Tag: Facebook

How Pitbull Conquered Facebook

Pitbull joined Facebook May 17, 2009. The timing was auspicious: In a March 2014 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Pit had laid out his six-year play for global domination, saying, “2009 is freedom; 2010, invasion; 2011, build empire; 2012, grow wealth; 2013, put the puzzle together; 2014, buckle up; 2015, make history.”

And: He was right, more or less. Now, at the tail end of 2015, the diminutive, 34-year-old Cuban-American rapper is seemingly everywhere: Just in the last month or so alone, onstage with Taylor Swift during the Miami stop of her 1989 tour and at the iHeart Radio Fiesta Latina, rocking white jeans on a cruise ship for a ribbon-cutting ceremony; playing Good Morning America's 40th anniversary show. Perhaps nowhere is Pit's dominance clearer than Facebook, where he has managed to harness his own native, relentless optimism and unencumbered thirst for followers to become one of the platform’s biggest stars. Pitbull currently has more than 60 million fans on the social network, making him the 18th most followed celebrity on the platform — just above Bruno Mars and Selena Gomez, and in company with international powerhouses like Beyoncé, Shakira and Justin Bieber.

And unlike his celebrity peers, Pitbull appears to be doing it largely on his own: The page has largely remained advertisement free, has rarely focused on monetizing its fanbase, and remains, a full 10 months into the “make history” phase, charmingly low production value for the most part.

While Beyoncé’s social media manager posts yet another uncaptioned, professionally styled Instagram, Pitbull posts a blurry shot declaring “im in love with the hustle….im in love with the journey.. the grind. with LIFE! DALEEEEEEEEE!!!!” If Taylor Swift’s page is a stream of professionally shot tour photos and links to the singer’s merch shop, Pitbull’s page is more like flipping through a desktop motivational calendar peppered with Spanglish slang: “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” “Always do your best and you will never have regrets.” “Everyone has a story, a struggle.” “Reach for the stars, and if you don’t grab them at least you’re on top of the world.” “Everyday is my birthday gracias a dios y pa lanteeee ya tu sabeeeeee daleeee live life don't let life live u.”

It’s an endless feed of uplifting quotes, inspirational videos, and lessons of perseverance, modified slightly to fit Facebook’s trend du jour: In 2012, Pit jumped on the like-baiting trend along with many other brands, posting statuses such as “LIKE if u r never going 2 give up on ur dreams!!!!!” “LIKE” if u believe that every day is a gift!!!!!!” When infographics and photo posts took Facebook by storm in 2013 Pitbull released a series of photos overlaid with inspirational text messages declaring things like “You can’t be what you can’t imagine.” The posts functioned like self-help flashcards and racked up hundreds of thousands of shares. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising: A 2013 study by Jonah Berger, a social psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, found that not only do people tend to give their own status updates a more positive spin, sharing more positive life events than negative, but that the more positive a news article or piece of content, the more likely it is to be shared on platforms such as Facebook.

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In a 2014 Hollywood Reporter article about the rapper’s quest to be a “billion-dollar brand,” Shirley Halperin wrote of Pit’s “relentlessly upbeat attitude.” “That's his most powerful gift,” she wrote, “winning loyalty of everyone he encounters, from strangers on the street to dealmakers in a boardroom.”

But the internet has always been ready to love Pit. In 2012, GQ magazine named Pitbull one of the “25 Least Influential People Alive.” The magazine asked “who could be less influential than a guy whose music sounds like the aborted offspring of Nelly and Will.i.am?” Rather than shy away, Pitbull immediately posted a follow-up interview he did with GQ to his Facebook page declaring, “I luv 2 be underestimated…” The post garnered nearly 30,000 likes.

A few months later, Pitbull haters teamed up to stuff the ballot box in a Wal-Mart-sponsored Facebook contest that promised a live performance from the artist at the Walmart location that received the most Facebook likes. The hashtag #ExilePitbull quickly began trending, and various corners of the internet banded together to co-opt the contest and banish Pitbull to the most remote Walmart location possible, in Kodiak, Alaska.

