Supreme Court weighs a constitutional right to social media access

By Tuesday, February 28, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Does everyone have the legal right to access social media, regardless of past sins? ;

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on the constitutionality of a North Carolina law barring convicted sex offenders from accessing social media platforms also used by children. Lawyers advocating on behalf of one such offender, Lester Packingham, argued to the court that Facebook is so integral to everyday life that depriving an individual of access violates his or her First Amendment rights. ;

That’s right: We’re at a point where Facebook access may soon be considered a fundamental right. ;

SEE ALSO: Teens who follow the news on social media are more likely to support the First Amendment Read more…

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Facebook ready to ramp up flights of its solar-powered drone

By Tuesday, February 28, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Last summer, when Facebook tested its huge drone, the right wing fizzled out and it smashed into the Arizona desert. So, you know, could have gone better. But it was round one, and the company now believes it’s ready to test the solar-powered Aquila multiple times a month. ;

“The systems performed way better than planned,” Facebook Vice President of Engineering Jay Parikh said on Monday from a conference in Barcelona, Spain, according to Bloomberg. “But we need to fly a lot more.”

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s image recognition can now tell what you’re wearing

The plan is to start flying a few times a month. Facebook’s ultimate goal is to use these drones with massive wingspans to bring internet connectivity to areas without regular online access. Think of them as traveling, solar-powered internet hubs. ; Read more…

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You might want to rethink what you’re ‘liking’ on Facebook now

By Tuesday, February 28, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook’s reactions just turned one and the company is finally revealing how its revamped like button impacts your News Feed.

It turns out the company weighs reactions — love, haha, wow, sad and angry — over “likes” in determining what content to surface in your News Feed. ;

SEE ALSO: Instagram launches photo albums, sadly

“Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person.” Read more…

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Hackers didn’t lock you out of your Facebook account. Facebook did.

By Saturday, February 25, 2017 0 Permalink 0

No, it wasn’t the Russians. ;

A number of Facebook users today reported being randomly locked out of their accounts, and some immediately feared the worst. Was this proof of hackers looking to steal precious vacation photos? Or maybe evidence of Big Brother at work?

Nah.

SEE ALSO: Please, Facebook, don’t ruin our love stories

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the culprit behind today’s lockout was in fact … Facebook. ;

It’s not just you…!
Facebook has logged out tons of people and locked their accounts (incl. me!) #facebookdown pic.twitter.com/NhcrV1gVxy

— Matt Navarra ⭐️ (@MattNavarra) February 24, 2017 Read more…

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Someone lost a pair of Snuggie-clad goats, but it’s OK because they were found

By Friday, February 24, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Finding out you’ve lost a pet is one of the most crushing and terrifying moments to experience.

But losing two goats in Snuggies? We can’t even imagine what that level of pain would feel like.

That’s exactly what happened in Nampa, Idaho. The Nampa Police Department discovered two lost goats in their town, who also appear to be wearing Snuggies. In an attempt to find their owner, they posted a picture of the goats to Facebook.

SEE ALSO: Dog DGAF when poor owner shells out $1,000 after it swallows a bouncy ball

“Have you lost your goats? Or your Snuggies?” the post reads. “The Snuggie-clad ruminants have been transported to the West Valley Humane Society.” Read more…

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WhatsApp hits 200 million active users in India

By Friday, February 24, 2017 0 Permalink 0

WhatsApp has hit 200 million monthly active users in India as the Facebook-owned service continues its dominance in developing markets. ;

India remains the biggest market for WhatsApp, which had 160 million active users in the country last November. Moving forward, Brian Acton, a founder of WhatsApp, said the company will explore ways to contribute to “India’s vision for digital commerce.”

SEE ALSO: Of course Facebook is putting a Snapchat clone inside WhatsApp

WhatsApp is simple, secure, and its vision is in line with (the government initiative) Digital India, ;Acton said. ;

He’s on a one-day trip to the country, where he met India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to talk about ways WhatsApp could further help empower people in rural and poor areas, as well as commercial messaging and mobile payments. ; Read more…

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Facebook’s new emoji are finally available to everyone

By Friday, February 24, 2017 0 Permalink 0

No longer a company that prioritizes moving fast and breaking things, Facebook has finally finished rolling out new emoji across its desktop and mobile sites. ;

Those of you excitedly awaiting the latest rendition of that instant classic, Man in Business Suit Levitating, need wait no longerEmojipedia reports that all users of Facebook’s website now have access to the entire new set of emoji designs. ;

SEE ALSO: You’ve been saying these emoji names wrong your whole life

That’s right: Your ghosts, thinking faces, and drooling faces all have a fresh look. ;

The company began rolling out the update in stages starting in September of last year. So far, only users of the website have access to the full range of emoji. People using Facebook’s mobile apps will have to wait at least a little longer to bask in the glory that is the mean-mugging deer. ; Read more…

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Facebook will give you a chance to fly your own flag in your profile pic

By Thursday, February 23, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook just added almost 200 national flags to its Profile Frames feature, giving users an extra chance share their national pride with all their friends—or just make everyone quickly scrolling through their feeds double-check if their phone screen has a smudge when the flags fly past. ; ; ;

The small flags, which appear at the top corner of profile pictures, don’t make much of a statement beyond “hey, here’s where I’m from” adding to Facebook’s list of photo frames that allow users visually pledge allegiance to their favorite sports teams or social causes (think back to the much more affecting and ubiquitous marriage equality and Paris frames that filled newsfeeds in 2015). ; ; ; Read more…

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How can Uber overcome the sexism in its company culture?

By Thursday, February 23, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Welcome back to another week of MashTalk. On this week’s podcast, the Mashable tech team chats about Uber’s sexism in the workplace problems, Instagram’s new albums feature, and the latest Apple rumors.

As always, MashTalk is hosted by Tech Editor Pete Pachal with commentary from Chief Correspondent Lance Ulanoff and Senior Tech Correspondent Raymond Wong. ;

SEE ALSO: Why sexual harassment scandals like Uber’s are bound to persist in tech

To tell us all about Uber’s nightmare situation (1:36), we brought in our special guest, Business Editor Jason Abbruzzese.

Uber’s wild ride

If you haven’t kept up with the Uber saga, here’s the lowdown: Former Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler penned a harrowing essay about sexism and inept HR practices at the ride-sharing giant. In it, she shares details of sexual harassment and corporate negligence that reads like something out of a TV drama. ; Read more…

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