Archive for the 'Facebook' Category



Facebook’s Slowing User Growth And Weak WhatsApp Revenue Send Shares Down 9%

Tuesday 28 October 2014 @ 2:28 pm
fb-drop Wall Street wants growth, or else. Twitter reported slow growth of 4.8 percent yesterday down from 6.3 percent last quarter and got hammered with a 9.8 percent share price drop today. And now, Facebook’s growth slowed from 3.125 percent last quarter to 2.27 percent this quarter, and now $FB is down 9.76 percent in after-hours trading. Meanwhile, Facebook broke out financials of its… Read More



WhatsApp’s First Half Of 2014 Revenue Was $15M, Net Loss Of $232.5M Was Mostly Issuing Stock

Tuesday 28 October 2014 @ 1:11 pm
whatsapp-money1 Facebook disclosed financials of its $22 billion acquisition of WhatsApp for the first time today, and it looks like the 600 million user messaging app’s revenue is still small. In the six months ending June 30, 2014, WhatsApp brought in $15.921 million in revenue, but had a net loss of $232.5 million. However, $206.5 million of that loss was for share-based compensation expenses and… Read More



Facebook for Android and iOS gets new collage layout and lets you reorder photos before uploading

Monday 27 October 2014 @ 12:15 pm
Facebook for Android and iOS gets new collage layout and lets you reorder photos before uploading

Facebook today announced an update to its Android and iOS apps that focuses on photos. You can download the new version now directly from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

When uploading photos, you can now choose the exact order in which they will show up. Once you pick the ones you want, you’ll also get a preview of how the story will appear in your friends’ News Feed.

fb_photos_revamped

You can add an introduction to the story preview, and caption individual photos. Even at this point, you can reorder photos: just press down on one and drag it to a different spot.

The whole point of the ability to reorder photos is linked to Facebook’s new collage layout. Here is how it looks:

photosfeatured2

The uploader and all their friends will see photos in this new story form. Tapping a photo lets you scroll through the photos in the order they were chosen to be seen.

More to follow.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Why Twitter launched Fabric, in 5 devastating charts

Thursday 23 October 2014 @ 3:45 pm
Why Twitter launched Fabric, in 5 devastating charts
Image Credit: Illustration by VentureBeat / Eric Blattberg

Yesterday Twitter unveiled Fabric, a semi-integrated suite of tools for mobile app developers. The company somewhat grandiosely refers to it as a “modular mobile platform,” but while it’s definitely modular and certainly focused on mobile, it’s not a platform in any commonly understood sense of the term.

twitter flightUnless, of course, Twitter was referring to its own platform.

Because, while Fabric offers some significant goodies to developers, the real reason Twitter is launching this suite is first of all to boost its own core platform reach, and secondly to make more money via its mobile advertising subsidiary, MoPub.

Because make no mistake, when it comes to the incredibly lucrative mobile app user acquisition market that Facebook dominates — with a few key exceptions — Twitter has almost completely failed on the promises it made when unveiling mobile app promotion capabilities in Twitter Cards. And that’s no doubt had serious implications for Twitter’s revenue which, while showing growth and pockets of strength, caused the company’s shares to dip recently.

The goodies that Twitter is offering

  • Crash analytics (available from multiple other vendors)
  • A “Twitter kit”
    1. native tweet embedding (good for Twitter)
    2. native tweet composing (also good for Twitter)
    3. Twitter sign-in (good for Twitter; social sign-in is widely available from the usual suspects)
  • MoPub mobile advertising engine (good for Twitter; there are many, many monetization options for mobile publishers)
  • Digits, an identity system based on phone numbers (good for Twitter, as it’s built on Twitter infrastructure and therefore associates potentially hundreds of millions of people with Twitter; not easily available elsewhere)

This peace offering to developers, who Twitter has alienated in the recent past, was so necessary because Twitter is failing so badly.

Here’s the situation — based on data from our VB Insight Mobile User Acquisition and Mobile Game Monetization reports:

1) Facebook kills Twitter in mobile monetization.

1-social-media

This chart show which social solutions mobile developers think are most effective at helping them monetize their apps. That big blue chunk is Facebook, and the so-much-smaller brown slice is Twitter.

Ouch.

But it gets worse …

2) Big developers avoid Twitter.

2-users-vs-source

When you look at the kinds of developers and publishers who use Facebook to help monetize their mobile apps, there’s a wide range from small to mid-range to very, very high-volume. The kinds of developers who use Twitter/MoPub, in contrast, are almost all small developers, with fewer large publishers than YouTube — at half the volume.

