Facebook offered a deep dive into its its News Feed ranking algorithm on Tuesday, expounding on why it moves up old stories and how it picks which stories it thinks you want to see.
Lars Backstrom, the engineering manager in charge of News Feed ranking, explained how Facebook sorts through the "tens of thousands" of potential posts users put on Facebook each day. While there is a median of 1,500 potential stories that a user can see daily, Facebook inserts about 300 based on an algorithm that guesses how interested you will be in a post by factoring users' reactions to previous posts and the users. Each post is given a score and placed depending on that score. The more likes and comments people make, the more data Facebook has to work with...
Read the full story here... Source: CNET
While it’s not clear just why the app would do this, or what purpose it has for doing so, the Facebook app for Android is taking your phone number the first time you open it up. Without even logging in, the app takes your number and stores it on the Facebook servers. You don’t need a Facebook account, or even initiate an action within the app. Simply having it and opening it will allow the app to take your phone number.
Norton discovered this security flaw during routine testing they perform on apps for their Mobile Insight security app. According to Norton, their testing methods are sound:
Through automatic and proprietary static and dynamic analysis techniques, Mobile Insight is able to automatically discover malicious applications, privacy risks, and potentially intrusive behavior. Further, Mobile Insight will tell you exactly what risky behavior an application will perform and give you specific, relevant, and actionable information.
Norton then reached out to Facebook, who claimed to be unaware of the issue. They told Norton they“did not use or process the phone numbers and have deleted them from their servers”, and said they had no knowledge of the issue. Norton also notes that Facebook is not the only app doing this, or even the worst offender. They promise more information on other culprits in coming weeks, but we’re still curious why Facebook would take numbers from a device that wasn’t even logged in. If I were to download the app, then open it to see what it looked like out of curiosity, my number would then be uploaded to the Facebook server.
We’re not ready to call Facebook nefarious on this account. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of all their other security flaws, we’ll chalk this up to another error on their part. What this does do is bring into focus app permissions, and how important they are. Perhaps more importantly, how they can be abused by the app publisher, and ignored by users as fine-print.
Source: Android Authority
Facebook is inviting members of the press to attend a mystery event on Thursday, June 20 at its Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters, where the company promises to unveil a new product.
The invitation, sent via snail mail according to ABC News, reads: "A small team has been working on a big idea. Join us for coffee and learn about a new product."
Facebook confirmed the event with CNET but would not provide additional details.
The invite for the product-related event closely trails the social network's release of hashtags, a long overdue feature that finally connects the company to pop culture.
It also comes just days after a developer discovered code that hints at the development of aFacebook RSS reader. A reader release would make for a timely launch as Google Reader isgoing dark on July 1.
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg isn't overly concerned that teenagers will abandon the giant social network, as a Pew study reported. "We're the leaders in a growing market," she said during an onstage interview at theD: All Things Digital conference here. She acknowledged, though, that teens are using sites such as Tumblr and Twitter more. "We are watching that very carefully," she said.
Sandberg also noted that social networking and other Internet activities still trail TV in terms of time spent. Users on average watch 34 hours of TV a week, compared with 6 hours per week on Facebook. "There is room for people to do different things. All other services continue to grow and we do. We don't think it's a zero-sum game," she said...
Read the full story here. Source: CNET
Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Yahoo has agreed to acquire 6-year-old blogging powerhouse Tumblr for $1.1 billion. The mammoth deal has sent the Internet into a tizzy, especially since most would have pegged the two companies as unlikely bedfellows just a week ago.
The simplest and most obvious reason for Yahoo's interest in Tumblr can be seen in the chart above, which highlights the dramatically differing demographic profiles for the media portal and the blogging network.
It's a tale of two audiences. Tumblr is a fountain of youth. Yahoo is practically a retirement community. Specially, a majority of people, or 61 percent, who visited Tumblr properties from Web or mobile in March are 34 or younger, according to analytics firm ComScore. Conversely, 56 percent of Yahoo visitors in March are over the age of 35.
With the $1.1 billion buy, Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer has purchased some much-needed insurance for Yahoo's future.
The rumors were apparently true: Google's unified chat platform (widely nicknamed Babel) is launching as part of a Hangouts redesign. The new service focuses on conversations that carry over from device to device, including notifications and shared photos; contacts are still there, but they're pushed to the side. Live group video is new, too, while text chats make it clearer as to who has been reading and typing. Android, iOS and web users all get access to the updated Hangouts today.
