By Dana Sittler, Product Manager, and Alex Li, Engineering Manager
People are watching and sharing more video on Facebook than ever, and we’re focused on continuously improving the video experience. Today, we’re excited to share several updates that make watching video on Facebook richer, more engaging and more flexible.
Bringing Sound to Videos in News Feed
Videos in News Feed have previously played silently — you tap on a video to hear sound. As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on. After testing sound on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life.
If your phone is set to silent, videos will not play with sound. If you never want videos to play with sound, you can disable this feature by switching off “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound” in Settings. We’ll also be showing in-product messages to tell people about the new sound on experience and controls.
We’ve also made changes to make vertical videos look better on mobile devices. Last year we began testing a larger preview of vertical videos in News Feed on mobile. People responded positively, so that larger format is now available to everyone watching videos on iOS and Android.
Watch and Scroll
We know that sometimes you want to watch a video and also want to keep scrolling through your News Feed. It’s now possible to minimize the video you’re watching to a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of your screen while you browse other stories in News Feed. You can drag the video to any corner of the screen, and if you’re using an Android device, you can keep the video playing even when you exit the Facebook app to do something else on your phone.
Facebook Video App for TV
Finally, we’ve heard that people want more options for how and where they watch Facebook videos. Today we’re announcing a new Facebook video app for TV, which will roll out soon to app stores for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, with more platforms to come.
Our video app for TV is a new way to enjoy Facebook videos on a bigger screen. Last year we rolled out the ability for you to stream videos from Facebook to your TV, and today’s announcement expands this capability. With the app, you can watch videos shared by friends or Pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommended videos based on your interests. You can also catch up on videos you’ve saved to watch later, as well as revisit videos you’ve watched, shared or uploaded. We look forward to seeing how people use the app to enjoy Facebook videos in a new way.
As a partner to over 4 million advertisers across a wide range of organizations and objectives, we want to provide transparency, choice and accountability. Transparency through verified data that shows which campaigns drive measurable results, choice in how advertisers run campaigns across our platforms, and accountability through an audit and third-party verification. Over the course of the year, we will do the following:
More Impression-Level Data
Our verification partners will receive more detailed information about ad impressions on Facebook and Instagram to help provide marketers with better insights. We will start providing specific in-view and duration data for display ads, including:
- Milliseconds that an ad was on the screen
- Milliseconds that 50% of the ad was on the screen
- Milliseconds that 100% of the ad was on the screen
We are committing to an audit by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to verify the accuracy of the information we deliver to our partners.
We’ve been working closely with marketers to understand their measurement needs on key topics such as reach, attribution, audience demographics, brand lift, offline sales and mobile app measurement. Independent verification continues to expand and we now have 24 global third-party measurement partners so marketers can work with their preferred vendor.
New Choices For Video Buying
We know that the moment a video comes onto a person’s screen, it creates value. But we also know that our partners have different campaign objectives — and they want media-buying flexibility as they work to create meaningful and memorable campaigns.
Later this year, we’ll provide more choice for advertisers with three new buying options for video ads across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network:
- Completed-view buying: advertisers will only pay for video ads that have been viewed in their entirety, for any duration up to 10 seconds
- Two-second buying: compliant with the MRC video standard, where at least 50% of an ad’s pixels are in-view for two continuous seconds or longer
- Sound-on buying: advertisers will have the ability to buy sound-on video ads
This is consistent with our approach over the last few years, where we have offered a number of new buying options to meet marketer needs, including TRP buying, reach and frequency, and cost-per-ten-second views.
We are confident that these new options, when combined with creative best practices for mobile, will help deliver well-crafted video ads to more people who will watch and take action.
Discriminatory advertising has no place on Facebook. Last fall, we committed to providing better education to advertisers about our prohibition against discrimination and to strengthening the procedures we use to enforce this prohibition. Today, we’re pleased to announce the steps we’ve taken in support of our commitment.
Over the past several months, we’ve met with policymakers and civil rights leaders to gather feedback about ways to improve our enforcement while preserving the beneficial uses of our advertising tools. We heard concerns that discriminatory advertising can wrongfully deprive people of opportunities and experiences, particularly in the areas of housing, employment and credit, where certain groups historically have faced discrimination.
