More Unfriending At Facebook As Product Chief And Head Of WhatsApp Exit

Read on: Deadline.

Facebook’s time of transition, a seemingly unending phase since last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal segued to a host of other corporate issues, is continuing with the exits of product chief Chris Cox and WhatsApp head Chris Daniels.
Wil…

Facebook Hires Ex-UK Leader Nick Clegg As New Global Affairs Chief, A Sign Of Girding For Battle

Read on: Deadline.

Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister of the UK, is joining Facebook as its new head of global affairs and communications.
The hire indicates the tech giant’s need to navigate choppy waters in terms of government regulation, especially in …

Facebook Exec Slams WhatsApp Founder’s Dig as ‘Whole New Standard of Low-Class’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Some Facebook employees won’t take criticism lying down.

David Marcus, head of Facebook’s blockchain team, wasn’t thrilled with WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton’s recent interview with Forbes, during which he called into question the social network’s business plans for the popular messaging app.

“I find attacking the people and company that made you a billionaire, and went to an unprecedented extent to shield and accommodate you for years, low-class,” Marcus said in a blog post aimed at Acton. “It’s actually a whole new standard of low-class.”

Also Read: Facebook Sees ‘Progress,’ but Fake News Outfits Are ‘Sophisticated, Well-Funded,’ Zuckerberg Says

Acton — who, alongside co-founder Jan Koum, sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014 — told Forbes he disagreed with how its new overlords want to monetize the app. Acton said he was in favor of a “metered-use model,” where users are charged a “tenth of a penny” after using a certain amount of free messages, but that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg pushed back, saying it won’t scale.

“I was like, ‘No, you don’t mean that it won’t scale. You mean it won’t make as much money as . . . ,’ and she kind of hemmed and hawed a little,” Acton told Forbes. “I think I made my point. . . . They are businesspeople, they are good businesspeople. They just represent a set of business practices, principles and ethics, and policies that I don’t necessarily agree with.”

Marcus said Acton’s framing of the issue didn’t square with his memory, though, and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg “protected” WhatsApp from being over-monetized. “And by the way the paid messaging that WhatsApp is rolling out now sounds pretty similar to metered messaging from my point of view,” Marcus said.

Also Read: Facebook Pulled Ads That Targeted LGBTQ Users With Gay Conversion Therapy

According to Acton, a clause his contract stipulates he would be paid his four years worth of stock immediately if Facebook monetized without his and Koum’s consent, but he decided against lawyering up.  “At the end of the day, I sold my company,” said Acton. “I am a sellout. I acknowledge that.”

But most near and dear to Acton and Koum’s hearts, said Acton, is the issue of user privacy. The co-founders were adamant WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, Acton said, despite the potential it could thwart Facebook’s business desires. Acton said he wasn’t in favor of putting ads on the app, and that Zuckerberg would “probe” ways to offer analytical tools to WhatsApp’s business users. Ultimately, Zuckerberg was “supportive” of rolling out end-to-end encryption, Acton recalled, although WhatsApp will introduce ads next year.

In his response, Marcus made it clear Zuckerberg never balked at WhatsApp emphasizing user privacy.

“The global roll-out of end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp happened after the acquisition, and with Mark’s full support. Yes, Jan Koum played a key role in convincing Mark of the importance of encryption, but from that point on, it was never questioned,” Marcus said. “I witnessed Mark defending it a number of internal meetings where there was pushback — never for advertising or data collection reasons but for concerns about safety — and even in Board Meetings.”

Also Read: Facebook’s Former Head of Security Says it’s ‘Too Late’ to Stop 2018 Election Meddling

The tech exec spat comes only two days after Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mark Krieger announced they will leave the company in the coming weeks. Acton left WhatsApp in 2017, and Koum exited earlier this year to, among other things, focus on “collecting rare air-cooled Porsches.”

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‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Cast Mourned Cancellation Over WhatsApp, Terry Crews Says (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Terry Crews is an eternal optimist, and according to the actor, the “most grateful man in Hollywood” and both traits come with good reason. One of those reasons is NBC’s near-instant salvation of canceled Fox sitcom, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

On Monday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Crews recalled the roller-coaster of emotions that were the 30 hours between the show’s axing and its eventual pickup.

“I was doing press for ‘Deadpool 2,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re coming back, it ain’t no big thang,” Crews told Jimmy Kimmel. “Then all of a sudden they were like, ‘You’re canceled,’ and I was like, ‘Excuse me? What was that? What? What?’”

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“It was the shock of a lifetime,” Crews continued. “I had conversations with the whole cast. We were on this big, like, WhatsApp kinda link, and we all were like, ‘Oh my God, what are we gonna do?’” I mean, it was horrible.”

That’s when the internet bugged out.

“There’s never been a greater example [of] the difference between Nielsen ratings and what people are actually watching than ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’” Crews added.

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Well, you’ll probably get better ratings on NBC. Kimmel called the move from Fox to “Brooklyn’s” new network “almost a promotion, even.”

Watch the video above.

