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Facebook’s Next Big Bet Is Making Your Phone’s Camera Smarter

Facebook has gotten us all to share text posts and photos, and is seeing a lot of use of video. Now, it wants to turn is all into live streamers, and use advanced technology to aid our use of our phone cameras: That’s the gist of an outlook that Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox gave at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. Tuesday.

Cox said that Facebook has already seen 400 percent growth in live streaming since opening it up to all of its users in May. Not all of that is coming from users watching broadcasts of major media brands, he explained, adding that the number of small broadcasters — teenagers that stream to just a dozen of their friends — was a surprise even to Facebook itself.

Key to Facebook Live’s future growth will be technology that adds to the live broadcast experience, said Cox. He showed off one example that Facebook is currently experimenting with in the lab: An app that automatically takes the camera input and in real-time renders it in the style of famous painters like van Gogh using neural networks.

The bigger idea behind experiments like this is to turn the camera into an advanced tool that unlocks live streaming and augmented reality experiences, said Cox. “This is going to help take the technology to the next level.”

Cox was joined on stage by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who argued that Live is an evolution of free expression on Facebook, complete with the challenges that come with it. The company has been in hot waters in the past for overzealous removal of content, and suggested last week that it was ready to relax some of its guidelines for acceptable content.

“Facebook is a platform for all ideas,” Sandberg said. “We also want to be a really safe community. Those two things can come into conflict.”

As Facebook is making decision what content to keep on its platform and what to ban, it often finds itself confronted with criticism that it is exercising editorial control — a charge that Sandberg and Cox denied. “A media company is about the story that it tells,” said Cox. “A technology company is about the tools that it builds.”

Source: Variety, article by Janko Roettgers (http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/facebook-chris-cox-sheryl-sandberg-live-1201900331/)

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Facebook Workplace is the new social network for your OFFICE

FORGET LinkedIn, Facebook Workplace, offering collaboration tools, worldwide communication and more, could be the new social media network for your place of work.

The age of sneakily using Facebook whilst at work could finally be at an end thanks to the launch of a new social media site from the company.

Facebook Workplace looks to allow companies to set up their own private social networks, where employees can communicate, share knowledge and stay in touch, even at multinational businesses with offices all around the world.

Looking to target workers who don’t spend all day at their desk, Workplace is a mobile-focused service that will let employees and managers alike stay in contact wherever they are.

Formerly known as Facebook at Work, Workplace is Facebook biggest launch for some time, and marks a move towards the corporate scene for the first time.

Facebook says that more than a thousand organisations around the world are already using Workplace, which has been in beta testing for over two years, including many UK businesses.

This includes international companies such as Danone, Oxfam and Starbucks, as well as major domestic organisations such as India’s Yes Bank and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore.

Companies will need to pay a fee to use Workplace, which will be based on a monthly cost per active user.

The more users a company has, the less they will pay – with initial rates starting at $3 for the first 1,000 monthly users, $2 for up to 10,000 users and $1 for any higher than that.

Customers can also add in a number of additional services to their Workplace subscription, including multi-company Groups (which let employees from several different organisations work together without leaking valuable corporate information), and video and group audio calling in Work Chat.

However more traditional Facebook services can also be included, such as Facebook Live, Reactions, Trending posts and auto-translate.

Facebook says that utilising its various programs could allow workers to chat with a colleague across the world in real time, host a virtual brainstorm in a Group, or follow along with a CEO’s presentation on Facebook Live.

Facebook wrote in a blog post, “The new global and mobile workplace isn’t about closed-door meetings or keeping people separated by title, department or geography.”

“Organisations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together.”

Source: Express, article by Michael Moore (http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/719665/facebook-workplace-new-social-network-office)

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Snapchat Needs to Go Public Before Instagram Stories Kills It

With Snapchat leaking that the company is planning a quick initial public offering (IPO) at a $25 billion valuation, the real motivation for speeding up the deal may be the ability of Instagram Stories to grow to from scratch to 60 percent of Snapchat’s user base in just 10 weeks.

L&F Capital Management suggests that Snapchat’s current advantages are easily replicated, and that “Instagram will ultimately consolidate the teen user base.”

They see a Snapchat IPO as another one-trick-pony like GoPro, Fitbit and Shake Shack. All three had hot IPO’s and a big jump in price in the first few days of trading. But within a year, competition swooped in and the companies’ stock prices crumbled.

