Facebook’s F8 plans include camera effects platform, offline Instagram

 What will Facebook launch next week at its F8 conference? The schedule reveals plans to give Instagram offline features that are already in testing, opening its Camera Effects Platform to developers so they can create more powerful photo and video overlays for people to use, and a Places Graph for developers to do more with…

Facebook under fire for spreading illegal content

 An investigation by a British newspaper into child sexual abuse content and terrorist propaganda being shared on Facebook has once again drawn critical attention to how the company handles complaints about offensive and extremist content being shared on its platform. Read More

Taking the Bodleian less seriously (with GIFs)

 Pop quiz, hotshot. You’re appointed the social media manager for a world-renowned institution like Oxford’s Bodleian Library. What do you do? Obviously, you spend the next year making GIFs out of the thousands of precious cultural treasures hoarded there. At least that’s what Adam Koszary did. Read More

Facebook Moments gets a standalone website

 Late last year, Facebook brought its mobile photo-sharing application Moments to the web in a limited capacity by adding a link to the service in the desktop version of Facebook. Now, Facebook is again expanding Moments to the web, this time by setting up a standalone web version for the service that offers access to…

Facebook Messenger hits 1.2 billion monthly users, up from 1B in July

 Normally adding 200 million users in 8 months to a product that already has a billion would reduce the average engagement, but most apps don’t have Facebook Messenger’s network effect. Now with 1.2 billion monthly active users, “we increased engagement massively in terms of number of messages sent per active user. We had double-digit growth percentage-wise&#8221……

Facebook Messenger now supports group payments

 Facebook introduced person-to-person payments within Messenger in early 2015, but today the company announced the feature is expanding to support groups, as well. The payments feature essentially works the same in group chats as in private ones, but now allows users to pay either everyone in the group or individual members through a click of the payments…

The Shade Room’s Angie Nwandu is coming to Disrupt NY

 While many traditional publishers are figuring out their social media strategies, The Shade Room has already built an Instagram-centric media juggernaut. Since its founding in 2014, the startup’s Instagram account (which offers celebrity news aimed at a black audience) has attracted more than 8.9 million followers — compare that to The New York Times’ 2.4 million,……

Instagram Direct unites ephemeral and permanent messaging for 375M users

 After successfully cloning Snapchat Stories, Instagram is looking to one-up its competitor in chat with a reimagining of its sleeping giant of a private messaging feature, Instagram Direct. Rolling out today to everyone, Instagram Direct will now combine disappearing ephemeral photo and video messages with traditional permanent text and image messages in the same one-on-one…

Popular Pays raises $3.1M in new funding to connect marketers and creators

 How can Popular Pays stand out in the influencer marketing crowd? The key, according to co-founder Corbett Drummey, is to focus on content. The approach seems to have convinced investors, with Popular Pays announcing that it has raised an additional $3.1 million, which it rolled up with the $2 million it raised after participating in…

Spotting sockpuppets with science

 If you’ve ever ventured into the comment section of a website or spent any time on forums or social media, you’ve probably encountered sockpuppets, fake accounts controlled by a single person — though it’s possible you didn’t know it at the time. New research may help ID these overeager commentators automatically, which is good news…

Peter Fenton is leaving Twitter’s board of directors

 Benchmark partner Peter Fenton, who had been on Twitter’s board since 2009, will not seek re-election after his term expires in 2016 according to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. To be sure, Fenton was expected to depart the company’s board once his term expires according to reports going back to when…

Facebook adds new features to Instant Articles to encourage email sign-ups and Page Likes

 Facebook today rolled out an improvement to its Instant Articles feature that now lets publishers include call-to-action units in their articles to better connect with readers, including those that encourage email sign-ups and Page Likes. The company also announced it’s testing two more units for publishers interested in offering free trials of their digital subscriptions and another……

Facebook Messenger’s AI “M” suggests features to use based on your convos

 Write “You owe me $20” and Messenger will suggest you use its payments feature. If someone says “goodbye”, Messenger will recommend a “bye-bye” GIF. That’s how Facebook’s new M Suggestions work. Facebook’s artificial intelligence assistant will privately interject these recommendations above the message composer in your Messenger… Read More

One in five Facebook videos is Live as it seizes the verb

 While most people still aren’t sure what to broadcast, and some have misused the format for unsavory or criminal purposes, Facebook now says one-fifth of the videos share on its network are now Live videos. It’s also seen Live broadcasting grow 4X in the past year, according to Facebook’s head of video Fidji Simo. This…

