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Facebook Tests Related Articles Fact-Checking Update in Ongoing Quest to Combat Fake News

Facebook product manager Sara Su today shared a blog post that highlights a test launching on the company's iOS and Android apps, consisting of an update to the "Related Articles" feature found beneath posts shared by your friends and family. For users included in the update, Related Articles will now highlight differing perspectives from separate publications on the same subject mentioned in the parent article, namely "including articles by third-party fact-checkers." This marks Facebook's newest leg in its anti-"Fake News" quest, which it began earlier in April by educating its users on the subject with a "tips for spotting false news" gateway that sat atop the Facebook app for a few days. With today's launch of the Related Articles test, Su mentioned that Facebook users will now have more tools at their disposal to see a "complete picture of a story or topic" before they even click on the original story. One of our main goals is to support an informed community on Facebook. This includes helping people have conversations about the news and giving people more ways to see a more complete picture of a story or topic. Today, we’re beginning to test Related Articles that might appear before you read an article shared in News Feed. These additional articles, which appear for topics many people are talking about on Facebook, will appear in a unit below the link. That should provide people easier access to additional perspectives and information, including articles by third-party fact-checkers. The Related Articles test is "one of many tests" that Facebook is

Facebook Working on Tech That Will Let You Type Texts, Emails, and Status Updates Using Your Brain

During its F8 Developers Conference in San Jose, California this week, social media company Facebook revealed an ongoing project in which it aims to launch a product that will allow users to send emails, texts, and post status updates using only their thoughts (via Reuters). Conducted in a new wing it calls "Building 8," Facebook said that any final hardware launch is a few years away, but it's believed that the company is looking at the new product as a way to diversify its income so it might not have to rely so heavily on advertising revenue. Former Google executive and DARPA director Regina Dugan is leading Facebook's new initiative, which ultimately aims to allow users to type at 100 words per minute by monitoring their brain waves. Current technology allows researchers to type at eight words per minute, but it requires a brain implant. Facebook's solution, on the other hand, will be non-invasive. Additionally, Facebook is working on a way for users to "hear through their skin." Beyond launching as an easier way to access Facebook and other content on smartphones, both technologies could see a huge surge in users who are deaf and disabled, or act as a way to break down the language barrier. "One day, not so far away, it may be possible for me to think in Mandarin and for you to feel it instantly in Spanish," Dugan said. On Facebook, Dugan shared a few details about the "silent speech interface" projects: Over the next 2 years, we will be building systems that demonstrate the capability to type at 100 wpm by decoding neural activity devoted to speech.

Apple Music and Spotify Chat Extensions Coming to Facebook Messenger

Facebook today announced plans to integrate both Spotify and Apple Music into Facebook Messenger, allowing Messenger users to link to Apple Music or Spotify content for sharing songs and playlists directly within the Facebook Messenger app. Apple has not shared details on how its chat extension will work, but Spotify published a blog post detailing the Spotify chat extension, which will undoubtedly share similarities with Apple Music. Using the Spotify chat extension, users can search and share Spotify songs, albums, and playlists. Song links will play 30 second clips, with users able to tap on a link to open the Spotify app to listen to a full song. The Spotify bot, in addition to allowing songs to be shared, will offer up playlist recommendations to users based on mood, activity, and genre. It's not clear if Apple will introduce a similar feature. Apple has made an effort to make Apple Music widely available on multiple platforms and services. It already integrates with the main Facebook app, and there's also an Android app and an iMessage extension. Spotify is available in Facebook Messenger first, with Apple Music integration coming at a later

Facebook Adds Group Payments to Messenger for Desktop

Facebook Messenger has allowed users to send money to one another since 2015, but as of today, the chat platform is being updated with a new group payments feature. With Facebook Messenger for the web and Android devices, users can now send and receive money between groups of people, useful for splitting a restaurant bill or pooling money for a group gift. Group payments can be sent in any group conversation by tapping the plus sign to access chat features and then choosing the ($) payments icon. From there users can pick who to send money to or request money from, and a message within the group chat will keep track of who has paid.Enter the amount you want to request per person or the total sum to divide evenly, either including yourself in the calculation or not. Finally, you can specify what the money is for - maybe a "Pizza Party," teacher gift, or more. Once you're ready, tap Request.The Messenger group payments feature is limited to users in the United States and at the current time, it's not available on Messenger for iOS devices. Facebook does not mention if and when the feature will come to its iOS app, but features first introduced on the web do often expand to the iPhone and the iPad.

