Facebook 3D Photos, Google+ Shutting Down, Instagram Preven…


Social media icons appearing on the display of a smartphone (Photo by Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

“Social Media Roundup” is a weekly roundup of news pertaining to all of your favorite websites and applications used for social networking. Published on Sundays, “Social Media Roundup” will help you stay up-to-date on all the important social media news you need to know.

Bumble

Parent Company Rimberg International Mulling IPO

Rimberg International, the parent company of Bumble, is currently mulling an IPO in the U.S. as part of a plan to become the world’s largest dating company. This was revealed by Rimgberg founder Andrey Andreev in an interview with Bloomberg.

Andreev told Bloomberg that the company is in “deep discussions” with several banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. to list on the Nasdaq.

Rimberg is also the parent company of other dating apps like Chappy and Badoo. And Badoo is considered the largest dating app in the world with more than 400 million users.

Andreev is hoping that the IPO will enable Rimberg to surpass Tinder owner Match Group as the world’s most valuable dating company. And Andreev is expecting Rimberg’s revenue to hit as much as $400 million this year.

Facebook

Portal

Facebook has announced a new video chat camera device called Portal, which comes in a 10-inch 720p version for $200 (known as Portal) and a 15.6-inch 1080p version for $350 (known as Portal+). The larger version can be rotated from landscape to portrait mode as well.

The Portal supports video chat through Facebook’s Messenger app and you can also use the device for viewing Facebook Watch and listening to Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio. Plus the Portal also works as a digital photo frame. YouTube is not supported by Portal.

Rumor has it that Facebook was planning to launch the Portal device at the F8 conference. However, Facebook was dealing with privacy concerns at the time.

The Portal has Amazon Alexa integration built-in so it can also handle voice commands. For example, you can say “Portal, call Steve.” Then the device will call Steve’s Portal or the Messenger app on Steve’s phone.

Plus the Portal device also has a 12-megapixel camera built-in so it can take sharper images. And it is able to identify the shape of users within a 140-degree field of view as part of the Smart Camera feature. With the Smart Camera, the Portal can pan and zoom so that the person is in kept in the frame. You can also add filters to your face and share music with your contacts.

Facebook said it does not listen to conversations or keep the contents of Portal video calls. And Facebook said that you can disable the camera and microphone with a single tap or you can block the camera lens with the cover provided. Plus users cannot perform “Drop In” calls like you can do with Echo devices.

The Facebook Portal can be pre-ordered now. And next month, the Portal will be available in select retail stores.

3D Photos

Facebook’s 3D photosFacebook

Several days ago, Facebook started rolling out support for 3D photos and it will be available for everyone in the coming weeks. This technology is able to capture the distance between the subject in the foreground and the background to add depth and movement to the photos.

How does it work? Simply take a photo in Portrait mode using your compatible dual-lens smartphone such as the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X or iPhone XS. Facebook said that you will get the best results if the subject is three or four feet away and you can really make the 3D photos pop by trying to capture scenes with multiple layers of depth such as someone standing in a field of flowers. You will get more of a 3D effect when the photo subject has contrasting colors from the background. And Facebook said that you should try to avoid transparent objects such as clear plastic or glass.

You can view the 3D photos in VR using the Oculus Browser on Oculus Go or Firefox on Oculus Rift. And everyone will be able to see 3D photos in the News Feed and VR.

Personal Info Of 30 Million People Stolen, Which Is Smaller Than Reported Before

Last month, Facebook said that 50 million accounts may have been compromised in one of the worst hacks in the company’s history. However, Facebook made a correction that the number of users that were actually affected was 30 million.

The hackers gained access to a digital “token” that allowed them to log in to millions of user accounts. And those hackers were able to collect personal user data from 29 million out of 30 million accounts, including names and contact information (phone numbers and emails). And the hackers also were able to collect additional information from 14 million out of the 29 million users such as gender, language, relationship status, religion and hometowns.

Here is what Facebook VP of Product Management Guy Rosen wrote in a blog post about the issue:

As we’ve said, the attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that existed between July 2017 and September 2018. The vulnerability was the result of a complex interaction of three distinct software bugs and it impacted “View As,” a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. It allowed attackers to steal Facebook access tokens, which they could then use to take over people’s accounts. Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.

Here’s how we found the attack that exploited this vulnerability. We saw an unusual spike of activity that began on September 14, 2018, and we started an investigation. On September 25, we determined this was actually an attack and identified the vulnerability. Within two days, we closed the vulnerability, stopped the attack, and secured people’s accounts by resetting the access tokens for people who were potentially exposed. As a precaution, we also turned off “View As.” We’re cooperating with the FBI, which is actively investigating and asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack.

If you want to know whether your Facebook account was hacked, then you can find out by going to the Facebook Help center link while logged in at https://www.facebook.com/help/securitynotice?ref=sec. Then scroll down to where it says “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?”

