Facebook just announced that it is indeed launching ability to follow conversations via hashtags, as was reported in March . In the blog post announcing the new feature , Facebook acknowledges that this isn’t exactly a new idea, noting that it will be “similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest” — when you click on a hashtag, you’ll get a feed of comments using the hashtag. Facebook says its capabilities will include searching for hashtags, clicking on hashtags that come from other services, and writing posts directly from the hashtag feed. Here’s how Facebook explains the reasoning behind the addition:
By Greg Lindley Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event—people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world. During primetime television alone, there are between 88 and 100 million Americans engaged on Facebook - roughly a Super Bowl-sized audience every single night. The recent "Red Wedding" episode of Game of Thrones, received over 1.5 million mentions on Facebook, representing a significant portion of the 5.2 million people who watched the show. And this year's Oscars buzz reached an all-time high on Facebook with over 66.5 million interactions, including likes, comments, and posts.
Facebook is expanding to the U.S . the controversial Promoted Posts feature that lets users pay to get their posts more visibility in the news feed. It will cost $7 per post and Facebook hopes it will be used for garage sales, parties, wedding photos and other important announcements. Promoted Posts has already been rolled out to 20 other countries and is available to people with fewer than 5,000 total friends and subscribers. Promoted Posts could help surface important announcements and earn Facebook money. However, I worry that Promoted Posts could change the atmosphere of Facebook from one where the most beloved content gets seen most to one where the rich can dominate the news feed. Facebook first began testing the product, then called Highlight, in May in New Zealand.
Facebook & Google
In recent months, some Facebook page owners have noticed that their accounts are driving much less traffic to their websites than they used to. In some cases, Facebook clickthroughs are down by as much as half, despite a huge growth in likes. Even worse, some brands noticed that this drop in traffic coincided with a new Facebook feature called "promoted posts" through which brands can pay cold hard cash to push their content out to more news feeds than they would normally reach—and the brands are not happy about it. This juxtaposition of events makes it look like Facebook is artificially driving down traffic, then holding the old level of traffic hostage in order to generate some new revenue. But Facebook insists it's doing nothing of the sort; instead, the company says that it's just trying to keep its users' Facebook feeds from getting too crufty with promotional posts they don't want to see.
Washington state residents will soon be able to register to vote through Facebook, thanks to a new app announced Tuesday. The app, developed by Microsoft , allows users to file voter registration forms directly from the secretary of state's Facebook page . Users will have to authorize the app to access their basic personal information (name and date of birth), which will be used to pre-fill each registration form.
Facebook has finally redesigned Events so you don’t miss another party, birthday, or cool get-together your friends are going to. Today the site launches the Events Calendar so you can see what coming up weeks in advance, and a List view that highlights each day’s birthdays, RSVPs, and suggested events (though these links won’t work until you get the rollout. The redesign started as a Hackathon project a year ago and will replace the old Events for all users over the next few hours.
Facebook and organ donors
By Alicia M. Cohn - 05/01/12 05:56 PM ET Lawmakers on Tuesday joined Facebook to urge supporters to publicize their organ-donor status with a new tool on the popular social-media service. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced Tuesday morning in an interview with "Good Morning America" that Facebook users can now add their organ donor status as a “life event” on their profile timelines.
No, Facebook news reader apps aren’t declining because users suddenly got fed up with auto-sharing. The user loss is likely due to the transition to “trending articles” , a new way of surfacing recently read articles in the news feed that Facebook is testing. Update: The Washington Post confirms my hypothesis : “Social reader “collapse” is b/c of evolving FB modules. Before: “double-double,” 4-5 stories down in a list, w/ friend icon – drove growth.” Previously, Facebook had been driving huge numbers of installs and re-engagements to news reader apps with a “recently read articles” box that would often appear at the top of the news feed.
Move over, action verbs , and make way for action links , which Facebook introduced today as a way for users to interact directly with timeline applications. Action links are customizable links that permit app developers to allow users to perform additional actions when the apps’ open graph stories appear in the news feed, ticker, or timeline. Facebook provided more details in a post on its developer blog : For example, when someone checks in on foursquare and shares it on their timeline, friends can already like or comment on the resulting post through the links that appear as part of the story. Now with action links, foursquare added another link, “Save This Place,” which enables people to save a place to their foursquare to-do list directly from Facebook. Fab.com allows people to add a product to their own Fab.com favorites with the “Fave This Product” action link.
First we had Twitter Lists. Then Facebook Friends lists. Then smart lists. And now, Facebook is introducing Interest lists as a way to push relevant content up in the increasingly cluttered news feed. Facebook users will be able to subscribe to broadly defined Interest lists, such as sports, or more specific ones, like NFL football.
Others' curation about FB
Just how important are Facebook profile photos? Very, it seems. Social photo app startup Pixable has pulled together this infographic showing (among other things) that every year we’re changing our profile photos more often.
It’s back to school time for the world’s largest social network. Partially returning to its roots as a locked-down site just for college kids, Facebook has launched Groups for Schools, or university-centric Facebook communities restricted to active faculty and students with .edu email accounts. “You can join a group for your major to discuss classes, for your sorority to plan upcoming events, or for your dorm to share photos,” Facebook engineer Michael Novati said of the new product. Groups for Schools , unique to each college, house all student and staff-created groups in a directory-like fashion, and offer up functionality similar to that of Facebook’s existing Groups product — except with one important addition. Group members can upload and share files, up to 25 MB in size, to exchange notes, assignments, and so forth with their college cohorts.
FB & Skype
As the "single most powerful tool for population control," the CIA's "Facebook program" has dramatically reduced the agency's costs — at least according to the latest "report" from the satirical mag The Onion . Perhaps inspired by a recent interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange , who called Facebook “the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented,” The Onion 's video fires a number of arrows in Facebook's direction — with hilarious results. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
When it comes to sex and nudity, Facebook is strictly PG-13, according to the guidelines. Obvious sexual activity, even clothed, is deleted, as are "naked ‘private parts' including female nipple bulges and naked butt cracks." But "male nipples are OK."
While Facebook was rolling out some changes to its privacy policies today , the company also quietly announced it was killing off the Foursquare-like Places function inside of its mobile app. The Facebook Places feature was unveiled a year ago and let users “check-in” to various locations. Many saw this as a serious threat to other social location services like Foursquare and Gowalla because Facebook has an incredible number of users. But by October you could already see that the feature wasn’t catching on, with only 6% of Facebook users trying the service . As an alternative to the Places feature, Facebook will optionally add a location to status updates or pictures. But adding a location to a status is clearly not the same as checking in and getting the benefits of knowing where your friends are.