Why Facebook went for basic over bold with News Feed (Q&A)

After a year of waiting, you're finally getting a new News Feed -- except that it's not at all like the one you were originally promised.

Thursday, Facebook started rolling out an "updated" look to the desktop version of News Feed. The changes, announced with little fanfare in a blog post, amount to larger pictures and new fonts, and they represent a distinct about-face from the bigger, bolder News Feed that the social network unveiled with pomp and circumstance last year. That version, however, turned out to be too complex for the average person and was … Read more

Instagram inks its first advertising agency deal

Just five months after delivering its first official advertisements, Instagram has a made a believer out of Omnicon Group, a top-tier advertising and marketing agency with more than 5,000 clients.

The agency has signed a one-year contract with Instagram, an Instagram spokesperson told CNET on Friday. The partnership marks the first agency deal for Instagram and signifies the seriousness of the smartphone application's intention to turn the photo and video app, used by more than 150 million people each month, into a lucrative business.

The deal, which comes with creative guidance from Instagram, was first reported by AdAge. … Read more

Is Facebook contributing to eating disorders?

Over the years, Facebook has been blamed for depression, isolation, jealousy, and various other types of emotional dissatisfaction. Now a researcher has delivered another possible reason to "dislike" using the social-media site: it might contribute to eating disorders.

Pamela K. Keel, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, made that determination after surveying 960 college-aged women. Keel divided the students into two groups: one group spent 20 minutes in their own Facebook universe, and the other read about the ocelot on Wikipedia, then watched a video clip about the adorable rainforest cat on YouTube. Both groups of students were instructed not to browse other Web sites.

"Women who spent 20 minutes on Facebook reported greater maintenance of weight and shape concerns and greater increases in anxiety compared to women in the control condition, which demonstrates that Facebook is influencing well-established eating disorder risk factors," Keel told Crave.… Read more

Privacy groups ask FTC to block Facebook-WhatsApp deal

The proposed sale of WhatsApp to Facebook will violate the privacy expectations of WhatsApp's users, two privacy groups argued Thursday in a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.

Filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, the "unfair and deceptive practices" complaint states that WhatsApp's privacy policy is incompatible with Facebook's. They request that the FTC "halt Facebook's proposed acquisition of WhatsApp" until the issues listed in the complaint are "adequately resolved."

The complaint also argues that the proposed merger … Read more

Better late than never for Facebook's updated newsfeed

A newsfeed update more than 365 days in the making:

In this episode of Update:

-- Facebook finally rolls out newsfeed redesign

-- "Shaq-Fu" sequel that no one ever asked for

-- Drop a pretty penny on a new Samsung Tabpro

-- Jawbone Up24 apps

-- Wello case is your new doctor

-- Evernote opens up to handwriting

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps, and what's ahead. Subscribe to the podcast via the links below. … Read more

Facebook goes back to basics for new-new News Feed

Facebook will try again with a new News Feed, this time opting for functional over flashy.

The social network said Thursday that it is rolling out an "updated look" for the desktop version of News Feed. The design, which comes with bigger images and a new font, is meant to better match the mobile version that people already see on their smartphones.

The latest iteration of the new News Feed comes almost exactly a year to the date after the social network showed off its idea of a bigger, bolder News Feed. That version, however, never made it … Read more

Facebook to police private sale of firearms

Facebook said Wednesday that it's implementing stricter rules on Facebook and Instagram around posts that discuss the sale or promotion of firearms and other regulated items.

"We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law," Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy management, said in a statement. "For example, private sellers of firearms in the U.S. will not be permitted to specify 'no background check required,' nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms … Read more

Facebook Messenger lands on Windows Phone

Windows Phone users can now download Facebook Messenger.

Already available for iOS and Android devices, the social network's dedicated chat app is now nestled in the Windows Phone Store.

A spinoff of the full Facebook mobile app, Facebook Messenger lets you chat with one or more of your friends, share your location, and perk up your chats with pictures and stickers.

The launch doesn't come as a surprise. At last week's Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced that Facebook Messenger would soon land on Windows Phone.

"Facebook Messenger is probably one of the most requested individual apps … Read more

Yahoo testing app-install ads similar to Facebook's

It looks like Yahoo is taking a page from Facebook's advertising playbook.

The Sunyvale, Calif.-based company is testing ads on its mobile properties that prompt users to download apps onto their devices from third party developers. It's the same idea as Facebook has with its app-install ads, which appear in its own content feeds.

"We're testing in-stream ad opportunities with an initial group of advertisers who have mobile apps and want to connect directly with audiences across Yahoo mobile apps and sites. The purpose of these native ads is to help brands drive downloads of … Read more

Facebook Paper users can now share stories with anyone

Facebook has tweaked its Paper app to encourage more sharing.

Released on Tuesday, version 1.0.2 of Facebook Paper now lets you share certain Facebook posts by e-mail, text message, or Facebook Message. Previously, the app restricted you to only sharing posts with your Facebook friends.

To share a particular post, tap on the arrow key at the bottom of the screen, and you'll see several different options for sharing. You can't share every post by e-mail or text message -- only ones that link to actual online articles.

The latest update also allows you to turn … Read more