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It may not seem like that long ago for some of you, but Facebook has just turned 10 years old today. Back on Feburary 4th 2004, a young Mark Zuckerberg launched what was known as, TheFacebook, a social network designed to connect students at Harvard in one place instead of the schools individual dorm pages.
While many doubted that TheFacebook would ever take off, no one but Zuckerberg himself ever dreamed that it would become the dominant social media platform in the world. With more than 1.23 billion active monthly users, Facebook is a powerhouse like never before seen on the internet. More people use the service every day than any other social / profile website in the world, a trend that is projected to continue into the foreseeable future.
This morning Facebook announced that it has made changes to the algorithm that is used to determine which content to display on your news feed. The tweaks are designed to show users less text only post from pages they like but will increase the number of link-based and photo-based updates users see from their favorite pages.
Facebook says that while this will decrease engagement on page updates that are just plain text, pages that frequently share links, videos and images will see an boost in engagement. Facebook admits that it is quite hard to judge what its users really want to see more of on their news feed, but it added that "In general, we recommend that you use the story type that best fits the message that you want to tell - whether that's a status, photo, link or video."
This morning Facebook announced that it will be bringing video ads to its social networking service. This is a move that has been rumored for about a year now and was expected to launch earlier this year. Facebook says that the ads will incorporate an "auto play" feature as well, something that is sure to annoy all.
Fortunately, the videos will not feature sound when activated, and users must first click on the video to open it full screen before the audio will play. Facebook did win back points with me here as I simply hate video ads that start with the sound on. As someone who usually has 20-30 tabs open at any given point, it is a major hassle to track down which tab keeps playing the annoying commercial.
How long has it taken Facebook to get to this position? I don't understand how hard it is for the tens of thousands of coders, designers and employees at the world's largest social network to not have implemented a 'dislike' or what its rumored to be called, 'sympathize' button onto Facebook.
The Telegraph is reporting that Facebook is working on a 'sympathize' button that would be used to 'dislike' or not 'like' a post. The new sympathize button is thanks to a recent hackathon event, and will be tied to emotions tagged within updates to indicate your 'dislike' in the post, so it might not roll out in the way we think it will. Time will tell.
Facebook's Like buttons have become a cultural icon for the internet age, and today the company released updates to the iconic button. The like button is not alone though, as the Share button has been updated as well, with both now appearing more flat in appearance.
Gone is the heavy gradient and overly rounded corners which gives the buttons a more refined and elegant look. Additionally, less emphasis has been placed on the iconic "thumbs up" icon which now only appears in 2 of the button models. The new buttons employ the Helvetica typeface which is actually quite pleasing to the eye. What do you think about the new buttons? Let me know in the comments.
Twitter's Initial Public Offering (IPO) is fast approaching and is scheduled to kick off this Thursday, November 7th, and the company could offer as many as 80.5 million shares. This morning the company announced that ahead of the IPO, it has raised the per share price to $23 to $25 per share.
If the company does offer 80.5 million shares instead of the 70.5 it initially filled for, it could raise more than $2 billion in just a few days. Twitter will finalize everything Wednesday night and trading will open Thursday morning. Let's hope that this IPO turns out better than Facebooks IPO last year, and investors begin seeing returns much faster than they did with Facebook.
This morning Facebook launched its all new app for Windows 8.1 in conjunction with Microsoft's release of the operating system for digital download. The App appears to be very similar to its Windows 8 predecessor with the typical status, photo and check in tabs. The standard chat interface is present as well.
Facebook has included the friend request, inbox and notification icons with touch friendly buttons, and the app now supports Share Charm. Search functionality is also built in, and the app features several Snap Views, but reports suggest some are disabled. At the moment, it appears that the app is not backwards compatible with Windows 8, and users who try to install it from the Windows Store are prompted with a message that says they must upgrade to 8.1 to install the app.
Facebook has began providing television networks with metrics on what TV shows its users are talking about the most. ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS have all began receiving reports from the social network that clue these companies in on what shows Facebook users like, share, and comment on.
Facebook says that the reports are delivered weekly, and that all user data is anonymized, and the only thing networks see is a final compiled metric such as "total social interactions that occurred." Facebook is hoping that this new initiative will take some of the market share away from Twitter, which is usually the go to for real-time viewer stats during big TV events.
"The conversation is being generated by a group that is much more representative of the general population," Daniel Slotwiner, the head of Facebook's TV metrics team, said in an interview. "That means we should have a better signal as it relates to ratings."
Facebook has been banned in China for what seems like forever, but now Beijing has lifted the ban on the Internet access within the Shanghai free-trade Zone to foreign websites that were previously considered politically sensitive by the Chinese government.
These websites included Facebook, Twitter and The New York Times, but now according to government sources who told the South China Morning Post, the authority in charge of the Hong Kong-like free-trade zone in Shanghai is a first in mainland China. This would also see bids coming in from foreign telecommunications companies for license to provide Internet services within the new zone.
One of the government sources told the South China Morning Post: "In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home. If they can't get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China."
Twitter has increased the feature set of its #music service, adding two music streaming companies to the mix: Spotify and Rdio. These two music streaming services will now offer the ability to view playlists generated by Twitter #music.
Popular songs and songs with the #NowPlaying hashtag will be featured, with users being able to view all 15 of the playlists on the #music page, as well as the apps. This is just another step in the ever-evolving world of Twitter, which is looking to go public in the very near future, and another great step to see more users continue to use Spotify and Rdio.