From The Editors Technology

Facebook Finally Takes Initiatives to Discourage Fake News

Soon after Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, Facebook came under fire for causing the upset result by allowing the spread of fake news on its social networking site.

Initially reluctant to admit Facebook’s role in the poll results, which according to Mark Zuckerberg was a minuscule percentage and had no bearing on the election outcome, the world’s most popular social networking site has announced measures that would go a long way in discouraging the spread of hoaxes and fake news.

Although Facebook and Google had earlier announced their intentions of incorporating measures to disallow the spread of fake news on their respective platforms ( Read more Facebook and Google Come Down Hard on Fake News Websites ), Mark Zuckerberg’s most recent Facebook post in this regard speaks about incorporating meaningful measures to do away with hoaxes and fake news on his site.

Speaking broadly about the strategy being implemented, he wrote:

“Today we’re making it easier to report hoaxes, and if many people report a story, then we’ll send it to third-party fact-checking organizations. If the fact checkers agree a story is a hoax, you’ll see a flag on the story saying it has been disputed, and that story may be less likely to show up in News Feed. You’ll still be able to read and share the story, but you’ll now have more information about whether fact checkers believe it’s accurate. No one will be able to make a disputed story into an ad or promote it on our platform.”

According to information provided by Facebook’s newsroom on December 15, they cannot act as “arbiters of truth” and hence the solution to the problem had to be approached carefully.

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook

Basically, according to the update, there are four areas that need to be worked on “Easier Reporting,” “Flagging Stories as Disputed,” “Informed Sharing,” and, “Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammers”.

On the “Easier Reporting” aspect of the four-pronged strategy, the Facebook team is experimenting different ways of making hoax and fake news reporting easier for users. Facebook believes that they have to rely heavily on the FB community to help it “detect more fake news.”

The other area of work in this regard is “Flagging Stories as Disputed.” Flagging a story as disputed, hoax or fake is not easy work; hence, third party involvement becomes essential.

“We’ve started a program to work with third-party fact-checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles,” writes Adam Mosseri, VP of News Feed.

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook

In simple terms what this means is, once a news or story has been identified as disputed (fake, hoax) by the fact-finding third party, it will get flagged as ‘disputed.’

In addition, for better user understanding, one would guess, a link providing access to information on the “why” of the dispute, will also be provided.

“Informed Sharing,” is the third area of activity as far as Facebook’s endeavour toward tackling the menace is concerned. Again community involvement is of prime importance – Facebook can only indicate and warn.

Last, but by no means the least, is the “Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammers” area that is being tackled on war footing. In fact, one is forced to think that this is the most important of the four because the monetary gain is the biggest reason for most disputed stuff on different sites, FB included.

“It’s important to us that the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful. We’re excited about this progress, but we know there’s more to be done. We’re going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right,” concluded the FB newsroom piece on the subject.

From The Editors Technology

Facebook Launches “Messenger-Instant-Games”

Tuesday, Facebook launched its Instant Games on Messenger, an HTML5 gaming platform that allows FB users to play games on Messenger and in the Facebook Newsfeed, ensuring iOS 8 and Android 5 compatibility including later versions of the two as well. This new gaming experience enables users to easily discover, share, and play games without having to install new apps.

The main attraction of Instant Games is the speed with which you can start playing. All you need to do is tap the game controller icon in one of your message threads, choose a game from the available list – which will load in mere seconds – and play the game. Pretty simple, right!

And yes, your high score gets automatically updated on your private chat or group. Way to go, I would say!

instant games launch titles Instant Games Titles
Instant games launch titles

Countries the Instant Messenger and Newsfeed Games have been launched in, effective Tuesday, are listed below in alphabetic order:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States. Users in these thirty countries are already enjoying this well-accepted feature since Tuesday.

The good and the not so good of ‘Instant Games’ in Messenger and Newsfeed:

No download of ungainly apps required – games load in seconds.