3) Big developers don’t acquire users via Twitter.

When you segment mobile publishers by size and then identify their preferred user acquisition companies, it not only becomes clear that Facebook, Google, AdColony, YouTube, and NativeX have more volume than Twitter, but also that the bigger and more successful a publisher you are, the less likely you are to use Twitter.

3-users-vs-preferred

4) Twitter doesn’t monetize well.

4-effective

When mobile developers force-ranked the top monetization companies for their mobile apps in our Mobile User Acquisition study, Twitter doesn’t come out well. Google is the king — although, not without warts — followed by Chartboost, AdColony, Flurry, Upsight (Playhaven/Kontagent), NativeX, Tapjoy, Vungle, Apple’s iAd, “Other,” and SponsorPay.

In other words, kind of an also-ran.

5) Four percent of mobile developers think Twitter is best.

5-most-effective

Just 4 percent of the mobile developers we surveyed said that MoPub was the best partner in monetizing their mobile apps. Many more said Google or Chartboost or AdColony, plus a litany of other mobile user acquisition and monetization companies.

The goodies, however, are very good.

While Twitter’s new offerings are certainly centered on promoting Twitter’s platform, Twitter’s reach, and Twitter’s monetization capabilities, they do include some very neat goodies for mobile developers and publishers.

Crash analytics is a good thing to have. Native Twitter functionality can be a good thing for certain kinds of apps. And another monetization possibility is not a bad thing, and could work very well for certain kinds of apps.

But the big kahuna here is Digits, which will simultaneously allow almost frictionless accounts to users, and the ability to know formerly anonymous apps users — and then be able to engage and monetize them more effectively — for developers. Both are valuable, and both are a reason for developers to at least consider the new offerings.

Time will tell if they also improve Twitter’s standing in the mobile user acquisition and mobile monetization hierarchy.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

Chartboost is the largest revenue platform powering the business of mobile games. Chartboost empowers developers to find new players and monetize their games, by providing them with the tools and analytics to make smarter decisions. Th... read more »

AdColony is a mobile video advertising company whose proprietary Instant-Play™ technology serves razor sharp, full-screen video ads instantly in HD across its network of iOS and Android apps, eliminating the biggest pain points in mo... read more »











Mark Zuckerberg does a public Q&A session — in Mandarin Chinese

Wednesday 22 October 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Mark Zuckerberg does a public Q&A session — in Mandarin Chinese

Mark Zuckerberg did a public Q&A session today — in Mandarin Chinese. Yes, the Facebook CEO set out to learn the (very difficult) language in 2010, in his spare time.

“On Wednesday I did my first ever public Q&A in Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing!” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook after the event. “We discussed connecting the world, Internet.org, innovation, and the early days of Facebook.”

Zuckerberg barely uttered a single word in English — just one quick “I’m sorry,” when he misspoke.

After the CEO gave a short answer to the first question, loud applause, laughter, and a couple of gasps could be heard from the audience.

He made convincing inflections. He made jokes. He seemed totally relaxed.

Here’s the first part of the Q&A:

You can find the full video here.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Ampush’s future of mobile ads: whopping growth of 233 percent year-over-year

Tuesday 21 October 2014 @ 3:45 pm
Ampush’s future of mobile ads: whopping growth of 233 percent year-over-year

Above: Ampush CEO Jesse Pujji

Image Credit: Ampush

To Ampush chief Jesse Pujji, the future of mobile advertising comes down to native ads running on Facebook and Twitter.

Pujji’s company runs ad campaigns for big brands like MasterCard with his two biggest ad partners, Facebook and Twitter. Ampush will release a report early tomorrow that contains eye-opening data for brands and advertisers looking to maximize mobile ad campaigns with the two giants. The report provides a partial glimpse of what mobile advertising could soon look like.

“The majority of ad inventory in a few years will come down to the big platforms like Twitter and Facebook,” Ampush told VentureBeat.

While not a shocker, at least in the subjective sense of the word, Pujji will release data accrued by Ampush during 2013 up to the third quarter of 2014 from Twitter and Facebook mobile campaigns run during that timeframe.


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This includes Ampush customers in the gaming, e-commerce, travel, and entertainment sectors. Ampush clients spent $200 million on campaigns during this timeframe, of which Ampush takes a cut.

