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We know Facebook Live is better with friends. We’ve been working on ways to make Live more fun, social and interactive, like with the new Live interactive effects we announced last month. Today we’re excited to announce two new features that make it easier to share experiences and connect in real time with your friends on Live.
Live Chat With Friends
One of the best things about Live is that you can discuss what’s happening in the broadcast in real time. In fact, people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. When it comes to compelling public broadcasts — such as a breaking news event, a Q&A with your favorite actor or behind-the-scenes action after a big game — watching with the community and reading comments is an exciting part of the experience. We know sometimes people also want the option to interact with only their friends during a public live broadcast, so we’re rolling out Live Chat With Friends.
Live Chat With Friends lets you invite friends to a private chat about a public live broadcast. You can invite friends who are already watching or other friends who you think may want to tune in. You’re able to jump back into the public conversation at any time, and you can still continue chatting with your friends via Messenger after the broadcast ends.
With Live Chat With Friends, you can be part of big moments with the wider community but also have the option to participate in personal conversations with the people closest to you, directly within the Live experience. We’re testing this feature on mobile in several countries, and we look forward to making it available more broadly later this summer.
Last year we started rolling out the ability for public figures to go live with a guest. Now available for all profiles and Pages on iOS, Live With lets you invite a friend into your live video so you can hang out together, even if you’re not in the same place. Sharing the screen with a friend can make going live more fun and interactive — for both you and your viewers.
To invite a friend to join you in your live video, simply select a guest from the Live Viewers section, or tap a comment from the viewer you want to invite. Your viewer can then choose whether or not to join your broadcast. You can go live with a guest in both portrait mode (for a picture-in-picture experience) and landscape mode (for a side-by-side experience). For a full tutorial, click here.
We’re excited to see how people use these Facebook Live features to come together around moments big and small.
By Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management
Last month, people shared several horrific videos on Facebook of Syrian children in the aftermath of a chemical weapons attack. The videos, which also appeared elsewhere on the internet, showed the children shaking, struggling to breathe and eventually dying.
The images were deeply shocking – so much so that we placed a warning screen in front of them. But the images also prompted international outrage and renewed attention on the plight of Syrians.
Reviewing online material on a global scale is challenging and essential. As the person in charge of doing this work for Facebook, I want to explain how and where we draw the line.
On an average day, more than a billion people use Facebook. They share posts in dozens of languages: everything from photos to live videos. A very small percentage of those will be reported to us for investigation. The range of issues is broad – from bullying and hate speech to terrorism – and complex. Designing policies that both keep people safe and enable them to share freely means understanding emerging social issues and the way they manifest themselves online, and being able to respond quickly to millions of reports a week from people all over the world.
For our reviewers, there is another hurdle: understanding context. It’s hard to judge the intent behind one post, or the risk implied in another. Someone posts a graphic video of a terrorist attack. Will it inspire people to emulate the violence, or speak out against it? Someone posts a joke about suicide. Are they just being themselves, or is it a cry for help?
In the UK, being critical of the monarchy might be acceptable. In some parts of the world it will get you a jail sentence. Laws can provide guidance, but often what’s acceptable is more about norms and expectations. New ways to tell stories and share images can bring these tensions to the surface faster than ever.
We aim to keep our site safe. We don’t always share the details of our policies, because we don’t want to encourage people to find workarounds – but we do publish our Community Standards, which set out what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook, and why.
Our standards change over time. We are in constant dialogue with experts and local organizations, on everything from child safety to terrorism to human rights. Sometimes this means our policies can seem counterintuitive. As the Guardian reported, experts in self-harm advised us that it can be better to leave live videos of self-harm running so that people can be alerted to help, but to take them down afterwards to prevent copycats. When a girl in Georgia, USA, attempted suicide on Facebook Live two weeks ago, her friends were able to notify police, who managed to reach her in time.
We try hard to stay objective. The cases we review aren’t the easy ones: they are often in a grey area where people disagree. Art and pornography aren’t always easily distinguished, but we’ve found that digitally generated images of nudity are more likely to be pornographic than handmade ones, so our policy reflects that.
There’s a big difference between general expressions of anger and specific calls for a named individual to be harmed, so we allow the former but don’t permit the latter.
These tensions – between raising awareness of violence and promoting it, between freedom of expression and freedom from fear, between bearing witness to something and gawking at it – are complicated, and there are rarely universal legal standards to provide clarity. Being as objective as possible is the only way we can be consistent across the world. But we still sometimes end up making the wrong call.
The hypothetical situations we use to train reviewers are intentionally extreme. They’re designed to help the people who do this work deal with the most difficult cases. When we first created our content standards nearly a decade ago, much was left to the discretion of individual employees. But because no two people will have identical views of what defines hate speech or bullying – or any number of other issues – we now include clear definitions.
We face criticism from people who want more censorship and people who want less. We see that as a useful signal that we are not leaning too far in any one direction.
I hope that readers will understand that we take our role extremely seriously. For many of us on the team within Facebook, safety is a passion that predates our work at the company: I spent more than a decade as a criminal prosecutor, investigating everything from child sexual exploitation to terrorism. Our team also includes a counter extremism expert from the UK, the former research director of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, a rape crisis center worker, and a teacher.
All of us know there is more we can do. Last month, we announced that we are hiring an extra 3,000 reviewers. This is demanding work, and we will continue to do more to ensure we are giving them the right support, both by making it easier to escalate hard decisions quickly and by providing the psychological support they need.
