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Facebook sneaks into China with photo sharing app

Facebook sneaks into China with photo sharing app

China and its strict censorship laws have banned western internet media and social platforms like Twitter, Google, and especially Facebook, but the latter has recently managed to work its way through the country's "Great Firewall." How? It seems the social media giant created an app called Colorful Balloons, which functions just like its own photo-sharing app Moments, and released it to Chinese users through a local company.

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Facebook Watch takes on YouTube, TV with original shows

Facebook Watch takes on YouTube, TV with original shows

They all try to kill the age-old TV but end up themselves becoming one. Sort of. Facebook has just taken a major step forward that puts it at odds not just with YouTube but with every tech company that is trying to become the TV of the future today. More than just one single place to find videos on Facebook (it already has a Video tab for that), Watch is a platform that brings order and consistency amidst the randomness of Facebook videos. In other words, episodic content or regular shows that revolve around a theme or personality. This, folks, is Facebook TV.

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Facebook Lifestage teen-only app doesn’t even reach 1st birthday

Facebook Lifestage teen-only app doesn’t even reach 1st birthday

In this fast-paced age of apps and social networks, it’s really no surprise to see apps and services come and go with the wind. Even if you have a heavyweight name like “Facebook” or “Google” behind it. Such is the case for Facebook’s own Lifestage, a Snapchat-like app aimed only and only for teens 21 years and below. The app was silently pulled from app stores, ironically just days before it marked its first year in the public.

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Facebook neural network translates with an AI brain

Facebook neural network translates with an AI brain

Reading your Facebook friends' statuses might typically make your blood boil these days, but at least the translations of foreign language posts are getting better. The social network says that it has retired its old translation system and replaced it with a shiny new neural machine system, which is much better at accounting for things like local slang and context. The result, Facebook claims, is smarter translation for all.

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Facebook Stories are heading to desktop: feature in testing now

Facebook Stories are heading to desktop: feature in testing now

Back in March, Facebook launched 'Stories,' a Snapchat clone that has, predictably, become pretty popular among the service's users. While that feature launched only on mobile and still is only available through the app, it will soon be making its way to the desktop version of Facebook, the company has revealed. Desktop Stories are currently in testing.

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Facebook video chat tablet in the works, smart speaker too

Facebook video chat tablet in the works, smart speaker too

Everyone’s into smart assistant and smart speakers this days. Unsurprisingly, so is Facebook. Although Facebook hasn’t formally jumped on the AI-powered assistant train yet, the social network giant, and Zuckerberg himself, has made their interest known. But perhaps more interesting is the tip that Facebook is working on two smart home devices, including a laptop-sized video chat tablet, that will be its first formal step into becoming a hardware maker, putting it toe to toe with the likes of Amazon and Google.

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Facebook’s AIs made their own language, but researchers killed it

Facebook’s AIs made their own language, but researchers killed it

Facebook researchers discovered their artificial intelligences had created new languages that humans couldn't eavesdrop on, opting to block the clandestine chats rather than let them flourish. The decision was an unexpected side-effect of Facebook's ongoing FAIR project - Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research - which explores the potential of AIs to have more than basic conversations with humans. In the process, though, the AIs discovered there were more efficient ways to talk between themselves.

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WhatsApp just hit a major milestone

WhatsApp just hit a major milestone

Financial reports have been landing over the past couple of days, and in determining the who had a good quarter and who didn't, we can safely count WhatsApp among the winners. As part of its end-of-quarter financial report, WhatsApp announced that it has surpassed a major milestone in terms of user count. If there was ever any question that WhatsApp would become one of the world's most popular messaging apps, the matter can now be laid to rest.

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Facebook smart speaker with 15in display may take on Echo Show

Facebook smart speaker with 15in display may take on Echo Show

Facebook is getting into the smart speaker market, according to sources, and it is developing a model that will take on Amazon's Echo Show device. Facebook's tipped smart speaker is said to feature a 15-inch touch display, enabling users to interact with the device visually. If the sources are correct, we'll see this speaker hit the market early next year.

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Facebook patent reveals modular smartphone plans

Facebook patent reveals modular smartphone plans

The idea of a modular smartphone — where a number of components can be swapped out for replacements or allow users to focus on a key feature, such as a larger battery — has been widely pursued by the tech industry over the last few years, with Google going as far as developing a prototype for its Project Ara concept (seen above). But while most companies have given up on the idea, like Google did last year, it appears Facebook is still pursuing it.

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Facebook patents a modular device that could also be a phone

Facebook patents a modular device that could also be a phone

Is the dream of the modular phone dead? Not if you ask Lenovo and Motorola, though their concept of a modular phone is not exactly what you might have in mind. Closer to that dream that went down with Google’s Project Ara is something that Facebook has in mind. Yes, Facebook has an idea for a modular phone. Or rather, it has patented what is technically a generic “modular electromechanical device” that, in at least one permutation, could also function as a phone.

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Facebook paywall could trade fake news for subscription fees

Facebook paywall could trade fake news for subscription fees

For years now, it's been the same old story: Facebook has a massive user base but hasn't quite figured out how to make money from it yet. Facebook has tried a variety of different money making methods, but later on this year, we'll see it try something new. According to new reports, Facebook is planning to implement a subscription service that essentially allows publishers to put a paywall in front of their articles on the platform.

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