Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed details about a new type of search engine on the popular social network, allowing users to find simple answers to questions about their friends.
If you ever wanted to know who among your friends likes Star Wars or took a photo of London, then the new Facebook Graph Search could be your go-to service.
Today Zuckerberg took the curtain off the souped-up search tool, saying it’s meant to provide users with a “precise answer” rather than a link to an answer by leveraging the data already present on its site.
For instance, in the search field you can receive results on queries such as “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing,” and much more.
For photos results, you can learn about “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” “photos of my friends taken in New York,” for example.
Searching for places can yield a varied range of results, from “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India,” to “countries my friends have visited.”
Finally in interests, users can use Graph Search to find “music my friends like,” “languages my friends speak,” “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” and “books read by CEOs,” among hundreds of other queries.
Facebook must’ve known privacy concerns would be raised with this rollout, and in a blog post the company wrote “We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.”
Graph Search was launched today but it isn’t available immediately to all users. Go here to click on the join Waiting List button to be invited to try the service.
The new product is a direct shot at Google, the search engine leader. “Entering the search market gives Facebook the opportunity to compete with Google and Microsoft by giving advertisers a real use for all the likes and shares they collect on the site,” Washington Post writes.
“If Facebook would decide to become serious about search, it would be in a position to give Google a run for its money,” said Karsten Weide, an analyst with IDC, a financial research company, as Times of India writes.
How is Facebook looking to monetize Graph Search? “This could potentially be a business over time but for now we’re focused on user experience,” Zuckerberg says, according to Forbes.
This article was originally published on Digital Journal [Link]
On Monday the mobile photo-sharing service Instagram, now owned by Facebook, announced a major overhaul to its terms of service, stating it has the perpetual right to sell its users’ photographs without payment or notification.
Taking effect January 16, 2013, the new policy says it will have the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, “which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency,” as CNET notes.
The dry language in the new Terms of Service may be confusing to some users, but essentially it states the company may accept payment to in exchange for the use of a person’s username, likeness, photos and other data for sponsored content or promotions, CBS News writes.
“That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo,” CNET writes.
Also worth noting, CNET adds, is if Instagram users continue to upload photos after January 16, 2013, and then delete their account after the deadline, they may have granted Facebook an irrevocable right to sell those images in perpetuity.On forums such as reddit, users complain this new policy gives Instagram and Facebook too much power over a user’s photos.
Remarking on the public nature of Instagram’s service, one commenter writes, “Public is fine and all, but when someone uses something to make money, you’d think the original creator (if you want to call Instagramming creating), should have a say in it.”
Deleting your Instagram account but saving your photos
In order to kill your Instagram account, you might want to download your photos first. A service such as Instaport can download your entire Instagram photo library in just a few minutes, as Wired notes.
You then need to notify Instagram you plan to delete your account by going here. Realize, though, Instagram can’t reactivate deactivated accounts and you will not be able to sign up for Instagram later with the same account name.
This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]
By Leigh Goessl (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
A new survey has found that less than one-third of companies have a designated employee to manage social media accounts. Instead, it appears most businesses assign social media as a task on top of other employee job responsibilities.
The survey, conducted by Ragan Communications and NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions, found that employers “are cautious” about assigning social media as a primary duty to specific employees, reported Mashable.
In determining these results, the two firms polled over 2,700 social-media professionals and it was discovered 27 percent of companies assign social media as a position, but 65 percent opt to include social media as an additional job responsibility on top of other designated tasks
.”They’re doing events, they’re putting out newsletters, they’re writing press releases, and now they’re handed this task of overseeing Twitter accounts, Facebook and Pinterest pages,” says Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, in a press release.
The survey results led to the creation of an 18-page white paper that outlines all the findings.
“It is becoming more important than ever for communicators to pause to evaluate the role of social media within their organizations,” said Demetrios Skalkotos, senior vice president, NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions in the press release. “The Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey provides insight to help communicators fully understand the current impact and potential of social media as a marketing and communications tool that can drive their business, deliver a positive client experience, create and sustain a positive brand and reputation.”
Other findings showed businesses have not been increasing their social media budgets and are unlikely to do so in 2013. Additionally, 70 percent of survey participants were “dissatisfied” or only “somewhat satisfied” with how they measure social media efforts.
Many experts today recommend including social media strategy as part of a company’s marketing plan as without a plan, it’s unlikely objectives will be reached.
The companies plan to create a six-part article series to be posted on Ragan.com that explores the survey data in greater detail.
This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]
When we tweet or post links on Facebook, it’s hard to tell if anyone is clicking on them. Sure, a retweet and a “like” can give us a clue to the link’s popularity, but many people can click on a tweet, say, and never retweet it. How can we find out if our social media efforts are effective?
Along comes Squeeze to give us a peek into that world. Developed by Toronto-based Sequentia Environics, the newly launched Squeeze measures how many people clicked on links on various social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Sequentia believes the new product will make it simpler for marketers or journalists to see what actions are successful, and which need some tweaking.