Our teams have worked closely with stakeholders to address these concerns by developing updates to our advertising policies, new advertiser education and stronger enforcement tools.
- Updated Facebook Advertising Policies: We’ve updated our policies to make our existing prohibition against discrimination even stronger. We make it clear that advertisers may not discriminate against people based on personal attributes such as race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition.
- Advertiser Education: We also created a new section linked from the Advertising Policies, which provides additional information about our anti-discrimination policy as well as educational resources from government agencies and civil rights groups that specialize in combating discrimination.
- Stronger Enforcement Tools: We’re beginning to test new technology that leverages machine learning to help us identify ads that offer housing, employment or credit opportunities — the types of advertising stakeholders told us they were concerned about. This will allow us to more quickly provide notices and educational information to advertisers — and more quickly respond to violations of our policy. Specifically, we’ve made these changes:
- Disapproving ads offering housing, employment or credit opportunities that use our multicultural affinity segments: When an advertiser attempts to show an ad that we identify as offering a housing, employment or credit opportunity and either includes or excludes our multicultural advertising segments — which consist of people interested in seeing content related to the African American, Asian American and US Hispanic communities — we will disapprove the ad.
- Requiring self-certification: When an advertiser attempts to show an ad that we identify as offering a housing, employment or credit opportunity and uses any other audience segment on Facebook, we will show the advertiser information about our updated anti-discrimination policy. We will then require the advertiser to certify that it is complying with that policy and with applicable anti-discrimination laws.
Since committing to these changes last fall, we’ve heard from public and private sector organizations that want us to know there’s value in being able to reach specific groups with information about products, services, and causes that they might find relevant. Several organizations have asked us to work with them to help identify ways that our advertising technology could be used to promote inclusion and opportunity for underserved communities, while also protecting against discriminatory uses. We believe in the power of our advertising products to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds, so we are committed to working with these groups toward that goal.
We are grateful for the collaboration of many experts who have worked with us to develop these solutions, including New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman; Members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Chairman Cedric Richmond, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II, and Rep. Robin Kelly; the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham; Rep. David N. Cicilline, Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus; the American Civil Liberties Union; the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; the Center for Democracy & Technology; the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; the National Fair Housing Alliance; the Brookings Institution; and Upturn.
Each of these stakeholders helped shape the changes we describe above. We look forward to their continued partnership as we work to strengthen our enforcement while increasing opportunity on Facebook.
By Naomi Gleit, VP Social Good
In times of crisis, connecting is more important than ever. Today we’re announcing an update to Safety Check, called Community Help, that lets people find and give help such as food, shelter and transportation after a crisis.
Our belief is that the community can teach us new ways to use the platform. We saw people using Facebook to tell friends and family they were OK after crises, so in 2014 we launched Safety Check to make that behavior even easier. Since then, Safety Check has been activated hundreds of times, but we know we can do more to empower the community to help one another.
With Community Help people can find and give help, and message others directly to connect after a crisis. Posts can be viewed by category and location, making it easier for people to find the help they need.
Again, we saw the community do this on their own through Groups and posts, like in the aftermath of the flooding in Chennai, India, in December 2015, but we knew we could do more. We also talked with experts, humanitarian relief organizations and our own in-the-field researchers to learn how to make it easier for people to find and give help.
To start, we will make Community Help available for natural and accidental incidents, such as an earthquake or building fire. We’re also starting in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia for the first couple of weeks, and as we learn more about how people use the product, we will look to improve it and make it available for all countries and additional types of incidents.
For the community to use Community Help after an incident, Safety Check must first be activated. For Safety Check to activate, two things need to happen:
- First, global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International alert Facebook that an incident has occurred and give it a title, and we begin monitoring for posts about the incident in the area.
- Second, if a lot of people are talking about the incident, they may be prompted to mark themselves safe, and invite others to do the same.
- And starting today, if an incident is a natural or accidental disaster, people will see Community Help. They can find or give help, and message others directly to connect from within Safety Check.
With every activation, we are continuing to learn how to make Safety Check and features like Community Help better for people in need. We will continue listening to feedback to make the tool more useful and relevant in the future.
