Facebook is a platform built on constant iterations — which means its easy to miss new site features and noteworthy updates. We’ve collected this week’s biggest Facebook stories so you don’t have to.
Facebook gets emotional
Emoticons have come along way since we first started using character-number combos to virtually clue others into our feelings. Many messaging apps have started including higher quality, fun options for throwing them into your chats, and Facebook is now doing the same. The social network quietly rolled out a hefty catalog of emoticons that you can add into comments on your friend’s posts this week, although they can’t be published to status updates yet. As for mobile devices, when we tested out the feature on Facebook’s iOS app, the emoticons appeared on the Web app, while it failed to display on the iOS app — however, in Facebook’s Messenger app, there is a + icon that pulls up the new additions.
You can check out the full list of Facebook-supported emoticons below or head over to fbsmileys.com.
Somebody “Wants” to sue Facebook
Facebook wasn’t the first to launch a “Want” button, and CVG-SAB, a company based in Michigan responsible for wantbutton.com, is suing Facebook for infringing on the newly announced tool. CVG-SAB’s “Want” button was launched in September 2010 primarily with e-commerce partners like Shopify, and since has grown to boast more than 160 million want-button views. The claim further states that the similarities between the design of Facebook’s button and wantbutton.com’s button are uncanny and already causing confusion among retailers. Wantbutton.com, in fact, offers a Facebook integration, where items that have been wanted appear on a Facebook user’s Timeline. Whether the complaint will hurt Facebook’s upcoming Collections feature remains to be seen — but our gut tells us the brand-boosting mechanism will launch with the Want button intact, lawsuit or no.
Facebook goes globe-trotting
International brands are about to get a boost from the latest Facebook brand page update, which finally rolled out of beta. Facebook was testing international brand pages that can target posts and even languages at the local level. If you live in South Korea, for example, by default you’ll see a Facebook brand page written in the Korean language, as well as geo-targeted Facebook posts that followers from other countries may not be able to see. The update enables companies to manage their brand pages under one roof without resorting to creating multiple accounts or monitoring analytics for multiple pages.
Goodbye, Facebook phone number loophole
You might recall from last week’s privacy-focused roundup an item about Suriya Prakash, who discovered that a reverse-lookup feature could, if abused, easily uncover Facebook account information based on the phone numbers associated with Facebook profiles. Facebook claimed to have patched up the problem by limiting the number of times that someone could search for phone numbers, although Prakash said that these measures were insufficient and easy to work around.
With the realization that anyone could use the reverse phone number lookup feature, find a user’s phone number, and bypass Facebook’s Login Approval system to reset a password, Facebook took precautionary measures this week. Now if you have the two-factor authentication feature set up and have forgotten your password, you’ll be required to input a phone number, email address, or user name. In order to regain access to your account, you will have to use the email address associated with it or create a new one — no more temporary passwords will be sent to your phone.
Reverse-lookups of the same phone number that’s used for password-reset authentications is now blocked off from appearing in Facebook’s search engine. However, if you’ve published your phone number publicly on your Timeline where other users can see it, you won’t be protected. You should be sure the privacy settings here, under “How You Connect,” are no longer set to “Everyone.”
Facebook fights viruses with free software
Facebook’s Anti-Virus Marketplace was launched earlier this year and included free trial subscriptions from partners McAfee, Microsoft, Sophos, and Symantec. This week the social network is added seven additional partners to the Anti-Virus Marketplace including AVG, Avira, Kaspersky, Panda, Total Defense, and Webroot.
The partnership isn’t however just about offering users free services to uncover and get rid of malware and viruses. Facebook is using its anti-virus partner’s data to bolster Facebook’s URL blacklist system, which according to Facebook, “scans trillions of clicks per per day, and before each click, the system consults the databases of all our AV Marketplace partners to make sure the website you are about to visit is safe.” With the inordinate volume of content shared on Facebook, you never know when a malicious site is disguised as a simple URL.