Monday, September 30, 2013

Graph Search Rollout From Facebook Will Cover Everything

Josh Constine of reports that Facebook is starting to rollout the new and improved graph search. He writes:

Graph Search Posts
What’s everyone saying about Breaking Bad? What about just my friends? What do my old photo comments say about me? A trillion posts full of this info start getting unlocked today as Facebook begins rolling out Graph Search for posts to a small subset of US English users. It will allow us to see what the world thinks of anything, but could also dredge up the past, defeating ‘privacy by obscurity’.
When Facebook launched Graph Search in January, it started with indexing people, photos, places, and interests. It let you find people based on certain characteristics, browse specific sets of photos, find local businesses, and discover media and brands your friends enjoy. But there were three big things missing: International access, mobile access, and the ability to search posts.
Since then Facebook has expanded Graph Search from a limited beta to a product available to all US users that browse in English. Since Graph Search is a semantic search engine based on sentences, not keywords, it’s tricky and slow to internationalize.
There’s still no mobile support, which is facepalm-worthy consider Facebook is supposed to be a “mobile first” company, and much of Graph Search’s potential lies in helping people find things and friends while on the go.
Today, though, Facebook starts solving the third problem by making almost anything you post accessible via Graph Search. That includes status updates, comments on anything, photo captions, Notes, and check-ins. No Events yet, though. Only a small group of US-English users are getting post search today, and Facebook tells me it plans to to monitor usage and take feedback before refining post search and rolling it out to all Graph Search users.


Looking to the past, Graph Search for posts will help Facebook and its users realize the ambitions of Timeline. Suddenly everything we’ve written on Facebook isn’t just clunkily navigable from our profiles. It can be searched by anyone with permission to see it. Your bitter posts from your college library, silly comments on friends’ wedding photos, and dispatches from distant vacation check-ins can all be distilled from the rest of your content.
That could make for some fun nostalgia, or some embarrassing fiascos. Before Timeline, your old posts were essentially locked away behind hundreds of clicks of the “more posts” button at the bottom of your profile. This is known as ‘privacy by obscurity’. Technically your old content was still accessible, but it was really tough to find, essentially making the past a secret.
Graph Search Past
Timeline let you find content on the profiles of friends if you knew what you were looking for and when to look. Graph Search for people let you find a non-friend’s profile and comb through their public posts. But Graph Search for posts essentially eradicates ‘privacy by obscurity’. If you said it, and it’s technically visible to someone, they will be able to easily find it. That includes any time you’ve mentioned you’re “drunk”, “high”, “depressed”, “pissed”, or cursed like a sailor.
I don’t mean to scare you. There’s a lot of fun, learning, and ‘connection’ that will come from Graph Search of old posts. But this is a good time to go to your Activity Log and make sure any sensitive content you have has the right privacy settings. I’d definitely recommend doing this when you get the feature yourself. That’s actually one problem with the slow rollout. Some people’s content will be searchable by others before they can search it themselves.
On the plus side, at least you will eventually be able to look up what you once said. Facebook has never really had this feature. And despite Twitter being known as the public record of the Internet, its search feature was spotty until recently, sometimes failing to return old. [Update: It's improved vastly over the last year or so, though.] Now both social networks have adequate keyword search. That means people need to be more careful about what they post, which could cause a slight chilling effect on sharing.


Looking at the present, Graph Search for posts could do a lot to help Facebook win the war against Twitter to become the web’s premier water cooler. Perhaps more than Facebook adding hashtags, verified profiles, trending topics, and other features from Twitter’s playbook.
Now when there’s a big live television event or world news, you can browse more than your News Feed or hashtags. You can search for “Posts about Syria” to see every public post on Facebook mentioning the word. Want to only see what your friends are saying about the latest teen pop drama? Search “Posts about Miley Cyrus from my friends”.
Graph Search Places
Not only will that surface more content to browse, increasing Facebook’s time-on-site. Creating a new audience for posts could encourage more people to publish. Facebook’s losing this engagement to Twitter right now, but Graph Search could even the score. Post search could also be a boon to Facebook’s role as a journalism source, since reporters could use Graph Search to find eye-witnesses who were at a news-worthy happening or pundits who’ve discussed it.
Graph Searches for posts could become popular places for Facebook to advertise. Facebook briefly experimented with showing ads on Graph Search results pages, but doesn’t any more. It could earn a ton of money if it did, though. Much of Twitter’s ad pitch is that it can help brands reach users that are passionately reading, tweeting or searching for something related to their business. Facebook could steal some of those real-time ad dollars with units on results pages of Graph Searches for posts.
If Facebook can convince users there’s more going on than what’s immediately visible in their News Feeds, it could get them spending more time on the site meeting each other, discussing the day’s events, and getting the pulse of the planet. That could let Facebook accomplish its goals of connecting the world while finding more ways to pay for all the servers that host our digital lives.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Facebook Lets You Edit Posts

