Facebook launches portal page to help users follow Olympic Games and athletes

Facebook has launched the Explore London 2012 page in collaboration with the London 2012 Olympics to help users find and Like pages related to the games.

Described as a way “to help everyone get the most out of the Games,” the dashboard includes links to the main Olympics pages, as well as those of athletes, national teams and sports. Although the page does not include advertisements, Facebook says it will soon include pages of broadcasters and sponsors. Available in 22 languages, the page already has 100 million connections between fans and athletes with the potential to reach more than 900 million people.


Similar to Facebook’s Pages Browser, clicking on a name or image does not direct users to the fan page, but instead makes the user Like the page. In order to reach the actual athlete or sport page, users must click “View Page” in the bottom right corner of the section.

Although the Olympics already has its own portal to find and follow athletes on Facebook and Twitter, it seems as if the London Olympics is trying to take advantage of the already established Facebook community. The games may find more success using the Facebook space instead of leading fans to register for a separate service.

Mark Adams, the Director of Communications of the International Olympic Committee said in a press release, “It makes sense to give fans the best experience we can and these will be the first truly ‘social’ Games.”

Facebook acquires facial recognition company Face.com

Facebook has agreed to acquire facial recognition technology company Face.com, according to a post on Face.com.

The Israeli company builds facial recognition software for web and mobile applications, which can identify and tag people in a photo or help users discover photos of themselves they didn’t know were online. TechCrunch reports that the acquisition price was around $100 million.

Facebook has used face recognition to suggest photo tags on its desktop site since 2010. Its latest mobile camera app doesn’t include this feature, but following the acquisition, it could do something similar to Face.com’s Klik app. Klik uses face recognition to let users tag their friends in real time. It also allows users to apply and adjust photo filters based on faces found in an image.

Face.com founder and CEO Gil Hirsch suggested in his blog post that his team would be focused on mobile when it joins the social network company.

“We love building products, and like our friends at Facebook, we think that mobile is a critical part of people’s lives as they both create and consume content, and share content with their social graph,” Hirsch wrote. “By working with Facebook directly, and joining their team, we’ll have more opportunities to build amazing products that will be employed by consumers – that’s all we’ve ever wanted to do.”

Face.com says it will continue to support the developer community that uses its APIs, though it did not say what would happen to its own apps like Klik.

Rumors of Facebook acquiring Face.com began in 2011 and resurfaced last month. The company, which was founded in 2007, has about 14 employees, according to LinkedIn. It has raised a total of $5.3 million from Yandex and Rhodium.

The following screenshots are from Klik:

Facebook looking to introduce real-time location-based ads to monetize mobile market

Facebook is working on real-time location-based mobile ads, according to Bloomberg.

[Update 6/18/12 12:10 p.m. PT - Facebook tells TechCrunch it did not confirm that such a product is in the works, though we have heard previously from sources that it is.]

The company has been testing several new ad products, and apparently showed almost a dozen ideas in April to a client council including corporate and agency executives. Although Facebook did not share details about how location-based ads would appear on users’ phones, it seems they could involve the social network’s new offers product.

“Phones can be location-specific so you can start to imagine what the product evolution might look like over time, particularly for retailers,” Facebook VP of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson told Bloomberg. “We’ve had offers being tested over the last couple of months.”

[Update 6/18/12 1:11 p.m. PT - This is the quote Bloomberg extrapolated to claim Facebook will release a location-based ad product. Although our own sources have told us they are aware of a new location-based ad offering being developed, Facebook says in a statement, “We’re always looking at different opportunities across mobile, but we have nothing to announce this time.”]

A real-time location-based advertising option would be most significant to retailers and restaurants, which want to reach consumers when they are nearby. It’s unclear whether Facebook would use push notifications to show users these ads. A few months ago, we suggested this would be unlikely unless it was opt-in for users. Since the Facebook Marketing Conference, however, the company has gotten more aggressive about testing new forms of advertising, including asking users to pay to highlight their posts and allowing cookie-based retargeting ads to appear on the site.

The social network will need to be cautious about how it implements mobile advertising, however, because with screen space so limited, ads are more disruptive than they are on desktop. Offers will have to be extremely relevant and high value to warrant a push notification or an ad at the top of a user’s News Feed. Location-based ads also run the risk of making users feel like they are being constantly tracked.