Technology has given more people more power to communicate more widely than ever before. We believe the benefits of sharing far outweigh the risks. But we also recognize that society is still figuring out what is acceptable and what is harmful, and that we, at Facebook, can play an important part of that conversation.
People tell us they don’t like stories that are misleading, sensational or spammy. That includes clickbait headlines that are designed to get attention and lure visitors into clicking on a link. In an effort to support an informed community, we’re always working to determine what stories might have clickbait headlines so we can show them less often.
Last year we made an update to News Feed to reduce stories from sources that consistently post clickbait headlines that withhold and exaggerate information. Today, we are making three updates that build on this work so that people will see even fewer clickbait stories in their feeds, and more of the stories they find authentic.
- First, we are now taking into account clickbait at the individual post level in addition to the domain and Page level, in order to more precisely reduce clickbait headlines.
- Second, in order to make this more effective, we are dividing our efforts into two separate signals — so we will now look at whether a headline withholds information or if it exaggerates information separately.
- Third, we are starting to test this work in additional languages.
How We Are Improving Our Efforts
One of our News Feed values is authentic communication, so we’ve been working to understand what people find authentic and what people do not.
We’ve learned from last year’s update that we can better detect different kinds of clickbait headlines by separately — rather than jointly — identifying signals that withhold or exaggerate information.
Headlines that withhold information intentionally leave out crucial details or mislead people, forcing them to click to find out the answer. For example, “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS…” Headlines that exaggerate the details of a story with sensational language tend to make the story seem like a bigger deal than it really is. For example, “WOW! Ginger tea is the secret to everlasting youth. You’ve GOT to see this!”
We addressed this similarly to how we previously worked to reduce clickbait: We categorized hundreds of thousands of headlines as clickbait or not clickbait by considering if the headline exaggerates the details of a story, and separately if the headline withholds information. A team at Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines using these criteria, validating each other’s work to identify large sets of clickbait headlines.
From there, we identify what phrases are commonly used in clickbait headlines that are not used in other headlines. This is similar to how many email spam filters work.
Posts with clickbait headlines will appear lower in News Feed. We will continue to learn over time, and we hope to continue expanding this work to reduce clickbait in even more languages.
Will This Impact My Page?
We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of this update.
Publishers that rely on clickbait headlines should expect their distribution to decrease. Pages should avoid headlines that withhold information required to understand the content of the article and headlines that exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations. If a Page stops posting clickbait and sensational headlines, their posts will stop being impacted by this change.
As always, Pages should refer to our publishing best practices. We will learn from these changes and will continue to work on reducing clickbait so News Feed is a place for authentic communication.
By Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety
May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, and this month Facebook is letting people know about our tools and resources we have developed for people who may be struggling. People may see videos or photos in News Feed for a broad awareness campaign about supportive groups, crisis support over Messenger and suicide prevention tools.
We’ve been committed to mental health support for many years, and this is one of the ways we’re working to build a safer and more supportive community on Facebook. As we continue to invest in new tools and resources, we hope Facebook can help provide support to more people over time. For example, Mama Dragons, a Utah community of mothers with LGBTQ children, uses Facebook Groups to share experiences and offer support.
Finding Supportive Groups
On Facebook, people can connect to groups that support them through difficult times. Throughout May, we’ll be helping more people find groups about mental health and well-being.
Crisis Support Over Messenger
People can talk in real time with trained crisis and mental health support volunteers over Messenger. Participating organizations include Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We are also happy to announce that we will be adding The Trevor Project, an organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. The option will roll out over the next few months.
Suicide Prevention Tools and Resources
We’ve offered suicide prevention tools on Facebook for more than 10 years. We developed these in collaboration with mental health organizations such as Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Forefront and Crisis Text Line, and with people who have personal experience thinking about or attempting suicide. Last year we expanded the availability of these tools worldwide with the help of over 70 partners, and we’ve improved them based on new technology and feedback from the community.
This month Instagram is also helping to raise awareness about mental health and the communities of support that exist on the platform. To learn more about the tools and resources available on Instagram and the #HereForYou initiative, visit instagram-together.com.
Together, we hope these resources help more people who may be struggling and and we’re continuously improving them to build a safer and more supportive community on Facebook.
During our regular reviews to ensure the accuracy of our systems, we recently found and fixed a bug that misattributed some clicks on video carousel ads as link clicks. This bug occurred when people were on mobile web browsers on smartphones — not on desktop or in the Facebook mobile app.
The bug affected billing only for the following conditions: for the video carousel ad unit; when the advertiser chose to bid on link clicks; and only for people who were on smartphone web browsers. In these cases, instead of being billed only for link clicks (clicks to an advertiser’s selected destination), these advertisers were incorrectly billed when people clicked on the videos in the carousel to enlarge and watch them. Advertisers will receive a full credit for the charges they incurred for these misattributed clicks.
Most consumers use Facebook through the app on their phones, and mobile web browser ad impressions make up a small percentage of the overall ads impressions people see on Facebook. Given that this bug related to mobile web for smartphones only, and specifically for video carousel ads that bid on link clicks, the impact from a billing perspective was 0.04% of ads impressions. Regardless of how many impressions were affected, we take all bugs seriously and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
People come to Facebook to express their diverse opinions and experiences, yet there is one thing that brings the community together in celebration all over the world — moms!