Crews’ new independent movie “Sorry to Bother You” is in select theaters Friday.

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WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum Exits Facebook-Owned Company, Will Focus on Porsche Collection

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum announced on Monday he’s leaving the popular, Facebook-owned messaging app.

Koum’s exit comes only hours after a Washington Post report he’d been looking to leave the company after “clashing” with Facebook execs over its handling of user privacy. WhatsApp  made all of its messages end-to-end encrypted in 2016 — a feature Facebook Messenger has as well, although users have to opt-in to it.

“I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined,” said Koum in a Facebook post announcing the decision. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things. I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.

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WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion, only five years after launching. The messaging app continued to grab users across the globe, climbing to 1.5 billion monthly users earlier this year.

“Jan: I will miss working so closely with you,” commented Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Koum’s post. “I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”

Koum’s departure follows in the footsteps of co-founder Brian Acton leaving the company last September. Acton has went on to criticize Facebook since leaving the company, saying “it is time” to join the #DeleteFacebook movement in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data leak.

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Mark Zuckerberg Can Delete Old Facebook Messages, but You Can’t

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Being the chief executive of Facebook comes with its perks — like allowing you to delete messages from someone’s inbox once you’ve already sent them.

That’s a feature CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other higher-ups enjoy that regular users don’t have, TechCrunch reported on Thursday night. Several old messages sent from Zuckerberg to employees on Messenger have been erased. When users pull up their chats with the chief exec, it now just shows a one-way conversation.

Facebook told TechCrunch this was done for security purposes.

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“After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications. These included limiting the retention period for Mark’s messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages,” the company said in a statement.

Only select messages were pulled back from Zuckerberg, rather than every conversation. But the ability to delete messages once they’re sent could allow Facebook to avoid embarrassing situations — like when a chat from a 19-year-old Zuckerberg leaked, where he called early Facebook adopters “dumb f—s” for sharing their data.

Deleting sent messages doesn’t appear in Facebook’s terms of service. The company typically only removes conversations that violate its community standards against attacking users for their background or sexual orientation. Other Facebook-owned apps, like Instagram and WhatsApp, allow users to pull back messages once they’re sent.

Also Read: Facebook Says It Scans Messenger Conversations for ‘Community Standards’ Violations

Zuckerberg will head to Washington, D.C. next week to testify before Congress on data privacy, after the company announced earlier this week that up to 87 million users were hit by the Cambridge Analytica data leak.

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WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton Joins The “Delete Facebook” Movement

Read on: Deadline.

The “Delete Facebook” train just got another passenger. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who left Facebook last year was straightforward about his position on the social media network when he took to Twitter and simply said, “It is time. #deletefacebook.”
His tweet — which reached over 21,000 of his followers — comes in the wake of a movement to delete the popular social media platform after it was reported that Cambridge Analytica, the data firm backed by Donald Trump…

What Dip? Facebook Hits All-Time Stock High Despite Losing U.S. Users

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is selling a wholesome, more friendly version of News Feed — and investors are buying.

The social network closed at an all-time high of $193.09 per share on Thursday, jumping 3.32 percent one day after the 33-year-old exec said the company will continue to tweak the News Feed to “amplify the good.” Facebook’s changes will place less emphasis on viral videos, and look to promote more “meaningful” interactions with family and friends.

“When you see a photo from a friend in News Feed, that’s not just content that makes you smile or laugh. It’s an opportunity to connect with that friend, to reach out to them and remind them that you care about each other,” said Zuckerberg. “That connection is deeply important to us as people.”

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg’s Personal 2018 Challenge: Making Facebook Hospitable Again

Wall Street didn’t love it at first, however. Shares of Facebook were hammered on Wednesday afternoon, falling 4 percent in after-hours trading after Facebook released its Q4 earnings. The company revealed its 1.41 daily users were spending about two minutes less each day on the platform. And for the first time, Facebook saw a drop of 1 million daily users in the U.S., from 185 million to 184 million.

But COO Sheryl Sandberg’s comments pacified investors on the company’s earnings call. In short: less time on Facebook won’t negatively impact its massive ad sales. With Facebook pulling in nearly $13 billion in quarterly revenue with a product in flux, Wall Street’s reaction on Thursday showed that it’s willing to wait and see the results of Zuckerberg’s new game plan.

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Did Mark Zuckerberg Successfully ‘Diffuse the Potential Explosion’ Around Facebook’s Ad Biz?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It hasn’t been a good month for Facebook’s advertising business.

The social network, along with Google, dominates the digital ad game, combining to rake in more than 80 percent of all new online marketing dollars. But a slew of missteps has put Facebook’s bread and butter in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons: dubious measurements of its audience reach, anti-Semitic posts slipping through its ad system, and admitting $150,000 in Russian propaganda — capable of reaching millions of users — had run on its platform leading up to and after the 2016 election.

The negative news has rattled many across Facebook’s massive user base, calling into question if its recent issues could drive people away from the platform.