Facebook puts link to 10 tips for spotting ‘false news’ atop feed

 Today Facebook begins fighting misinformation with news literacy education, in addition to product features. This week, users in 14 countries, including the U.S., will see an alert above the News Feed several times over the next few days that links them to Facebook’s Help Center where they can read “Tips to Spot False News.” Read…

Instagram Head of Product Kevin Weil to talk shop at Disrupt NY

 Instagram is killing it. The photo-sharing behemoth has topped 600 million users, with the most recent 100 million joining in the last year. Plus, the company now has more than 1 million active advertisers, building on Facebook’s already-dominant advertising business. But there is also a question of whether or not Instagram can continue iterating in…

Twitter ads starring Trump pop up in Tokyo train stations

 He may have shared the world’s worst handshake with its prime minister, but President Trump is still big in Japan. Starting in late March, a set of splashy ads depicting Trump appeared in train cars and metro stations around Tokyo. Read More

You can now draw with a thicker brush in Snapchat

 Yesterday Snapchat tweaked their drawing tool so you can draw thicker lines on your snapsterpieces. To change your brush size all you have to do is select a color to draw with, then use two fingers to “pinch” in or out to make the brush size bigger or smaller. It’s exactly the same motion you’d use…

Microsoft launches “Who’s In,” a social event planning app for iMessage

 Microsoft’s name isn’t exactly synonymous with social networking, though that hasn’t stopped the company from finding angles into this space – generally, with more of a focus on the business side of socializing, as with its LinkedIn and Yammer acquisitions. It’s own efforts in social, meanwhile, have failed, as with last month’s shuttering of its social……

Time Inc. is launching its own influencer marketing network with help from Speakr

 Time Inc. is getting into the influencer marketing business in a bigger way, with a new offering called Time Inc. Connect. This influencer network will be “powered by” startup Speakr — as explained to me by Time Inc’s senior vice president of digital business development and business operations Regina Buckley, this means Time Inc. Connect will…

German cabinet backs €50M hate speech fines for social media firms

 The German cabinet has backed proposals to hit social media firms with fines of up to €50 million if they fail to promptly remove illegal hate speech from their platforms — within 24 hours after a complaint has been made for “obviously criminal content”, and within seven days for other illegal content. Read More

Product Hunt will now let you ask the community for product recommendations

 While Product Hunt has always been a great place to discover new services and products, it’s not necessarily the best place to find a product that you need right now. For example, let’s say this morning I’m behind on work and all I’m concerned with is finding a great to-do list app. While I’m sure there are some great options…

How Stories Search makes Snapchat a real-time YouTube

 Snapchat is shifting from a social network limited to content shared by people you follow to an ephemeral, real-time database of what’s going on now everywhere. Today Snapchat launched Search for Stories submitted to its public Our Stories. It makes Snapchat as deep as whatever the world is sharing, creating near-infinite rabbit holes to go…

Amazon quietly launches its own social media influencer program into beta

 Social media influencers – like Instagram stars or YouTube celebs – often promote products they like, either as part of a brand relationship or as means of generating income through affiliate sales. Now, Amazon is looking to get in on this action as well. The company has quietly launched the “Amazon Influencer Program,” which is…

Snapchat now lets you search across over 1 million Stories

 Snapchat has opened up search across over 1 million curated public Stories, with a new feature release that could be a very helpful tool not only for users, but for advertisers, too. The search feature allows users to find Stories relevant to their interest by keyword, from a large number shared publicly by users and…

Dear @Jack, I don’t love Twitter anymore

 Oh how innocent we were. How full of hope for the possibility of a 140-character microblogging service. For the joy it could bring, and the good we could do together. Now I look back and I just feel numb. Read More

Senate intelligence hearing details Russian social media disinformation strategy

 The first half of Thursday’s Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s hearing on Russian disinformation campaigns wasn’t quite as fun as watching James Comey squirm his way around classified intel in the House, but it did provide some valuable context on Russian cyber methods and social media campaigns. Read More

Twitter stops counting @ Replies towards its 140 characters on web and mobile

 Nearly a year ago, Twitter announced it would begin distancing itself from the requirement that all tweets could only contain 140 characters by no longer counting some things – like media attachments or @ replies towards the character count. However, it didn’t begin testing the change with @ replies until last fall. Today, Twitter says…

