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Ray-Ban Stories let you wear Facebook on your face. But why would you want to?

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In partnership with eyewear brand Ray-Ban, Facebook has released its first pair of smart glasses, offering wearers the ability to capture photos and videos without even needing to pull out their phone.

The glasses, called Ray-Ban Stories, are now available for A$449 and are functionally similar to devices already on the market, such as SnapChat Spectacles. They allow users to capture images and video and upload them to their social media accounts, via an app called Facebook View.

Users will be able to share content on Facebook and other Facebook-owned platforms, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, as well as non-Facebook apps such as Twitter, TikTok and SnapChat. Besides two 5-megapixel cameras, the glasses have three microphones and built-in speakers, so they can respond to voice commands and also be used for calls.

The glasses are the latest step in Facebook’s initiative to develop wearable tech. As chief executive Mark Zuckerberg puts it, such devices represent “a future where phones are no longer a central part of our lives”.

It’s not augmented reality (yet)

Facebook has stressed the glasses do not have any augmented reality (AR) functionality – that is, the ability to overlay one’s view of the physical world with digital images.

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That said, during his product launch video, Zuckerberg presents the glasses as a stepping-stone to more fully realised forms of wearable AR — something Facebook has repeatedly hinted at over the past few years. As he puts it, “glasses are going to be an important part of building the next computing platform”.

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Mark Zuckerberg revealing Ray-Ban Stories.

With its 2014 acquisition of virtual reality (VR) company Oculus – and numerous other startups in areas such as computer vision – Facebook’s VR and AR development wing, Facebook Reality Labs, has grown so much it now reportedly employs 20% of Facebook’s workforce.

As we argued in a recent paper, Facebook sees AR and VR as a central component of its future, and envisions this technology having a similar impact to the mobile computing revolution of the past decade or so.

This was most recently exemplified in the company’s framing of its social software and hardware in terms of the “metaverse” — a seamless blending of the real and virtual worlds.




Read more:
What is the metaverse? A high-tech plan to Facebookify the world

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These future computing platforms might look something like the company’s announcement of Project Aria — an internal Facebook research project testing the viability of wearable AR smart glasses. Facebook has also been attempting to further integrate AR features into its Oculus VR technology.

One problem for prospective users is that these technologies will require intensive data capture and processing of our bodies, homes and other intimate data.

‘Designed with privacy in mind’

Even without AR functionality, there are still clear privacy concerns associated with a Facebook device that can record whatever you’re looking at.

Perhaps attempting to pre-empt a backlash, Facebook has developed a dedicated privacy policy for the new technology, assuring us:

Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and Facebook View are ads-free experiences, so you won’t see ads when using the glasses or app. And we don’t use the content of your photos and videos for personalised ads. If you share content to any other app, that app’s terms will apply.

But as with previous forms of smart glasses, such as the widely derided Google Glass, the main privacy issue isn’t protecting yourself from unwanted ads, but protecting other people from being surreptitiously recorded.

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Ray-Ban Stories features a small light on the side of the frame, which is illuminated when recording. But it can easily be covered over, and while this would violate Facebook’s terms of service, it’s hard to see how Facebook would realistically stop anyone doing it.

Ultimately, Facebook has put the onus on users to behave responsibly. As outlined in the Stories privacy page, Facebook’s suggested “best practices” include not using the device in private spaces, and advising users not to “engage in harmful activities”. (Facebook’s responsible innovation principles for its AR development staff are similarly vague.)

Facebook’s guidelines for responsible use of its Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses.
https://about.facebook.com/reality-labs/ray-ban-stories/privacy

What does Facebook expect to achieve?

Smart glasses have always been a tricky sell. Google Glass was an abject commercial failure because of privacy concerns. Despite being just down the road from Silicon Valley, some bars in San Francisco reportedly banned anyone wearing them, and some residents even reacted with violence.

Given this ignominious track record, what is Facebook hoping to achieve here? We believe — based on Facebook’s broader investments in VR and AR technologies — the ultimate aim is to gradually normalise wearable surveillance technology many people currently have deep and understandable reservations about.




Read more:
Shadow profiles – Facebook knows about you, even if you’re not on Facebook


By branding them as a Ray-Ban product rather than a Facebook one, with classic styling rather than a high-tech look, and able to upload to many different social media platforms, the company is trying to sell us on the concept of “smart glasses”, rather than “Facebook glasses”. But if video Ray-Bans become mainstream, who knows what other data-intensive gadgets are lurking just around the corner?

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Updating Special Ad Audiences for housing, employment, and credit advertisers

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On June 21, 2022 we announced an important settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will change the way we deliver housing ads to people residing in the US. Specifically, we are building into our ads system a method designed to make sure the audience that ends up seeing a housing ad more closely reflects the eligible targeted audience for that ad.