True to form, Pitbull wasn’t fazed. “Wherever the fans want to have a party, I will be there,” he said on Good Morning America when the results were announced. He gave a blowout concert in Kodiak, received the key to the city, and even flew David Thorpe, one of the prank's organizers, up to Alaska to see the show. “Just met Pitbull. He shook my hand and said ‘Keep bullshitting. Next thing you know we’ll be on the moon,’” Thorpe tweeted. Around the same time, Pitbull posted a Facebook status that read, “always remember…. only the best are bullied DALLEEEE!!!!!!”

By 2014, Pit had hosted the American Music Awards, appeared on Dancing With the Stars, was named the new global face of Playboy, sold out shows in 25 cities, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and his song “We Are One (Ole Ola)” was the official song for the 2014 World Cup. His 2014 success is outlined in a BuzzFeed Community post titled “11 Reasons 2014 Is Pitbull’s Year.”

“Pitbull is only going to get bigger,” Rolling Stone journalist Simon Vozick-Levinson said in June of last year. “He's someone who's not going to stop until he takes over the entire world.”

But recently, in his quest to dominate the music industry and the larger world, Pitbull’s Facebook presence feels like it’s starting to take a backseat. As Facebook native video becomes ever more prevalent in News Feed, celebrities like Tyrese Gibson (27 million fans) have been quick to exploit the boost by uploading stolen viral videos to grow their own pages. While Facebook has vowed to crack down on stolen content, in the meantime celebrities and brands are racking up millions of new likes. Some have also begun creating more of their own native video content with apps like Facebook Mentions.

Pitbull has dabbled in native video, but his posts are mostly links and reuploaded YouTube videos. In the past six months, they have also taken on a decidedly more corporate tone. He still shares clips of his “biggest inspirations” along with photos captioned “Don’t talk about it, be about it” and “Patience, Passion and Perseverance,” but they’re sandwiched between an ever-increasing number of promotional messages like, “Only 7 days until #DALE and today starts Amazon.com enter-to-win” and “Join us now as we drop a 64 hour commercial free Mega-Mix weekend with the Globalization DJs on SiriusXM Radio CH4. It's now to Sunday night, DALE!”

The posts still have that Pitbull energy and copious use of the word “dale,” but it’s beginning to feel like Pitbull’s hustle has faded, at least on Facebook. Maybe in order to make history in 2015 Pitbull has finally had to hire a social media manager.

BuzzFeed – Tech

10% Of All Internet Phone Calls Now Happen Through Facebook

The company is getting huge in areas outside its core social network. Each day its apps are responsible for 45 billion messages, and 4 billion video views.

Facebook is a social network. And a messaging service. And a collaboration tool. And a video player. And a phone.

The company, which has long described itself as a cluster of various apps related to social interaction, released a set of numbers of Wednesday that show just how dominant it is becoming in these new areas.

More than a social network, Facebook now looks like a communication conglomerate, and one that is quickly dominating more aspects of our daily lives.

Eric Risberg / AP

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BuzzFeed – Tech

Facebook May Host News Sites' Content

Facebook May Host News Sites' Content
When readers click on an article, an array of tracking tools allow the host site to collect valuable information on who they are, how often they visit and what else they have done on the web. That data might instead go to Facebook, which like many …
Read more on New York Times

Why Your Choice Of Web Hosting Provider Really Matters
With all the various web hosting providers out there it can be a difficult decision to know what web hosts to choose and what to look for. I feel this is one of the most important decisions that your business can make and deserves a look into what to …
Read more on Gazette Inquirer

Facebook Is Still Figuring Out What Makes A Good Video

In the past year, Facebook has made a huge push to get video into your news feed. That’s given both content creators — and advertisers — a new way to reach Facebook’s 1.35 billion users.

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Facebook is still figuring out what a good video is supposed to look like — and in the process, it could give businesses and brands a new avenue to reach its 1.35 billion users organically once again.

The number of videos users in the U.S. post has nearly doubled in the past year (Facebook has previously said users view more than 1 billion videos every day), the company said today. Videos in general are one of the most engaging pieces of content on the Facebook News Feed, product management director Fidji Simo told BuzzFeed News. That engagement offers a big opportunity for brands and businesses, which previously just relied on text and photos but covet the seconds and minutes Facebook's users spend interacting with their content.