UK wants tech firms to build tools to block terrorist content

 UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd is holding talks with several major Internet companies today to urge them to be more proactive about tackling the spread of extremist content online. Companies in attendance include Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook, along with some smaller Internet companies. Read More

Facebook will launch group chatbots at F8

 Facebook will reveal at its F8 conference a new class of group bots that work inside Messenger group chats. These group bots can keep users informed about real-time news such as a sports game’s progress, ecommerce deliveries, and more, according to three sources familiar with the development of the feature. Facebook is already working with…

Aiden closes $750,000 seed round in its quest to amplify marketers

 Aiden, a London-based startup building a machine learning-powered personal assistant to save mobile marketers time and money, closed a $750,000 seed round today from Kima Ventures and a number of angels, including Nicolas Pinto, Pierre Valade and Jonathan Wolf. The team first demoed the capabilities of its service on the stage of TechCrunch Disrupt as…

Twitter’s live streaming app Periscope gets an analytics dashboard

 Trying to figure out this whole live video broadcasting thing? Good news! Periscope, the Twitter-owned live-broadcasting app, picked up a new trick this morning: a shiny new analytics dashboard. It’s not the most groundbreaking thing in the world, but it makes sense. Making a successful live video on the internet — particularly one that doesn’t…

The new algorithms enabling Facebook’s data fixation

 A billion and a half photos find their way onto Facebook every single day and the company is racing to understand them and their moving counterparts with the hope of increasing engagement. And while machine learning is undoubtedly the map to the treasure, Facebook and it’s competitors are still trying to work out how to…

Facebook tests a second News Feed headed by a rocket ship icon

 Facebook’s launch of Stories may be the social network’s big news of the week, but some Facebook users have spotted another addition, and are thoroughly confused. A “rocket ship” icon has popped up in the app of select users worldwide, adjacent to the News Feed button. Its appearance is prompting a lot of users to…

Facebook pivots into Stories

 In its biggest change in a decade, Facebook is evolving from text and link-focused sharing to the visual communication format its admits “Snapchat has really pioneered”. Starting today, all users will soon have access to the new Facebook Camera feature that lets them overlay special effects on photos and videos. They can then share this…

Facebook Stories looks like an ill-fitting mask

 Facebook has finally capped off its strategy of cloning Snapchat’s USP by slotting a camera-first, ephemeral multimedia sharing feature into its entire social sharing estate. Read More

Twitter introduces pre-roll ads to Periscope videos

 Twitter is announcing a new ad unit — pre-roll ads on Periscope videos. In a blog post, Periscope Group Project Manager Mike Folgner says the ads will appear in a way that’s “organic to how people already consume that content on the platform.” Basically, publishers will have the option to run a short video ad…

Tinder Online is a new web version of the dating app

 Tinder is today introducing a new way for users to access the platform with the launch of Tinder Online, a web-optimized version of the dating app so people can Tinder at their desktops. Tinder Online still requires that you sign on to your account through Facebook, and it doesn’t include any of Tinder’s revenue features…

TechCrunch decides: The best and worst emoji of Unicode 10.0

 The always reliable Emojipedia (they have one job and they do it well (actually it’s a complex beat)) has posted the final list of emoji that will be included in the Unicode 10.0 release this June. There’s a bunch of great stuff in here if you like fantasy creatures and inclusion. But there are a…

Facebook looks inward for new AI technical talent

 The race is on to attract as much expertise in artificial intelligence as possible at tech companies large and small, and more than a few Silicon Valley giants are looking inward to convert tech talent they already possess into the AI resources they increasingly need. Facebook has its own AI course, which is oversubscribed, according…

Stories are the new News Feed

 If the camera is the new keyboard, then the future of social media will look more like a slideshow than a Word document. So while Snapchat invented Stories, we’ll have to get used to using them everywhere. Read More

Facebook finally tests a GIF button for comments

 After years of stubborn caution, Facebook is finally embracing the animated GIF. Next week Facebook will begin testing a GIF button that lets users post GIFs from services like Giphy and Tenor as comments, a source told TechCrunch. We inquired with Facebook, which confirmed the GIF test is coming with this statement: “Everyone loves a…

This sensory wearable is designed for flirting

 With people more likely to be locking eyes with their smartphones screens these days when they’re hanging around in public, the London-based designers behind this feathery wearable are worried that the chances for exchanging flirtatious glances with passing strangers is being engineered out of daily life. Or, let’s be honest, translated into a monetizable swipes…

Twitter remembers it owns TweetDeck

 It’s been six years since Twitter acquired TweetDeck, but the company might finally bring new features to the client. In a survey sent to some power users today, Twitter asked which features they would most like to see added to an “advanced” version of TweetDeck. Read More

Post Intelligence says it can make your tweets better

 Social media can be hard. I’m not speaking hypothetically here. There have definitely been days where I’ve thought, Shoot, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted on Instagram or Twitter — and then completely failed to post anyway because I had nothing to say. Maybe I would’ve done better if I’d used Post Intelligence….