17 games available as of now from established developers like Bandai Namco, Konami, and Taito and even newer developers like Zynga and King.

iOS 8 and Android 5 compatibility.

Your high scores get automatically uploaded and you also have the leaderboards in case you’d care to challenge the leader.

Games are easy to learn and a full round gets over in about 30 seconds
Call it an advantage or otherwise, the games are fun and addictive.

Stylized high score screenshot that you can Doodle on top of to talk to opponents, a feature similar to Snapchat.

You can share a game in the Newsfeed and a friend can enter that game from the FB app or the FB website.

The graphics of the games are not exceptionally powerful but not bad either – it’s of acceptable quality and sharpness, and the games are pretty much engaging.

As of now, there is no money to be made by FB or the developers but reports say plans of developing a business module are in the pipeline which could prove to be lucrative for all parties – Facebook and the developers.

A dedicated Instant Games bookmark is also available on Facebook where people can view and instantly replay their favorite games.

Here’s an alphabetical list of the 17 game titles, as of now, with a short description of each:

1. Arkanoid (Taito) – Classic arcade brick-breaking paddle game with decent mobile controls.

2. Brick Pop (Game) – Dots-style puzzle game.

3. Bust-A-Move Blitz (Taito / Blackstorm) – Bubble-matching puzzle shooter.

4. Endless Lake (Spilgames) – Gorgeous Temple Run meets Monument Valley runner game.

5. EverWing (Blackstorm) – 1942-style vertical scrolling spaceship shooter.

6. Galaga (Bandai Namco) – Classic arcade vertical space ship shooter,
rebuilt so you only get one life for short sessions.

7. Hex FRVR (FRVR) – Tetris meets Candy Crush-style puzzler where you form lines until you’re out of moves.

Pac-Man Facebook Messenger Instant Games.
You can play Pac-Man in Facebook Messenger Instant Games.

8. Pac-Man (Bandai Namco): Classic arcade game.

9. Shuffle Cats Mini (King) – Card-flicking shooting gallery game that utilizes touch for speed and direction.

10. Space Invaders (Taito) – Classic arcade space shooter.

11. Templar 2048 (Vonvon) – Threes-style timed matching puzzle.

12. Track & Field 100M (Konami) – Alternating button mashing speed trial with computer opponents who are too fast.

13. The Tribez : Puzzle Rush (Game Insight) – Candy Crush Clone with the lame dinosaur theme.

14. Wordalot (MAG Interactive) – Scrabble meets crossword puzzle timed competition.

15. Words With Friends Frenzy (Zynga) – Rapid-fire Scrabble game.

16. ZooKeeper (Kiteretsu) – Timed Candy Crush with cute 8-bit graphics but too long of game sessions.

17. 2020 Connect (Softgames) – Candy Crush meets Threes puzzler.

As briefly mentioned earlier in this piece, Facebook will have to come up with a monetary benefit option for developers to keep them motivated for building newer and better games. They stand to lose money if they keep sending traffic to Instant Games Messenger rather than their own apps.

However, as reported by TechCrunch, Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus, is of the opinion that “Over time we’ll find ways for game developers to monetize. That’s our commitment to them in the new year.”

Meanwhile, the developers have to be content with the exposure and publicity they are getting, reaching out to a huge audience base which can be enchased sooner rather than later.

As far as the users are concerned, nobody is complaining too much about it; however, if anyone has an issue with it, just don’t use it.

From The Editors Technology

“Daring to do Great Things” Mark Zuckerberg in Lima, Peru”

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Peru 2016, Mark Zuckerberg FB CEO, spoke about the future of our children, children of the world, and what we can do for them to “grow up in a world that is much, much better than our world today.”

He spoke about his “engineering mindset” being behind his conviction that one can take any system in the word and make it “much, much better than what it is today,” be it software, hardware, or organizations like companies, healthcare systems, education systems, and governments or anything for that matter.

