Facebook news you might have missed this week

Facebook users warned of scam

Facebook has had an interesting week so far. It’s been under public scrutiny for having been named in the NSA’s PRISM program, and on the more positive side, the social network finally rolled out hashtags. But there are a few other developments that have slipped under the radar, including evidence of a Facebook RSS reader, and the removal of Sponsored results. Check out all the little things that slipped by beneath the week’s big stories.

Facebook opens up first data center outside of the U.S.

facebook data center in sweden

Facebook opened up its first data center outside of the United States, located close to the Arctic Circle in a small town in Sweden called Luleå. With inordinate amounts of data that users are publishing on Facebook, the social network is getting clever with how it manages its server farm. And the data center is green to boot.

Luleå is cold, and the temperature normally sits at around 36°F, an ideal environment for cooling the heat emitted from the rows and rows of servers. The excess heat, Facebook says, will be used to heat up the adjoining offices. But the location has another perk: Facebook is able to reduce the number of background generators needed by 70 percent thanks to the the Luleå river and its dams nearby. 

The tech inside of the data center is all based on Open Compute Project designs, an initiative started by Facebook to invite other companies to share server and data center designs so these enterprises can instead focus their efforts on what really matters – the product. And the servers run extremely efficiently.

“All this adds-up to a pretty impressive power usage efficiency (PUE) number. In early tests, Facebook’s Luleå data centre is averaging a PUE in the region of 1.07.” For a frame of reference, 1.00 is the ideal PUE number that indicates 100 percent efficiency. Most run-of-the-mill data centers run on 2.5 PUE.

George Takei isn’t the brain behind his brilliant Facebook Page

takei facebook

And the world comes crumbling down. George Takei hasn’t been spending his entire day in front of a computer, drumming up content to post on his Facebook Page. Yep, Mr. Takei has been using “ghost writers,” interns, his husband, and himself from time to time to help populate his Facebook Page. 

As much as we’d like to believe that celebrities have all the time on their hands to be tweeting and Facebooking constantly, that’s just not the case. Word got out no thanks to journalist Rick Polito’s slip of his tongue when he sent over an email introducing himself to Jim Romenesko’s media watch blog. According to that email, Polito says he’s been paid up to $10 per Facebook post, and many of his posts’ material come from fans of Takei.

Is Facebook building its own RSS reader?

rssfeeds facebook graph search api

TechCrunch has been tipped off by developer Tom Waddington, who spotted peculiar code, and Facebook isn’t talking. Inside of Facebook’s Graph API Code, there’s a tag referring to “rssfeeds.” Waddington, checking out this new entry in the code, attempted to gain access to the RSS feed via the API since he recognized that users had RSS feeds, with each feed having multiple entries, and a list of subscribers, as he describes it. To add more fuel to the speculation, the hidden RSS feed list is completely different from the friends list and interest list.

So if he’s right, well Facebook users might have a Google Reader alternative on their hands.

Parse announces 100,000 apps built on its platform

parse 100000 milestone

If you weren’t aware, Facebook spent purportedly around $85 million acquiring a B2B startup called Parse. The startup probably isn’t much of a concern to you, aside from its affiliation with Facebook, but all you need to know is that 100,000 apps have been built using Parse’s back-end tools, which helps developers build an infrastructure to get their mobile platforms running in no time. In April, Parse had 80,000 apps developed using its tools. This means more revenue – from the B2B side of Facebook’s development strategy – and quite possibly also means that Facebook is closer to a day when the social network can allow Parse integrated developers integrate and purchase Facebook ads from Facebook’s Ad Exchange.

Facebook is getting rid of Sponsored Results

The ads that may show up when you type anything on Facebook’s search bar, otherwise known as Sponsored Results, will be axed as a part of the social network’s initiative to pare its 27 advertising products. Say goodbye to this starting sometime in July. According to Inside Facebook, developers feel that Sponsored Results just aren’t as effective as the mobile app ad installs that were launched to Facebook’s mobile News Feed in October 2012.

Facebook’s spokesperson provided Inside Facebook the following statement:

“In keeping with the goal of streamlining our ad products, starting in July advertisers will no longer be able to buy sponsored results. We’ve seen that most marketers were buying sponsored results to advertise their apps and games, and we already offer mobile app install ads and Page post link ads on desktop to achieve these same goals.”

It’s back to the drawing board for Facebook to figure out how to monetize from its search results, in addition to its search result ad units. We have one idea how they might do it though. 

Social Media

Instagram feature that lets you reshare others’ posts may be on its way

Despite constant calls from many of its billion-plus users, Instagram has always refused to offer an option that lets Instagrammers reshare others' posts that appear on their feed. New reports suggest this could be about to change.
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How to send money on Facebook

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Facebook appears set on crafting custom silicon for augmented reality devices

Facebook's latest job postings are seeking engineers and developers for custom augmented reality chipsets, and seem to support speculation that the company is looking to produce AR glasses.
Social Media

Facebook is paying cash rewards if you find vulnerabilities in third-party apps

As part of efforts to put the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related issues behind it, Facebook said this week it's expanding its bug bounty program to include third-party apps and websites that could potentially misuse its data.
Social Media

Facebook expands fact-checking net to try to catch doctored photos and videos

Facebook is now fact-checking images and video along with articles, using third-party organizations. New A.I. helps flag potential fakes for human review, but user flags and comments still help recognize what content might not be accurate.
Social Media

New to Snapchat? Follow our guide and go from newbie to pro

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Restaurants may soon have chefs who know all about you before you walk in the door

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How to run a free background check

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Twitter makes it easier to find and watch live broadcasts

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Instagram’s shopping stickers for businesses see wide rollout

As the Stories format continues to grow, Instagram is allowing users to shop the items inside a Stories photo or video. Instagram recently expanded stickers that let people shop inside a Story by tapping on the sticker.
Social Media

A lot less clutter! Twitter relaunches purely chronological timeline

If you still miss the reverse-chronological timeline that Twitter ditched two years ago and you're fed up with all of the extra algorithmic tweets appearing in your feed, there's now a way to return it to how it used to be.
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How to turn off Snapchat’s location-based Snap Map

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Smart Home

Is Amazon tweaking its search algorithms with a new A.I.-driven shopping site?

Amazon is testing a new shopping site, Amazon Scout, which combines a visual aesthetic with customers' ability to like and dislike products, collecting more data on users' habits and preferences.

To post or not to post? Here's when you should put up a picture on the 'Gram

Let's be honest, the majority of us care about the popularity of our Instagram posts. There is a sweet spot, however, if you're looking to boost the number of likes and comments you receive. Here's what you need to know.