“We’re shocked to learn how large enterprises on Fortune 50 list were using Excel to measure social sentiment monitoring,” says Jennifer Evans, Founder and Chief Strategist at Sequentia. “Their work didn’t tell them anything about how their content generated leads.”
Evans and her team came up with Squeeze in order to give marketers and execs a much-needed hand in learning how their social media time was being spent. Were people clicking more on infographics in Twitter, or on questions posed as tweets? Did Facebook encourage more engagement than Google+? What day delivered the best results? Squeeze wants to deliver those results, in real-time.
We tested out Squeeze for several weeks and we found the platform to be simple and powerful. We learned quickly how Facebook links seem to attract more visitors than tweets, and a dashboard nicely lays out graphics on where traffic came from. We also liked the feature showing us the best time to deploy content, from the day of week to the time of day we’d most likely see high engagement.
A channel comparison chart told us what social media outlet saw the most virality, something we often came back to when considering where to post links.
“Squeeze lets you see great analytics and how everything fits together,” Evans says. She adds many other social media channels can be integrated into Squeeze, such as an image on Pinterest (as long as it has a dedicated URL) or a YouTube video, if a link is placed in the clip description space.
Sequentia isn’t the only player in this space. bit.ly is well known for analyzing your links, but its free service is limited: it will only connect to Facebook and Twitter, and you can’t customize what channels to measure. Also, the Enterprise version of bit.ly costs minimum $995 a month, while Squeeze’s upcoming paid features will be priced at $500/month, for the top Enterprise version. For a scaled-back version at $50/month, users can get unlimited form integration (for those doing newsletters), unlimited content assets, and one year of data retention.
As social media and marketing continue to intersect, tools like Squeeze will become more prevalent for content creators hoping for deeper analytics. It’s not enough to see mentions on Twitter; to truly gauge your online performance, you need apps delivering timely info to determine if you need to send out that link to the masses.
by Leigh Goessl (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
This week both Facebook and the ACLU have filed a brief in an Eastern Virginia Court asserting the “Like” Button is covered as free speech under the First Amendment.
This paperwork was filed on behalf of one of the six employees that were fired from a Hampton, Va. sheriff’s department, alleging they were fired because they “liked” an opposing candidate to the sheriff on Facebook during the 2009 election campaign
.Digital Journal reported on the case in May. U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson had ruled clicking the “Like” button is not the same type of expression as typing out a message, thus is not covered under the First Amendment.It was widely speculated at the time this ruling would be appealed, and that is indeed the case.
This decision is now being appealed by one of the plaintiffs. According to Forbes, Daniel Ray Carter, Jr., one of the fired employees, has appealed the decision. Both Facebook and ACLU have filed paperwork in support of the appeal arguing that clicking the “Like” button is free expression and deserves Constitutional protection.
“The district court’s holding that “‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection” because it does not “involve actual statements,” J.A. 1159, betrays a misunderstanding of the nature of the communication at issue and disregards wellsettled Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit precedent. Liking a Facebook Page (or other website) is core speech: it is a statement that will be viewed by a small group of Facebook Friends or by a vast community of online users.”
Facebook essentially explains in its brief how the network operates, and also explains how it is built upon the sharing and expression of views by users. It compares itself to more traditional forms of expression, indicating the “Like” button, “represented by a thumbs up icon”, is a way for users to share information on the network, and should be protected under the Constitution.
“If Carter had stood on a street corner and announced, “I like Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff,” there would be no dispute that his statement was constitutionally protected speech. Carter made that very statement; the fact that he did it online, with a click of a computer’s mouse, does not deprive Carter’s speech of constitutional protection,” Facebook wrote.
Facebook should be applauded for filing this brief to support the free speech rights of its users,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Facebook has become a means of communication for tens of millions of Americans, and if basic activity on Facebook such as ‘liking’ were denied First Amendment protection, the free expression of ideas that the First Amendment is meant to safeguard would be severely limited.”
Now the issue is back in the hands of the Court to decide. This case highlights some interesting dynamics as technology continues to seep into daily activities. Laws were obviously not written with technology in mind, so it is not uncommon to find there are many grey areas that have emerged as a result of the impact of technological progression.Facebook’s highly-used “Like” button, is a current example of exactly how forms of expression do or do fit into the line of the law.
“It’s a somewhat odd decision that a Facebook Like is not protected speech,” Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project, Berkman Center for Internet & Society had told MSNBCback in the spring. “The judge was essentially devaluing the ‘Like’ as speech because of how simple it is to do.”
Fortune brings up another point that Facebook “actually creates all kinds of potential headaches” with its popular “Like” button, noting that “liking” a website or page “expresses interest, but not necessarily support”. The article muses whether or not anyone really know if a person “likes” the page they’ve clicked, or are they simply following updates and news?
The Forbes article also speculates whether or not some of the issues could be mitigated if Facebook altered the name of the button to say something like “follow” or “track”.
However, this might go against Facebook’s need to make itself appealing to advertisers, and as the network struggles on the stock market, making such a change may not be desired. If they did though, it would clearly outline what someone means when they click “Like”.
This article originally appeared in Digital Journal [Link]