A recent Wishbone survey targeting 35,000 Snapchat users between the ages of 12 and 25 found the company’s primary competitive advantage is its filters. Geo filters and puppy dog faces are what the youth demographic currently wants for viral “fun.” But the survey also revealed that if Facebook had Snapchat-type filters, it would take market share from Snapchat’s 12 to 25-age demographic.

Facebook Instagram Stories launched on August 2, and already has 100 million daily active viewers, compared to Snapchat’s 150 million users after almost five years. A big part of Instagram Stories’ rapid adoption has probably been due to “immersion” within the 500 million users in Instagram’s ecosystem.

L&F is confident that Facebook can continue to grow its earnings by 30 percent compounded, because the falling “Cost per Engagement” for the Instagram and Facebook platform is a magnet for advertiser dollars and an impediment for other social media platforms.

Snapchat is the primary target in the Facebook’s app consolidation plans. By knocking off Snapchat’s core features, Facebook will strengthen its user base and take share in the youth demographic, where advertisers desperately want to increase engagement.

Snapchat currently has an advantage when it comes to private direct messaging, but that feature is easily imitated. Facebook is already testing a similar tool with Messenger. By enabling short-lived direct messaging text, photos and videos, Messenger would seem to be a huge threat to Snapchat’s value proposition to users.

Instagram Stories already addresses the public messaging components, and when combined with Facebook Messenger features, it could also offer the kid-targeted private component.

L&F believes that with all the hype around Snapchat, the stock price will undoubtedly jump after the IPO. But it also expects Snapchat to be “butchered” as reality sinks in that the company does not have “protectable” value.

Source: Bretbart, article by Chriss W. Street (http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/10/09/snapchat-needs-go-public-instagram-stories-kills/)

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Most US Young Adults Watch Mobile Video on Facebook

Teens aren’t the only ones turning to YouTube to consume video content, young adults ages 18 to 20 are as well. According to June 2016 research, more than half of US young adults watch mobile video on the video-sharing site—and just as many view mobile video content on Facebook.

Social Media Platforms Used by US Young Adult* Mobile Video Viewers to View Mobile Video Content, June 2016 (% of respondents)

Native advertising software provider Sharethrough polled 300 US internet users ages 18 to 20, who were asked questions after being shown an autoplay in-feed native video ad.

Though a large share of respondents said they watched mobile video on Facebook and YouTube, nearly as many (50%) watched mobile video on Snapchat daily, and nearly half (42%) said they viewed mobile video content on Instagram every day. Twitter trailed behind with just 24% of young adults watching mobile video on that social platform each day.

Daily Time Spent Viewing Video Among Mobile Users* Worldwide, by Device/Channel, July 2015 (minutes and % of total)

Video habits are steadily moving to mobile. A survey from Millward Brown revealed that though time spent watching video on TV is still greater than on other devices, video habits are shifting, thanks in part to the proliferation of mobile devices entering the market, as well as growth of multiscreen usage.

According to the study, half of all video viewing happens on TV sets—split between live TV and on-demand TV. The other half comprises mainly mobile devices, which includes smartphones and tablets. Smartphones take the largest digital share, encompassing 22% of total daily time spent viewing video.

Source: eMarketer (https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Most-US-Young-Adults-Watch-Mobile-Video-on-Facebook-YouTube-Daily/1014553#sthash.wg5EmPZF.dpuf)

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Five tips for protecting your brand on social media

This summer, online payment service giant Paypal learned that bad guys had set up a fake Paypal Support page on Twitter, and then monitored the real Paypal Support page for remarks from customers. The bad guys responded to those inquiries and pointed users to the fake site where they would ask for, and sometimes receive, personal and account information – an attack called angler phishing.

Paypal’s Information Security Director Trent Adams likens the ongoing battle to protect its brand to a game of whack-a–mole, and with new social media threats popping up daily, it’s becoming more like “whack-an-ant-hill” because while one account may be shut down, others are probably still at work.

“We would like to get into a position of prevention – but prevention is really hard,” Adams says. “Early detection is where we are right now.”

As social media platforms become the predominate form of customer communication, so too do the threats to companies and brands. Nearly 600 new fraudulent brand accounts were created each month between April and June 2016 on social media sites Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, according to a study by Proofpoint. Of nearly 5,000 social media accounts connected with 10 top global brand names, nearly one in five was fraudulent.

