Facebook Video Creation App Launch Announced

With an aim to empower its creator community, Facebook has announced that it is planning to launch a new app just for them later this year.

Essentially a video creation app, it will be made just for its star broadcasters, who are also the same folks who are deemed worthy enough to use Facebook Mentions – an app only available to verified accounts owned by journalists, celebrities and other online influencers, Engadget reported on Friday.

Apart from the access to Facebook Live, the new video creation app will have a new “creative kit” that includes tools like special intros and outros to videos, custom stickers, custom frames, among other tools.

Facebook Video Creation App Launch Announced

It will also have a Community tab, where the rich and famous can interact with their fans and followers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, the report said.

Reportedly, Facebook is also running a “small test” in India, of a video tab in the navigation bar of its flagship mobile applications.

Pressing the tab, which resembles a play button, brings up “an endless stream” of Facebook videos, from pages users follow and videos liked or shared by friends.

 

Facebook Reportedly in Talks to Produce Original TV-Quality Shows

Facebook Inc is in talks with Hollywood studios about producing scripted, TV-quality shows, with an aim of launching original programming by late summer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The social networking giant has indicated that it was willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, in meetings with Hollywood talent agencies, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Facebook is hoping to target audiences from ages 13 to 34, with a focus on the 17 to 30 range. The company has already lined up “Strangers”, a relationship drama, and a game show, “Last State Standing”, the report said.

Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment.

The company is expected to release episodes in a traditional manner, instead of dropping an entire season in one go like Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc, WSJ reported.

Facebook Reportedly in Talks to Produce Original TV-Quality Shows
The company is also willing to share its viewership data with Hollywood, the report said.

Apple Inc hired co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, earlier this month, to lead its video-programming efforts.

Apple began its long-awaited move into original television series last week, with a reality show called “Planet of the Apps”, an unscripted show about developers trying to interest celebrity mentors with a 60-second pitch on an escalator.

The company’s future programming plans include an adaptation of comedian James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment from his CBS Corp show that will begin airing in August.

Facebook Celebrates 20 Years of Harry Potter by Letting You Cast Spells

On June 26 1997, J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit the bookstores for the first time, which started us on a magical journey that spanned seven books and as many movies that continues to hold a special place for millions of Potterheads around the world 20 years on. Many are proving their love for the series in their own ways, and so is Facebook, which has introduced an interactive new feature that casts spells with status updates.

The way it works is simple enough. Post a status update on Facebook using any of the terms – Harry Potter, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin – and the update will display an animation of a wand casting a spell. It also works on clicking the term on your friend’s status update. The terms are highlighted in colours that signify them. For example, Gryffindor will be highlighted in red while Slytherin will be highlighted in green, and so on. And the feature also works within comments.

Facebook Celebrates 20 Years of Harry Potter by Letting You Cast Spells

But it’s not just Facebook. Twitter too is showing its love for Harry Potter, by launching a special emoji that will show up if you tweet with the hashtag #HarryPotter20. The hashtag will bring up Harry’s iconic rounded spectacles with the ‘lighting bolt’ scar on top.

Google late last year also brought a touch of magic for Android users who could activate certain features, such as turning the flashlight on or off or switching on the silent mode by saying “lumos”, “Nox”, or “Silencio”, respectively to Google Assistant.

Rowling’s Harry Potter series has enjoyed a massive fan base around the world for its magical storytelling and lovable characters. The books span the titular character’s journey over the years in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, facing unexpected evils and challenges with the help of his friends. The world of fantasy that author J.K Rowling created is unlikely to fade away anytime soon, with spin-off movies in the pipeline as well. And this only brings to mind one of the most memorable lines from the series – “After all this time?”

 

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube Form Global Working Group to Combat Terror Content

Social media giants Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms.

Responding to pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks, the companies said they would share technical solutions for removing terrorist content, commission research to inform their counter-speech efforts and work more with counter-terrorism experts.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism “will formalise and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN,” the companies said in a statement.

