Facebook to marketers: Expect drop in News Feed distribution

Facebook has been alerting marketers that they will likely see the organic reach of their Page posts decline over time, CNET has confirmed with the company.

The social network has been known, especially of late, to fudge with the formula that picks and chooses the content to push to members in News Feed. The company did not cite any specific changes to the News Feed algorithm that would be harmful to Pages, the equivalent of profiles for brands, but it is telling clients that their regular status updates will reach fewer people.

"Over the past few months, we have … Read more

Facebook sees surge in mobile ad sales -- report

Google still owns the biggest slice of mobile ad sales. But Facebook is increasingly carving up more of that pie, according to eMarketer.

The two giants together snagged more than two-thirds of last year's $17.96 billion in mobile ad sales, eMarketer reported Wednesday. Mobile ad spending worldwide surged by 105 percent last year and is forecast to jump another 75 percent this year to $31.45 billion.

Google is by far still the top recipient of all that spending, grabbing 49.3 percent of mobile ad revenue last year. But that number showed a small dip from 2012 … Read more

Facebook's security chief on a post-Snowden 'silver lining'

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Edward Snowden's disclosures haven't changed much about security for one of the biggest Internet companies in the world.

"We haven't fundamentally changed the way we do things," said Joe Sullivan, Facebook's chief security officer.

It's just that issues of security and privacy have been front and center since Snowden, a former NSA contractor, leaked a trove of documents to the press last year, he said. Sullivan, who spoke to a group of reporters at Facebook headquarters here, seemed pensive when discussing the new post-Snowden reality.

He was hesitant to … Read more

Facebook's DeepFace aims to see you for who you really are

Facebook is working on artificial intelligence software called DeepFace that is capable of matching faces in images with nearly the same accuracy as humans.

The social network's DeepFace system uses a 3D modeling technique to detect faces, and crop and warp them so that they face front, a method known as frontalization.

The software, currently in testing, is a facial verification system and differs from facial recognition in that it matches faces in large data sets, as opposed to assigning identity to faces. In essence, DeepFace can scan millions of photos, virtually rotate and correct the images, and find … Read more

Facebook opens access to early builds of Messenger for Android

Facebook said Monday that it has created a Facebook Messenger for Android beta program, meaning the social network will give anyone who wants to help bug-test its messaging app early access to a prerelease version of Messenger.

The company has promised its Messenger testers multiple updates per week and access to experimental features. Facebook even hinted that its Messenger for Android guinea pigs might get to test new types of sharing, though the company left out specifics.

The Messenger beta program is similar to the company's Facebook for Android beta testing initiative, which the social network kicked off this … Read more

WhatsApp CEO: We won't compromise your privacy for Facebook

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum reiterated in a blog post Monday that his hit messaging application will not bend to its soon-to-be overlords at Facebook. With the note, the messaging chief tried to assuage fears that his application would become lax in its approach to member privacy.

Last month, WhatsApp agreed to be acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in cash and stock. When the deal was announced, Koum promised the app's 465 million monthly active users that nothing would change. Some members, however, are understandably skeptical given Facebook's history of collecting and sharing member data with advertisers.

"… Read more

How a selfie with a rapper can improve your Facebook status

On occasion, I'm forced to disappear to the Wine Country in order to commune with nature.

If I feel that the last vestige of niceness is disappearing from me, a few hours spent in the company of the people of Napa and their grape products creates a reawakening, as well as a need for a hotel.

Late on Friday afternoon, I was sipping some very fine Honig cabernet when a young man engaged me in conversation.

He was 24 years old, he had a flip phone, and he was in crisis.

"I've got to leave in a … Read more

Facebook makes wrong call on anti-Semitic page

For the past several years, Facebook and several other prominent social-media companies have been wrestling with how to respond when their popular platforms are being abused by bigots to spread racist speech and hateful propaganda, including Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.

Much of the debate has centered on a discussion over the difficult concept of what exactly constitutes hate speech.

As defined by Facebook's own community standards, people have a right to post "ignorant and untrue material about people and events" on their personal pages. But any content that directly attacks people based on their race, ethnicity, national … Read more

WhatsApp calling spotted in the wild?

Answer the phone -- WhatsApp is calling.

Friday, screenshots purportedly depicting the widely popular messaging app's coming-soon voice-calling features made their way to the Web courtesy of the blog iPhoneItalia. The shots, seen above, reportedly depict a beta version of WhatsApp for iPhone with a new interface for making calls.

The images suggest that WhatsApp with VoIP is on its way sooner rather later. Just weeks ago, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum promised to give the messaging app's iPhone and Android users voice communication options. He said voice calling would be added in the second of quarter of this … Read more

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg phones Obama about NSA

It's no secret that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks the National Security Agency has overstepped its bounds when it comes to the agency's surveillance practices, but on Thursday the social network's chief said he took his gripe directly to the nation's commander-in-chief.

"I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future," Zuckerberg said in an update to his Facebook page. "Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform."

Zuckerberg's status update comes … Read more