Mark Zuckerberg referred to Pres. John F Kennedy as being an inspirational force, when back in 1962 he had claimed that man would land on the moon by the end of the decade which was thought to be impossible then.

However, it did happen and something “entirely new” was created, and it was instrumental in giving a boost to the economy. He went on to quote JFK, ‘it’s a time for greatness’

Mark Zuckerberg with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.
Mark Zuckerberg with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand during APEC conference. (credit: Mark Zuckerberg)

He was emphatic in his emphasis on giving people a voice by connecting them together. He spoke passionately about providing the tools to teachers and educational institutes to encourage personalized learning, which he believes has far more potential than the conventional education methodology.

He is looking forward to upgrading most of the 25000+ schools in America over the next ten years, by providing teachers with the tools and the software that would make personalized learning the way to go.

According to him, early results have indicated that with personalized learning students are able to learn 50% more each year which can “compound.”

Speaking on healthcare, another pet subject of MZ, he said that the U.S. invested 50 times more in treating the sick rather than finding cures. He wants the world to be free of most diseases, if not all, by the end of the century, and hopes that life expectancy will reach 100 years by then.

On Artificial Intelligence, he spoke about the progress Facebook is looking forward to making in the direction, and how AI could lead to further developments in education and medicine. He spoke about FB’s work in progress on solar-powered drones that could fly for months together, and provide access to the internet to remote areas of the world.

However, he was critical about the misuse of social media and denounced the spread of hatred, fake news and misinformation through such forums. He spoke about face book’s endeavor to end this by introducing new systems to counter the menace.

Zuckerberg’s address follows heavy criticism of the role FB played in the recently concluded presidential election. Critics have said Facebook did too little to crack down on fake news stories that are widely shared on the world’s largest social media platform and may have been the reason behind the huge upset. Zuckerberg has been very vocal in denying the role of FB in the outcome of the elections.

He appealed to the world leaders and the internet community to invest more in connectivity and the necessary infrastructure to achieve common goals of doing great things and enabling and sharing prosperity around the world.

He continued to stress on the importance of connecting people if we were to realize our hopes of making the world a better place to live in. In fact, he urged world leaders to sign the connectivity declaration that Facebook announced last year at the United Nations. He asked them to make a pledge that connectivity would be of topmost priority on their agenda.

From The Editors Technology

Facebook and Google Come Down Hard on Fake News Websites

Over mounting criticism of encouraging fake news on their sites, Facebook and Google have announced measures to eliminate the use of their ad platforms for fake news. A barrage of accusations started coming in soon after the election results because many felt that Facebook and Google may have influenced the results of the recently concluded U.S. elections.

Fake news websites make money by directing traffic to their sites through the Facebook and Google’s ad platforms. Both the internet giants have admitted, to some extent, that their sites may have been misused, but announced on Monday that concrete steps would be taken to disallow such sites to take advantage of their sites.

Google said on Monday that they will take steps to disallow websites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose.” They already have a strict ban in place for pornography and hate sites.

Despite the announcement that necessary action will be taken to discourage fake news on FB, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was reluctant to admit that FB had a role in the outcome of the elections.

Speaking to interviewer David Kirkpatrick at the “Technonomy” conference, he said, “I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news.”

He went on to add, “If you believe that, then I don’t think you have internalized the message the Trump supporters are trying to send in this election.”

On a Facebook post of November 12, Zuckerberg wrote, “of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes.”

Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook played no real role in influencing the outcome of the presidential election
Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook played no real role in influencing the outcome of the presidential election

Both the companies in question have, according to numerous statements they have made, have updated their policies to ban false news sites from taking advantage of their advertising platforms. While Google’s advertising placement service is called AdSense, the Facebook Audience Network.” “FAN” lets brands advertise through this medium.

The source for making illegal profits by these fake and hoax news sites would diminish considerably if not totally eliminated by the new ad policies introduced by both Google and Facebook. A Google spokeswoman said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, “We clearly didn’t get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms”.

