fbpx

Life online has been rough lately — for the billions of people who use the Web every day, and also for the tech giants behind much of the world’s hardware and software.

Meanwhile, amid hacks and misinformation, the Internet is entering a new frontier. Connected devices, or the Internet of Things, are introducing the Internet to even more private aspects of our lives.

First, the latest news:

A massive cybersecurity breach at Equifax exposed millions of Americans’ most sensitive data, from Social Security numbers to home addresses. The aftermath yielded even more digital drama: erroneous tweets, fake websites and phishing scams.

At Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has admitted politically motivated Russian accounts used the social network during the recent US presidential election. “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy,” Zuckerberg had to aver.

Across the Atlantic, Google is facing a staggering $2.7 billion antitrust fine from the European Union. Officials say the search giant is depriving Internet users of choice and depriving its competitors of a fair shake. (Google disagrees and says it’s actually improving user choice and competition.)

And on the African continent, the government of Togo knocked the Internet offline amid growing protests. Social media sites, online banking and mobile text messaging were blocked — a blow to freedom of expression and other democratic ideals.

Headlines such as these are reminders that online life is deeply entwined with offline life. What happens on the Internet affects our pocketbooks and even our democracies.

All of this is happening as the Internet of Things grows exponentially. In the ’90s, the Internet was tethered to our desktops. Last decade, it leapt onto our phones and into our pockets. Now, the Internet is becoming pervasive: It’s entering our cities, our cars, our thermostats and even our salt shakers.

As a result, the connection between online life and all other aspects of life is deepening. Five or 10 years down the line, the implications of another Equifax hack, or another Internet shutdown, will be far greater.

What do we do? Right now, the Internet of Things is at an inflection point. It’s pervasive but also still in its infancy. Rules have yet to be written, and social mores yet to be established. There are many possible futures — some darker than others.

If we continue forward with the Internet’s current design patterns — controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, with personal data as currency — those darker futures will likely prevail. Internet-connected bedrooms, cars, pacemakers and dialysis machines would be beholden to companies, not individual users. Personal data — captured on an even more granular level — would remain currency, and threats such as hacking would extend to even more intimate areas of our lives.

There are already sobering examples. Consider My Friend Cayla, the Internet-enabled toy that the German government labeled an “illegal espionage apparatus.” Cayla is a seemingly innocuous, Barbie-like doll. But Cayla records conversations, hawks products to impressionable youngsters, and is vulnerable to hackers.

Even good news raises murky questions. Tesla recently gave its customers affected by Hurricane Irma a battery boost — a noble gesture. But some Floridians and journalists questioned the implications: What happens if someone other than Tesla gains access to a fleet of vehicles? This is a concern about connected cars that long predates Hurricane Irma.

 

Alternatively, we — Internet users and consumers — can demand new, better design patterns. The Internet of Things can adopt an ethos akin to the early Internet: decentralized, open source and harmonized with privacy.

Here, too, there are examples. A growing number of technologists ask not only what’s possible but also what’s responsible. At the recent ThingsCon event in Berlin, creations from this movement were on display.

We encountered the concept of the Internet of Things trust marks — third-party labels that signal whether a device sufficiently respects privacy. We were introduced to Simply Secure’s Knowledge Base, a tool kit instructing developers and designers how to make privacy-respecting, secure products. And we saw SolarPak, a backpack created in Senegal that’s equipped with a solar panel. It collects energy during the day to power a small LED lamp at night, allowing students to study.

These are ideas and devices that solve problems, as many technology products do. But they also put responsibility first; data collection and planned obsolescence aren’t part of the equation.

This isn’t a simple issue. Big tech platforms do have an important role to play in making the Internet of Things more responsible and ethical. But the dynamic of so few controlling so much of our lives is simply too risky. As we welcome the Internet into more intimate parts of our lives, individual consumers and users must remain in control. And loud consumer demand alone isn’t enough: Regulators and industry leaders need to take steps, too. Together, we must ensure new hardware and software put responsibility ahead of flashiness and profit.

