The changes coming to Facebook

Facebook announced a series of features and updates at its annual F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, and while the news is mostly targeted for developers and app designers right now, it could eventually mean big things for Facebook users.IF

Developers can now add a Messenger button to third-party apps so

Facebook Messenger

Image: Facebook

In the future, for example, a developer could be able to add a Messenger button within a movie ticketing service app, so after a customer makes a purchase, they could share those details and movie times with a friend on Facebook.

For a glimpse at how the first batch of apps will look, click here.

Many of the early partners working with Facebook Messenger are focused on photos and entertainment. Some apps were developed specifically for the platform, while others are building Messenger in as an added feature.

Facebook Messenger Business

messenger business

Facebook unveils Messenger for Business at its F8 conference in San Francisco on March 25, 2015.

Image: Screengrab, Facebook

A noteworthy feature of the growing platform is Messenger Business, which will allow users to communicate with merchants by sending them a direct message or making a reservation and checking shipping information.

People will be able to have personal conversations with companies — specifically, customer service representatives — and be able to make requests, asks questions and get quick responses in an ongoing thread, the company said.

Spherical Videos

Facebook spherical videos

Facebook spent some stage time talking about the future of video on the site. To start, the social network will soon support “spherical videos” — immersive, 360-degree videos that work right in Newsfeed. The videos will run natively in Newsfeed and will be shot with 24 high-resolution cameras.

These videos will also work with virtual reality headsets, like the Samsung Gear VR and, of course, the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift. Conference attendees will be able to experience spherical videos in its “Teleportation Stations.”

Embeddable videos, refreshed comments

Facebook is rolling out a new social plugin that lets publishers embed native Facebook videos across the web. This means a video uploaded (and hosted) on Facebook can now be embedded on other websites.

Although you’d think Facebook’s video player would already have the ability to embed videos on other sites, the move is now a part of a larger effort to catch up with YouTube.

Facebook also pushed out another social plugin update to its Comments feature. Users will be able to log into their accounts and comment on a webpage, but now the message will be duplicated on the official Facebook-shared story, too.

Analytics for apps

The company introduced a new Analytics for Apps tool that provides a dashboard of data so developers and marketers can better understand their audience.

The Internet of Things

Facebook introduced a software developer kit (SDK) to support the growing influx of web-connected devices for the home, like smart garage door openers and refrigerators. The company will be opening its mobile app building suite, Parse, to web-connected devices to support the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things refers to products — and, well, things — that are connected to the web. This includes everything from smart thermostats and garage doors to toothbrushes, tennis racquets and even your bed. They collect data about your usage patterns and habits, and typically connect to an app that offers feedback to improve your lifestyle (or your racquet swing, for example).

It’s unclear as of now how exactly Facebook will incorporate Internet of Things technology into its platform, but perhaps dimming the lights at night or opening your garage door could one day all be possible from directly within the social network.

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Social Media Tips You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner

For Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Foursquare

1. Turn your profile pic into an emoji you can use in chat.

Type your username sandwiched between double brackets (like this: [[zuck]]) and enter it into chat to send your personalized emoji.

2. Share something with all of your friends except one person.

Share something with all of your friends except one person.

Select “custom” in the “who to share this with” tab, then enter the name of the person you don’t want to see the post. Simple as that!

3. Clean up your News Feed in just a couple minutes.

Clean up your News Feed in just a couple minutes.

Click here while logged in to Facebook and you will be taken to a page full of friends you haven’t interacted with in a while. Click all of the ones you want to see less in your News Feed.

4. Hide your online status on chat from people you don’t feel like talking to.

Hide your online status on chat from people you don't feel like talking to.

Facebook / Via hongkiat.com

Facebook has integrated its “lists” feature with chat, so you can make lists of people to whom you do and don’t want to appear online. Learn how here.

5. Search “randos at [the name of your workplace]” to access a list of co-workers you’re not friends with.

Search "randos at [the name of your workplace]" to access a list of co-workers you're not friends with.

6. Back up and download all of your photos plus other people’s photos you’re tagged in.

Back up and download all of your photos plus other people's photos you're tagged in.

Download the Pick&Zip app here.

7. Find out what the best time is for you to post.

Find out what the best time is for you to post.

Statigram analyzes your Instragram history to determine the exact time of day when your photos are most likely to receive the most attention. It also compiles other interesting data like your average number of likes and comments per photo.

8. Take photos without posting them.

Take photos without posting them.

Flickr: coutinhobr / Via Creative Commons

If you put your camera on airplane mode any Instagrams you take will be saved to your photo roll but not posted. Some people use this to double filter their photos. Learn more here.

9. Bust your friends for lying when they tag a photo #nofilter.

Bust your friends for lying when they tag a photo #nofilter.