More than half of Facebook's daily active users watch at least one video a day, and the number of videos from people and brands in News Feed was 3.6 times higher than it was a year ago, the company said.

“Everything goes into the algorithm to determine what's the best content to show you,” Simo said. “If you're someone watching videos for a while and watching a lot of them, we should show you more of that type of content. If a particular video is watched longer than others, that's a signal for us that this is high quality. These signals for watch time are really critical in how we rank videos.”

Producing more engaging Facebook content has become more important for brands and businesses recently, which have been penalized for publishing what the company considers “low quality” posts. With more users sharing more often, brands are fighting both users content and paid advertisers for eyeballs. Facebook users are also getting more tools to remove things they don't like from their News Feed, offering another roadblock for brands and pages that are trying to reach potential customers without paying for ads.

Advertisers can benefit from producing better videos, because they cost less and get better placement in the News Feed if they are high quality. Ads have to compete with other News Feed posts for space and eyeballs. Simo said that, in general, videos that feel more “raw” (or unedited) do well in News Feed, and so do videos that don't require sound (which is turned off by default). Videos automatically play when a Facebook user views them, so those first seconds are critical in capturing the attention of a user, she said.

Video is also increasingly important to Facebook and offers those brands — and paid advertisers — a new opportunity to find a home in News Feed, if they figure out what works best before the rest of the world. Facebook introduced a whole suite of metrics that range all the way from how many seconds were watched to whether the Facebook user enabled sound on the video. Initially, brands and businesses were able to organically reach Facebook's wide user base without paying for advertising, and if video proves to be more engaging, they may once again have a shot at doing that.

“When we're working with content creators, they're the ones teaching us,” Simo said. “So far what we've seen essentially, content that feels very at home with News Feed [from brands or creators] works really well.”

BuzzFeed – Business

The Demise Of Making It “Facebook Official”

What was once a relationship milestone is now a cheesy relic of the aughts. According to a BuzzFeed News poll, about 40% of twentysomethings refuse to put their relationship status on Facebook.


There was a time, perhaps not so long ago, when two tech-savvy humans would meet, mash their parts together, fall in love, and make a display of their blissful commitment to the world: making it “Facebook official.”

People fretted over that step, agonized and analyzed over when was the right time to ask their partner about changing their status to “in a relationship.” In many ways, it was the digital version of the traditionally analog process of “defining the relationship” and thus the source of late-night TV show jokes and wine-soaked goss-seshes among besties. It was the new symbol of how our anxieties over our digital lives impact our real ones. The most important website of this century had given birth to a completely new step in the millennia-old tradition of finding another human to dock genitals with for a few decades until you die.

But it seems “Facebook official” isn't what it used to be. This week, BuzzFeed News ran a poll, “How Do You Use Facebook's Relationship Status?,” asking people whether or not they display their relationship status on their Facebook profile, and some of the social etiquette around it.

A few notes about the data: As many as 80,000 people responded to the 16 questions (People tend to drop out of these polls: 80,000 answered the first question, but only 40,000 answered the last). The last question was about age demographic, which as you would imagine would significantly impact relationship status. Only 11% of respondents were over 30, and 14% were high-school age (14 to 18). The other 75% were 19 to 29 years old. So consider that these results are MOSTLY about twentysomethings. However, each question is not broken out by age.

Also, please keep in mind that this poll was in no way scientific. Take it for what it is: a large sampling of Facebook users who self-reported their habits in a BuzzFeed News poll designed to be entertaining.

Qualifications aside, here were some of the most surprising findings:

However, there's a little bit of wavering here. For example, 34% of respondents said “Ew, never” to the question of 'how long into a relationship do you change your status?' A few questions later, though, it jumped to 43% saying changing their status is something they'd never do. Later, 41% said that even in a serious relationship, they don't put their status.

I blame this discrepancy on poor poll design by yours truly. My attempt to make the poll fun to take turned out to be at odds with creating an accurate poll. It essentially asks the same question a few times, but with differently worded answers, and sometimes more middle-ground, nuanced answers. So sue me, Quinnipiac.