Source: This article was published wtkr.com By CNN WIRE

Categorized in Internet of Things

AMID ONGOING CONCERN over the role of disinformation in the 2016 election, Facebook said Wednesday it found that more than 5,000 ads, costing more than $150,000, had been placed on its network between June 2015 and May 2017 from "inauthentic accounts" and Pages, likely from Russia.

The ads didn't directly mention the election or the candidates, according to a blog post by Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos, but focused on "amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum—touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights." Facebook declined to discuss additional details about the ads.

Facebook says it had given the information to authorities investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. "We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform," Stamos wrote in the post. "We believe in protecting the integrity of civic discourse, and require advertisers on our platform to follow both our policies and all applicable laws."

Speculation has swirled about the role Facebook played spreading fake news during the 2016 election. Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has gone so far as to wonder whether President Trump's tech and data team collaborated with Russian actors to target fake news at American voters in key geographic areas. “We need information from the companies, as well as we need to look into the activities of some of the Trump digital campaign activities," Warner said recently.

Brad Parscale, digital director of the Trump campaign, has agreed to an interview with the House Intelligence Committee, and maintains he is "unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign."

Wednesday's revelation is a new wrinkle in the ongoing Russia investigations. In July, Facebook told WIRED it had found no indication of Russian entities buying entities during the election.

In the larger context of political ad spending, even $150,000 is a nominal amount. According to a report by Borrell Associates, digital political-ad spending totaled roughly $1.4 billion in 2016. And yet, this finding exposes what seems to be a coordinated effort to spread misinformation about key election issues in targeted states.

Facebook is remaining tight lipped about the methods it used to identify the fraudulent accounts and Pages that it has since suspended. One search for ads purchased from US internet addresses set to the Russian language turned up $50,000 worth of spending on 2,200 ads. Facebook said about one-quarter of the suspect ads were geographically targeted, with more of those running in 2015 than 2016. According to The Washington Post, some accounts may be linked to a content farm called Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg.

Facebook said it is implementing changes to prevent similar abuse. Among other things, it's looking for ways to combat so-called cloaking in which ads that appear benign redirect users to malicious or misleading websites once people click through. That allows bad actors to circumvent Facebook's ad review process.

But while Facebook may be able to limit what people can and can't buy on its platform, it doesn't change the fact that social media has created a stage for anyone looking to spread false information online, with or without ads. As the $150,000 figure indicates, this finding is but a small fraction of a much larger problem.

Source: This article was published wired.com By ISSIE LAPOWSKY

Categorized in Social

Facebook is the largest and most popular social networking site on the Web today. Millions of people check into Facebook daily, which makes it a fantastically powerful tool for finding people you might have lost contact with: friends, family, high school chums, military buddies, etc. In this article, we are going to look at a few ways you can use Facebook to reconnect. Note: as technology moves forward very quickly, keep in mind that some of the methods listed here might become outdated; however, at the time of this writing, all of these were tested and found to work correctly.

Facebook Friends Page

Go to the find your friends on Facebook page. You have a number of options here: find people you know by email, find people you know by the last name, find people on your IM (instant messenger) list, browse for people alphabetically (this is somewhat tedious) or browse Facebook pages by name.

Piggyback on Your Friends' Friends

Use your Facebook friends as a resource. Click on their Friends and scroll through their list of friends. This is a great way to find someone in common that you might have forgotten about.

Facebook Suggestions

Use the Facebook Suggestions link (found to the right of your news stream) as a jumping off point. You will not only see potential friends and fan pages here but if you scroll down a little, you will also see an opportunity to search within your groups: college, high school, workplace, camps, etc.

By default, when you search for a topic on Facebook, the results you see will be from your list of contacts; your "circle of friends", so to speak. If you would like to expand that circle to include results from anyone who has chosen to make their Facebook information publicly accessible, simply click on "Posts By Everyone." This gives you the option to view information from people who are not included in your contact list.

Search Facebook Profiles

Facebook has a page designated especially for the networks that people choose to belong to. On this search page, you can search by name, email, school name and graduation year, and company. More »

Filter Your Facebook Results

Once you start typing something into the Facebook search bar, a feature called Facebook Typeahead kicks in, which returns the most relevant results from your immediate contacts.By default, when you search for someone on Facebook, you will get all the result on one page: people, pages, groups, events, networks, etc. You can filter these easily by using the search filters on the left-hand side of the search results page. Once you click on one of those filters, your search results will rearrange themselves into only results that coincide with that particular subject, making it easier for you to track down who you are looking for.