Facebook introduces a new ad format — product-focused ‘collections’

 Facebook is introducing a new ad format that should help retailers showcase their products. The last big addition to Facebook’s ad lineup came last year, with the launch of Canvas, a fast-loading, rich media ad. Like Canvas, collections are created specifically for mobile, and seem designed to win users over in the Facebook app —…

Instagram begins blurring some sensitive content, opens two-factor to all

 Instagram is already doing a lot to spot and censor posts that violate its community guidelines, like outright porn, but now it’s also taking steps to block out potentially sensitive material that might not technically run afoul of its rules. The social network is adding a blurred screen with a “Sensitive Content” warning on top…

Facebook tests an enhanced local search and discovery feature offering business suggestions

 Facebook is testing an enhanced local search feature that could see the social network creeping in on Google Maps, Foursquare and Yelp territory, TechCrunch learned and Facebook confirmed. Facebook users are now able to surface recommendations of nearby places – like “dinner nearby” or “bars nearby,” for example  – by entering a query in… Read More

Facebook Live adds PC game and desktop livestreaming

 Facebook is taking a swing at Twitch while also one-upping its mobile livestreaming video competitors. Today, all users can go Live directly from Facebook’s desktop website via their webcam, stream through professional equipment and software hooked up to a desktop, and broadcast gameplay from their computer. Previously, Facebook had only allowed Pages to stream from…

Adobe’s Project Fleek connects marketers and social video influencers

 Adobe is testing out a new product called Fleek, offering marketers a new way to recruit and manage video influencers for promotional campaigns. Laura Williams Argilla, Adobe’s director of services and workflow for professional video, described Fleek as an extension of the social publishing tools that the company launched back in November. “Trying to solve…

Twitter nixed 635k+ terrorism accounts between mid-2015 and end of 2016

 Twitter has revealed it suspended a total of 376,890 accounts between July 1 through December 31 last year for violations related to promotion of terrorism. It says the majority of the suspensions (74%) were surfaced via its own “internal, proprietary spam-fighting tools”. Read More

LinkedIn steps closer to CRM as it gives Sales Navigator an enterprise boost

 LinkedIn, the social network for the working world that is now owned by Microsoft, is quietly adding more features to fill out some of its bigger ambitions to provide more services to enterprises, tapping into its user base of over 465 million professionals. Today, the company is adding a new “enterprise” tier to its Sales Navigator product —…

Hootsuite acquires Snapchat analytics tool from Naritiv

 Hootsuite, a platform that helps enterprises and brands manage their presence on social media, has made an acquisition to help those customers track their activities on the social platform of the moment, Snapchat. It has acquired a Snapchat analytics solution from Naritiv, a startup based out of Los Angeles that was an early mover in…

Twitter launching Live video API tomorrow

 Twitter is about to make it much easier for media publishers to post live video broadcasts with the launch of a live video API tomorrow morning. The API will let companies hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to Twitter with more powerful integrations than Twitter’s existing Periscope Producer feature. The forthcoming API was…

You can now save your Instagram Live streams to your camera roll

 One of the unique things about Instagram Live is that the video has always been disappearing. After your live stream is over the content is deleted forever – unlike Facebook Live or Periscope which save your video so audiences can view it after the fact. Until now. The company just announced that broadcasters will have the option…

Fam raises $1.8 million for its iMessage-based group video chat app

 The iMessage App Store may have its struggles, but one app aimed at bringing group video chat into the iMessage experience is reportedly taking off. Boston-based Smack, the company behind the video chat app called Fam, has raised $1.8 million in funding from a range of investors for its top 25 Social Networking app on the App…

Facebook rolls out seasonal greetings at the top of the News Feed

 Facebook’s News Feed is getting a little more colorful today. Its “Goodwill” team – which is behind efforts like Friends Day and various messages at the top of the feed, including the recently added Weather greetings – is now rolling out new animations to denote the changing seasons. Starting today, people may begin to see an animated message with…

