All this week’s Facebook news that’s fit to print

facebook under a magnifying glass

Can’t keep up with the nonstop Facebook news and feature updates? Well we did for you. Here’s this week’s roundup of news you may have missed, including a slew of new Facebook features that may or may not see the light of day in the near future.

Events get invited to the Timeline redesign

facebook timeline update events issue

With so much seamless sharing going on in Facebook, there are bound to be privacy holes that share too much. Europe v. Facebook, a non-profit organization that keeps tabs on Facebook and any of its privacy issues discovered that the Facebook Timeline enabled friends of friends to see a full list of events that users had been invited to. The issue is that updates to the Timeline, which were rolled out starting March 13 to limited users as a test, bypassed the friend-to-friend privacy setting. The consequences were that friends-of-friends were getting a revealing look into the user’s extracurricular activities. Facebook has recognized the problem after Europe v. Facebook reached out to the social network. The issue has since been fixed.

Facebook will roll out reply buttons

huffington post facebook reply feature

Comments are threaded in a way that in long discussions like on brand pages, you can’t tell who’s addressing whom without requiring them to tagging the person you’re trying to reply to. Finally, this is about to change, says TechCrunch. Profiles or brand pages with more than 10,000 followers will get the reply feature, which indents replies in the threaded style that forums have been using since the advent of the Internet. At the same time, Facebook is testing and may also release an algorithm that bumps the best comment threads to the top of the post.

Facebook loosens up cover photo restrictions

TPolamalu promotional cover photo for library cards

Facebook’s policy on cover photos (which very few users has had to worry about anyway) is getting far more lax that it used to be as of March 6, reports Inside Facebook. This includes Facebook removing the ban on calls to action, a user’s contact information, and other self-promotional content you’d probably often find on a banner ad. The only rule that’s going to be enforced is that cover photos with more than 20 percent of it covered in text remain against Facebook’s policy. If Facebook catches you one of its reps will take it down. But with more than 1.1 billion users, odds are you could get away with it for awhile.

Facebook testing mobile notifications to remind you it exists

facebook annoying push notification

Facebook has confirmed with Mashable that it’s testing among limited users a new mobile push notification that asks users to update their status if they haven’t done so in a while. As if we didn’t already have a significant problem with push notifications being wildly abused. 

Facebook is an ego-booster, in a good way

A study by Cornell suggests that taking a look at your Facebook profile after a rough day might do you some good. Facebook works as a “self-affirming” ego-booster. Every time you check out your profile and browse through the friends that have liked and commented on your profile, you’ll be able to weather criticisms knowing that you’re still “loved by a network of friends and family” on Facebook. “”The extraordinary amount of time people spend on Facebook may be a reflection of its ability to satisfy ego needs that are fundamental to the human condition,” lead researcher Jeff Hancock told the Daily News.

Browsing social networks, the study found, doesn’t only apply to Facebook. Hancock suggests that it even applies to online dating. “Perhaps online daters who are anxious about being single or recently divorced may find comfort in the process of composing or reviewing their online profiles, as it allows them to reflect on their core values and identity.”

If it doesn’t go viral in three hours, it never will

Optimal facebook viral engagement graph

The window or timeframe in which a Facebook post would go viral is three hours after posting, says Facebook analytics company Optimal. Specifically 75 percent of the Facebook engagement (likes, comments, shares) happens in that three hour timeframe, while 50 percent of the engagement takes place within an hour. 

Mobile

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Apple

Rumors say Apple's AirPower wireless charger may finally be in production

At its September event in 2018, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Photography

What to look for and what to avoid when buying a camera

Looking to buy a new camera? Our comprehensive camera guide for 2016 has answers to any camera or photography questions you might ask, whether in regards to pricing, image quality, or weatherproofing.
News

Japanese billionaire splashes the cash to break retweet record

Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has proved again he has a knack for self-publicity after launching a cash-prize contest to break the retweet record. Maezawa is the same man who is hoping to go to the moon with SpaceX.
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.
Photography

Photoshop fail gives Aussie leader two left feet in official portrait

The Aussie prime minister doesn't have two left feet, despite an official photograph of the leader and his family suggesting otherwise. It was, of course, a Photoshop fail, and the embarrassing snafu was soon trending on Twitter.
Social Media

Instagram now lets you post to multiple accounts in one tap

Instagram for iPhone now lets you post to multiple accounts at the same time. It's not the regram feature that many users have been asking for, but it could prove useful for some users who manage more than one profile.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.