October 20, 2017
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Twitter bans “Hateful Display Names” and shares Safety roadmap

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Twitter has comitted to a specific timeline for rolling out changes to its Safety features and announced new policies including a ban on hateful display names, and improvements for second-hand “witness reporting” of abuse.

By January Twitter plans to have implemented all the abuse changes outlined in the internal email published by Wired earlier this week, as well as the new ones shared today. The company even apologized for frequently promising improvements but then failing to take action, writing “Far too often in the past we’ve said we’d do better and promised transparency but have fallen short in our efforts.”

Here’s a breakdown of what’s new:

Hateful Display Names – The ban on hateful display names could deter or punish people for “nameflaming” other users, wherein when quote tweeted by a critic, someone changes their display name to insult the critic, thereby having that insult show up to all the critic’s followers who see the quote tweet.

Witness Reporting – Twitter will use how you’re related to the victim and abuser when you to more strictly enforce rules against harassment. This could help ensure reports aren’t actually concerted trolling efforts and are instead coming from people legitimately offended by an abusive tweet. Twitter will also send notifications in-app and via email to second-hand reporters of abuse. This closing of the loop should boost people’s sense of safety on the platform even if they aren’t the victim in this instance.

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Here’s the calendar:

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin

Valentine Day Offer

News Source = techcrunch.com

Facebook attacks Pinterest with ‘Sets’ of posts

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Identity is prismatic. You show different sides of yourself to different friends in your life. Now Facebook wants to let you share the niches of your interests while stealing thunder from Pinterest’s boards. Facebook is now testing a feature called Sets that lets you select several status updates, photos or videos and share them as a themed collection to everyone or specific friends.

Facebook confirms to TechCrunch that Sets are testing in a few countries and provided this statement: “We’re testing a way for people to create sets of specific posts, photos and videos for just the friends that want to follow along.”

Facebook has been toying with ways to compete with Pinterest more directly for years now. It tried Collection ads that let people save items to a Wishlist section of their profile. In April, Instagram launched a bookmarking feature that lets you save posts to private collections. In the following months, Facebook tried letting you follow specific niche interests in News Feed with Topics, and add status updates to photo Albums. But Facebook’s Sets are much more akin to Pinterest’s boards that can made visible to others, so you could make a wedding planning Set to share with your significant other, a vacation Set of memories with your family or a fashion Set to show off your style.

Sets were first spotted by tipsters Blake Tsuzaki and Taylor Lauren and reshared by Matt Navarra. Here’s how they work according to Facebook. Those with access will see the option to create a Set on their profile based around a theme of their choice. By default, Sets are visible to friends on your profile and in the News Feed. All your friends are defaulted to be “following” the Set so they’ll keep seeing updates about it, but they can unfollow so they’ll only see that Set on your profile and not in the News Feed. Facebook is also testing “Secret Sets” that default to only being visible to a private selection of friends you choose.

Sets could give people ways to express themselves beyond the traditional News Feed posts that can feel clumsy if one of your hobbies isn’t of widespread interest amongst your friends. While a post about a niche interest might not get enough Likes to reach the friends who might care, Sets are designed for more targeted sharing. Facebook could eventually monetize the feature by offering a special button on product ads that save a business’ items to your Sets.

Facebook has found success by building good-enough versions of competitors’ products, like Instagram Stories, and is currently assaulting other tech giants like YouTube with Facebook Watch and Yelp with its restaurant discovery and food ordering options. It’s unlikely that Sets will displace Pinterest, but if Facebook can stunt its growth while helping users with self-expression, that may be sufficient.

Featured Image: Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr and Kim Kulish/Corbis/Getty Images

News Source = techcrunch.com

Facebook Messenger lets games monetize with purchases and ads

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Facebook is finally giving developers a reason to build games for Messenger while also opening a new revenue stream for the chat app. After launching HTML5 ‘Instant Games’ inside Messenger like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Words With Friends Frenzy in November 2016, today Facebook is allowing developers to add in-app purchases as well as interstitial and rewarded video ads. Players get a virtual good or bonus life in exchange for watching rewarded videos.

