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Experts Say Facebook’s Mind-Reading Brain Interface Isn’t That Crazy

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Facebook says it’s getting closer to eliminating one of the tech world’s biggest problems: namely how ridiculously long it’s taken me to type this sentence.

Ok, so it only took me about 30 seconds, but the words formed in my head in a fraction of that time. This problem of human latency is a key hurdle for tech giants like Google and Facebook that are looking for new ways to grow by shoving ever-more petabytes of data into our brains, and vice versa.

Two years ago, Facebook announced it was working on a non-invasive wearable device that would allow users to type by imagining themselves speaking the words. The hope is that such a device can be used as an input interface for augmented reality glasses.

As part of their effort, Facebook has been funding a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) working to help patients with neurological damage to speak again by detecting imagined speech in real time.

The team published its results in the latest issue of Nature Communications, and although the patients it worked with each had implanted electrodes measuring brain activity, the demonstrated ability to decode a small set of words and phrases in real-time represents a significant breakthrough.

 Facebook hopes the work of the UCSF team will serve as a proof of concept to inform the development of the non-invasive wearable it dreams of pairing with AR glasses.

“We’re a long way away from being able to get the same results that we’ve seen at UCSF in a non-invasive way,” reads a Facebook blog post detailing its efforts. “It could take a decade, but we think we can close the gap.”

Karen Panetta, IEEE Fellow and Dean of Graduate Engineering at Tufts University agrees that Facebook’s ambitions are feasible.

 “If we can now measure signals in the brain via implantable devices, then we can transmit those signals outside of the brain.”

Facebook thinks that a promising way to make the leap from “reading minds” via wired electrodes to a wireless system is by measuring changes in oxygen levels in the brain using infrared light similar to a pulse oximeter at a doctor’s office.

“This could work, though I am afraid that the rates (timing) of oxygenation processes are much lower than the actual rate at which speech is produced,” Josep Jornet, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Buffalo, told me. “Certainly more work is needed, but this is what research is about and should be promoted.”

Todd Richmond, an IEEE member and Director of the Tech and Narrative Lab at the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica says “having a viable capability in the lab” to wirelessly send brain signals to a computer could be less than five years away.

 “It will likely take longer to move from the lab to commercial deployment for a variety of reasons,” he adds.

Richmond thinks the first hurdles will be solving technical problems to make the system lighter, smaller, faster and essentially, more practical. Next comes the process of refining the user experience to make brain interfaces a necessity rather than a novelty.

 “The third set of developments will be around improving accuracy, efficacy, and safety,” he explains. “Like any consumer product, we’ll need to sort out what agencies are looking at what aspects of how devices impact humans, both individually and from a societal level.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I’ve covered science, technology, the environment and politics for outlets including CNET, PC World, BYTE, Wired, AOL and NPR. I currently produce the Warm Regards podcast and I’ve written e-books on Android and Alaska.

I began covering Silicon Valley for the now defunct Business 2.0 Magazine in 2000, but when the dot-com bubble burst, I found myself manning a public radio station in the Alaskan Bush for three years.

Upon returning to the lower 48, I covered politics, energy and the environment as a freelancer for National Public Radio programs and spent time as an online editor for AOL and Comcast. For the past 7 years, I’ve returned to focusing on the world of technology.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

 

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Facebook defends controversial ‘research’ app — INKLING LEAGUE

The world’s biggest social network is in hot water over privacy rights yet again, with another controversy involving user data revealed this week. Facebook revealing they’ve been using an app, called “Facebook Research,” to track the behavior of its users, many teenagers. The app was a voluntary download, with users 13-to-35 receiving compensation in exchange […]

via Facebook defends controversial ‘research’ app — INKLING LEAGUE

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More and more, people are uploading, sharing and discovering videos on Facebook. Video views grew more than 50% from May through July of this year, and since June there has been an average of more than 1 billion video views on Facebook each day. Finally, you can steal the secret blueprint that turns “ordinary” Facebook video ads into unstoppable sales machines, starting with the loose change down the back of your couch. We’re going to show you how to create simple 30 second videos and deploy them strategically to breach people’s busy newsfeeds and finally create a traffic and sales avalanche like you’ve never seen before……..

