Monday, February 25, 2019

facebook business

facebook business


Facebook Messenger Tests a Separate Folder for Business Messages - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 23 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

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Facebook is testing a new way of organizing messages from business pages in Messenger.

Social Media Examiner discovered this update and shared an example on their page:

Several other Facebook users are reporting seeing this as well.

It was later stated in a developer community that this is currently a test with a minimal number of Messenger users, with no plans to expand at this time.

For those unable to read the text in the image above, it says:

"Hi All,
There have been some discussions about a Messenger test that is currently running, and we want to provide you all with some clarity.

Earlier this month, we started testing a dedicated destination for business messages within Messenger. As with any testing, we want to ensure that we are delivering a delightful experience for the Messenger community while delivering business results for advertisers. We are testing this with a minimal number of Messenger users and do not have plans to expand the test at this time.

We appreciate your feedback."

So if you're not yet seeing this folder, you're not alone.

Clearly, this can assist users with separating business messages from personal messages.

It can also assist Facebook page admins with keeping their personal messages separated from customer messages.

This change, if it ends up rolling out more widely, may even make users more inclined to opt-in to Messenger bots and stay engaged with them.

At first glance, it would seem this change has numerous benefits to both users and businesses. Time will tell if it ends up becoming a permanent feature.

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You give apps sensitive personal information. They tell Facebook - Colorado Springs Gazette

Posted: 23 Feb 2019 11:00 PM PST

Millions of smartphone users confess their most intimate secrets to apps, including when they want to work on their belly fat or the price of the house they checked out last weekend. Other apps know users' body weight, blood pressure, menstrual cycles or pregnancy status.

Unbeknown to most people, in many cases that data is being shared with someone else: Facebook.

The social-media giant collects intensely personal information from many popular smartphone apps just seconds after users enter it, even if the user has no connection to Facebook, according to testing done by The Wall Street Journal. The apps often send the data without any prominent or specific disclosure, the testing showed.

It is already known that many smartphone apps send information to Facebook about when users open them, and sometimes what they do inside. Previously unreported is how at least 11 popular apps, totaling tens of millions of downloads, have also been sharing sensitive data entered by users. The findings alarmed some privacy experts who reviewed the Journal's testing.

Facebook is under scrutiny from Washington and European regulators for how it treats information of users and nonusers alike. It has been fined for allowing now defunct political-data firm Cambridge Analytica illicit access to users' data and has drawn criticism for giving companies special access to user records well after it said it had walled off that information.

In the case of apps, the Journal's testing showed that Facebook software collects data from many apps even if no Facebook account is used to log in and if the end user isn't a Facebook member. Apple and Alphabet's Google, which operate the two dominant app stores, don't require apps to disclose all the partners with whom data is shared. Users can decide not to grant permission for an app to access certain types of information, such as their contacts or locations. But these permissions generally don't apply to the information users supply directly to apps, which is sometimes the most personal.

In the Journal's testing, Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, the most popular heart-rate app on Apple's iOS, made by California-based Azumio Inc., sent a user's heart rate to Facebook immediately after it was recorded.

Flo Health's Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, which claims 25 million active users, told Facebook when a user was having her period or informed the app of an intention to get pregnant.

Real-estate app Realtor.com, owned by Move, a subsidiary of Wall Street Journal parent News Corp, sent the social network the location and price of listings that a user viewed, noting which were marked as favorites.

None of those apps provided users any apparent way to stop that information from being sent to Facebook.

Facebook said some of the data sharing uncovered by the Journal's testing appeared to violate its business terms, which instruct app developers not to send it "health, financial information or other categories of sensitive information." Facebook said it is telling apps flagged by the Journal to stop sending information its users might regard as sensitive. The company said it may take additional action if the apps don't comply.

"We require app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us," a Facebook spokeswoman said.

At the heart of the issue is an analytics tool Facebook offers developers, which allows them to see statistics about their users' activities — and to target those users with Facebook ads. Although Facebook's terms give it latitude to use the data uncovered by the Journal for other purposes, the spokeswoman said it doesn't do so.

