Facebook has been a household name for a couple of years but now it is literally an Household Item. With the introduction of these smart speakers Portal and Portal+, Facebook is closer to us than ever.
I don’t know how a lot of people would react to this, given the series of data scandals suffered by the company this year.
Fingers crossed, this could be another breakthrough for the company. Would you be getting one to use here in Ghana?
Read more on it here
Snapchat Has Stopped Losing Users.
After two quarters of losing users, Snap’s losses seem to have stabilized. The company says today that it has the same number of daily active users globally as it did last quarter at 186 million. That’s still fewer than the 191 million it had at this same time last year, but suggests the platform’s user base may have stabilized.
Beyond the stable user base, Snap set a new record for quarterly revenue at $390 million, which brings its yearly total to more than $1.1 billion. The company still isn’t profitable, but CEO Evan Spiegel says spending has leveled out. Today’s earnings report represents a great cap to a miserable year for Snap. Spiegel lost multiple top executives in 2018, including his head of finance, chief strategy officer, head of sales, and president of hardware, but he says they’re hiring and are excited about the new talent. (The company’s CFO also left earlier this year.)
In prepared remarks, Spiegel referenced the departures, but did not address them outright.
“The transitions we made in both the Snapchat platform and our business last year were necessary and created many of the opportunities we have ahead of us, but change is always difficult and this past year was no exception,” he says. “We focused on building the leadership team we need in order to execute against our long‐term opportunity, and recently welcomed several talented and experienced leaders for the next stage of our company’s growth.”
While Snap lost users because of its reviled redesign, the company says it ultimately resulted in 30 percent more people watching Snapchat-exclusive stories and shows. He also says iOS daily active users increased both quarter over quarter and year over year. Still, Android is a sore point for the company. Spiegel says the engineering team is rebuilding the Android app and is rolling out a new version to a small group of users. That’ll be crucial to get right if the company wants to not only keep its users from leaving, but also attract more.
Facebook, WhatsApp And Instagram MERGING Into ‘Single Messaging Service’
Facebook Messenger, along with Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram, will still exist as standalone apps.
But messaging functionality would be shared across them, so users on Instagram could text people on WhatsApp.
You could even message someone on Instagram without ever actually having an Instagram account.
The move was revealed in a New York Times exposé, and later confirmed by Facebook.
Facebook users will soon be able to directly message Instagram and WhatsApp users
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here’s what you need to know…
1. WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
2. It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
3. After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
4. It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast
5. Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
6. The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
7.As of February 2017, WhatsApp has over 1.2 billion users globally
8. It’s expected that the “integration” between the apps will be completed as soon as the end of 2019, or possibly early 2020.
Work on the project is already underway to unify the “messaging infrastructure” between the apps.
It means that all three apps will support end-to-end encryption, which Instagram currently lacks.
End-to-end encryption means your message is garbled into gibberish during transit, and can only be read in its true form by the sender and recipient.
It’s an important privacy feature, and already one of the defining features of WhatsApp.
But it won’t be easy.
“Given the spotty history Facebook have in managing user privacy settings, merging personal information and privacy configurations from three significant applications won’t be trivial,” said Tim Mackey, technical evangelist at Synopsys, speaking to The Sun.
“Facebook development teams would do well to look at this precedent and prioritize user privacy.
“With the integration project currently expected to take a year to complete, and with end-to-end encryption as part of the plan, we should expect the Facebook engineering teams to focus attention on uniform data security both in their platform and in the apps themselves.”
Worryingly, child safety campaigners have warned that this could make child-grooming even easier for online sickos.
“The decision to merge and incorporate end-to-end encryption in all three apps means child abusers could find it easier to access more young victims, and detecting grooming behaviour and sexual abuse on these apps will become far more difficult,” said Andy Burrows, Associate Head of Child Online Safety at the NSPCC.
“Given that police have already told us that Facebook-owned apps are being used in more than half of grooming offences, Facebook must explain how it took children into account when it made this decision.
“This is precisely why the NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign is calling on Government to introduce a tough independent regulator for social networks to force them to meet consistent child safety measures and hold them to account when they fail.”
The move is reportedly the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg, who has been met with fierce internal opposition
The move is reportedly the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg, who has been met with fierce internal opposition
According to the NYT, the idea is being masterminded by billionaire Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.
It’s a bid to keep users hooked into the Facebook ecosystem – and avoid turning to rival offerings “from Apple and Google”.
Zuckerberg has reportedly been “floating” the idea for months, but has been met with heavy opposition.
Instagram’s founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger abandoned the company late last year, reportedly due to Zuckerberg’s increased grip on the app.
And WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton also left for similar reasons.