Google and Facebook Working to Fight the Spread of 'Fake News'

Google and Facebook have announced new measures to fight "fake news," a term recently popularized by U.S. President Donald Trump. Google today said it will be making its "Fact Check" label in Google News available everywhere, rather than in the United States only, and expanding the feature to its traditional search results globally in all languages. The "Fact Check" label identifies articles that include information fact checked by news publishers and fact-checking organizations.For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one or more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page. The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim.Google said the "Fact Check" label is presented so people "can make more informed judgements" about a particular news story or claim, although the information won't be available for every search result, and there may be instances where different publishers checked the same claim and reached different conclusions.Even though differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree. As we make fact checks more visible in Search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions.Google said "only publishers that are algorithmically determined to be an

Facebook's 'Stories' Section Now Shows Your Friends as 'Ghosts' to Make You Think They're Using It

Last week, Facebook launched its new camera-focused update that brought along "Facebook Stories" into the main iOS application. Like Snapchat and Instagram Stories before it, Facebook Stories let users post a picture or video onto their feed, which disappears 24 hours later. Facebook Stories at launch Unfortunately, adoption of Facebook Stories appears to have been fairly low and users have begun to notice that the social network company is making a slight UI tweak to the feature in an attempt to boost usage (via The Verge). When it launched, Stories showed a circle with "Your Story," a Facebook bubble that explained how to use the new feature, and then listed your friends' Stories, if there were any to show. If there were none, the top of the Facebook app contained a lot of white space (as seen in the image above). Facebook Stories now, via @Kantrowitz Now, the company has begun to fill out this white space in the event that none of your friends are posting to Facebook Stories with ghost-like, grayed-out profile pictures. When tapped on, the bubbles simply remark that "[Blank] hasn't added to their Story recently." Adding to your own Story remains the same, with a tap on your own profile bubble. Although the update could be a simple UI clean-up to address the white space issue when not many Stories were up on the app, users online are looking at it as Facebook's attempt to draw their eyes to the new section of the app with pictures of their friends, convincing more people to post a Story of their own. On Instagram Stories, friends' Stories are grayed out

Facebook Testing 'Rocket Ship' Mobile Feed With Recommended, Local Content

Signs of Facebook's silent testing of new features for its mobile app appear to be continuing apace, after some users noticed a rocket ship-shaped icon appearing at the bottom of their news feed. (Image from iOS app via Wired) The icon has been appearing from time to time at the bottom of the iOS app's main news feed icon and displays a different type of feed made up of posts, articles, photos, and videos from sources users haven't followed, like Facebook Pages or posts from news media organizations, for example. A lot of the content that shows up in the rocket feed appears to be sourced locally, suggesting the feature may rely on live location information. Some posts have been spotted that are directly relevant to users' interests, such as content from pages that are similar to those users have liked, so it's possible the content stream is being selectively weighted by algorithms based on likes, friends, and groups. (Image from Android app via Stan Schroeder/Mashable) It's unclear if the feature will ever get an official rollout to all mobile users – Facebook has a habit of trialing features just to see if they prove popular among a select few. Last month, the company began testing "Facebook Stories", a Snapchat feature clone that lets users post a time-limited photo or video at the top of the Facebook

Facebook Enables User-Generated Crowdfunding Campaigns Related to Medical, Education, and More