In 2016, Mother’s Day drove more posts in one day than any other topic on Facebook, with more than 105 million Mother’s Day posts. In fact, to show thanks and gratitude, people came to Facebook to post photos and videos, which spiked significantly on Mother’s Day with over 850 million photos and videos shared.*
This year, Facebook is providing new ways for you to show mom or a loved one that you appreciate everything they do.
Send a Personalized Card
Today you might see a message from Facebook in your News Feed wishing you a happy Mother’s Day and inviting you to share a card with a mom or loved one.On mobile, you can personalize some of the cards by adding a photo, giving you the opportunity to share what Mother’s Day means to you.
Jazz Up Your Photos
In Facebook Camera, you can find some new colorful Mother’s Day-themed masks and frames. If you swipe right on News Feed, go to the effects tray and you’ll be able to find the effects in the mask and frame category.
Support a Cause In Honor Of Mom
In the US, start a Facebook fundraiser or donate to your favorite cause in honor of your mom. On Facebook, you can raise money for a nonprofit or people — for yourself, a friend or someone or something not on Facebook.
Show Your Thanks
You may see a new “thankful” addition to reactions during the days surrounding Mother’s Day. When a person chooses this temporary flower reaction, they’ll see something special that wraps around the post they’re reacting to.
Add a Sticker to Your Instagram Story
Finally, if you’re using Instagram, you may also see a set of new stickers to help you celebrate the mothers in your life. Simply open the camera and take a photo or video, then add as many stickers as you want.
We hope everyone will join in celebrating everything that mothers do for us on this special day. Even by simply wishing someone “Happy Mother’s Day” in the comments (Psst…try it and see what happens!) you will be contributing to a worldwide outpouring of appreciation for moms everywhere.
*Data from May 8, 2016
We want to help people build an informed community on Facebook. That’s why we’re always working to understand which posts people consider misleading, sensational and spammy so we can show fewer of those and show more informative posts instead.
We hear from our community that they’re disappointed when they click on a link that leads to a web page containing little substantive content and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads. People expect their experience after clicking on a post to be straightforward.
Starting today, we’re rolling out an update so people see fewer posts and ads in News Feed that link to these low-quality web page experiences. Similar to the work we’re already doing to stop misinformation, this update will help reduce the economic incentives of financially-motivated spammers.
A More Informative Experience
We have had a policy in place since last year to prevent advertisers with low-quality web page experiences from advertising on our platform. Now, we are increasing enforcement on ads and also taking into account organic posts in News Feed.
With this update, we reviewed hundreds of thousands of web pages linked to from Facebook to identify those that contain little substantive content and have a large number of disruptive, shocking or malicious ads. We then used artificial intelligence to understand whether new web pages shared on Facebook have similar characteristics. So if we determine a post might link to these types of low-quality web pages, it may show up lower in people’s feeds and may not be eligible to be an ad. This way people can see fewer misleading posts and more informative posts.
Will This Impact My Page or Ad Account?
These changes will roll out gradually over the coming months. Publishers that do not have the type of low-quality landing page experience referenced may see a small increase in traffic, while publishers who do should see a decline in traffic. This update is one of many signals we use to rank News Feed, so impact will vary by publisher, and Pages should continue posting stories their audiences will like.
Click here for details on Facebook’s financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017.
By Andrea Vaccari, Product Manager, Messenger
Today we’re starting to roll out Instant Games on Messenger more broadly for the 1.2 billion people who use Messenger every month. In addition, we’re also launching the new features that we exclusively previewed to developers at our annual F8 conference. These include rich gameplay features, which allow developers to create unique and sophisticated experiences and Game bots to help game makers surface exciting features like new levels and rewards. When developers start to take advantage of these new capabilities everyone wins with more dynamic and engaging gaming experiences.
Rich gameplay features such as turn-based games (our most requested feature) can also weave in leaderboards and tournaments, and offer more visually engaging and customizable game messages during play. Game bots help re-engage players by calling out new game options and encouraging competition with updates on the leaderboards.
One of the first games to take advantage of the new rich gameplay features is Zynga’s Words With Friends. Words With Friends, one of the most popular game apps of all time, is now available as a feature-rich, turn-based game right in Messenger.
People will begin to see new features as game developers start to incorporate the new capabilities with one of Instant Games on Messenger’s biggest hits, Blackstorm’s EverWing, being among the first to use Game bots. Depending on what device you use and where you are located, there are now up to 50 games titles available on Messenger, with more being introduced almost every week. We’re also excited to be bringing the world’s #1 pool game — Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool — to Instant Games very soon.
The new Instant Games on Messenger will roll out over the next few weeks worldwide for both iOS and Android.
By Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel
Today we are releasing our latest Global Government Requests Report for the second half of 2016, which details the number of government requests we received for data, as well as the number of items of content restricted for violating local law in countries where our service is available.
Government requests for account data increased by 9% globally compared to the first half of 2016, from 59,229 to 64,279 requests. About half of the data requests we received from law enforcement in the US contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user.
The number of content restrictions for violating local law went down by 28% globally compared to the first half of 2016, from 9,663 to 6,944. Our prior two reports had reflected more restrictions based largely on French content restrictions of a single image from the November 13, 2015 Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris.
For the first time, we’re also including information about internet disruptions that impacted access to Facebook products and services during the half. Internet disruptions harm local economies and prevent people from sharing and communicating with their family and friends.
