy when on Facebook, one should avoid browsing the sections — or specific friends — on Facebook causing this envy. And if one uses Facebook passively, one should reduce this kind of behaviour," the study continues. 

So, instead of taking a break, it might be beneficial to stop browsing specific sections of Facebook to try to combat feelings of envy.

The report conceded, however, that "it may be difficult to change one's way of using Facebook. If this is the case, one should consider quitting Facebook for good". 

Limitations to the research

While the study certainly presents us with some interesting solutions worth bearing in mind, the report itself notes that there are some limitations to the research. Firstly, there may have been selection bias in the sample, which consisted of 86 percent women. The findings therefore are not representative of the population and it could be problematic to extend the findings to broader populations. 

However, Facebook's negative impact on wellbeing has been well-documented in previous research in recent years. One 2014 study linked Facebook usage to depression, and a 2013 study revealed that Facebook had a negative impact on the wellbeing of young adults.

Author:  RACHEL THOMPSON

Source:  http://mashable.com/2016/12/22/facebook-wellbeing-study/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#sMligwsefmq9

Categorized in Social

The United States government has started asking a select number of foreign travelers about their social media accounts.

The news came on Thursday via Politico and was confirmed to Mashable by a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after the new procedure reportedly began earlier in the week. 

The process dovetails with what has been expected for months and has been slammed by privacy advocates.

Here's what we know about the basics of the program. 

Whose information is the agency collecting?

CBP is asking for social media info from anyone traveling to the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program, which means they'd be able to travel about the country for 90 days of business or pleasure without a visa.

The social media request is a part of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form, which travelers looking for a visa waiver have to fill out before they get to the U.S. The form is used to assess "law enforcement or security risk," according to the CBP's website. 

Travelers from 38 countries are eligible for a visa waiver, including those from the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Hungary. 

What kind of information are they looking for?

 

 

The form reportedly asks for account names on prominent social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as networks many people don't think much about, such as Github and Google+.

Is it mandatory?

No one has to fill out their social media information to get into the country, and CBP has reportedly said it won't bar anyone from the U.S. just because that person didn't want to give their Twitter handle to the government.

Privacy advocates have decried the policy, since many travelers are likely to fill it out just in case.

That said, privacy advocates have decried the policy, since many travelers are likely to fill it out just in case. A number of groups including the ACLU signed an open letter in October warning of the forthcoming changes.

"Many of these travelers are likely to have business associates, family, and friends in the U.S., and many of them will communicate with their contacts in the U.S. over social media.

This data collection could therefore vacuum up a significant amount of data about Americans’ associations, beliefs, religious and political leanings, and more, chilling First Amendment freedoms."

Why do they want social media information?

The U.S. has long tried to spot radicals and radical sympathizers online, especially anyone affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS). 

ISIS has long had a prolific and disparate social media presence, especially on Twitter, which they've used to spread messages and recruit those who might be hundreds or thousands of miles away from fighting in Syria and Iraq. 

Initially, government officials wanted ISIS sympathizers to keep tweeting, because agencies were able to gather bits of information from those tweets. Then, however, the government got tired of how many ISIS members and sympathizers there were on Twitter and other platforms, so they ramped up pressure on those social networks to shut down such accounts. 

 

 

For the government, this is the next step in working out which potential travelers to the U.S. have "connections" to ISIS. Of course, it's unclear what language the CBP would find alarming, and whether their alarm bells would be warranted. 

How long will they hold onto the information?

Assuming the social media information will be used just like the rest of the information on the ESTA form travelers have to fill out for a visa waiver, the Department of Homeland Security will keep it readily available for up to three years after it's been filled out. Then the information is "archived for 12 years," but still accessible to law enforcement and national security agencies.

Can they share the social media information with others?

Homeland security and the CBP can share your social accounts with "appropriate federal, state, local, tribal and foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations responsible for investigating or prosecuting the violations of, or for enforcing or implementing, a statute, rule, regulation, order or license, or where DHS believes information would assist enforcement of civil or criminal laws," according to the CBP website. 

