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SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - Instagram said it now has more than one billion active users, highlighting surging growth at the Facebook-owned social network focused on photo and video sharing.

The announcement came at an event hosted by Instagram chief Kevin Systrom announcing a new feature enabling users to share long-form videos up to one hour long.

“We have now a community of one billion users,” Systrom told the event in San Francisco.

Instagram becomes the fourth Facebook platform to hit the billion-user mark, including the namesake social network with more than two billion users, and the WhatsApp and Messenger services.

“Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown,” Systrom said in a blog post.

“This is a major accomplishment.”

Instagram has been outpacing rival social networks such as Twitter and Snapchat and has been gaining younger users even as Facebook itself has seen declines in the youth segment.

In September, Instagram said it had some 800 million monthly active users. Systrom announced the launch of the IGTV platform which will have a separate smartphone app or can be watched from Instagram.

“The way we are watching video is changing,” Systrom told the event.

IGTV will enable any user to upload long-form videos and will also include “channels” from video “creators,” similar to a format employed by Google-owned YouTube.

“Anyone can be a creator - you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel,” Systrom said.

Systrom said IGTV is built to be used on a smartphone, and boosts the time for videos from the previous limit of one minute.

Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a combination of cash and stock worth some $1 billion at the time.

Since then it has become a strong enginer of growth for Facebook in terms of users and ad revenues.

While Facebook offers no detailed revenue breakdown, the research firm eMarketer estimates Instagram will generate $5.48 billion in net US ad revenue this year, up 70.4 per cent from last year and accounting for more than one-fourth of Facebook’s net mobile ad revenue.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - It could be that popular Facebook groups will start asking for your credit card details as admins ask for investment in order to continue their efforts.

Most active Facebook users are members of a group of some sort, whether it be for hobbies, interests or motivation. And for every group, there's an admin, or admins, who work behind the scenes to approve members, oversee content and even in some cases share wisdom. This has been mostly voluntary, however that could change with a new payment tool.

Facebook has announced that starting from this week, it is piloting subscriptions for groups, starting with a few select communities.

The social network says that admins who invest a lot of their time and energy to maintain these groups requested “tools to help them continue to invest in their community and offer more to members.”

The program is designed especially for those providing their expertise, which they would usually charge for, or for groups that have become so large that they are very time consuming.

As the announcement points out, many admins are already collecting payments from group members outside of the Facebook, so by allowing subscriptions to be managed directly though the Facebook app for iOS and Android, it aims to make it easier and more time efficient. It may also keep influential admins from going to other platforms.

This is not unlike the “New Tools and Experiences for Creators” rolled out in March of this year in what appears to be an attempt to allow influencers to profit from branding deals as well as offer fans the chance to support content creators with a monthly payment. Diehard followers could get a badge “highlighting their status as a supporter” and potentially some exclusive content.

As for brands, they could take advantage of ‘Ad Breaks', which was recently made available to a group of creators producing shows for Watch, Facebook's video-on- demand service.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Facebook said it is offering a series of new formats for its online video platform including interactive game shows, quizzes and polls.

The new formats will be available to those creating video content on the social network, which is searching for a niche to compete against rivals ranging from Netflix to Google-owned YouTube.

One of the features from Facebook will allow interactivity, which could be used for live game shows or challenges which offer cash prizes.

“We believe that watching video doesn’t have to be passive, and that many types of traditional entertainment formats - from game shows to reality TV to scripted content - can be reinvented to be community-centric,” said a statement from Facebook’s entertainment partnerships team.

“We’re announcing a set of new tools - polling for (Facebook) Live and on-demand video and gamification for Live - that will give creators the power to create fun, unique, and interactive content for their fans.”

Facebook, which has already begun offering original video content, said it already has partners for the new format.

One show, Outside Your Bubble by BuzzFeed News, will challenge contestants to “step outside their bubble” to guess what people from different social media groups are thinking.

Facebook earlier this month announced its first original news shows for the social network with a variety of partners including CNN, Fox News, ABC News and Univision.

