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Facebook Messenger gets Star Wars theme and better inbox management

Facebook Messenger gets Star Wars theme and better inbox management

Facebook has updated Messenger with some new features, including additional themes for stylizing the messaging app. Users get two new themes, including one based on Star Wars and another styled after the Netflix show Selena: The Series. As well, Facebook is making it easier to manage the chat threads in your Messenger inbox.

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Facebook: Trump stays suspended while we do our homework

Facebook: Trump stays suspended while we do our homework

Facebook may have hoped someone else would take the tricky - and politically-nightmarish - decision about whether Donald Trump should be permanently suspended, but with its Oversight Board refusing to play ball it's keeping the former US President on ice until it can figure the new rules out itself. The social media behemoth had referred Trump's suspension to its Oversight Board shortly after President Biden's inauguration, hoping for two main things.

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Facebook Trump ban upheld but Oversight Board refuses to make the toughest decision

Facebook Trump ban upheld but Oversight Board refuses to make the toughest decision

The Facebook Oversight Board has found the social network was right to restrict former President Trump's account in early January 2021, though has insisted on a review of the indefinite suspension the then-President faced on Facebook. The results of the hotly-anticipated - and undoubtedly divisive - Oversight Board investigation centered on Facebook's reaction to incendiary posts by Trump during the DC Capitol Building riot on January 6.

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Facebook shut down Signal’s ads because they exposed too much

Facebook shut down Signal’s ads because they exposed too much

Facebook has barred privacy-focused messaging app Signal from running a series of Instagram ads, which would have exposed just how much personal information the photo-sharing network - and its social media behemoth owner - has on individuals as they browse their timeline. Signal had intended to use Instagram's own third-party advert tools to reveal some of the precise targeting that advertisers can buy access to.

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Instagram automatic captions sticker: How and where

Instagram automatic captions sticker: How and where

This week the folks at Instagram released a system in which users can place a "sticker" in their video that auto-captions audio. This captions sticker was released to Stories for Instagram this week, and it may only be available for a limited set of users at first. If you've seen this same sort of functionality in Instagram before now, chances are you were using said feature with IGTV and the Threads app.

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WNBA games will be streamed on Oculus, Twitter, and Facebook Watch

WNBA games will be streamed on Oculus, Twitter, and Facebook Watch

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) will make a number of games available to stream on various platforms this season, giving viewers the opportunity to tune in without a traditional pay-TV service. Of particular interest is the league's plan to make some games available for streaming on Facebook's Oculus platform, meaning you'll be able to strap on your VR headset on game day.

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Facebook warns Apple app tracking policy could cost users

Facebook warns Apple app tracking policy could cost users

Although there were many developers, publishers, and advertisers that raised disgruntled voices when Apple announced its new App Tracking Transparency policy for iOS, Facebook was the one that shouted the loudest. It used rhetoric and other strategies to besmirch Apple's privacy efforts, even going as far as ironically saying it will actually benefit the social networking giant in the long run. Now it's taking those efforts to a new level by warning users that Facebook and Instagram might become paid services if iOS users don't enable app tracking.

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Facebook takes on Substack with $5m fund for indie writers in US

Facebook takes on Substack with $5m fund for indie writers in US

Last month, Facebook officially announced its previously rumored newsletter platform similar to competing services like Substack and Ghost. Getting writers to make the switch to a new platform may take some effort, however, and so Facebook is back with another announcement: a $5 million fund specifically for independent writers located in the United States.

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Instagram Live Rooms put a unique spin on Clubhouse rivalry

Instagram Live Rooms put a unique spin on Clubhouse rivalry

Clubhouse has become social media's newest darling and, naturally, everyone's out to copy and kill it. Those rivals actually have a lot of opportunities to do that, considering Clubhouse still has limited reach in terms of invites and platforms. That said, not everyone wants to copy it feature for feature and some are trying to put a different spin on the audio-only social platform. That includes Facebook-owned Instagram that just silently rolled out an audio-only option to its shiny new Live Rooms.

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There’s a Spotify miniplayer in Facebook now

There’s a Spotify miniplayer in Facebook now

Facebook continues its quest to have you never leave its software, with the addition of a new Spotify miniplayer baked into the social networking site's app. The new integration will allow Spotify users to access playlists and - depending on their subscription - other streaming music features directly within Facebook's iOS and Android apps.

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Facebook app will soon play Spotify music with Project Boombox

Facebook app will soon play Spotify music with Project Boombox

Facebook is going all out on its new social audio thrust but not all of the music and podcasts it will play will be coming from its own users. While the social networking giant does have thousands of users who can create original audio content, other companies have the advantage when it comes to more established creators and channels. Almost like a jab at a common enemy, Facebook and Spotify are teaming up to bring the latter's wealth of audio content to Facebook users, all without leaving the app.

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Facebook posts can now be exported to Google Docs, WordPress

Facebook posts can now be exported to Google Docs, WordPress

Depending on how you look at it, Facebook may have surpassed Google in being the poster child for harvesting personal data on the Internet. Considering how much of people's online lives and information it has in its possession, the social media giant regularly gets pushed, mostly through laws and regulations, to take certain steps to secure and unlock users' information. Part of that is allowing users to move their data outside of Facebook and a new export tool will let them do just that to transfer their posts to other online services.

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