Facebook to sunset ‘Who can look up your timeline by name?’ feature

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Last year, Facebook started removing the privacy-checking feature called “Who can look up your timeline by name?” The company announced Thursday that it is officially ending this feature, prompting users to take better control of their individual privacy settings.

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Former Facebook analytics manager Mohammad Sabah joins Identified

Mohammad Sabah Identified CDO

The man in charge of data science and analytics at Facebook has left the social network to take on a similar role and data and analytics company Identified.

Newly-minted Identified Chief Data Officer Mohammad Sabah will direct and develop the company’s patent-pending intelligence technology for recruiters, dubbed SYMAN, which culls unstructured data to create organized, searchable profiles. SYMAN was designed to spot professional data posted in virtually any social media platform. Competing technologies rely solely on user-generated information.

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Facebook testing ‘More People to Follow’ prompt

MorePeopleToFollow

Facebook is trying to promote users to follow more. According to sister site AllFacebook, the site is testing a prompt that shows similar people to follow when a user opts to follow someone on Facebook.

AllFacebook reader Yan Yanko Kotliarsky submitted the above image, which came up after a follow of Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Arielle Zuckerberg.

Facebook has done this in the past, prompting users to like other pages after they’ve clicked like on a page.

Facebook asks users to rate things they’ve read, watched

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Facebook has been pushing for users to add more content to their timelines, indicating shows they’ve watched, movies they’ve seen, and books they’ve read. This information is then added to modules on the left side of the timeline.

Now, the site wants to know how well users liked those things. Some users started seeing prompts on the sidebar of their  to rate these items on a star scale.

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Facebook-connected fitness apps translate into real life success

Running300Fitness applications are growing in popularity — largely because they work well, especially when a user connects the app to their Facebook account. While it’s difficult to measure Facebook-connected fitness apps’ success in terms of pounds lost, developers are claiming that users who sign into the app through Facebook tend to keep using it.

For instance, on RunKeeper, when users share their fitness activities on Facebook, there is a 40 percent chance that they will continue to use the app. Whether it’s peer pressure or the positive engagement from friends, users of Facebook-connected fitness apps tend to keep going on runs, walks, and bike excursions when they sign in through the social network.

Jackie Chang, a partner manager for fitness apps at Facebook, recently spoke with Inside Facebook about how people use fitness apps such as Endomondo and Nike, as well as what’s ahead for the platform — including improvements in timeline and Graph Search.

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Facebook’s latest Android update allows users to control privacy on posted stories

Android300Facebook users have made it clear that they want more control over their privacy. The company’s investors said that repeatedly during Facebook’s first shareholders meeting, and the latest Android mobile app update shows that the site is working on more ways to get privacy controls in the users’ hands.

From the Android app, Facebook users can now change the privacy settings on any of their prior posts.

Previously, users could only control who sees posts they’re about to make from their Android app, but now people can go back to any post they’ve made and tweak the privacy settings.

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Facebook tests new ways to encourage users to add movies to their ‘watched’ lists

moviesFacebook is testing new sidebar modules to prompt users to share the movies they have seen.

With the latest Timeline redesign Facebook has given users an About page with sections for movies, music, books and more. Instead of only displaying the items people “like,” these sections will show what users have “read,” “listened to,” “watched” or “want to watch.” The social network has been trying a number of ways to get users familiar with these new sections and encourage them to fill them in. Most recently, users have begun to see movie suggestions in the right hand column of Facebook.com.

Reader Matteo Gamba shared the following screenshot with us. It asks users whether they have seen a particular movie and gives them “yes” or “no” options. The header “add to movies,” implies that answering “yes” will add the film to the user’s movies section, but some users might not fully understand this and later be surprised to learn that the movie appears on their Timeline and in friends’ News Feeds.

have you watched this_

Another option we’ve seen is a list of films with a plus sign and the word “watched.” This version of the module also includes the movie’s People Talking About This count.

watched-prompt

As we’ve covered previously, other ways users can add movies to their sections include directly from News Feed stories or friends’ Timelines. There are also ways to do this from mobile.

By getting user to connect with more things they care about or have experienced, Facebook can improve ad targeting, News Feed relevancy, Graph Search and recommendations.

Facebook adds option for star ratings on content in Timeline sections and apps

celebrityFacebook today completed its global rollout of the new Timeline design with sections for music, movies, books, fitness and more. Now, it will begin letting users rate content from those sections or from third-party apps.

Facebook says users have added nearly 200 million items to their sections daily. Since Timeline sections launched in March, more than 17 billion songs have been added to people’s music sections through Likes and listening activity from apps. With the option for star ratings on books, movies and TV shows, users will have even more ways to engage with content and add to Facebook’s burgeoning entertainment platform.

The data could improve Graph Search results, News Feed relevancy, ad targeting and other components of Facebook, while allowing third-party apps to be even more personalized and offer users better recommendations. Developers can also build in features to allow users to rate content through their apps using the “rate” action, which was recently added to Open Graph.

movies-section-ratings

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Facebook tries new ways to encourage users to buy Gifts for friends

giftsFacebook is testing a new way to encourage users to buy gifts for their friends by including a call to action within the comments section of a post.

SocialFresh CEO Jason Keath shared the example below, blurred for privacy, which says “Surprise Ty with a gift.” This is a different take on the “give a gift” button that some users had been seeing in their News Feed next to posts where their friends had shared good news. Now, instead of appearing consistently, the prompt only appears after a user has Liked the post or commented on it.

surprise-with-gift

Another recently added feature is the Give Gift button in the hovercard that appears when users mouse over a friend’s name.

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Facebook settles Timelines trademark suit

facebook logoFacebook and Timelines Inc. have reached a settlement in the trademark case against the social network, according to a document Facebook filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Timelines Inc. operates Timelines.com, a website for people to create and collaborate on historical timelines. The company sued Facebook in September 2011 after it debuted an overhauled profile page it called “timeline.” Timelines Inc. has registered trademarks for “Timelines,” “Timelines.com” and its “Timelines” logo.

Facebook had asserted that its use of “timeline” was generic and qualified as “fair use.” Facebook requested a summary judgment to prevent the case from going to trial, but the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the motion. The case was set to go to trial last week, but then delayed without explanation.

It seems the companies worked out a settlement agreement in the meantime. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, apart from the following in Facebook’s 10-Q quarterly report:

“We are also party to various legal proceedings and claims which arise in the ordinary course of business. Among these legal matters, in two cases, Summit 6 LLC v. Research in Motion Corporation et al., and Timelines, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., we have reached agreements to settle the matters. The cost of settlement in each case, which is included in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2013, was not material to our business, financial condition, or results of operations.”

Through the lawsuit, Timelines Inc. sought to prevent Facebook from continuing to use the term and to receive compensation equivalent to Facebook’s ad revenue generated on Timeline pages. However, it is unlikely the settlement was close to that range. It also seems Facebook will be allowed to continue to use the “timeline” name for its profile product.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment. We’ve reached out to Timelines Inc. for comment, but have not yet gotten a reply.

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