In other words, assuming the social information is treated like all the other information they collect form those with a visa waiver, homeland security could potentially share it with any law enforcement agency on the planet. They just have to "believe" the information might be of use in solving some type of legal violation

So once you type out your Twitter handle and send in the application, that information is hardly yours. 

BONUS: Pushing the Boundaries: Immigration and Esports

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Author: COLIN DAILEDA
Source: http://mashable.com/2016/12/23/us-government-social-media-travelers/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#mBjkEomtpmqO

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Facebook continues to enhance its Live experience. After the recent announcement of Live 360 videos, Facebook is adding another dimension: audio. The social media giant announced its launch of Live Audio, a new way to go Live on Facebook:

“We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video. We’ve even seen some Pages find creative ways to go live and reach audiences with audio only by using the Facebook Live API or by adding a still image to accompany their audio broadcast. Our new Live Audio option makes it easy to go live with audio only when that’s the broadcaster’s preferred format."

According to Facebook, Live Audio also provides a way to broadcast from low-connectivity areas or to reach audiences in areas with weak network connections.

How Facebook Live Audio Works

Facebook Live Audio works just like Live video. When a Page starts a Live Audio broadcast, it will be pushed to news feeds and the Page’s Live subscribers and active followers will receive a notification. Facebook will pull the Page’s cover image as the default image for the Live Audio broadcast. Listeners can leave comments and reactions while the broadcast is ongoing. Broadcasts can last for up to four hours.

Facebook_Live_Audio

 

Android users will be able to switch to other apps or even lock their phone while listening to a Facebook Live Audio broadcast while iOS users can continue browsing Facebook while listening.

Facebook Live Audio can be a potential platform for:

  • Radio program broadcasts
  • Podcasts
  • Author interviews and book readings
  • Interviews and Q&A sessions
  • Live sets and recording sessions for bands and musicians
  • News broadcasts from disaster and conflict areas

Facebook has partnered with publishers, including Harper Collins and BBC World Service, as well as authors Brit Bennett and Adam Grant to introduce Live Audio over the next few weeks. The feature will roll out to all other users early next year.

Author : Rina Caballar

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-introduces-live-audio/182151/

Categorized in Social

Last Thursday, after weeks of criticism over its role in the proliferation of falsehoods and propaganda during the presidential election, Facebook announced its plan to combat “hoaxes” and “fake news.” The company promised to test new tools that would allow users to report misinformation, and to enlist fact-checking organizations including Snopes and PolitiFact to help litigate the veracity of links reported as suspect. By analyzing patterns of reading and sharing, the company said, it might be able to penalize articles that are shared at especially low rates by those who read them — a signal of dissatisfaction. Finally, it said, it would try to put economic pressure on bad actors in three ways: by banning disputed stories from its advertising ecosystem; by making it harder to impersonate credible sites on the platform; and, crucially, by penalizing websites that are loaded with too many ads.

Over the past month the colloquial definition of “fake news” has expanded beyond usefulness, implicating everything from partisan news to satire to conspiracy theories before being turned, finally, back against its creators. Facebook’s fixes address a far more narrow definition. “We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain,” wrote Adam Mosseri, a vice president for news feed, in a blog post.

Facebook’s political news ecosystem during the 2016 election was vast and varied. There was, of course, content created by outside news media that was shared by users, but there were also reams of content — posts, images, videos — created on Facebook-only pages, and still more media created by politicians themselves. During the election, it was apparent to almost anyone with an account that Facebook was teeming with political content, much of it extremely partisan or pitched, its sourcing sometimes obvious, other times obscured, and often simply beside the point — memes or rants or theories that spoke for themselves.

Facebook seems to have zeroed in on only one component of this ecosystem — outside websites — and within it, narrow types of bad actors. These firms are, generally speaking, paid by advertising companies independent of Facebook, which are unaware of or indifferent to their partners’ sources of audience. Accordingly, Facebook’s anti-hoax measures seek to regulate these sites by punishing them not just for what they do on Facebook, but for what they do outside of it.

“We’ve found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated,” Mosseri wrote. “Spammers make money by masquerading as well-known news organizations and posting hoaxes that get people to visit to their sites, which are often mostly ads.” The proposed solution: “Analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.”