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“The core of any brand is trust, complete trust,” Chad Kawalec, CEO of Brand Identity Center, told TheWrap. “And if that trust is betrayed in any way, it starts to deteriorate the confidence people have in that brand. And if it continues, they’ll start to seek out other options.”

This sentiment was echoed by Ira Kalb, a marketing professor at USC Marshall School of Business. “The main thing you have with the public is trust,” Kalb told TheWrap. “And if there’s any reason for people no to trust you, that’s really going to hurt your business.”

For a company as advertising-dependent as Facebook, a dent in its substantial two billion users would be a disaster. As Kalb puts it, the social network is “sort of an advertiser’s dream,” with its bevy of data making it a cinch to target users. To safeguard against losing apathetic users — especially in light of the Russian ad revelations — Kalb said it’s best for the company to “admit and apologize.”

Also Read: How Facebook Has Swiped Digital Ad Revenue From Publishers (Guest Blog)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to be on the same page, addressing Russian interference in a video posted to his Facebook page on Thursday, though stopping short of an apology. Months after initially saying it was “pretty crazy” to believe fake news influenced the election, the 33-year-old exec has changed his tune. Zuckerberg said Thursday that it’s “not realistic” to prevent “all interference,” but that the company had shut down “thousands of fake accounts.”

Kalb said Zuckerberg needed to “diffuse the potential explosion,” adding: “What a lot of companies do — that don’t understand this well — is sweep things under the rug, hoping they’re going to go away, and they rarely go away. So what happens is they build up pressure and they explode. And then it’s too late.”

“I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting it’s integrity,” Zuckerberg said. “Facebook’s mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are democratic values and I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for.”

Also Read: Facebook and Fake News: Flagging Posts Does Little to Combat Lies

The CEO said the company would work with congressional investigators, turning over information on 3,000 Russian-bought ads. Facebook has also added tools for flagging fake news (although its effectiveness has been unremarkable), and removed the ad fields that allowed Anti-Jewish posts to go live.

But if Facebook is truly in danger of turning off its users — and in turn, its advertisers — there is little evidence right now. Business is booming. Its shares are trading near an all-time high of about $172, and, together with Google, will haul in 63 percent of digital ad spends in the U.S., according to eMarketer. At the same time, Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp have been stacking users, and the company recently rolled out it’s “Watch” video platform.

As long as the company continues to show its advertising strength, recent bad press will do little to scare businesses away, argued Kawalec, who said the benefits of using Facebook are still too strong.

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“It’s still all systems go. [Facebook] is one of, if not the, most persuasive medium. When I talk to clients, there are two things that are a must: Facebook and Google,” he said.

Does that make Facebook teflon, impervious to blowback? No, but even with its recent string of damaging headlines, the company hasn’t reached a tipping point with its users or clients, according to Kalb.

“I don’t think any company is too big to fail,” he added. “But as long as you’re giving your main customers what they want, I think they’ll be successful — and I think they are successful and will continue to be.”

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Facebook’s WhatsApp Jumps to 250M Daily ‘Status’ Users, Proves Every App Will Soon Have Stories

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just shared a staggering statistic on his company’s Q2 earnings call, saying its messaging platform WhatsApp now has a whopping 250 million daily active users for its “Status” feature.

Status is WhatsApp’s version of Instagram Stories — which is coincidentally a copy of Snapchat’s Stories feature — allowing users to post pictures and video for their contacts to see. Zuckerberg reiterated the dominance of Instagram Stories as well, with the popular photo sharing app also boasting more than 250 million daily Stories users.

The two Facebook-owned apps are now lapping their chief competitor — Snapchat — which “only” has 166 daily active users.

WhatsApp has seen a rapid increase in Status users, with Facebook disclosing 175 million DAUs during its Q1 call back in May. Its increasing adoption underlines the popularity of being able to share content to a digital bulletin-board. Soon enough, the memes will be right: You’ll have a “Stories” feature on your calculator, microwave, and every other device.

And the scary part is considering how much room WhatsApp has to grow. It now has 1 billion DAUs and 1.3 monthly active users for its core messaging app.

Facebook’s Q2 earnings came in only a hair above analyst expectations, but still highlighted the social network’s overall mastery. It hauled in $9.3 billion in revenue (analysts projected $9.2 billion), spurred on by a its continued strength in mobile ads. 87 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue now comes from mobile devices.

Perhaps most daunting to its rivals is the pile of money Zuckerberg falls asleep on every night: Facebook has $35.45 billion in cash, more than Twitter and Snap’s combined market cap. Good luck to those plucky startups in their quest to keep up with Facebook on Stories — and everything else.

Facebook’s WhatsApp Launches Its Own Snapchat Stories Clone

Read on: Variety.

Next up in Facebook’s quest to clone and undermine Snapchat is WhatsApp: The popular messaging app launched a new feature called Status Monday that is basically a Snapchat Stories clone, with a few Whatsapp-specific tweaks. The new feature lets uses share photos and videos with their contacts, complete with captions, drawings and stickers. Images disappear… Read more »