The move comes on the heels of last week’s call from European heads of state for tech firms to establish an industry forum and develop new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection and removal of extremist content.

The political pressure on the companies has raised the prospect of new legislation at EU level, but so far only Germany has proposed a law fining social media networks up to EUR 50 million ($56 million) if they fail to remove hateful postings quickly. The lower house of the German parliament is expected to vote on the law this week.

The companies will seek to improve technical work such as a database created in December to share unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos of extremist content.

They will also exchange best practices on content detection techniques using machine learning as well as define “standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removals.”

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube Form Global Working Group to Combat Terror Content
Earlier this month Facebook opened up about its efforts to remove terrorism content in response to criticism from politicians that tech giants are not doing enough to stop militant groups using their platforms for propaganda and recruiting.

Google announced additional measures to identify and remove terrorist or violent extremist content on its video-sharing platform YouTube shortly thereafter.

Twitter suspended 376,890 accounts for violations related to the promotion of terrorism in the second half of 2016 and will share further updates on its efforts to combat violent extremism on its platform in its next Transparency Report.

The social media firms said they would work with smaller companies to help them tackle extremist content and organisations such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies to work on ways to counter online extremism and hate.

All four companies have initiatives to counter online hate speech and will use the forum to improve their efforts and train civil society organisations engaged in similar work.

 

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube Form Global Working Group to Combat Terror Content

Social media giants Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms.

Responding to pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks, the companies said they would share technical solutions for removing terrorist content, commission research to inform their counter-speech efforts and work more with counter-terrorism experts.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism “will formalise and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN,” the companies said in a statement.

The move comes on the heels of last week’s call from European heads of state for tech firms to establish an industry forum and develop new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection and removal of extremist content.

The political pressure on the companies has raised the prospect of new legislation at EU level, but so far only Germany has proposed a law fining social media networks up to EUR 50 million ($56 million) if they fail to remove hateful postings quickly. The lower house of the German parliament is expected to vote on the law this week.

The companies will seek to improve technical work such as a database created in December to share unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos of extremist content.

They will also exchange best practices on content detection techniques using machine learning as well as define “standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removals.”

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube Form Global Working Group to Combat Terror Content
Earlier this month Facebook opened up about its efforts to remove terrorism content in response to criticism from politicians that tech giants are not doing enough to stop militant groups using their platforms for propaganda and recruiting.

Google announced additional measures to identify and remove terrorist or violent extremist content on its video-sharing platform YouTube shortly thereafter.

Twitter suspended 376,890 accounts for violations related to the promotion of terrorism in the second half of 2016 and will share further updates on its efforts to combat violent extremism on its platform in its next Transparency Report.

The social media firms said they would work with smaller companies to help them tackle extremist content and organisations such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies to work on ways to counter online extremism and hate.

All four companies have initiatives to counter online hate speech and will use the forum to improve their efforts and train civil society organisations engaged in similar work.

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK

Facebook is launching a UK programme to train and fund local organizations to combat extremist material online, as Internet companies attempt to clamp down on hate speech and violent content on their services.

Facebook, which outlined new efforts to remove extremist and terrorism content from its social media platform last week, will launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK on Friday, the company said in a statement.

The new initiative will train non-governmental organizations to help them monitor and respond to extremist content and create a dedicated support desk so they can communicate directly with Facebook, the company said.

“There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer. “We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”

The British government has stepped up attacks on Silicon Valley Internet companies for not acting quickly enough to take down extremist online propaganda and fostering “safe places” where extremists can breed following a string of attacks in recent months in London and Manchester.

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UKFacebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter have responded by saying they have made heavy investments and employed thousands of people to take down hate speech and violent content over the past two years. Security analysts say the efforts have dramatically reduced the use of these platforms for jihadist recruitment efforts, although more work needs to be done.

Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to enlist British public opinion to force the US Internet players to work more closely with the government rather than proposing new legislation or policies to assert greater control over the web.

Earlier this week, May urged fellow European Union leaders at a meeting in Brussels to join her in putting pressure on tech companies to ‘rid terrorist material from the internet in all our languages’.

She called for the Internet companies to shift from reactively removing content when they are notified of it, towards greater use of automatic detection and removal tools – and ultimately preventing it from appearing on their platforms in the first place.

 

Facebook Video Creation App Launch Announced

With an aim to empower its creator community, Facebook has announced that it is planning to launch a new app just for them later this year.

Essentially a video creation app, it will be made just for its star broadcasters, who are also the same folks who are deemed worthy enough to use Facebook Mentions – an app only available to verified accounts owned by journalists, celebrities and other online influencers, Engadget reported on Friday.

Apart from the access to Facebook Live, the new video creation app will have a new “creative kit” that includes tools like special intros and outros to videos, custom stickers, custom frames, among other tools.

Facebook Video Creation App Launch Announced

It will also have a Community tab, where the rich and famous can interact with their fans and followers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, the report said.

Reportedly, Facebook is also running a “small test” in India, of a video tab in the navigation bar of its flagship mobile applications.

Pressing the tab, which resembles a play button, brings up “an endless stream” of Facebook videos, from pages users follow and videos liked or shared by friends.

 

Facebook to Keep Wraps on Political Ads Data Despite Researchers’ Demands

Facebook said it would not disclose information about political campaign advertising or related data such as how many users click on ads and if advertising messages are consistent across demographics, despite arguments from political scientists who want the data for research.

Details such as the frequency of ads, how much money was spent on them, where they were seen, what the messages were and how many people were reached would remain confidential under the company’s corporate policy, which is the same for political advertising as for commercial customers.

“Advertisers consider their ad creatives and their ad targeting strategy to be competitively sensitive and confidential,” Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, said in an interview on Wednesday, when asked about political ads.

“In many cases, they’ll ask us, as a condition of running ads on Facebook, not to disclose those details about how they’re running campaigns on our service,” he said. “From our perspective, it’s confidential information of these advertisers.”

Sherman said it would not make an exception for political advertising. “We try to have consistent policies across the board, so that we’re imposing similar requirements on everybody.”

Academics who study political campaigns worldwide said this kind of information fosters accountability by analyzing how candidates compete for votes and whether election systems live up to expectations of fairness. Transparency can also deter fraudulent ads, they said.

Facebook to Keep Wraps on Political Ads Data Despite Researchers' Demands

“We don’t have the capacity right now to track it, and nobody does, as far as we can tell,” said Bowdoin College professor Michael Franz, a co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which catalogs political ads on traditional television but has no means of doing so on Facebook.

Television has been the backbone of political advertising for decades, and local US broadcasters are required to disclose a wealth of details about the cost and schedules of ads. The ads can be seen by anyone with a television provided they are aired in their markets.

Online advertising, though, often targets narrow, more carefully constructed audiences, so for example an ad could be directed only to Democrats under 25 years of age.

Thousands of variations of online ads can be directed at select groups and the targeting can be extreme. Academics argue this is where the process can become very opaque.

“Candidates can speak out of both sides of their mouths,” said Daniel Kreiss, a communications professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Having some kind of digital repository of ads that are purchased during a particular cycle and linked to a particular source is a good, democratic thing for the public.”

No such repository exists, and the quandary for researchers is expected to worsen as more politicians use digital advertising because of its relatively low cost and opportunities for target marketing.

According to US President Donald Trump’s campaign, $70 million was spent for its ads on Facebook, more than on any other digital platform including Google, and Trump has credited Facebook with helping him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton last November.

Advertising on Facebook also figured prominently in recent elections in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, researchers said.

Britain is investigating how candidates use data to target voters.

Facebook ads generally disappear with the scroll of a thumb on a smartphone, and they have no permanent links. Advocates for transparency call them “dark ads.” Facebook calls them “unpublished posts.”

