close

Facebook

Tribunal says unfriending colleagues on Facebook is bullying

Tribunal says unfriending colleagues on Facebook is bullying

Unfriending a Facebook ‘friend’ could amount to bullying says Australian tribunal

Facebook was in the news a couple of weeks ago for the ‘dislike’ button. Now, its in the news once again. This week a tribunal in Tasmania ruled that ‘unfriending’ someone on Facebook equals bullying in the workplace.

The Fair Work Commission decided trimming someone out of your news feeds is equivalent to risking a colleague’s health and safety.

The case came up when Real estate agent Rachael Roberts filed an application with Australia’s Fair Work Commission, in order to put a stop to workplace bullying by the agency’s principal, Lisa Bird.

While Roberts sited 18 different incidents in which she claimed she was being bullied, nine were upheld by the Commission, according to News.com, including what may be the most provocative slight of all: that Lisa Bird defriended Roberts on Facebook.

Bird who works at the View estate agency in Launceston, was found guilty of bullying sales administrator Rachel Roberts. The tribunal ruled in the favor of Roberts claiming that Bird showed a “lack of emotional maturity” for having the nerve not to say “good morning” to her colleague and deleting her from Facebook afterwards.

Roberts had filed a slew of complaints, including that she was called a “naughty little school girl running to the teacher” and forbidden from adjusting the office’s air conditioning — which she says led her to seek psychological treatment and medication for sleeplessness, depression and anxiety.

Plans for an anti-bullying order for the employer are now in the offing.

A study compiled by a doctoral student from the University of Colorado found that 40 percent of people in real life would avoid anyone who unfriended them on Facebook. Women were also more likely than men to take umbrage at the affront. That may not be altogether surprising.

A safer option perhaps would be ‘hiding’ updates by the annoying “friends”.

While workplace bullying is a surprisingly predominant and productivity-slashing phenomenon that can be difficult to describe precisely, the decision in Australia sets a rather stunning precedent when it comes to social media principles.

read more

Facebook patent shows how the ’empathy’ button may look like

Facebook patent shows how the ’empathy’ button may look like

Facebook patent reveals what its ’dislike’ button might look like

After years of requests stemming from its user base of more than a billion people, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO earlier this week had confirmed its plans that the company is working on a “dislike/empathy” button so that users can express dislike, sadness or empathy rather than negativity without leaving a comment. On Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will begin public testing soon.

While the Facebook’s emoji reaction patents go back to 2013, however, a recent document filed on December 23, 2014 explains how the tool may look like on the social network. Users may now have the option to choose from a range of emoji that would best describe their reaction, which can used as an alternative to the usual Like thumbs up button.

Facebook patent shows how the ’empathy’ button may look like

 

Currently, Slack’s emoji reaction uses icons found on iOS/Mac OS, and allows users to choose from any of the hundred options available at present. According to the subject matter, it allows for a more flexible and comical way to reply to posts.

The patent filing shows a Emoji Selector button next to the Like and Comment buttons on Facebook posts. When clicked, it reveals a small set selectable Emoji, with 5 in one concept drawing and 14 in another. Once tapped, a thumbnail of the sender’s face with their chosen emoji overlaid appears in a row above the post’s Like count and Comment reel.

Even though Facebook has its own set of emoji art, however, going by the patent explanation, it could give people a universally understandable way to instantly share emotions beyond Likes without overly cluttering its interface. In fact, Facebook already offers ways to share Emoji-based “Feeling” status updates. This would just be extending Emoji sharing into a feedback format.

The mockups below indicate that user icons may also show next to the emoji reactions to display actually who ‘liked’ or ’empathized’ with a post.

That sounds familiar, as the same was viewed before with Path‘s ‘Emotions’ button that has been around since 2011. Facebook recently tested using Path-style flyout buttons for posting statuses. Facebook turned the Send button on Messenger into a Thumbs Up back in 2013, if you had not written any text just like Path’s Check Mark.

While the final design could certainly be different, it does look like Facebook sees merit in providing a limited selection of emoji reactions, likely including a sad face, as an answer to requests for a Dislike button.

read more

Facebook is officially working on a ‘Dislike’ button

Facebook is officially working on a 'Dislike' button

Hate a post or a page, soon you will get a ‘Dislike’ button on Facebook

Facebook has finally confirmed that it is working on a ‘Dislike’ button after years of requests from its users.

