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.

Mobile

Think iPhones can’t get viruses? Our expert explains why it could happen

If your iPhone has been acting strangely, then you may be concerned about the possibility it is infected with a virus or some malware. We take a look at just how likely that is and explain why iOS is considered relatively safe.
Gaming

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Photography

Selfie snapper attacked by jaguar during foolhardy photo attempt

Selfies with animals don't always work out too well, as a woman at a zoo in Arizona found out recently. Passing a safety barrier to get closer to a jaguar, the animal responded angrily by digging its claws into her flesh.
Social Media

Twitter wants you to help shape the future design of its app

Twitter is launching an app for testing new design features and it wants you to get involved. Those accepted into the program will have the chance to try out different conversation designs aimed at improving the user experience.
Emerging Tech

Professional drone racing is flying onto Twitter this summer

Professional drone racing is coming to Twitter for the first time this summer. Organizers hope the streaming deal with the social media platform will help the growing sport to further broaden its audience.
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

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.