The stated targets of Facebook’s efforts are precisely defined, but its formulation of the problem implicates, to a lesser degree, much more than just “the worst of the worst.” Consider this characterization of what makes a “fake news” site a bad platform citizen: It uses Facebook to capture receptive audiences by spreading lies and then converts those audiences into money by borrowing them from Facebook, luring them to an outside site larded with obnoxious ads. The site’s sin of fabrication is made worse by its profit motive, which is cast here as a sort of arbitrage scheme. But an acceptable news site does more or less the same thing: It uses Facebook to capture receptive audiences by spreading not-lies and then converts those audiences into money by luring them to an outside site not-quite larded with not-as-obnoxious ads. In either case, Facebook users are being taken out of the safe confines of the platform into areas that Facebook does not and cannot control.

In this context, this “fake news” problem reads less as a distinct new phenomenon than as a flaring symptom of an older, more existential anxiety that Facebook has been grappling with for years: its continued (albeit diminishing) dependence on the same outside web that it, and other platforms, have begun to replace. Facebook’s plan for “fake news” is no doubt intended to curb certain types of misinformation. But it’s also a continuation of the company’s bigger and more consequential project — to capture the experiences of the web it wants and from which it can profit, but to insulate itself from the parts that it doesn’t and can’t. This may help solve a problem within the ecosystem of outside publishers — an ecosystem that, in the distribution machinery of Facebook, is becoming redundant, and perhaps even obsolete.

As Facebook has grown, so have its ambitions. Its mantralike mission (to “connect the world”) is rivaled among internet companies perhaps by only that of Google (to “organize the world’s information”) in terms of sheer scope. In the run-up to Facebook’s initial public offering, Mark Zuckerberg told investors that the company makes decisions “not optimizing for what’s going to happen in the next year, but to set us up to really be in this world where every product experience you have is social, and that’s all powered by Facebook.”

To understand what such ambition looks like in practice, consider Facebook’s history. It started as an inward-facing website, closed off from both the web around it and the general public. It was a place to connect with other people, and where content was created primarily by other users: photos, wall posts, messages. This system quickly grew larger and more complex, leading to the creation, in 2006, of the news feed — a single location in which users could find updates from all of their Facebook friends, in roughly reverse-chronological order.

When the news feed was announced, before the emergence of the modern Facebook sharing ecosystem, Facebook’s operating definition of “news” was pointedly friend-centric. “Now, whenever you log in, you’ll get the latest headlines generated by the activity of your friends and social groups,” the announcement about the news feed said. This would soon change.

In the ensuing years, as more people spent more time on Facebook, and following the addition of “Like” and “Share” functions within Facebook, the news feed grew into a personalized portal not just for personal updates but also for the cornucopia of media that existed elsewhere online: links to videos, blog posts, games and more or less anything else published on an external website, including news articles. This potent mixture accelerated Facebook’s change from a place for keeping up with family and friends to a place for keeping up, additionally, with the web in general, as curated by your friends and family. Facebook’s purview continued to widen as its user base grew and then acquired their first smartphones; its app became an essential lens through which hundreds of millions of people interacted with one another, with the rest of the web and, increasingly, with the world at large.

Facebook, in other words, had become an interface for the whole web rather than just one more citizen of it. By sorting and mediating the internet, Facebook inevitably began to change it. In the previous decade, the popularity of Google influenced how websites worked, in noticeable ways: Titles and headlines were written in search-friendly formats; pages or articles would be published not just to cover the news but, more specifically, to address Google searchers’ queries about the news, the canonical example being The Huffington Post’s famous “What Time Does The Super Bowl Start?” Publishers built entire business models around attracting search traffic, and search-engine optimization, S.E.O., became an industry unto itself. Facebook’s influence on the web — and in particular, on news publishers — was similarly profound. Publishers began taking into consideration how their headlines, and stories, might travel within Facebook. Some embraced the site as a primary source of visitors; some pursued this strategy into absurdity and exploitation.