Currently, Facebook allows mobile advertising in the form of Sponsored Stories, which are page posts or interactions that advertisers pay to promote to more fans or friend of fans. Because Sponsored Stories require a person’s friend to validate a piece of content by interacting with it in some way before it is shown as an ad, Facebook is not giving companies a direct ticket into the News Feed. The company might begin with something similar for its location-based ads. For instance, a user or one of their friends might have to have Liked a page or checked into a location previously in order for a mobile offer to be served to them.

This week’s headlines from across Inside Network

A roundup of all the news Inside Network brought you between June 11 and 16.

Inside Mobile Apps

Tracking the convergence of mobile apps, social platforms and virtual goods.

Monday, June 11

Tuesday, June 12

Wednesday, June 13

Thursday, June 14

Friday, June 15

Saturday, June 16

Inside Social Games

Covering all the latest developments at the intersection of games and social platforms.

Monday, June 11

Tuesday, June 12

Wednesday, June 13

Thursday, June 14

Friday, June 15

Saturday, June 16

Sunday, June 17

Inside Facebook

Tracking Facebook and the Facebook platform for developers and marketers.

Monday, June 11

Tuesday, June 12

Wednesday, June 13

Thursday, June 14

Friday, June 15

Saturday, June 16

Facebook stock above $30, denial of IPO fraud, alliance against ad scams and more on this week’s news roundup

Facebook shares are back above $30 for the first time since May, closing today at $30.01 — up 6 percent from Thursday.

Earlier today Facebook filed a motion to consolidate the 40-plus class-action lawsuits against the company following its initial public offering. The filing claims the company did nothing wrong in the weeks leading up to the IPO and suggested that Nasdaq’s technical issues on the first day of trading “created market uncertainty and caused investor losses.” Earlier this week, a Texas court rejected a petition seeking documents and oral dispositions from top Facebook executives to determine if the company defrauded investors.

It’s unclear whether the post-market-close announcement that CTO Bret Taylor would leave the company will affect the company’s stock price on Monday. Shares were down slightly in after-hours trading.

In other Facebook-related news this week:

Facebook joins alliance to fight ‘bad ads’ — Facebook joined Google, Twitter and AOL in an alliance this week against ads that deliver malware, direct users to scams or try to sell counterfeit goods. The alliance will develop industry policy recommendations and best practices, as well as share information about “bad actors” who might try to advertise on a new network after being shut down by another.

App Center now available on iPad — The Facebook App Center is now available to some iPad users as part of the social network’s gradual rollout of the new dashboard. The App Center is available on the web and mobile devices to help users discover new Facebook-integrated applications.

Facebook completely open sources Ringmark — The social network announced on Thursday that its mobile browser test suite, Ringmark, is now completely open source. Facebook has also added drawing performance tests to the Ringmark repository to help game developers and others test a mobile browser’s animation speed.

GraphEffect raises $12M — Social marketing and advertising collaboration platform GraphEffect announced Wednesday that it secured $12 million in financing. The platform, which builds upon the Facebook Ads and Insights APIs, recently added a “story manager” feature to help users understand how their posts are performing and then easily turn those into promoted units. GraphEffect can also now deliver ads within News Feed and mobile devices. CEO and co-founder James Borow says the company has more features in the works, including a full page publishing tool.

AdParlor to give job offer to future winner of Facebook Hackathon — Facebook ad optimization company AdParlor has promised to make a job offer to whoever wins the Facebook Hack in Toronto on Saturday. The winner will also get a new iPad.

Facebook tests ‘share music’ feature – Some Facebook users are seeing a “share music” option in their News Feed publisher, The Next Web reports. Users can search for songs and share Spotify streaming links with friends.

Birthday Reminder, SimCity promotion, Songza, Pot Farm, Opera Mini, more on our top 20 emerging Facebook apps by MAU

Birthday Reminder took the top spot in our top emerging Facebook applications this week with a 165 percent gain in monthly active users.

We define emerging applications as those that ended with between 100,000 and 1 million MAU in the past week. This week’s top apps grew from between 130,000 and 560,000 MAU, based on AppData, our data tracking service covering traffic growth for apps on Facebook.