All you have to do is put the link of a suspicious Instagram photo into Filter Fakers to find out if they used an Instagram filter.

10. Pin something from Facebook.

Pin something from Facebook.

11. Make as many secret boards as you like.

Make as many secret boards as you like.

Traditionally Pinterest only allowed three secret boards per user, but that was quietly changed last month to allow users unlimited secret boards.

12. Highlight text on something before hitting “Pin It” and the highlighted text will automatically appear in the description box.

Highlight text on something before hitting "Pin It" and the highlighted text will automatically appear in the description box.

This will save a lot of time when you’re pinning many things in a row.

13. Make professional, printable resumes.

Make professional, printable resumes.

With LinkedIn’s Resume Builder.

14. View someone’s profile anonymously.

View someone's profile anonymously.

Go to “Account & Settings” on the top right, then “Privacy & Settings.” Under “Privacy Controls” is this option: “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.” If you click it, the above pop-up window will appear. Select the “You will be totally anonymous option” and no one will see when you view their profile! This will limit your ability to see who visits your profile, but you can always change it back to normal when you’re done being anonymous.

15. If you have the LinkedIn app you can search anonymously AND still see who looks at your profile.

If you have the LinkedIn app you can search anonymously AND still see who looks at your profile.

Just add the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” shortcut on the mobile app.

16. Learn who doesn’t follow you back.

Learn who doesn't follow you back.

Sign up for Friend or Follow here, which can also tell you about your followers on Instagram and Tumblr.

17. Find out who does — or doesn’t — follow one another.

Find out who does — or doesn't — follow one another.

Not sure if a couple is still dating (or if friends had a falling out)? Plug their handles into Doesfollow to see the status of their relationship. Prepare yourself for moments like: “Whoa! She unfollowed him! They’re totally splitsville!”

18. Download an archive of every tweet you’ve ever made.

Download an archive of every tweet you've ever made.

Just go to Settings and scroll down to where it says “request your archive.”

19. Create lists for people whose tweets you don’t want to miss.

Create lists for people whose tweets you don't want to miss.

The more people you follow, the easier it is to miss tweets from your favorite tweeps, but that’s not a problem if you create a list for them. Lists are also great for keeping tabs on people you don’t want to give the satisfaction of a follow (i.e., enemies and exes).

20. Search “secret menu” to see restaurants nearby with hidden menu items.

Search “secret menu” to see restaurants nearby with hidden menu items.

21. You can also search “Wi-Fi password” to gain access to free Wi-Fi around you.

You can also search "Wi-Fi password" to gain access to free Wi-Fi around you.

Nostalgia Overload With Facebook’s Newest Feature

Facebook is reportedly testing a standalone app for phone calls

Facebook-call

Facebook may be trying to take over your phone app.

The social network is testing a voice-calling app that can screen your calls and show you information about who is calling, according to an image obtained by Android Police.

The app, called “Phone,” will display information about those who call you —presumably based on their Facebook profiles — and automatically block calls that come from numbers that have been previously identified as spam, according to the description in the screenshot. Facebook is known to test new features with small groups of users first, but the leaked image suggests the testing for this app may be limited to internal tests at the moment as it has an “FB-Only” note.

A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable “we are always testing things,” but declined to comment specifically on the Phone app.

nexus2cee_screenshot_2015-03-20-14-28-432_thumb1

This isn’t the first time Facebook has experimented with voice calling. The company introduced voice calls to Messenger a few years ago and has been testing the feature on the Android version of WhatsApp, both of which rely on either a Wi-Fi or a data connection.

It’s not clear whether the Phone app would be an expansion of these existing voice-calling features or a standalone service, but the description suggests it would work for all voice calls, not just those made over a Wi-Fi or data connection.

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Facebook to face U.S. class action over children’s online purchases

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, delivers a keynote address at the company's annual conference in San Francisco, California July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Kimberly White

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, delivers a keynote address at the company’s annual conference in San Francisco, California July 23, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Kimberly White

(Reuters) – A federal judge said Facebook Inc must face a nationwide class-action lawsuit seeking to force the social media company to provide refunds when children spend their parents’ money on its website without permission.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California on Tuesday said a class of plaintiffs estimated in the hundreds of thousands may press their claim that Facebook should change how it handles online transactions by minors.

The judge also said the plaintiffs could not pursue refunds as a group under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, because any refunds would vary from case to case, but could still seek individual refunds. She set an Oct. 19 trial date.

Facebook said it believes the lawsuit lacks merit, and said it will defend itself vigorously.

The April 2012 lawsuit said Facebook let children use their parents’ credit and debit cards to buy the virtual currency Facebook Credits, and violated California law by refusing refunds under its “all sales are final” policy when the parents complained.