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BuzzFeed – Tech

Facebook For Felons

Kamaal Bennett built a social platform for incarcerated gang leaders. It’s already changing how they see themselves, and the outside world.

Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed News

Early in 2014, Jacqueline Nugent came across an online profile written by Roderick Sutton, her ex-boyfriend and the father of her teenage daughter. Hosted on a website called Live From Lockdown, the profile featured much of the personal information we now regard as the web standard thanks to Facebook: a head shot, a hometown, a nickname, an institution, some groups, an inspirational quote. It also included a long “about me” section that ended with an old social media refrain: a bitter recrimination of an ex — Jacqueline.

I am the father of two queens (daughters). I lost total correspondence with one due to the fact her mother was responsible for my incarceration. She snithched [sic] to the F.B.I because she was scorned about my relationship and fathering a child with another female.

Nugent was shocked: It was the first time she'd heard anything from Sutton in eight years, since her testimony at a 2006 trial helped put him in federal prison for armed robbery. Sutton's Live From Lockdown profile gave all the details of that incarceration: His sentence (17 years), his time served (eight), his inmate number, and his institution (Allenwood, a medium security prison in Pennsylvania). Angered, Nugent responded to Sutton's post in the comments:

Take responsibility for you own actions Roderick and stop blaming me for your incarceration! You have learned nothing from your incarceration! Grow up! Honestly you don't deserve freedom! Your daughter wants nothing to do with you! When you were in the free world you didn't care about her so don't write this bullshit on here acting like your some saint that should be granted clemency!

If the shape of this confrontation — a digital reconnection, old grievances opened, an angry back-and-forth — feels familiar, its specifics are anything but: Live From Lockdown is the closest thing on the internet to a social network for federal inmates. Unlike the immediacy of the online networks that have come to dominate American life, Live From Lockdown might best be thought of as slow social, each post a several-stage process that is both ingenious and a reflection of the vast communication barrier between our silent incarcerated nation and our hyperconnected free one.

“Network” is something of a misnomer — federal prisoners have no direct internet access and so the “users” can't interact directly with each other — and the site's founder, Kamaal Bennett, calls it a “platform for social engagement.” But in its structure, its aesthetics, and its dissemination, Live From Lockdown looks and feels like any fledgling social network.

Except it's very small. Right now, Live From Lockdown is comprised of 28 profiles of male inmates in maximum-security federal prisons around America (some, like Sutton, have been moved from maximum- to medium-security facilities). They run the gamut of ages, ethnicities, offenses, affiliations, attitudes. Each prisoner has a simple profile — a picture and identifying information — on top of a feed of blog entries. These entries, which range from dozens of words to many hundreds, tackle subjects inside and outside the prison walls: corrections officers, special housing units, and gangs, but also faith, family, current events, and psychology. Save the focus on prison and gang culture, there isn't a huge difference between these posts and the kind of long bloggy posts, perhaps written by an eccentric relative or a friend from middle school, which show up in your Facebook feed. Many of the Live From Lockdown posts are uncommonly reflective, self-lacerating, clear-eyed, and eloquent. Some are moving.

Other websites that feature the unedited writing of prisoners exist, notably the Voices From Solitary project, by the anti-solitary-confinement advocacy group Solitary Watch, and Between the Bars, a blogging platform for people in prison that started at the MIT Center for Civic Media. But Live From Lockdown feels different: first, in its lack of an obviously stated advocacy or social justice position; second, in its attention-grabbing aesthetic and tone, from the giant, steel-colored header to the austere prison yard photos, to the rusty bevels that surround them; and third, in the composition of its “users,” who are mostly gang leaders in federal prison.

That's deliberate. Live's mission is “to utilize gang leadership as credible messengers to provide an unvarnished view of prison and the harsh reality facing gang members who are behind bars. A message delivered by those best equipped to deliver it to our youth in a way that will ensure the message is received, believed and heeded.” But the self-presentation of the inmates — as complex and weird and vain as anything you'd find on Facebook — makes it much more than Scared Straight.