Facebook tells its business partners it uses customer data collected from apps to personalize ads and content on Facebook and to conduct market research, among other things. A patent the company applied for in 2015, which was approved last year, describes how data from apps would be stored on Facebook servers where it could be used to help the company's algorithms target ads and select content to show users.

Apple said its guidelines require apps to seek "prior user consent" for collecting user data and take steps to prevent unauthorized access by third parties.

A Google spokesman declined to comment beyond pointing to the company's policy requiring apps that handle sensitive data to "disclose the type of parties to which any personal or sensitive user data is shared," and in some cases to do so prominently.

Before Alice Berg began using Flo to track her periods last June, she checked the app's terms of service. The 25-year-old student in Oslo says she had grown more cautious about sharing data with apps and wanted to ensure that only a limited amount of her data would be shared with third-parties like Facebook.

Now Berg said she may delete the app. "I think it's incredibly dishonest of them that they're just lying to their users especially when it comes to something so sensitive."

Flo Health's privacy policy says it won't send "information regarding your marked cycles, pregnancy, symptoms, notes and other information that is entered by you and that you do not elect to share" to third-party vendors.

Flo initially said in a written statement that it doesn't send "critical user data" and that the data it does send Facebook is "depersonalized" to keep it private and secure.

The Journal's testing, however, showed sensitive information was sent with a unique advertising identifier that can be matched to a device or profile. A Flo spokeswoman subsequently said the company will "substantially limit" its use of external analytics systems while it conducts a privacy audit.

Realtor.com owner Move said "we strictly adhere to all local, state and federal requirements," and that its privacy policy "clearly states how user information is collected and shared." The policy says the app collects a variety of information and may share it with third parties. It doesn't mention Facebook.

The Journal tested more than 70 apps that are among the most popular in Apple's iOS store in categories that handle sensitive user information. The Journal used software to monitor the internet communications triggered by using an app, including the information being sent to Facebook and other third parties. The tests found at least 11 apps sent Facebook potentially sensitive information about how users behaved or actual data they entered. Among the top 10 finance apps in Apple's U.S. app store as of Thursday, none appeared to send sensitive information to Facebook, and only two sent any information at all. But at least six of the top 15 health and fitness apps sent potentially sensitive information immediately after it was collected.

Disconnect, a software company that makes tools for people to manage their online privacy, was commissioned by the Journal to retest some of the apps. The company confirmed the Journal's findings, and said Facebook's terms allowing it to use the data it collected were unusual.

"This is a big mess," said Patrick Jackson, Disconnect's chief technology officer. "This is completely independent of the functionality of the app."

The software the Journal used in its tests wasn't able to decipher contents of traffic from Android apps. Esther Onfroy, co-founder of cybersecurity firm Defensive Lab Agency, conducted a separate test showing at least one app flagged by Journal testing, BetterMe: Weight Loss Workouts, in its Android version was sharing users' weights and heights with Facebook as soon as they were entered.

BetterMe didn't respond to email and social-media inquires from the Journal. On Feb. 16, after being contacted by the Journal, it updated its privacy policy, replacing a general reference to Facebook's analytics to one that says it shares information with Facebook so it can determine "the average weight and height of our users, how many users chose a particular problem area of their body, and other interactions."

Apps often integrate code known as software-development kits, or SDKs, that help developers integrate certain features or functions. Any information shared with an app may also be shared with the maker of the embedded SDK. There are an array of SDKs, including Facebook's, that allow apps to better understand their users' behavior or to collect data to sell targeted advertising.

Facebook's SDK, which is contained in thousands of apps, includes an analytics service called "App Events" that allows developers to look at trends among their users. Apps can tell the SDK to record a set of standardized actions taken by users, such as when a user completes a purchase. App developers also can define "custom app events" for Facebook to capture — and that is how the sensitive information the Journal detected was sent.

Facebook says on its website it uses customer data from its SDK, combined with other data it collects, to personalize ads and content, as well as to "improve other experiences on Facebook, including News Feed and Search content ranking capabilities."