Facebook, for its part, paid close attention to the sorts of external content people were sharing on its platform and to the techniques used by websites to get an edge. It adapted continually. It provided greater video functionality, reducing the need to link to outside videos or embed them from YouTube. As people began posting more news, it created previews for links, with larger images and headlines and longer summaries; eventually, it created Instant Articles, allowing certain publishers (including The Times) to publish stories natively in Facebook. At the same time, it routinely sought to penalize sites it judged to be using the platform in bad faith, taking aim at “clickbait,” an older cousin of “fake news,” with a series of design and algorithm updates. As Facebook’s influence over online media became unavoidably obvious, its broad approach to users and the web became clearer: If the network became a popular venue for a certain sort of content or behavior, the company generally and reasonably tried to make that behavior easier or that content more accessible. This tended to mean, however, bringing it in-house.

To Facebook, the problem with “fake news” is not just the obvious damage to the discourse, but also with the harm it inflicts upon the platform. People sharing hoax stories were, presumably, happy enough with they were seeing. But the people who would then encounter those stories in their feeds were subjected to a less positive experience. They were sent outside the platform to a website where they realized they were being deceived, or where they were exposed to ads or something that felt like spam, or where they were persuaded to share something that might later make them look like a rube. These users might rightly associate these experiences not just with their friends on the platform, or with the sites peddling the bogus stories but also with the platform itself. This created, finally, an obvious issue for a company built on attention, advertising and the promotion of outside brands. From the platform’s perspective, “fake news” is essentially a user-experience problem resulting from a lingering design issue — akin to slow-loading news websites that feature auto-playing videos and obtrusive ads.

Increasingly, legitimacy within Facebook’s ecosystem is conferred according to a participant’s relationship to the platform’s design. A verified user telling a lie, be it a friend from high school or the president elect, isn’t breaking the rules; he is, as his checkmark suggests, who he represents himself to be. A post making false claims about a product is Facebook’s problem only if that post is labeled an ad. A user video promoting a conspiracy theory becomes a problem only when it leads to the violation of community guidelines against, for example, user harassment. Facebook contains a lot more than just news, including a great deal of content that is newslike, partisan, widely shared and often misleading. Content that has been, and will be, immune from current “fake news” critiques and crackdowns, because it never had the opportunity to declare itself news in the first place. To publish lies as “news” is to break a promise; to publish lies as “content” is not.

That the “fake news” problem and its proposed solutions have been defined by Facebook as link issues — as a web issue — aligns nicely with a longer-term future in which Facebook’s interface with the web is diminished. Indeed, it heralds the coming moment when posts from outside are suspect by default: out of place, inefficient, little better than spam.

Author : JOHN HERRMAN

Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/magazine/facebooks-problem-isnt-fake-news-its-the-rest-of-the-internet.html?_r=1

Categorized in News & Politics

In his predictions for 2017, John Kennedy forecasts how blockchain will be about more than money, IT will move to the clouds and bots will become humanity’s new best friends.

Predicting the future in tech is never an easy business, mainly because tech companies are, by nature, secretive and like to have the last word. Any time I predict what Apple is up to, for example, I always end on the line: “But only Apple really knows.” Because that is simply the truth.

But no one could have foreseen the events of 2016. We witnessed the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, the loss of so many stars who wrote the soundtracks to our lives, the tragic killings in Nice and the bloody endgame in Aleppo, which will always be a shame for the world to remember.

Predictions for 2017 build on a crazy 2016

In tech, it was business as usual with very few real surprises; except maybe for Apple killing off the headphone jack in its iPhones; fake news infecting Facebook and allegedly influencing the US elections; Putin’s government hacking America; exploding Samsung Galaxy Note7s; hacking getting out of control, especially with ransomware and leaks to Wikileaks; Apple taking on the FBI; no one wanting to buy Twitter; Vine dying on the leaf; and mega acquisitions, such as Facebook buying LinkedIn and Verizon buying Yahoo. It all sounds like a rousing verse from R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It…

On the home front in Ireland, the biggest news was the European Commission lobbying a €13bn tax levy against Apple to the chagrin of the latter and the Irish Government; Britain’s decision to Brexit the EU; the stalling and stalling of the National Broadband Plan; and of course, mega acquisitions such as Verizon’s decision to buy Fleetmatics for $2.4bn and Intel’s acquisition of Movidius for an alleged sum $300m.

