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Facebook is more popular than ever, but the latest iOS 14 update could change all that

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Facebook Warns Difficult Times Ahead Change iPhone iOS 14

Facebook has seen usage boom during the global pandemic, but that could change very soon (Image: UNSPLASH)

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Facebook’s business has boomed during the global coronavirus pandemic. As millions of us stay home to work, study, and socialise, it makes sense that more people would be checking our News Feed, using Facebook’s messaging services, including Messenger and WhatsApp, to keep in touch, and make a little extra cash selling some unwanted clothes on Facebook Marketplace.

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In its most recent quarterly earnings call, the Californian social network reported $28 billion in revenue in the last three months, and saw its users grow to 1.84 billion daily active users and 2.8 billion monthly active users. If you count the “family of apps” owned by Facebook, including the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp, the company reported 3.3 billion monthly active users.

Given that there are only 7.8 billion people alive on the planet right now, that’s a good proportion logging into an app owned by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg every single month. However, during the record-breaking earnings call, Facebook warned investors that things could take a turn for the worst in the coming months.

The social network believes that upcoming changes from Apple could disrupt that colossal revenue. In a statement, Facebook CFO Dave Wehner warned the firm’s advertising business could take a hit “beginning late in the first quarter”.

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iOS 14Facebook Warns Difficult Times Ahead Change iPhone iOS 14

Mark Zuckerberg warned about the iOS 14 changes, which will warn iPhone owners about advert tracking (Image: GETTY)

That’s because an upcoming change in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the Apple-designed operating systems that power its immensely-popular iPhone and iPad hardware lines, could seriously stymie Facebook’s $110 billion-or-so a year advertising business. In a nutshell, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 will ask users whether they’re comfortable handing their information to advertising networks, like those developed by Facebook.

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That might sound like a pretty small – and obvious – change, but it’s one that’s causing Facebook a serious headache.

“We continue to face significant uncertainty as we manage through a number of cross currents in 2021,” Facebook’s Dave Wehner told shareholders. “We also expect to face more significant ad-targeting headwinds in 2021. This includes the impact of platform changes, notably iOS 14, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape.”

iPhone 12: Apple unveil key features as they launch device

CEO Mark Zuckerberg also voiced concerns about Apple, telling investors: “We have a lot of competitors who make claims about privacy that are often misleading.”

“Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own,” he added. “This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world, including with the upcoming iOS 14 changes, many small businesses will no longer be able to reach their customers with targeted ads. Apple may say that they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests.”

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Of course, the forthcoming changes in iOS 14 will absolutely benefit Apple. The company, which is currently valued at $2.4 trillion, wants to sell as many iPhone, iPad, Mac, and AirPods as possible. If restricting the amount of your data that Facebook, Google and others can siphon from your movements, web history and conversations is enough to convince you to pick an Apple-branded product over its competitors, then that’s great for its bottom line.

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The line gets a little blurry when it comes to Apple’s subscription services, which do include personalised advertisements based on your interests (Apple lets you disable this feature in Settings).

If people are happy to share what they’re researching online and what they’re talking about with friends with Facebook and it’s advertising partners, then they’ll be able to agree to that information being shared within iOS 14.

If everyone is happy with what Facebook is doing, then it shouldn’t have any impact on their business model moving forward. It’s interesting that Facebook is cautioning investors that it expects to see an impact from iOS 14’s next update.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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