How Facebook Profits Off of Stolen Content

As a Youtube content producer, I depend on ads and affiliate links to continue producing content. A single camera review will often take three or four days to produce for example. I stick with Youtube because they share revenue from ad sales and have a decent system in place to stop people who steal me videos and re-distribute them.

Facebook is claiming incredible video view growth, but these numbers are rigged pretty bad. They count a view after three seconds, even when the video is muted, and viewer engagement past 20 seconds is pitiful. They do not offer a revenue share, and have very poor tools for protecting copyright.

Basically uploading a video to Facebook only improves Facebook and a creator’s standing on Facebook for more likes. I can’t pay rent or buy food with “internet points”.

A new trend in stealing popular Youtube videos is rearing its head, emboldened by the fact that Facebook is fantastically passive in replying to copyright issues.

Following the digital extortion Facebook engages in with page posts, blocking your content from a majority of the people who like your page until you pay Facebook, these types of shenanigans are vile.

Youtube producer In A NutShell has published a fantastic infographic animated video detailing Facebook’s failure to defend content producers. If you care about smaller producers continuing to distribute high quality content, this video makes for an interesting educational watch.

Please Don’t Do This – Conspiracy Nut Tears Out NFC Antenna on Samsung Phone

nfc radio antenna samsung batteryWe’re all a little on edge about what our phones can do, how they store our information, and how other people might be able to access things like our location. It’s easy to get a little freaked out by technology you don’t understand.

Case in point, Nick Browne posted this video on Facebook, as he was concerned about something strange attached to the battery of his Samsung phone. (Language in video might be a bit NSFW)

Remember, every time you shoot video in portrait, God kills an orphan girl’s kitten…

That is a strange looking antenna to be found on a battery, but what Nick has torn off here is his NFC antenna. That’s the radio you can use for things like “tap and share” or “tap and pay”. It’s kind of odd that Samsung builds it into the battery, but it likely discourages folks from buying third party batteries that don’t include the antenna as it’ll disable the NFC function on their phones.

And let’s be honest here, while Nick seems to have some issues with race relations, if someone really wants to hack your phone, and steal your photos, they certainly don’t need to install an antenna on your battery to do it.

It does look a little strange, but we can learn from Nick here not to freak out and start tearing pieces off of our gadgets if they’re things we don’t understand. Thankfully for Nick, to restore NFC on his Samsung, all he needs to do is buy a new battery, and NOT tear off the label again…

Facebook Reverses Course on Separate Messenger App

facebook messenger returns to facebook appI WIN!!!

Ok. So I was never really concerned with privacy issues or permissions on the standalone messenger app Facebook forced users to install. The app’s notification settings and geo-location controls bothered me. Also the design, including the messenger icon in the Facebook app, which showed notifications, but then forcing a second app, was another nitpicky reason for me to fight it.

Since the switch, I’ve been replying to instant messages through my browser. Clumsy, but I could stick to my “first world problem” principles.

Well it seems that Facebook might be reversing course on the two app solution. On the newest update (version if you clear out your data or reinstall the app, the messenger “Nag Screen” has changed back. You can now bypass that screen, and IM through the main FB app again. It’s unclear why Facebook might have made this 180, or if this is a permanent change.

VICTORY! How sweet it is…

Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and More Stand Against FCC Proposed Rules

Nothing like waiting until the last minute right guys?

FCCWhile Netflix had been a common talking point for illustrating the concept of Net Neutrality, pretty much any company doing business online should be interested in how bandwidth is regulated.

Now the big boys are starting to make a little noise. In a letter sent to the FCC yesterday, 150 companies including those listed in the title of this post, signed on in opposition to the FCC’s proposed “fast lane” rules. The proposed rules will allow carriers and ISP’s to negotiate separate deals with individual companies for consistent bandwidth.

The FCC will vote on the proposal in one week. If you’re interested in voicing your concerns to the FCC and your elected officials, we’ve put together a contact list here.

You can read the letter below.

Continue reading “Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and More Stand Against FCC Proposed Rules”

Free WiFi Calling For All Through Facebook Messenger

facebook messenger android free wifi callingIf you’ve been rocking the BETA, then you’re already aware of this, but it’s finally rolling out for all consumers.

If you’ve got the separate Facebook Messenger app installed, you can now call your Facebook friends over WiFi for free! The update to FB Messenger 4.0 brings this to all users alongside better support for creating chat groups and the ability to create shortcuts to specific chats on your homescreen.

Hit the update and get calling!

Facebook Messenger (Google Play)

Facebook to acquire Oculus VR Inc. for $2 Billion

Oculus 3Insert “FarmVille gaming in 3D” joke here.

In a surprising announcement today, Facebook has announced their plans to acquire Oculus VR, makers of the Rift VR gaming headset, for $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in stock.

Oculus is the indie sweetheart gaming company pushing virtual and augmented reality hardware back into the gaming industry’s focus almost single handedly. Building so much momentum and fan good will that Sony recently announced plans to move into the space with their Morpheus headset, a similar style VR wearable display.

Facebook is taking a gamble in moving VR beyond gaming and into social media, but even if that strategy fails, it’ll give them a unique opportunity to push the Facebook brand further into entertainment.