Facebook will never take responsibility for fake news

 ark Zuckerberg is displeased. It’s been more than four months since election night, but Facebook still finds itself in the hot seat over the spread of fake news on the platform, and what role (if any) it played in the election. Read More

Social media firms given a month to fix consumer rights issues in Europe

 Facebook, Twitter and Google are under more pressure in Europe to comply with regional rules. The latest issue they find themselves on the hook for relates to complaints pertaining to a variety of consumer rights that have been investigated by EU regulators since last year. Read More

Pinterest is now blocked in China

 China has blocked one of the few Western social media sites that had remained accessible to its population: Pinterest. The site has followed the example of Facebook, Twitter and many others after the photo sharing site was blocked in China, according to data from censorship monitoring organization GreatFire. GreatFire checks a range of the internet’s top websites for…

Photo-blending app Dubble is back from the dead

 Dubble is officially (re)launching today, in v2, after a year-long hiatus off the app store while the team re-engineered the backend and applied some gloss and community-requested features on the front. We ask co-founder Adam Scott how and why the team has put in so much effort to give a niche photo-blending app a second…

WhatsApp brings back text Status it replaced with Stories

 The Snapchatification of everything has resulted in backlash for WhatsApp, prompting it to revive its text Status option while keeping its image-based replacement. The move shows how social apps must quickly react to feedback if they make a false step in modernizing to adapt to visual communication. In mid-February, WhatsApp removed the feature that let…

Prominent Twitter accounts compromised after third-party app Twitter Counter hacked

 A number of prominent Twitter accounts were hacked to tweet Nazi messages after Twitter Counter, a popular tool for analyzing Twitter followers, was hacked. Official Twitter accounts belonging to Amnesty International, Forbes and other prominent organizations, not to mention many regular users, were accessed to post swastikas and other Nazi-related messages in a move thought to be… Read…

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman joins Microsoft’s board

 LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman announced today that he’s joined the board of directors at Microsoft. This follows Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn last year. When the deal closed, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said the company’s day-to-day operations would “essentially remain unchanged,” but he also noted a number of areas (like integrating… Read More

Snapchat launches Bitmoji widget chat shortcuts for your homescreen

 Snapchat is doubling down on private messaging as Instagram and Facebook Messenger clone and steal usage from its Stories feature. Now you can instantly start chatting with your best friends on Snapchat. Instead of digging a chat thread out of Snapchat, users can select their favorite friends, create Bitmoji Widgets for them with their personalized avatars,…

Crunch Report | Intel Acquires Mobileye

Today’s Stories Intel buys Mobileye in $15.3B deal, moves its automotive unit to Israel Pandora’s on-demand music service finally arrives Facebook tells developers to not use data for surveillance YouTube launches Uptime, an experimental app for watching videos with friends New iPad models being tested around Cupertino, logs show Credits Written and Hosted by: Anthony…

The argument for and against Facebook Messenger Day

 The stakes are high as Facebook gambles its messaging user base on a bet to beat Snapchat at its own game. Some people are downright pissed that Facebook would “ruin” Messenger by forcing messy social media into a clean chat app for a chance at glory and riches. Yet there’s an even bigger audience of…

YouTube launches Uptime, an experimental app for watching videos with friends

 Looking to turn watching YouTube videos into a more social experience, a team from Google’s internal incubator, Area 120, have launched Uptime, an app that lets you watch videos together with your friends. The app is initially available only for iOS devices, and it feels very different from the standard YouTube experience. The app has a…

Facebook tells developers to not use data for surveillance

 In response to pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, Color of Change and the Center for Media Justice, Facebook announced today that it will clarify its developer policy to explicitly prohibit the use of Facebook or Instagram data in surveillance tools. Read More

Facebook Messenger’s PM director Martinazzi leaves after launching Day

 Completing almost 8 years at Facebook, Director of Product Management Peter Martinazzi has left the company. His last product, Messenger Day, shipped on Thursday. A Facebook “OG”, Martinazzi was well-liked and respected at the company. He worked with the growth team in some of Facebook’s breakout years before the IPO, and ran all of Messenger…

That time Facebook went too far

 Facebook’s attempts to clone Snapchat know no limit. The social networking giant is in the enviable position of owning a number of the world’s most used internet services and applications. Facebook the social network is closing in on two billion registered users — a level of global reach that is unprecedented in history — while…