 

Search For Two Things at Once

Facebook (unfortunately) does not have much in the way of advanced search, but you can search for two things at once by using the pipe character (you can make this character by pressing shift backslash). For example, you could look for baseball and Billy Smith with this search: "baseball (pipe character) Billy Smith."

Find Classmates on Facebook

Search for former classmates on Facebook. You can either simply browse through a graduation year (this is a GREAT way to find people you have lost touch with), or you can type in a specific name to get more narrowed results.You'llo be given people from your alma mater if you include it in your own Facebook profile.

Find work colleagues on Facebook

If someone has ever been affiliated with a company (and has put this affiliation on their Facebook profile), you will be able to find it using the Facebook company search page.

Search for Facebook Networks

This Facebook search page is especially helpful. Use the drop down menu to search within your networks, or browse the left-hand side menu to filter your search results (recently updated, lists, possible connections, etc.).

Facebook's general search page searches ALL results; friends, groups, posts by friends, and Web results (powered by Bing). You are given the option to "like" pages and groups that you might be intereste

Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Wendy Boswell

Categorized in Search Engine

The data is used "to know the population distribution" of Earth to figure out "the best connectivity technologies" in different locales 

SAN FRANCISCO: In a bid to expand the reach of internet to every corner of the world, Facebook said that it has created a data map of the human population of 23 countries by combining government census numbers with information obtained from satellites. 

Citing Janna Lewis, Facebook's head of strategic innovation partnerships and sourcing, the Media eported that the mapping technology can pinpoint any man-made structures in any country on Earth to a resolution of five metres.

Facebook used the data to understand the precise distribution of humans around the planet which would help it determine what types of internet service -- based either on land, in the air or in space -- it can use to reach consumers who now have no (or very low quality) internet. 

"Satellites are exciting for us. Our data showed the best way to connect cities is an internet in the sky," Lewis was quoted as saying at a Space Technology and Investment Forum sponsored by the Space Foundation in San Francisco this week. 

"We are trying to connect people from the stratosphere and from space," using high-altitude drone aircraft and satellites, to supplement Earth-based networks," Lewis added. 

The data is used "to know the population distribution" of Earth to figure out "the best connectivity technologies" in different locales. 

"We see these as a viable option for serving these populations" that are "unconnected or under-connected," she said. 

Facebook said that it developed the mapping technology itself. 

Source: This article was published economictimes.indiatimes.com
Categorized in Social

Facebook is hiring 3,000 workers over the next year -- but this is no ordinary job.

The company is adding an army of new content reviewers to its Community Operations Team as part of an effort to combat an uptick in gruesome live and pre-recorded videos users are posting on its site.

Videos of murders, suicides and other awful things are popping up with alarming frequency on the popular social platform, and Facebook’s content moderators are apparently having trouble keeping up with the flagged reports.

 

Last month, a video of a murder remained on the site for nearly two hours before it was taken down.

In response, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to hire more moderators to “review the millions of reports we get every week and improve the process for doing it quickly.”

“If we're going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly. We're working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner -- whether that's responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down,” he said.  

Nabbing a Job as a Facebook Content Moderator

Facebook’s Community Operations Team has been around a while, but there are virtually no concrete details about these new reviewer positions.

It’s also not clear whether these will be in-house positions or through third-party contractors.

One thing is certain -- this job isn’t for the faint of heart.

It will expose you to all manner of abusive, violent and gory content.

Before you apply, know that social media content moderation jobs have a high incidence of burnout, PTSD and long-term psychological trauma.

In fact, the positions are so challenging that two members of Microsoft’s Online Safety Team who worked in content moderation are suing the company for damages. They say the job has caused them permanent psychological trauma, including social anxiety, insomnia, depression, dissociation and hallucinations.

So why on earth would anyone want to do this job?

Ellen S., Vice President of Global Developer Support and Operations at Facebook, says, “The people that make up Community Operations care about our community and take pride in being Facebook’s first line of support.”