The site is run entirely by Bennett, a 35-year-old New Jersey nonprofit executive. It's a part-time job but a painstaking process: Bennett receives profile information and blog entries via traditional mail and CorrLinks, the Federal Bureau of Prison's proprietary email system, then inputs them manually to the site. Bennett says he tries to add at least one new post a day; he also prints outs and mails the profiles and as many of the posts and comments as he can to the inmates, who have no other way of seeing them. In that sense, it's an online social network that seems to exist (for the ones who rely on it most) primarily offline.

Some of the posts — which are all embedded with social media sharing widgets — receive hundreds of Facebook likes and dozens of tweets. Others receive dozens of comments. The comments are frequently encouragement from people around the world, but sometimes they come from people who know the inmates quite well.

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BuzzFeed – Tech

The Facebook Gaming Platform Is Not Dead (Yet)

Games running on Facebook’s platform are alive and well, Facebook game partnerships head Dan Morris tells BuzzFeed News . The company even has a hall of fame for its newest hits.


Facebook isn't giving up on its games just yet.

Despite a slight recent downturn in revenue generated by online games, the company still sees it as a mature and lucrative destination for game developers — one that will continue to drive revenue even as most developers shift to a mobile-first strategy, Facebook head of games partnerships Dan Morris told BuzzFeed News.

The company sees itself as two parts of the puzzle: one of the destinations online for games that could span multiple devices, and a tool for developers to find gamers and drive downloads and activity to their games, as well as save progress across multiple devices. The company says it has driven more than 350 million installs since launching its app install ads, and 65% of top grossing apps on Apple App Store and Google Play use mobile app ads that either drive installs or get users to return to games.

“We know that there are hundreds of millions of people every month who are continuing to engage in a Facebook-connected game — that's post install,” he said. “We see a lot of people who can be reached and potentially retained via Facebook's channels, and that's what 2015 is increasingly about for us.”

Facebook's current gaming platform, meanwhile, experienced its first ever revenue decline, falling 2% in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2013. Speaking during the company's third quarter earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner said Facebook expects the trend to continue. Part of Facebook's challenge is that, for the most part, its traditional gaming platform isn't really seen as a go-to for game developers any more.

While gaming companies in 2014 universally adopt a mobile-first strategy — with the most successful having risen to prominence on the strength of massive hits like Candy Crush Saga — developers have increasingly found themselves developing user experiences that can span multiple devices. That includes the desktop, where Facebook can serve as a destination.

Not surprisingly, that still includes Facebook — one of the original online platforms for games that drove the rise of companies like Zynga on the strength of viral hits FarmVille and CityVille. And hits like Candy Crush Saga use Facebook Login to save progress across multiple devices. That, in turn, opens up the opportunity to create a desktop gaming experience, with Facebook being the natural place for those games to live. Though, even for a company like King Facebook user activity continues to drop, according to the company's most-recent financial release.

Internally, the company remains heavily devoted to its gaming platform, and has made a hall of fame and a best-of list for games. This year's inductees include “Top Eleven Be A Football Manager,” a mouthful of a game that's basically exactly as it sounds but has more than 5 million people playing. Others include Zynga's “Words With Friends and Poker,” as well as a number of other casino-style games.



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BuzzFeed – Business

Facebook Builds Up Mobile Search To Help Index Your News Feed

The company said it was rolling out search updates to its iOS and desktop versions starting today.


Facebook's search tools are getting an update beginning today, including a new way to search for existing posts instead of only people on Facebook.

The typical example, seen above, would be for a person searching for some related topic to a person — like a vacation, or a wedding. Those search results will return photos and posts linked to those search terms, much in the same way a Google search might.

Facebook first rolled out its Graph Search in 2013, which started as an engine built around how people speak and write, with queries like “photos of my friends in New York.” Today's update brings mobile search more in line with typical keyword-focused search behaviors, though the original search queries and their variations still exist.

“You get more precision out of structured grammar, but it's difficult to formulate your queries that way,” Facebook product manager Rousseau Kazi told BuzzFeed News.

Today's update hopes to be an index of News Feed, in the same way Google is an index for the web pages across the internet. The approach is somewhat similar — build an engine that will find content for a given domain. In Google's domain, that's the Internet, while in Facebook's domain that is News Feed and the collection of one person's related posts.

