Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

03.23.17 | 7:25 am

Facebook has more 18-year-old male users than there are living on Earth today

That mind-numbing bit of demographic insight was revealed by Simon Kemp at TNW after he sifted through a massive amount of the platform's global audience statistics. His primary hypotheses for just how Facebook could have more 18-year-old males than actually exist are:

1. Younger users over-stating their real age in order to appear to be of 'legal age' in their respective country; or
2. Older people under-stating their age to a 'golden number', in order to appear younger than they really are, potentially for reasons of vanity.

Whatever the case, he points out that the factually impossible demographics could have big implications for advertisers. Besides the 18-year-old male imbalance, Kemp's piece offers a lot of other interesting insights into Facebook's demographics.

03.14.17 | 1:46 pm

A member of the U.K. Parliament just chewed out Google, Facebook, and Twitter for not doing more to control hate speech

Executives from Google, Facebook, and Twitter appeared in front of the U.K. Parliament's Home Affairs Committee today for an evidence session on "hate crime and its violent consequences." Committee chair Yvette Cooper was not impressed with their answers to questions about what they're doing to combat social media abuse. "In the end, it's still not enough," Cooper said, launching into an impassioned diatribe. She was especially tough on Peter Barron, a VP for Google Europe

"I would just say, YouTube—frankly, Mr. Baron, your answers on how you're implementing community standards do feel a bit of a joke, and do not feel as if you're taking your own community standards seriously and playing even by your own rules in terms of what counts as a hate crime and what should be removed. I think for both Facebook and for Twitter, there is still considerable concern about the pace at which you respond and are able to update your systems."

Cooper ended the meeting by saying the companies will be summoned back again and asked to provide more specific details on their progress. Watch the full session here or just skip ahead to 17:00 for Cooper's speech.

03.14.17 | 7:44 am

Germany may impose $53 million fines on social media sites that don’t remove hate speech

The Germany justice minister wants to fine firms such as Facebook and Twitter up to 50 million euros ($53 million) if they fail to swiftly remove hate speech or defamatory fake news from their sites, reports the AP. The justice minister cites research that shows Facebook only deletes 39% of such content flagged by users, while Twitter deletes only a paltry 1%.

03.10.17 | 1:29 pm

Get ready for live virtual reality video in your Facebook news feed

Facebook really wants virtual reality to be a success. Although CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently told investors to be patient about the technology's growth, there's little doubt the company has a vested interest in getting as many people interested in VR as possible. And not just because it is on the line for half a billion dollars because Palmer Luckey, the founder of Facebook-owned Oculus, broke an NDA.

Earlier this week, Facebook launched its first-ever dedicated VR app. And today, it said it was enabling users of Samsung's mobile Gear VR headset–which is powered by Oculus software–to livestream their VR experiences to Facebook. For the time being, only Gear VR users outside the U.S. will be able to do that (Facebook didn't say why) but that feature will be coming to our shores soon, the company promises. So, get ready for your news feed to have a whole new kind of live video soon. And if you like it, Facebook hopes, you'll think seriously about hopping on board yourself.

03.09.17 | 10:00 am

Messenger is joining Facebook’s full-court press against Snapchat Stories

In the beginning, there was Snapchat Stories. It let you meld photos, videos, stickers, and jottings into mini-movies that disappeared after 24 hours, and it was a hit. Facebook took notice, and has been busy adding similar features to its own apps. Last August, Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, a near-identical offering that has also been a major success; WhatsApp got its own version last month.

Now, after months of experimentation, Facebook is officially unveiling Messenger Day, a stories-style feature within Messenger's iOS and Android apps. Just as in other incarnations, you can piece together snapshots, videos, stickers, and doodles into shareable shows that go poof a day later. That leaves the Facebook app itself as the company's only major unstoried platform—and it seems a pretty good bet that it will join the club sooner or later.

03.09.17 | 9:21 am

Can these media companies fight the Google/Facebook duopoly together?

