Tag: zuckerberg

Zuckerburg talks bulwarks about isolationism

Facebook's Zuckerberg - Wikimedia CommonsSocial notworking Tsar Mark Zuckerberg was speaking a load of bulwarks against rising isolationism.

In a note, he wrote to Facebook users and claimed that the social notworking site could be the “social infrastructure” for the globe and a bulwark against isolationism.

“Across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection,” Zuckerberg wrote.

The question, the 32-year-old executive said, was whether “the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course,” adding that he stands for bringing people together.

Zuckerberg quoted Abraham Lincoln, the US president during the country’s 19th century Civil War and waxed rather philosophical saying that the dogmas of the quiet past, were inadequate to the stormy present.

Facebook could move far beyond its roots as a network for friends and families to communicate, suggesting that it can play a role in five areas, all of which he referred to as “communities,” ranging from strengthening traditional institutions, to providing help during and after crises, to boosting civic engagement.

In comments on Facebook, some users praised Zuckerberg’s note for staying positive, while others declared “globalism” dead.

Facebook has been under pressure to monitor closely police hoaxes, fake news and other controversial content, although the concerns have had little impact on its finances. The company reported 2016 revenue of $27.6 billion, up 54 percent from a year earlier.

One area where Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook would do better would be suggesting “meaningful communities.” Some 100 million users are members of groups that are “very meaningful” to them, he wrote, representing only about five percent of users.

Facebook is also using artificial intelligence more to flag photos and videos that need human review, Zuckerberg wrote.

While there is much that can be agreed with in Zuckerberg manifesto he did avoid one word which would have been nice to hear “privacy.”

Zuckerberg thinks he is Ironman with his own Jarvis

336D11AA00000578-3567659-Since_he_assumed_the_role_of_Tony_Stark_in_Marvel_s_Iron_Man_in_-a-187_1462060958040Mark Zuckerberg seems to be projecting an alter-ego of Iron man after showing off his home-based AI digital assistant, which he has called Jarvis.

Last January, Zuckerberg announced that he planned to build an AI system to run his home using Facebook tools, in the latest of the personal-growth challenges he gives himself each year.

Zuckerberg says he has always enjoyed sitting down and build something that does exactly what you want it to do. Over the last year, Zuckerberg has spent between 100 and 150 hours on his home project.

Though it’s named for Tony Stark’s futuristic Jarvis AI in the Iron Man movies, it’s more akin to a homemade, highly personal version of something like Amazon’s Alexa service, letting him and his wife Priscilla Chan use a custom iPhone app or a Facebook Messenger bot to turn lights on and off, play music based on personal tastes, open the front gate for friends, make toast, and even wake up their one-year-old daughter Max with Mandarin lessons.

Zuckerberg wrote that he’d set out to build a system allowing him to control everything in the house, including music, lights, and temperature, with his voice. He also wanted Jarvis to let his friends in the house just by looking at their faces when they arrive and to alert him to anything important going on in Max’s room.

He hoped to design the system to ‘visualize data in VR to help me build better services and lead my organizations [at Facebook] more efficiently.’

He claims he has done all of that other than the bit about VR. And it works. It is not perfect. It sometimes needs a little coddling. Zuckerberg began by demoing the Messenger bot he’d built as a front end for the system. Using his smartphone, he typed simple commands to turn the lights off and on, and sure enough, they went off and then on.

On the other hand, he also built the system to respond to voice commands, via a custom app he’d created, and there, the results were decidedly more inconsistent. He had to tell the system four times to turn the lights off before it got dark.”

He is a bit of a way away from strapping on the suit and saving the world. To be fair though Zuckerburg is really just proving that he still has the ability to program despite being the head of a huge business.

 

Zuckerberg did not donate his shares to charity

Facebook's Zuckerberg - Wikimedia CommonsFacebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg appeared to have convinced the world that his Facebook billions were destined for charity last week.