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Facebook Is Committed To WhatsApp Encryption, But Could Bypass It Too – Parmy Olson

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In the last four years since Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion, the app has remained ad free. But that’ll change in 2019, when WhatsApp starts showing targeted ads in its Status feature, and eventually rolls out marketing messages from business clients too. This was the primary reason WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton left WhatsApp in September 2017, according to his interview with Forbes published Wednesday, along with concerns about the way Facebook “probed” at the app’s end-to-end encryption……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2018/09/27/facebook-is-committed-to-whatsapp-encryption-but-could-bypass-it-too/#189ed9c93efe

 

 

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Facebook Engagement Research: How 43 Million Posts Will Make You Rethink Your Strategy – Heidi Cohen

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As the third largest website globally behind Google and YouTube, Facebook commands audience eyeballs, time and engagement. Regardless of company size or marketing budget, you need Facebook for your marketing due to its sheer size as a media entity.

Let’s accept that Facebook’s recent negative press regarding sharing its users’ personal data is cause for public concern.

Despite this, its reach and targeting options are difficult to replace cost-effectively. So you need Facebook to distribute your content, engage with your audience, and build your community.

However, there’s a silver lining:

So let’s examine how to get the most out of your Facebook marketing.

BuzzSumo and Buffer’s analysis of 43 Million Facebook Posts of the Top 20,000 Facebook Pages provides insights to improve your Facebook engagement.

Facebook Engagement Research: 5 Key Marketing Insights

To figure out how Facebook Pages perform for businesses and marketers Buffer and BuzzSumo teamed up.

Why?

Because in addition to having one of the most robust sets of social media data on the planet BuzzSumo is known for its independent, deep dive analyses.

BuzzSumo revealed that organic reach of Facebook shares had declined 20% in the first 6 months of 2017.

Facebook Engagement

For the 2018 Facebook Engagement Research BuzzSumo analyzed 43 million posts from across 20,000 of the top Facebook Pages. To put this sample in perspective:

1. Top Facebook Pages increased their posting frequency

Top Facebook Pages increased posts per quarter 24% from 1Q2017 to 2Q2018.

These brands invested in people and resources to create these shares and to engage on Facebook everyday.

Further, these top brands add roughly 20,000 additional pieces of content per day on Facebook. And that’s doesn’t count the other Facebook Pages!

To put this in context, many bloggers have reduced their blog publishing frequency, notably Content Marketing Institute and Convince and Convert. They focus on serving better quality content without being overbearing.

Marketing Reality:

Increased competition for visibility in the Newsfeed.

2. Overall Facebook Page engagement continues declining

Since BuzzSumo’s August 2017 Facebook analysis found reduced engagement, this shouldn’t be a shocker. (Note: It’s based on a different dataset.)

3. Facebook engagement for all posts types declined but opportunities still exist

Your ability to improve Facebook engagement by changing your post format has vanished.

Based on this Facebook Engagement Research engagement declined by format as follows:

Facebook performance per post type

Facebook engagement down for video, images, and links via BuzzSumo [Chart- 2017]

At first glance, images look like your best bet.

Don’t let the chart fool you!

Instead look deeper and you’ll discover that Facebook engagement isn’t black and white.

While video engagement declined the least, significantly fewer brands use video.

To understand, let’s examine BuzzSumo’s August 2017 data.

Facebook

Facebook Post Engagement By Content Format Over Time via BuzzSumo [Chart- 2017]

Use of video is significantly lower than other post types. There’s an opportunity to stand out!

Even though marketers are improving their use of video, Contently Visual Content Research showed that content marketers shy away from video for cost reasons.

With more limited resources and less established brands, small businesses are more agile and willing to take risks with video especially livestreaming.

The good news for marketers:

Many Facebook users prefer livestreaming. No surprise it enhances the feeling of personal connectedness.

4. Marketers have increased Facebook Page posting frequency

Despite lower visibility marketers have upped their Facebook posting frequency.

Why?

While posting less than once a day delivers the highest engagement, overall engagement increases with additional posting.

Facebook Engagement Research-Daily Posting Chart

After 5 posts per day, Facebook engagement yields diminishing returns.

While you’ll get more likes and comments in total, after 5 posts, each piece performs at a lower rate on average. 