Facebook is offering a combination of professionally produced shows as well as user videos to compete against its rivals.

LONDON, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Many people are switching from Facebook to closed forums like WhatsApp to discuss daily news because of worries about privacy, fake stories and toxic debates, a survey said recently.

The latest Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that news consumption via Facebook is falling, particularly among the young, who prefer WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat.

“People are... getting a little bit bored with Facebook,” Nic Newman, lead author of the seventh annual report said.

Facebook remains the most popular social network for news, with 36 per cent using it in the last week. But it has lost ground to other apps, especially WhatsApp, which has tripled in popularity as a source of news in four years to 15 per cent.

People feel more comfortable chatting on closed platforms in countries with polarised divides and where it can be dangerous to express political views openly, such as in Malaysia and Turkey, the study said.

Respondents said they often find stories on Facebook and Twitter and post them to a WhatsApp group for discussion with a smaller set of friends.

Although much of Facebook’s fall is attributable to its changed algorithms, which prioritise interactions with family and friends, trust is also a major concern.

Only 23 per cent of 74,000 people polled in 37 countries said they trust news on social media, compared to 44 percent trust in news overall.

More people are paying for online news in some countries, reaching 30 per cent in Norway, with donations also emerging as an alternative strategy, said the study by the Reuters Institute, which is funded by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“People find that some news is worth paying for, but much of it is not,” Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the Reuters Institute’s research director, said in a statement.

“The challenge for publishers now is to ensure that the journalism they produce is truly distinct, relevant, and valuable, and then effectively promoting it to convince people to donate or subscribe.”


DUBAI, June 11, 2018 (News Wires) - Facebook has announced that Arabic is now available as a language on the latest version of the Facebook for iPhone. In addition to the existing availability of Arabic on desktop and Android, this move will help people across the region use Facebook in their native language. This is just another example of Facebook's commitment to the MENA region.

Arabic is widely spoken amongst the 169 million people who use Facebook every month in the MENA region on mobile. This update is a result of Facebook's collaboration with veteran translators from the region through the Translate Facebook app, which enables anyone to translate the Facebook interface into their own language.

Jonathan Labin, Managing Director, Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan at Facebook said: "Languages are vital to our mission of bringing the world closer together and helping people build communities. They carry tradition, culture and unique opinions, and give us the opportunity to start meaningful conversations with different people. With this new update to Facebook on iPhone, we hope more people can connect with each other in the Middle East and North Africa region."

Facebook is now available in more than 100 languages, reaching over one billion people that use Facebook in a language other than English. People can easily switch their language on Facebook by navigating to the settings menu and selecting their preferred language settings.

To learn more about the Translate Facebook app, visit the Help Center.





SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, 2018 (News Wires) - Facebook acknowledged recently a software glitch that changed the settings of some 14 million users, potentially making some posts public even if they were intended to be private.

The news marked the latest in a series of privacy embarrassments for the world’s biggest social network, which has faced a firestorm over the hijacking of personal data on tens of millions of users and more recently for disclosures on data-sharing deals with smartphone makers.

Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement that the company recently “found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts.”

Facebook said this affected users posting between May 18 and May 27 as it was implementing a new way to share some items such as photos.

That left the default or suggested method of sharing as public instead of only for specific users or friends.

Facebook said it corrected the problem on May 22 but was unable to change all the posts, so is now notifying affected users.

“Starting today we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time,” Egan said.

“To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before — and they could still choose their audience just as they always have. We’d like to apologise for this mistake.”

Facebook confirmed earlier this week that China-based Huawei — which has been banned by the US military and is a lightning rod for cyberespionage concerns — was among device makers authorised to see user data in agreements that had been in place for years.

Facebook has claimed the agreements with some 60 device makers dating from a decade ago were designed to help the social media giant get more services into the mobile ecosystem.

Nonetheless, lawmakers expressed outrage that Chinese firms were given access to user data at a time when officials were trying to block their access to the US market over national security concerns.

The revelations come weeks after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was grilled in Congress about the hijacking of personal data on some 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy working on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.


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