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 also continue to seek ways to work 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. Since our last report, we received an update on a US court case in which Facebook fought to protect people from overreaching search warrants. While the court in New York recognized that our case raised “novel and important substantive issues,” it found that the lower court’s order denying our challenge was “nonappealable,” and declined to review it further. Nevertheless, we are grateful to the many organizations that joined us in challenging these warrants, and we’re continuing to partner with them to support legislation proposed in New York that would clarify the ability of providers to formally contest defective search warrants.
More broadly, we believe that reforms are needed beyond New York. The current process for handling cross border requests for data is slow and cumbersome, and legitimate requests are often subject to months and months of delays. We believe that companies, governments, civil society organizations, and academics should work together to improve this process and to raise human rights standards throughout the world. We will continue to work 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, while recognizing the obligation of governments to uphold the law and protect their residents.
Please see the full report for more information.
By Sara Su, Product Manager, News Feed
One of our main goals is to support an informed community on Facebook. This includes helping people have conversations about the news and giving people more ways to see a more complete picture of a story or topic.
This work is important to us, so we’re building new products and exploring ways to improve our existing ones. In 2013, we launched Related Articles to help people discover new articles they may find interesting about the same topic. These articles appear in News Feed after people read an article.
Today, we’re beginning to test Related Articles that might appear before you read an article shared in News Feed. These additional articles, which appear for topics many people are talking about on Facebook, will appear in a unit below the link. That should provide people easier access to additional perspectives and information, including articles by third-party fact-checkers.
For example, during an instance when a lot of people are discussing an article about a new medical advancement, we may also show you a few other articles below it from different publishers about the same medical topic.
This is one of many tests we’re working on to improve the experiences people have on Facebook. We will learn from the test, and apply what we learn to improve the product for everyone.
How Will This Impact My Page?
We don’t anticipate Pages will see significant changes in reach. Pages should continue posting stories that are relevant to their audience.
By Bill Weihl, Director of Sustainability
Protecting the environment is just one important part of keeping our global community safe, which is why on this Earth Day, all of us at Facebook hope that people from around the world who use our family of apps and services will join us in showing their support for our planet.
Building a global community that works for everyone requires that we create spaces where people can show their solidarity for issues and causes that they are passionate about. In fact, in 2016 the global Facebook community came together to celebrate Earth Day, making it the #1 topic on that day. Here are a few interesting ways people have come together on Facebook to show their support for the environment:
- Nearly 1.6 million people plan to participate in Earth Day activities through a Facebook Event
- More than 1 million people are members of Earth Day related Groups
- People used nature related emojis 2x more during Earth Month compared to the previous month
- Top topics co-occurring with Earth Day were Happiness, Love, Climate Change, Earth and Environmentalism
- Top languages used to celebrate Earth Day are “Día de la Tierra” in Spanish, “Tag der Erde” in German, “Giornata della Terra” in Italian, “Jour de la Terre” in French and “Ngày Trái Đất” in Vietnamese.
We are also committed to doing our part. For an entire year of one person’s Facebook use, our carbon footprint is less than the impact of boiling water for one pot of tea (355g CO2e)*, and in 2018 our goal is to have at least 50% clean and renewable energy in our electricity supply mix for our operations.
This Earth Day we hope people will show their support on and offline, and are providing the tools to make it easier:
- Profile frames: People can find a non-profit organization’s frame and add it to their profile by visiting facebook.com/profilepicframes or by tapping on the “Add Frame” button on your profile picture.
- Camera: People can express themselves by creatively enhancing their photos and videos using an Earth Day-themed frame.
- Groups & Events: People can find a local Earth Day Event or discover an environmentally-focused Group that’s relevant to issues close to their heart and get involved.
- Fundraisers: Additionally, in the U.S., people can go to facebook.com/fundraisers to start a fundraiser for a favorite nonprofit on behalf of environmental causes.
For more information about Facebook’s sustainability commitments, please visit sustainability.fb.com.
* Facebook’s annual per-user carbon emissions: 281g CO2
Today concludes F8, our annual two-day event where developers come together to explore the future of technology.
In the opening keynote, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer talked about our goal to develop technology that will help everyone build global community. To do that, we’re investing in a number of foundational technologies over the next 10 years, including connectivity, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality.
Schroepfer and other keynote speakers — Director of Connectivity Programs, Yael Maguire; Director of Applied Machine Learning, Joaquin Quiñonero Candela; Chief Scientist of Oculus Research, Michael Abrash; and Vice President of Engineering and Building 8 Regina Dugan — shared updates and visions for some of our long-term focus areas.
Read more about the topics in today’s F8 keynotes below:
Rather than look for a one-size-fits-all connectivity solution, Facebook is investing in a building-block strategy — designing different technologies for different use cases, which are then used together to create flexible and extensible networks.
Today we highlighted new milestones in our efforts to reach people who are unconnected and increase capacity and performance for everyone else. Our team set three new records in wireless data transfer: 36 gigabits per second over 13 kilometers point-to-point using millimeter-wave (MMW) technology; 80 gigabits per second between those same points using our optical cross-link technology; and 16 gigabits per second from a location on the ground to a circling Cessna aircraft over 7 kilometers away using MMW. Additionally, our Terragraph system being tested with San Jose in the city’s downtown corridor has become the first city-scale mesh millimeter-wave system capable of delivering fiber-like multi-gigabits/s of performance and reliability.