Facebook today announced that it will begin allowing its users to generate their own crowdfunding campaigns directly within the social network's mobile app, meant as a way "to raise money for themselves, a friend, or someone or something not on Facebook, for example a pet." Any user 18 or older will be able to set up a personal fundraiser, which Facebook hopes will be a way for people to more easily reach potential project backers like close friends and family members. The catch is that fundraisers will be locked into six specific categories: education, medical, pet medical, crisis relief, personal emergency, and funeral and loss. Every fundraiser will also face a 24-hour review process by Facebook to ensure that the project's creator and its goals are legitimate. The company broke down the six categories in today's press release: Education: such as tuition, books or classroom supplies Medical: such as medical procedures, treatments or injuries Pet Medical: such as veterinary procedures, treatments or injuries Crisis Relief: such as public crises or natural disasters Personal Emergency: such as a house fire, theft or car accident Funeral and Loss: such as burial expenses or living costs after losing a loved one On the donator side of things, friends and family will be able to support a user's fundraiser in a few taps and without leaving the Facebook app. The company said that all payments are secure and that donators will have more peace of mind thanks to Facebook's use of real profile information for the person raising the funds, and the

Facebook Launches Camera Within iOS App With Effects, Filters, and 24-Hour 'Stories'

Facebook today is officially rolling out its long-in-testing upgrade to the main Facebook mobile app on iOS and Android, bringing a number of changes focused on the addition of an all-new camera, filters, themed effects and "Facebook Stories." The company's 24-hour post Snapchat clone was reported to have launched a few weeks ago, but a Facebook spokesperson contacted MacRumors at the time and confirmed that the feature was still in testing ahead of a wide launch, happening today. The new camera can be found in the top left of the Facebook app's main news feed, or users can swipe right on their news feed to open up the camera (similar to Instagram). Here users can take pictures and selfies using masks, filters, and "reactive effects," where they can interact with dynamic objects such as falling snow. Style effects apply a Prisma-like artistic filter onto an image in real-time. Brands and advertisers are also joining in on the Facebook camera launch, with users able to take selfies using filters for upcoming films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Alien: Covenant, and Wonder Woman. Facebook said that the company will consistently update all of these effects in the camera "to give you fun new effects to explore," and even more customization is coming down the line as well. Over the coming months, we plan to introduce new ways for the Facebook community to create their own frames and effects that can be used on any photo or video created with the new Facebook camera. Our goal is for the camera to be a home to hundreds of dynamic and fun effects that give you new

Facebook Launches Location Sharing Feature Within Messenger Called 'Live Location'

Following in the footsteps of Google Maps and Find My Friends, Facebook today announced that users will be able to track their friends and family within Facebook Messenger using a new feature it calls "Live Location." The hour-long location sharing feature is beginning to roll out globally today, and Facebook said it should help friends coordinate with one another when making plans, as well as notifying a significant other when you're on your way home. The plan-making focus falls in line with Facebook Messenger's recent Snapchat-like addition "Messenger Day." Facebook gave users a step-by-step guide to the process of location sharing within Messenger, which they can follow using the steps below: To share your Live Location in a message on iOS, tap the Location icon or tap the More icon and then select Location. With today's update, you'll see a map of your current location and the option to tap a blue bar to share your Live Location. If you choose to share your Live Location, the person or people you share it with will be able to see where you are on a map for the next 60 minutes. You'll be able to see an estimate of how long it would take to get to others' locations by car. (The ETA is seen by the person with whom the location is shared.) You can stop sharing your Live Location at any time; just tap Stop Sharing. A small clock in the lower right hand corner of the map will also let you know how much longer you’re sharing your location for. The social media company also mentioned that today's location sharing update is "completely