Mark Zuckerberg in a 13 Nov post wrote, “We don’t want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news. We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here. We have made progress, and we will continue to work on this to improve further.”

Facebook and Google users and fans should appreciate the efforts being made by both the companies to weed out the menace of fake news. Who would want to be directed to a fake news site!? It’s going to be a tough challenge ahead of Google and Facebook to deliver on their pledges.

From The Editors Technology

Facebook Is The Most Authoritative Force Online & Holds a Secret Empire.

The humble beginnings of Facebook launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, together with fellow Harvard College mates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, is a well known, written-about and read-about fact.

The same goes for the universal truth that now, in its 10th anniversary, Facebook has phenomenally grown into the largest social networking website on the planet with 1.79 billion monthly active users.

Without going into a detailed break-up of the 1.79 billion users, which is available on the PEW website, let’s discuss the benefits, drawbacks if any, and the future plans of Facebook and how it may impact the world.

Mark Zuckerberg has his eyes set on making Facebook a video first platform.
Mark Zuckerberg has his eyes set on making Facebook a video first platform.

Benefits to the average user across the world:
News feed, one of the most important products of Facebook according to Mark Zuckerberg himself, keep users updated with photos, videos, links, likes from people, status updates, app activities and much more.

The stories that are available to you on news feed relates mostly to your connections and activities on Facebook. However, FB offers you the option of changing your settings to your preference.

Primarily, connectivity with family and friends wherever they might be is the main reason why most people use Facebook, at least in my opinion.

It provides a great platform where you can chat, exchange info, share photos be updated about what’s going on in the lives of your near and dear ones, friends, colleagues and whoever you have on your friend’s list.

Last but, by no means, the least you can find school and college friends or a colleague you have not been in touch with for a long time. There are so many users who have found friends they thought they would never ever meet, or have any contact with ever again. Facebook made it possible.

Importance of Facebook to businesses:
To start with, you can provide your business name, contact details, and briefly describe the products or services you are offering. You can provide any additional information, like sharing info about your team, the background of your business or any other features of your business that can capture the interest of other Facebook users.

Facebook offers you one of the best platforms for low-cost marketing of your products or services and convenient interaction with existing and potential customers. It helps you in reputation management of your business by getting feedback on how your business is being assessed online, thereby, giving you the option of improvisation if there are negative feedbacks.

Your customers have the option of posting after-sales queries on your Facebook wall, which, you or your staff can address. Facebook has the potential to steer traffic to your website provided you have added your website link on your Facebook page.

New customer acquisition becomes easier because each time an FB user becomes the fan of an FB page a notice is automatically posted as a news item which, all the user’s friends can see.

Moreover, FB allows you targeted advertising by analyzing profile information of millions of users and reaching out to your target audience; the service, of course, has a cost attached to it. You can improve your brand awareness by encouraging existing and potential customers to like your FB page.

The advantages of Facebook by far exceeds the disadvantages people talk about – so, let’s not talk about them – they have the option and prerogative of not becoming Facebook users. It’s just like switching off the TV or switch over to another channel if you don’t like what is being shown.

What does Facebook have in store for you in the future?
The development of advanced artificial intelligence is one of Facabook’s biggest ever project. Let’s put it this way; with 1.79 billion active users and growing exponentially there won’t be enough human resource to power such a colossal network. Even if the required manpower is made available it will not be economically feasible.

The introduction of this technology will enable Facebook to enhance its reach and capabilities of its ever growing social network without affecting its profitability.

Mark Zuckerberg on his plan to bring the internet to every human on earth
Mark Zuckerberg on his plan to bring the internet to every human on earth

The second ambitious project of Facebook is virtual reality. The acquisition of Oculus VR in March 2014 at a cost of 2 billion dollars was exactly for this purpose. Following are the extracts from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post on March 26, 2014:

“…This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away.

The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives….”

“Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.”