As reported by Pete Pachal :

If autocorrect has ever ruined your Facebook post, your prayers have been answered. Facebook introduced the ability to edit status updates starting Thursday.

The latest update for the Android Facebook app adds the ability to "edit your posts and comments and tap to see all your changes." However, the editing has not been enabled on any of the Android devices we experimented with.

The editing feature will roll out to Facebook users on the web and Android devices over the next day, Facebook confirmed to Mashable. The editing feature is not included in the latest iOS app, but will likely get pushed out in the next update. Users will see the option to "Edit Post" when they click on the drop-down arrow in the top-right corner of a post.

Editing posts was potentially dicey territory for Facebook, since the it brings the danger of a bait-and-switch with followers. A user could conceivably write, "Who likes ice cream?" and get hundreds of Likes and affirming comments, then edit the post to read, "Who wants to beat up some cats?"

Facebook addresses this issue by marking the post as edited and letting users access the history of any edited post with a click. Google+, which has let users edit posts for some time, works in a similar fashion.

Facebook has been slowly granting users more editing capabilities over their content. Users can edit photo captions (that is, status updates with a photo attached) and the ability to edit comments arrived a few months ago.

It's likely Facebook examined all the potential abuses and concluded the risk in letting users alter posts was minimal. It makes sense: Any user who would mislead followers or friends with a post they intend to maliciously edit would likely soon find themselves with few followers or friends of any value.

For journalists on Facebook, the value of editing posts is even greater. As Mashable's Emily Banks has argued, being able to edit a post in a transparent fashion makes Facebook posts more like articles on a website, and now reporters will be able to make corrections without deleting entire updates and losing conversation threads.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Twitter introduces an alert system for emergencies

Reuters reports that Twitter, which is preparing for its initial public offering, said on Wednesday it will help users receive special alerts from government agencies and aid agencies during emergencies.
Users who sign up will receive smartphone notifications via the Twitter app as well as SMS text messages - assuming they agree to handover their cell phone numbers - from any of several dozen agencies who have signed on to the program.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Tokyo's Disaster Prevention service and the World Health Organization are among those participating.
The alerts program starts a year after Twitter showcased its potential as a lifeline during Hurricane Sandy, when stranded residents on the eastern U.S. seaboard reported the storm's progress and sought help on the mobile network.
A similar lifeline service played a part in the rescue efforts in Japan following the devastating 2011 tsunami, Twitter said. The program is initially available in the United States, Japan and Korea and will be expanded to other countries.
Craig Fugate, the FEMA administrator, said the service was at the cutting edge of disaster management in the age of smartphones.
"Today we have a two-way street — residents are informed about hazards in real time and emergency managers receive immediate feedback on the consequences of a disaster," Fugate said in a statement.
The program reflects the evolution of Twitter from its earliest days, when it gained a reputation as a hangout for geeks to share the minute details of their most recent meal or who they encountered at the South by Southwest Festival.
But the crowd-sourced information of today's Twitter has also proved problematic.
Even as the New York City Fire Department used Twitter to communicate with residents during Hurricane Sandy, there were pranksters who spread misinformation on the service, including a rumor that the New York Stock Exchange was submerged underwater.
And in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the name of a missing Brown University student went viral on Twitter after many users, including journalists, mistakenly identified him as a suspect.
Twitter, for its part, has maintained a strictly hands-off attitude toward monitoring its content and denied responsibility for ensuring its accuracy.

Earlier this month, Twitter filed with regulators for an initial public offering. Reuters reported last week that Twitter was in talks looking to add additional banks to its underwriting syndicate.

