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

Facebook under magnifying glass

Facebook is a platform built on constant iterations — which means its easy to miss new site features and noteworthy updates. We’ve collected this week’s biggest Facebook stories so you don’t have to.

Facebook gets emotional

fb emoticonsEmoticons have come along way since we first started using character-number combos to virtually clue others into our feelings. Many messaging apps have started including higher quality, fun options for throwing them into your chats, and Facebook is now doing the same. The social network quietly rolled out a hefty catalog of emoticons that you can add into comments on your friend’s posts this week, although they can’t be published to status updates yet. As for mobile devices, when we tested out the feature on Facebook’s iOS app, the emoticons appeared on the Web app, while it failed to display on the iOS app — however, in Facebook’s Messenger app, there is a + icon that pulls up the new additions. 

You can check out the full list of Facebook-supported emoticons below or head over to fbsmileys.com.

facebook emoticons

Somebody “Wants” to sue Facebook

want button wantbuttondotcom

Facebook wasn’t the first to launch a “Want” button, and CVG-SAB, a company based in Michigan responsible for wantbutton.com, is suing Facebook for infringing on the newly announced tool. CVG-SAB’s “Want” button was launched in September 2010 primarily with e-commerce partners like Shopify, and since has grown to boast more than 160 million want-button views. The claim further states that the similarities between the design of Facebook’s button and wantbutton.com’s button are uncanny and already causing confusion among retailers. Wantbutton.com, in fact, offers a Facebook integration, where items that have been wanted appear on a Facebook user’s Timeline. Whether the complaint will hurt Facebook’s upcoming Collections feature remains to be seen — but our gut tells us the brand-boosting mechanism will launch with the Want button intact, lawsuit or no.

Facebook goes globe-trotting

facebook global brand page

International brands are about to get a boost from the latest Facebook brand page update, which finally rolled out of beta. Facebook was testing international brand pages that can target posts and even languages at the local level. If you live in South Korea, for example, by default you’ll see a Facebook brand page written in the Korean language, as well as geo-targeted Facebook posts that followers from other countries may not be able to see. The update enables companies to manage their brand pages under one roof without resorting to creating multiple accounts or monitoring analytics for multiple pages.

Goodbye, Facebook phone number loophole

identify account on facebook

You might recall from last week’s privacy-focused roundup an item about Suriya Prakash, who discovered that a reverse-lookup feature could, if abused, easily uncover Facebook account information based on the phone numbers associated with Facebook profiles. Facebook claimed to have patched up the problem by limiting the number of times that someone could search for phone numbers, although Prakash said that these measures were insufficient and easy to work around.

With the realization that anyone could use the reverse phone number lookup feature, find a user’s phone number, and bypass Facebook’s Login Approval system to reset a password, Facebook took precautionary measures this week. Now if you have the two-factor authentication feature set up and have forgotten your password, you’ll be required to input a phone number, email address, or user name. In order to regain access to your account, you will have to use the email address associated with it or create a new one — no more temporary passwords will be sent to your phone.

Reverse-lookups of the same phone number that’s used for password-reset authentications is now blocked off from appearing in Facebook’s search engine. However, if you’ve published your phone number publicly on your Timeline where other users can see it, you won’t be protected. You should be sure the privacy settings here, under “How You Connect,” are no longer set to “Everyone.” 

Facebook fights viruses with free software

facebook antivirus partners

Facebook’s Anti-Virus Marketplace was launched earlier this year and included free trial subscriptions from partners McAfee, Microsoft, Sophos, and Symantec. This week the social network is added seven additional partners to the Anti-Virus Marketplace including AVG, Avira, Kaspersky, Panda, Total Defense, and Webroot.

The partnership isn’t however just about offering users free services to uncover and get rid of malware and viruses. Facebook is using its anti-virus partner’s data to bolster Facebook’s URL blacklist system, which according to Facebook, “scans trillions of clicks per per day, and before each click, the system consults the databases of all our AV Marketplace partners to make sure the website you are about to visit is safe.” With the inordinate volume of content shared on Facebook, you never know when a malicious site is disguised as a simple URL.

Computing

In the age of Alexa and Siri, Cortana’s halo has grown dim

In a sea of voice assistants, Cortana has become almost irrelevant. The nearly five-year-old voice assistant is seeing little love from consumers, and here’s why it is dead.
Health & Fitness

Nike’s Android app is bricking its $350 Adapt BB self-lacing shoes

A firmware update for Nike's new self-lacing Adapt BB shoe appears to be bricking the $350 footwear for some owners. Android users have said the Nike app no longer pairs with the shoe, rendering the tightening mechanism useless.
Mobile

Google’s radical Gmail redesign is finally rolling out on Android

Google is slowly but surely giving its apps a refresh, modernizing them and ensuring that they're easy to use. The latest app to get a redesign is the Gmail app for Android, which has been redesigned with a few tweaks.
Movies & TV

Here’s how to watch the 2019 Oscars livestream online

The 91st Academy Awards will air live on ABC, but there are also a number of ways to watch Hollywood's biggest night online using your mobile device, desktop, or set-top streamer. Here's how to catch the Oscars livestream.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.
Photography

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…
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.
Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Social Media

LinkedIn finally gets around to launching its own live video tool

Live video is coming to LinkedIn for businesses and individuals on the site. The livestreaming feature is launching in beta in the U.S. before rolling out to the entire community.