Facebook will take a cut of the ads shown in Messenger games that are routed from its Facebook Audience Network, and they’ll begin appearing in some games on iOS and Android. In-app purchases will only start testing on Android, with Google Play taking its standard 30% cut.

Facebook was cagey about how much of a cut of in-app purchase revenue it plans to take, repeatedly giving this vague statement when asked: “Our early tests for IAP will follow the standard rev/share policy and transaction fees for Google Play In-App billing.” For now it seems that the remaining 70% goes to the developer, but Facebook will likely opt to take a portion of that when in-app purchases fully roll out.

Developers who want access to the monetization beta program as Facebook rolls it out more widely can sign up here, while advertisers who don’t want their Audience Network ads from appearing in games can opt out. Facebook plans to roll out ad measurement and optimization tools for game developers soon, plus ways to publish games to its directory more easily.

The move should attract higher quality games to the Messenger platform, as until now, devs could only hope to build an audience and monetize down the line. Now with cash able to flow in through the games, it’s worth pouring more development resources into the platform. Previously, the only real way to earn money off these games was indirectly through branding, as with titles like Valerian Space Run, Wonder Woman, and Lego Batman Bat Climb that promote movies.

Facebook seems to be taking Messenger Instant Games quite seriously after its desktop game platform withered and mobile game was dominated by the App Store and Google Play platforms. Facebook sees an opportunity to not only give people something to do between chat conversations and a way to challenge freinds, but also now to start squeezing more cash out of the 1.3 billion Messenger users without interrupting the traditional use cases as its inbox ads do.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Truffle now lets you share your food tips via iMessage

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While you’ve already got Yelp and other apps to help you figure out where to eat, Truffle is designed specifically for sharing recommendations with friends and other people you know.

A new update should make that sharing even easier. The big addition is an iMessage app, which means (you guessed it) that Truffle is now integrated with iMessage. When you’re texting with someone, you can just tap on the Truffle icon and bring up a list of your favorites from the app, or run a Truffle search.

When you find what you’re looking for, you can send the link to your friend. If they tap on it, they’ll bring up the relevant listing in Truffle (if they have the app installed) or they’ll be asked to install Truffle (if they don’t).

That might sound pretty straightforward, but it puts Truffle in a new context. Instead of just swapping recommendations while inside the app, you can now bring them up during any other iMessage conversation.

Truffle iMessage

Let’s say, for instance, you’re just randomly texting with Tom Limongello, the CEO of Truffle, and he wants to meet up. Then one of you can just pull up your favorites and recommend a convenient coffee shop without having to leave the chat.

By the way, it’s been a year since I first wrote about Truffle, and it’s still iOS only. But perhaps an Android version is getting closer, because when we discussed it, Limongello said, “I wanted to get the iPhone right before we scaled it out.”

To him, this iMessage integration was a big part of getting it right. And yes, he can envision other integrations too — he said he’d “love to be in dating apps,” and he pointed to the partnership between Airbnb and Resy as a sign of “how important restaurants are for travel.”

News Source = techcrunch.com

“Bad things happen,” Facebook’s response to Russian election interference

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Facebook has come under fire for its role in influencing the U.S. presidential election, particularly when it comes to “fake news” and Russian-sponsored ads. 

When asked about this at WSJ D.Live in Laguna Beach on Wednesday, Facebook VP David Marcus at first deflected, talking at length about all the positive impacts that the social media giant has had on the world. “When you design a platform that reaches 2 billion people every month…sometimes bad things happen,” he concluded.

Marcus said that Facebook is “collaborating with special counsel and Congress” to help evaluate Russia’s use of the platform for U.S. politics. He says it’s a priority of the company to “make sure that we build systems to prevent what happened from happening again.”

Marcus oversees the Facebook Messenger platform and acknowledged that a “small number” of Russian-related incidents happened on the messenger service, but did not elaborate.

He says that going forward “we’re going to hire thousands of people to review ads and review all activities around notable elections around the world.”

Marcus added that while “there’s no such thing of perfection,” he’s “absolutely confident that we have the right plan.”

Featured Image: Mikhail Metzel/Getty Images

News Source = techcrunch.com

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