Top Gainers This Week

Name MAU Gain Gain,%
1.  Birthday Reminder 900,000 +560,000 + 165%
2.  SimCity Social: Get free stuff 580,000 +410,000 + 241%
3.  Songza 360,000 +310,000 + 620%
4.  Custom Tab | Star #3 680,000 +300,000 + 79%
5.  Baseball Heroes 920,000 +290,000 + 46%
6.  【猛將無雙】★★★★★ 超人氣!你的朋友都在玩 739,091 +279,091 + 61%
7.  Zaman Tünelinden Kurtul 510,187 +250,187 + 96%
8.  HTML Page Tab #9 660,000 +240,000 + 57%
9.  What your Relationship Status says about you! 440,000 +210,000 + 91%
10.  Pot Farm 900,000 +200,000 + 32%
11.  Jetpack Joyride 940,000 +180,000 + 29%
12.  Veetle 230,000 +160,000 + 229%
13.  Preguntas y Respuestas 280,000 +150,000 + 115%
14.  Opera Mini 380,000 +150,000 + 65%
15.  HTML Page Tab #10 610,000 +150,000 + 33%
16.  BILD Profil-Badges 150,000 +149,200 + 18,650%
17.  Journey of Jesus: The Calling 620,000 +140,000 + 29%
18.  Sweepstakes 720,000 +140,000 + 26%
19.  Global.mnet.com 200,000 +130,000 + 186%
20.  Hangman 220,000 +130,000 + 144%

Birthday apps like Birthday Reminder typically grow quickly because they prompt users to share messages and invite their friends to the app, but there is often little reason for users to return.

No. 2 on our list, SimCity Social: Get free stuff is a page tab application where users can collect virtual goods by Liking the SimCity Social page, sharing posts on their Timeline, and providing an email address. It has grown to 580,000 MAU in about a week and a half.

Music service Songza came in at No. 3, likely as a result of its new iPad app. The web and mobile versions integrated Facebook Open Graph in September, and now with new iPad users, the app saw 620 percent growth in the past week.

No. 10 Pot Farm continues to experience a resurgence, steadily approaching 1 million MAU where it had been two years ago.

No. 14 Opera Mini has been rising quickly since its new browser for feature phones and Blackberry launched at the end of May. The browser includes a “Smart Page” feature that provides a summary of news from a user’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppData. Stay tuned next week for our look at the top weekly gainers by monthly active users on Monday, the top weekly gainers by daily active users on Wednesday, and the top emerging apps on Friday.

Facebook CTO leaving company to build future start-up

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor announced today that he will be leaving the company later this summer to start a new business with friend and Google App Engine founder Kevin Gibbs.

Director of Engineering Mike Vernal and Director of Mobile Engineering Cory Ondrejka will continue to lead in his absence, AllThingsD reports. Taylor, who joined the company as director of platform products through its acquisition of FriendFeed in 2009, became CTO in 2010, not long after the introduction of the Open Graph Protocol. At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Taylor “helped shape my thinking on products, engineering and strategy in many ways.”

Taylor is the first high-level employee to leave Facebook since the company went public. TechCrunch reports that many more employees, including one executive, are rumored to be leaving soon.

“Cross-pollination among companies is what drives so much of innovation, so I would not project a lot onto this event,” he told AllThingsD. “I am really confident that the mobile and platform leaders at Facebook can deliver what needs to be done.”

Before Facebook and FriendFeed, Taylor was co-creator of Google Maps and the Google Maps API. According to AllThingsD, Taylor says he had “always been upfront” with Zuckerberg about his desires to one day start another company. Taylor says he had not decided what area his new start-up would focus on, though we imagine it will have a mobile focus. Taylor has been largely involved in pushing Facebook’s mobile platform forward.

“I’m very proud of our recent accomplishments in our platform and mobile products, from Open Graph and App Center to Facebook Camera and our iOS integration,” Taylor said in a Facebook post. I’m even more excited for the world to see all the amazing things these teams have coming.”

Read an interview we did with Taylor not long after he took on the CTO role here, and watch a video of his fireside chat during Inside Social Apps 2011 here.

BuzzFeed gets permission to use Facebook social plugins for ‘shareable ads’

Social news and entertainment site BuzzFeed has gotten permission from Facebook to use social plugins in advertisements on its site.

Facebook guidelines prevent third-party advertisers from using any platform integrations, such as the Like button or other plugins, in their ads without written permission from the social network. Mashable discovered new shareable ads on BuzzFeed, and Facebook confirms it is conducting “a small test” with “a select group of marketers” to allow this usage on some sites. It did not provide any examples beyond BuzzFeed.