Zuck is said to have “clashed with dozens of WhatsApp employees” over the merger during a staff meeting in December.
Part of the problem is that Facebook requires you to provide your real identity, while WhatsApp is often favoured for its anonymity.
Merging the messaging services could create a privacy headache.
Users may also be put off by the prospect of messages from long-forgotten Facebook friends turning up on WhatsApp, for instance.
“As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Sun.
Instagram – a quick history
1. Here’s what you need to know…
2. Instagram is a social network for sharing photos and videos
3. It was created back in October 2010 as an iPhone-exclusive app
4. A separate version for Android devices was released 18 months later
5. The app rose to popularity thanks to its filters system, which lets you quickly edit your photos with cool effects
6. When it first launched, users could only post square 1:1 ratio images, but that rule was changed in 2015
7. In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1billion in cash and stock
8. In 2018, some analysts believe the app is worth closer to $100billion
9. In October 2015, Instagram confirmed that more than 40billion photos had been uploaded to the app
10. And in 2018, Instagram revealed that more than a billion people were using the app every month
11. According to the report, Zuckerberg still isn’t sure how to make money from the merger.
Speaking to The Sun, industry expert Michael Pachter, of Wedbush Securities, said: “It’s an interesting issue, since users aren’t really asking for integration, but Facebook recognizes that by integrating the products, they facilitate greater communication/interaction among their user base.
“I personally think it’s a great idea, but am not sure there is any immediate impact on revenues or profits.
“The integration is likely going to roll out in a year or so, and we will have to see how smoothly it goes before understanding the potential for monetization.”
In a statement given to The Sun, a Facebook spokesperson said the company hoped to “build the best messaging experiences we can – and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private”.
“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”
We’ve asked Facebook for more details about the merger and will update this story with any response.
Source: The Sun
Accra To Host Maiden Child In Tech Conference.
The maiden Child-in-Tech conference which is expected to create awareness and build the capacity of children who use the internet across the country has been slated for March 11 to 14, 2019, at the Accra Digital Centre.
The conference under the theme: “Empowering children in the cyberspace” is designed to help educate children on the risks they are exposed to in the cyberspace.
Children are identified as a major target of many internet activities and programmes in recent times as a channel to sell new products and services.
The Government through the Ministry of Communications launched the Safer Digital Ghana campaign with Child Online Protection (COP) as a key component aimed at getting children educated on the risk of being on the internet.
The Child in tech conference seeks to support the efforts of the government in fighting the cybercrime menace through sensitization.
Organizers of the event Naksam Solutions are inviting institutions across the globe to support efforts towards creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness among children in the country.
The Child in Tech conference will promote hygienic and safer practices among children who visit the internet for the purpose of education.
Children on the internet are confronted with dangers like cyberbullying; pornography and other sexual exploitation making them vulnerable in the cyberspace.
ICT has come to stay with us and we cannot run away from the risks involved hence the need to arm our youth with the necessary defensive mechanisms to avoid falling prey to scammers and illegal exploitations.
WhatsApp Limits Message Forwarding In Fight Against Misinformation.
WhatsApp will now limit users to forwarding a message only five times, in an attempt to cut down on the spread of misinformation. According to Reuters, the five time forwarding limit is being implemented across the world starting today.
While fake stories and deceitful groups on Facebook have been the focus in the US, misinformation on WhatsApp has become a problem elsewhere in the world. In Brazil, it became a particularly big issue ahead of the country’s presidential elections in October, as bad voting information, conspiracy theories, and false stories about candidates spread across the network. One study of the most widely shared images in Brazilian political group chats found that more than half of the top 50 images were misleading, with many being completely false or presented out of context.
WhatsApp initially limited messages to being forwarded 20 times in July, with the five time forwarding limit being tested out in India. Before that, you could forward a message to up to 256 people. WhatsApp began labeling forwarded messages around that time, too. The initial limits were prompted by a series of mob attacks and killings in India, set off by the spread of false information about child kidnappings.
While the smaller forwarding limit could help curb the spread of bad information, it won’t necessarily be as limiting as it sounds. Messages can still be forwarded to groups, with each group including up to 256 people. That means a forwarded message could be put in front of nearly 1,300 people, despite the five time limit.
WhatsApp didn’t immediately disclose any data on whether it had seen a substantial decline in the spread of false information by reducing the limit to five. We’ve reached out for further information.
Fighting misinformation on WhatsApp presents different challenges than misinformation on Facebook, because of the different ways the networks operate. Unlike Facebook, much of WhatsApp’s messaging and sharing is done through private, encrypted channels, limiting moderators’ ability to see what’s happening and intervene.
Source: The Verge.