Snapchat Adds Delete Function, Facebook Memories, New Twitter Features
“Social Media Roundup” will help you stay up-to-date on all the important social media news you need to know.
Follow Up To Congressional Hearing
Facebook had received over 2,000 questions from the Senate and House Committees when CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared for congressional hearings back in April. Since Zuckerberg could not provide the specific answers for many of those questions, Facebook provided a follow-up in the form of two documents.
One of the documents is 229 pages long and is addressed to Chairman John Thune, Ranking Member Bill Nelson and members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. And the other 225-page document is addressed to Chairman Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein and the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Two of the most noteworthy questions that Facebook answered pertains to eye tracking and mouse movement tracking patents.
Eye Tracking Response
On page 188 of the 229-page follow-up, Facebook responded to the question about how it plans to potentially use technology outlined in patents related to eye-tracking technology (“Dynamic eye tracking calibration” and “Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery”).
“Like many companies, we apply for a wide variety of patents to protect our intellectual property. Right now we’re not building technology to identify people with eye-tracking cameras. However, we’re always exploring how new technologies and methods can improve our services, and eye-based identification is one way that we could potentially reduce consumer friction and add security for people when they log into Oculus or access Oculus content,” said Facebook in the statement. “If we implement this technology in the future, we will absolutely do so with people’s privacy in mind, just as we do with movement information (which we anonymize in our systems).”
In the same document mentioned above, Facebook acknowledged that it collects data from actions taken on computers such as mouse clicks and movements in order to personalize content. And Facebook also said that it tracks mouse movements so that its algorithms to determine if the user is a real person or a bot. Facebook says that it obtains operation information from devices such as “whether a window is foregrounded or backgrounded, or mouse movements (which can help distinguish humans from bots).”
And Facebook also collects other details like the operating system, software versions, hardware, browser type, battery level, available storage space, file names, plugins, device signals, IP addresses, time zones, mobile phone numbers, connection speed, etc.
Facebook said that it has launched TTC Labs, a design innovation lab to improve user experiences around personal data. TTC stands for Trust, Transparency and Control. Based in Dublin, Ireland, TTC Labs is working with over 60 other organizations on the privacy initiatives.
TTC Labs will be an open platform for sharing and innovation and it will feature insights from academic and law experts. And TTC Labs will also feature “prototype designs from the design jams, template services and open-source toolkits for people-centric design for transparency, trust and control of data.”
Advertisers Required To Gain Consent For Email And Phone Targeting
Facebook is adding a new requirement for advertisers, which will require them to gain consent for email and phone targeting. This new rule applies to businesses that use the Custom Audiences feature for targeting users with ads based on email addresses and phone numbers.
On July 2nd, advertisers will have to start declaring whether the email addresses and phone numbers they collected are directly from customers, from customers and partners or directly from the partners
“We know that memories are deeply personal — and they’re not all positive. We try to listen to feedback and design these features so that they’re thoughtful and offer people the right controls that are easy to access,” said Facebook product manager Oren Hod. “We work hard to ensure that we treat the content as part of each individual’s personal experience, and are thankful for the input people have shared with us over the past three years.”
You can filter out certain people, dates or date ranges within the Preferences if you don’t think it would be a positive experience. And Facebook also attempts to filter out negative memories based on certain keywords and post reactions automatically. The Facebook Memories feature can be accessed by going to the Memories bookmark on the mobile app or by going to facebook.com/memories.
Sonar Tool Gets Open Sourced
Facebook has open sourced one of its internal debugging tools called Sonar. Facebook software engineer Emil Sjölander made the announcement in a blog post. Sonar is used by Facebook engineers for creating new features, eliminating bugs and optimize performance.
“With Sonar, engineers have a highly flexible, intuitive way to inspect and understand the structure and behavior of their iOS and Android applications,” wrote Sjölander. “We believe Sonar improves on current tools by providing a more visual and interactive experience that is extensible to fit engineers’ specific needs.”
Elliot Schrage Stepping Down
Facebook head of communications and policy Elliot Schrage is stepping down as he announced in a Facebook post. Schrage had joined Facebook back in 2008 after working for Google for a few years.
“After more than a decade at Facebook, I’ve decided it’s time to start a new chapter in my life. Leading policy and communications for hyper-growth technology companies is a joy — but it’s also intense and leaves little room for much else,” said Schrage in his Facebook post. “Mark, Sheryl and I have been discussing this for a while. I’ll lead the search to identify someone new to oversee our communications and policy teams. We expect to find someone with the same passion, integrity, determination and energy that our teams bring to Facebook every day. Mark and Sheryl have asked me to stay to manage the transition and then to stay on as an advisor to help on particular projects – and I’m happy to help.”