Facebook Engagement Research-BuzzSumo and Buffer -Engagement by posts per day

Facebook Engagement By Brands based on average posts per day. Optimal posts per day= 5. Chart by BuzzSumo and Buffer

5. Top Facebook Page categories lost over half of their engagement

Engagement on the Top Facebook Page categories fell 50+%.

Why?

If you’re in one of the biggest Facebook Page categories, you’ve got more competition by definition.

You’re up fighting content saturation.

Further, in the top categories, artists and movies have a financial stake in promoting their offerings.

Historically, they’ve use big advertising budgets to promote their products across different media.

Now, they’ve added Facebook to their media mix.

But compared to other options, Facebook is relatively inexpensive for these businesses. As a result, they can do more with organic and paid options.

Marketing Reality:

Therefore choose your Facebook Business Page category with care. Your options are to niche down further or pivot to find another way to reduce category competition.

Facebook Total drop in Engagement by Page Type

Facebook Engagement – Total drop in Engagement by Page Type. Chart by BuzzSumo and Buffer

Think Like Facebook

Put yourself in Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie. (Don’t worry—I’m sure that it’s clean!)

Once the darling of Wall Street, Facebook lost over $100 billion of market value in late July. To put that in context, Facebook lost more than the total market value of McDonalds.

While most Facebook users didn’t delete their accounts, participant usage eroded along with user trust.

Further, Facebook failed to diversify their income beyond advertising. Until now, the fragility of this single revenue stream was hidden behind its continued size and usage expansion.

Bottom line:

Facebook Page Engagement Example: Social Media Examiner

To appreciate what this means on a smaller scale, my friends at BuzzSumo ran a Facebook Engagement search for me using their Facebook Analyzer tool.

We looked at Social Media Examiner’s Facebook Page because it’s the go-to social media reference. Additionally it hosts of Social Media Marketing World.  Further, Social Media Examiner has a team managing its social media participation.

Lastly and most importantly, Social Media Examiner has developed a vibrant community of engaged social media professionals.

The BuzzSumo 2018 Content Trends Report snapshot reveals lower Social Media Examiner publishing over time accompanied by a steeper decline in social shares.

Over the past two years, on its Facebook Page, Social Media Examiner posted an average of 3 posts per day. Each post yielded an average of 159 Facebook engagements.

Despite December-January boosts in 2017 and 2018, Social Media Examiner Facebook engagement declined from its 2016 levels. 

Your Facebook Page needs:

Before you write this off as a reason to stop using Facebook to achieve your marketing goals, put these results in perspective.

Due to content saturation, increased competition for audience attention isn’t limited to Facebook!

Based on this Facebook Engagement Research:

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New to Facebook Advertising? Follow These Important Tips – Anna Hubbel

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Welcome to the club! Facebook advertising can provide the significant boost your business or brand needs.Whether you’re expanding your audience, driving more traffic to your website, or promoting a specific sale or service, Facebook advertising is one of the best ways to build exposure in today’s market—but it takes a lot of work.

As with any other profession or skill, creating and delivering ads on the Facebook platform takes a lot of know-how and practice. When you’re just getting started, it’s especially important to familiarize yourself with the basics. Otherwise, you run the risk of spending a lot of time and money only to get disappointing results.

Luckily, you don’t have to go far to find help online. By the end of this article, you will have a few actionable tips to help you kickstart your journey into Facebook advertising.

Tip #1: Make a Professional Facebook Page

You cannot make Facebook ads without first having a professional page for your business. It’s completely free. A personal Facebook profile (also free) is all that’s required so Facebook recognizes you as an admin for the page.

To create a page, simply log in to your personal profile. From the right column, scroll down until you hit “Create.” Select “Page” to begin. If you’re using your mobile device, select the menu at the top right of the screen, which is represented by three horizontal lines. Select “Pages” and then “+Create” on the screen you’re directed to.

Create FB Page

The next step is making your page look professional. Fill out the “About” section in full so that users know who you are, where you’re located (if you’re strictly online, include your website URL), and how to contact you.

Also, upload a professional-quality cover photo and profile photo, as these represent your business’s entity. You may, for example, use your logo as the profile photo and an image containing your products as the cover photo.