Legacy media is tired of fighting for table scraps. Since Google and Facebook account for almost all of the growth in the digital ad market (a staggering 90% according to one estimate), it's no surprise that some competing media companies now see joint ventures as their only hope. And yet I was still intrigued to see that Condé Nast, of all brands, has signed on to "Concert"—a digital ad marketplace operated by NBCUniversal and Vox Media. In another reality, these companies are all fierce competitors, but in the winner-take-all world of digital advertising, a reluctant alliance may be the only way to counter the gravitational pull of Google and Facebook. AdAge has more about the deal here.

03.08.17 | 1:59 pm

Facebook’s new AI servers are 30% more powerful

For Facebook, artificial intelligence is absolutely the key to its future. The social networking giant depends on AI to deliver more relevant news feed posts, photos, and videos, as well as power speech and text translation. Underlying all that work is a series of powerful servers that Facebook designed and built specifically for the task. Since 2015, it has been using a GPU server known as Big Sur.

Now, Facebook is moving on to the next-generation GPU server, known as Big Basin, which it announced today in conjunction with the Open Compute Project. The new servers, the design of which the company is open-sourcing, will allow for training "machine learning models that are 30% larger because of the availability of greater arithmetic throughput and a memory size increase from 12 GB to 16GB," it says. That potentially means more powerful and faster AI operations across Facebook.

03.08.17 | 1:00 pm

Facebook launches 360-degree video app for Samsung’s Gear VR

There are currently more than a million 360-degree Facebook videos and 25 million 360 photos. And there's been no easy way to view all that content on the Gear VR, Samsung's mobile virtual reality headset that happens to be powered by software from Facebook-owned Oculus.

Until now. Today, the social networking giant launched Facebook 360, a dedicated app for viewing all that 360-degree content on the Gear VR. Users will be able to explore the most popular 360 content across all of Facebook, as well as from their friends and others they follow. It'll also be possible to share 360 photos and videos directly to Facebook from the app. It's not known if the company will make the app available for other VR systems, like Google's Daydream, the HTC Vive, or even the Oculus Rift, but one would have to assume that since Facebook wants its content to be on as many platforms as possible, the answer will be "yes" sooner rather than later.

03.07.17 | 6:48 am

BBC says Facebook is failing to remove sexualized images of children from its site

The news organization reported 100 photos to Facebook that allegedly showed images of child exploitation being traded in private groups on the site. However, Facebook only removed 18 of the reported images—and then reported the BBC to the police for flagging the photos in the first place.

03.06.17 | 9:08 am

Facebook is testing out a dislike button, but there’s a catch

The long-awaited dream of a dislike button may be closer than ever for Facebook users—and yet still so far away. The feature is being tested in Facebook Messenger. According to TechCrunch, some users of the chat app are seeing a number of "Reactions" options, and among those options is a "thumbs down" icon. Facebook rolled out Reactions in its news feed a little over a year ago, but those don't include a thumbs-down button. Read the full story here.

03.01.17 | 6:00 am

Facebook just launched its first Apple TV app

Facebook Video allows users to watch videos from friends, liked pages, and the top live videos currently streaming. While the app is free, you need a Facebook account to use it.

[Image: Facebook]

02.28.17 | 12:47 pm

Here’s what SCOTUS had to say about a registered sex offender’s right to be on Facebook and Twitter

The Supreme Court yesterday weighed in on a closely watched legal case regarding a North Carolina law that bans registered sex offenders from using Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks used by minors. So far, it looks like the court is leaning toward striking down the law on First Amendment grounds. The idea is that social media has become so vital for discourse that broadly denying access to it infringes on basic constitutional rights. Justice Elena Kagan made especially persuasive points, noting that the president and every member of Congress use Twitter.

"Whether it's political community, whether it's religious community—I mean, these sites have become embedded in our culture as ways to communicate and ways to exercise our constitutional rights."

You can read a full transcript of the arguments here.