We also announced Tether-tenna, a new kind of “insta-infrastructure” where a small helicopter tethered to a wire containing fiber and power can be deployed immediately to bring back connectivity in case of emergency.
AI is a powerful tool, and Facebook is leveraging it to build amazing visual experiences for people — including an AI-infused camera across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. With the ability to run cutting edge AI and computer vision algorithms on the device, this camera can now understand your surroundings, recognize people, places and things. It can annotate and enhance images and video. The new Camera Effects Platform gives developers a way to build new tools for creative expression, and we shared a few demos of ideas that have come out of our research.
In a keynote presentation today, Applied Machine Learning Director Joaquin Quiñonero Candela talked about how AI has revolutionized the ability of computers to process and understand images and videos. It’s easy to forget that only five years ago, computers saw images as just a collection of numbers, with no particular meaning to them. Now computers can understand every single individual pixel of an image. These advancements enable new experiences, like adding digital objects and effects to a real world scene.
We believe AI belongs to everyone. That’s why in addition to opening the Camera Effects Platform, we announced that we are open sourcing Caffe2 — a framework to build and run AI algorithms on a phone — and building partnerships with Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and others.
Facebook is investing in VR across mobile and PC hardware, software and content — from Oculus Rift and Gear VR to Facebook Spaces.
Today we introduced the newest designs for the Surround 360 technology that allows people to produce amazing high quality videos for VR. The new x24 and its smaller counterpart, x6, create some of the most immersive and engaging content ever shot for VR. The new camera technology lets you move around within the video scene and experience the content from different viewing angles. This means you can move your head around in the world and see it from different angles — what’s known as six degrees of freedom, or 6DoF — bringing the feeling of immersion and depth to a whole new level.
On day one of F8, Mark Zuckerberg talked about how the camera is the first augmented reality platform. Today Chief Scientist of Oculus Research Michael Abrash shared a vision for the path to full AR — where augmentation enhances your vision and hearing seamlessly while being light, comfortable, power-efficient and socially acceptable enough to accompany you everywhere.
He talked about the rise of virtual computing — which encompasses both virtual and augmented reality — as the next great wave after personal computing. Virtual computing is just starting to form, but it will give us the ability to transcend time and space to connect with one another in new ways.
In order to make virtual computing as much a part of everyday life as the smartphone is today, we’re going to need see-through augmented reality, which will likely be transparent glasses that can show virtual images overlaid on the real world.
The set of technologies needed to reach full AR doesn’t exist yet. This is a decade-long investment and it will require major advances in material science, perception, graphics and many other areas. But once that’s achieved, AR has the potential to enhance almost every aspect of our lives, revolutionizing how we work, play and interact.
Building 8 is the product development and research team at Facebook focused on creating and shipping new, category-defining consumer products that are social first, and that advance Facebook’s mission. Products from Building 8 will be powered by a breakthrough innovation engine modeled after DARPA and shipped at scale.
At F8 we announced two projects focused on silent speech communications.
We are working on a system that will let people type with their brains. Specifically, we have a goal of creating a silent speech system capable of typing 100 words per minute straight from your brain – that’s five times faster than you can type on a smartphone today. This isn’t about decoding your random thoughts. Think of it like this: You take many photos and choose to share only some of them. Similarly, you have many thoughts and choose to share only some of them. This is about decoding those words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain. It’s a way to communicate with the speed and flexibility of your voice and the privacy of text. We want to do this with non-invasive, wearable sensors that can be manufactured at scale.
We also have a project directed at allowing people to hear with their skin. We are building the hardware and software necessary to deliver language through the skin.
For more details on today’s topics, see our Developer Blog and Engineering Blog. You can also watch all F8 keynotes on the Facebook for Developers Page. Find additional assets and product images on our F8 press page.
Watch the full day two keynote here.
Today marks the first day of F8 2017, our annual event where developers come together to explore the future of technology. More than 4,000 people attended the event at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, and millions watched the keynote via Facebook Live.
Mark Zuckerberg opened the conference with a keynote about how the camera is the first mainstream augmented reality platform. People are already using the cameras on their phones to write text on images, add digital objects and modify existing things with face filters and style transfers. That’s why today we announced the Camera Effects Platform, giving developers the power to build AR tools for the camera and bring people together in new ways.
Read more about today’s F8 keynote announcements from day one speakers Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer; VP of Platform & Marketplace Deb Liu; Head of Social VR Rachel Franklin; VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong; and VP of Messaging Products David Marcus.
Camera Effects Platform
We’re offering a suite of creative tools to give our community of artists and developers the power to create a full spectrum of effects for the new Facebook camera, from simple photo frames to interactive effects and masks using the latest in augmented reality technologies.
The Camera Effects Platform includes two products: Frames Studio and AR Studio. Frames Studio is an online creative editor, now available globally, that allows you to design frames that can be used either as profile picture frames or in the new Facebook camera. AR Studio, now open for beta applications, can be used to create masks, scripted effects, animated frames and other AR technologies that react to movement, the environment or interactions during Live videos.
See how Live effects work by checking out two we’re starting to roll out in Facebook Live: This or That and GIPHY Live. Both effects are powered by AR Studio and are designed to respond in real time to what’s happening in a Live broadcast.
Facebook Spaces is a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room. Facebook Spaces is launching in beta for Oculus Rift today.