Facebook Debuts Message Reactions and Mentions for its Messenger App

Facebook's Messenger app for iOS devices was today updated with a new Message Reactions feature, which is similar to the Tapback features introduced in Apple's Messages app in iOS 10. Message Reactions are designed to allow Facebook users to react to a message with an emoji symbol to express an emotion without needing to type out a response. Users can choose from emoji like thumbs up, thumbs down, a sad face, an angry face, a smiling face, and more. To add a reaction to an incoming message, press and hold on the message and choose an emoji. For those who use Apple's Messages app, this action is already familiar. The emoji reaction is added to whichever message it's attached to in the form of a small animation. Messenger Reactions work on one on one conversations and group conversations, and can be used on text, photos, stickers, videos, and more. Also new in Messenger is "Mentions," designed to allow users to notify someone when they've been mentioned in a conversation. This is, of course, mainly useful for group conversations that have multiple participants. A Mention can be sent by using the "@" symbol before someone's name, and the person who has been mentioned will receive a notification. Both Mentions and Reactions are rolling out to the Messenger app today. Facebook Messenger for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Facebook Begins Worldwide Rollout of its Main Snapchat Clone 'Facebook Stories' [Update: Still in Testing]

The deluge of stories revolving around Facebook copying Snapchat might hit a zenith today as the social media company begins to launch "Facebook Stories" worldwide, this time in the main Facebook app for iOS devices (via TechCrunch). Previously, Facebook created a facsimile of Snapchat's day-long, vanishing post idea in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, which gained 100 million users following the Snapchat-like update last year. The idea is identical in Facebook Stories, where users will now be able to post a photo or video through a new UI at the top of the Facebook mobile app. Their friends can see the post over the next 24 hours and reply to it within Facebook Messenger. Continuing the trend, last week that app launched "Messenger Day" for users to create the exact same disappearing posts, but centered on creating plans with friends. Facebook originally tested out Facebook Stories in Ireland. [Update 3/16]: Facebook has contacted MacRumors with a correction, stating that some misinformation has been floating around online and the company is "not rolling this out globally yet." The company mentioned that it is "still testing it in a few countries -- most recently, Chile, Vietnam and Greece as of yesterday," but it has "no global rollout plans or timeline to share quite

Facebook's Snapchat Clone 'Messenger Day' Launches Worldwide With Plan-Making Twist

One of Facebook's Snapchat clones is launching worldwide today within Facebook Messenger, after a previous soft launch in countries including Poland and Australia. Called "Messenger Day," the new feature will allow Messenger users to post updates that disappear after 24 hours. The twist with Messenger Day, according to Facebook, is that the app's filters and features encourage users to create new plans in the moment, instead of revisiting things your friends have already done like on Snapchat. To facilitate this, Messenger Day includes a collection of photo and video filters -- like the time of day or call-outs asking to grab food -- that will provide appropriate context for friends viewing posts. According to Facebook VP of messaging David Marcus, who spoke with TechCrunch, this will let Facebook Messenger users snap a quick photo, add a frame, and see if any of their friends are up for going grab a coffee or watching a movie, without having to text individual people or post on Facebook itself. "This is about today. It's not about yesterday. It's not about tomorrow" Marcus tells me. "The 2 key functionalities are 1. I'm going to set context because it's going to make for better conversations if people know where I am and what I'm doing. And 2. It's about where I want to take my day, like 'I'm bored and I want to go out for coffee' or 'I want to go see a movie' so I'm going to use a frame, take a photo, and see which of my friends are going to engage with me to actually make that plan, because planning is one of the core capabilities of a messaging app." Like

Facebook Begins Testing Reactions and 'Dislike' Button in Messenger [Update: Officially Launched]