By Oren Hod, Product Manager
Through friendship, our world grows more connected, powerful things can happen, and lives and communities can be changed. Today, connecting is more important than ever.
This Saturday, February 4, is Facebook’s 13th birthday, a day we call Friends Day. We’ll be sharing some stories of powerful connections made in our community, as well as launching products to celebrate friendship and encouraging people to take time to connect with their friends.
Inspirational Stories of Friendship
This week, we hosted an event here at Menlo Park. Members of our community who’ve been using Groups to connect with friends around the world joined us to share their stories. We spoke with them about the powerful impact of friendship and how technology makes it easier than ever to build truly global communities.
Your Friends Day Video
This week you may see your personalized Friends Day video at the top of your News Feed in celebration of Friends Day. This video is a compilation of your Facebook friends and the memories you’ve shared together. You can spark a conversation with your friends by sharing your Friends Day video, as well as other photos and stories about friendship using #friendsday.
Say Hi with Friends Day GIFs
For a fun and easy way to start conversations with friends, Messenger will highlight friendship-themed GIFs.
This Friends Day, celebrate friendship by taking time to connect with your friends and share these moments using #friendsday.
Click here for details on Facebook’s financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2016.
By Akos Lada, Research Scientist, James Li, Research Scientist, and Shilin Ding, Engineering Manager
Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories that are most relevant to them. Today we’re announcing two updates to better rank posts in your feed:
- Incorporating new signals to better identify and rank authentic content
- A new way to predict and rank in real-time when posts might be more relevant to you
New Signals to Identify Authentic Content
One of our News Feed values is authentic communication. We’ve heard from our community that authentic stories are the ones that resonate most — those that people consider genuine and not misleading, sensational or spammy.
When ranking News Feed we look at many signals personal to you, such as how close you are to the person or Page posting, as well as more universal signals like the overall engagement (likes, comments, shares) that a post has.
With this update, we’re adding new universal signals to determine whether a post might be authentic. To do this, we categorized Pages to identify whether or not they were posting spam or trying to game feed by doing things like asking for likes, comments or shares. We then used posts from these Pages to train a model that continuously identifies whether posts from other Pages are likely to be authentic. For example, if Page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic.
If a post is likely to be authentic based on the new signals we look at, it might show up higher in your feed.
Updates to Real-Time Signals
When ranking feed to determine the relevance of a post, we always look at real-time signals, such as whether a friend has just commented on it. We continue to improve News Feed to evaluate the importance of different signals at different times.
With today’s update, we will now take into account how signals change in real time. So now if there is a lot of engagement from many people on Facebook about a topic, or if a post from a Page is getting a lot of engagement, we can understand in real-time that the topic or Page post might be temporarily more important to you, so we should show that content higher in your feed.
For example, if your favorite soccer team just won a game, we might show you posts about the game higher up in News Feed because people are talking about it more broadly on Facebook.
Will This Impact My Page?
We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic or outbound clicks, and some Pages might see minor decreases. Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences.
Today we are providing an update on some of the long-term investments we’re making with our measurement partners.From Metrics to Measurement
Until now, our FYI posts have focused solely on updates to our metrics. But metrics—like the time recorded on an athlete’s stopwatch—are only valuable if they can be mapped to a larger goal, such as an improved marathon result. The same is true for advertisers: Measurement is the process of using metrics to understand the outcomes that matter to them.
Over the last two years, advertisers have started to move from tracking intermediate metrics to measuring business outcomes such as brand affinity and sales lift. We’re committed to providing the tools and partnerships to make that possible for all advertisers. We want to help advertisers effectively measure business value and outcomes, so they can purchase ads with confidence. To that end, we’re expanding this channel to focus on all aspects of measurement. It will be renamed Measurement FYI and will include updates to our metrics, partnerships, products and research.Adding More People-Based Measurement Partnerships
People are engaging with ads in more places than ever before, which leaves advertisers with two pressing measurement needs: cross-channel comparability and third-party verification. Today, we’re expanding our current measurement partnerships to further address those needs and increase transparency.