The company’s co-founder and chief, Mark Zuckerberg revealed the ongoing tests during a live Q&A session held at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California on Tuesday.

“People have asked about the ‘dislike’ button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it,” he said.

Zuckerberg acknowledged for long users have been able to ‘Like’ something on Facebook with the click of a button. However, that does not work for some content so well.

“Not every moment is a good moment,” he said. “If you share something that’s sad, like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away _ it may not be comfortable to like that post.”

The answer to that problem might casually be referred to as a dislike button. However, he went on to say he did not want it to be a mechanism with which people could “down vote” others’ posts. He was also clear that the button won’t be about fostering negativity the way YouTube and Reddit’s downvotes often can.

Instead, it will be for times when clicking ‘Like’ on ‘Sad’ posts felt insensitive. With this service, Facebook appears to prefer is something that allows you to express “empathy” with “more options.”

This is not the first time Zuckerberg has considered the idea of a ‘Dislike’ button. In December, he disclosed that he had been weighing how to implement a dislike button that would be a “force for good.” This may mean that the company is working on a wider range of reactions, so that posts are not limited to simple Likes and Dislikes.

The CEO expects the new feature to begin public testing soon, and it will roll it out to everyone if accepts it.

read more

Top 15 interesting facts you must know about Facebook

Top 15 Interesting Facts you must know about Facebook

Here are 15 surprising things about Facebook that you may not know

The social networking giant, Facebook has a lot of surprising things that one may not know. However, it would be interesting to know some things about Facebook that are disclosed below.

1. Al Pacino was Facebook’s first face

It is impossible to believe that the first face on Facebook was that of Al Pacino. Until 2007, it was assumed for some reason that the face of Facebook was that of Mark Zuckerberg. But as Al Placino was dumb, people have assumed that the logo of the first face created by Zuckerberg and his friend Andrew McCollum.

Here are 15 surprising things about Facebook that you may not know

2. Everyday 600,000 attempts are made to hack Facebook accounts

Hackers mostly try to hack the account of the member’s friends to try and sell fake goods. Another reason is to update your friend’s status to say “I’M A HUGE POOPHEAD” and many more.

3. 64% of Facebook users visit the site on a daily basis

The daily visitors on Facebook are around 64% of the one billion+ subscribers Facebook has, according to Pew Study held in 2014. Thats a whopping 640 million plus visitors throughout the day. However, this ratio was 51% in 2010.

4. Facebook named as a factor in one of three divorces

According to a survey of Divorce-Online, which is a service run by a British legal organization states that Facebook was reduced to a third of all divorce filings last year. The reason provided is that social networking makes it’s easier to better the relations and improves communication that will increase the number of your loved ones.

5. Facebook is accessed by more than 1 billion people monthly on a mobile devices

The Earth’s population is 7 billion, as compared to people who access Facebook on a mobile device on a monthly basis is more than 1 billion. This makes it about 1/7 th of the people on Earth. The monthly users of Facebook are more than 1.28 billion, in comparison to India’s population that is 1.24 billion.

6. People have gotten shot at for unfriending on Facebook

A couple who had unfriended a 30 year old woman on the social network was fatally shot by her father, a Tennessee man in 2012.

7. Facebook tracks sites visited by users even after logging out

Using its widgets such as the Like button, Facebook started tracking users across the Internet in 2014, which is the only one step in the company’s long history of privacy.

8. Get Inbox mail for a fee

You can message people for a few, which will directly go into the inbox. As a result, the annoying “Other” folder can be skipped that no one ever checks.

9. Facebook visitors can give remarks on the experience after using it

It is surprising to know that one in three Facebook users have reported that they have felt worse after visiting the site.

10. Do you know why Facebook is blue in color

As Zuckerberg suffers from red-green color blindness, he chose blue color as he can see that color clearly. In 2010, he told a New Yorker reporter, Jose Antonio Vargas that blue is the richest color for him as he can see all of blue color.

11. There will be more number of dead people than living ones on Facebook someday

The number of Facebook users keep increasing every day. Due to this, there would probably be a time somewhere either in the 2060s or the 2130s, where there would be more people who would have used Facebook rather the users that are alive.