Some of the highlights from the Ampush report, which will be released on its website tomorrow morning, include:

  • Ad spend for the 13-17 age group grew the fastest it ever has over the duration of 2014. Pujji says this kernel of data debunks analyst claims that this age demographic is not effectively being served by Facebook
  • Mobile growth spending will increase by a whopping 233 percent year-over-year.
  • Cost per thousand and cost per click in mobile pricing trends will increase 23 and 53 percent respectively year-over-year.
  • The mobile app index, or cost-per-install, will increase 20 percent year-over-year.
  • Twitter is still maturing, but is showing serious, opportunistic growth in targeting smaller audiences engaged in the travel and lifestyle verticals.
  • More advertisers allocated portions of their important user acquisition budgets outside the U.S. and into international markets for mobile campaigns.

Ampush finds itself ensconced inside a burgeoning mobile landscape that analysts expect will be worth around $35 billion by year’s end. That number is up from the $18 billion spent on mobile last year. As expected, Google occupies the No. 1 spot in terms of mobile ad revenue followed by Facebook and Twitter.

The crafty Pujji also pointed out to VentureBeat that email-based mobile marketing, like Google Partner Connect and Facebook’s Custom Audience, for example, are leading the way in targeted mobile ad campaigns and that the technology continues to evolve to allow businesses to better target specific users with ads they may want to see.

“It’s a whole new way for advertisers to target customers,” Pujji said.

You can see an earlier interview I did with Pujji here.


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Ampush is an advertising technology company that helps brands and direct response advertisers achieve measurable business results on mobile-first native platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Our AMP 2.0 marketing software takes the c... read more »











This new social network will pay you for your party pictures and sandwich-eating updates

Tuesday 21 October 2014 @ 5:00 am
This new social network will pay you for your party pictures and sandwich-eating updates
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-49746181/stock-photo-people-abstract-in-palm.html?src=555abedb41fecc1da6943637bc614681-3-16

Looks like 2014 is the year of Alternatives to Facebook.

After Facebook’s suffocating ads and user data sorcery caused the birth of alternative social network Ello, another alternative, Tsu, is nailing its own 95 Theses to the door, saying you should own and make money off your brunch pictures and #ThrowbackThursday statuses. And the company has $7 million in the bank to help you do that.

Tsu has two goals. One, it wants you to create your own network and control it. You invite other users to follow you, building out the social network organically. You’re responsible for getting other users onboard by using your personal shortcode to invite them onto the platform and to follow you.

Two, it wants to share revenues with its users. Tsu aggregates “advertising, sponsorship, and partnership dollars, all from third parties,” it says on its FAQ webpage, and distributes those dollars among users after taking a 10 percent cut. It also uses the “rule of infinite thirds” to spread out the revenue, meaning that if Bob earns money from a video he posted and he joined Tsu through Suzy, she earns one-third of the revenue after Tsu has taken a cut. And if Suzy joined because of John, he gets a third of a third of that revenue, and so on. It can sound pretty confusing, but you can read more here.

Interestingly, Tsu is playing nice with other content platforms like YouTube, probably because it doesn’t host video itself. For example, you can upload videos on your YouTube account, monetize through YouTube’s own means, and then monetize that same video some more by sharing it on Tsu. “[W]ith tsū you get credit for just showing your audience the preview of your video,” the FAQ page reads.

Tsu also has a melange of traditional social network features as well as payments platform features. For example, users can send private messages to other users. They can also send money to other users or merchants, although Tsu charges a 3 percent transaction fee. You can also donate money to charities, presumably through this service.

To be honest, Tsu mainly reads like a content monetization platform, not so much like a network. Since you can share your Tsu-based content on other social media accounts, or just advertise on them that you’ve added new goodies to your Tsu profile, folks will likely look for ways to leverage their existing social media presence to get viewership on Tsu. As we saw with Ello, it’s quite difficult to abandon a well-established personal network and go build one from scratch elsewhere.

The followers and friends aren’t there, the features aren’t there, there’s not much to do.

But perhaps Tsu’s greatest asset is the algorithms it uses to allocate revenue shares. That’s technology media companies would surely be interested in.