The press was full of stories about how Zuckerburg was so moved by the birth of his child that he was effectively doing a Bill Gates and donating most of his shares to a charity which would be dedicated to building a better future for the by-product of his nocturnal poke.

But this week calmer heads have been looking at what Zuckerburg and his missus have actually done and it does not look like there is going to be much change for the world that the sprog will grow up in after all.

According to the New York Times, Zuckerberg and Mrs Zuckerberg did not set up a charitable foundation, which has non-profit status.

Instead they created a limited liability company which effectively moved money from one of his bulky pockets to another.

This company might make socially responsible investments, but they all say they do that anyway. It can make political donations, lobby for changes in the law, but is totally free to do what Zuckerberg is doing now. In short it ain’t a charity.

For a start, a charity is subject to rules and oversight and has to allocate a certain percentage of its assets every year, to er charity work. Zuckerberg’s will not have to and can even operate in total secrecy. He could, if he wished, invest in a scheme to make a quick buck from global warming and encourage polar bear genocide and no one would be any the wiser.

It turns out there are some tax advantages too not to mention huge PR returns every time Zuckerberg’s new outfit invests in something which might be good for the planet.

Iranians want Mark Zuckerberg in court

A conservative Iranian court has started a case against instant messaging services WhatsApp and Instagram and summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over complaints of privacy violation.

The Iranian court in the southern province of Fars opened the cases against the social networks after citizens complained of breaches of privacy.

You can tell that the Iranian judges are going to be fair and reasonable. They even called Zuckerberg a Zionist because he grew up in New York in a Jewish family. Zuckerberg is actually an atheist.

Nevertheless the Iranians think that either he or his official attorney must appear in court to defend himself and pay for possible losses.

Zuckerberg, whose company owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is likely to tell the court to go forth and multiply. Even if he wanted to show up, Iran is still under international sanctions over its disputed nuclear activities and it is difficult for US citizens to secure travel visas. If he did show up there was a possibility that he might end up stoned, and not in a nice way.

It is fairly likely that the privacy case is just a pretext to get Facebook and WhatsApp banned in Iran. The more extreme conservatives see the World Wide Web as a threat because it enables its population to be informed, rather than told. Hell, they might even learn that there are different takes on the Muslim faith in which the prophet, peace be upon him, talks about treating women as equals and not the property of men. 

Facebook posts Q1 results

Worldwide data harvesting operation, Facebook, has reported a decent 38 percent boost in first quarter revenue thanks in part to improving its performance in mobile ads.

Profit was $219 million, up slightly from $205 million the same time last year. Mobile advertising carved up roughly 30 percent of total income, an increase from 23 percent on the previous quarter.

Advertising revenue sat at $1.25 billion and represented an enormous 85 percent of total revenue, up 43 percent year on year. Payments and other fees revenue for the quarter was $213 million.

In its earnings report, it listed the company’s purchase of Instagram under recent business highlights, pointing out that the photo-sharing app reached 100 million monthly active users for the first quarter. The appointment of the University of California, San Francisco chancellor Susan D Desmond-Hellman was also listed as a highlight.

Daily active users were 665 million on average for March 2013, up 26 percent year on year, while monthly active users were 1.11 billion as of 31 March 2013, up 23 percent from the same time last year.

With the proliferation of smart devices, monthly active mobile users grew 751 million – or a boost of 54 percent compared to the same time last year. 

Facebook creates international incident

Facebook is in hot water after it refused to take down a fake page which claimed to be the Aussie ambassador to the EU.

Former Aussie Liberal leader Brendan Nelson is incandescent with rage after Facebook refused to take down the page which claims to be written by him.

The page attacked Aussie PM Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, and while he thought this was pretty lame, he was worried that he knew people who were interacting with the fake account believing it was genuinely him.

He wrote to Facebook in the US specifically drawing the account to their attention and asking that it be removed. Since he was ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, NATO and the EU, he was concerned about the potential for it to cause damage to the reputation of Australia.