12. Get automatically directed to Mark Zuckerberg’s wall by adding 1/4 to the end of Facebook’s URL

Sometime in either the 2060s or the 2130s, adding of 5 or 6 at the end of the URL, will take you to the respective profiles of Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz, who are Facebook co-founders and Mark’s former college roommates. Also, by adding 7 to the web address would take you to the profile of Arie Hasit, another good friend of Zuckerberg from his days at Harvard.

13. Facebook pages are being used by prostitutes

It is claimed that 83% of prostitutes have Facebook pages, as it is easy to make friends by chatting, says a 2011 study at Columbia University. It helps them to increase their list of friends as well as prospective customers.

14. The average of adult Facebook users has 338 friends

Average Facebook users have around 338 friends on their friend list, according to a 2014 Pew study.

15. What is the meaning of a ‘poke’

The meaning of “Poke” in facebook remains unknown and not answerable. Is it just a simply “hi” or flirting or what is the point? It is not disclosed. Officially, Facebook has never chosen to answer this question. Since, it is unclear, people use it as per their understanding. For instance, you can take it as a voice to make someone know that your are online and waiting for a response.

Do let us know if you have found out any such surprise while using Facebook in the comments section below.

read more

VIDEO: Mark Zuckerberg takes you on a live tour of new Facebook headquarters

VIDEO: Mark Zuckerberg takes you on a live tour of new Facebook headquarters

Here is what the new Facebook headquarters looks like (video)

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook recently put up a live video giving users a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the new headquarters of the company. The 31-year-old billionaire entrepreneur was promoting a Q&A that he will be holding with Facebook users on Tuesday.

He used Facebook’s live streaming video feature, which is similar to the Periscope and Meerkat apps, but is currently restricted to celebrities and others with verified profiles.

Earlier this year, Facebook shifted to the Frank Gehry-designed office space in California. Called MPK20, the new 40,000-square-metre space is reportedly the world’s largest open floor plan, with room for 2800 employees.

On the roof of the building is a 3.6-hectare park with walking trails and outdoor space.

“The building itself is pretty simple and isn’t fancy,” Zuckerberg posted in March. “That’s on purpose. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world.”

 Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg Live video, Zuckerberg Facebook headquarters video, Zuckerberg, PM Modi Facebook headquarters, Facebook headquarters, technology, technology news

In the video, Zuckerberg exhibits as to how the new Facebook office is one giant open space with no special glass cabins for senior execs. What’s astounding is Zuckerberg himself does not have a separate cabin. Instead, his table is similar to the desk of any other employee and is in middle of all the action.

Zuckerberg’s own table is rather basic and filled with books and upcoming projects from Facebook, as shown in the video. The conference room is the only room with walls and they too are see through as they have glass walls. And why is that so?

The reason provided was that at Facebook, they believe that a giant collaborative space is better for working together, instead of giving people little cubicles and special rooms.

In the recent announcement made by Mark Zuckerberg, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the headquarters of Facebook in California on September 27, where he will be having a town hall interaction with Zuckerberg.

The largest Facebook user base outside the U.S. is in India. The company had in June said that 125 million users of its global base of 1.44 billion come from India.

From the time, the livestream has been posted and gone viral, it has reached six million views in less than 24 hours.

First live video at Facebook HQ

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, September 14, 2015

read more

Facebook Planning To Bring Virtual Reality To Phones

Facebook Planning To Bring Virtual Reality To Phones

Virtual Reality To Be Soon Brought To Smartphones By Facebook

Last year, Facebook had shown its interest in virtual reality, when the company had acquired virtual reality headset maker, Oculus. Looks like the social networking giant, is now vying to bring virtual reality to your mobile phones. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, it claims that Facebook is developing such an app to bring it to phones.

Facebook is working on a standalone video app that would support 360-degree or “spherical” videos, like the ones that debuted on YouTube not too long ago, claims the report. The format, typically compiled from multiple cameras, allows users to change their viewing perspective in the video simply by panning and tilting their phones, as if they were at the video’s location.