Tsu was founded in 2013 by Sebastian Sobczak, Drew Ginsburg, Thibault Boullenger, and Jonathan Lewin. The company raised its funding from Sancus Capital Privé and other unnamed investors.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

Ello was originally built as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use. Ad Free Ello doesn't sell ads. Nor doest the company sell data about it... read more »











Microsoft’s AutoTag leverages your Facebook account to automatically tag friends in all your other photos

Sunday 19 October 2014 @ 11:52 am
Microsoft’s AutoTag leverages your Facebook account to automatically tag friends in all your other photos
Image Credit: Robert Scoble

Microsoft this weekend quietly revealed AutoTag ‘n Search My Photos, a new Windows 8.1 app that leverages the photos tagged in your Facebook account to help you tag your own personal photos. The new tool learns about the face models of your friends and can then automatically tag photos stored in your Pictures Library on Windows.

Once some tags have been added, AutoTag lets you search for people across your photo collection. If you include your OneDrive photos in the Pictures library, photos taken on a Windows Phone can also be automatically tagged, and thus become searchable.

firstlaunch

Microsoft promises that tagging accuracy improves as you use the app. More specifically, when you confirm suggested tags or fix and edit improperly tagged faces, AutoTag will adapt accordingly.

While AutoTag relies heavily on Facebook, you can still tag people who are not on the social network, creating profiles for unidentified faces (an “unidentified photos” view even clusters faces with similar features for easy tagging). This isn’t a one-way street: you can also share photos on Facebook with tags included, both to a new and existing album. The idea is that tagging people in the app is less of a hassle since there are fewer people left to tag.

facebook

You can also merge a Facebook profile or a user-created profile with tags detected on photos tagged with other photo applications, such as OneDrive. While AutoTag adds new people tags to your photos, it does not overwrite any existing tags.

Here is a walkthrough demo that runs through the app’s various features:

Curiously, the video mentions that users should rate the app in the company’s app store. Microsoft rarely offers its research projects for public download, and at least at the time of publishing, AutoTag doesn’t appear to be one of the exceptions; we were unable to find the app in the Downloads sections nor in the Windows Store.

The app was developed by the Microsoft Garage team, a group responsible that runs side projects, hackathons, science fairs, and general tinkering in Redmond. It thus shouldn’t be much of a surprise the video above is hosted on a Microsoft Research website; this is very much an experiment. In fact, a post on Microsoft Answers says the app is in beta and notes some known issues, as well as potential workarounds.

homepage

At the end of the day, AutoTag shows off some very cool technology that can create a person-centric view of all your photos, including those stored on your local hard drive, OneDrive, and on Facebook. Unfortunately, as with many Microsoft Research projects, it’s not likely a tool that would catch on: this is a solution to a problem that spans more than just Windows devices, and it’s being largely solved by Facebook’s own automatic-tagging technology.

We have contacted Microsoft for more information about the app, including whether it will be made available for download as the video suggests. In the meantime, you can learn more about AutoTag by checking out the lengthy FAQ page (which by the way is also written as if anyone with a Windows 8.1 device can install the app).


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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Facebook to federal agents: No, you don’t get to create fake profiles to ensnare suspects

Saturday 18 October 2014 @ 11:11 am
Facebook to federal agents: No, you don’t get to create fake profiles to ensnare suspects

Above: "People first," the slide behind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg proclaims.

Image Credit: Business Insider

Updated 1:20 p.m.

Facebook is serious about real people using real names on its service.

After initially cracking down on drag queens, the social network is going after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for using fake profiles.

It wants the DEA to know that it is not okay to create fake profile pages, even as part of ongoing investigations.

Facebook’s chief security officer sent a letter to the DEA yesterday saying that the agency is required to follow the same rules of honesty on Facebook as the rest of us, according to the AP.

That’s in the wake of an operation in which the DEA apparently created a fake profile page for a suspect, Sondra Arquiett. After arresting Arquiett in 2010, an agent created the fake profile in order to communicate with other suspects, probably hoping to catch them saying something incriminating. Arquiett subsequently sued the DEA, and is seeking $250,000 in damages.

Facebook isn’t happy, either.

“Facebook has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies,” Facebook’s security officer, Joe Sullivan, wrote, according to the AP. “We regard DEA’s conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook’s terms and policies.”

In the case of drag queens, Facebook initially cracked down on many individuals who were using their alter egos’ names on Facebook. The company subsequently clarified its policy, stating that the intention is to get people to use whatever names they’re known by in real life.

Update: BuzzFeed News initially broke the story, on October 6, about the DEA using a fake profile. The news-and-listicles site has also published the text of Facebook’s letter to the DEA. I’m including the text of that letter below.