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Facebook founder and CEO,┬áMark Zuckerberg. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

The buy out should be completed by end of second quarter 2014. What do you think will happen to the Oculus brand? How do you think VR will be incorporated into business and social media applications? Drop us some comments below!

Your New Reality Is Ready

Full Facebook PR below.
Continue reading “Facebook to acquire Oculus VR Inc. for $2 Billion”

Let’s Speculate: What does Facebook Want with WhatsApp?

Facebook iconBy now you’ve probably heard the news. Facebook has gobbled up WhatsApp for $19 Billion dollars. It would seem in the aftermath of failing to buy SnapChat, FB is betting even bigger on messaging. Gotta respect that chutzpah, I love seeing a player at the table double down.

But why?

The pundits and analysts are having a field day with predictions and “inside scoops”. I think it’s funny that many are simply looking at numbers and technology.

“If SnapChat continues to add users at the rate it currently is, this could advantageous for Facebook paradigm shifting synergy shareholders proactive engagement with target demographics and influencers blah blah blah…”

On a quick tangent, why do analysts always try and predict the market as if it were to stay exactly the way it is today with no evolution or change? I digress.

whatsapp-iconNow here’s the fun part. I can’t claim to understand why FB valued this start up so highly. It can’t be the technology. The FB messenger and Skype integration work well. WhatsApp really doesn’t bring much to the table here.

There’s a psychology behind this purchase which makes some sense. I think people are starting to guard and filter more of what they’ll say publicly on FB. Chat is more intimate, and FB will have access to the juicer communications users engage in. WhatsApp is a terrific replacement for text messaging, and often the service is used for that kind of personal messaging. As FB is a service which exists to profit off of user data, the more access it gets, the more effective it can be in that mission.

Also, the age of an audience for WhatsApp makes it desirable. Facebook is getting older. It only makes sense that at some point Zuckerberg would want to diversify. Beginning with Instagram, and moving into future services I’m sure, building a mini empire of apps NOT called Facebook helps take some of the pressure off of the flagship product, keep it from getting bogged down trying to compete with every fad that hits the ecosystem.

But is that worth $19 Billion?

And here’s where I get stumped again. That’s a LOT of green to make up a return on your investment. So I’ll ask you all, where do you think FB makes money on this deal? Where do you see this investment paying off? I’m not impressed with the analysts on this one, I think you’ll be more fun.

Google Beats Facebook for AI Company DeepMind, Pays $500 Million

Google_logoDoes anyone else think this company missed out on a terrific opportunity to name their AI “Deep Thought”? Anyone? 42? Is this thing on [tap, tap, tap]?

Beating out Facebook with a $500 Million dollar bid, Google is now the proud owner of DeepMind, a company focused on creating algorithms which will help computers learn in a way which resembles human experience. Artificial intelligence. Now, most people are linking this to Google’s recent acquisition of Boston Dynamics as if we’re all on the cusp of a Skynet inspired apocalypse. While I’m sure learning algorithms would be a tremendous boon to the robotics community after watching excerpts from the DARPA Robotics Challenge, it was very clear that we’re a LONG way off from Skynet or Asimov’s robots, there are a number of other projects at Google HQ which could also benefit from some good old fashioned learnin’

Improving the responses of automated, self-driving cars for instance. Making those systems more flexible and adaptable to changing road and traffic conditions.

Watson's_avatarGoogle is first and foremost an information broker.

Search will continue to be an ever increasing issue as we dump more and more info into this giant bucket we call the internet. Google is now facing incredible competition from companies like IBM with their Watson project. A computer system which isn’t self-aware, but is able to adapt, add information, and make sense of casual instructions and commands to deliver meaningful results. If Google doesn’t start working on a similar program, they’ll find themselves disasterously behind. Given a choice between Siri, Google Now, and Watson, I know I’d prefer to send my search query to the computer who spanked the crap out of the top two most winning Jeopardy contestants in that show’s history.

We instantly assume that working on aspects of Artificial Intelligence means that we’ll flip a switch someday and all our machines will have distinct personalities. What will most likely happen first is more likely to be painfully dull for the general populace. Purpose built computing systems which are subtly, but noticeably better at their individual jobs. Think of a WHOLE animal brain, so many different pieces to regulate and control various aspects of an organism’s life. We’re a LONG way off from poorly replicating the human frontal lobe. We’re a LONG way off from building a system which could rival a house cat’s ability to problem solve and learn tricks.

Let’s not forget that Google’ main competition for acquiring DeepMind was Facebook, a company that failed to put out a branded phone. If there were any more reassuring fact that we wont see this AI in some near-future skeletal doomsday robot warrior, it’s the fact that Facebook is most likely looking for better systems to sift through user data, not to operate machinery.

So when Google flips the switch and we all get slightly better turn by turn recommendations, when predictive search results and ads are a little better targeted at our needs, we can all shrug a sigh of relief. However, if I’m wrong, allow me to be the first to welcome our future robot overlords. I’d make a fantastic liaison officer in your new world paradigm where humans are kept like cattle for some unexplainable but dramatic reason.