As conceived, the app is also said to play nicely with the likes of Apple Inc.’s devices and those using Google Inc.’s Android operating system. This would not technically really be virtual reality, as it is not immersive enough. But, there could be a version of the Oculus Rift that will support mobile devices, somewhat similar to the Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard.

However, Facebook refused to comment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has constantly called virtual reality the next “computing platform” after mobile devices. Over the last three decades, the publicity around virtual reality has been removed and decreased. But, Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR last year sparked renewed interest and investment in the sector.

Mr. Zuckerberg in March had said that Facebook would support spherical video in its news feed, saying users would be able to “move around inside the video and view it from different angles.” The Oculus headset, according to Mr. Zuckerberg, should be able to power a host of new “immersive” experiences, from live concerts to virtual doctor appointments, to court side seats at a basketball game.

“Oculus firmly believes that VR will initially be popular with hard-core gamers and enthusiasts who are willing to invest in high-end desktop computers for gaming for the next two years,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler in a research note Friday. “Zuckerberg’s own vision is much broader than this, but it may take a few years to play out.”

A mobile-video app would offer a less immersive experience than a headset. Facebook’s presence in virtual reality could be extended beyond Oculus with the help of an app and introduce the technology to a much larger audience.

People who refused to be named discussing the confidential project said that the app is in early stages of development and there is no clarity on when the app will launch. This means that it is unlikely that it will be launched anytime soon. Until then, we advise you to take the above information with a pinch of salt.

read more

Facebook sued for storing biometric face prints

Facebook faces class action suit for storing a billion 'face prints'

Facebook faces class action suit for storing a billion ‘face prints’

The social networking giant, Facebook has been slapped with a class-action complaint over its biometrics slurpage. If Facebook is found guilty of not complying with the laws, there is a possibility of millions of plaintiffs to come forward to claim damages against the advertising giant.

The complaint (PDF) states that “Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’)”, which, ostensibly, are as uniquely identifiable as fingerprints. These have been gathered “from over a billion individuals, millions of whom reside in the State of Illinois”.

In 2008, the state legislature had passed the the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which is alleged to have been violated by Zuckerberg.

The complaint notes that a private entity such as Facebook under BIPA is forbidden by law to acquire or have an individual’s biometrics except if it reaches suitable permission, which is constituted by:

  • Letting the person know in writing that biometric identifiers or information will be accumulated or stored
  • Letting the person know the exact intention and duration in writing for which such biometric identifiers or biometric information is being accumulated, stored and used
  • Need a written confirmation from the person for the accumulation of his or her biometric identifiers or information
  • Written retention schedules and guidelines for destroying biometric identifiers and biometric information forever that is publicly available should be published

The complaint alleges that:

In direct violation of… BIPA, Facebook is actively collecting, storing, and using – without providing notice, obtaining informed written consent or publishing data retention policies – the biometrics of its users and unwitting non-users.

The plaintiff claims that he has never had, or does not have, a Facebook account, however points out that a Facebook user uploaded to Facebook at least one photograph showing him that has led to the non-consensual creation of a biometric template of his face. The action is brought on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, defined as:

All non-Facebook users who, while residing in the State of Illinois, had their biometric identifiers, including “face templates” (or “face prints”), collected, captured, received, or otherwise obtained by Facebook.

A hearing had taken place before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law back in July 2012, particularly to confront what facial recognition technology may mean for privacy and civil liberties.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) commented in the opening statement of the hearing (PDF) to the subcommittee:

In 2010, Facebook, the largest social network, began signing up all of its then 800 million users in a programme called Tag Suggestions. Tag Suggestions made it easier to tag friends in photos, and that is a good thing.

But the feature did this by creating a unique faceprint for every one of those friends. And in doing so, Facebook may have created the world’s largest privately held database of faceprints — without the explicit consent of its users. To date, Tag Suggestions is an opt-out program. Unless you have taken the time to turn it off, it may have already been used to generate your faceprint.

In 2011, a German data protection authority had raised similar concerns. A Facebook spokesperson at that time said that Zuckerberg “firmly reject any claim that we are not meeting our obligations under European Union data protection law.”

Facebook Artificial-Intelligence Research Team (FART) main interest remains in Facial recognition, which however showed a paper on “Web-Scale Training for Face Identification” at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in June. The paper does not mention the words “consent” or “legal” in particular.

