To thunderous applause and astonishment from the Chinese audience, Mark Zuckerberg gave a 30-minute Q&A session at Beijing’s Tsinghua University — completely in Mandarin.
Well, he certainly gets an “A” for effort. He got his point across to the audience, even if his command of the language was fairly basic.
But his accent was so bad that he was hard to understand at times. Mandarin is a tonal language, meaning that the pitch you speak in can alter the meaning of a word.
Zuckerberg’s heavy accent even caused a couple goofs when he tried to say the word “billion,” which sounded kind of like “eleven” when it came out of his mouth. So at one point, he said Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) had 11 customers and Facebook had 11 mobile users.
The Mandarin word for billion, 十億, is pronounced “shi yi.” Phonetically, that’s the same as the Mandarin word for eleven, 十一. But when you want “shi yi” to mean 1 billion, the “yi” is said with a different tonal accent than when you want it to mean 11. But the audience clearly knew what he meant — the gaffe didn’t get any laughs.
Zuckerberg also was clearly thinking in English then translating in his head, and his sentence structure was sometimes reversed. He also said a lot of “ums” and “you knows.”
Still, it’s an impressive feat. Mandarin is an extremely difficult language to master — you can study it for years and still make some of the mistakes that Zuckerberg made.
The audience certainly loved it. Chinese people often find it surprising that foreigners are able to speak Mandarin — or even want to learn.
When asked by the moderator why Zuckerberg wanted to learn Chinese, he said that China is a powerful country and he likes a good challenge. He also noted that his wife, Priscilla Chan, is Chinese-American and some of his in-laws only speak in Mandarin.
“I want to communicate with them,” he said.
He said that his Mandarin vocabulary is larger than his wife’s, but she also speaks Cantonese. He quipped that her listening is better than his.
“One day I asked her why my listening is so bad,” Zuckerberg joked. “She said my listening in English is also bad!”
Zuckerberg was invited to speak at the university after joining its board. Otherwise, the Q&A would have been ironic: Facebook is blocked in China.
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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