Facebook would not comment on whether it is sharing ad revenue with BuzzFeed or other publishers who use its social features in advertisements. Although the company might not be doing so now, this could be an option for future monetization. More likely, Facebook is simply giving permission to BuzzFeed to use its plugins because its advertisements are more content-based than promotional. Instead of running banner ads, BuzzFeed displays posts from “featured partners” in line with its other articles. These stories share the same style as BuzzFeed’s other posts, for example, a post from Jack Daniels about “Easy party tricks to impress your friends” or a photo post from Hidden Valley Ranch about “10 foods made better with ranch dressing.”

These paid sponsors also get a branded BuzzFeed page with their articles, links to their sites and a Facebook Like box plugin, placement of which is typically not allowed to be bought or sold, according to Facebook guidelines. The social network probably wants to avoid being associated with scam sites that might sell placement of Like buttons or Like boxes. BuzzFeed, however, was an early Open Graph partner and seems to have a similar philosophy to Facebook about how ads should be shareable content, not interruptive.

Page management platform Hearsay Social partners with media companies to help marketers with content curation

Marketing software company Hearsay Social today announced the launch of Content Exchange, a partnership with several media companies to provide marketers and salespeople with web content they can share with their fans and followers.

Regularly having brand-relevant content to post is one of the biggest struggles for social media marketers. Content Exchange could help marketers find and post that content more efficiently. In addition to letting users search for content by topic, keyword or location, the platform sorts and prioritizes links based on what’s being most shared around the web. Once marketers find articles they want to share on their social media channels, they can create and schedule posts directly from the platform, which will also track engagement metrics.

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih calls Content Exchange “the iTunes for social media content.” She says the goal is to democratize the process of social media marketing and free up people’s time without compromising the output. Hearsay specializes in software for companies with relationship-based sales, such as financial advisors, real estate professionals or insurance agents. She says the company was built around the idea that individuals at the local level didn’t always have the experience or time for social media marketing, so Hearsay features a content library for the parent company to populate with photos, links and apps that local representatives can customize and use on their pages. Shih says that it became clear about a year ago that even marketers at the corporate level were struggling to find content to share. The company worked with its customers — including Northwestern Mutual, State Farm, Farmers Insurance and 24-Hour Fitness — to better understand what type of content was important to them and how Hearsay could streamline the curation process.

Content Exchange launched with partners Demand Media, Tribune Media Services and Thomson Reuters. E-How, Livestrong, Cracked and the Chicago Tribune, are among some of the contributing sites. Additionally, with Hearsay’s compliance features, companies can filter out content that includes profanity or otherwise might not be appropriate for their audience.

Also today, Hearsay Social shared the results of a Mainstay Salire study, which indicated that the platform helped drive ROI for clients, delivering between 50 and 500 percent increases in revenue performance, doubled sales conversion rates for promotions, 2X-5X increases in local fans, and up to 50 percent reduction in social media management costs.

Facebook career postings: lawyers, sales, data center technicians, agency relations, network engineering, more

Facebook added 24 new jobs to its careers page this this week. The company added a number of those positions to its LinkedIn feed as well.

With the social network’s ongoing legal issues, Facebook is looking for a corporate paralegal and litigation counsel. The company is also hiring a global head of “sales learning and enablement,” which will help lead the direction of its more than 1,200-person sales team as Facebook continues to expand its advertising business.

The company is also aiming to hire a “University Strategic Sourcing Specialist” to help recruit engineering talent, for which it always has dozens of open positions.

Posts added this week on Facebook’s Careers Page:

  • Data Engineer, Reporting
  • Network Engineering
  • Network Engineer, SW
  • Software Engineer, Network, SDN
  • Corporate Paralegal
  • Litigation Counsel
  • Operations Developer
  • HR Business Partner – Engineering
  • Learning and Development Consultant – Contract (Hyderabad)
  • Recruiting Coordinator – Contract
  • University Strategic Sourcing Specialist (Dublin)
  • Data Center Network Technician (Lulea)
  • Data Center Network Technician (Prineville)
  • System Validation Engineer
  • System Validation Engineer (Austin)
  • Software Engineer, Network, SDN
  • Manager, Business Ops – Global Mid-Market Sales Quota – Setting & Forecasting
  • Global Head – Sales Learning and Enablement
  • Account Manager, CPG (Los Angeles)
  • Global Head – Sales Learning and Enablement
  • Sales Manager, SouthEast Asia (Singapore)
  • Relationship Manager, Agency Relations (London)
  • Data Engineer, Reporting
  • Data Scientist

Jobs posted by Facebook on LinkedIn:


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