Google+ suggests Facebook blocked its invite links

google-plus-vs-facebookTwo days ago, Google+ chief Vic Gundotra’s simple post incited a war. “We are now getting reports of Google+ invite links not showing up on Facebook news feeds anymore (they appear to have stopped on Friday). I wonder how widespread this problem is?”

Gundotra posted this after a user’s YouTube video revealed how he was unable to share a Google+ invite on Facebook. He was able to update his status, but the invite was gone when viewing it from another account. See the video below to check out the malfunction.

Competition between Google+ and Facebook seems to be getting heated, and while tensions remain below the surface, it appears they’re threatening to boil over. Google+’s introduction of games and its decision to charge app makers a fraction of what Facebook does for transaction fees was something of a tipping point, and now there are rumors that Facebook is losing sleep over its rival’s potential.

Even still, we were skeptical that Facebook would block invite links. The site might be concerned about how a company like Google can compete, and it might even be none-too-pleased with some of its tactics, but censoring information is just anti-Facebook. But we’re not ready to write the whole thing off as a technical problem. Multiple users posted on Gundotra, as well as Google exec Bradley Horowitz’s profile, that they were experiencing the same issue.

our testIf Facebook was silencing its users’ Google+ interests, it stopped. Within hours, users were reported they were able to send invite links on the site. We tested this as well, and our Facebook friends could see the post with the shortened and full URL.

A Facebook spokesperson told ZDNet it’s possible Facebook’s spam filter was blocking the link. If a link is posted and appears multiple times on a user’s News Feed, Facebook blocks it. “Newsfeed is an automated system that is designed to deliver the most relevant content to you and your friends. The technology evaluates hundreds of factors, including your relationship to the poster, the type of content, the click-through rate, and people hiding similar posts.” He says. “…As a result of all these factors, a given link may be shown or filtered to people differently at different times.” And the bevy of Google+ users outraged by the issue who tried it themselves likely led to an influx of invite postings, which could have resulted in Facebook blocking what it thought was spam.

Which, of course, begs the question to whether the whole thing was a ruse to get users mad at Facebook. Google has done a good job in general of getting consumers a little distrustful of Facebook, largely concerning the inability to export information from the social network.

So there are two possible explanations here: Either Facebook was blocking Google+ invite links and stopped once people caught on, or a technical error or over-posting was to blame. We want to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt, figuring that professionalism and ethics must come into play. At the same time, it’s difficult to ignore the increasingly competitive relationship between these two companies.

The real question is will this kind of behavior make users choose sides. For the time being, Facebook is so ingrained in many users’ online lives that abandoning the site altogether is more work than dealing with possible unfair tactics. 

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. 
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Passenger spacecraft, Facebook data breach, and more

This episode of Digital Trends Live saw the fourth launch of passenger spacecraft SpaceShipTwo, and a Facebook data breach. We were also joined by the founder of Forter, Michael Reitblat, to discuss how to keep your data safe.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
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

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.
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

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

‘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.