Once you’ve set up your page, you will have access to Facebook’s Business Manager, which is the platform you’ll need for creating ads and managing campaigns. But don’t neglect your page once it’s created.

In addition to using it to distribute ads, you should regularly post organic content as well to keep users engaged with your business or brand.

Tip #2: See What Other Businesses Are Doing

If you have absolutely no idea what a Facebook ad should look like or where you should even begin creatively, look for inspiration.

See what other businesses and brands are doing for their ads and observe how audiences are engaging with them. While browsing for inspiration, ask yourself these questions:

Going into your first campaign will feel less like you’re blindly flailing through if you have a better idea about what’s out there.

Tip #3: Research Facebook Advertising Terms, Policies, Products, and Best Practices

Another tip to ensure you know what you’re getting into is to do in-depth research on common terms, policies, products, and best practices associated with Facebook advertising.

For example, do you know what an ad objective is? How about a Carousel ad? Familiarize yourself with the lingo and ad products.

It’s also crucial that you understand Facebook’s Advertising Policies, which specify what you are allowed to promote as well as what you’re allowed to do creatively.

Additionally, it’s important to understand best practices for Facebook advertising. For example, video ads should communicate the main point of your message within the first few seconds rather than at the end of the video.

Another example of a best practice is A/B testing, which involves testing ads to see what visual or structural elements perform best.

When you get to know all of Facebook’s terminologies, offerings, and limitations, you’ll run a lower risk of putting out ads that don’t work.

Tip #4: Know Your Objective

An ad only works if it’s accomplishing your desired goal. An objective is what you want your ad to accomplish.

Website traffic, purchases, clicks, and in-store visits are all examples of objectives you might have for your campaign. Make sure you are able to clearly identify your objective. Doing so makes it easier to create ads accordingly and will ultimately deliver the results you desire.

Tip #5: Know Your Audience

Have a beautiful ad with a clear objective? Before you go thinking you have success in the bag, make sure you’ve done your audience research. An ad promoting fast food and burgers, for instance, will not perform well if it targets an audience of vegetarians.

To avoid this issue, once you’re ready to publish your ad, carefully fill out the audience targeting sections. You can target users based on demographic, interests, and existing history with your business or brand.

Facebook also offers useful resources such as Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, which allow you to upload information about your existing customers and target audiences with similar attributes (respectively).

Become an expert on your audience’s traits, interests, and behaviors to increase your chances of campaign success.

Custom Audiences

Tip #6: Know Your Competition

This isn’t a tip intended to feed the fire of angry rivalry. It ultimately benefits your business to know your competition well – especially the way they advertise. Not only will getting to know your competition give you inspiration, but it will also help you see where you can do better. Ask yourself these questions:

Keep tabs on your competition. It will be both educational and enlightening for your campaign.

Tip #7: Consider a Facebook Advertising Company

If you have a significant lack of experience as far as social media is concerned, consider investing in a Facebook advertising company. You’ll waste less time on underperforming ads this way.

However, you should still educate yourself in the areas mentioned throughout this article so you can understand what and how your team is doing. It will also help keep you informed when deciding what team or agency to hire.

This article serves just as the first building block to your success in Facebook advertising. The rest is up to you. Good luck to you as you embark on this exciting new venture!

Read more: https://fitsmallbusiness.com/best-facebook-ad-agencies/

 

 

 

 

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Why Do We Stay On Facebook? It’s Complicated

As a researcher who focuses on online communities, I’m accustomed to this running meta-narrative about what it is I’m actually doing online — but usually, that narrative plays inside my head, not all the way down the feed I’m scrolling through. It’s like my research questions have sprung to life these days: What’s Facebook all about, anyway? Is this even fun? If it’s not fun … what is it, exactly?

This is an exciting time in the very short history of social media use.

Facebook’s users are becoming critical of the systems into which they’ve been conscripted. This is an important moment: Will public opinion follow the same well-worn cycle of outrage and acceptance, or will it jump the tracks and begin engaging Facebook on new, more challenging terms?

Researchers have been asking tough questions about Facebook for the past decade, but even armed with the most prestigious credentials, they pose a much smaller threat than educated consumers. And without consumer outrage, government regulation seems unlikely to move forward.