LinkedIn navigates native ads in media push

This is a great article by Scott Martin,  of the USA TODAY
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wants a piece of the action as a media company.
The professional network visited mostly for jobs and recruitment has morphed into a daily destination to read news, share and comment. If it sounds a little like Facebook and Twitter, it is. And so is the advertising opportunity.
"There is a lot of content. Our job is to package up the most relevant content we can find for members," Weiner said on stage earlier this month in San Francisco.
People are clicking on LinkedIn's business media. Page views have shot up 69% from a year ago. But LinkedIn executives won't call the company a media business. That's because only about a quarter of its revenue comes from ads.
Yet now it's playing in native advertising, the hottest trend of the moment for marketers -- and publishers. LinkedIn joins an advertising craze embraced by Facebook, Twitter, Google and even The New York Times.
What's at stake is social network ad spending dollars, expected to rocket from $7.3 billion in 2012 to $14.5 billion by 2015, according to eMarketer.
"People are really going to talk about this with Twitter going public because Twitter's main ad product is native advertising -- Sponsored Tweets," says Altimeter Group analyst Rebecca Lieb.
That will be especially so during Ad Week in New York City this week as thousands gather to discuss all things digital advertising.
Native advertising, or sponsored content, can run front and center in your face. It begs you to share and interact with it.
LinkedIn has been steadily serving up media to advertise against. LinkedIn Today includes stories from 1.5 million publishers. It has turned on Influencer business blogs. It snapped up Silicon Valley's hottest mobile news-reading app, Pulse, in April with ambitions to mesh its business. If this isn't a media play, then Rupert Murdoch is a goat herder.
With 238 million members, LinkedIn is the second-largest social network, ranked by unique visitors, just ahead of Twitter, according to comScore. "To me this represents the next step in building on this business," says comScore analyst Andrew Lipsman of its ad move.
You're officially a nobody social media marketer without a native ads strategy today. "It's the new darling of online advertising," says says Rich LeFurgy, a consultant to online advertising startups and former chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau.
Don't expect them to go away anytime soon either. On mobile, a source of increasing visitors, they are a necessity with its limited advertising space. Native ads are "a fast-growing sector -- huge," says eMarketer spokesman Clark Fredricksen.
Ad revenue at LinkedIn is expected to soar more than double, from $376 million this year to $763 million in 2015, according to eMarketer, as it embraces the new ad forms mingled with its nascent business media.
Some aren't so hot on native advertising. With ads creeping in closer to the information people come to read, worries persist that people will be duped into consuming ads with the false impression they're not looking at advertising.
The FTC last week announced plans to hold public discussions in December over concerns around native advertising.
"The industry is going to step up its efforts on disclosure," says Altimeter's Lieb.
It's easy to understand why. Native ads on Facebook's mobile app say, "Suggested App" in light gray on advertisements to download apps. The smallest, lightest gray text says, "sponsored." It's difficult to read the text.
Native ads are designed to blend in and look more like publisher content. Friends are able to share, comment and like these sponsored ad units. Friends become advertisers.
When Mercedes saw LinkedIn's new in-news advertising opportunity and the chance to get in front of the high net worth audience, the company jumped, says Mark Aikman, social media chief at Mercedes.
"They may be the closest to the current Mercedes Benz buyer and they represent the best opportunity," says Aikman.
Computer maker Lenovo bit at the chance to get in front of such executives as chief technology offers. LinkedIn allowed precision targeting to that audience, says says Lenovo's social media chief, Roderick Strother.
"What we really wanted to get in front of was the decision makers, executive decision makers with specific responsibility for making those decisions for buying IT products. Your C-suite really in that area," he says.
Strother says his campaign on LinkedIn using its sponsored updates performed four times better than display ads.
"The ability for a marketer to tell a story is resonating extremely well with our members," says Jonathan Lister, vice president in LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions advertising unit.
LinkedIn's advertising business makes up just 24% of the company's revenue. The network's biggest moneymaker is its group whose recruiting tool helps drive 56% of total revenue. Using LinkedIn Recruiter for finding talent, which runs nearly $9,000 a year per seat, means you're a somebody in the corporate headhunter world.
Recruiter's success helps explain why company executives don't overplay its identity as a media business. Instead, LinkedIn's media push is positioned as a way to attract people to its other services.
LinkedIn's core mission -- to connect the world's professionals -- hasn't wavered. At the same time, members biggest request has been content, says LinkedIn's Lister. And LinkedIn has obliged.
Despite LinkedIn's downplay of its media business, The Washington Post would have taken those kind of digital ad dollars any day. And if they had, well, they likely wouldn't be owned by CEO Jeff Bezos today.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Facebook, other banned sites to be open in China free trade zone