With Facebook Spaces, you can view Facebook content with friends in VR, including 360 videos and photos that can transport you to new places. You can draw in the air with a virtual marker to create anything you can dream up, from a decorative hat to a handmade tic-tac-toe board. Facebook Spaces lets you easily phone a friend in the real world with Messenger video calling, so you can bring even more people into your VR space. They can answer your call on their phone to instantly open a window into your virtual world. Of course, there’s a selfie stick too. Use it to take photos of your experience and share the memories you create in VR with your friends on Facebook.
Today we announced a new program for developers all over the world to connect, learn, and collaborate with other local developers. Developer Circles is a community-driven program that’s free to join and open to any developer. Each Developer Circle is led by members of the local community who act as leads for the circle, organizing events offline and managing a local online Facebook community. Developer Circles are forums to share knowledge, collaborate, build new ideas and learn about the latest technologies from Facebook and other industry leaders.
Today we launched the Places Graph, providing free access to data on more than 140 million places around the world. These places include everything from public spaces and parks, to restaurants, stores and other local businesses. The data includes place names, addresses, photos, Facebook consumer ratings and more. Apps can use this data to create location-aware experiences that help people learn more about where they are so they can make informed decisions about where to go and what to do.
If you have an app and a Messenger bot, we’ve made it simpler for you to connect with the same person using both. Our new API allows you to map between a Facebook Login ID and a Messenger ID, so you can serve your customers smoothly across both experiences.
Facebook Analytics — formerly known as Facebook Analytics for Apps — is a powerful, free product for accessing rich audience demographics, and measuring customer behavior across channels. Today we announced new capabilities designed to help you understand and optimize your complete customer journey across the channels you use to interact with customers, such as your app and website.
Our new Automated Insights tool uses advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence to bring valuable insights directly to you. With this new feature, you’ll see insights such as changes in purchases for a new version of your app, or variations in engagement across people in different cities.
Since the Messenger Platform debuted a year ago, it has become an essential channel for businesses, developers and consumers. The ecosystem has more than 1.2 billion people, 100,000 developers and 100,000 monthly active bots, and 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Messenger every month.
Some of the new features and advanced tools announced today include:
- A new Discover tab that allows people to find the bot for Messenger they’re looking for in an intuitive and thoughtful way, right from the home screen in Messenger. We’ve also enabled discovery in the physical world with new parametric Messenger codes. This gives people the option to scan Messenger Codes through the Messenger camera and link to their favorite brands and businesses.
- Chat Extensions, which allow multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. People can now add in a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience.
- Messenger’s AI assistant, M, now offers the ability to order food through delivery.com. For instance, if you’re chatting with friends about what to grab for dinner, M will suggest placing an order. The whole experience can be completed in Messenger, including group ordering and payment.
- New rich gameplay in Messenger including game bots and much more.
- Smart Replies, which help Pages to respond to the most frequently asked questions that small businesses receive, such as business hours, directions and contact details.
- Hand-over Protocol, a new way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger.
For more details on today’s news, see our Developer Blog and Engineering Blog. You can watch all the day one keynotes on the Facebook for Developers Page. Find additional assets and product images on our F8 press page.
Watch the full keynote here.
F8 2017 continues tomorrow, with a focus on our long-term investments in connectivity, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and hardware. Keynote speakers include Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer; Connectivity Program Director Yael Maguire; Applied Machine Learning Director Joaquin Quiñonero Candela; Oculus VR Chief Scientist Michael Abrash; and Building 8 Vice President Regina Dugan.
By David Marcus, VP of Messenger
- New Ways to Discover: Businesses and Brands
- New Ways to Connect: Share your Favorite Music, Play Games, Order Food
- New Ways for Developers to Build: Platform 2.0
Last F8, we opened the Messenger Platform to the global community of developers. Since then, we have listened and learned a lot, and we’re thrilled to see it become a thriving channel for brands, developers and consumers to connect with each other and the things they love. We’ve also spent the last 12 months focused on improving and launching products and features that help us all stay in touch in delightful ways – from our new camera, group video chats and even games.
The numbers may be impressive, but they don’t immediately capture the impact we have seen bots for Messenger have on people around the world or the ways in which the community of developers have built for the common good. From translation bots helping refugees, to bots that answer health questions, opportunities to support causes and even experiences that assist students with homework — the creativity, ingenuity and vision of our bot developer community has been awesome.
We think of Messenger as being like the new social living room for the world, where people can hang out, share, chat, play games or buy things, while still being able to reach nearly everyone, wherever they are. We now think we are combining two tools of the past — the telephone directory (the way we used to find people) with the Yellow Pages (the way we used to find businesses).
Here’s all our F8 news:
Making Messenger More Seamless and Fun
- Discovery in the Digital World – Discover tab: We wanted to find a way to make it easy and simple for people to find the businesses they care about in Messenger. We’ve built a Discover tab, and starting to roll out to a few people in the US today, right from the home screen, people can find their recently used bots, popular experiences and a free-form search field. Developers can learn more about how to apply to have their bot included in this curated tab by going here.
- Discovery in the Physical World – Messenger Codes: Our new parametric QR codes will enable people whenever they are out and about at events, like at basketball games and concerts, to be able to find out more from a bot for Messenger, just by simply scanning the code in the Messenger camera.