In September, we kicked off our partnerships with marketing mix modeling measurement providers to help advertisers better understand their media mix across channels. Today, we’re introducing the marketing mix modeling (MMM) portal where measurement partners can gather information directly from Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network on behalf of their clients. Better quality data in MMM models will support more accurate and actionable insights for advertisers who engage in cross-channel measurement and planning.
Advertisers will now be able to compare which ads — TV, digital and print — are driving their desired outcomes. Over 150 brands are already making marketing decisions based on this information.
We’ve made several updates to our third-party verification program.
First, we’ve expanded our partnership with Nielsen to enable their Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) product to measure reach and in-target performance on desktop and mobile across eight additional markets, bringing the total to 25 global markets.
Second, we’re expanding our partnership with comScore, going beyond viewability to include in-target performance for Facebook properties in the US. We formed a partnership with comScore in early 2016 to enable viewability verification of our video impressions. While viewability remains an important metric, in-target reach — the metric that media plans are built around — is critical for evaluating a campaign’s success. To that end, we’re beginning tests with comScore to evaluate in-target reach for US audiences on desktop and mobile through their validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) product.
Third, we’ve made significant progress in extending our viewability measurement to more placements across Facebook’s apps and services. We started with video on Facebook, then we extended to video on Instagram, and today we’re extending to video on Audience Network with two partners: comScore and Integral Ad Science.
Fourth, we continue to make progress on the integrations we announced in November. We’ve completed the integration of display viewability on Facebook with comScore, Integral Ad Science and Moat. These partners will be able to provide metrics on when a display ad enters the Facebook screen and when the entire ad appears on the screen.
“IAS is excited to be Facebook’s first partner able to measure viewability and ad fraud for display ads across desktop and mobile. Brands and agencies continue to ask for greater transparency, and this is a huge step in the right direction.”
— Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science
Lastly, we’re adding a new viewability verification partner, DoubleVerify. We’ll start the integration with DoubleVerify in the coming year — and when completed, it will support both video and display. With the addition of DoubleVerify, we now have 24 global third-party measurement partners available to advertisers, providing much-needed choice and flexibility when it comes to independent, third-party measurement.
Through our third-party measurement partners, advertisers are now able to verify or measure outcomes for every impression they buy on Facebook. We will continue to make investments in these integrations over the coming months to meet advertisers’ needs for transparency and verification.
As with all kinds of content on Facebook, we’re continuing to improve how News Feed surfaces the most relevant videos for you. In the past, we’ve made updates to News Feed that take into account more of the actions that you take on videos and whether a video is live or not. We look at a range of signals when determining which videos to surface to you in News Feed, including how long a video is watched, whether people choose to turn on sound, and if people open the video in full screen.
Today, we’re announcing a change to the way we rank videos in News Feed to adjust the value we give to how much of a video is watched. One of the signals we look at is “percent completion” — the percent of each video you watch — to help us understand which videos you enjoyed. If you watch most or all of a video, that tells us that you found the video to be compelling — and we know that completing a longer video is a bigger commitment than completing a shorter one. As we continue to understand how our community consumes video, we’ve realized that we should therefore weight percent completion more heavily the longer a video is, to avoid penalizing longer videos.
Will This Impact My Page?
While we expect that most Pages will not see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update, longer videos that people spend time watching may see a slight increase in distribution on Facebook — so people who find longer videos engaging may be able to discover more of them in News Feed. As a side effect, some shorter videos may see a slight dip in News Feed distribution.
As always, Pages should focus on creating videos that are relevant and engaging to their audiences. Longer videos that people don’t want to watch will not perform better in News Feed. The best length for a video is whatever length is required to tell a compelling story that engages people, which is likely to vary depending on the story you’re telling. You also should look at your video insights in Page Analytics to understand how your videos perform.
This change will roll out gradually over the coming weeks. As usual, we’ll continue to make improvements as we better understand video behavior on Facebook, to make sure that people are seeing the most engaging and relevant video content for them.
Today we’re introducing a new Privacy Basics to make it easier for people to find tools for controlling their information on Facebook.
Privacy Basics features improved functionality and top topics based on your most frequently asked questions about privacy and security. Built using your feedback, everything is organized so that information about protecting your privacy is easy to find. Privacy Basics puts you in the driver’s seat with 32 interactive guides available in 44 languages. See a quick overview in the video below.