Jobs like this often appeal to people who want to make a difference in the world.

If you’ve got a passion for making online communities safer, a thick skin and a psychiatrist on speed dial, keep your eyes open for new positions at Facebook’s Online Operations career page.

While you’re waiting for jobs to open up, learn more about what Facebook’s hiring managers look for in a candidate.

Your Turn: Could you handle being a Facebook content reviewer?

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s grateful for the content moderators who make online communities a little safer for us all.

Source: This article was thepennyhoarder.com

Categorized in Social

Facebook is by far and away the largest social network on the Internet, bringing together friends, family, and colleagues to discuss in text, images, and video form whatever they feel like every day. But Facebook is apparently changing, and within 5 years the entire social network will consist of video content.

That’s not the prediction of this writer or some social network researcher, it’s the view of Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. She also believes that Facebook “will be definitely mobile,” which we can only assume means accessed almost exclusively on mobile devices.

 

nicola_mendelsohn

Mendelsohn’s claim that most people will be using mobile devices to access Facebook in the near future is the much more believable prediction of the two. Facebook being 100% videos by 2021? I don’t think so.

Video is still a relatively new addition to Facebook, but most certainly a feature that is growing in popularity. Zuckerberg thinks it is important, meaning it’s going to get a lot of attention and resources put behind it. So it will grow rapidly, but I can’t see it replacing images and text. In fact, I doubt Facebook’s management would want that to happen seeing as it owns image sharing service Instagram (although it can also handle video).

facebook_laptop

Not everything works as a video, and not everyone is comfortable making videos. Sometimes you just want to write, or have a text chat, or post an image of a cat. Video takes longer to create unless we’re talking Vine-length captures, and is much easier to create poorly ultimately meaning it doesn’t get posted.

Mendelsohn says the amount of text appearing on Facebook is declining every year while video grows and virtual reality is coming. On those points I’m sure she’s correct, but by 2021 I expect plenty of the billion+ people using Facebook to still be tapping out sentences of text and sharing them with their little community of followers.

Source: This article was published geek.com By MATTHEW HUMPHRIES

Categorized in Social

On the heels of Facebook defending its Content Policy after the leak of its content moderation guidelines, a research analyst has said that existing laws on live broadcasts don’t apply to the internet.

“The social media companies have no liability towards online content like murder, rape, terrorism and suicide under intermediary laws around the world. Social media companies’ obligation is restricted to removing the illegal content on being informed of it,” said Shobhit Srivastava, research analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at market research firm Counterpoint Research.

Earlier this week, Facebook’s several documents, included internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts, were leaked, showing how the social media giant moderates issues such as hate speech, terrorism, pornography and self-harm on its platform.

Citing the leaks, the Guardian said that Facebook’s moderators are overwhelmed with work and often have “just 10 seconds” to make a decision on content posted on the platform.

“The recent incidents where harmful videos were posted online raise serious question on how social media companies moderate online content. Facebook has a very large user base (nearly two billion monthly active users) and is expanding, and therefore moderating content with help of content moderators is a difficult task,” Srivastava told IANS.

“Facebook is also using a software to intercept content before it is posted online but it is still in early stages. This means that Facebook has to put a lot more effort to make the content safe,” he added.

According to Monika Bickert, head of global policy management, Facebook, more than a billion people use Facebook on an average day and they share posts in dozens of languages.

A very small percentage of those will be reported to the company for investigation and the range of issues is broad — from bullying and hate speech to terrorism — and complex.

“Designing policies that both keep people safe and enable them to share freely means understanding emerging social issues and the way they manifest themselves online, and being able to respond quickly to millions of reports a week from people all over the world,” she said.

Bickert said it is difficult for the company reviewers to understand the context.

“It’s hard to judge the intent behind one post or the risk implied in another,” she said.

The company does not always get things right, Bickert explained, but it believes that a middle ground between freedom and safety is ultimately the best answer.

She said that Facebook has to be “as objective as possible” in order to have consistent guidelines across every area it serves.

Srivastava noted that “from social and business point of view social media companies like Facebook, etc have to dedicate more resources for content moderating purposes which are inadequate now, otherwise we will see various governments restricting access to these players which will spell bad news for both users and these companies.”