This new search has natural monetary implications for Facebook. For the most part, search queries are markers of “intent” — a term often used by marketers to gauge what someone is attempting to accomplish, and how can an ad capture that intent. If someone is searching for rain boots, for example, that person may be in a mode where they are looking to buy rain boots, and an ad for rain boots might perform well on that page.

“Monetization will definitely come at some point, but right now the whole team is focused on making sure this is something people,” Kazi said. “We can take it a bunch of different ways, but the whole focus is are we ranking these things properly.”

The tools are working out on iOS and desktop in the U.S. first, then to other platforms and locations.

BuzzFeed – Business

Facebook Still Has High Hopes For Its Apps That Flopped

New mobile apps launched by Facebook’s Creative Labs have mostly been busts. Facebook Product Manager Josh Miller says it’s a learning process.

A ranking history of Rooms, a standalone application created by Facebook.


By app ranking standards, most of the new mobile apps coming out of Facebook's “Creative Labs” initiative haven't been particularly successful.

Consider Paper, a news reader, or Slingshot, for sharing photos. Each plays on hugely popular aspects of the core Facebook product. Both have fallen fast in the leaderboards since being launched, and neither have become a smash hit, despite being backed up by the vast reach and promotional power of the world's largest social network.

The problem is partly one of execution, says Facebook product manager Josh Miller, whose company was acquired by Facebook earlier this year. Thus far, one of the company's standalone applications called Rooms — which is similar to Facebook Groups, but without a specific Facebook identity tied to them — fits with that trend, he says: A solid hypothesis for a product, but yet to take off.

“The thing we're really spot on with and have something going for us, we know this is a use case that people care about,” he told BuzzFeed News. “There are definitely things we think we got wrong. Every product changes.”

In order to improve on that execution, Facebook is releasing a few updates to the application Monday to make it a bit more user-friendly. The company is adding a dashboard to track user activity in the app, as well as the option for push notifications with different kinds of sounds. The goal, Miller said, is to help people find it useful beyond other Facebook applications like Groups.

“I've read every single one of the reviews,” he said, when asked about reviews from users who didn't understand what the point of the app was. “The specific review [that] was 'what is the purpose of this?' — that's what we're really onto, and I'm surprised more people aren't building in this space. I do think execution wise we have a lot to work on.”


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BuzzFeed – Business

A Subtle Facebook Feature With 700 Million Users Gets Its Own App

The company launched a standalone Groups app. Still, the company has no plans to break it out of the main Facebook app.



Facebook began rolling out its long-expected standalone application for Facebook Groups, one of the company's more subtle but very popular features.

Originally buried in a hard-to-reach section of the main Facebook app, the company says more than 700 million people are using groups, up from 500 million earlier this year. Much like Facebook Messenger, which the company has herded more than a half billion people into using, Facebook decided to break the component out of Facebook.

“What we see is people form friendships, they have groups that are a subset of your friend graph,” Product Manager Shirley Sun told BuzzFeed News. “Groups is also definitely connections not only with your friends but also your community at large. Those are the people you know are around you, you don't want to be friends on Facebook, but you are tied together.”

Groups was expected to launch as a standalone application sometime this year, with development starting in February. The core Groups team built the app, somewhat contrary to Facebook's other Creative Labs projects that typically only include a few people somewhat attached to a group.

“If you think about groups, it has been a core Facebook product,” Sun said. “We have to serve all the people who serve it a lot today, but at the same time the power users, the experience is much better on mobile. The team has the most context, so it makes sense to do everything together.”

For Facebook, standalone applications serve as a way to not only attract existing Facebook users to those separate apps, but also to potentially attract new Facebook users and drive higher engagement for separate apps. Earlier this year in an interview with BuzzFeed News, Product Manager Jimmy Chen said part of the reasoning was despite having wide adoption, groups were buried in the main application.

“The fact we put it on Facebook and it's four taps behind the main app, and we still get 500 million people using it every month, suggests there's a deep desire for this kind of product,” he said at the time.

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BuzzFeed – Business