People share their most valued moments on Facebook, and we want to make tips and tools clear and accessible whenever you need them. Privacy Basics gives you tips for things like securing your account, understanding who can see posts and knowing what your profile looks like to others. This is part of Facebook’s overall effort to make sure you have all the information you need to share what you want with only the people you want to see it.
We’re making these improvements as part of Data Privacy Day, held each year on January 28. We’re joining state attorneys general and other policymakers who are sharing their own privacy information on Facebook, along with organizations around the world like National Cyber Security Alliance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, who are working to raise awareness of how to take charge of your information online. In addition to visiting Privacy Basics, we encourage you to take the time to:
- Take the Privacy Checkup. You’ll walk through a few quick steps to make sure only the people you want to see your stuff can see it. You can review who you’re posting to, which apps you’re using, and the privacy of key pieces of information on your profile.
- Choose who sees what you post. On Facebook, you can use the audience selector to choose who will see each of your posts — just your friends, everyone, or specific people you select.
- Increase your account security by turning on login approvals. You’ll get a unique security code each time you access your Facebook account from a new device.
We hope you find these tips and tools useful. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback to update and improve Facebook’s privacy resources.
By Will Cathcart, VP, Product Management
Today we’re announcing three updates to Trending, a feature that shows people popular topics being discussed on Facebook that they might not see in their News Feed:
- Trending topics will now feature a publisher headline below each topic name
- An improved system to determine what is trending
- Everyone in the same region will see the same topics
These changes begin rolling out today and will be available to everyone in the US in the coming weeks. We’re listening to people’s feedback and will continue to make improvements in order to provide a valuable Trending experience.
In order to provide people with more context on what is trending on Facebook, we will now display a headline from a publisher’s article about that topic. This was the most requested feature addition since the last update we made to Trending in August. These are the same headlines that appear when you hover over or click on a Trending topic, but people told us they wanted these headlines directly within Trending, too.
The headline that appears is automatically selected based on a combination of factors including the engagement around the article on Facebook, the engagement around the publisher overall, and whether other articles are linking to it.
Just as before, after clicking on a topic, people are taken to a personalized results page that includes additional sources and posts about the topic.
We’re also updating how topics are identified as trending on Facebook.
Previously, topics may have trended due to high engagement on Facebook around a single post or article. With today’s update, we will now look at the number of publishers that are posting articles on Facebook about the same topic, and the engagement around that group of articles. This should surface trending topics quicker, be more effective at capturing a broader range of news and events from around the world and also help ensure that trending topics reflect real world events being covered by multiple news outlets.
Everyone in the same region sees the same topics
Lastly, the list of which topics are trending on Facebook will no longer be personalized based on someone’s interests. Everyone in the same region will see the same topics. This is designed to help make sure people don’t miss important topics being discussed on Facebook that might not show up in their News Feed.
Some commonly asked questions about Trending:
When did you first create Trending?
We added Trending in 2014. It was designed to help people discover interesting and relevant topics being discussed on Facebook that they might not otherwise see in their News Feed.
Where is Trending available? Is it available on mobile devices?
Trending is available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India. Currently, it is available for Facebook on the web, and can be seen on mobile by clicking on the Search bar. Today’s updates will be rolled out in the US beginning today. We hope to make them available to more countries in the future.
Do people select topics?
No. Topics are selected by an algorithm and are reviewed by a team to ensure they represent real-world events. The Quality Review guidelines can be found here.
What steps have you taken to prevent fake news from appearing in Trending?
Trending uses a variety of signals from News Feed, including when people report news as fake or spam, to help prevent fake news, hoaxes or spam from appearing in Trending. Today’s update may also help prevent hoaxes and fake news from appearing in Trending because the updated system identifies groups of articles shared on Facebook instead of relying solely on mentions of a topic.
By Fidji Simo, Director of Product
Today we’re announcing the Facebook Journalism Project, a new effort to support quality journalism, improve news literacy and provide reporters and editors with tools and training to help them better tell their stories.
Read more about this new initiative on our Media Blog.
By Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel
Today we are releasing our latest Global Government Requests Report for the first half of 2016, which details the number of government requests we received for data, as well as the number of items restricted for violating local law in countries where our service is available.