Last month, Facebook announced that it was hiring additional 3,000 reviewers to ensure the right support for users.

Source: This article was published factordaily.com By IANS

Categorized in Social

Initially used to improve the experience for visually impaired members of the Facebook community, the company’s Lumos computer vision platform is now powering image content search for all users. This means you can now search for images on Facebook with key words that describe the contents of a photo, rather than being limited by tags and captions.

To accomplish the task, Facebook trained an ever-fashionable deep neural network on tens of millions of photos. Facebook’s fortunate in this respect because its platform is already host to billions of captioned images. The model essentially matches search descriptors to features pulled from photos with some degree of probability.

After matching terms to images, the model ranks its output using information from both the images and the original search. Facebook also added in weights to prioritize diversity in photo results so you don’t end up with 50 pics of the same thing with small changes in zoom and angle. In practice, all of this should produce more satisfying and relevant results.

Eventually Facebook will apply this technology to its growing video corpus. This could be used both in the personal context of searching a friend’s video to find the exact moment she blew out the candles on her birthday cake, or in a commercial context. The later could help raise the ceiling on Facebook’s potential ad revenue from News Feed.

Pulling content from photos and videos provides an original vector to improve targeting. Eventually it would be nice to see a fully integrated system where one could pull information, say searching a dress you really liked in a video, and relate it back to something on Marketplace or even connect you directly with an ad-partner to improve customer experiences while keeping revenue growth afloat.

photo-search-nn-diagram.png

Basic structure of how object recognition works

Applying Lumos to help the visually impaired

Along with today’s new image content search feature, Facebook is updating its original Automatic Alternative Text tool. When Facebook released the tool last April, visually impaired users could leverage existing text-to-speech tools to understand the contents of photos for the first time. The system could tell you that a photo involved a stage and lights, but it wasn’t very good at relating actions to objects.

 

A Facebook team fixed that problem by painstakingly labeling 130,000 photos pulled from the platform. The company was able to train a computer vision model to identify actions happening in photos. Now you might now hear “people dancing on stage,” a much better, contextualized, description.

The applied computer vision race

Facebook isn’t the only one racing to apply recent computer vision advances to existing products. Pinterest’s visual search feature has been continuously improved to let users search images by the objects within them. This makes photos interactive and more importantly it makes them commercializable.

Google on the other hand open sourced its own image captioning model last fall that can both identify objects and classify actions with accuracy over 90 percent. The open source activity around TensorFlow has helped the framework gain prominence and become very popular with machine learning developers.

Facebook is focused on making machine learning easy for teams across the company to integrate into their projects.  This means improving the use of the company’s general purpose FBLearner Flow.

“We’re currently running 1.2 million AI experiments per month on FBLearner Flow, which is six times greater than what we were running a year ago,” said Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Facebook’s director of applied machine learning.

Lumos was built on top of FBLearner Flow. It has already been used for over 200 visual models. Aside from image content search, engineers have used the tool for fighting spam.

Source: This article was published techcrunch.com By John Mannes

Categorized in Social

Women and children queue up under the scorching heat of the midday sun, distaste and frustration piling up around them as they hope to replenish those empty buckets with proper drinking water at the local handpump. The village is not without its own water supply, mind you, but the muddy, polluted water is scarcely enough to saturate the thirst of an honest worker. Therefore they stand, for hours and hours under the searing heat of the midday sun, keen to help their husbands and fathers to a glass of cold drinking water as they come home from a hard day’s work. As we sit on fluffy couches in our air-conditioned rooms in the urban upstate, it is easy to take for granted the lives we live, the gifts we have. But if there’s one thing my time in India has taught me, it’s how small and inconsequential the life of a humble private citizen can be in the wake of overwhelming corporate and political interests.

 

It is hard to think about internet access when the very question of healthy drinking water is at stake, after all, we need to get our priorities straight. But if there is one thing the internet does really well, it is to open up opportunities for the rural and urban poor struggling to make a living in a difficult economy. Teach a man to fish, and all that. Either that, or plain old urban glamor, is what motivates the likes of Facebook and SpaceX in their quest to make the internet universally accessible, and they are not unwilling to push the boundaries of conventional wisdom when it comes to making good on their plans.