Privacy lawyers say the collection of health data by non-health entities is legal in most U.S. states, provided there is sufficient disclosure in an app's and Facebook's terms of service. The Federal Trade Commission has taken an interest in cases in which data sharing deviates widely from what users might expect, said Woodrow Hartzog, a law and computer science professor at Northeastern University.

The privacy policy for Azumio, maker of the Instant Heart Rate app, says it collects health information including heart rates, and that it may provide some personal data to third-party service providers and advertising providers. It doesn't say anything about providing those outside entities with health information drawn from its apps, nor does it mention Facebook.

Bojan Bostjancic, the company's CEO, said in an email message that it uses Facebook analytics to analyze its users' behavior in the app, and that it discloses the use of third parties in its privacy policy. He didn't respond to follow-up questions.

After being contacted by the Journal, Breethe, maker of a meditation app of the same name, stopped sending Facebook the email address each user used to log in to the app, as well as the full name of each meditation completed.

"Clearly, Facebook's business model is unique and, unfortunately, we were not as diligent in aligning our data management with their privacy policy as we should have been," said Garner Bornstein, the company's co-founder.

Facebook allows users to turn off the company's ability to use the data it collects from third-party apps and websites for targeted ads. There is currently no way to stop the company from collecting the information in the first place, or using it for other purposes, such as detecting fake accounts. Germany's top antitrust enforcer earlier this month ordered Facebook to stop using that data at all without permission, a ruling Facebook is appealing.

Under pressure over its data collection, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said last year that the company would create a feature called "Clear History" to allow users to see what data Facebook had collected about them from applications and websites, and to delete it from Facebook.

The company says it is still building the technology needed to make the feature possible.

Data drawn from mobile apps can be valuable. Advertising buyers say that because of Facebook's insights into users' behavior, it can offer marketers better return on their investment than most other companies when they seek users who are, say, exercise nuts, or in the market for a new sports car. Such ads fetch a higher cost per click.

That is partly why Facebook's revenue is soaring.

"This is a big mess. This is completely independent of the functionality of the app." Patrick Jackson, chief technology officer for Disconnect

Apps are reportedly telling Facebook how much users weigh and when they're menstruating - INSIDER

Posted: 22 Feb 2019 12:22 PM PST

Some of the most popular smartphone apps are uploading to Facebook highly personal information about their users, including their blood pressure and weight, what house listings they were looking at, and whether they were menstruating or pregnant, without users' explicit knowledge or consent, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The Journal found that at least 11 apps were transferring such sensitive data to Facebook; they included Flo Health's Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, Move's Realtor.com, and Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor. All of the apps named by the Journal — and thousands of others besides — include code from Facebook that allow their developers to track how people are using them and use that information to target ads at them.

The apps are transferring data to Facebook regardless of whether the individual users log into the app via the social network or are even members of it, The Journal reported. None of them gave users an obvious way to block Facebook from getting their data, according to the story. Many of them didn't explicitly disclose to users what information they were sharing with Facebook, according to the report.

The practices may put the developers and Facebook in trouble with regulators in the United States and Europe. Following The Journal's report, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly ordered an investigation into apps sharing sensitive information with Facebook.

That may only be the start. The Federal Trade Commission has in the past cracked down on companies whose actual privacy practices differed significantly from what they disclosed to their users. Meanwhile, Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation typically requires companies to gain users' explicit consent before collecting or sharing their personal data.

The company is already under regulatory scrutiny after a series of mishaps that came to light last year, including the leak of records to Cambridge Analytica, the data firm linked to President Trump. The Journal's report comes as the company is reportedly negotiating with the FTC over the size of a fine related to that massive data leak.

Read this:Facebook is reportedly considering paying a record multibillion-dollar fine to settle the FTC's investigation into its privacy practices

Facebook's terms bar the sharing of sensitive data

Facebook's terms of service require developers that use its code to make clear what information they are sharing with the social network, company spokeswoman Nissa Anklesaria told Business Insider. They also bar app makers from sharing certain sensitive data with Facebook. Facebook looks for and deletes such data when the company finds it, she said.