Reuters has reported that Facebook, Twitter and other websites deemed sensitive and blocked by the Chinese government will be accessible in a planned free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, the SouthChina Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
Citing unidentified government sources, the Hong Kong newspaper also said authorities would welcome bids from foreign telecoms firms for licences to provide Internet services in the zone.
China's ruling Communist Party aggressively censors the Internet, routinely deleting online postings and blocking access to websites it deems inappropriate or politically sensitive.
Facebook and Twitter were blocked by Beijing in mid-2009 following deadly riots in the western province of Xinjiang that authorities say were abetted by the social networking sites. The New York Times has been blocked since reporting last year that the family of then-Premier Wen Jiabao had amassed a huge fortune.
The recently approved Shanghai FTZ is slated to be a test bed for convertibility of China's yuan currency and further liberalization of interest rates, as well as reforms of foreign direct investment and taxation, the State Council, or cabinet, has said. The zone will be formally launched on September 29, the Securities Times reported earlier this month.
The idea of unblocking websites in the FTZ was to make foreigners "feel like at home", the South China Morning Post quoted a government source as saying. "If they can't get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China," the source said.
A spokesman for Facebook said the company had no comment on the newspaper report. No one at Twitter or the New York Times was immediately available to comment.
For Facebook, the world's largest online social network, with 1.15 billion users, China represents an important new market for growth.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has studied Mandarin and visited China to meet with local Web entrepreneurs, has said that making Facebook available in China is in keeping with his company's goal of connecting the world.
Earlier this month, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg met with the head of China's State Council Information Office during a visit to Beijing. The pair discussed Facebook's importance as Chinese enterprises continue to expand abroad "and various cooperation matters around that," according to a post on the Council's website.
Shares of Facebook were up more than 4 percent at $49.19 in trading on Tuesday, though some analysts attributed the gains to Citigroup upgrading its rating of Facebook's stock from neutral to buy.
Twitter, which is preparing for an initial public offering, could also benefit by being available in China, the world's largest Internet market by users. Still, many Chinese Web users already use similar services, such as Sina Corp's Weibo.
China's three biggest telecoms companies - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - have been informed of the decision to allow foreign competition in the FTZ, the sources told the newspaper.

The three state-owned companies had not raised complaints because they knew the decision had been endorsed by Chinese leadership including Premier Li Keqiang, who has backed the Shanghai FTZ, the sources added.

Facebook Partners With PayPal, Stripe, Braintree To Autofill Billing Info In Mobile Commerce Apps

Josh Constine from reports Facebook now partnering with Paypal and others for auto-fill information. He writes:

Facebook wants to put an end to typing billing details on the small screen, help developers and payment processors earn more money, and prove that its app install ads make money for e-commerce companies. So today it’s rolling out last month’s test of “Autofill With Facebook” in partnership with PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree to two e-commerce apps, JackThreads and Mosaic, with more to come.
It’s important to understand this feature is a partnership with payment providers and is additive, not necessarily competitive, at least for now. One day Facebook could try to conquer more of the payments flow by processing payments itself. But currently, if a developer uses Braintree, Autofill With Facebook layers on top of it, and Braintree still earns its processing fee. These three partners could become two shortly, as we’ve reported that PayPal may be close to buying Braintree.
The “early test” feature as Facebook calls it will appear in the Mosaic (photo book-buying) andJackThreads (hip clothing) iOS apps for some users starting today, and for those who have payment info stored on Facebook by the end the week. You can add your payment info to Facebook by hand here.
Previously this test was only available in early beta to a small percentage of JackThreads users. Developers can sign up for access later, but won’t be able to use the feature until they get approval.
Update: Facebook tells me that while PayPal has committed to joining the test and supporting Autofill With Facebook, it hasn’t actually built out its integration yet. JackThreads and Mosaic both run on Braintree, and Stripe has built its integration for some apps that will launch the feature soon.