But even in his position of relative official seniority, he could not do anything about it. In fact Facebook didn’t even respond.

He told the Financial Review that Facebook was frankly the least responsive organisation he had ever dealt with. Coming from someone who has dealt with Australian government officials before this is a pretty bold claim.

Nelson got the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and intelligence security agencies to look at his problem, and there was nothing they could do about it either.

We guess that the only way to get the American outfit’s attention is to declare war on the former colony. A touch drastic, but no Aussie can ever let a diplomatic slur pass it by. 

Facebook tipped to be mystery mega data centre buyer

For a while there has been speculation as to who is building what looks to be a super data centre in Altoona.

According to the Des Moines Register, Facebook is the company behind a billion dollar data centre and the word on the street is that the building will house “the most technologically advanced data centre in the world”.

The project, dubbed Catapult, is expected to be completed in two $500 million phases near Altoona and will cover 1.4 million square feet.

It looks like it will be powered, at least partly, using wind energy. Iowa has been competing fiercely with Nebraska for the project and if it happens it will be based on what incentives the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board and Altoona’s City Council offer Facebook.

The local authorities in the region are trying to promote themselves as a “data warehouse corridor” and have been spending a fortune on fibre optic cable to support the industry.  It also touts its wonderful power companies, although if Facebook wants to use windmills these are pretty redundant.  

Facebook needs to learn from AOL and CompuServe

Social networking site Facebook is getting out of its league and needs to learn from the mistakes from the early days of the internet. 

This week it announced two new plans which would see it move into Google’s stomping grounds of search and mobile phone use.

The first plan involves providing its users with a search engine and the second is that it will create Facebook homescreen for Android.

While on the face of this, it would appear to be a good idea, it is a barefaced attempt to appease shareholders and analysts who claim that the company has not got an effective way of making money. Mobile, in particular, is something that Facebook has been slow to adapt to, and while its advertising is picking up, it is still a long way from being where it should.

Part of the problem is that Facebook thinks users want systems like AOL and CompuServe. For those who came late to the internet, these outfits offered a one stop shop for users. You could message, email, visit news groups, and surf the net all in one spot.

But as internet use grew, that model folded – mostly because they could never provide the wide range of experiences that users wanted. There was always some software that a user needed to leave AOL or CompuServe while the number of supported services made it difficult to navigate.

With modern operating systems, getting out of different apps is not as difficult as leaving AOL or CompuServe and it makes these particular walled gardens pretty pointless.

Facebook’s latest cunning plan is called “Home”. The new software lets users modify Android to prominently display their Facebook newsfeed and messages on the home screens of a wide range of devices. Meanwhile, it hides other apps.

This would be great for those who only use their mobile phones to visit Facebook, but it is not clear who those people are.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the hundreds of reporters and industry executives gathered at the company’s Menlo Park campus that he did not see why people need to visit apps to see what’s going on with those we care about.

What he failed to spot is that the same logic applies to those who do not want to visit Facebook. His comment is based on the arrogant logic that people only ever need to visit his site.

The “Home” software will be available for download for free from Google Play starting 12 April. In addition, AT&T Inc has exclusive rights to sell for $100 the first handsets, made by Taiwan’s HTC that come pre-installed with the software starting the same day. France Telecom’s Orange will be offering the phone in Europe.

They will tank of course. No one wants to use a smartphone that is going to weight their mobile towards Facebook, just like no one in the late 1990s wanted their PC to just point to AOL.

However, analysts say should the new software take off, it may begin to draw users away from Google services. Offering Facebook messaging, social networking and photos on the very first screen that Android users see could divert attention from the services, such as search and email, which generate advertising revue for Google.

But this is unlikely. Google’s success has not been based on attempting to provide a walled garden. The search engine has done well because it offers a simple screen which is quick to call up and does not require much thought. Its other services are usually approached from outside, rather than through a central page. In fact, when Google has attempted to mimic the AOL and CompuServe model it has failed.