A few Facebook Messenger users have noticed that the company's "Reactions" are available to use within the app and on the web, along with a long-requested dislike -- or thumbs down -- button (via TechCrunch). Similar to Tapback in the iOS 10 Messages app, to use Reactions in Facebook Messenger users simply have to hover over a specific message and tap the small emoji button. Images via TechCrunch From there, the app will provide the standard set of Facebook Reactions, including emojis for love, laughter, amazed, sad, and angry. Thumbs up is still available, as well as the all-new thumbs down, which Facebook has said in the past that it wants to avoid using on the main social media site to avoid overt negativity among friends and family members. When Reactions originally launched around a year ago, Facebook aimed for them to be a more nuanced and diverse way to react to posts that was more varied than a simple thumbs up or thumbs down response. Facebook confirmed this new feature to TechCrunch, saying “We’re always testing ways to make Messenger more fun and engaging. This is a small test where we enable people to share an emoji that best represents their feelings on a message.” But, according to a statement from the company, within Facebook Messenger the dislike button is being seen as a simple "no" response. Similar to iOS Messages and Slack, Facebook said that its Messenger app is used for coordination and planning, and the addition of message-specific reaction buttons helps streamline plans among large groups of friends. As is the case with these small tests,

Facebook 'City Guides' Will Help You Plan Your Next Trip Thanks to Recommendations From Friends

After a period of testing earlier in the year, Facebook recently began rolling out a new tourism feature called "City Guides" to its iOS app for a number of users (via The Next Web). Located in the Explore tab of the app -- similar to the recently expanded Weather feature -- City Guides presents users with a list of cities visited by their friends and provides recommendations on places to eat, visit, and stay on a future trip. After tapping on a city, the app provides a list of friends who have been to the location along with the places they checked into while they were there. So if you're looking for restaurant or hotel suggestions, it's easy to bookmark the hotspots right in the app and message a friend to see what they think about it. Further down the page is a "Places The Locals Go" section that lists popular spots based on each location's Facebook page rating. City Guides also provide insight into upcoming events in each city to help plan a trip, as well as giving tourists a scrollable list of popular attractions to stop by when they arrive. Users will be able to jump into City Guides directly from the home screen as well, thanks to a redirection prompt placed under city check-in posts of their friends and family. While Facebook is dedicated to bolstering its video content across many devices, the company is consistently adding minor updates like City Guides to its mobile app, even introducing a way for users to apply for a job without leaving Facebook. The City Guides feature is said to be available for a small group of users at first before a wider

Facebook Launches 'Video' App for Fourth-Generation Apple TV

Facebook tonight launched its Facebook Video app for the fourth-generation, tvOS-based Apple TV. The app allows users to watch videos from friends, liked pages, top live videos and more. Videos are split into six channels: Shared by Friends, Following, Recommended for You, Top Live Videos, Saved Videos and Recently Watched. Following contains videos by both friends and liked pages while Shared by Friends only lists videos from friends. The app is more robust than Facebook's fullscreen video mode on the web or iOS, which only lists select recommendations and autoplays the next video in the recommendation queue. Earlier this month, Facebook's VP of Partnerships said the app would not feature ads at launch and will require a Facebook account to use. Facebook is also reportedly in discussions with media companies to license long-form "premium" content to bolster its video selection. The app is not a standalone app. Instead, it's built into Facebook for iOS. Apple TV users will access the video app while iOS users will only be able to access the standard Facebook app. Facebook Video is available in the Apple TV App Store for free [Direct Link

WhatsApp Announces New 'Status' Feature for Sharing Videos and Photos That Expire After 24 Hours

Following in the footsteps of Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook-owned WhatsApp today announced the launch of "Status," a new feature that's designed to let users share videos, photos, and GIFs that expire each day. The Status addition to WhatsApp is essentially identical to the "Stories" feature in Instagram and Snapchat, both of which allow users to share daily life updates with friends and family that expire after 24 hours. With WhatsApp Status, WhatsApp users can use the in-app camera to share photos or videos that can be annotated with emoji, text snippets, and drawings. Status updates can be shared with all contacts, rather than just individuals or specific groups, but there are also options to choose who is able to see what. Through the new Status tab, WhatsApp users can view all of the updates that their address book contacts have shared on the app and reply privately to updates. All Status updates expire after a 24 hour period. WhatsApp is launching Status to celebrate its eighth anniversary. The new feature is rolling out to WhatsApp users starting today and should be available soon for all iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone users. WhatsApp can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Facebook Users Will Soon Be Able to Apply for a Job Within iOS App and on Web