So, dear reader, what will 2017 hold for us through the tech lens?

Blockchain will be about more than just payments

If there was one breakthrough technology of 2016, it had to be blockchain: the enabling smart ledger technology that was fundamental to the rise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and a whole slew of new fintech start-ups and platforms.

But more and more experts are coming to the conclusion that blockchain technology could be very useful in ways that go beyond fintech or cryptocurrencies.

The ingenious automated technology could end up being an enabling force for a panoply of platforms and uses, such as network and systems management. The key is the digital trail of crumbs: blockchain technology – which underpins emerging digital, virtual or cryptocurrencies – consists of blocks that hold timestamped batches of recent valid transactions, which form a chain with each block reinforcing those preceding it.

Pay close attention to an interview I did with Seamus Cushley, PwC’s expert on blockchain who runs the company’s blockchain lab in Belfast. Cushley indicated that in the last nine months of 2016, some $1.4bn of investment went into blockchain start-ups.

According to Cushley, blockchain is being investigated not only as a way to enable the viable exchange of contracts for value in everything from FX trading to property acquisitions and more, it foretells the future structure of the internet as we know it.

The future of work

If, like me, you witnessed the onset of the internet being heralded as a revolution in how we work, leading to all kinds of newfangled ways of working, such as teleworking, e-working or nearshoring… you were had. Our lives were meant to get easier, there would be more quality time with loved ones, more time to be creative… wrong.

The digital world has created a noose that means people are working longer hours. Countries like France have even passed laws preventing employers from emailing workers after certain hours.

As skills shortages rise, stress levels soar and entrepreneurship becomes more appealing to talented young executives eager to break free of the rat race, employers will be forced to reassess how they conduct relationships with workers. How do they retain talent, get the best out of enthusiastic people and ensure health levels are optimal?

‘What is the future of work?’ is a question that employers and employees alike will obsess over in 2017 and beyond. Creative companies that value human capital will examine new ways of working, pilot intrapreneurship endeavours to help sate the entrepreneurial wanderings of top talent, vent creative frustrations and ultimately find the key to a quality work/life balance.

The old mantra that work should not just be a place to go, but somewhere you actually enjoy going to, might be dusted off and given a new shine.

Time will tell, however, if questions of the future of work will be a meaningful cause or just more management consulting navel-gazing.

Fintech goes mainstream

In parallel with the arrival in Ireland of mobile wallet services like Android Pay (recently) and Apple Pay (eventually), smartphone-toting consumers are going to embrace fintech apps as a cleverer way of managing their money.

Think of these apps as the Swiss Army knives of finance.

Companies like Dublin and London-based Circle – which enables users to instantaneously transfer funds to friends and family via the app or by text message on the iPhone, using blockchain as a core enabler and Barclays as a licensed service provider – are at the forefront of this trend.

Rather than displacing banks as some had feared, this signals a gradual move by banks to employ fintech apps on the front line as an easier and more cost-effective way to deal with consumers, while enabling them to focus on more productive, higher value work as branches become fewer.

Expect banks to employ programmes to franchise fintech apps or initiate outright acquisitions in 2017.

Machine learning becomes a discipline and no longer confused with AI

For too long, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been lumped into the same conversation. That is going to change in 2017, as a broader understanding of what AI is all about pervades the tech industry.

Machine learning is remembering and AI is thinking, remembering, deciding and acting.

Quite simply, machine learning in apps and internet services is all about improving as time goes on, learning and assimilating users’ tastes and preferences – for example, for airline travel or hotels.

AI, on the other hand, powers the bots that have conversations with the users and employs machine learning as one powerful subset of a myriad of capabilities.

Start-ups and established tech players that use machine learning, which I have met on the trail from Amsterdam to Lisbon in the past year, are quite clear that it is not to be confused with full AI.

Beautiful Bots

Humankind’s friendship with bots – or automated artificial agents – will be cemented in 2017.

Facebook is currently leading the charge, creating experiences where already it is hard to decipher whether you are talking to a human or a machine.