The efforts to set up an voluntary code of conduct for the commercial use of facial recognition technology on a federal level in the US recently came to an abrupt stop June when privacy advocates backed away from the talks all together.

The advocates that included the ACLU and EFF, grumbled about not being able to get industry stakeholders “to agree on any concrete scenario where companies should employ facial recognition only with a consumer’s permission”.

The class action complaint case number is 1:15-cv-07681, which was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Resource: The Register

read more

How To Use Facebook To Land a Perfect Job

How To Use Facebook To Land a Perfect Job

How to Use Facebook to Land a Job

There are seven ways to discover opportunities, get in touch with companies and make yourself noticeable to recruiters

A few days back we had reported how Google recruits people based on a secret search. LinkedIn is already used by professionals to make themselves known to future employers. Facebook is also a useful tool to land a cushy job, if you use it correctly.

A billion people logged into Facebook on a single day last week, making it the first time that so many members used the world’s largest online social network in a 24-hour period. The reason for this outburst was that job recruiters are using this network to share job leads and discover candidates.

According to a 2015 Pew Research study, Facebook makes an appealing source of hiring and research is due to the fact that 70 percent of Facebook users engage daily, as compared to only 13 percent of LinkedIn users. While LinkedIn is considered to be the professional network place to be for many job seekers, it is not the only social network that recruiters look at. 66 percent of recruiters were reported as using Facebook for recruitment, according to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey.

If you are currently looking for a job or plan to do so in future, use Facebook to network and discover job opportunities by knowing how to put your best foot forward.

Carry out an audit

Go to your favorite search engine or Google and search for your name. Make a note of what comes on the first page of search results. There are chances that you might see something that says “[Your name] Profiles | Facebook.” When you click on this link, you will find the Facebook profiles of people with your name.

Check out your status updates next. If your posts has a globe next to the date, it means your update is public. This would allow anyone and everyone to see your update and comments added by others. If you wish certain status updates to be private, then you need to change your settings by clicking on the inverted triangle and change the post to “Friends.”

Know your privacy settings

Facebook is known for changing privacy setting criteria. It would be wise for you to have a look at yours, if you haven’t seen it in a while. You can change privacy settings for “Who can see my stuff,” “Who can contact me” and “Who can look me up.” Adjust the settings, if you do not wish people to search for you by your phone number or email. You can also remove that criteria to avoid your profile from showing up in search engine results.

Lisa Brown Morton, President and CEO of Nonprofit HR says “Job seekers think that their profiles on platforms like Facebook are private and that hiring managers can’t find them. This is not always the case.” It is good to know your settings, but it is more wise to be careful about what you post.

Keep it professional

Morton says “Oversharing and acting unprofessional is also a common mistake many job seekers make. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t show it [to] your grandmother or put it on your résumé, you shouldn’t put it on social media.” Avoid sharing inappropriate or provocative photos, do not use obscene language or speak ill about your past or current employer.

Find job leads

Even though Facebook is not a job site, you can make use of its Groups feature to find people posting jobs in your field and location. Chris Russell, Recruiter and Founder of CareerCloud, suggests to search Facebook using your city name and the word “jobs” to discover groups that share job leads.

Fill out your profile

If you are going to use Facebook more actively for your job search, then one way to improve your profile is to add previous work experiences and professional skills to the “About” section of your profile.

Network

Ensure that you have added your high school and college information to let others know about it. Join Facebook groups for alumni as well. Be a part of discussion in groups or communities related to your occupation, and “like” a company’s page or join its career group to have communication with employees that handle those accounts.

To know who works at your dream company, you can use Facebook for your search. Type “people who work at {insert name of company}” in the Facebook search bar. You can see who works there and who your mutual friends are.

Leverage social media

“By failing to have an active digital presence, job seekers miss opportunities to build up their professional profiles and find job opportunities their competition is likely taking advantage of”, Morton says. Those who are not active on social websites will definitely be at a disadvantage in comparison to socially active savvy job seekers.