We recently learned through media reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration created fake Facebook accounts and impersonated a Facebook user as part of its investigation of alleged criminal conduct unrelated to Facebook. Although we understand that the U.S. Department ofJustice is currently reviewing these enforcement practices, we write to express our deep concern about the conduct and ask that the DEA cease all activities on Facebook that involve the impersonation of others.

Facebook is a community where people come to share and interact using their authentic identities. As our Chief Product Officer recently explained, this core principle is what differentiates Facebook from other services on the Internet. And requiring people to use their real identities on Facebook is “the primary mechanism we have to protect millions of people every day, all around the world, from real harm. The deceptive actions violate the terms and policies that govern the use of the Facebook service and undermine trust in the Facebook community.

As you know, Sondra Arquiett has sued the DEA and a DEA agent in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Ms. Arquiett claims that she was arrested on drug charges in 2010, at which time her mobile telephone was seized. Soon thereafter, a DEA agent seized digital images stored on Ms. Arquiett’s telephone, including “revealing and/or suggestive photographs” of Ms. Arquiett in her bra and panties.

The agent then created a fake Facebook profile in Ms. Arquiett’s name; posted “revealing and/or suggestive photographs” of her; and sent friend requests and communicated with other individuals pretending to be Ms. Arquiett through the fake account.

The DEA does not dispute Ms. Arquiett?s essential allegations. But the DEA claims that Ms. Arquiett “implicitly consented” to the agency?s conduct “by granting access to the information stored in her cell phone and by consenting to the use ofthat information to aid in an ongoing criminal investigations Facebook is deeply troubled by the claims and
legal position.

Most fundamentally, the actions threaten the integrity of our community. Facebook strives to maintain a safe, trusted environment where people can engage in authentic interactions with the people they know and meet in real life. Using Facebook to impersonate others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our service.

Indeed, as we have observed at Facebook, such deceptive actions are often used to further harmful conduct, such as trolling, hate speech, scams, bullying, and even domestic violence. This impact is markedly different from undercover investigations conducted in the “real” world.

Moreover, our terms and Community Standards which the DEA agent had to acknowledge and agree to when registering for a Facebook account expressly prohibit the creation and use of fake accounts:

  • Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or
    creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms.
  • You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
  • You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates
    someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
  • You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or
    discriminatory.

Facebook has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies. We regard the conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook?s terms and policies, and the account created by the agent in the Arquiett matter has been disabled.

Accordingly, Facebook asks that the DEA immediately confirm that it has ceased all activities on Facebook that involve the impersonation of others or that otherwise violate our terms and policies.

Via Circa


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Despite bumps, Facebook still working to accomodate drag queens on ‘real name’ policies

Friday 17 October 2014 @ 12:45 pm
Despite bumps, Facebook still working to accomodate drag queens on ‘real name’ policies

Above: "People first," the slide behind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg proclaims.

Image Credit: Business Insider

Facebook is still working to resolve the issue of deactivating or suspending accounts where users deploy aliases to protect their identities against the backdrop of the company’s “real-name” policy.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company was responding to a news report in The Guardian today that the social media kingpins had continued to deactivate the accounts of drag queens who used aliases on the site to protect their real identities weeks after the issue surfaced. Some victims of domestic violence also use aliases on their accounts for protection.

San Francisco-based drag queen Sister Roma told The Guardian Friday that she challenged Facebook back in September to stop deactivating or suspending accounts where members of the drag community used aliases. Sister Roma is leading the charge to get Facebook to alter their policies to protect drag queens and transgender users who use stage names, for example, on their user accounts.

On Friday, Facebook reached out to VentureBeat in reaction to Sister Roma’s new accusations.

“We are committed to ensuring that all members of the Facebook community can use the authentic names they use in real life. Having people use their authentic names makes them more accountable, and also helps us root out accounts created for malicious purposes, like harassment, fraud, impersonation and hate speech,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat Friday in an email.

To be sure, Facebook are old friends and supporters of the gay and transgender communities. The real-name policy was implemented to protect the integrity of the site against fraudsters and criminals using Facebook accounts for nefarious purposes. My story on that here.

Sister Roma told The Guardian today: “Every time one or two [accounts] get fixed, a handful get suspended. We really feel like we’re swimming upstream, and while I’m hopeful that Facebook is doing the right thing, it’s discouraging.”

Facebook said it understood the issue and was working with sectors of the drag community to resolve it.

“Our team is busy working to improve the implementation of this standard so that some of the issues people recently encountered can be prevented in the future,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the real-name policy is still firmly in place.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











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