This portends major changes for the future of customer relationship management, which no doubt Microsoft, Salesforce and fast-growing companies like Intercom are watching very closely.

Could bots be mankind’s next best friend?

Tech leaders will be the new business leaders

The digital economy is the economy. Across the world in 2016, thousands of traditional businesses went to sleep one night and awoke the next day as data businesses.

The trend will continue in 2017, as the internet, smartphone apps or other digital filters become the aperture through which consumers increasingly transact.

You are seeing this on retail floors of stores like River Island, where consumers can shop online and collect in-store, on flights with Ryanair where the digital experience continues long after you check in or check out, and the disruption that players like Airbnb and Uber are causing traditional industries like hospitality and transport, respectively.

This is signalling a major transformation in how companies deal with their customers and view their data. According to IDC, 50pc of the Global 2000 companies will be depending on digital products, services and experiences to connect with customers.

By 2021, it is forecast that a third of CEOs and COOs of Global 2000 companies will have spent at least five years in a tech leadership role.

Cloud will reign eternal

From being a mere concept in 2008 to today, where most consumers and executives rely on the cloud consistently – from Facebook and WhatsApp to Dropbox and Office 365 – cloud computing is increasingly becoming the nerve centre of IT infrastructure.

Ireland saw major data centre investments and acquisitions in 2016, from Apple building an €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway, to Facebook building a massive data centre in Clonee, Co Meath. Combine this with Equinix buying Telecity and its raft of data centres in and around Dublin, and it’s clear that Ireland is in the eye of the data storm.

This isn’t just about social media or e-commerce; the reality is that more and more IT infrastructure, which used to exist on premises in companies, will have moved to the cloud.

IDC predicts that by 2020, 67pc of enterprise IT infrastructure and software will be in the cloud.

By 2018, 60pc of IT will be done off premises and not only that, but 43pc will be processed at the edge by 2019.

In a nutshell, cloud won’t be an Amazonian concept (sorry AWS) but rather, a fully fledged reality that is 100pc trusted by users.

The fourth platform

As cloud’s roots grow deeper, the idea of computing as a thing that sits on our desk or in our hands will dissipate. Even as more and more of the world’s population join the mobile revolution, the golden era of the smartphone is coming to a close. That doesn’t mean the smartphone is going away any time soon, but it will become the lynchpin of a slew of new computing experiences that will draw our eyes elsewhere.

Big data, internet of things, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), 3D printing, robotics, next-generation security, blockchain – all of these technologies will happen around us, with data being the fabric and the smartphone being the connecting device.

In other words, computing experiences will be occur without relying on a primary screen as the conduit. This is the fourth platform.

The mainstreaming of AR and VR

VR and AR have been slowly entering the fray. 2016 was a significant year that finally saw Microsoft take the wraps off HoloLens, as well as Oculus Rift arriving, along with a slew of competing devices from HTC, Samsung and Sony.

VR has been a kind of revolution and it hasn’t. The high-end experiences promised by Oculus and Microsoft are still hampered by computing power.

At the lower end, smartphone-based VR experiences from HTC and Samsung – and let’s not forget Google’s Cardboard and similar products which can be found in any supermarket or toy store – are still gimicky.

Keep your eyes and ears (no pun intended) open for what Google intends to do with its Daydream headset, which portends a merging of the VR and AR worlds, so the headset can also overlay virtual reality experiences onto the physical world before us. In a sense, this could be the future of the recently shelved Google Glass or the newly launched Snap Spectacles.

Expect the games and experiences to become more intelligent and textured. Keep an eye on what Irish firm Immersive VR Education – creators of Apollo and Titanic virtual experiences – has planned in the year ahead, as VR and AR move from novel to to natural.

Smart things and voice

Like I said, smartphones will occupy less of the stage and give way to smarter things. 2016 saw Amazon up its game with Echo, its voice-based e-commerce service, as well as its Dash buttons, which order consumables like washing powder or nappies in just one touch.

Google will be no slouch in 2017, having already revealed its Google Home speech-based product at I/O earlier this year.

