“Social Media Roundup” is a weekly roundup of news pertaining to all of your favorite websites and applications used for social networking. Published on Sundays, “Social Media Roundup” will help you stay up-to-date on all the important social media news you need to know.
Facebook And Messenger Stories Now Hitting 300 Million DAUs
According to VentureBeat, Facebook and Messenger Stories are now hitting 300 million daily active users (DAUs) at a press event. During that same event, Facebook said that advertisers will be able to start running ads in Facebook Stories globally. And then ads will be supported in Messenger Stories in the coming weeks.
Instagram currently has the highest number of Stories users at 400 million, but that feature has been around for longer. In May, the Facebook Stories feature alone was hitting around 150 million DAUs.
90 Million Accounts At Risk From Hackers
This past week, Facebook reported a security issue where 50 million user accounts were affected due to a bug based on the “View As” feature. The “View As” feature allows users to see what their profiles look like to someone else who is looking at it. And 40 million users were also at risk from the vulnerability before Facebook patched it up.
“Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed,” said Facebook in a blog post. “We also don’t know who’s behind these attacks or where they’re based. We’re working hard to better understand these details — and we will update this post when we have more information, or if the facts change. In addition, if we find more affected accounts, we will immediately reset their access tokens.”
Judge Rules Messenger Cannot Be Tapped
According to a Reuters report, a US District Court judge in California has ruled that Facebook’s Messenger app cannot be tapped for voice calls. The case was brought forth by a joint federal and state task force, which was planning to investigate the MS-13 gang.
The Department of Justice reportedly originally planned to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to allow the government to wiretap voice calls made through Messenger. But Facebook refused to adjust its encryption software to allow the government to have a backdoor into the conversations.
This case is under seal so there aren’t any public documents available about why the judge decided to rule in favor of Facebook.
Co-Founders Stepping Down
In a statement, Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom announced that he and fellow co-founder Mike Krieger are stepping down from the company in the next few weeks. The two co-founders reportedly had tensions about the future direction of the company.
According to Bloomberg, Systrom and Krieger were frustrated with the day-to-day involvement of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg especially as its parent company has been becoming much more reliant on the Instagram app for overall growth. This was a similar issue that Facebook faced with WhatsApp (more details on that below).
“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team. We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter,” wrote Systrom. “We’re planning on leaving Instagram to explore our curiosity and creativity again. Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”
Slack, the popular enterprise messaging app, announced that it has acquired email assistant company Astro. As a result, the Astro apps for Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Alexa and Slack will be shut down on October 10th.
Astro’s intelligent apps were used for Microsoft and Google email and calendar users to help users focus on the most important messages. And then support for Slack was added in the middle of last year.
Snapchat’s Visual Search Partnership With Amazon
Snapchat is currently testing out a new visual search feature as part of a partnership with Amazon. This feature works by pointing the Snapchat Camera at physical products or barcodes, which will then redirect you to product listings on Amazon. This feature is being tested with a small percentage of users in the US as of right now.
My Move Test
Dating app Tinder is currently testing a feature that rival Bumble is known for, which is that women will have more control over the conversations. According to Reuters, the “My Move” feature is being tested in the India version of the Tinder app. Women in India can enable “My Move” in their settings so that only they can start a conversation after a match.
If this feature is used successfully in India, then it will be expanded to other places. The reason why India is selected is that the in-app messaging service is used in India more than anyone else.
Parmy Olson Interviews WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton
Forbes technology writer Parmy Olson recently conducted a candid interview with WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton about why he wrote the #DeleteFacebook tweet on Twitter. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $22 billion in cash and stock several years ago, Acton’s net worth surged to more than $3 billion.
In the interview, Acton said that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were looking to monetize WhatsApp in a way that he did not agree with. “It was like, okay, well, you want to do these things I don’t want to do,” said Acton in the interview. “It’s better if I get out of your way. And I did.” So he stepped down from the company and walked away before a final tranche of stock grants vested, which cost him $850 million. Acton pointed out that he does not think that Facebook is “the bad guy,” but they are “very good businesspeople.”
Specifically, Facebook was looking to generate revenue from ads in the new Status feature and by also selling business tools to chat with WhatsApp users. Acton did not like the idea of targeted advertising and the end-to-end encryption of the service made it challenging to set up analytics around the business tools.
Acton had suggested to Facebook’s executives that WhatsApp could use a metered-user model so that a small amount would be charged after a large number of free messages were used. Sandberg reportedly said that this model would not scale. “At the end of the day, I sold my company,” Acton added. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
In early 2014, Zuckerberg made the offer to WhatsApp after hearing that the founders of the messaging app were invited to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View and a document analyzing the valuation of the company was sent to deal teams at Facebook and Google. And so the deal was rushed out without hammering out all the nitty-gritty details about monetization agreements. And Acton said that the $22 billion agreement was “an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
Before the deal was fully closed, Acton said he was trained to explain that it would be difficult to blend the data between WhatsApp and Facebook in order to get approval from the European Competition Commission. However, other departments at Facebook were already working to blend the data by using the 128-bit string of numbers assigned to phone numbers that could bridge between accounts or by matching the phone numbers of users who provided it to both Facebook and WhatsApp. Once the EU found out about the practice, Facebook paid a $122 million fine.
Since then WhatsApp co-founder Jam Koum announced that he was leaving the company as well. And Acton had invested $50 million in a messaging app called Signal. Signal’s open source encryption protocols can be used to protects users of WhatsApp, Facebook’s Messenger, Microsoft’s Skype and Google Allo with scalable end-to-end encryption.