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Social Networking Giant Facebook Staring at Bigger Problems This Year

In Wieser's analysis, Facebook's problems are unlikely to go away in 2019

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Facebook, data
Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

Already mired in controversies, social networking giant Facebook should brace itself for another tough year as its revenue growth faces risk due to increased scrutiny of the platform’s usage by marketers, according to Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser.

In a note published in MediaVillage on Monday, Wieser maintained his “sell” recommendation on the company’s stock.

“On a negatively revised price target for 2019, we maintain our Sell recommendation on Facebook as we think downside risks on higher costs and management changes are more pronounced now vs. before…,” Wieser said.

“…and revenue growth also faces risks as marketers enhance their scrutiny when they assess their use of the platform,” he added.

Facebook had a tough year in 2018. Scrutiny of Facebook increased manifold since it revealed earlier in 2018 how a London-based political consultancy, that worked for US President Donald Trump’s campaign, improperly got access to data of up to 87 millions users.

Appearing before a US Congress Committee in April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologised for the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

While Facebook was slammed for revealing the Cambridge Analytica scandal years after it got to know of it, similar allegations of inaction were also levelled at the social media site for its role in the spread of false and divisive messages by Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election.

Again in September 2018, Facebook said that a breach had exposed data of 50 million people and then, in December, it reported another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

User numbers at Facebook were flat in North America and declined slightly in Europe in third-quarter information released in October, although total monthly active users worldwide went up to 2.27 billion from 2.23 billion on the previous quarter, CNBC reported.

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In Wieser’s analysis, Facebook’s problems are unlikely to go away in 2019.

Pivotal estimates that Facebook made between $5 billion and $7 billion from Chinese advertisers in 2018, and that might also be a problem this year if economic weakness continues in China, the CNBC report said on Monday. (IANS)

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Facebook Expand its Portal Family of Home Video-Calling Devices with Three New Models

All WhatsApp calls on Portal are end-to-end encrypted, the company said in a statement late Wednesday

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Facebook, Home, Video Calling
Facebook has added a new way to connect with friends on Portal through WhatsApp, in addition to Messenger calling. Portal offers hands-free voice control. Pixabay

Facebook has expanded its Portal family of home video-calling devices with three new models: Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV.

Facebook has added a new way to connect with friends on Portal through WhatsApp, in addition to Messenger calling. Portal offers hands-free voice control.

All WhatsApp calls on Portal are end-to-end encrypted, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.

In addition to the US and Canada, the Portal lineup is coming to the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Facebook, Home, Video Calling
Facebook has expanded its Portal family of home video-calling devices with three new models: Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV. Pixabay

Portal and Portal Mini begin shipping from October 15 and Portal TV begins shipping from November 5.

Portal Mini costs $129, Portal $179 and Portal TV is for $149.

Portal Mini has an 8-inch HD display and Portal has larger 10-inch HD display for video calls, displaying photos and watching videos in either portrait or landscape orientations.

“Portal’s AI-powered Smart Camera intelligently pans and zooms to stay with the action so you can move and talk freely while always being in frame,” said Facebook.

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You can disable the camera and microphone with a single tap or a sliding switch. For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers.

The “Story Time” feature on Portal brings stories to life with animation, music and augmented reality (AR) effects.

“Portal’s Superframe can display your favourite photos, videos and birthday reminders so you always feel a little more connected to your family and friends,” the company added.

Portal has Amazon Prime Video app for streaming movies, including Amazon Originals. (IANS)