Facebook has announced a new search feature dubbed Graph Search, a service which is built atop the network’s Social Graph. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company has been working on Graph Search for years, and claims it offers something that no other service can. It is available as a limited preview right now for English audiences only.
Zuckerburg made it clear that this isn’t a Web search service, and that user privacy has been taken into concern. Graph search is designed to take a precise query and deliver an answer. While Facebook says users can only search for content that has been shared with them, it is possible to search for things such as “TV shows watched by doctors” or “Music liked by people who like Mitt Romney” or even “Languages my friend speaks”.
Facebook’s CEO says that every piece of content on Facebook has its own audience with most of it not available to the public. Currently, you can only search for content that has been shared with you.
Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that “Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won’t have to pay you anything to use your images.”
Incredibly creepy policy shift from the recently-acquired Facebook subsidiary, Instagram.
Facebook’s last user vote has closed, once again with a minuscule turnout compared to the size of the social network in general according to its site governance page. Only 668,872 votes were cast out of the billion active users for a turnout of 0.067 percent. Facebook is now free to enact its new privacy policies without concern for the vote results. The new policy will, among other things, remove the user vote as a necessary step in policy changes.
Facebook and Yahoo are calling off their heated patent lawsuit battle, and in fact have just agreed to cross-license their entire patent portfolios to each other without money changing hands, sources directly familiar with the deal tell me. Sources also confirmed that the two web giants are entering into an ad sales partnership that will let Yahoo show Like buttons in its ads
Seems like a strategically odd move for Facebook to align itself with last decade’s biggest loser. I guess the patent trolls have won?
In a six-minute interview on stage with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, Zuckerberg spent 60 seconds talking about Facebook’s privacy policies. His statements were of major importance for the world’s largest social network – and his arguments in favor of an about-face on privacy deserve close scrutiny.
Zuckerberg offered roughly 8 sentences in response to Arrington’s question about where privacy was going on Facebook and around the web. The question was referencing the changes Facebook underwent last month. Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on Facebook. This means everyone on the web can see it; it is searchable.
“When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was ‘why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?’
“And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.
“We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.
“A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they’ve built, doing a privacy change – doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner’s mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.”
That’s Not a Believable Explanation
This is a radical change from the way that Zuckerberg pounded on the importance of user privacy for years. That your information would only be visible to the people you accept as friends was fundamental to the DNA of the social network that hundreds of millions of people have joined over these past few years. Privacy control, he told me less than 2 years ago, is “the vector around which Facebook operates.”
Zuckerberg always comes off as very clever, but ultimately elusive — and not trustworthy at all.
His anxiety-ridden, robotic, speech, and manipulative word choice, turns me off, and certainly doesn’t endear me to his point of view.
Reflecting on how deeply I’ve let this guy into my life, and yours, makes me want to cut him out, completely.
A Twitter spokesperson told us that the firm has fixed a number issues with the integration and added features that include support for business pages, images and — as we earlier highlighted — links to hashtags and Twitter usernames:
We have fixed many issues with the Twitter for Facebook integration, including the ability to post to Facebook Pages, and added some new features.
The updated Twitter for Facebook integration now includes additional rich media experiences related to the first photo, URL, @mention or #hashtag in the cross-posted Tweet.
Those who already linked their Twitter and Facebook accounts and want to take advantage of the new features need to visit their Twitter profile settings page (here), and then disconnect and reconnect their accounts. That’s a bit of an inconvenience but well worth the effort.
The resulting integration is pretty impressive. When a tweet includes a photo, for example, the corresponding Facebook status update includes a thumbnail and link to click through to view the full photo, and other images from the user, on Twitter:
Sweet! Especially exciting given the news of Facebook’s integration with Apple products in the next iOS update.
Now… when will Facebook wise up and realise it’s got to play nice with Google too?
It happened. It’s over.
The bubble was popped by Facebook’s IPO belly flop. Some saw it coming, but before May 18, plenty of smart people saw only blue skies. Chris Sacca predicted we’d see a $56 price on opening day. But within 2 weeks, the price had dropped 29% to a low of $26.83. According to Bloomberg, it was the worst IPO of the decade.
Sad but possibly true. I knew Facebook’s success was the devil’s work.
Enter Viddy and Socialcam, two of the hottest start-up apps, both of which have the buzz of being the “Instagram for video.” The pair have exploded in popularity over the past few months, with each garnering user bases in the tens of millions seemingly overnight.
But the growth of one of these apps is not like the other.
Using a combination of fortunate timing, Facebook’s Open Graph influence and a new way of playing the system, Socialcam has effectively gamed Facebook, YouTube and the App Store to keep a strong grip on that ever-so-valuable user base. In the short term, at least, the three-man Socialcam start-up team has discovered a method to beat the 20-plus person outfit that is Viddy.
The method is so effective that Socialcam skyrocketed from around 1.4 million monthly active Facebook users to a whopping 40 million in a span of little more than two weeks. Socialcam surpassed Viddy in the Facebook app rankings last week, and currently sits fat atop Apple’s powerful App Store as one of the most downloaded free applications.
Fascinating take-down of a truly unscrupulous practice employed by new “Instagram-of-Video” upstart SocialCam, an app you’ve likely seen clogging up your Facebook news feed recently.
Mike Isaac of AllThingsD dives into the story, shownig some surprisingly cutthroat tactics at play in the social sharing app space, empowered by Facebook’s black-box dominion over the news feed.
In a lawsuit seeking class action status, filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Facebook shareholders are suing the company, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and several banks including lead underwriter Morgan Stanley.
The lawsuit claims shareholders were duped by the hiding of Facebook’s weakened growth forecasts.
Write Reuters’ Dan Levine and Jonathan Stempel:
The defendants were accused of concealing from investors during the IPO marketing process “a severe and pronounced reduction” in Facebook revenue growth forecasts, resulting from increased use of its app or website through mobile devices.
Only 12% of your friends see your average status update, but Facebook is testing an option called “Highlight” that lets you pay a few dollars to have one of your posts appear to more friends. Highlight lets the average user, not Pages or businesses, select an “important post” and “make sure friends see this.” A tiny percentage of the user base is now seeing tests of a paid version of Highlight, but there’s also a free one designed to check if users are at all interested in the option.
Facebook is playing with fire here. The service has always been free for users, and a pay-for-popularity feature could be a huge turn off, especially to its younger and less financially equipped users who couldn’t afford such narcissism.