Government requests for account data increased by 27% globally compared to the last half of 2015, increasing from 46,710 to 59,229 requests. The majority of data requests we received from law enforcement in the United States, or approximately 56%, contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user. As for content restriction requests, the number of items restricted for violating local law decreased by 83% from 55,827 to 9,663. Last cycle’s figures had been elevated primarily by French content restrictions of a single image from the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks.
For the first time, our report includes information about the requests we receive from governments around the world to preserve data pending receipt of formal legal process. As we describe in our law enforcement guidelines, when we receive a preservation request, we will preserve a temporary snapshot of the relevant account information. We do not disclose any of the preserved records unless and until we receive formal and valid legal process. During this reporting period, we received 38,675 preservation requests for 67,129 accounts.
In addition, we have expanded our reporting of emergency requests and disclosures to include countries outside the United States. In cases of emergency, Facebook may disclose information where we believe that the matter involves imminent risk of serious injury or death. In all of these cases, we require law enforcement to describe the emergency and explain how the requested disclosure might prevent harm. In this reporting period, we received 3,016 emergency requests for 4,192 accounts.
Finally, as a result of transparency reforms introduced this year by the USA Freedom Act, our report also contains additional information concerning National Security Letters (NSLs). Under a process mandated by the Act for lifting nondisclosure obligations, the government lifted a gag requirement on one NSL issued in the second half of 2015. Accordingly, we have updated the range of NSLs in that half from 0-499 to 1-499. The NSL itself, as well as the government’s authorization letter, are available here.
As we have previously emphasized, we apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive to protect the information of the people who use our services. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request, and challenge those that are deficient or overly broad. We do not provide governments with “back doors” or direct access to people’s information. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms.
Please see the full report for more information.
By Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer
Every day people use Facebook to share moments with their friends. Today we’re introducing a marketing program to invite people to share and talk about events and moments that are happening in their communities and around the world.
Messages from Facebook will appear at the top of News Feed about a specific event or moment. Our goal is to:
- Give people ways to connect and share with friends during holidays and events
- Help people discover fun and interesting cultural moments
- Celebrate moments in history that continue to make the world more open and connected
Here are some recent examples of moments that we’ve shared with people in the US:
Share a Holiday Card
Starting today, people will see a message from Facebook in their News Feed wishing them Happy Holidays. People will be invited to share a holiday card with their friends on Facebook and choose from a set of 18 custom-designed cards.
We care about our community and want to make their experience more delightful with the launch of this program. We hope to give people new ways to connect and share and be informed about events and moments happening in the world around them.
This is just the beginning and we’ll continue to work to make these messages better for our community around the world.
By: Stephane Taine, Product Manager, Messenger
As we close the year, we’re thrilled to launch the most requested Messenger feature ever – the ability to video chat in groups. Group Video Chat in Messenger makes it simple and seamless to stay connected face-to-face. Starting today, Group Video Chat is rolling out to Android and iOS devices, and the desktop version of Messenger, worldwide.
More and more people use messaging in groups for lots of different reasons like keeping everyone up to date, planning a family vacation or to share a few jokes. With 245 million people making video calls in Messenger every month, now we’re bringing everyone on Messenger the ability to turn group chats into face-to-face conversations no matter where you are – whether you’re down the street or halfway across the world. Chatting face-to-face live as a group is perfect for those spontaneous moments when text just isn’t enough… or when you have a major case of FOMO. It’s the best way to share the news you just got a job (or into college), have your kids wish grandma a happy birthday, tell a funny story to the people you love or just see your friends live while wearing fun 3D masks (iOS only for now – Android coming soon) to an everyday conversation.
Here’s how it works
Group Video Chat is super easy to use (and, of course, free over wifi!). You can see up to six people at a time … but don’t worry if your group is a little larger because up to 50 friends can join in and choose to just listen in and join via voice, or be on camera. Once more than 6 people are on the call, just the dominant speaker is shown to all participants.
To get started, you’ll need the latest version of Messenger. All you have to do is jump into an existing group conversation, or create a new one. Then tap on the video icon on the upper right of the screen to enter the video chat and everyone in the group will be notified. Each person can join when they are ready with just one tap. For an extra nudge, you can also directly ring just a few people or the whole group.