800 Spammy Political Pages Get Shut Down

In a blog post, Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher and Product Manager Oscar Rodriguez said that 559 Pages and 250 accounts were removed that aimed to profit from political spam posts. A number of those accounts were using sensational political content to drive traffic to their websites

“We’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action,” said Facebook. “Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”

Messenger May Soon Add An ‘Unsend’ Feature

Mobile app engineer Jane Manchun Wong has a track record of finding hints at upcoming features in a number of social media apps. And recently she found that Facebook’s Messenger team is testing out a feature where users would be able to “unsend” messages.

To “unsend” a message, you simply would have to long press on a sent message. Then you will see options to delete it or “unsend” it. Deleting a message just removes it from your device and tapping on “Unsend Message” may prevent the recipient from seeing it. Wong pointed out that you will be able to “unsend” a message within a certain amount of time after it was sent.

It is unknown when this feature will be rolled out to all Messenger users. Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging app also added a similar feature in October 2017.

Google

Google+ Social Network Is Shutting Down

Google has decided it is shutting down the Google+ social network for consumers due to its limited adoption with users. And Google made this announcement in conjunction with a disclosure that up to half a million Google+ accounts may have been compromised by a bug.

“While our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps,” said Google in a blog post. “The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

The security issue was discovered and patched in March. And Google said that there was no evidence that any third-party developer was aware of the bug, abused the API or misused profile data such as names, email addresses, occupations, genders and ages.

“Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met in this instance,” added Google.

The wind-down of Google+ will be fully implemented over a ten-month period. And this is expected to be completed by the end of August 2019.

Instagram

Using AI To Prevent Bullying

Instagram head Adam Mosseri has announced that it is now using several tools to combat bullying such as a way to identify and report bullying in photos and a new way to spread kindness in Stories.

To detect bullying in photos, Instagram is using machine learning technology to proactively detect bullying in photos and their captions and send them to the Community Operations team for review — which is especially important for its youngest community members as teenagers experience higher rates of bullying online than others.

Instagram’s bullying comment filter on Live videosInstagram

And Instagram is adding a bullying comment filter to proactively detect and hide bullying comments from Feed, Explore and Profile. This filter is being added to comments on live videos to make sure that Live remains a safe place to authentically connect with your friends and interests.

Instagram has also partnered with author, dancer and actor Maddie Ziegler to launch a kindness camera effect to spread positivity. If you follow Maddie, then you will have the camera effect available automatically.

“In selfie mode, hearts will fill the screen — and you’ll be encouraged to tag a friend you want to support. Your friend will receive a notification that you mentioned them in your story,” said Instagram in the announcement. “They can share it to their own story or use the camera effect to spread kindness to someone else. If you switch to the rear camera, you’ll see an overlay of kind comments in many languages. If you aren’t a follower of Maddie but you see someone else with the effect, tap ‘try it’ to add it to your camera. Learn more about our camera effects here.”

These tools were put together in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month in the US and the upcoming Anti-Bullying Week in the UK.

Testing Tap Navigation

Instagram is reportedly testing out a feature where users tap to see the next photo in the feed rather than scrolling down. This form of navigation is similar to what is used for the Stories feature. The tap-to-scroll navigation feature started being tested on a number of limited users. Matt Navarra of The Next Web said that it is only being tested on the Explore section as of right now:

App Based Two-Factor Authentication Is Now Available

Instagram has confirmed with TechCrunch that it has added an app-based SMS two-factor authentication feature to the app for all users. This is an alternative to receiving a code via SMS for logging in to your Instagram.

To set it up, simply go to the Settings menu in Instagram. Then go to the Privacy and Security and select Two-Factor Authentication. And then toggle on the Authentication App setting.

From there, Instagram will see if you have existing authentication apps on your device or recommend you to download one. Some of the options include Google Authenticator or Authy.

LinkedIn

Glint Acquisition

LinkedIn, the professional social network owned by Microsoft, has acquired an employee survey company called Glint. The acquisition was undisclosed, but sources with CNBC said that it was valued at more than $400 million. Prior to the acquisition, Glint raised $20 million in Series D funding at a $220 million valuation in November 2017.

Glint surveys employee satisfaction and provides insights to managers. Generally, the questions that are asked via Glint include issues related to management and compensation.

Snap

Snapchat Originals

Snapchat has announced that it is releasing several new short AR-enabled daily shows. The three new shows are part of the new Snap Originals series of programs. And more shows are expected to be added in the coming months.

Some of the new shows include “Class of Lies” where a group of college students put together a podcast about crime and mysteries; a show about how freshmen are adapting to college life in a comedy program called “Co-Ed”; and a docuseries called “Endless Summer” featuring the lives of YouTube influencers Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan. Each of the 5-minute episodes will be released daily.

WhatsApp

Video Call Bug Fixed

Messaging app WhatsApp has fixed a video call bug. This video call bug could have caused the app to crash and shut down, according to a security expert. Tavis Ormandy, one of the researchers that discovered the bug, said that this was a “big deal”:

The bug was discovered in late August and fixed early October. Google’s Natalie Silvanovich was the first to discover the vulnerability. The problem existed in the mobile version of WhatsApp, but the desktop version was not. Facebook said that there was no evidence that the bug was exploited by hackers.

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