Researchers said that disclosure reports from the US Federal Election Commission are unhelpful because they show what campaigns pay to intermediaries, not to internet platforms.

The role of advertising online is as important to study as the effect of so-called “fake news,” which has received more attention than ads, scholars said.

“The holy grail, I think, of political analysis for the 2016 election is to figure out which communications from which entities had an effect on which jurisdictions in the United States,” said Nathan Persily, a Stanford University professor who writes about elections.

Facebook has such information and should make it available for study, Persily said.

Facebook’s Sherman said the company was open to hearing research proposals, but he doubted much could be achieved.

“Even if we were able to be more transparent in this area, it would only be a very small piece of an overall story,” he said.

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK

Facebook is launching a UK programme to train and fund local organizations to combat extremist material online, as Internet companies attempt to clamp down on hate speech and violent content on their services.

Facebook, which outlined new efforts to remove extremist and terrorism content from its social media platform last week, will launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK on Friday, the company said in a statement.

The new initiative will train non-governmental organizations to help them monitor and respond to extremist content and create a dedicated support desk so they can communicate directly with Facebook, the company said.

“There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer. “We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”

The British government has stepped up attacks on Silicon Valley Internet companies for not acting quickly enough to take down extremist online propaganda and fostering “safe places” where extremists can breed following a string of attacks in recent months in London and Manchester.

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK

Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter have responded by saying they have made heavy investments and employed thousands of people to take down hate speech and violent content over the past two years. Security analysts say the efforts have dramatically reduced the use of these platforms for jihadist recruitment efforts, although more work needs to be done.

Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to enlist British public opinion to force the US Internet players to work more closely with the government rather than proposing new legislation or policies to assert greater control over the web.

Earlier this week, May urged fellow European Union leaders at a meeting in Brussels to join her in putting pressure on tech companies to ‘rid terrorist material from the internet in all our languages’.

She called for the Internet companies to shift from reactively removing content when they are notified of it, towards greater use of automatic detection and removal tools – and ultimately preventing it from appearing on their platforms in the first place.

 

Facebook Live adds PC game and desktop live streaming

Facebook is taking a swing at Twitch while also one-upping its mobile live streaming video competitors. Today, all users can go Live directly from Facebook’s desktop website via their webcam, stream through professional equipment and software hooked up to a desktop and broadcast gameplay from their computer.

Previously, Facebook had only allowed Pages to stream from their desktop, not users, and only had limited gameplay streaming partnerships with game developers like Blizzard. There will now be a Live button on the desktop status update composer.

 

The ability to use streaming hardware and software to broadcast straight to the News Feed could allow creators to add on-screen graphics, titles and overlays to make their streams more fancy and polished. Here’s a step by step guide to how connecting hardware or software to Facebook Live works.

 Opening up on desktop takes Facebook Live beyond Twitter and Periscope’s options, and brings it into competition with longer-running services like YouTube, Ustream and Livestream, as well as startups like YouNow. Facebook tells me it foresees desktop streaming to be useful for activities like Q&As and vlogging where holding your phone in your hand might be shaky and annoying for both creators and viewers.

Facebook’s aggressive push into live streaming indicates its goal of owning the verb “Live,” and being the place people broadcast when there’s something worth sharing. While Periscope launched first in April 2015, Facebook quickly moved to roll out Live and add a Live API for broadcasting from professional equipment. Periscope only added an API yesterday. Now with the desktop launch, Facebook is looking to be a ubiquitous broadcasting tool.

While the content on Live might not be great yet, and there’s been some troubling broadcasts of violence that Facebook promises it’s working to prevent, it’s still early for the medium. If Facebook can lock-down the content type now, it could enjoy years of broadcasts that give it exclusive content to attract users to the News Feed and space to run lucrative video ad breaks. While mobile is always Facebook’s focus, adding desktop streaming means you can broadcast however you like.