This is the time of year to tell our friends and family how much we care about them and send best wishes for the year ahead. We’re delighted to bring you the ability to chat face-to-face with those who matter to you most, wherever they are. We look forward to hearing what you think.
By Adam Mosseri, VP, News Feed
A few weeks ago we previewed some of the things we’re working on to address the issue of fake news and hoaxes. We’re committed to doing our part and today we’d like to share some updates we’re testing and starting to roll out.
We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully. We’ve focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations.
The work falls into the following four areas. These are just some of the first steps we’re taking to improve the experience for people on Facebook. We’ll learn from these tests, and iterate and extend them over time.
We’re testing several ways to make it easier to report a hoax if you see one on Facebook, which you can do by clicking the upper right hand corner of a post. We’ve relied heavily on our community for help on this issue, and this can help us detect more fake news.
Flagging Stories as Disputed
We believe providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share. We’ve started a program to work with third-party fact checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations. If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.
It will still be possible to share these stories, but you will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.
Once a story is flagged, it can’t be made into an ad and promoted, either.
We’re always looking to improve News Feed by listening to what the community is telling us. We’ve found that if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it, that may be a sign that a story has misled people in some way. We’re going to test incorporating this signal into ranking, specifically for articles that are outliers, where people who read the article are significantly less likely to share it.
Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammers
We’ve found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated. Spammers make money by masquerading as well-known news organizations, and posting hoaxes that get people to visit to their sites, which are often mostly ads. So we’re doing several things to reduce the financial incentives. On the buying side we’ve eliminated the ability to spoof domains, which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications. On the publisher side, we are analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.
It’s important to us that the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful. We’re excited about this progress, but we know there’s more to be done. We’re going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right.
Fast Camera, Unique Art and 3D Special Effects
By Peter Martinazzi, Product Manager, Messenger
Today we are excited to launch a brand new, faster and easier-to-use camera with art and special effects to help make your conversations better than ever. Rolling out globally over the coming days, we hope you’ll be as happy as we are with the new experience in your favorite messaging app. We’ve seen that the way people are messaging is becoming much more visual. In fact, over 2.5 billion emojis, photos, stickers and videos are sent every day on Messenger.
In some ways the camera is now replacing the keyboard. As more people use Messenger in their everyday lives, we wanted to make it faster, simpler and more fun to send photos and videos — so we built the new Messenger camera.
It’s even quicker and easier to capture and share moments as they happen. Imagine the Messenger camera as a powerful new tool that lives just behind your inbox. It’s always one tap away — whether you’re already in a conversation or have just opened up the app. You will see the shutter button center in the screen (we’ve dressed it up for the holidays!) a tap takes photo, a long press records a video.
We’re also introducing a place to find new art and special effects. We are especially excited to debut 3D masks and special effects, which make it super easy to apply an artistic filter to your full screen photo and to turn your world into a work of art. Try them out — you can take a selfie and transform into a reindeer or play with falling snow or even just ask someone how they are doing — it’s the perfect way to spread a little happiness in your messages.
We’ve also added thousands of stickers, frames, masks and effects to choose from too — and you can personalize exactly how you use it. We’ve worked with artists and influencers all over the world and these artists have added their own touch to the customization tools you can now use in Messenger.
And there’s more! Unique to Messenger we’ve also created a place where you can make your text messages even more fun. Check out the palette icon by the shutter and it will take you to a blank canvas where you can add art and stickers to your text. We’re making it super easy to add more delight to the conversations you’re having about what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and the plans you are making.
Of course, if you just want to send a message with only text, you can still do that too. All of the features that you know and love in Messenger are just the same. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts about our new Messenger camera!
By Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety
Today we are launching the Facebook Parents Portal, featuring new resources for parents on Facebook. Our goal is to help foster conversations among parents and their children about staying safe online. Visit the new site at facebook.com/safety/parents.
Keeping you and your information safe is at the core of everything we do. Whether you have a personal account or your teen does, we’ve compiled some basic information and tips to help you get the most out of your experience and help your child navigate theirs. We’re also pleased to connect you with online safety organizations around the world that offer additional resources specifically for parents.
