Monday, 6 October 2014

Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter

Facebook kicked off the summer of 2014 with a controversy that affected nearly 700,000 users. For one week in early 2012, the social network conducted an experiment to determine whether it could change the emotional state of some users by filtering the posts that showed up in their news feeds. (Spoiler alert: It could.) Many experts called Facebook's actions unethical.
Three months later, Facebook finally apologized in a blog post that addressed the incident and outlined plans for more structured research.
"It's clear now that there are things we should have done differently," wrote Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer. "For example, we should have considered other non-experimental ways to do this research. The research would have also benefited from more extensive review by a wider and more senior group of people. Last, in releasing the study, we failed to communicate clearly why and how we did it."
But in between the uproar over Facebook's emotion experiment and its belated apology was a summer filled with launches, algorithm tweaks, and privacy changes.
Facebook launched a few buttons: a Buy button, which is in beta, and a Save button, which bookmarks content for later, for example. It also dropped the chat feature from its main app; started tracking users' shopping and browsing habits; and cracked down on click-bait, like-gating, and other news feed spam.
Here's a closer look at 10 of this summer's most important Facebook changes and what they mean for you. First up, Messenger:
Facebook makes Messenger mandatory
Facebook's main app ditched its chat feature in July, when the social network began prompting users to download Messenger. The app's confusing permissions, however, caused a firestorm of misconceptions: Users blamed Facebook for intent to eavesdrop on conversations and snoop on text messages. Neither of these were true, of course, but that didn't prevent users from rating Messenger poorly in the app stores.
If you want to send and receive messages on your mobile device, Facebook requires you to download Messenger, which also lets you place phone calls -- including international ones over WiFi -- and send pictures and video. If you choose not to, you can still send and receive messages on the desktop version of Facebook.