Social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are used everyday by many people. Your connections with people on these networks if used correctly could mostly likely develop it into a new job. However, keep in mind that companies like to hire referrals and people they know.

read more

Facebook plans to bring “Video Matching Technology” to control Piracy

Facebook plans to bring "Video Matching Technology" to control Piracy

Facebook plans to deter video piracy through ‘Video Matching Technology’

As the Internet is growing day by day,the problems regarding integrity and privacy are also growing at the same pace. Now Facebook has brought a good news for those video creators who are fed up with the video piracy issues especially on social networking sites. Facebook is planning to launch a “Video Matching Technology” which will inform the original video owners when copied or pirated videos are uploaded by others.
A news report published in Re/code, confirms that in order to control the video piracy on Facebook, the company has decided to come up with the technology. It is said that the company and its partners have started testing the new technology, which requires content owners to upload the clips they want to protect into Facebook’s system.
“We’ve heard from some of our content partners that third parties too frequently misuse their content on Facebook,” Facebook posted in its blog. “It’s not fair to those who work hard to create amazing videos. We want creators to get credit for the videos that they own.”

“It is the first step to creating the equivalent of YouTube’s Content ID system, which the video giant built up over years as a response to its own copyright/piracy problems. After years of ignoring video, Facebook is now a major player, so this kind of effort was obvious and overdue,” the news report reads.

“Facebook’s response comes after video makers and distributors have grown increasingly vocal about pirated videos, which by one estimate accounted for more than 70 percent of Facebook’s most popular videos. In May, Jukin Media, a video licensing agency best known for “Fail” clips, described Facebook’s copyright problems as “massive.” In June, Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos, who runs one of the biggest YouTube video networks,tweeted that he was “getting very tired of seeing our videos ripped there with no way to monitor or monetize,” the news report reads.

Now Facebook says Jukin and Fullscreen are two of its initial launch partners for the new technology, along with Zefr, a service company that helps content owners track their clips on YouTube. Facebook says it is also working with major media companies on the effort, but won’t identify them.

It will be interesting to see how much protection this technology is going to offer to the creators from piracy. But Nevertheless it is a great initiative not in terms of customer satisfaction but in terms of expanding the business domain too.

read more

M Is Facebook’s Answer To Apple’s Siri And Google Now

M Is Facebook's Answer To Apple's Siri And Google Now

Facebook Launches M, A Virtual Assistant Inside Messenger That Will Assist People To Chat And Buy Things

The world’s largest social networking site, Facebook rolled out a limited trial of its virtual assistant M on Wednesday. The virtual assistant will be a part of Facebook Messenger app and will be available on both the iOS and Android. Facebook M is set to give competition to Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.

With the launch of M, this would be the social media giant’s first major foray into web search, a domain dominated by its Silicon Valley rival, Google.

Like its rivals, M can tell users what the weather of the day would be like or the stock information of your favorite company, so on and so forth. However, unlike its rivals, M is not voice driven and inputs are made by typing and responses come via text.

M Is Facebook's Answer To Apple's Siri And Google Now

“M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf,” explains David Marcus, head of Messenger at Facebook and formerly at PayPal.

“It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.”
“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.”

“It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.”

Such customer service tasks aren’t something Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon’s assistants offer.

The business model for Facebook is very clear. Marcus told Wired magazine: “We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do,” says Marcus.

“Intent often leads to buying something, or to a transaction, and that’s an opportunity for us to [make money] over time.”

M can do this because it does not depend only on artificial intelligence to answer questions, Marcus said. When M is baffled, it turns to actual, old-school customer service representatives, called M Trainers, to answer questions.

Keeping money services aside, Facebook is without doubt in a very strong position in the digital assistant race. As a platform, it knows more about us than any other social network.

The feature is only in Facebook’s messaging app and not in built into an OS like Siri and iOS, Google Now and Android, or Cortana and Windows 10.

Like its rivals, M also doesn’t offer predictive search results. Google Now and Cortana give users information they most often search for before any question is asked, while in iOS 9, Siri is expected to do some similar things.

The company has been looking to expand Messenger into a fully-featured social network of its own, building its own app and adding new features like apps and tools to talk to shops.

Facebook said that it is hoping to build the service to become much bigger. It is “an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what’s important in their lives,” said Marcus.

Currently, M is launched only on the phones in Bay Area of San Francisco. It will be rolling out to more users slowly. As of now, there is no clarity on when it would be reaching Indian users.

read more