Facebook Introduces Stories

You may or may not have noticed a decline in personal posts on Facebook. We all have friends that share, and possibly overshare, but overall personal posts have declined. What does that mean for the social media giant? It’s time to mix it up.

 

To increase personal sharing, Facebook plans to duplicate Snapchat Stories, threads made of photos and videos which disappear in twenty-four hours. After successfully piloting the method on Instagram, Facebook plans to debut the new feature in Ireland.

 

It appears that social media is becoming more visual. At one point, users would text posts to a number off their flip phones to broadcast on Facebook. Thanks to smartphones and apps, it’s now easier than ever to tweet, post, stream, and share. Facebook calls this the “camera in your pocket.

 

Individuals and businesses can already take advantage of Facebook Live, a way of live-streaming videos. Some share their adventures, while others share product demonstrations.

 

For businesses, the stories feature may provide an opportunity to demonstrate their humanity while promoting products and services. For small businesses and self-employed individuals, these benefits are crucial to success.

 

Of course, we’ve also seen a number of important social campaigns playing out on Facebook in the past year. There was the Ice Bucket Challenge, Standing with Standing Rock, and of course, Election 2016. It’s fair to anticipate increased involvement in these movements and others as Facebook moves toward an audio/visual future, and it could be the answer to a growing distrust in mainstream media.

 

Facebook Testing Propaganda Detection in Germany

In the near future, Facebook’s userbase will be able to point out when certain news stories are false, propagandist literature. With enough such input from its users, Facebook would then declare such material to be of disputed validity through a fact-checking program it is trialing within the German market.

 

The program’s functionality is as follows: stories flagged as questionable by users would be sent over to Correctiv, a third-party fact checking operation. Should Correctiv’s analysis indicate the story to be shaky, it would lose priority within the algorithm that Facebook uses for posting stores into its news feed and thus reduce the number of users that ever even see the propaganda. A spokesperson for Facebook commented that while the current focus is on Germany, the company is already plotting similar measures in other countries.

 

Germany was chosen as an initial market after the country experienced its own issues with the proliferation of mendacious material, such as a viral story claiming that St. Reinold had been set on fire by Muslims; the story incorrectly commented that St. Reinold was the country’s oldest church and greatly exaggerated the scale and attendance of a minor fire within the institution. The German government has previously threatened companies like Facebook with libel and slander for failing to curb hate speech appearing on their platforms.

 

Germany’s issues with propaganda seem to echo the same worries and misinformation that grew rampant during the closing months of the American election of 2016; example false news stories included an endorsement of Donald Trump by the Pope prior to the election. Such stories grew and proliferated in far greater a number than the readership of any legitimate stories, much to the benefit of Trump’s campaign according to some analysts. Barack Obama commented that such stories amounted to nonsense and conspiracy.

 

Facebook Wages War on the Spread of Fake News

To combat the spread of fake news, social media giants Facebook will be working with ABC News, Snopes, Politifact and the Associated Press, as well as other news organizations in a coalition to fact-check articles posted on the site. Facebook articles flagged as fake news will be denied access to Facebook ads, a popular viral spamming tactic purveyors use to attract traffic to third party websites and spread false news quickly.

 

 

Fake Third-Party Sites

 

 

Changes will only affect the spread of fake news. Sites that specialize in political satire, opinions, or anything else that cannot be easily classified will not be affected. Additionally, Facebook will be checking the authenticity of third party websites to see if they are masquerading as popular news sites. Sites full of adverts will also be ineligible to display Facebook ads on their home pages. Typically, fake news third party sites are full of cheap ads and fake news spreaders make more money when Facebook users click on the fake articles and are redirected to the websites.

 

 

Sharing of Facebook Posts

 

 

Articles that a lot of people read and do not share will be placed lower on the feeds. Usually, when people read good articles, they share. Facebook will use the read to sharing ratio of articles to flag poor quality or misleading articles. If users still insist on sharing the article, a reminder will pop up indicating that the credibility of that particular article is questionable.

