Facebook aims to make the Internet a healthier place with free anti-virus downloads

Facebook AV marketplace offers free anti virus downloads

If our daily spam email is anything to go by, it’s a dangerous Internet out there, intent on giving your computer viruses and stealing all your information just because you found yourself convinced that someone called “Jen” really wanted to reconnect, even though you couldn’t remember ever knowing a Jen at any point in your life. Well, help is at hand, and coming from somewhere that you might now have expected: Facebook has created its own “Antivirus Marketplace,” offering six months free usage of name brand software to keep your computer safe from infection.

The site launched the service this morning with an announcement declaring that “nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people who use Facebook, and the security of their data.” As if to underscore that, Facebook is partnering with Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos, and Symantec, to offer free downloads of Norton AntiVirus, Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac, Microsoft Security Essentials, Trend Micro Internet Security or a six-month free subscription to McAfee’s PC Security to Facebook users. At the end of the six month period, users will be asked to buy the software or pay for a continuation of the subscription. According to the announcement, the partnerships and downloads mean that “whenever you click a link on our site, you benefit not just from Facebook’s existing protections, but the ongoing vigilance of the world’s leading corporations involved in computer security.” Beyond the downloads and subscriptions, the companies will also contribute material to the Facebook Security Blog, described as “important educational materials to help those who use our site to keep themselves, and their data, safe.”

With spam reportedly accounting  for just four percent of all content posted on Facebook, these partnerships serve more of a PR purpose than anything else: Facebook gets to make a show of being responsible and helpful, while their security partners do the same, while also raising their visibility and promoting their products to a new audience. Everyone wins, apparently — as long as those taking advantage of the six-month free trials remember to cancel them before the paid periods start.

Computing

An inside look at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx, a revolutionary laptop processor

Six years after Microsoft’s failed foray into ARM computing with Windows RT, its second effort with Always-Connected PC is now showing early signs of success. Microsoft partner Qualcomm told us how the Snapdragon 8cx might revolutionize…
Computing

The Empire strikes your wallet with a $250 Star Wars keyboard

Do you speak Aurebesh? If you're fluent in the official language of the Galactic Empire, Lucasfilm and NovelKeys have partnered to release a set of replacement keycaps for your keyboard that are bound to please any Star Wars fan.
Features

Where Toronto sees smart sidewalks, residents see ‘1984.’ So what now?

Google-parent Alphabet is partnering with Toronto to develop a new, smart neighborhood, but some are concerned about privacy and the company’s motives. Could residents derail the project?
Social Media

Instagram’s new Close Friends List lets you decide who should see your Story

Have a story to share, but don't want to send it to everyone? Instagram now offers a close friends list that will allow users to share stories with only the users included on that list.
Social Media

Survey of teens says social media lets them connect with friends and get support

A survey of teenagers shows the ways that social media sites can be beneficial to them, like feeling more connected to their friends, the ability to interact with different people, and as a venue to get support when they are struggling.
Social Media

Hotel chain offers an Instagram ‘sitter’ who will post photos for you

If the pressure to post stunning Instagram photos is ruining your vacations, then how about hiring a local Instagram influencer to do the job for you while you go off and enjoy yourself? Well, such a service now exists.
Social Media

Ride the rails and share your stories with Amtrak’s new social media residency

Amtrak is looking for travel fans with a knack for telling stories on social media. The new Amtrak social media residency program wants amateur travelers to share photos, video, and written content from aboard long-distance trips.
Social Media

Hangouts isn’t being hung out to dry in 2020, Google says

According to a report, Google may shut down Google Hangouts by 2020. While Hangouts was once Google's top-tier messaging app, the app has since been neglected in favor of Android Messages.
Social Media

Tumblr bans nudity to create ‘a safe place for creative expression’

Tumblr will soon no longer allow images with adult content. The company says the change is one that's designed to help more creators feel comfortable sharing on the platform, but admits the change won't happen overnight.
Social Media

Members can share the same Story with Facebook’s new Group Stories

Facebook Group members can now view and share Group Stories. Unlike the Stories for an individual user, the new tool allows members to contribute to the same Group Story, if the feature isn't turned off by an admin.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.
Mobile

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.