Here’s how the feature works for users. E-commerce app shoppers browse items and add them to their carts like they normally do. Then something different happens if they’ve previously stored billing info with Facebook when they bought a Facebook Gift, Credits or in-game purchase on desktop.
JackThreadsWhen these people go to checkout and are asked to fill in their billing info, such as credit-card number, billing address, and shipping address, a “Check Out Faster With Facebook” message and blue “Autofill Your Info” button slides down from the top of the screen. When tapped, users are shuttled into their Facebook for iOS app where they can look over their payment details and select a shipping address.
They click “OK” and on the backend, Facebook and the app developer’s payment processor do a “handshake” so the credit card and other info is securely transferred. On the front end, the user only sees the last four digits of their credit card number for security. The user is then whisked back to the commerce app where they see their payment info pre-populated in the fields. They can then confirm their purchase without ever having had to type anything.
Some people are sure to think Facebook passing your credit card info around is creepy, but in fact the social network has a relatively solid track record for data security. It’s had a few hiccups and bugs, but no wide-scale hacks of user passwords like Twitter and LinkedIn have. If you’re concerned with Facebook taking over the world, though, this test could certainly be a pre-cursor to it knowing more about what you buy. Then again, if you own Facebook stock, maybe that’s a good thing.


For users, this makes converting on mobile much quicker and simpler. That means they’re more likely to go through with a purchase before they get distracted or second-guess themselves. E-commerce app developers earn more money thanks to more conversions.
As for payment processors, they get to handle more payment volume and earn more fees.
For Facebook, this is part of “Build – Grow – Monetize” platform strategy. When you make an auto-filled purchase, Facebook knows who you are, how much you spent, and in what app. That’s critical to it proving the return on investment of its app install ads. If JackThreads hits you with a $1 Facebook ad to download its app, and Facebook sees that you clicked and five minutes later spent $25 at JackThreads, it can convince the e-commerce app developer it’s a good use of spend and they should buy more campaigns.
When I asked Facebook payments product manager Deb Liu about working together with PayPal and other payment processors, she explained “We’re all trying to solve the same problem: helping devs monetize and convert. The more conversions, the more payment volume that goes through Braintree, Stripe, or PayPal [and they make their fee that way].”
And Liu said Facebook is now looking to identify and fix other issues with e-commerce: “Mobile is where the conversion gap is, where our customers are going in the future. It’s really important to make this an amazing mobile product. That said, we don’t rule out ever doing this on desktop some day.”