 

 

The company is trying to work with many partners as it can to minimize the spread of fake news. Facebook is also a part of another coalition with major media and tech companies including CNN, New York Times, Google, and Twitter called the First Draft Coalition. The First Draft Coalition’s sole objective is to eliminate the spread of misleading news articles on the internet. Currently, Facebook has over 1.8 billion active users, with each of them spending about an hour daily on the site. The company will be looking to increase these numbers by fine-tuning the content so that people can easily find what they are looking for and visit regularly.

Facebook Gets Some New Color

Facebook has made changes to its interface in order to maintain the intimate conversations with friends and family that it used to be known for. These changes extend to make text statuses into something akin to photos through access to colored backgrounds. Users can now choose any to appear behind the status’ text. Other aesthetic options include color gradients. Facebook will be rolling out these features over time. Initially, colored statuses can only be created by Android users; however, everyone, regardless of their viewing platform of choice, will be able to see them.

 

A company spokesperson commented that the changes were being made in order to attract more attention. Another potential gain with this approach would be a surge in “original sharing;” most shares come from other shared posts. Lastly, Facebook’s statistics have indicated continual decline in newly shared content since 2015, with professionally published content continuing to surge ahead of original shares, reducing the latter’s presence.

 

Facebook has already made some eye-catching changes, such as rendering short status messages in huge fonts. Both the colored background and font changes could be seeing as ways to snipe at Twitter despite Facebook’s comparatively giant pool of users. When Facebook added a News Feed, it focused solely on text. When statuses were posted, the word “is” used to precede them, indicating that the person was engaging in real time. Despite these aesthetic tweaks, Facebook’s CEO has maintained that video, 360 degree interfaces and VR will be the next steps in Facebook’s evolution.

 

Why Do We We Rely On Facebook For Accurate News?

Critics are claiming that fake Facebook news stories influenced the presidential election, however, the claim is impossible to substantiate. While the social media platform is not a news outlet, the default setting for users is the “news feed,” which 44 percent of U.S. adults use to read the latest news.

 

Facebook users see stories based on previous interactions and algorithms that include profile information, which relies on individuals to decide which news stories were accurate. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently posted about several changes that the social media platform will initiate to crack down on inaccurate information, including making it easier for users to report false news and cracking down on ads that are purposefully misleading. They will also work with fact-checking organizations and begin testing labels for misleading stories, however, Zuckerberg stressed that Facebook will err on the side of free speech.

 

Even President Obama weighed in on the issue; he was quoted as saying “If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.” Despite announcing changes to reduce the amount of fake news on Facebook, Zuckerberg insists that fake news would not influence voters.

 

The problem is that people share fake news and Facebook relies on giving users what they want, since they are an ad-driven company. It is really up to individuals to question news stories from unreliable sources on any social media platform.

Facebook Has Launched Workplace, a Private Social Network for Enterprises

Facebook has recently launched Workplace, a private social network for businesses. Contrary to the conventional reasons for using Facebook at work (distractions), Workplace is different—it aims to provide employees with a platform to professionally chat with their colleagues in a bid to get work done.

Unlike the normal version of Facebook, the platform isn’t connected to users’ existing accounts and is ads-free. Instead, organizations sign up and pay a monthly fee, which is based on the number of its users. It is free for educational institutions and non-profit organizations.

New Corporate Features

Besides the normal features found in the regular version of Facebook such as groups chats, video calls, news feeds, and live video among others, Workplace has a few new corporate extras such as single sign-on, dashboard analytics, better IT integration, and separate Work Chat app for Android and iOS to enable employees keep in touch when they are out of office.

New Offers

Workplace is entering a market where a number of players—Yammer, Slack, Chatter, Jive and Hipchat among others—have picked up remarkable tractions. Nonetheless, the platform is hoping to woo people with a plethora of new twists.

To begin with, Facebook has thrown most of the pricing models used by its competitors out of the window and plans to follow its own book of metrics. For 1-1,000 active users, the platform will charge $3 per user monthly; for 1,001-10,000, the cost declines to $2 per user; and even less for more than 10,000 monthly active users. Additionally, Facebook will be more accountable for its service. It will only charge for active users and how engaging it manages to make the service.

For now Facebook has managed to send a clear message to the market: It is still the leading platform for billions of users to connect to one another in the digital sphere, and is now aggressively entering the corporate world.