The third ambitious venture of Facebook is bringing together the 4 billion people who are not yet connected to the internet or Facebook. To be able to achieve this gargantuan plan it may even require flying drones over villages and remote areas and beam down data via laser technology.

In September 2016 Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced a donation of 3 billion dollars to “cure all diseases” by the end of this century.

The donation, administered through the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) will enable large groups of scientists to work on this grand and noble plan and work on eradicating diseases rather than just finding a cure.

The future of Facebook and its users looks promising and it will not be too long before we see 4 billion active FB users. All the very best Mr. Zuckerberg!

From The Editors Technology

Mark Zuckerberg’s African Sojourn

Mark Zuckerberg, internet entrepreneur, computer programmer par excellence, philanthropist, better known the world over as the co-founder, chairman and CEO of the social networking website Facebook, has recently generated a lot of media and public interest over his first ever African trip.

A lot has been written and said about his sub-Saharan sojourn which, if nothing else, has provided the much-needed impetus to Africa’s nascent IT ecosystem.

It is supposed to have been a staged surprise visit and there is a lot of speculation flying around over the surprise element. It was just an unannounced visit thereby generating the surprise talk. However, it is left to the readers’ conjecture as to the importance and purpose of the bolt from the blue.

Mark Zuckerberg in Ngeria
Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria

The logical reason behind the secrecy could be a pleasant surprise to the young engineers, technicians, entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs, children who are learning computer programming and many others who were much more than just pleasantly shocked.

What is important to analyze and understand is the multifaceted purpose of the visit and how it is going to benefit Africa as a continent and not just the countries he visited there; what would America get out of this and, last but not the least, how the world would benefit from this.

His African endeavor began with a visit to Lagos, the most populous city, not only in Nigeria but the entire continent and, moreover, the country still remains Facebook’s biggest market. It was the smart entrepreneurial strategy on his part to start his itinerary with a trip to the Co–Creation HUB (Cc HUB) in Yaba, Nigeria’s own Silicon Valley.

Zuckerberg with-Andela Lagos-team
Zuckerberg with Andela Lagos-team

Here, he interacted with kids between 5 and 18 in a coding camp, who are completing a “Summer of Code”, learning to program and maybe one day reach the goals they have set out to achieve; met with developers, startup founders and entrepreneurs as he anticipates great potential in the IT community of the country and the continent as a whole. In Zuckerberg’s own words to CNN “There’s so much energy and so much potential here. I just want to walk around and meet folks.”

It is reported that Mark Zuckerberg was particularly impressed with the work of a woman by the name of Temie Giwa-Tubosun who has created LifeBank, a blood tracking system which basically spans from potential donor to recipient. She is confident and claims with conviction that LifeBank would be a faster and cheaper way of blood transfusion.

Zuckerberg had a plethora of questions for her after which he used the term “awesome’ to describe her innovative system. After his visit to CcHub, this is what Zuckerberg had to say on his Facebook Page, which in itself is an authentication of the importance he has attached to this trip:

“This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll be meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, and learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria. The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can.

The first place I got to visit was the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba. I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CcHub to build and launch their apps. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in Nigeria.”

He continued on to visit Andela, a company sponsored by entities including the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Susa Ventures, Steve Case, Founder Collective, Learn Capital and more. Among other things, Seni Suleyman, Director, Andela Lagos had this to say about Mark’s visit:

Mark Zuckerberg had blast in Nigeria
Mark Zuckerberg had blast in Nigeria

‘Mark’s visit demonstrates to all Nigerian developers and entrepreneurs that they’ve caught the attention of the tech world and they are capable of succeeding on a truly global level.”

The visit has definitely generated a lot of interest the world over; a lot of likely positives have emerged from this trip; however, there will always be the odd detractor.

To sum it up, considering the fact that The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, created by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, arranged a $24 million funding in Andela, is certainly a precursor of good things to come, hopefully, not only for Africa and Facebook but the entire web community.