Are you uncomfortable with the information Facebook shares about you with third-party apps and websites? Good news: Facebook has a solution.
Facebook (FB, Fortune 500) on Wednesday unveiled an anonymous login feature that allows users to sign into apps without sharing their identities. The apps will be forbidden from collecting personal data from people who use the feature.
Facebook has become a kind of universal sign-in mechanism for websites and apps, allowing people to click one “login with Facebook” button rather than remembering an endless number of usernames and passwords. But Facebook also shares users’ personal information with those apps and websites, making some people wary.
“By giving people more power and control, they’re going to trust more apps,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the company’s annual F8 developers conference in San Francisco.
The social network rolled out the new feature to a limited set of apps, including Flipboard, but Facebook said anonymous login will be available more broadly in the coming months.
For those who don’t mind sharing their information with apps and sites but want to choose exactly what those third-parties can see, Facebook also plans to unveil a line-by-line privacy control option for its regular login feature. Users could choose to share their birthday but not their friends’ list, for instance.
“We know some people are scared of pressing this blue button,” Zuckerberg said pointing at the Facebook login button. “We want to do more to put control and power back in people’s hands.”
Facebook said that new feature will be ready in the coming months.
Also on Wednesday, Facebook launched a new mobile ad network, essentially making it easier for app developers to use mobile-optimized ad formats and partner with companies to target specific audiences with their ads.
Overall, this year’s F8 was far less sexy than in years’ past, during which the company has unveiled bold new features, including Graph Search and Timeline.
Even Facebook’s new motto is kind of dull. The social network giant is ditching its familiar, “Move fast and break things” catch phrase for a less catchy one: “Move fast with stable infra” (short for “infrastructure”).
Facebook created its new motto with the aim that it will make it easier for mobile developers to build apps atop Facebook’s platform and make money. And rather than manufacture a phone or launch any “shiny consumer product,” as Zuckerberg calls it, Facebook will instead focus on useful social tools for end users.
“We want to make sure we put people first,” he said.
Instagram is working on a new messaging app
Rivaling Snapchat, Threads will enable users to automatically share their location, movements, and battery life with their IG ‘close friends’ list
Now Facebook is a wasteland for your racist aunt and high school friends’ wedding photos, the platform is determined to maintain its social media stronghold via Instagram and WhatsApp (sorry, ‘Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook’). Its latest venture? A new messaging app called Threads.
As reported by The Verge, Threads will be a companion app to Instagram, promoting constant sharing between users and their IG ‘close friends’ list. The app will enable people to automatically share their location, movements, and battery life with each other, as well as send text, photo, and video messages.
The development could be seen as another attempt to rival Snapchat – which already lets users share their location – following Instagram’s introduction of Stories three years ago.
Instagram has been trying to develop the messaging side of its app since late 2017 when the company started working on Direct, a standalone camera-first app exclusively for DMs. The platform ceased work in May this year after research revealed users found it frustrating to switch apps when they wanted to send a message – although this is exactly what happened with Facebook Messenger in 2016.
Screenshots acquired by The Verge show that users have the option to switch on automatic sharing, but are also able to update their statuses manually. Although Threads encourages friends to share their location with one another, it will reportedly show updates like ‘on the move’, rather than a real-time location.
The app’s main feed will show all messages, as well as friends’ updates and active status, and will allow users to watch their close friends’ IG stories as opposed to having to go back to Instagram to view them.
This announcement comes after a number of updates to the platform, including the removal of likes, an anti-bullying feature, and a tool to report fake news. Although, there’s currently no launch date for Threads, and given Instagram’s history with fucked-up trials, it may never even materialise.
Massive change coming to WhatsApp with introduction of ads
WhatsApp will see a massive change by 2020 with the introduction of adverts into the instant messaging app.
It’s been rumoured for a while and now WhatsApp looks set to finally bring adverts to its popular messaging app.
The Facebook-owned firm revealed the news during its annual Marking Summit in the Netherlands, with a rollout expected next year.
Photos of the way these new adverts will look have even been posted online with attendee Olivier Ponteville, giving fans a closer look at what’s to come.
The image, which can be seen on Twitter, shows how ads currently appear on Facebook and Instagram with a WhatsApp screenshot then revealed with a full-screen advert.
According to technology website BGR, once the message appears users will be able to “swipe up when an ad appears for more information about the product or service being advertised.”
Adverts in WhatsApp have been spoken about for a while but this is the first evidence that things are changing within the popular service.
How fans react is yet to been seen but it’s unlikely to go down well with its billions of users.
The bad news is that it seems there’s nothing that can be done to stop this new feature from arriving within the app.
It seems almost certain that there will be no way to switch them off or hide these paid-for messages which may prove to be hugely irritating.
Facebook Messenger finally adds quoted replies
Today Facebook Messenger has added a sorely missing feature – quoted replies. This allows you to reply to a specific message in a conversation, and is incredibly helpful when you’re engaged in chats that have a big range of topics. Using the new feature, the people you’re talking to will now know exactly what you were replying to with that “LOL”, for example.
This has been a feature in WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, for a very long time, and it’s always been sort of a baffling omission in Messenger. So it’s good to finally see it there too.
In order to quote a specific message, long tap on it and you’ll see a new Reply button to the right of the reaction emojis. Tap that, write your reply, and, just like in WhatsApp, the message you’re replying to will appear above your reply. Easy. This potentially means you’ll have less misunderstandings with your friends as to which message was referencing what.
The feature is rolling out now on both iOS and Android.
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