The new site includes step-by-step videos and is available in over 55 languages around the world. We hope that you find these resources useful and that Facebook helps you and your children connect to the people and things that matter to you most.
We know how important it is to be open about meaningful updates we make to our metrics, so we’ve created this channel for regular information on metrics enhancements. This series will be similar to our News Feed FYI series.
Below is the next post in our Metrics FYI series.
Ads Creation: Improvement to Estimated Reach Methodology
To help advertisers get a better view of the number of people they can expect to reach with ads, this week we are updating how we calculate the numbers that appear in our estimated reach tool — found when creating an ad. When an advertiser begins creating a campaign, the tool provides them with an estimate of both the potential overall reach and the estimated daily reach of their ad campaign. Note that this tool does not reflect reach for campaigns that have already run, nor does it affect any other reach metrics.
We’re improving our methodology for sampling and extrapolating potential audience sizes. This will help to provide a more accurate estimate for a given target audience and to better account for audiences across multiple platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network). In most cases, advertisers should expect to see less than a 10% change (increase or decrease) in the audience sizes shown in the tool.
Live Video Metrics in Page Insights: Reallocating Streaming Reactions Counts on Posts
For Live videos, we introduced streaming reactions. Live video posts can have multiple reactions per person, since people can react at any moment of the live broadcast.
In Page Insights in the column for “Reactions on Post,” however, we show only one reaction per unique user. We misallocated the extra reactions per user that happened during the live broadcast to the “Reactions from Shares of Post” section, instead of counting them in the “Reactions on Post” section, so we’re making a change to correct it. Note that total counts were and are correct; some of them were just captured in the wrong reporting column when broken out.
The fix for this issue will apply to newly created Live videos, starting mid-December. It will increase “Reactions on Post” by 500% on average and will decrease them on “Reactions from Shares of Post” by 25% on average (actual impact to specific videos may vary).
Like, Share Buttons and Mobile Search Discrepancy
We have identified a discrepancy between the counts for the Like and Share Buttons via our Graph API and the counts when you enter a URL into the search bar in the Facebook mobile app (see screenshot below).
To clarify, our Like and Share button metrics pull:
- The number of likes of a URL off Facebook
- The number of shares of a URL off Facebook (this includes copy/pasting a link back to Facebook)
- The number of likes and comments on stories on Facebook about a URL
We have found that there may be a difference between what these metrics count and what the mobile search query counts. We are looking into why inputting the URL as a search query in Facebook’s mobile app might have corresponding numbers that can be higher or lower in certain cases. We are working to resolve this issue so that the Like and Share button metrics and our mobile search query metrics match up, and we will notify partners as soon as we have an update.
Music: Leon Bridges “River”
By Sheida Neman, Data Analyst
Every day people turn to Facebook to share the moments that matter most to them. Today we’re highlighting the most talked about global topics in Facebook’s 2016 Year in Review. Here is the list:
- US Presidential Election
- Brazilian Politics
- Pokemon Go
- Black Lives Matter
- Rodrigo Duterte & Philippine Presidential Election
- Super Bowl
- David Bowie
- Muhammad Ali
For the first time, we’re also sharing a list of the top ten global Live videos:
- Candace Payne, Chewbacca Mom
- Ted Yoder, Soundscapes
- Buzzfeed, Countdown to the next presidential election
- Atlanta Buzz, People are lining up to hug police officers in Dallas
- NBC News, Election results
- Under the Hood, Video of a truck completely carved out of wood
- Viral Thread, Population count from US to CA
- CNN, Election results on Empire State building
- Dena Blizzard, Pokemon Go for moms “Chardonnay Go”
- Super Deluxe, Election map
The top 10 moments of this year’s Year in Review were measured by how frequently a topic was mentioned in Facebook posts made between January 1 and November 27, 2016. To put this list together, mentions were analyzed in an aggregated, anonymized way and then ranked to create a snapshot of the year on Facebook. The top 10 Live videos were measured by total cumulative views.
Your Year in Review
This month, many people will also see a personalized video in their News Feed of their meaningful moments from 2016 that they can edit and share with family and friends. They can also access their video by visiting facebook.com/yearinreview2016.