As part of this agreement, we will also be sunsetting Special Ad Audiences, a tool that lets advertisers expand their audiences for ad sets related to housing. We are choosing to sunset this for employment and credit ads as well. In 2019, in addition to eliminating certain targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads, we introduced Special Ad Audiences as an alternative to Lookalike Audiences. But the field of fairness in machine learning is a dynamic and evolving one, and Special Ad Audiences was an early way to address concerns. Now, our focus will move to new approaches to improve fairness, including the method previously announced.

What’s happening: We’re removing the ability to create Special Ad Audiences via Ads Manager beginning on August 25, 2022.

Beginning October 12th, 2022, we will pause any remaining ad sets that contain Special Ad Audiences. These ad sets may be restarted once advertisers have removed any and all Special Ad Audiences from those ad sets. We are providing a two month window between preventing new Special Ad Audiences and pausing existing Special Ad Audiences to enable advertisers the time to adjust budgets and strategies as needed.

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For more details, please visit our Newsroom post.

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Impact to Advertisers using Marketing API on September 13, 2022

For advertisers and partners using the API listed below, the blocking of new Special Ad Audience creation will present a breaking change on all versions. Beginning August 15, 2022, developers can start to implement the code changes, and will have until September 13, 2022, when the non-versioning change occurs and prior values are deprecated. Refer below to the list of impacted endpoints related to this deprecation:

For reading audience:

  • endpoint gr:get:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field operation_status

For adset creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/adsets
  • field subtype

For adset editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdCampaign
  • field subtype

For custom audience creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field subtype

For custom audience editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:CustomAudience

Please refer to the developer documentation for further details to support code implementation.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Introducing an Update to the Data Protection Assessment

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Over the coming year, some apps with access to certain types of user data on our platforms will be required to complete the annual Data Protection Assessment. We have made a number of improvements to this process since our launch last year, when we introduced our first iteration of the assessment.

The updated Data Protection Assessment will include a new developer experience that is enhanced through streamlined communications, direct support, and clear status updates. Today, we’re sharing what you can expect from these new updates and how you can best prepare for completing this important privacy requirement if your app is within scope.

If your app is in scope for the Data Protection Assessment, and you’re an app admin, you’ll receive an email and a message in your app’s Alert Inbox when it’s time to complete the annual assessment. You and your team of experts will then have 60 calendar days to complete the assessment. We’ve built a new platform that enhances the user experience of completing the Data Protection Assessment. These updates to the platform are based on learnings over the past year from our partnership with the developer community. When completing the assessment, you can expect:

  • Streamlined communication: All communications and required actions will be through the My Apps page. You’ll be notified of pending communications requiring your response via your Alerts Inbox, email, and notifications in the My Apps page.

    Note: Other programs may still communicate with you through the App Contact Email.

  • Available support: Ability to engage with Meta teams via the Support tool to seek clarification on the questions within the Data Protection Assessment prior to submission and help with any requests for more info, or to resolve violations.

    Note: To access this feature, you will need to add the app and app admins to your Business Manager. Please refer to those links for step-by-step guides.

  • Clear status updates: Easy to understand status and timeline indicators throughout the process in the App Dashboard, App Settings, and My Apps page.
  • Straightforward reviewer follow-ups: Streamlined experience for any follow-ups from our reviewers, all via developers.facebook.com.

We’ve included a brief video that provides a walkthrough of the experience you’ll have with the Data Protection Assessment:

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We’re having trouble playing this video.

The Data Protection Assessment elevates the importance of data security and helps gain the trust of the billions of people who use our products and services around the world. That’s why we are committed to providing a seamless experience for our partners as you complete this important privacy requirement.

Here is what you can do now to prepare for the assessment:

  1. Make sure you are reachable: Update your developer or business account contact email and notification settings.
  2. Review the questions in the Data Protection Assessment and engage with your teams on how best to answer these questions. You may have to enlist the help of your legal and information security points of contact to answer some parts of the assessment.
  3. Review Meta Platform Terms and our Developer Policies.

We know that when people choose to share their data, we’re able to work with the developer community to safely deliver rich and relevant experiences that create value for people and businesses. It’s a privilege we share when people grant us access to their data, and it’s imperative that we protect that data in order to maintain and build upon their trust. This is why the Data Protection Assessment focuses on data use, data sharing and data security.

Data privacy is challenging and complex, and we’re dedicated to continuously improving the processes to safeguard user privacy on our platform. Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to build a safer, more sustainable platform.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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