“The internet is a vast pool of opportunities. Tapping into it can help find employment and a source of earning for many people across the world. It can also foster the cause of globalization and help the international economy prosper as a whole.” - Alex Jasin, X3 Digital

We got a good glimpse of how crucial connectivity is going to be for company’s plans in the next coming years over at Facebook’s F8. Mark Zuckerberg acquainted us with his ambitious plans to roll connectivity solutions to the far and distant corners of the earth that still don’t have internet access, and in doing so, bring the 3 billion people of the world who are yet to have an internet connection, into the mainstream. These plans come in three segments. The first is Project Acquila, that aims to make use of solar-powered drones to beam the internet on to rural and urban areas from the stratosphere. With Aquila, Facebook has already managed to set a record with its millimeter-wave radio technology, which can beam down 36 Gbps of internet connections from a distance of up to ten kilometers. Acquila still has ways to go, however, as its massive unmanned aircraft crashed into a pile of dust and hubris in the Arizona desert, shortly after setting aforementioned record.

While the Aquila drones project is aimed at assuring connectivity to far-off rural areas, Facebook’s Terragraph initiative aims at supplying decent internet connections in dense urban areas. The problems suffered in these two scenarios are very different, as the severe lags suffered in urban area internet connections are mostly due to huge amounts of traffic and so-called dead zones. Terragraph aims at solving these problems by using better quality fibres to eliminate dead zones and improve internet capacity, using the same millimeter radio wave technology that fuels Aquila.

“There are just so many people out there in the real world that deserve mainstream attention and real recognizance for their work. Universalizing the internet can help bring these people into the spotlight.” - Jeff Smith, Infuence.co

The third and final of Facebook’s connectivity initiatives is tether-tenna, which is supposed to help provide temporary internet connectivity during emergency situations. The tether-tenna is a miniature helicopter drone that can be connected to a fibre line and then launched up to a few hundred feet above ground to work as a temporary tower. It will be particularly useful in case of an emergency situation or catastrophe, when immediate access to the internet is required.

While Facebook goes all in on its effort to globalize the internet, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has his own plans of propagating the world wide web. In November 2016, Elon Musk filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission, asking for permission to launch 4,425 satellites that would help beam high-speed internet facilities onto various parts of the world from space. The initiative, which Musk says may cost around $10bn, is said to begin launching its satellites in 2019, with at least one prototype sent into space later this year, according to Patricia Cooper, Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs for SpaceX.

“As a great equalizer, the Internet provide access to communications, information and opportunity. A lot of businesses in the outsourcing sector would not be possible without Internet technologies such as VoIP and eCommerce.” - William Emmanuel Yu, Quora

Elon Musk isn’t the first person on the planet to take a gander at such a satellite internet programs, similar initiatives by the likes of HughesNet and Exede have since long been in play, but he is the first person to be doing it at this scale. As of this moment, there are 4,256 satellites orbiting the earth, only 1,419 of which remain functional. Musk’s plans involve not only setting a record in satellite launches to space, they also aim to wrap the whole world in a mesh of internet connectivity in the process.

While Musk’s plans may seem outlandish, and Zuckerberg’s at least ambitious, we cannot really expect to bring the internet to the whole world without setting some records and breaking some existing ones. The internet opens up a web of opportunities for the rural and urban dwellers of underdeveloped and developing countries, giving them a chance at improving a stagnant economy and raising their own living standards in the process. While the projects are massive and nothing is certain, there is one thing I am confident about. To delegate this much of responsibility on to the hands of corporate giants we know little about, we must really trust Musk and Zuckerberg to keep true to their promises.

 

Source: This article was published forbes.com By Harold Stark

Categorized in Social
© Provided by Business Insider Inc mark zuckerberg and reed hastings

Since 2011, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has sat on Facebook’s board, and as Facebook’s plans to fund TV-style shows take form, many are naturally curious what ideas Hastings shares with Mark Zuckerberg — and whether Netflix and Facebook will ever be seen as head-to-head competitors.