Facebook has announced that businesses in the United States and Canada will soon be able to post job listings on their pages, and potential hires will be able to easily browse local openings through a new "Jobs" bookmark. The update is rolling out over the next few weeks for both the Facebook iOS and Android apps, and on the web. The company said that the update is aimed at small business owners who may find it more difficult than expected to hire talent for specific positions. After a job is posted, employers can review applicants, contact them on Facebook Messenger, and set up an interview date for the best candidates. The update has already begun as a small test in parts of the U.S. We’ve tested the new jobs experience in parts of the US, and while it’s still early, businesses are already filling roles. “It was great because it was easy,” says Wendy Grahn, co-owner of the Chicago-based Lakeview Kitchen and Market. “It took three minutes to fill out the information and put it out there. Then someone saw the post, we talked, and it was done.” On the applicant side of things, job posts will be visible in their News Feed, in the Jobs bookmark tab, and included along with other posts on the business' regular Facebook page. Clicking "Apply Now" pre-fills information accumulated from the user's Facebook page, and applicants can review and edit it to their liking before hitting submit. Facebook recently announced that it is building a video-focused app for the Apple TV that will allow users to watch the "same kinds of videos" as found on the Facebook app, but on a

Facebook to Launch Video-Focused Apple TV App 'Soon'

At the Code Media conference in Dana Point, California, Facebook's Vice President of Partnerships Dan Rose announced that Facebook is planning to launch an app for set-top boxes like the Apple TV in the near future. Focused on video content, the app will allow users to watch the "same kinds of video" available on Facebook's app and website, except they'll be viewable on the larger screen of a television set. The Facebook for Apple TV app will recommend videos for users to watch or will allow users to view videos previously saved on other devices. A Facebook account will be required, but at launch, the app will not include ads. News of Facebook's work on an app for set-top boxes was first shared by The Wall Street Journal in late January. The site also said Facebook is speaking with media companies about licensing long-form TV-quality "premium" programming that will presumably be available in the upcoming app. Media companies say Facebook is aiming for videos that are over 10 minutes and are created specifically for the social network, with a focus on everything from scripted TV shows to sports. Facebook plans to launch its set-top box app "soon," and it will be available on the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV. During the Code Media conference, Facebook also made a few other announcements. Autoplay videos in the News Feed will now automatically play with the sound on unless a phone is on silent, a picture-in-picture feature is coming for watching videos while scrolling through the News Feed, and vertical video viewing is rolling

Facebook Launches New Weather Forecast Section in Mobile App

Facebook has come up with another way to convince users to stay within the social networking app, recently introducing a complete weather forecast section that uses GPS location to present a detailed 24-hour and 5-day forecast, powered by Weather.com (via TechCrunch). The feature is an expansion of the previous "weather greetings" that appeared on the Facebook mobile app beginning about a year ago, which include succinct time-of-day greetings along with a stock forecast message. Now, users can tap on those greetings and jump into a full forecast of their area. Although the greetings link users to the forecast section, sometimes the prompts aren't always there when the app is opened. To manually find the forecast: open Facebook > tap the hamburger "More" tab on the bottom right of the app > tap "See More" > scroll down and tap "Weather." The heading of the section includes doodles that change depending on the weather, alongside the current temperature, high and low estimates for the day, and a one-to-three sentence summation of the present forecast. Under that, users can scroll through the next 24 hours, and look ahead to the next 5 days. If more information is required, the very bottom of Facebook's forecast section has a "see more weather info" button that launches Weather.com. To see the weather for another location, the gear icon on the top right of the screen includes a search field to find more cities. Weather greetings now launch into the new forecast section According to Facebook, the goal of adding weather forecasts was to "connect people to the