- Chat Extensions: The experiences being built in Messenger are inherently social. Now with Chat Extensions, we enable multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. If you are excited to share the newest song you love, you can now add a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience with your friends. We think that this will enable people to virally share bots. You can currently find favorite brands like Spotify, TheScore, OpenTable, Food Network, NBA, Wall Street Journal and Kayak — with many more on the way.
- More from M: M, our virtual assistant, now makes suggestions in your conversations, offering up ways to make your life simpler. These include fun stickers to say “thank you,” a reminder to meet up with a friend, or an easy way to pay someone back or get paid via peer-to-peer payments. Powered by artificial intelligence, M recognizes when people are doing specific tasks and provides helpful suggestions. We think the next step is to offer people more ways to do more – so today M can now offer the ability to order food through delivery.com. If you’re chatting with friends about what to grab for dinner, M may suggest placing an order. The whole experience can be completed in Messenger, including group ordering and payment. The more you use M, the more it will make relevant suggestions to you. This is available in the US where delivery.com serves.
- Introducing New Rich Gameplay: With over 1.5 billion games played in just the last 90 days, now we are adding some additional product features like game bots and Rich Gameplay (turn-by-turn games) to make your gaming even more fun. And it’s now even easier to challenge your friends to a game in Messenger by tapping the Games tab on the Messenger home screen – which is starting to roll out today to some people in the US.
Helping Developers and Businesses Build and Create
- Smart Replies for Pages: One pain point for many small businesses is managing messages they receive. Small businesses benefit greatly from having messaging turned on so they can interact with and provide service to their customers as quickly as possible. Today, we’re launching the ability for Pages to respond to the most frequently asked questions, such as business hours, directions and contact details. Powered by our AI bot engine, Wit.ai, Smart Replies offers an API that enables businesses to create an AI-powered responder to these types of FAQs.
- Parametric Messenger Codes: Businesses are now able to generate multiple parametric QR codes for one bot, offering their customers more choice. For example, to track where a code was scanned, or to apply a different QR code for each table at a restaurant. This also gives people the potential to scan via the camera instead of the QR scanner feature.
- Hand-over Protocol: We’ve provided a way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger. For example, a business might want to have a personal shopping bot and also a customer service bot. Different vendors and developers will be able to manage the conversation for the use case the customer is requesting.
That’s all our news! We hope that Messenger Platform 2.0 will enable our developer community to enhance experiences, leverage the power of AI and build more bots to help businesses connect in more meaningful ways. We know that developers will continue to create amazing and powerful experiences for people all over the world, and we’re excited to see these come to fruition. The team here at Messenger is dedicated to supporting all of this potential; we’d like to thank our community, and as always, please let us know what you think.
By Rachel Franklin, Head of Social VR
Spending time with friends and family creates many of our most meaningful memories, but it’s impossible to always be physically near the people we care about. That’s where the magic of virtual reality comes in. Today, we’re introducing Facebook Spaces — a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room. Facebook Spaces launches in beta for Oculus Rift and Touch today, and you can download it now from the Oculus Store.
Be Yourself in VR
It’s easy to create an identity that represents the real you in Facebook Spaces. This helps people recognize you and makes VR feel more like hanging out in person. Just choose one of your Facebook photos and you’ll see an array of options for your VR appearance. Start with one of these options, then customize until it feels just right. You can change your eye color, hairstyle, facial features and more until your look fits your identity. It’s all about being yourself.
Get Together, Have Fun and Share Experiences With People You Care About
Once you’ve decided on your look, jump into the experience and invite your Facebook friends to join you.
You can draw in the air with a virtual marker to create anything you can dream up, from a decorative hat to a handmade tic-tac-toe board.
You’ll also find the rich variety of Facebook content at your fingertips to view with friends in VR, including 360 videos and photos that can transport you to new places. You and your friends can relive personal memories from your own Timelines, or even make new ones as you explore things that interest you from people and Pages you follow.
Bring Anyone In On the Fun
Why should the people in VR have all the fun? Facebook Spaces lets you easily phone a friend in the real world with Messenger video calling, so you can bring even more people into your VR space. They can answer your call on their phone to instantly open a window into your virtual world. Whether you want to show off your latest 3D drawing masterpiece, play an amazing 360 video your friend would love, or just spend time chatting, it’s one of the best ways to be in the moment together, from anywhere.
Of course, there’s a selfie stick too. Use it to take photos of your experience and share the memories you create in VR with your friends on Facebook.
Control Your Experience
We want Facebook Spaces to be a comfortable place for everyone. You have control of your experience, including the ability to pause at any time. Pausing moves you into a quiet space where you can take a break away from other people and activities. You can also choose to mute your friends or remove them from your space. Facebook Spaces is all about connecting with friends and family that you know and trust, and we’re committed to making VR a positive place for all.
Today is only the beginning. We’re launching in beta, and we’ll add new features as we learn from your feedback and continue exploring what makes social VR experiences most meaningful. We also plan to bring the experience to more platforms over time. We’ve only just scratched the surface of social VR technology. In the future, it will continue to transform the way people around the world stay connected with their communities and those closest to them. We can’t wait to get there.
By Partha Sundaram, Product Manager for Consumer Payments
Since 2015, you could send and receive money on Messenger, but until now, these person-to-person payments have just been possible between two people.
Starting today for Android and desktop, you can send or receive money between groups of people on Messenger. It’s free, simple, fast and secure. Whether you’re splitting a restaurant bill or chipping in for a group gift, all you need to do is go to a new or existing Messenger group conversation to get started.
