Tag Archive | Facebook

A Facebook (iPad) Update Turns the App Into an Entertainment Hub

Facebook iPad Update

Over 70 percent of people who use Facebook for iPad played a Facebook-connected game in the past 90 days, so the company is helping them discover or re-engage with games through a new home page sidebar it starts testing today on its iPad app. It includes social notifications for native mobile and Facebook web games you already play, video trailers for games you don’t, plus Trending news articles and Trending videos popular with your demographic. The growth opportunities could entice more developers to integrate Facebook into their games, and Facebook plans to eventually sell ads for games in this space. By filling the extra screen space with what tablet users love, Facebook hopes its home on iPad can become a more essential part of people’s live…even if that means bouncing them into other apps or showing them YouTube videos.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

Mark Zuckerberg to Speak on Immigration Issues at S.F. Film Premiere

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Home launch event.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to deliver an address on immigration issues in early August, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the first time he has spoken publicly on the matter.

The speech will include the San Francisco premiere of a new film, “Documented,” which chronicles the struggles of undocumented immigrants entering the United States.

The film was written and directed by Jose Antonio Vargas, a writer and immigration rights activist who revealed his own status as an undocumented immigrant in a widely circulated New York Times Magazine article in 2011. (Vargas also wrote a lengthy profile of Zuckerberg for the New Yorker a few years ago.)

The premiere is sponsored by and ties in perfectly with FWD.us, the sometimes controversial Zuckerberg-backed political action group focused on U.S. immigration reform. The issues that FWD.us supports are felt by many tech companies in Silicon Valley; in particular, the focus on changing certain legislation which would allow for more annual H-1B visas, ultimately granting more foreign workers entry into the U.S.

But, as the Chronicle notes, the premiere will be the first time Silicon Valley will enter the wider debate on immigration reform as a whole, rather than just focus on the expansion of visa programs in order to recruit international engineering talent.

The film debuts at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Aug. 5.

Despite Gains, Facebook Is Currently Worth $24 Billion Less Than When It First Went Public


The market awarded Facebook a 25 percent share price spike today, following a strong earnings report that showed off the company’s ability to retain mind share among youths, build its total global usership, and monetize mobile traffic better than nearly any other company. Period.

The firm pop in its shares has pushed Facebook’s valuation past the $80 billion mark, where it currently rests at $80.21 billion. Not a bad day’s work, but that number is somewhat shadowed by the fact that, as a company, Facebook has torched tens of billions of dollars of shareholder equity since it first went public.

We draw two conclusions from that fact: Given that Facebook is now a tremendously stronger company than it was a year ago, and yet it is valued under its former price, a pox on our own house for overpaying for the company’s shares; and, naturally, that Facebook is more than another strong quarter away from being simply flat.

Here’s TechCrunch’s Josh Constine and Kim-Mai Cutler the day before the fateful, and botched, IPO:

Facebook shares will start trading at $38 tomorrow, the company confirmed in a release, giving it a valuation of $104.12 billion. Facebook and its early shareholders will raise just over $16 billion in tomorrow’s much anticipated IPO.

At a $104 billion valuation, Facebook is worth more than any other tech IPO candidate at the time of its offering. It also perfectly matches what Facebook shares have been trading at in secondary markets over the last several months. Google was worth $23 billion at the time of its very unusual Dutch auction IPO back in 2004. As of tomorrow Facebook will be worth about half of what Google is worth now.

The implicit point in the second paragraph is that if Google managed to so greatly grow its valuation compared to its IPO price, to what heights might Facebook race? Despite general market furor, Facebook popped but a nibble to $42 a share on its first day, and then declined rapidly enough that its banking partners held the line at its initially offered price.

To illustrate just how off the market was concerning the pricing and sale of Facebook stock, here’s the same set of TechCrunch writers during its first day as a public company:

While the price is going to fluctuate a lot today, there’s a crowdsourced bet from Twitter users on FacebookIPOClosingPrice.com that the company will close at a $54 price and a $135.7 billion valuation.

Nope, Twitter users, that wasn’t the case. In fact, those shorting Facebook made out the best.

The gap between $104 billion and roughly $80 billion is $24 billion. But that’s not even the least-kind way we could describe Facebook’s total decline from former heights. Facebook opened on its first day at $42.05, meaning that it was worth more than $104 billion; those who bought in at that price would have enjoyed a far heavier decline in the value of their stock if they held onto it.

But, in effect, this is our fault. The Facebook IPO price, as noted in the first blocked quote above, matched secondary market interest. The market bore Facebook at a $38-per-share price; the IPO went off, hitches aside.

Christopher Hitchens once said that the ironies of history occur most pungently to those that don’t believe in them, and that applies greatly to us in the technology industry. We have undergone a number of periods in which valuations of technology companies have gotten far ahead of their earnings. Again and again we have bought into our own hype only to watch the money of the average Joe evaporate as founders and investors pocket cash at IPO prices. That’s fine. It’s simple market capitalism. But you’d think we would have learned a bit by now.

Facebook as a financial entity is much stronger than it was during the quarter it went public. Let’s do a little comparison for fun [Facebook Q2 2012 financial data versus Q2 2013 financial data]:

  • Revenue, Q2 2012: $1.18 billion
  • Revenue, Q2 2013: $1.81 billion
  • Net income, Q2 2012: -$157 million
  • Net income, Q2 2013: $333 million

Aside from higher expenses and a lower operating margin, it’s hard to find a metric by which Facebook is worse off than it was a year ago. And yet we the market public value the firm at $24 billion less than on its first day.

We were out of our skulls in 2012, and we are still paying for it. That said, Facebook is damn killing it recently, and is slowly growing into the valuation that its bankers and investors found palatable four quarters ago.

New question: Is Facebook overvalued at its current $80 billion price? The comments are yours.

Top Image Credit: Steve Snodgrass

Neustar Buys Aggregate Knowledge, One of Facebook’s Ad Tech Favorites, for $119 Million Cash


iStockphoto | dny59

Neustar, which makes most of its money managing databases for phone companies, is buying Aggregate Knowledge, an analytics company best known recently for its work with Facebook.

Neustar, which reported earnings today, paid $119 million in cash for Aggregate Knowledge; Neustar officials said they would also use restricted stock units in the transaction.

Aggregate Knowledge had raised a reported $64 million since 2005, from investors including Kleiner Perkins, DAG Ventures and OVP Venture Partners. The company restructured in 2010, when current CEO David Jakubowski came on board.

Neustar’s main business involves managing databases of phone numbers for carriers, and that work generated more than half of its $830 million in revenue last year. But it has been trying to build up a marketing business as well; marketing is part of its “information services” unit, which makes up roughly a quarter of its revenue today.

Aggregate Knowledge is supposed to help accelerate that push, and Jakubowski will head up Neustar’s marketing businesses.

Prior to today’s deal Aggregate Knowledge has been spending a lot of time with Facebook, helping the company explain how its ad campaigns are working for marketers. That relationship will continue after the acquisition, Jakubowski said.

Zuckerberg Calls Snapchat A “Privacy Phenomenon”

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 10.36.12 AM

Mark Zuckerberg thinks Facebook’s innovated by creating a place where people could share what wasn’t shared before, which is also why he thinks Snapchat is important. Today in a low-profile talk at Stanford alongside discussions of the NSA and venture capital’s shortcomings, Zuckerberg said “Snapchat is a super interesting privacy phenomenon.”

Zuckerberg sat down today with Stanford’s President John Hennessy onstage at the school’s Memorial Auditorium for a wide-ranging hour-long chat in front of Stanford students, professors, trustees, and Facebook employees. Here’s a video clip of a more light-hearted anecdote from Zuckerberg about Facebook’s early days that Stanford published.

The NSA And VC

The CEO spoke at length about Facebook’s three new goals after reaching 1 billion users: Connecting the rest of the world to the Internet, understanding the world through an artificial intelligence-powered unified model, and fostering the knowledge economy so more of the world can thrive.

Zuckerberg pointed out how Silicon Valley venture capitalists aren’t necessarily equipped to fund solutions to these problems (emphasis mine):

“You know there’s a great venture capital system here for investing in problems that require maybe like one to ten million dollars to kind of get started solving. But there aren’t really a whole lot of places in the world where you can solve problems that require, say, a billion dollars or three billion dollars of investment up front before you can really make a huge amount of progress on them.

And I think some of these problems are really worth solving like Internet for everyone in the world, or trying to build this unified model and build some kind of early AI, or trying to solve some of these issues around the knowledge economy…and there are only a handful of companies and a handful of governments in the world that are really in a position to make those kind of investments so I want to make sure that we put a lot of our efforts towards doing big things like that.

This means we should expect to see Facebook continuing to pursue programs like Internet.org and its new artificial intelligence initiative. Zuckerberg explained, along the way to solving huge problems, there are often rapid advances in technology – much in the way Bell Labs invented the transistor while trying to make phone signals travel across the country. So while these goals might have no “end” in sight, they may produce intermediary benefits to Facebook’s product and armory of intellectual property.


As for the impact of NSA relations on the average Facebook user’s willingness to share, Zuckerberg noted “I haven’t seen it in anything that we measure.” However, he said that the United States has been a champion of freedom of speech as the right policy, but that our insistence on surveillance could make the world lose faith in that ideal. Zuckerberg stated:

“The biggest concern that I have is that the NSA revelations knock that down a peg and I think the U.S. loses the moral high ground a bit, which makes it so that other countries which may have different views on how this should work now are more kind of empowered to do things in a way that might kind of balkanize or splinter things a bit more, which I think would be quite unfortunate if the Internet ended up working very differently or there were different rules for connection.”

Snapchat As A New Place To Share

The most fascinating part of the talk was where Zuckerberg said Facebook thinks about privacy much differently than most people expect, hinting that the world believes the company is pretty much against it. After all, the latest Grand Theft Auto video game did parody Facebook by naming its in-world social network “LifeInvader.”

Zuckerberg explained that before Facebook, there was instant messenger for communicating with one other person or a small group, and there were blogs for sharing publicly, but there was nothing in between. Zuckerberg said (emphasis mine):

“There was no privacy infrastructure to communicate with your community or just a set of friends all at once, and because of the lack of that, basically if people wanted to communicate something they had to choose to communicate with a very small audience or communicate it publicly. A lot of times you’re not comfortable communicating it publicly and maybe it’s just not worth communicating it to a small set or that’s not the full potential of what you want to communicate so you just don’t do it, it just gets lost. And that potential idea that could have been shared, or thought, or human connection and kind of option to have more connection and do more on that over time is lost.

So I actually think kind of the fundamental innovation that Facebook brought was creating this space. Right, which is really, it’s a private space that didn’t exist before. That there was no tool to be able to communicate in that space, and by opening that up and enabling people to kind of fill that space we unlocked a huge amount of potential in terms of people being able to communicate ideas and learn about what’s going on around them.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 9.16.45 PM

Unfortunately, that statement is at odds with a lot of how Facebook actually handles privacy. As far back as 2009 and 2010, Facebook began recommending that existing users share their status updates, photos, and other content publicly. It also began defaulting users to share these types of posts with everyone – something I criticized at the time for putting users at risk, which I still believe. A lot of people don’t change their default settings. And though Facebook shows a privacy indicator every time you’re about to post, many people ignore it and end up sharing more publicly than they’d like to.

More recently, Facebook has also been giving marketers limited access to searching the firehose of public posts, and encouraging users to post more publicly with hashtags, trending topics, embeddable posts, and other Twitter-like features.

Getting people to share publicly gives Facebook better data to improve everything from search to artificial intelligence, which it sees as a positive. But the honorable thing to do would be defaulting people to share with friends, and giving them the choice to share publicly – not vice versa as it does now.

Yet still, Zuckerberg seems to see a little bit of Facebook’s innovation in Snapchat. He continued his discussion of how Facebook created a home for previously unshared content, saying:

I think a lot of the most interesting startups today are actually doing different interesting things like this. Whether they’re messenger companies that are allowing different ways to communicate very quickly with small groups.

I think Snapchat is a super interesting privacy phenomenon because it creates a new kind of space to communicate which makes it so that things that people previously would not have been able to share, you now feel like you have place to do so.

And I think that’s really important and that’s a big kind of innovation that we’re going to keep pushing on and keep trying to do more on and I think a lot of other companies will, too.

So just because Facebook’s attempt at ephemeral messaging Poke failed and its bid to acquire Snapchat was turned down, don’t expect it to bow out of this fight. If there’s sharing that people aren’t doing on Facebook today, you can bet Zuckerberg will try to absorb it somehow.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 10.38.08 AM

Maybe with a more tactful approach to its quest “to make the world more open and connected,” that sharing would already be happening within its walls.

Facebook’s privacy changes and constant prodding to share more widely have generated a fair amount of ill-will. So perhaps Zuckerberg shouldn’t see Snapchat, where you get to specifically choose who to share with every time, as a “privacy phenomenon.”

Maybe if people weren’t worried they were always one wrong privacy setting away from broadcasting to the entire world, they wouldn’t be so desperate for Snapchat.

Additional reporting by Billy Gallagher

[Image Credit: L.A. Cicero via Stanford]

Instagram Direct isn’t Snapchat, or just another messaging app, and for me that’s a massive relief

P1040879 520x245 Instagram Direct isnt Snapchat, or just another messaging app, and for me thats a massive relief

Before Instagram Direct was unveiled, I had reservations about how private messaging would be integrated into the platform.

The pure, immediate joy of Instagram comes from its simplicity, both in terms of its design and the sharing it facilitates. You capture a photo or short video clip, then post it to a stream where others can view and comment on it. For all of the tweaks and updates that have rolled out since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, that core has always stayed the same.

The prospect of a traditional messaging experience, similar to mobile apps such as WhatsApp, LINE, or even Facebook’s own Messenger app, filled me with dread. The thought of sending quick messages back and forth, with the odd photo or video for good measure, felt counter-intuitive to Instagram’s DNA. A useful feature, perhaps, but one better served by an array of existing apps.

Thankfully, Instagram opted for a simpler implementation. You still have the option of publicly posting a photo or video, but it’s now joined by Direct, which lets you create a private thread with up to 15 people. These discussions aren’t like other messaging apps though, with an endless stream of text bubbles flanking the left and right-hand side of the display. Instead, the company has stuck to its roots by subtly repurposing the UI of any normal Instagram post.

Insta1 730x547 Instagram Direct isnt Snapchat, or just another messaging app, and for me thats a massive relief

That means placing the original photo or video on a pedestal. So when you first open a private thread in your inbox, you’ll always see the shared moment at the top of the page. Furthermore, no-one else can post a photo or video without starting a new, private thread inside Instagram.

That might seem a little basic, annoying or short-sighted, but the impact on the UX is profound. Instagram is giving users another place to discuss their photos and videos, instead of facilitating broader conversations usually reserved for other mobile messaging apps. That helps to protect the core premise of Instagram, which has always been about sharing and commenting on interesting moments. Admittedly, you can write about anything in an Instagram Direct thread, but because subsequent comments are always tied to a specific photo or video, the feature subtly discourages you from going too far off topic.

Instagram isn’t Snapchat

The experience is tailored to Instagram and far-removed from that found on Snapchat, the red-hot messaging app that lets users send and view content for a limited period of time. Now, Instagram could have offered a timer for private messages, but in my opinion that would have derailed its original intentions.

P1040886 730x547 Instagram Direct isnt Snapchat, or just another messaging app, and for me thats a massive relief

Instagram Direct is about more than just viewing a photo or video privately – it’s about the conversations that occur afterwards. I have relatives based halfway around the world, and if they choose to share an important moment with me using Instagram Direct, it’s important that I can see it for more than 10 seconds. Otherwise, if I submit a comment and carry on with my day, I won’t be able to access the photo or video when they reply later on.

In that scenario, any meaningful discussion would be impossible. That’s not to say Instagram couldn’t be successful as a Snapchat clone – I’m sure young people would happily use it for sexting – but such a feature would fly against what makes Instagram such a delightful app.

Instagram is popular because it creates conversations. It’s a simple way not only to share photos and videos, but also to comment and leave feedback on those posted by other people. (Even if that just means leaving a couple of likes on someone’s profile page). The UI has been designed to make that feedback loop as quick and simple as possible – Instagram Direct is simply an extension of that; sharing moments and then talking about them. Only this time, it’s privately with a smaller group of people.

Facebook never got big user data breach and if it happens, they won’t be able to recover

Facebook cannot avoid serious data breach if it happens from the foreign government, hackers or the crooks. Personal data on Facebook is not safe and if this will happen it will have chilling effect on commerce, drying sharing of data and will cut down the lifetime of Facebook.

However you cannot say that Facebook is not employing preventive measures to make it stop. Facebook is having its top talent team and white hats hackers to identify holes and bugs on their site.

An interesting as well as shocking fact shared by Facebook that computers of their engineers have faced sophisticated attack uploaded malware when they have visited mobile developer site. Facebook immediately called upon the police to investigate the facts behind this attack. There is still no evidence found that data of users have been approached. Yet, it is cleared that hackers have got access to the information about Facebook partners.

Facebook till the date has managed the world’s largest repository to the private information from getting into wrong hands. Other social networks are still striving on achieving this type of success. Twitter has recently encountered 250,000 accounts accessed by the hackers. In the same pace, LinkedIn has encountered 6.5 million accounts hacking last year.

It must be worth noting here that most of the data on social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter are public and on Facebook, it is personal. So, Facebook has much concerns and requirements about privacy as they have much more to lose.

The damage might not be severe for the eventual breach, as some messages and photos can be stolen and in worst scenario credit card info abut users can be stolen. Facebook in that case, will quickly response to the affected account and will respond to password change claims.

The damage would be psychological and it will destroy the real essence of brand. world will be in fear that their data will get stolen and they will advertise it to their friend circle, resulting more shut down of accounts.

Facebook requires to struggle against such perception and provides much security against shared data.

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Facebook’s Desktop Ad Revenue Grew Only $69M In Q2, Mobile Rev To Outpace Desktop By EOY 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 12.51.04 PM

Facebook stunned yesterday with its report that mobile advertising represented 41 percent of its total ad revenue in the second quarter of 2013. In the first quarter of 2013, it totaled a then-hailed 30 percent, bumping that key ratio by more than a third in just a fourth of a year. On a dollar basis, Facebook’s mobile advertising grew more than four times as much as its desktop-sourced advertising incomes in the most recent quarter.

However, looking backwards, last quarter’s mobile ad growth is less astounding when placed into context. From the third to fourth quarter of 2012, Facebook juiced its ad revenue as a percentage of total ad income by 9 percent. From the last quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, growth was 7 percent. Taking into account the 11 percent gain reported yesterday, Facebook has averaged 9 percent growth in its mobile ad revenue as a component of its larger ad top line for the past few quarters.

This allows us the ability to make basic predictions. Facebook yesterday noted on its earnings call that mobile advertising revenues will eventually outstrip desktop ad income. But when? Well, we can predict. If mobile advertising revenues continue at their average rate of the past few quarters, Facebook should earn precisely as much from desktop and mobile advertising platforms in the current quarter.

The math is simple: Facebook ended the most recent quarter with a 41/59 split between mobile and desktop ad income. If mobile revenues are growing by 9 percent quarterly – again, on average – 41 and 9 make 50, leaving the remaining 50 percent for desktop ad revenues.

Adding another 9 percent to Facebook’s mobile ad revenue as a percentage of its total ad income, and we could wrap the year where the second quarter finished, but in reverse, with mobile revenues comprising 59 percent of total ad income, and desktop just 41 percent.

This feels, prima facie, optimistic. Are we being too generous?

There is always a risk in any form of prediction, as future market dynamics are outside of our vision, and will always remain so. That said, we can take mild refuge in the fact that our average rate of mobile ad growth, again as a percentage of Facebook’s total advertising top line, is under the most recent quarter’s rise; this means that we are anticipating Facebook to under-perform its most recent quarter moving forward.

This gives us some breathing room in our predictions. Here’s the chart:

If mobile revenue is so strong, where does that leave desktop advertising incomes? Well, as it turns out, Facebook’s desktop advertising business is all but not growing. We can deduce this by subtracting the percentage of Facebook’s mobile ad revenue from its total advertising income, leaving us with its desktop-sourced figure. Let’s have some fun:

  • Facebook’s total advertising revenue was $1.25 billion in the first quarter of 2013. Of that, 30 percent came from mobile. That means 70 percent came from desktop sources. Seventy percent of $1.25 billion is $875 million.
  • Facebook’s total advertising revenue was $1.60 billion in the second quarter of 2013. Of that, 41 percent came from mobile. That means 59 percent came from desktop sources. Fifty-nine of $1.60 billion is $944 million.
  • $944 million – $875 million = $69 million. That, assuming that Facebook has its numbers in place, is the delta between Q1 and Q2 for Facebook’s desktop advertising business.

That’s not much. Not only is Facebook sourcing a growing percentage of its revenue from mobile platforms, but its revenue growth is increasingly coming from a smartphone near you.

Let’s get to the bottom of the final number: In dollar figures, how much did Facebook’s mobile ad revenue grow from the first to second quarter? I’m glad you asked. Let’s find out:

  • Facebook’s total advertising revenue was $1.25 billion in the first quarter of 2013. Of that, 30 percent came from mobile. Thirty percent of $1.25 billion is $375 million.
  • Facebook’s total advertising revenue was $1.60 billion in the second quarter of 2013. Of that, 41 percent came from mobile. Forty-one percent of $1.60 billion is $656 million.
  • $656 million – $375 million = $282 million.

So, Facebook’s mobile revenue grew by a quarter billion dollars in the second quarter. Not bad, given that as a percentage gain it works out to around 75 percent. And, perhaps more importantly, the $282 million figure is more than four times our previous $69 million sum. Therefore, mobile ad revenues on a dollar basis grew four times as fast as desktop advertising incomes in the most recent quarter.

Mobile-first, indeed.

Top Image Credit: Randy Lemoine

LinkedIn and Twitter’s ads APIs will share their wealth to juice up the sales

Tech companies do not believe in hiring too many sales reps and therefore they build advertising tools for buyers. Twitter and LinkedIn had followed the footstep of Facebook and Google and launched their ads APIs. They have come up with their powerful value exchange to help them sale ads.

Every business has its different requirement from interface, for example some of the businesses are in need to get standalone buying tool for placing specific ads on social networks or other platforms. Some others want their own search ads to shift spend across different channels in order to get biggest bang at any given day. Some others have desire to get control on target audience and other hunt over artificial intelligence for best performing audience and creatives. While, some others require their web automatically twined in to ads. If someone wants to establish all these things in one platform, it would be entirely impossible.

There is the job of selling the ads to the different kinds of businesses. The biggest clients can easily get full service hand holdings, whereas the small clients get self-serve tool. In the center, there is a thicket of businesses across the international and vertical borders.

Google and Facebook have already figured out the solution, whereas LinkedIn and Twitter is still exploring to get programmatic access to ads inventory. Third party interface usually solve their problems.

The platform for full service advertising and ad tool licensing allow the providers to earn some margin from their profits, in exchange. The margin ranges from 10 to 20% after cutting the total spend by the clients. Similarly, margins can be decided upon “cost per action”. In this method, clients have to pay per download, per click or at the specific level of the downstream engagement. The provider will maintain the difference between what is charged and what is paid. Moreover, monthly payment based method is also adopted to pay them fees. Twitter has denied to disclose on which method they are working on with their partners by saying “We do not believe in commenting anything about our partnership terms.”

The idea over this platform is to share the wealth by aligning the aims of service providers and ad tools. The big solution provider of ads APIs will be able to earn hundred of million dollars and make enough profit for developing their sizeable team. Also they invest in their algorithm development and frequent adaption of API features.

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