Facebook Nears $50 Stock Price

Jim Edwards of the discusses Facebook's stock price as it nears a record $50.00 

Facebook's stock price is closing in on $50. It was up 4.2% this morning to just above $49.
And Citi just issued a report giving the stock a target price of $55 per share.
A year ago, this situation would have been unthinkable. Facebook launched at $38/share and promptly tanked, flirting with just $17 back in 2012. When I bought $1,000 of Facebook stock last June at just over $31, a lot of readers laughed. They continued laughing as I lost nearly half my stake on paper.
So why has everyone suddenly come round?
There are a bunch of things going on at Facebook, and it's a complicated company that is sometimes difficult to understand. But here's my reading of why investors are suddenly so bullish about a company they hated a year ago.
Basically, it's about what Facebook has not yet done, that is enticing investors.
Since going public, Facebook has added on some fairly basic advertising formats for advertisers. They're all (conceptually) simple products that have been available on competing web sites for years: There are the equivalent of web display ads, and there's an ad exchange ("FBX") for buyers who want "programmatic" or real-time bidding on users who come in from other sites carrying cookies than can be retargeted with new ads.
These "simple" products added $700 million in revenues in Q2 2013, and Facebook now books $1.8 billion in revenue every quarter.
That's just from the low-hanging fruit, the stuff that everyone understands.
Facebook has also added some complicated "Big Data" marketing products via partnerships with the consumer market research firms Datalogix and Axciom. In those "custom audience" products, advertisers can match their own email or phone lists versus Facebook's, and see the difference in the success of their ad campaigns targeted that way. Facebook has a partnership with Nielsen, too, that helps advertisers figure out how well their ad dollars are driving sales. Note that TV companies don't have these products.
We don't have very good visibility on how successful Facebook's Big Data efforts have been. But COO Sheryl Sandberg gave a clue on the Q2 2013 conference call. She said, "We've made a major investment in helping DR marketers measure returns. ... their budgets are flexible around ROI. ... They adjust to their budgets."
To translate: DR stands for "direct response." It refers to companies who spend, for instance, $50,000 on Facebook ads and then wait to see what that generates in sales. If it generates, say, $100,000 in sales, then the advertiser will spend another $50,000 or more, and recalculate. The spend is driven by the sales results, and as long as sales continues to go up so does ad spending on Facebook. It's gritty, unglamorous stuff — but it's the guts of the e-commerce business.
It's important to understand that, because the advertising you see a lot of isn't hooked to DR spending. "Brand" or corporate image advertising — the stuff that makes you smile when you watch the Super Bowl — tends to have a fixed budget that is set once a year at most companies, regardless of how successful it is. Facebook has simply decided that it is going to take the DR money, not so much the brand money, because if you can demonstrate that sales follow then DR spend rises quickly.
So that's the current growth story at Facebook.
Now look at what the company has planned for the future, revenue streams it hasn't yet gotten a grip on:
  • Video advertising
  • Instagram advertising
  • Mobile advertising inside the FBX exchange.
  • Graph search advertising
  • Paypal style payments
  • E-commerce
  • Off-Facebook advertising using the Atlas ad server Facebook acquired from Microsoft
  • Off-Facebook mobile ad network advertising allowing advertisers to target users while they're inside other people's apps
  • Parse, the mobile app cloud development site
Not all of these will come good. But Facebook only needs two or three to be big hits, and that bolts on another $1 billion in revenue.
And all of that barely scratches the surface of Facebook's most valuable asset: The fact that it knows virtually everything about its users, in a way that other advertisers and market research firms simply do not.
The interesting thing is that most people — and most investors — have only just gotten up to speed on the current revenue products at Facebook. That's why I held onto my Facebook stock, and why I'm now glad that I did so. (Sure, I haven't made a fortune, but I've certainly made enough to buy a round of drinks while I toast all the haters who thought $31 was overpriced.)
The caveats: As a technical matter, Facebook is trading way above where it should be compared to average price-earnings ratios for S&P 500 stocks. So one obvious thing to say here is that if you bought Facebook in 2012, now is the time to sell. Perhaps I should too. But given that FB would have to lose about 36% of its value before I lose any money, I'm going to hold onto it for a while longer.

Twitter In Talks To Get 1 Billion Dollar Loan

Lisa O'Carroll of theguardian reports that Twitter is in talks with Wall Street Banks to facilitate a 1 Billion Loan She writes:

Twitter founders Biz Stone, right, and Evan Williams at their office in San Francisco. The company is expected to be valued at $10bn at IPO Photograph: Jeff Chiu
Twitter could float within two months and has reportedly entered talks with Wall Street banks about a loan facility of up to $1bn (£623m) ahead of its stock exchange debut.
The New York Post, which has reported Twitter's talks with JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, says the float is expected before the US Thanksgiving holiday on 28 November.
Twitter announced it was planning a float earlier this month but did not specify its timetable, filing S-1 documents for the initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.
It is not obliged to specify its launch date until 21 days before the IPO. 
Investors value Twitter, founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, at more than $10bn (£6.3bn).
The New York Post says that the loan facility is yet to be finalised but is in talks about a credit line of between $500m and $1bn.
The funding would give Twitter extra flexibility to bolster its position ahead of a float with possible acquisitions that would improve its financial ability. 
Recent acquisitions including MoPub, a mobile advertising network and Trendrr, which tracks "second screen" communities chatting during TV shows. 
Financing ahead of a public flotation also means Twitter would avoid having to return to the capital markets to finance international expansions following a stock market launch. 
This follows a well-worn route of other companies that have floated. Facebooktook out an $8bn financing package before it launched, while social games company Zynga raised about $1bn.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sponsored Job Listings Now Appearing In LinkedIn’s Main Feed, And On Mobile

Sarah Perez from reports that LinkedIn is now showing sponsored job listings on the main feed AND mobile feed. She writes:

LinkedIn’s Sponsored Jobs listings are getting increased visibility today, with a move that has them now appearing in LinkedIn’s main feed on the member homepage. Before, Sponsored Jobs were only available in the “Jobs You May Be Interested In” module on the homepage, and in emails sent out to subscribers. The move highlights LinkedIn’s push to make its homepage feed the main place for kicking off interactions with the site’s content. The feed currently also includes other regular draws, like updates about your connections’ job changes, profile updates, recommended articles on LinkedIn Today, posts, likes, discussions and more.
The Sponsored Jobs offering launched on the network last fall, allowing employers to target candidates through paid postings. Employers can bid for top placement in the job recommendations, and pay when candidates click through. The benefit to these listings is that they have the capability of reaching those who may not be actively looking for work, but happen across the job recommendation on the site or via email, and decide to learn more or apply.
By placing a Sponsored Listing in the LinkedIn feed, there’s an increased chance that potential job seekers, including passive ones, will discover it, as the feed becomes more of a centralized resource for all of the current happenings across the network – a concept popularized by Facebook’s News Feed detailing friends’ social activity.
More importantly, perhaps, LinkedIn says today’s change involving Sponsored Jobs will bring the listings to mobile for the first time.
The company only recently began taking advantage of mobile as a place to really attract job seekers, having introduced the ability for users to search for jobs in its mobile apps earlier this summer, and then in August, allowing them to actually apply for jobs via their phone – even without a resume. The challenge of mobile, with its small screens and uploading difficulties, has historically made job search more of a desktop-only activity. But mobile phones are now users’ go-to computing devices, and a growing number of users (6 million in the U.S.) have used mobile devices to apply for jobs – a number that’s doubled year-over-year. Other job search companies, including CareerBuilder to, have already offered mobile apply, as has Proven, an app going after the “un-LinkedIn,” meaning more of the entry-level jobs and those for service workers often found on sites like Craigslist.
LinkedIn says today that over 30 percent of members who view jobs on its network come from mobile, and early tests indicate that Sponsored Jobs are four times more engaging on mobile than desktop. That bodes well for the company’s ability to take advantage of consumers’ changing behaviors when it comes to the rapid adoption of mobile devices.
Sponsored Listings are now rolling out to the feed of LinkedIn’s English-speaking members on the desktop, on the mobile web, and in its iOS and Android applications, and will expand globally over the next few weeks.

Secure Your Facebook Account.

Dennis O'reilly from CNET wrote this nice article on how to secure your Facebook account in 6 easy steps. He writes:

Facebook wants its customers to share, and the company is very good at convincing users to make their private Facebook information available to the public.
According to a study published last year by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, changes in December 2009 to Facebook's privacy controls, and the introduction of Community Pages and Connected Profiles the following April very likely caused users to share more.
This reversed a four-year trend (2005 to 2009) of Facebook users tightening their privacy settings to share less, as Bianca Bosker described on the Huffington Post last March.
Facebook's recent proposal to change its privacy policy yet again has been criticized by privacy advocates, as Dara Kerr reported earlier this month. One of the changes will allow teenagers' names, images, and personal information to be used in Facebook ads.
According to the terms of a 2011 court order, Facebook must ask users for permission before making any changes to the service's privacy policy. Steven Musil reported last week that FTC officials contacted Facebook after learning about the company's plans as part of the agency's monitoring of the court order.
A privacy help center as readable as the tax code
The Facebook Help Center is overflowing with privacy information. That's the problem. Even theBasic Privacy Settings & Tools page lists 16 different topics in three categories. Another 10 separate topics are covered under Choose Who You Share With, six more in Advanced Privacy Controls, and eight more under Your Personal Data.
Altogether you're expected to work your way through 40 entries for managing Facebook privacy, many of which list multistep instructions for changing a single setting. Of course, one of the last of the 40 privacy entries links to Facebook's Privacy Policy, a portion of which is referred to as the Data Use Policy.
Wouldn't you rather spend your time on Facebook sharing pictures of your fast-food lunch or watching videos of grumpy cats? If so, you can skip scrolling through screen after screen of shag-carpet text and instead zip through this six-step Facebook privacy refresher.
Step one: See your profile as others see it
Once you know how forthcoming your current Facebook setup is, you can decide what changes you need to make to your share settings. To view your account as others view it, sign into your account, choose the gear icon in the top-right corner, click Privacy Settings, and select Timeline and Tagging in the left pane.
Next, click View As to the right of "Review what other people see on your timeline" in the "Who can see things on my timeline?" section. Click Okay to close the pop-up window, if necessary. Your timeline will then appear as the public sees it.
Facebook "View As Public" profile
At the strictest privacy setting, the public sees only your Facebook profile and cover photos, and a link to contact you, which you can restrict to friends of friends.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
If you've limited access to your timeline to friends only, the public will see only your profile and cover photos, a link for contacting you (which you can limit to friends of friends), the people you're following, and the groups you belong to. To view your profile as a particular person sees it, click View as Specific Person at the top of the window and enter the person's name.
To change who can view your timeline, return to Facebook's Timeline and Tagging settings and click Edit to the right of "Who can see posts you've been tagged in on your timeline?" and "Who can see what others post on your timeline?" Make your selections for each setting on their drop-down menus and then click Close.
Facebook Timeline and Tagging view settings
Change who can view and post to your timeline via the drop-down menu in Facebook's Timeline and Tagging settings.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
Step two: Make sure you're browsing securely
Last month Facebook made secure browsing the default for all users. To ensure you're using a secure connection whenever one is available, click Security in the left pane of Facebook's Account Settings and make sure Secure Browsing is enabled.
The security settings also let you enable log-in notifications and approvals, and view and edit your recognized devices and active sessions. To remove a device, click Edit to the right and then Remove next to the device's entry. Likewise, to end one or all active Facebook sessions, click Edit to the right of Active Sessions and choose End Activity or End All Activity, respectively.
Facebook Security Settings options for ending active sessions
End some or all active Facebook sessions by clicking Edit to the right of Active Sessions in the Security Settings and select either End Activity or End All Activity.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
Step three: Limit access to you and your Facebook stuff
To restrict access to your past and future Facebook posts, click Privacy in the left pane of the Account Settings. Then choose Limit Past Posts under "Who can see my posts?" and Edit to the right of "Who can see your future posts?" in the same section. A warning appears when you attempt to limit access to all your past posts at once rather than changing the setting post-by-post.
Facebook warning about changing access to past posts
Facebook warns you that changing access to all your past posts at once rather than individually can't be undone.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
The options under "Who can contact me?" let you limit friend requests and filter the messages you receive. You can also restrict who can look you up by e-mail address and phone number, who can look up your timeline by name, and whether your timeline will link to search engines.
Step four: Tame your timeline and tags
You've already determined who can view your timeline (see step one), but you can also block friends from adding to your timeline and review photos someone attempts to tag you in via the Timeline and Tagging Settings. The only two options for "Who can post to my timeline?" under "Who can add things to my timeline?" are Friends and Only Me. To enable review of posts your tagged in before they appear on your timeline, click Edit to the right of the entry and select Enable in the drop-down menu.
Under "How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?" you can enable the feature that allows you to review tags people add to your own posts before they appear, set who besides the normal audience sees the posts you're tagged in, and decide whether tag suggestions appear when photos that look like you are uploaded.
Facebook Tagging and Timeline Settings for facial recognition
To prevent Facebook from suggesting tags when photos that look like you are uploaded, set this option to No One.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
Step five: Don't let your apps run amok
Some Facebook apps grab all the permissions they can, including access to your information and the ability to post photos and status updates "on your behalf." For example, the IFTTT app lays claim to your complete profile and all your activities, as well as some of the profile and activities of your friends.
Facebook app settings for IFTTT
Facebook apps such as IFTTT require access to your entire account and some of your friends' information.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
To review your Facebook app permissions, click Apps in the left pane of the Account Settings window, choose Edit to the right of the app's entry, and either change the app's visibility via the drop-down menu, or click "Remove app" at the bottom of the entry. You can also click "Report app" to let Facebook know the app is spam, inappropriate, or requesting too much information, or to contact the developer to report a bug or abusive content, or for another reason.
Report app options for Facebook apps
Report an app to Facebook as spam or otherwise inappropriate, or contact the app's developer via the "Report app" option in the app's settings.
(Credit: Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET)
To prevent other Facebook users from volunteering your information to the Facebook apps they use, click Edit to the right of "Apps others use," uncheck the categories of information listed, and click Save Changes.
Step six: Opt out of Facebook ads
Facebook currently doesn't let third-party apps or ad networks use your image or name in ads, but that may change in the future. To opt out ahead of time, click Ads in the left pane of the Account Settings window and choose Edit in the Third Party Sites section. Select "No one" in the drop-down menu under "If we allow this in the future, show my information to" and then click Save Changes.
To exclude yourself from Facebook's social ads, click Edit in the Ads & Friends section, choose "No one" on the drop-down menu next to "Pair my social actions with ads for," and select Save Changes.