Simply tap on the plus sign in the bottom left hand corner of a group conversation to find more features, and tap the payments icon ($). Then, choose who to send or request money from. You can choose everyone in the group or only a few members. Enter the amount you want to request per person or the total sum to divide evenly, either including yourself in the calculation or not. Finally, you can specify what the money is for — maybe a pizza party, teacher gift or more. Once you’re ready, tap Request.
To make it super simple to keep track of everything, a message will appear in the group conversation showing who has paid. At any time, you can also view the Request Details in full-screen. Coordinating group payments has never been easier.
As always in Messenger, you don’t need to remember a password, your debit card information is safe and secure, and the service is totally free. Messenger group payments is available in the US for now; give it a go, and let us know what you think.
For more information, check out the Help Center.
By Alex Deve, Product Director, Groups
People use Facebook to discover and connect with communities in meaningful ways. One way people are forming and strengthening communities is through Facebook Groups. Whether connecting with other fishermen in your town to share tips, organizing a get together for new parents in your neighborhood or finding others dealing with the same medical condition, people use Facebook Groups to connect in personal, practical and powerful ways.
No matter your interests or personal circumstance, there’s probably a group out there for you. In fact, there are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook, and every one of them exists because of the passion and dedication of the group admins who lead these communities. Mark Zuckerberg wrote about the important role that group admins play in his letter to the Facebook community earlier this year.
To celebrate these community builders, we will host our first-ever Facebook Communities Summit on June 22 and 23 in Chicago. The event is an opportunity for a few hundred group admins to gather, share and connect in real life.
We’d love to host each and every admin on Facebook, but space is limited. Admins are invited to apply here for a spot at Facebook Communities Summit. Stay tuned for more event information in the coming weeks.
Today we’re excited to announce the launch of suggestions from M to everyone in the US. M is your helpful assistant in Messenger, powered by artificial intelligence. M offers suggestions by popping into an open conversation to suggest relevant content and capabilities to enrich the way people communicate and get things done.
When we announced M over a year ago, it was a small AI experiment powered by humans that could fulfill almost any request. We learned a lot and these interactions have enabled us to build a completely automated version of M that suggests helpful actions in your chat, exposing features people may not have known were available right in Messenger. Suggestions from M has been testing with a small percentage of users for the past few months — and it has been a great success — today we’re expanding it to all Messenger users in the US.
Suggestions from M appear when it recognizes intent in a conversation and initially will include the following actions:
- Sending stickers: M shares fun sticker suggestions for your daily life interactions like “Thank you” or “Bye-bye.”
- Paying or requesting money: M recognizes when people are discussing payments and gives them the option of easily sending or requesting money.
- Sharing your location: M can suggest an option to share your location during a conversation.
- Making plans: If people are talking about getting together, M helps coordinating a plan.
- Starting a poll (in group conversations only): Have a hard time making decisions in a group? M lets you set a poll topic and vote in group conversations.
- Getting a Ride: Talking about going somewhere? M suggests “Get A Ride” and shares an option of Lyft or Uber.
M relies on AI machine learning techniques. It suggests relevant actions to help manage conversations or help get things done. We are bringing the power of M’s AI technology to support and enhance the Messenger experience and make it more useful, personal and seamless. To experience M, simply chat with a friend or a group as you normally would. M may make a suggestion in a conversation relevant to one of the core actions listed above, and then the M logo and suggestion will appear — it’s that simple. And M learns: the more you use it, the more it can help. You always have the option to ignore or dismiss a suggestion if it’s not helpful, and if you don’t want M’s assistance you can easily mute it in M settings.
As suggestions from M start to roll out to users in the US, Messenger users across the globe will also start to see a redesigned way to compose messages. This update offers an easier way to access and discover Messenger features like our rich visual messaging tools and the ability to quickly share content like video and images directly from the text composer with a long press. We’re also adding a “More” tab to more easily access Messenger features such as Games, Payments, Share Location and Rides.
M is launching today to all iOS and Android users in the US and will eventually roll out to other countries. But this is just the beginning for M… expect to see more and more AI-powered, delightful and relevant experiences improving Messenger for you, every day. We hope that suggestions from M are just the start of what a proactive, helpful and useful assistant can offer to the 1 billion people who use Messenger each month.
By Adam Mosseri, VP, News Feed
We know people want to see accurate information on Facebook – and so do we. False news and hoaxes are harmful to our community and make the world less informed. All of us have a responsibility to curb the spread of false news.
At Facebook we have been focusing on three key areas:
- disrupting economic incentives because most false news is financially motivated;
- building new products to curb the spread of false news; and
- helping people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news.
As part of our ongoing efforts, we’ve worked in consultation with First Draft, a non-profit dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information online, to roll out an educational tool to help people spot false news. We’re featuring this tool at the top of News Feed for a few days to people on Facebook in 14 countries.
When people click on this educational tool at the top of their News Feed, they will see more information and resources in the Facebook Help Center, including tips on how to spot false news, such as checking the URL of the site, investigating the source and looking for other reports on the topic.
News Feed is a place for authentic communication. Improving news literacy is a global priority, and we need to do our part to help people understand how to make decisions about which sources to trust.
False news runs counter to our mission to connect people with the stories they find meaningful. We will continue working on this and we know we have more work to do.