In opposing class certification, Facebook said the plaintiffs’ claims were too disparate, and an injunction would not address them.

But Freeman said state law protects parents and their children when those children “occasionally use their lack of judgment” and buy things they should not.

“Though some minors undoubtedly may wish to continue making purchases through credit or debit cards they do not have permission to use, such a desire cannot prevent the named plaintiffs from bringing suit to demand that Facebook’s policies comply with the law,” she wrote.

Facebook Credits were discontinued in 2013 and replaced with Facebook Payments.

The lawsuit was brought by two children and their parents.

One child said his mother let him spend $20 on her credit card toward the game “Ninja Saga,” but was later charged several hundred dollars for purchases he thought he made with “virtual, in-game currency.” The other said he took a debit card from his parents without permission and spent $1,059.

People who sign up for Facebook must be at least 13 years old, according to the Menlo Park, California-based company.

“We’re very pleased with the decision,” J.R. Parker, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview. “The difference between Facebook and other businesses is that the company is on actual notice of a user’s age, but treats children the same as adult users when it comes to taking their money.”

The case is I.B. et al v. Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 12-01894.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)

Facebook is changing how it counts Likes

Fb-likes

Facebook is changing the way it counts Likes, the company announced on Thursday.

Don’t panic, though; the changes only apply to celebrity and business pages. Facebook will no longer factor in Likes from users who have voluntarily deactivated their accounts or users who have passed away, according to a blog post. Facebook said the changes will offer businesses a clearer, more accurate idea of their Facebook audience, since neither of those groups are Facebook users.

“Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page likes as a result of this update,” the blog post reads. “It’s important to remember, though, that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.”

Facebook also notes that if a user reactivates an account and Liked a particular Page, that action will be tallied back into the total like count.

The changes may prove beneficial for businesses with Facebook Pages. Many already pay attention to how many Likes they get as an indicator of popularity with users and a glimpse into the kind of Facebook audience they have.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

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Facebook Now Lets You Put Stickers On Pictures From Your Phone

Goodbye, lame Facebook photos. Hello, photos filled with cartoon characters!

Starting Thursday, you’ll be able to add stickers to your photos from Facebook’s mobile app on iOS and Android. You’ll see a new sticker icon when you upload a photo to Facebook on mobile; when you add a sticker, you can drag it to wherever you want, change the size and rotate it. You can keep or remove the stickers before you decide to upload the photo to Facebook.

As an example, check out this sticker collection based on Mark Zuckerberg’s dog Beast. Here’s what it looks like to add Beast stickers to your pics:

facebook stickers photos

You will probably recognize Facebook stickers from Messenger, where you can send them to your friends. As of last October, you can put them in comments too.

Facebook’s got a lot of different kinds of stickers to choose from, including images of famous characters like Hello Kitty, Power Rangers and Peanuts. You could previously ad stickers to photos, but you had to use a separate app to do it.

This new feature is yet another sign that Facebook is targeting mobile users significantly more than desktop ones. Last month the site told The Wall Street Journal that 85 percent of its users access the site on mobile at least occasionally and more than a third of users access it exclusively on mobile.

Mobile’s making money, too, since Facebook charges more for mobile ads. Facebook’s revenue rose to $2.5 billion last quarter, thanks, in part, to mobile advertising.

The 25 Apps You Must Download First on Your Hot New iPhone

The 25 Apps You Must Download First on Your Hot New iPhone

The 25 Apps You Must Download First on Your Hot New iPhone

So, some superstar family member or significant other gifted you an iPhone for the holidays, huh? Congrats!

Now it’s time to download some great new apps. Here are the ones recommended by Yahoo Tech:

1. Facebook: The social networking app for posts, pokes, and polemics is a great time-waster.

Facebook logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE

2. Twitter: 140-character bursts of knowledge, humor, news, and more. “Never be bored again,” as Twitter once put it.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

3. Instagram: A photo-sharing app that’s all about filters. Filters and puppies. And coffee.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

4. Google Maps: Apple’s Maps, though improved a bit this year, is still — how do we say? — in development. Stick with Google’s trusty app instead.

Google Maps logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

5. Seamless/GrubHub: These apps take the “call-in” part out of getting great eats delivered to your home.

DOWNLOAD THEM HERE AND HERE.

6. Amazon Kindle: Bring your Kindle ebook collection to your iPhone by simply installing this app and signing in.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

7. YouTube: The most popular video site on the planet. Download this app to your iPhone and never miss out on the latest and greatest music video or cute animal clip.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

8. Vine: Addictive looping six-second videos. Funny, cute stuff.

Vine logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

9. Evernote: Create, save, and sync notes across all your mobile and desktop devices with the Evernote iPhone app.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

10. Venmo: A cool, easy, and social way to send money to online friends. Essential for splitting the bill.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

11. Gmail: These days, if you have a pulse, you have a Gmail account. And now, with the improvements Google has brought to its iOS Gmail app, iPhone owners can finally enjoy the full Google mail experience the same way Android phone people always have.