This is Google’s fourth platform play and the company is closely shadowing, if not exceeding, rivals like Apple on the payments front.

2017 will see a kind of arms race, where players like Amazon and Google will endeavour to become the partner of choice for a whole range of internet of things (IoT) players who see e-commerce as a potent ingredient in their smart things.

Facebook acceleration, Oculus telepresence and Slack rivalry

Rather than being email killers (if only), most workers are up to their tonsils in additional tools and things to keep an eye on; like Slack, Trello, Wrike, and other digital platforms aimed at simplifying workflow.

Others giants like Microsoft (Teams) and Facebook (Workplace) added to the cacophony in 2016.

It is high time that someone decided to dominate this space for once and for all with tools that eradicate the need for all the others.

There is a golden opportunity for Microsoft to do more to bring Skype and Teams together, or for Facebook to finally reveal its telepresence vision for the future of work with Oculus and Workplace.

Keep an eye on other dark horses like Cork-based Teamwork or Salesforce (which almost bought Twitter). They may do something to finally get rid of the screen noise and clutter (sorry, Microsoft) that is the reality of the modern-day worker.

The iPhone hits 10, Apple revs up for its newest phase

It is hard to believe that it is nearly 10 years since Steve Jobs took to the stage at Apple World in 2006 and said “One more thing …”

That one more thing was the iPhone and, having gone through more than seven different phases of the device, Apple will no doubt do something to celebrate the iPhone at 10.

Considering the phone’s form factor has remained mostly the same for the last three generations, I expect Apple to reveal a wholly new design to the iPhone to signal its next phase. As I said, only Apple really knows what this form factor will look like, but expect the design to inform all future phone designs from rivals in the Android camp. I mean, why break with tradition?

Another next phase for Apple, however, may see the company finally break its silence on what it intends to do with cars.

Apple is revving up to be a big noise in the IoT and healthcare spaces, but the idea of an Apple car is still igniting people’s imaginations.

Will Apple build a car or just a car OS? Given that Apple has so far dashed expectations on television hardware, the car idea is one that just won’t disappear.

Codenamed Project Titan and spearheaded by some of Apple’s top talent and roughly 1,000 workers, Apple may choose the timing of the 10th anniversary of the iPhone to shed some light on the future of the company for the next decade.

Will that involve four wheels? Definitely. But will it be an Apple car or OS? We’ll have to wait and see.

The Solar revolution

Given that Elon Musk’s master plan goes beyond cars and includes trucks, buses and homes, the attractive economies of scale of solar panels are hard to ignore.

Musk recently revealed his solar roof concept that would use tiles made of glass, which look like ordinary roof tiles, to power up homes.

This might not sound as crazy or unfeasible as you would think, when you consider that Scientific American recently said the average cost of solar models per watt dropped from $22 in 1980 to under $3 today.

It suggests that soon, an average solar tile per watt will be $1.75.

That makes 2017 a lynchpin year for a whole new revolution in solar energy.

But time will tell.

Author:  John Kennedy

Source:  https://www.siliconrepublic.com/companies/tech-predictions-2017

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Recruiters will soon have new tools and technologies to help match candidates with open positions, based on recent announcements from tech giants Facebook and Google.

Both companies made it known in November that they are in the early stages of staking larger claims in the talent acquisition space and disrupting the status quo.

Facebook is blurring the once-indelible line between personal and professional networking by adding a job-posting and application-collecting functionality to Facebook Pages.

Talent acquisition professionals already use the ubiquitous social media site for sourcing, branding and posting paid ads.

Facebook is testing a new option that allows employers to share specially formatted job openings in the company's status update box as well as in a separate, dedicated jobs tab on the company page. Ads can also be promoted to target specific users by education, geography or other criteria allowable by Facebook's advertising settings. An interested job seeker can click on an "Apply now" button to launch an application form prepopulated with information from the user's public profile. The form is then delivered to the page administrator as a Facebook message. This is just one of a number of recruiting features Facebook is experimenting with, the company said.

"It was inevitable, as Facebook attempts to get more into people's lives," said Martin Burns, a strategic consulting leader with Boston-based HireClix, a digital recruitment advertising agency.