In the past few months, as Zuckerberg has articulated Facebook’s new approach to premium video, one thing has become clear: The pair share an important belief about the future of high-quality digital video. Both Hastings and Zuckerberg appear committed to the idea that, with global digital scale, TV-quality shows can be sustained primarily by a single big revenue stream. For Netflix, that stream is subscription revenue, with ads completely cut out of the equation. For Facebook, it’s advertising.

That's significant because it goes against the broad wisdom of the pay-TV industry, which uses both subscriptions and advertising dollars to prop itself up. It also stands in contrast to some digital competitors like Hulu, who are trying to replicate a model similar to pay-TV in the digital realm.

Facebook TV

Right now, Facebook is busy readying its first slate of TV-like shows, which the social media behemoth wants to unveil in mid-June. And while Facebook is putting up cash this time around, the company's executives have been explicit that in the long run, Facebook wants its premium video ecosystem to be entirely sustained by advertising revenue.

“The goal is going to be creating some anchor content initially that helps people learn that … the video tab [is] a great destination where they can explore, and come to Facebook with the intent to watch the videos that they want,” Zuckerberg said during Facebook’s last earnings call with investors. “And then the long-term goal is actually not to be paying for specific content like that, but doing a revenue share model once the whole economy around video on Facebook is built up.”

 

Facebook thinks that it can make its advertising offering compelling enough that media companies will make TV-quality video for its platform without being paid directly by Facebook to do so. Facebook will simply have to split the ad revenue with them.

There is evidence that YouTube thinks its advertising products will be able to support that level of shows as well. On Thursday, YouTube announced that it would fund half a dozen new shows, anchored by big-name celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart, and Katy Perry. Significantly, YouTube is going to have these shows run on its main, advertising-supported service, and not on its $9.99-a-month subscription service, YouTube Red.

"Five years ago, 85% of all original series were ad-supported," Robert Kyncl, YouTube's business chief, said at an the event on Thursday. "This year, that number has fallen to just over two-thirds. And with significantly more content coming to subscription services, that shift is accelerating. So we see these shows as a way for us to partner with [advertisers] to buck this trend."

For both Facebook and YouTube, the coming months will be a test to see whether that thesis is correct, and a premium set of shows can lure a premium set of advertisers.

Forever ad-free

Netflix has taken the complete opposite route, and has remained committed to keeping advertising off its service.

“No advertising coming onto Netflix. Period,” Hastings wrote on Facebook in 2015, in response to reports that Netflix was testing ads. “Just adding relevant cool trailers for other Netflix content you are likely to love.” The company has given no indication that its thinking has changed since then.

But as Netflix has introduced more and more original shows, and its spending on content has ballooned to $6 billion, some have questioned whether Netflix will eventually have to introduce some sort of advertising. Still, Netflix’s thesis seems to be that it can continue to grow its user base to offset those costs, and that the potential reach of the digital realm will let the company climb to sustainability.

That said, with Netflix predicting its negative free cash flow will be $2 billion in 2016, and that it will continue to burn cash for “many years,” that is a thesis that may not be completely tested for awhile.

TV, but online

It’s not a sure thing for either Netflix or Facebook that standing on one major revenue leg will be able to sustain the kinds of shows you’d see on cable TV. (Netflix could diversify beyond subscriptions and into things like merchandise, without having to get into advertising, but subscriptions will likely remain the major pillar.)

Other companies looking to disrupt TV are going the more traditional pay-TV route, with a combination of advertising and subscription.

It’s not surprising that Hulu, which is owned by big TV companies, is trying to keep that business model intact. The ad load might be lower than cable, but Hulu is still firmly in the dual revenue camp. And those betting on new online “skinny bundles,” which are essentially cable packages delivered over the internet, are also hoping the subscription-ad combo can make it across the digital divide. That includes services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Sony’s Vue, and many more to come.

It’s good to note that everyone could be right.

 

Advertising alone could let Facebook and YouTube support TV-quality shows, while Netflix and other streaming services could rely on only subscriptions, or some combination of subscriptions and ads. Or they could be wrong, and the Golden Age of TV could falter as the digital business models fail to recreate the huge budgets that powered a whopping 455 scripted shows in 2016.

Source : This article was published msn.com By Nathan McAlone

Categorized in Social

AOFIRS

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media