Twitter's showing off an updated version of its Mac app today, featuring a number of key fixes, including improvements to photo sharing and a slew of new languages. On the image side of things, you can now share a photo by clicking on the camera icon in the tweet composing module, or just do it the old fashioned way by dragging pictures from your desktop. Also new in this version is support for Macs with retina displays and a total of 14 new languages, including Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Turkish. Interested parties can download the update via the source link below.
Twitter is close to rolling out two-step verification in response to recent hackings, according to Wired. The social network has reportedly begun internal testing before the feature becomes available in increments to users; the staggered release is to ensure smooth sailing. The extra security measure should reduce the risk of accounts, high-profile or otherwise, being hijacked, which has become a more frequent occurrence over the past few months.
Many other big-name companies have rolled out two-step verification to combat hacking. Basically, by implementing the heightened security measure, hackers will have a much more difficult time gaining access to accounts because they won’t just need a password, but a randomly generated code sent to a device, usually through SMS. I know every time I log into Google, I’m sent a six-digit code I need to input before I can actually login.
Wired wasn’t told how or when Twitter will introduce two-step verification, but with so many recent hackings, the company will surely want to get it pushed out sooner rather than later. If a simple SMS solution is planned, fine—that’s better than nothing at all. Before two-step is rolled out, though, keep your passwords safe, and watch out for misinformation from trusted sources.
Is there anything about social media that researchers haven’t yet zoomed in on? This time, the study (.pdf) comes from a Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. student and a Facebook staffer, who reveal that most Facebook users tend to self-censor their comments at the last minute before posting.
Carnegie Mellon’s Sauvik Das and Facebook Data Scientist Adam Kramer co-authored a study that put millions of people’s Facebook habits under a microscope during a 17-day period. When the duo examined the massive sample size of 3.9 million users, they found that 71 percent edited themselves right before posting.
The study identifies “self-censorship” as “the act of preventing oneself from speaking” — though personally, I think a more accurate definition might be “the act of preventing oneself from looking like an imbecile to everybody one knows.” (You say potato, I say potahto.) The report hones in on the fact that today’s social media enables people to write and then review their thoughts before sharing them. This, Das and Kramer believe, is what gives users the room to second guess what they wrote.
I’m both surprised by these research results and not. On the one hand, it’s human nature for a person to evaluate how he or she comes off to others. But on the other hand, it certainly doesn’t seem like a whopping 71 percent are actually considering what they put out on Facebook. The network’s rife with offensive status updates, questionable pics and other regrettable messages.
I suppose all those gross updates and “potty” shares must come from the other 29 percent.
Despite an early leak on Monday, once again the internet lit-up with chatter about the release of Facebook Home in the Google Play store. All good and well if you find yourself in the right place with the right phone, but what about everyone else? Unsurprisingly, the digital door staff (read, Facebook's hardware restrictions) have already been dispatched, meaning almost any Android device can download and install the social software. We can thank Paul O'Brien at MoDaCo for doing the honors, and for those interested, the process is pretty simple. If your issue is location (rather than device) you'll need the latest version of Facebook's regular and Messenger apps first. Once you do, just download the APK, activate it, and you're good. If hardware is the barrier, then you'll need to get the patched versions of Facebook, Messenger and Home (via the source). Early reports suggest that most features operate just fine, but that sending SMS from Messenger can sometimes stop working. If that's a deal-breaker, you'll have to keep an eye out for updates. If it's not, then tap the source up for the full lowdown. If you do, head back here and let us know how you got on.
Chat heads, a virtual carousel of full screen (Instagram) images and enough status updates to let you keep close stalkerly tabs on your nearest and dearest -- that's what Facebook's got in Home. And as of today, it's breaking free from AT&T's exclusive HTC First and heading to a choice few Android flagships in the US. Now owners of the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II as well as the HTC One X+ can rush on over to Google Play or Facebook's site to download the free screen-stealing app / launcher. And when HTC's One and Samsung's GS 4 make their eventual way to the US market, Facebook heads will also have the privilege of setting up Home on those two flagships, just as Zuck promised. Home: it's where privacy and your free time go to die.