Facebook’s other attempt is search, however, once again, this shows a lack of understanding as to why users are on its site.

Most users search by typing in a name into their browser. This browser window is already open when they are looking at Facebook. It is not particularly likely that users in the middle of a chat with a friend will want to search for anything, but if they did, they would just type their query in a new search window. Why would they need to navigate their way through a Facebook page to do something that simple? Again, this is CompuServe logic – you have to know where a service is. This level of expertise is harder to obtain than simply typing the search in your browser window.

This is all to do with keeping up appearances. The company is appearing to have a handle on mobile, it is appearing to take on Google. The reality is that it is hoping that these appearances will buy it time while it establishes its advertising business. 

Facebook helps kids fail

Social notworking site Facebook appears to have the magical power that helps kids fail in school.

Kiwi researchers at Canterbury University found that the more times a kid checked the site, the more likely they were to fail in class.

Psychology masters student Milesa Cepe found that nearly 40 percent of high school students who checked Facebook between 21 and 31-plus times a day either had low grades or failed.

Apparently those 49 percent of students who checked Facebook up to just four times a day had grades that were merit and above.

She surveyed 106 high school pupils, 211 university students and their parents in the study.

More than 93 percent of high school pupils and university students checked Facebook at least once a day. High school kids spent much more time online.

Her theory is that the kids may already be struggling academically and Facebook is used as stress relief.

She pointed out that the 60 percent of students who had high Facebook usage, 21 to 31-plus times a day, also did well.

Schools often encouraged pupils to use tablets and laptops but did not teach them how to manage their downtime from study effectively.

This meant that kids were spending “reward time” on Facebook when they completed an assignment, instead of moving on to the next one.

Hornby High School principal Richard Edmundson told Fairfax Media that kids should not use Facebook at school, although it was jolly difficult to stop them.

This century encourages learning anywhere, any time and anyhow, he said.

But Edmundson did add that it was unlikely that using Facebook is causing low academic achievement. It could be an outcome of a lack of engagement with learning.

In his day, the same thing was managed by watching telly and in particular soap operas like Days of Our Lives. 

Facebook sued over like button

Social networking site Facebook is in trouble with a Dutch firm which claims to have a patent on its like button.

A patent-holding company, working together with the widow and family of a Dutch computer programmer, has sued Facebook for infringing two patents.

The company is Rembrandt Social Media which had patents from a social networking pioneer who created an early “online diary” program. It wants unspecified royalties from Facebook.

The now-dead Dutch programmer, Joannes Jozef Everardus Van Der Meer, was a “pioneer in the development of user-friendly web technologies” who came up with the idea of putting a diary on the internet,

Rembrandt’s lawyer, Tom Melsheimer, told Ars Technica  that Van Der Meer’s idea was to publish and share information with a select group of people and the ability to link in other types of information.

Van Der Meer founded a company called Aduna and started work on implementing the ideas in his two patents, numbers 6,289,362 and 6,415,316. During that time he registered “www.surfbook.com” but it isn’t clear what, if anything, he did with it. He died in June 2004 before he could do anything with it.

Facebook, which appeared in 2003, was similar to Van Der Meer’s idea, both in terms of its functionality and technical implementation, to the personal web page diary that Van Der Meer had invented, according to the complaint.

A company called AddThis has also been named in the suit.

This is not the case of a patent troll coming up with a way of squeezing cash from a company with a previously unknown patent. Facebook knew about the Van Der Meer patents, since one of them is cited in a Facebook patent issued in 2012.

Melsheimer said that his outfit is not your normal patent troll either.

He said that Rembrandt is pretty committed to the idea of finding inventors that have a compelling story to tell and a patent that is important or core to some widely used technology.

Melsheimer expects Van Der Meer’s widow and some of his former colleagues to testify about the importance of his invention.

If they win, Van Der Meer’s heirs, and the anonymous owner of Rembrandt IP, can now claim they have monopoly rights to an “online diary” until the year 2021.