Read more: Why not nationalize Facebook?


‘Sound and fury’

So far, at least in my own feed, the same old script is being followed to the letter. The soul-searching is punctuated by passionate cris-de-coeur from the feed’s more opinionated characters: Wake up, sheeple! If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product — remember? Quit Facebook! Encrypt your data! Smash your phone under the heel of your steel-toed boots!

Next, right on cue, the incisive social commentators swoop in to remind us that these calls are coming from inside the house. “Pretty ironic that you’re posting all this stuff on Facebook!” To which everyone silently rolls their eyes in resignation. Cue the gallows humor about how we’re all under constant surveillance, rinse and repeat. The human condition’s same old two-step. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

That this discursive cycle was triggered by the revelations earlier this year that voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica obtained the Facebook data of 50 million American accounts is beside the point.

This is only the latest in a long series of such leaks about data mining. In 2017, approximately 200 million registered voters’ personal data stored by voter profiling company Deep Root Analytics was accidentally made public. The previous year, Russian hackers accessed a large cache of voter information owned by the Democratic National Committee.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill on April 11, 2018 about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

What this latest go-round is revealing is that these are industry practices that will carry on undisturbed, regardless of what Mark Zuckerberg says or does. This is not a Zuckerberg problem anymore; it’s a problem with an advertising model that is the industry standard.

Most of us Facebook users have been on the platform for about a decade, and perhaps our outrage is our growing pains.

We’ve gained some critical distance through time spent on the platform. We are less easily distracted by the ostensible fun the platform offers. And we appear to be compelled to ask questions about Facebook we’ve never asked before.


Read more: It’s time we demanded the protection of our personal data


Must ask different questions

Fenwick McKelvey, co-director of the Media History Research Centre at Concordia University’s Milieux Institute for Art, Culture and Technology, wishes that the media would start asking different questions about how data is being used by platforms like Facebook.

“The media narrative still assumes that the goal of these platforms (like Facebook) is to expose people to information,” McKelvey told me. “But it’s less and less about that — the goal is to manage and control people’s behaviour.”

Among the urgent questions media commentators should be asking, McKelvey believes, is how online advertisers are deploying user data to subtly nudge people. He provides the illustrative example of SnapChat — a company with relatively strong privacy settings in place — that leaks data to advertisers with dizzying granularity that reflects the industry standard.

Through SnapChat’s protocols, your phone informs advertisers how much time passes between the moment you’re served one of their ads and the moment you make a purchase at their business, either online or in person.

Every time you walk into a retailer with your phone’s location services on, you are leaking data about your consumption habits.

Perhaps we should be burrowing even deeper into Facebook’s business practices.

Facebook tends to rely on the fact that most of its data collection practices are laid bare in its terms of service. But according to Martin French, an assistant professor of sociology at Concordia, Facebook’s notion of “consent” is flimsy at best.

Most unaware of how their data is being used

“Facebook reportedly changed its policies after 2015 to stop app developers accessing information on app users’ network. But for me the question is: Are Facebook users, in the real world, actually aware of the changing ways their data is being used, and the policies that purportedly govern these uses?” wonders French.

French posits that based on research that has been done on who reads and understands social media privacy policies, most users are unaware of how their data is actually being used. The “consent” that Facebook is talking about when they refer to an agreement with their users is not really a kind of consent that conforms to any dictionary definition of that term.

The consensus among social scientists who study life online is that whatever dynamics play out online have offline analogs.

We’ve had a decade to incorporate Facebook into our lives, and like any learning process, our success with it has been uneven.

We’re at a critical moment as users of Facebook. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves about the implications of our participation. Deactivating our accounts won’t change how our personal data is valued to advertisers.

But perhaps, as we become mature users of social media, we can begin to demand that limits be set on how and when our data is bought and sold.

Doctoral student , Concordia University

Facebook Zero: The Changing News Feed and What Marketers Need to Know | Facebook for Business Marketing

Find out what to expect from the changes and learn how you can best maintain interaction and visibility with audiences on the Facebook news feed.

Source: Facebook Zero: The Changing News Feed and What Marketers Need to Know | Facebook for Business Marketing

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