Other vendors offer services to build jobs pages on Facebook, but this announcement formalizes postings for employers directly through the site.

"Past attempts to plug in mini careers sites onto Facebook pages haven't worked very well in terms of traffic and conversions," Burns said. "I wonder if that was because they were third-party apps or [because] people don't want to look for jobs while they are on Facebook. The idea sounds good in theory, but it hasn't really worked."

Manually posting jobs and dealing with applications sent as Facebook messages will be challenges for large employers that rely on automated job postings and delivery of applications into their applicant tracking systems.

"Whether or not Facebook users can upload a resume or use their LinkedIn profile is unknown, but this might be the hard part for many employers to swallow," said Joel Cheesman, a recruiting technology industry veteran and the founder of Ratedly, which monitors anonymous employee complaint websites.

"If you're the Facebook admin for a Fortune 500 company, good luck," Burns said. "They will get slaughtered. They will have to watch that channel carefully and filter it and make sure only the right folks see the ads."

Both Burns and Cheesman said that the tool may be most appealing to small and local businesses and companies that have hard-to-fill positions.

"This could be a market for companies who need a version of a LinkedIn corporate page but lack the budget to pay for it and don't want the restrictions that come with it," Burns said. "It may work for a facility in eastern Kentucky or northern Minnesota, where an Indeed posting doesn't really convert folks for jobs in call centers or as forklift drivers."

But the experts agreed that Facebook has the potential to improve engagement with the much-sought-after passive job seeker. Facebook offers demand generation potential, organically reaching people going about their daily life. "Facebook's professional-oriented groups are getting better engagement than LinkedIn, and if employers were able to start running job ads targeting groups, that could really hurt LinkedIn's model," Burns said.

"If at some point Facebook users are able to add a professional profile that complements their already-available personal pages—which, let's be real, is eventually going to happen—and attach that profile to a job opening, and companies can manage and search those profiles, then I think they're really onto something," Cheesman said.

Google's New Jobs API Aims to Make Hiring Smarter

The world's most popular search engine has developed a new tool with the potential to greatly improve hiring. The Google Cloud Jobs API (application programming interface) uses machine learning to understand how job titles and skills relate to one another and which job description, location and seniority level are the closest match to a job seeker's preferences.

The goal of the API is to address the disparity among job titles, job descriptions and the skills needed that "comes from a lack of industry standards to define and describe occupations and how they align to specific skills," according to Google.

The company compared the new tool—currently available in alpha testing—to Google's translation API, which translates text into many different languages. "Cloud Jobs API understands the nuances of job titles, descriptions, skills and preferences, and matches job-seeker preferences with relevant job listings based on sophisticated classifications and relational models," wrote Christian Posse, group data scientist with Google Cloud in this blog post.

At the core of the tool lies two proprietary galaxies of 250,000 specific occupations and 50,000 hard and soft skills, as well as relational models between them that encode the popularity and specificity of each skill for any occupation. For example, the relational models that encode JavaScript, HTML and CSS are skills related to the occupation of user interface engineer.

Posse explained that before the tool spits out a match, job posting titles are standardized and "cleaned" of any language not directly related to the occupation definition, including location, employment type, salary information, company name, marketing lingo and administrative jargon.

The tool is intended for job boards, careers sites and applicant tracking systems, where it will sit in the cloud, allowing partners to call on Google's algorithms only when needed. Early adopters include job boards Dice and CareerBuilder and Jibe, which develops careers sites for clients.

The eventual outcome of this tool, powered by Google's data, is that the jobs will find the people, Burns said. "That's the way it should be. It's the idea that you can visit a job board or careers site and be automatically served up appropriate career options based on your online browsing activity, geography and job title. Employers wouldn't need a recruitment marketing platform that captures your data. That step would be eliminated."

Was this article useful? SHRM offers thousands of tools, templates and other exclusive member benefits, including compliance updates, sample policies, HR expert advice, education discounts, a growing online member community and much more. Join/Renew Now and let SHRM help you work smarter.

Author : Roy Maurer

Source : https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/facebook-google-invest-job-search.aspx

Categorized in Social

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