SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 15, 2016: Hit by charges that the social media giant distributed fake news which helped Donald Trump win the US presidential election, Facebook on Tuesday denied any such charges.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook “did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party”.
“It developed two versions of a fix for click bait this year, and decided to trust algorithmic machine learning detection instead of only user behavior,” the report said, quoting a Facebook spokesperson.
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Media reports said earlier that Facebook shelved a planned update earlier this year that could have identified fake news.
TechCrunch now reports that in January 2015, Facebook rolled out an update designed to combat hoax news stories.
In August, Facebook released another News Feed update designed to reduce clickbait stories.
“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said earlier.
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According to Facebook, “We always work to make News Feed more meaningful and informative, and that includes examining the quality and accuracy of items shared, such as click bait, spam and hoaxes”.
According to Trump, Facebook and Twitter helped him secure victory.
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Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes programme last weekend, he said: “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent. I think that social media has more power than the money they spent.”
Trump specified that he has more than 28 million followers across various social media platforms, and said that he was getting more each day. (IANS)
Chasing 15 seconds of fame, millions of Indians are hooked to TikTok and the success of the Chinese short video-sharing app — despite controversies and calls for regulation — has forced major digital giants to incorporate short videos on their own platforms.
TikTok is available in 150 markets, in 75 languages and has more than 700 million monthly active users globally (including over 200 million in India) in just a year compared to 300 million existing Indian users on Facebook.
Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are facing strong competition from TikTok in the country. TikTok owner now plans to invest $1 billion in India despite the calls to ban the app.
According to Meenakshi Tiwari, Forecast Analyst at global market research firm Forrester, while TikTok managed to monetise its offering within one year of its launch through a variety of revenue models like in-app purchase of coins and virtual gifts, advertising accounts for most of its revenue.
Similar to Instagram and Snapchat, TikTok invests heavily in influencer marketing.
“TikTok has launched new advertising formats such as brand takeovers that allow full-screen vertical display, in-feed native video, and hashtag challenge ads, which provide a more immersive and interactive platform to the marketers,” Tiwari told IANS.
One can imagine what Facebook must be thinking: To quickly put a spanner in TikTok’s growth else the India market will slowly ditch its main platform as well as the photo-sharing Instagram.
In November last year, Facebook quietly released a stand-alone app called “Lasso” to compete with TikTok.
On Lasso, which is currently available in the US, users can record themselves dancing and lip-syncing to music, similar to what they can do on TikTok.
“Lasso is a new stand-alone app for short-form, entertaining videos — from comedy to beauty to fitness and more. We’re excited about the potential here, and we’ll be gathering feedback from the people and the creators,” a Facebook spokesperson had told The Verge.
Facebook last week roped in former Google employee Jason Toff for a key portfolio and the speculation is rife about the social networking giant preparing the global launch of its short video-sharing app.
Toff, who earlier worked for Twitter’s short-video sharing service Vine which has been shut down, has joined as Facebook’s Product Management Director to lead the company’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team aimed at developing experimental apps for consumers who are still away from the core Facebook brand.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR), the rise of apps like Bytedance’s TikTok demonstrates an underlying consumer fatigue and their urge and need for expressing themselves by experimenting with new apps and platforms.
“By focusing on vernacular languages, TikTok has enabled Indians everywhere to share their talent with the world. With its first-mover advantage, coupled with organically and rapidly growing user base, Bytedance is not shy of battling Facebook’s global dominance,” Ram told IANS.
TikTok is swiftly scaling its ecosystem to ringfence its users with ‘mini programmes’ and, perhaps, a smartphone with pre-installed apps in China.
“For Facebook, it is imperative to thwart TikTok’s rising competition. Unfortunately, its previous attempts at making a TikTok clone have failed. More significantly, Facebook’s reach in India does not extend beyond the tier II and III urban India,” emphasised Ram.
As pointed out by Facebook Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg in the Q1 2019 earnings call, the meaning of social media is changing in today’s world and there is a move toward more private social media like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram.
Zuckerberg must not delay further in launching a TikTok rival, “else time may run out for Facebook to have a product that will get India excited,” said Ram.
Unless TikTok is permanently banned in the country over a series of complaints, there seems to be no stopping this Chinese app. (IANS)