All the Facebook news you may have missed this week

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Between the endless feature releases and that ever-churning rumor mill, there’s a constant flood of Facebook news to keep up on. Here’s anything and everything that may have slipped past you over the last week. 

Facebook tests out cover photos in “Events” pages

facebook tests new events layout

Facebook is paying extra attention to its “Events” pages. AllFacebook reports that the social network is testing out a different layout for events.

The layout is similar to Groups and your Facebook Timeline. Right now the only photo that shows up on an events page is on the left-hand side and just 180 x 185 pixels, but the social network is looking to add a cover photo that stretches across the top of the page.

Facebook is helpful for keeping in touch with high school friends

After years of Facebook studies and new feature announcements, we’ve probably forgotten that Facebook is a social network that was designed to help keep in touch with friends. We couldn’t blame you. After all, Facebook is now chock full of brand messages, games, events, and other bells and whistles. But turns out, Facebook is actually pretty useful as a way to help keep in touch with your high school friends. Go figure. 

South African researcher, Kevin Johnson, measured 572 college student’s social capital of their Facebook friends – how comfortable these students would be with reaching out to their high school friends about job opportunities or events. The answers is, very. At the same time the study finds that friends feel connected through Facebook, even if the reality is that they’re technically drifting apart.

Facebook bug causes misreported Page Insights

Facebook users and brands already have their gripes about their limited reach thanks to the network’s News Feed algorithm. Now, Facebook admits that it stripped too much data from News Feed posts to the point that it was misrepresenting the statistics from Page Insights. Facebook Page administrators would have been seeing a reach that was lower than the number of people posts were actually reaching, but this doesn’t mean that the posts weren’t reaching the people that it was supposed to reach. The only part that was affected was the reporting.

Facebook has patched up the bug and the fix, according to TechCrunch, and the accurate data will be presented beginning Monday. Some brands just might see a boost in their reach, which is good news for the marketers managing these pages.

Facebook Director of Product parts from Facebook

blake ross leaving facebook

Facebook’s Director of Product Blake Ross has had a lengthy career over at Facebook, a company he joined after co-founding Mozilla. He joined Facebook when his company, Parakey, was acquired by the social network in Facebook’s first acquisition. He announced his decision to move onto bigger and better things.

Facebook finally rolls out free calling in U.S., Canada

Facebook Messenger is an ambitious endeavor for the social network, which wants desperately to compete with the recent barrage of messaging apps. It’s clear now what types of features are the foundations of any messaging app, which includes free calling and voice messaging. While voice messaging has been rolled out by Facebook already, it wasn’t until Messenger’s 5.5 version, released just a couple of days ago, that the social network implemented its free calling feature reports AllFacebook. Along with free calling, Facebook has silently updated its like, comment, and share buttons.

Facebook wants to target ads based on your real-life purchases

If you’ve purchased anything in a store or online, Facebook wants to know what brand it was and what ads it can serve to its users. We reported on the Datalogix and Facebook partnership earlier, but AdAge says that Facebook is partnering with additional data firms including Epsilon and Axciom so that any loyalty cards or email addresses that you’ve signed up to, with a retailer like Walgreens for instance, will evidence to the types of ads Facebook will serve you based on your buying habits.

Computing

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.
Smart Home

Amazon Alexa enhancements add geolocation, kids’ Routines, and more

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa continues to evolve and its newest features should appeal to busy people and parents on the go, including location-based routines and reminders as well as Routines aimed toward kids.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
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.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.
Social Media

GIF almost anywhere with Giphy’s new keyboard and sticker maker

We all love GIFs, but not every app supports them. Fortunately, the new Giphy' keyboard brings GIFs to any iOS app that supports multimedia. The update also comes with a new tool for creating animated stickers.