Even though the incidents of phishing on those fake accounts is relatively small (about 4 percent), they’re still a huge target for bad actors and a danger to customers and brand reputation. “They can reach almost 33 million people across those top 10 brands,” says Devin Redmond, vice president and general manager of digital security and compliance at Proofpoint, which offers brand fraud detection and mitigation services.

It’s not just the largest brands that have been targeted. Food service and retail companies have seen bad actors create what looks like a promotional site for coupons, access to special content or previews for online games, Redmond says. Unknowing users will surrender credit card information and other personal information on the sites.

The rise in brand fraud has even prompted companies that don’t even have a social media presence to monitor popular platforms. “Companies are starting to understand that even if they’re not active on social media, they need to be monitoring it because other people could be active on their behalf,” says Shanna Gordon, client services director at BrandProtect.
Protecting your brand

Some 79 percent of information security leaders surveyed by Ponemon institute believe that their security processes for Internet and social media monitoring are nonexistent, partially deployed or inconsistently deployed. Brand fraud experts offer five tips for protecting your company’s name and reputation.

1. Create your own social media presence before someone else does

Companies should have an official presence on major social media sites, even if they don’t use them often, says John LaCour, CEO of PhishLabs. “If customers go looking for [your page] and can’t find one, they may find the bad guys instead,” he says. Many social media sites offer icons or flags that identify legitimate sites, he adds. Companies should also communicate with customers that their official sites will only be used for announcing new products and services, for example, so customers will look more suspiciously at alleged brand sites that offer free perks or customer service action.

2. Establish governance

Companies need to have a governance program in place and staff responsible for social media accounts and communication as part of the company’s main infrastructure, Redmond says.

Business units often create their own legitimate domains, but the security team might not know about them. “They don’t do it through the right channels,” Gordon says. “That needs to be monitored with processes in place.”

3. Conduct a social media brand inventory

A simple search of a company’s name on popular social media sites can begin to uncover any nefarious social media accounts or at least reveal how the company is being represented, fraud experts say. During a recent audit of its social media presence, a major consulting firm was shocked to discover that hundreds of accounts were impersonating its brand or were using its name in some unwanted way on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram, Gordon says.

Some accounts might be legitimate while others may reference a company’s name simply to draw traffic to their site. But a few could be truly criminal and are attempting to use fake accounts for phishing scams or to sell knock-off merchandise, she adds.

4. Identify fraudulent accounts and act quickly

At Paypal, security teams focus on identifying fraudulent sites and then reacting quickly, usually with the help of its worldwide customer base.

“The fastest way we identify [fraud] is being notified by our customer base,” including merchants and consumers, Adams says. “We are often notified much more quickly by customers than we are by the industry organizations that identify potential fraud and kick out threat alerts.”

Paypal’s investigative team reviews the fraud tips as they are received and identifies whether they are malicious or benign. Next they reach out to social media platform operators and their security departments to alert them.

5. Know where and how to report brand fraud

When customers suspect a fake company account on social media, they need to know who to report the fraud to, Redmond says. Develop a response plan that includes the documentation that should be collected and who should be contacted at the company and the social media site.

“Companies need to report brand fraud in a way that responders can consume it quickly because minutes count in these situations,” Adams says. To that end, Paypal is testing a specialized fraud reporting queue it has set up with a half dozen social media sites.

Fraud tipsters provide documentation about the suspected fraud in a standard format, and it is submitted by Paypal to the social media platforms. “We’ve been able to see a significant decrease in the amount of time it takes from the time we identify the problem to the time we report it, to the time action is taken,” Adams says. In one recent month, the expedited channel was 75 percent faster than reporting through the standard channel, he adds.

Adams says the reporting queue project is in the in the early prototype phase, and once it is proven successful Paypal plans to share the process or technical specifications with the world as open source.

Preventing social media brand fraud will remain a challenge because of the generative nature of social media platforms and the proliferation of new and more creative scams, Adams says. While these measures won’t stop this kind of abuse completely, he says, “it will raise the barrier.”

Source: CSO, article by Stacy Collett (http://www.csoonline.com/article/3126077/social-networking/five-tips-for-protecting-your-brand-on-social-media.html)

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