Gmail logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

12. Facebook Messenger: Facebook has made it necessary to download a second app for sending and reading private Facebook messages on your phone. So you might as well just download it.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

13. Hyperlapse: From the makers of Instagram, this app is probably the best mobile tool for easily creating professional-looking time-lapse videos.

Hyperlapse logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

14. Spotify: The iPhone app for the best streaming music service around is a must. Stream virtually any song you can think of (aside from anything in the Taylor Swift discography) while you’re on the move.

Spotify logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

15. Feedly: Use this gorgeous RSS reader app to catch up on all your news in one place.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

16. Heads Up! You may recognize this Password-like game from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but the iPhone/iPad app version topped the App Store’s 2014 “Top Paid Apps” list, too.

Heads Up game

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

17. Chrome: Google’s Web browser is preferred by some over the iPhone’s default, Safari. The mobile version will sync with all your Chrome desktop browsing history and bookmarks, too.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

18. Yelp: Read and post ratings on this wildly popular business-rating service while on the go.

Yelp logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

19. Foursquare/Swarm: These apps connect you to Foursquare’s popular social “check-in” service. Its new Swarm breakout makes it easier to see what your friends are up to.

DOWNLOAD THEM HERE AND HERE.

20. Google Hangouts: Google’s Hangouts lets iPhone owners text, send pictures, and video chat across other computer and mobile device platforms, and without a carrier texting plan.

Google Hangouts logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

21. WhatsApp: WhatsApp has more users around the world than any other mobile texting app. Join the largest instant messaging party on the planet!

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

22. 2048: Drive yourself mad with this incredibly popular puzzle game. (We promise it’s a good time.)

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

23. Snapchat: The most popular way to send sneaky messages on iPhone, Snapchat is a staple. Get silly or get scandalous; just download this app.

Snapchat logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

24. CamScanner: Pack that bulky, power-wasting scanner away and import documents painlessly using just this app and your iPhone’s camera.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

25. RunKeeper: Strap your iPhone on and track all your walking, jogging or biking miles. Compare workouts with friends right from the app, too.

RunKeeper logo

DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

Facebook Debuts a ‘Privacy Checkup’ Tool to Help You Better Control Your Data

Facebook Debuts a ‘Privacy Checkup’ Tool to Help You Better Control Your Data

Image via Reuters.

On Thursday, Facebook released a new tool to help you understand and control your privacy settings on the site. 

First announced back in April, the Privacy Checkup tool lets you see and adjust who can view your data, as well as which apps can access it. It is navigated, curiously, with the help of a nameless blue dinosaur –– let’s call him Clippyosaurus –– who pops up now and then and reminds you to review your privacy settings to “make sure they’re set up the way you want.”

Per the company’s blog post:

“Today, we’re starting to roll out Privacy Checkup, which helps you review and control who you’re sharing with.

“We know you come to Facebook to connect with friends, not with us. But we also know how important it is to be in control of what you share and who you share with.”

The release is likely a move for Facebook to improve its public image, which has been marred by several privacy scandals in the past several years.

The Privacy Checkup tool attempts to both simplify the process of changing your sharing settings and demystify whom you’re sharing with.

The tool isn’t a cure-all. While it might help you better understand what you’re sharing and with whom, for example, it doesn’t change the fact that Facebook farms out your detailed personal data to advertisers for profit by default. (Click here to find out how to turn off that lovely feature.)

Anyway, below is a quick run-through of how the tool works:

When you access your privacy settings via the lock symbol in the upper-right corner of Facebook’s navigation bar, your (Mac-using?) dinosaur friend will appear and be like, “Hey, privacy, blah blah blah.”

Facebook’s Privacy Checkup

After you click Privacy Checkup, a box will pop up on your screen. Via this tool, you can monitor Your Posts, Your Apps, and Your Profile.

The first page is a basic run-through of who can see the updates you write on your page.

Facebook Privacy Checkup screenshot

The second is a survey of which apps are connected to your Facebook. I’ll admit it’s nice to have quick access to this, as I often try out an app once or twice and then forget about it. With this tool, I can remove its access to my data with one click. You can also adjust who sees your activity on the app.

Facebook Privacy Checkup screenshot

Finally, you’re shown all the basic personal info on your profile and given the choice to adjust what it says and who sees it.

Facebook Privacy Checkup screenshot

That’s all it does! At the very least, this simplifies the convoluted process of adjusting your privacy that’s caused so many problems in the past.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter