By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 0 Comments
Reports from three Hebrew-language news outlets say that Facebook is in negotiations to purchase…
Reports from three Hebrew-language news outlets say that Facebook is in negotiations to purchase Waze, a mapping application headquartered in Israel.
The move is seen as a bid to increase the social media site’s mobile capabilities, much in the same manner it did when it purchased Instagram for $1 billion in August 2012.
Previously, there were rumours that Apple was in talks to purchase Waze, but that deal never happened.
For anyone who hasn’t used Waze, the app allows users to share real-time traffic and road information with other users. It also tracks location, which allows people who are carpooling or driving to the same location to co-ordinate.
However, Waze’s location-tracking capacity is already causing some observers to raise alarm about Facebook collecting even more data about its users: “The location data will give Facebook one more point of reference for targeting its increasingly invasive advertisements,” writes The Atlantic Wire.
By The Associated Press - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:06 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaped a gain of nearly $2.3 billion…
SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaped a gain of nearly $2.3 billion last year when he exercised 60 million stock options just before the online social networking leader’s initial public offering.
The windfall detailed in regulatory documents filed Friday saddled Zuckerberg, 28, with a massive tax bill. He raised the money to pay it by selling 30.2 million Facebook Inc. shares for $38 apiece, or $1.1 billion, in the IPO.
Facebook’s stock hasn’t closed above $38 since the IPO was completed last May. The shares gained 71 cents Friday to close at $26.85.
The 29 per cent decline from Facebook’s IPO price has cost Zuckerberg nearly $7 billion on paper, based on the 609.5 million shares of company stock that he owned as of March 31, according to the regulatory filing. His current stake is still worth $16.4 billion.
By The Associated Press - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 1:47 PM - 0 Comments
MENLO PARK, Calif. – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company is not building…
MENLO PARK, Calif. – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company is not building a phone or an operating system. Rather, Facebook is introducing a mobile experience called “Home” that makes the social network the hub of any smartphone that runs Google’s Android operating system.
Zuckerberg says users can have an experience on Android phones that they can’t have on other platforms. That’s because Google makes the software available on an open-source basis, allowing others to adapt it to their needs.
The new product, called “Home” because it resides on the home screen of Android phones, is a family of apps designed around people’s Facebook connections. Zuckerberg says the goal is to put “people before apps.”
By Barbara Ortutay - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:36 AM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook is unveiling a new Android product Thursday, a move…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook is unveiling a new Android product Thursday, a move that comes as a fast-growing number of its 1.06 billion users access it on smartphones and tablet computers.
Advertisers are not far behind. Though mobile ads have been a big concern for Facebook’s investors since before the company’s initial public offering last May, some of that worry has subsided as Facebook began muscling its way into the market.
Last year, the company began showing ads to its mobile audience by splicing corporate sponsorships and content into users’ news feeds, which also includes updates from friends and brands they follow. Among the challenges Facebook faces now is showing people mobile ads without annoying or alienating them.
The mobile advertisement market is growing quickly. That’s thanks in large part to Facebook and Twitter, which also entered the space in 2012. Research firm eMarketer expects U.S. mobile ad spending to grow 77 per cent this year to $7.29 billion, from $4.11 billion last year. Continue…
By Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 1:56 PM - 0 Comments
As the social network ages, speculation on whether it could go the way of email
NEW YORK, N.Y. – To see what Facebook has become, look no further than the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.
Sometime last year, people began sharing tongue-in-cheek online reviews of the banana-shaped piece of yellow plastic with their Facebook friends. Then those friends shared with their friends. Soon, after Amazon paid to promote it, posts featuring the $3.49 utensil were appearing in even more Facebook feeds.
At some point, though, the joke got old. But there it was, again and again — the banana slicer had become a Facebook version of that old knock-knock joke your weird uncle has been telling for years.
The Hutzler 571 phenomenon is a regular occurrence on the world’s biggest online social network, which begs the question: Has Facebook become less fun?
That’s something many users —especially those in their teens and early 20s— are asking themselves as they wade through endless posts, photos “liked” by people they barely know and spur-of-the moment friend requests. Has it all become too much of a chore? Are the important life events of your closest loved ones drowning in a sea of banana slicer jokes?
“When I first got Facebook I literally thought it was the coolest thing to have. If you had a Facebook you kind of fit in better, because other people had one,” says Rachel Fernandez, 18, who first signed on to the site four or five years ago.
And now? “Facebook got kind of boring,” she says.
Chatter about Facebook’s demise never seems to die down, whether it’s talk of “Facebook fatigue,” or grousing about how the social network lost its cool once grandma joined. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project recently found that some 61 per cent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus from the site for reasons that range from “too much gossip and drama” to “boredom.” Some respondents said there simply isn’t enough time in their day for Facebook.
If its users leave, or even check in less frequently, Facebook’s revenue growth would suffer. The company, which depends on targeted advertising for most of the money it makes, booked revenue of $5.1 billion in 2012, up from $3.7 billion a year earlier.
But so far, for every person who has left permanently, several new people have joined up. Facebook has more than 1 billion users around the world. Of these, 618 million sign in every day.
Indeed, Fernandez hasn’t abandoned Facebook. Though the Traverse City, Mich., high school senior doesn’t look at her News Feed, the constant cascade of posts, photos and viral videos from her nearly 1,800 friends, she still uses Facebook’s messaging feature to reach out to people she knows, such as a German foreign exchange student she met two years ago.
Fernandez uses Facebook in the same way that people use email or the telephone. But she prefers using Facebook to communicate because everyone she knows is there. That’s a sign that Facebook’s biggest asset may also be its biggest challenge.
“We have never seen a social space that actually works for everybody,” says danah boyd, who studies youth culture, the Internet and social media as a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. “People don’t want to hang out with everybody they have ever met.”
Might Facebook go the way of email? Those who came of age in the “You’ve got mail” era can reminisce fondly about arriving home from school and checking their AOL accounts to see if anyone sent them an electronic message. Boyd, who is 35, recalls being a teenager and “thinking email is the best thing ever.”
Few people share that sentiment these days. Ian Bogost, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently listed email alongside “Blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of the firstborn” in a Facebook post.
“I was just going through my daily email routine, reflecting on the fact that it feels like batting down a wall of locusts,” Bogost says.
Although email has gone from after-school treat to a dull routine in the space of 20 years, no one is ready to ring its death knell just yet. And similarly, Facebook’s lost lustre doesn’t necessarily foreshadow its obsolescence.
“I don’t see teenagers leaving in droves,” boyd says. “I just don’t see it being their site of passion.”
In early March, Facebook unveiled a big redesign to address some of its users’ most pressing gripes. The retooling, which is already available to some people, is intended to get rid of the clutter that’s been a complaint among Facebook users for some time.
Facebook surveys its users regularly about their thoughts on the site. Jane Leibrock, whose title at Facebook is user experience researcher, says it was about a year ago that she noticed people were complaining about “clutter” in their feeds. Leibrock asked them what they meant. It turns out that the different types of content flowing through people’s News Feeds —links, ads, photos, status updates, things people “liked” or commented on— “was making it difficult to focus on any one thing,” she says. “It might have even been discouraging them from finding new content.”
The new design seeks to address the issue. There is a distinct feed for “all friends,” another for different groups of friends, one just for photos, and one for pages that users follow. As a result, says Chris Struhar, the lead engineer on the new design, the new feeds give people a way to see everything that’s going on.
“The amount of stories you have available to see has continued to increase,” Struhar says. “What we try to do now is give you more control over what stories you see in your feed.”
With that kind of control, the company hopes people will spend more time on the site and share more information about themselves so companies can target them better with advertisements.
Paul Friedman, a 59-year-old dentist in New York City says he’s using Facebook less now than when he first signed on four years ago, but he’s not sure if the site has “become less interesting or that I am just less interested in it,” he says.
“I think that it might have seemed more interesting in the past because it was a new ‘forum,’” Friedman says. “Now that it is not new, it takes does take more unique content to make it interesting.”
That said, Friedman still uses Facebook, to see if friends are organizing events, such as music gigs or yoga classes, or to check out interesting YouTube videos. He says seeing the same jokes reappear doesn’t really bother him.
“Ninety-nine per cent of it is a waste of time anyway,” he says. “If it wasn’t for the one per cent, I’d close my account.”
When it comes to people of a certain age, Friedman may be in the minority. Tammy Gordon, vice-president of the AARP’s social media team, says the 50-plus set is just now settling into Facebook. The organization’s own Facebook page grew from 80,000 fans to a million last year. This age group is growing the fastest because older people tend to be latecomers to Facebook. According to a recent Pew survey, 32 per cent of people 65 or older use social networking sites, compared with 83 per cent of those 18 to 29.
“They are not necessarily at that point where some of the younger generation is, where they have News Feed overload,” Gordon says.
Robert Worden, who is 62 and has nearly 1,100 friends on Facebook, isn’t overwhelmed. He says he got on Facebook two or three years ago primarily to establish a relationship with his estranged son, whom he didn’t see for a quarter century before he found him on Facebook.
Through his son, he also found out he had a granddaughter, who has been adopted and used Facebook to find her biological family when she turned 18. They are now all connected.
Worden, who lives in Paducah, Ky., says he probably wouldn’t have found his son were it not for Facebook, never mind his granddaughter. He also reconnected with people from his Memphis, Tenn., neighbourhood using Facebook — people he had not seen in half a century. The neighbourhood, he says “literally fell apart” in the 1960s “and we had never been able to get back together.”
“So someone said ‘why don’t you start a Facebook page?” he says. The group recently had its first reunion, 50 people showed up.
Worden says Facebook is his “major communication tool to the world.”
“Other people use news and I don’t find the nightly news or daily news to be adequate,” he says. “On Facebook I can actually hear from people who are living in the places where things are happening, and I can get instant information.”
Daniel Singer is 13 and, according to his public Facebook profile, he enjoys “designing beautiful user interfaces and sitting down at my desk and creating great iOS apps.” Last year, the eighth-grader created YouTell, a site that lets people ask for anonymous feedback from friends. You can use Facebook to log in, or email. As someone who designs applications, Singer calls Facebook’s graphical design “brilliant.” Still, he thinks the average teenager wants to see new stuff. Twitter, comes to mind, along with Instagram and Pheed, a photo-text-video-audio sharing app launched last fall.
For Singer, Facebook is part of a daily routine. “Kind of like brushing your teeth,” he says.
In the seven years since Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in his Harvard dormitory, Facebook has moved from a closed social networking service available to college students to a place where one-seventh — of the world’s population logs in at least once a month. No other social networking fad has accomplished such a feat.
Facebook’s predecessors MySpace and Friendster shone brightly but fizzled once finicky teenagers moved on to the next big thing. To boyd, though, Facebook is not only a destination site, but “a technical architecture that underlies many different things.”
“It’s not about new features to lure people back in,” boyd says. A bigger question, now, she says: What does it mean when your company is providing a vital service, rather than “a fun, glittery object”?
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, whose for-profit content creation site Wikia recently surveyed its young users about their technology habits, agrees. Teenagers, he says, “do see value in Facebook.”
“I think we are seeing a shift from (it being) a place to talk to each other as just part of the world —the infrastructure of the world,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s to the detriment of Facebook in the long run.”
By The Associated Press - Friday, March 29, 2013 at 2:25 PM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook has invited journalists to the unveiling of what it…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook has invited journalists to the unveiling of what it calls its “new home on Android.”
Next Thursday’s event will take place at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. Facebook isn’t providing further details. There has been speculation about a “Facebook phone” for a few years. Facebook has long said it would not make its own phone. Rather, such a phone would likely integrate Facebook deeper into the phone’s software.
Citing unnamed sources, the tech blog TechCrunch says Facebook Inc. will launch a modified version of Android that embeds Facebook deeply into the operating system, on a phone made by HTC Corp.
A Facebook rival, Google Inc., makes the Android software that Facebook and HTC would be using under that scenario. Google makes the software available on an open-source basis, meaning others including rivals are free to adapt it for their needs. Amazon.com Inc. does just that in modifying Android to run its Kindle tablet computers.
More than half of Facebook’s 1.06 billion monthly users access it on a mobile device. A deeper integration would help Facebook with its mobile aspirations.
By The Associated Press - Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 9:28 PM - 0 Comments
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook has the go-ahead from the city of Menlo Park…
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook has the go-ahead from the city of Menlo Park to build a swanky second campus near its current Silicon Valley headquarters.
The Palo Alto Daily News reports the city council voted 4-0 Tuesday to let the social media company move forward with its plans. Facebook says it will allow the company to employ thousands more people.
Facebook Inc. plans to build a 433,555-square-foot building designed by architect Frank Gehry. The 22-acre West Campus site will feature a rooftop park and a surface-level parking lot, and will rise to 73 feet in some spots.
Gehry’s partner, Craig Webb, says much of the white stucco building will be hidden by the landscaping and the rooftop park.
The council also approved a package of land use entitlements and an environmental impact report related to the project.
Information from: Palo Alto Daily News, http://www.paloaltodailynews.com
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 5:26 PM - 0 Comments
BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York man’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit claiming half-ownership of Facebook Inc….
BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York man’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit claiming half-ownership of Facebook Inc. should be dismissed, a federal judge recommended Tuesday.
Siding with the Internet company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said the contract on which Paul Ceglia based his case was faked.
Ceglia, 39, of Wellsville, sued in 2010 claiming that he and Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University student, signed a software development contract in 2003 that included a provision entitling Ceglia to half ownership of Facebook in exchange for $1,000 in startup money for the budding company.
The judge found that while the two did sign a contract, any references to Facebook had been added later. He pointed to a copy of the original April 28, 2003, contract discovered on a hard drive as the lawsuit was being argued. Ceglia had emailed it to an attorney in March 2004, years before his lawsuit against Facebook and Zuckerberg.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, March 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM - 0 Comments
REGINA – The union representing Regina police officers wants changes to the force’s Facebook…
REGINA – The union representing Regina police officers wants changes to the force’s Facebook page after a shooting involving a dog led to an online backlash and threats against officers.
The Regina Police Association, which represents 540 officers and civilian members, says the police service should be able to delay or edit posts before they appear on its Facebook page.
“We’re not saying to shutdown Facebook. We’re not saying that the public can’t comment, question, criticize and critique, but there was a comment posted on there on this weekend that said, ‘the only good cop is a dead cop,’” association president Evan Bray said Monday.
“My question is, does that serve any purpose? Is that open and honest and good feedback from the community or is that someone wanting to grandstand and make something that is borderline criminal?”
“There was a post on there this weekend saying maybe we should chain a police officer up in the backyard and shoot them and see how they like it. I mean really, does anyone believe that is fair game on a police service Facebook page?”
Bray says the police service needs a Facebook page. He said it’s an effective tool when properly used to enhance communication.
But, he said, comments that threaten officers should not be allowed.
Hundreds of comments were posted on the Regina Police Service Facebook page after a police officer shot and killed a dog while chasing an assault suspect Saturday evening.
Regina police say they got several calls about an assault. Officers found a severely injured man.
The service says multiple witnesses described three suspects running away from the scene. A canine officer, a police dog and a patrol officer followed a suspect into a yard, where they ran into a pitbull.
The police dog and the pitbull got into a scuffle and the canine officer tried in vain to separate them. The patrol officer joined the struggle and “made the decision to end the fight fearing for his life and the life of the canine officer,” according to a news release.
One shot was fired.
“The incident happened extremely quickly and it’s important to note that it wasn’t immediately apparent that there was a dog in the yard, or that the dog was on a chain,” stated the release.
The dog was later determined to be on a long chain with access to a significant amount of the yard.
Regina police say escape or retreat for the officers and the police dog “was very difficult.”
The pitbull owner says his pet was chained and he would have been able to restrain it. He plans to file a complaint.
An investigation is underway.
Regina police temporarily disabled public posting on its Facebook page Monday saying the “nature of the discussion was largely disrespectful and despite requests, continued to contain profanity and hate speech, as well as posts inciting violence.”
“We support your right to express opinions, even dissenting ones,” the service posted.
“We require that to be done without profanity, hate speech, or posts inciting violence. In the future please ensure your comments, opinions, and concerns are expressed in a manner safe for all users.”
By The Associated Press - Monday, March 25, 2013 at 11:33 AM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that it has…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that it has approved a plan by the Nasdaq stock exchange to pay $62 million in reimbursements to investment firms that lost money because of technical problems during Facebook’s initial public offering last year.
The Nasdaq had said in June that it would pay $40 million but later increased the amount to $62 million.
Facebook went public May 18 amid great fanfare, but computer glitches at the Nasdaq delayed the start of trading and threw the debut into chaos. Technical problems kept many investors from buying shares that morning, selling them later in the day or even from knowing whether their orders went through. Some said they were left holding shares they didn’t want.
Facebook’s stock originally priced at $38 and closed that first day at $38.23 after going as high as $45. The lacklustre close disappointed investors who had hoped for a first-day pop. Nasdaq has said that it was embarrassed by the glitches, but that they didn’t contribute to the underwhelming returns.
Shares of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook Inc. fell 39 cents to $25.34 in Monday morning trading. The stock has not hit its IPO price since the first day of trading.
By Bookmarked and Emily Senger - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 12:24 PM - 0 Comments
Fans of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir Eat Pray Love can have their say about what the cover of her next book will look like.
Gilbert used her Facebook fan page to post three potential covers for her forthcoming novel, The Signature of All Things, and she is asking readers to use an app to vote for their favourite.
She posted a message explaining the contest on Wednesday:
“My brave American publisher (Viking) and I are about to attempt something that, to the best of my knowledge, has never before been done in the publishing world. We are asking you, the readers, through a Facebook app, to make the final decision about which one of these three options should be the final cover for the American publication of “The Signature of All Things.”
Here are the options: Continue…
By Jesse Brown - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 4:53 PM - 0 Comments
Why does simplification involve so many confusing features?
When I first got on Facebook, it felt kind of like a party—a place to hang out and joke around with my friends. Then a bunch of people I hadn’t seen since high school showed up. It was nice to catch up, but knowing they were around changed the vibe. Then came co-workers, cousins, aunts and uncles. People I barely knew started inviting me to see their bands play in cities I don’t live in. I was urged to pledge public support for political causes I don’t care about. Then someone started selling weight-loss pills and someone else kept urging me to play Scrabble. I rarely hang out at that party anymore.
Last week, Facebook announced a redesign that’s intended, it seems, to cut back on the clutter and refocus on stuff users want most.
The problem is that no two users want the same thing. So, to simplify our news feeds, Facebook has to complicate them. With the new design (which will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks) you can choose “Only Friends” to filter out updates from all the pages and products you’ve “liked” or subscribed to over the years. You can choose “Photos” to turn Facebook into an image feed, with pics featured bigger and better in the new layout. You can choose “Music” to — you get it.
Naturally, choosing any of these new feeds gives Facebook relevant info for targeting and integrating ads, and the same space opened up to feature bigger, juicier photos will also be used to display bigger ads. That’s all to be expected.
Facebook’s feature-bloat paradox is an interesting one, where simplification becomes yet another potentially confusing feature. Like Twitter and Instagram did, any new player has the advantage of anonymity. They can come on the scene and offer one new great thing without having any legacy obligations. But if Facebook killed apps, groups, or pages, could you imagine the uproar?
Heck, they couldn’t even get rid of the poke.
Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown
By Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM - 0 Comments
Amid complaints that company’s site has become a jumble of monotonous musings and random…
Amid complaints that company’s site has become a jumble of monotonous musings and random pictures, the overhaul offers new controls that allow people to create streams of photos and other material in organized sections.
With the makeover, which began rolling out Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes to turn the News Feed into something more like a newspaper custom-made to suit the particular interests for each of the social network’s more than 1 billion worldwide users.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 9:38 AM - 0 Comments
Facebook is getting a news feed makeover this afternoon, in an attempt to keep…
Facebook is getting a news feed makeover this afternoon, in an attempt to keep users engaged and to increase advertising opportunities.
The news feed update, to be announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg a press conference at 1 p.m. ET, will be the first major upgrade for the news feed in about seven years. “Facebook has neglected the news feed, which has functioned largely the same since it launched on the web in 2006, and on iPhone in 2009,” writes TechCrunch’s Josh Constine. According to Constine’s sources, the updated news feed will include multiple feeds to better sort and group content, as well as bigger images. Continue…
By The Associated Press - Friday, February 15, 2013 at 7:11 AM - 0 Comments
BERLIN – Facebook has won a court battle against a German privacy watchdog that…
BERLIN – Facebook has won a court battle against a German privacy watchdog that challenged the social networking site’s policy requiring users to register with their real names.
Schleswig-Holstein state’s data protection body said Friday it will appeal the court decision. It argues the ban on fake names breaches German privacy laws and European rules designed to protect free speech online.
The administrative court in northern German Schleswig argued in its ruling Thursday that German privacy laws weren’t applicable because Facebook has its European headquarters in Ireland — which has less far-reaching rules.
The California-based company argues its real name policy protects users.
Germany’s strict privacy rules have posed a legal headache for Facebook, Google and others in recent years, giving consumers significant rights to limit the way companies use their information.
By Econowatch - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:25 PM - 0 Comments
SIGNS OF THE TIMES:
IT’S PAYBACK TIME
• Yale: prestigious university and now, debt collector. The school, along with the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, has resorted to suing former grads who haven’t paid back student loans, reports Bloomberg. The money is needed to replenish loan pools for future needy students.
• Toyota recently regained its title as the world’s biggest automaker from General Motors. But it still trails in a key area: pickup truck sales. Last week it unveiled a new version of its Tundra truck, hoping to win over buyers normally loyal to Detroit brands.
• Amazon was granted a U.S. patent this month for a marketplace to sell used digital media, like movies, video games, music and ebooks. A second-hand digital market could be worth billions but will undoubtedly face fierce opposition from the entertainment industry.
• Is Facebook losing its friends?A survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found 61 per cent of members have, at one time, taken a break from the website for several weeks or more. Twenty per cent said they were too busy to log on.
By Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 6:56 PM - 0 Comments
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook delivered fourth-quarter results above Wall Street’s expectations on Wednesday…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Facebook delivered fourth-quarter results above Wall Street’s expectations on Wednesday and sought to show that it has finally transformed into a “mobile company.”
But its stock dropped sharply in after-hours trading as investors placed more significance on the company’s growing expenses rather than on its increasing user base and higher advertising revenue.
“Everything was slightly better than expected,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. “I don’t see anything here that would make me want to sell the stock.”
Nonetheless, Facebook’s stock fell $1.34 cents, or 4.3 per cent, to $29.90 in after-hours trading following the earnings report.
Facebook grew its revenue and increased the proportion of revenue that comes from mobile advertising — a closely watched figure. But expenses also grew sharply. Also, the company said 2013 will be a year of “significant investments” and hiring as it focuses on long-term growth rather than short-term profits.
Facebook Inc., the world’s largest social media company, earned $64 million, or 3 cents per share, in the October-December period. That’s down from $360 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier when it was still a privately held company.
Revenue rose 40 per cent to $1.59 billion from $1.13 billion, surpassing analysts’ expectations of $1.51 billion.
Advertising revenue grew 41 per cent to $1.33 billion, increasing at a faster clip than in the third quarter, when it climbed 36 per cent to $1.09 billion.
Excluding special items, mainly related to stock compensation expenses, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook earned 17 cents per share in the latest quarter.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected lower adjusted earnings of 15 cents per share.
“There were no major red flags,” said Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler. “I think expectations may have even been just a little bit higher” than analyst estimates indicated.
Facebook’s biggest challenge lies in mobile devices. Most Facebook users access it using a mobile phone or tablet computer, yet the 9-year-old company only started showing mobile ads about 9 months ago.
“I think more people are starting to understand mobile is a great opportunity for us,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts in a conference call. “It allows us to reach more people, we have more engagement from the people we reach and I think we will be able to make more money for each minute people spend with us on … mobile devices.”
Facebook has been trying to squeeze in more mobile adverting without alienating users who are more interested in conversing with their friends than being subjected to a marketing blitz. The company appears to be striking the right balance so far, based on the number of people still regularly using the mobile apps, Kessler said.
Facebook said it generated 23 per cent, or $306 million, of advertising revenue from mobile, up from 14 per cent or $153 million in the third quarter, the first time it disclosed such information.
While Facebook’s accelerated revenue growth is a positive sign, there’s still a feeling that the company could be doing even more to mine revenue from its mobile audience, Kessler said. He expected Facebook’s mobile ad revenue to rise to 25 per cent of the company’s ad sales or about $350 million in the fourth quarter.
Facebook’s monthly user base grew 25 per cent from a year earlier to 1.06 billion accounts. About 680 million of them access Facebook using a mobile device each month. The company also said that the number of mobile users who access the site every day surpassed daily users on the Web for the first time in the fourth quarter.
As of the stock market’s close on Wednesday, Facebook’s stock was up 60 per cent since the company’s third-quarter earnings report came out in October. But it still hasn’t hit its initial public offering price of $38.
The May 18 IPO was by far the biggest one for an Internet company since Google’s in 2004, but the excitement quickly deflated.
Pachter suspects that investors may be worried Facebook’s expenses are starting to outstrip its revenue growth. That was the case in the fourth quarter when the company’s costs, excluding employee stock compensation, soared 67 per cent from the previous year to $849 million, mainly due to hiring and infrastructure costs such as data centres and servers. And Facebook promises to keep on spending.
David Ebersman, Facebook’s chief financial officer, said Facebook expects total expenses, excluding stock compensation costs, to grow by about 50 per cent in 2013. In 2012, these costs amounted to $2.83 billion, an increase of 63 per cent from 2011.
The company ended the year with 4,600 employees, a 44 per cent increase from the end of 2011.
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 9:37 PM - 0 Comments
MENLO PARK, Calif. – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new search feature on…
MENLO PARK, Calif. – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new search feature on Tuesday in the company’s first staged event at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters since its May initial public offering.
Called “graph search,” the new service lets users search their social connections for information about people, interests, photos and places. It’ll help users who, for instance, want to scroll through all the photos their friends have taken in Paris or search for the favourite TV shows of all their friends who happen to be doctors.
Until now, Facebook users were unable to search for friends who live in a certain town or like a particular movie. With the new feature, people can search for friends who, say, live in Boston who also like “Zero Dark Thirty”.
Zuckerberg says the search feature is “privacy aware,” which means users can only search for content that has been shared with them. Still, the company will have to make it clear to users that the new feature isn’t unearthing information about them that wasn’t already available.
Facebook is stressing that graph search will be made available to users very slowly, beginning Tuesday. Though the company has focused on refining its mobile product for much of last year, the search feature will only be available on Facebook’s website for now, and only in English. It will likely take more than a year for search to be available to all of Facebook’s more than 1 billion users as the company’s engineers and designers tweak the service based on how people use it.
Though Zuckerberg stressed that “graph search” is different from traditional Web search, the expanded feature escalates an already fierce duel between Google and Facebook as they grapple for the attention of Web surfers and revenue from online advertisers.
Although Facebook isn’t trying to fetch information across the Web like Google does, it’s clearly trying to divert traffic and ad spending from its rival. Facebook is hoping to do this by making it easier for its users to quickly find many of the things that are most important to them: movie, music and restaurant recommendations from friends and family; photo galleries of people they care about; and new connections to old friends and other people with common interests.
It’s the kind of personal data that has been difficult for Google to collect, partly because Facebook has walled off its social network from its rival’s search engine. Instead, Facebook has partnered with Microsoft Corp. to use its Bing search engine to power traditional Web searches done through its site. That partnership remains.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that it’s unlikely that many people will visit Facebook to do traditional Web search. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to.
“There is a lot of content you can find on graph search but there is a lot you can’t,” he said. “It’s much better to show world-class Web search results…than to show nothing.”
Google is trying to overcome its social network disadvantage with Google Plus, a service that the company launched 19 months ago in attempt to glean more insights into people’s relationships and counter the threat posed by Facebook.
Helped by Google’s aggressive promotion of the service, Plus boasts more than 135 million people who post information and photos on their profiles. But Google Plus users still aren’t sharing as much or hanging out on its service as long as Facebook users do, raising questions about whether Google will ever be able to get a grasp on the Internet’s social sphere as firmly as Facebook does.
Facebook now must prove it can master the intricacies of search and picking the right ads to show to the right people at the right time — complicated tasks that Google has honed during the past 14 years to establish itself as the Internet’s most powerful company. It currently produces 10 times more annual revenue than Facebook. Though neither company has released its 2012 financial results, analysts are projecting $52 billlion in 2012 revenue for Google versus about $5 billion for Facebook. For now, there is no advertising component to Facebook’s search feature.
Zuckerberg hinted last fall that a search feature was in the works in his first post-IPO public interview. But investors — some of whom may have been hoping for a long-rumoured and always-denied “Facebook phone” — didn’t seem impressed.
Facebook’s stock slid 50 cents to $30.45 following the announcement. It’s still down nearly 20 per cent from its IPO price of $38. The stock has enjoyed a healthy uptick so far this year, however. It’s up about 14 per cent year-to-date, and trading above $30 for the first time since July.
By Jesse Brown - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 2:54 PM - 0 Comments
It’s not a phone, thank God.
Today’s surprise announcement from Facebook was the unveiling of a new kind of search engine. “Graph Search” (which will invariably be referred to by non-Facebook employees as “Facebook Search”) draws on the massive database we have all created just by being on Facebook. According to Zuck and the other execs at the press event, here’s what you might use it to find:
- “Friends of my friends who are single males in San Francisco, Calif..”
- “Restaurants in San Francisco liked by my friends from India.”
- “People named Chris who are friends of Lars wand went to Stanford University.”
- “Movies my friends like.” Continue…
By Michael Friscolanti, Charlie Gillis, Nancy Macdonald and Jaime J. Weinman - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 10:03 AM - 0 Comments
Plus, a Kansas couple who take helicopter parenting to new heights
Out of this world:
It’s official: there is nothing Chris Hadfield can’t do. High school scholar? Check. Elite fighter pilot? Check. First Canadian to walk in space? Check. And now, just days into his mission as the inaugural Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Hadﬁeld has set the standard yet again—recording the ﬁrst-ever song from space. Dressed in khaki shorts and a pair of grey tube socks, the Sarnia, Ont., native strummed an acoustic guitar while orbiting the Earth. His song of choice? Jewel in the Night, a Christmas tune written by his brother Dave Hadfield: “Wherever we go / In all of the wonders above / With all that we bring / There’s no finer thing / Than this message, this promise of love.”
Private shot, public spat
Facebook’s privacy settings can be utterly infuriating—even for a Zuckerberg. Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, flew into a Twitter rage when she discovered that a marketing director named Callie Schweitzer had tweeted one of her private photos. It was “way uncool,” she charged. But it turned out Schweitzer didn’t actually breach any of the website’s privacy rules; she and Zuckerberg simply shared a mutual friend, and that’s how the photo came to light. Still, Randi used the public spat as an opportunity to lecture the world about the etiquette of online sharing. “Always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly,” she tweeted. “It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.”
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 3:41 PM - 0 Comments
A surprising item appears on the official Facebook site of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike near Parliament Hill.
A hunger strike with a bank account?
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 9:42 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is donating nearly $500 million…
SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is donating nearly $500 million in stock to a Silicon Valley charity to focus on health and education issues.
The gift of 18 million Facebook shares is valued at $498.8 million based on their closing stock price on Tuesday, when Zuckerberg, 28, made the donation. The beneficiary is the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a non-profit that works with donors to allocate their gifts.
This is Zuckerberg’s largest donation to date. He pledged $100 million in Facebook stock to Newark, New Jersey, public schools in 2010, before his company went public earlier this year. Later in 2010, he joined Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to get the richest Americans to donate most of their wealth.
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 8:50 AM - 0 Comments
As Chris Sorensen reports, it depends on who you ask
Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and CEO of Facebook, has never been an easy guy to like. The 28-year-old social-media magnate comes across as distant and unfeeling and is prone to awkward pauses. He’s no friend of privacy advocates, who fret about the vast sea of personal information that more than a billion Facebook users have uploaded, and is criticized by users themselves for changing the rules about how data is shared. Zuckerberg was even accused of stealing the Facebook concept itself, as anyone who watched the 2010 film The Social Network knows.
So it comes as little surprise that Zuckerberg would irritate investors, too. Facebook’s initial public offering this spring was not only billed as the biggest tech IPO since Google’s in 2004, but stood as a testament to how much social media has changed (some might say invaded) our lives. It was also viewed as a test of Wall Street’s ability to create and spread around massive amounts of wealth. Some even argued that, by convincing ordinary investors to put money back into the stock market, Facebook and its hoodie-clad creator could revive the ailing U.S. economy.
The result, given the hype, wasn’t pretty. On May 18, Facebook’s stock began trading at the IPO’s offer price of $38. A few minutes later it climbed above $40 as the masses rushed in, and then promptly sank like a stone—with an anchor tied to it. The shares eventually bottomed out at around $17.55 about three months later, wiping out more than $50 billion in value. And it wasn’t long before angry investors were looking for someone to blame. Continue…
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 2:24 PM - 0 Comments
In efforts to boost advertising revenue, the social networking site finds itself alienating many of the people it needs most
Facebook’s latest tweak drew a predictably negative response from users. The popular social networking site now automatically creates a “couple’s page” for any two users who declare themselves in a relationship with one another. Facebook includes relevant photos, status updates and back-and-forth conversations. It’s all information users have already agreed to share, but in a new and sappier context. Critics described the move using words like “retch,” “cringeworthy” and “way off the mark.”
It’s become a familiar dance: each time Facebook launches a new feature or changes an existing one, users complain it’s not what they signed up for. And now, eight years after Mark Zuckerberg created the site in his Harvard dorm room, deep-pocketed advertisers are also learning how it feels to be subjected to Facebook’s tinkering. Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, recently took issue with Facebook’s efforts to suddenly charge the team thousands of dollars to reach fans of the Mavericks’ Facebook page. “FB is blowing it? This is the first step,” Cuban wrote in a post on Twitter, threatening a boycott. “The Mavs are considering moving to Tumblr or MySpace as primary site.”
The high-profile criticism comes at a time when Facebook needs paying customers like Cuban more than ever. With its stock still trading nearly 40 per cent below last spring’s IPO price of $38 (it has been as low as $17.55), investors are searching for evidence that Facebook will live up to its promise of being an unparalleled online money-maker. A key concern has been the growing number of users who access the site from their smartphones or tablets, where Facebook has historically had no room to place advertising because of the small screen sizes. Continue…
By Carolyn Thompson, The Associated Press - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 2:22 PM - 0 Comments
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The latest in a string of lawyers who have represented a…
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The latest in a string of lawyers who have represented a man in a multibillion lawsuit against Facebook is expected to ask a federal judge Tuesday for permission to withdraw from the case.
Ohio attorney Dean Boland filed the request last month, a few days after his client, Paul Ceglia, was arrested on criminal charges accusing him of doctoring and destroying evidence to support his civil suit.
Ceglia has pleaded not guilty.
The request also comes as a motion by Facebook seeking to have Ceglia’s lawsuit thrown out is pending.
Boland has not publicly said why he wants to withdraw, only that it has nothing to do with any belief that Ceglia engaged in fraud. He submitted his detailed reasons privately to the judge.
Attorneys for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook have asked the judge to make the reasons public, or at least disclose the reasons to them. Facebook won’t oppose Boland’s motion as long as it does not delay the case, the attorneys said in court filings.
At least a half dozen lawyers and firms have withdrawn as Ceglia’s attorney before Boland. Their reasons have not been publicly disclosed.
Tuesday’s hearing is expected to be conducted by telephone. Facebook’s attorneys from the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are based in New York City, while Boland’s office is in Lakewood, Ohio. Ceglia also is represented by attorney Paul Argentieri of Hornell.
Ceglia’s 2010 lawsuit claims that he and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 signed a software development contract that included a provision entitling Ceglia to half-ownership of Facebook in exchange for $1,000 in startup money for Zuckerberg’s then-fledgling idea.
Zuckerberg counters the document he signed had only to do with a street-mapping database called Streetfax that Ceglia had hired Zuckerberg, then a Harvard University student, to help develop.
Earlier this year, attorneys for Facebook and Zuckerberg filed a motion to have Ceglia’s lawsuit dismissed, asserting that Ceglia had forged documents, fabricated emails and destroyed evidence. They also said he had waited too long — six years — to bring his claim and the statute of limitations had expired.
© The Canadian Press, 2012