How Facebook Messenger bots are driving social change around the world

By Wednesday, June 21, 2017 0 Permalink 0

You could say Facebook Messenger was once the social network’s most loathed feature. In 2014, the company forced users to download a separate app if they wanted to send and receive messages on their phones, and as a result, Messenger rose to No. 1 in the App Store—but with a dismal one-star rating.

Fast forward three years, and you still need to download the app (sorry). But Messenger has evolved, updated with shiny new features, a discover tab, advanced functionality, and a streamlined desktop version. And while it isn’t perfect, it has become something none of us expected: an actual force for social good around the globe. Read more…

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Facebook researchers taught bots to negotiate (and lie) like humans

By Wednesday, June 14, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook just took a big step forward in its quest to make its automated bots more like humans.

The company’s AI researchers have taught the bots how to negotiate. In research published today, Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Researchers (FAIR — yes, that’s really what they call themselves) detail the “breakthrough” and how the bots ended up acting more human than they expected.

SEE ALSO: Will a robot take your job? This website provides an answer (that you probably won’t like)

The researchers trained the bots with examples of actual human negotiations where two people were tasked with dividing up a series of objects, which had different values to each side. The scientists then used this data to teach the bots how to negotiate. (You can see an example in the GIF below.) Read more…

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Facebook updates Safety Check to make the tool more personal and informative

By Wednesday, June 14, 2017 0 Permalink 0

The Facebook tool everyone hopes they’ll never have to use is getting another upgrade. ;

Facebook announced four new updates to its Safety Check feature on Wednesday, focused on personalizing your “safe” status through a variety of tools and resources. ;

SEE ALSO: How Facebook’s leaked guidelines could make a big difference in preventing suicide

You can now add a fundraiser directly to your Safety Check status, as well as a personal note to loved ones. When you come across another user’s Safety Check post in your News Feed, it will include more information about a given crisis situation for users who don’t know what’s happening. The company is also expanding the platform’s Community Help tool for all crisis situations. ; Read more…

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Thailand sentences man to 35 years in jail for Facebook posts about the royal family

By Friday, June 9, 2017 0 Permalink 0

A Thai man has been sentenced to 35 years in jail for Facebook posts he made that insulted the royal family, in the country’s harshest sentence yet under its strict lèse-majesté laws.

Under these laws, Thailand forbid any criticism of the royal family.

SEE ALSO: Thai man arrested for ‘liking’ post criticizing king on Facebook

On Friday, a Bangkok military court convicted the 34-year-old of lèse-majesté for posting photos and videos of the Thai royal family on Facebook.

The sentence is said to be the harshest sentence ever given for insulting the monarchy according to iLaw, a group that tracks royal defamation cases. Read more…

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Facebook launches ‘disaster maps’ to help communities recover after crises

By Wednesday, June 7, 2017 0 Permalink 0

In the wake of a natural disaster, humanitarian organizations have to act quickly in order to save lives. But to understand exactly what type of aid is needed, and where, they often need to rely on helicopters flying over disaster zones or teams going in on the ground—actions that are both resource-intensive and dangerous.

Facebook wants to help make the entire process more efficient by offering that bird’s eye view from the start. The company announced Wednesday that it’s launching a new product called “disaster maps,” using aggregated, anonymized Facebook data in disaster areas to deliver crucial information to aid organizations during and after crises. Read more…

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Facebook Live introduces closed captions for deaf and hard of hearing users

By Tuesday, June 6, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook just got a little more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing users.

The social media giant is adding closed captioning capabilities to its Live product, USA Today reported Tuesday, allowing viewers to see automatically generated captions on broadcasts that show up in their News Feeds. To see the captions, both publishers and viewers need to activate the setting. ;

SEE ALSO: Deaf YouTubers call out crappy captions with #NoMoreCraptions movement

It’s a welcome addition to Facebook, which has already offered automatic closed captioning on regular videos and advertisements for a few years. When Live launched in 2016, some deaf and hard of hearing users noted the lack of captioning, which rendered the videos inaccessible. Read more…

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In search of meaning for the Facebook Like

By Tuesday, June 6, 2017 0 Permalink 0

What’re you saying when you “Like” a story about the Syrian Civil War in your Facebook News Feed?

Maybe that you enjoyed reading the story. Or maybe the fact the story’s even being covered in the first place. Or just the idea that whoever posted the article is spreading some kind of awareness. Of course, you could just be expressing your approval for the war in Syria. ;

And then: What are you saying if the next thing you “Like” is a picture of a friend’s baby?

Facebook’s the most pervasive single entity in the history of the world—nearly two billion worldwide users. It’s already had a massive impact on advertising and media, to say nothing of the way we interact with one another, and it could end up playing a critical role in a paradigm shift of the entertainment business as we know it. And of course, Facebook’s dramatic impact on politics (or lack thereof) has been argued ad nauseam since November. Read more…

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Facebook’s new Pride Month features celebrate the LGBTQ community with style

By Monday, June 5, 2017 0 Permalink 0

LGBTQ Pride Month is underway, and Facebook just made it easier to celebrate in small yet eye-catching ways.

The social network launched a series of new features and tools on Monday to help you show queer pride and allyship throughout the month of June. From a rainbow flag emoji you can use to react to posts, to a slew of filters for Messenger and Facebook Camera, the new features encourage users to honor and support the LGBTQ community with colorful flair.

SEE ALSO: Instagram releases fierce rainbow stickers to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month

“As Pride celebrations begin around the world, Facebook is proud to support our diverse community, including those that have identified themselves on Facebook as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or gender-nonconforming,” said Alex Schultz, VP and executive sponsor of pride@facebook, in an announcement post. Read more…

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Would-be Harvard students shipped to School of Hard Knocks after offensive memes

By Monday, June 5, 2017 0 Permalink 0

If you’re hoping to attend a university after graduating high school, you might wanna seriously think before you meme. Moreover, if you thought life within the ostensible privacy of secured Facebook pages has no bearing on the future of one’s education—let alone one at the place Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook—you definitely want to take a step back from the keyboard. ;

Harvard recently rescinded the acceptances of at least 10 prospective students from the Class of 2021, for sharing controversial memes on social media, The Harvard Crimson reported.

SEE ALSO: Harvard newspaper hacked just to make fun of grad speaker Mark Zuckerberg Read more…

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