But generally, the practice of apps sharing data with Facebook for the purpose of advertising to users is nothing unusual or untoward, Anklesaria said.

"Sharing information across apps on your iPhone or Android device is how mobile advertising works and is industry standard practice," she said.

Several of the developers mentioned in The Journal's report changed their privacy policies or data sharing practices after being contacted by the newspaper. For example, BetterMe, maker of BetterMe: Weight Loss Workouts, updated its privacy policy to make more explicit what information it shares with Facebook and why.

11 former Facebook employees explain why they quit the jobs everyone seems to want - Business Insider

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 10:26 AM PST

Former position at Facebook: Operations/release engineer

Why he left: Kulka worked as a Facebook engineer for five years, and his reason for quitting in 2015 was simple: He wasn't making enough money.

As Kulka quickly learned, even a six-figure salary sometimes isn't enough to support a family of four in the notoriously expensive San Francisco real estate market. He tried selling his Facebook stock and having his family live with a roommate for some extra cash, but after the birth of his second child in 2013, he said he realized his family would have to make a change.

"There were a few choices on the table," Kulka wrote in a column for Vox. "Move to a bad part of town where rents are cheaper, move into an apartment, relocate to another city with a Facebook engineering office and an equally expensive housing market, or leave the best job I may ever have and return to Arizona, where my wife and I were happiest living."

Kulka and his family chose to move back to Arizona, where he works as a DevOps manager for Parchment Inc., a software company that manages school transcripts. He said he hopes big tech companies would eventually reconsider their focus on Silicon Valley and other places with high costs of living.

"It can easily work for a single 20- or 30-something with no family and a few roommates, and they can prosper greatly from it if they're able to save responsibly," he wrote for Vox. "But for a person with a family of four who has a certain lifestyle that they want to try to maintain (a nice-ish $40,000 car, the ability to go out once a month and leave the kids with a sitter, a house that wasn't last remodeled in '70s, etc.), it can be difficult."

Local Business Featured at Facebook Summit - ValdostaToday.com

Posted: 24 Feb 2019 05:32 PM PST

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VALDOSTA – Badcock of Valdosta owners Cory Sauer and Matt Pridemore never do anything for the credit. They do it from the heart. These guys care.

They also finish each others sentences. When the hurricane hit the area a year and a half ago, they let people come inside their Valdosta Badcock location.

A Facebook post inviting people to come went viral.

They never hesitate to utilize their positions as businesses interacting with community to make a difference. When Hurricane Michael wiped out the Gulf Coast, they teamed up with Kona Ice and delivered treats to power line workers and the National Guard.

And everything was captured on their Facebook pages.

Turned out, Facebook was paying attention.

"Facebook sent us a message and we ignored it thinking it was fake," Sauer said. "They messaged again."

Again, they ignored it.

"But then they called," Sauer said.

And this time, Sauer believed it.

Before he knew it, Sauer and Pridemore were in the running to be hosted leaders from across North America who use Facebook to build community at the fourth annual Facebook Communities Summit.

Only 400 would be chosen. And millions of communities on Facebook push their interests and causes – with one thing in common: leaders who bring together people around a shared interest.

There was a lengthy process of elimination that occurred before they were chosen, but in the end – the Badcock crew became part of a new beginning.

Cory Sauer, beaming in the center, surrounded by a whole lot of new friends while representing Valdosta at Menlo Park

"I personally went through three rounds of interviews before they made the decision to bring us," Pridemore said. "Initially, they said the amount of giving back to the communities we serve was a big part of why we were chosen. We opened our doors for people to shower, charge phones, relax."

Facebook also loved that they took profits from their Douglas Badcock location and started an art studio that has helped transform downtown through nonprofits, bringing life back to the downtown space.

Facebook also recognized that they use social media on a daily basis at all five of their stores to help drive business and they wanted them to have the latest tools to make it better.

Sauer explained that they were able to meet with Facebook VIPs, and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was at the helm.

"Zuckerberg came into our small group and spoke," Pridemore said. "He was genuinely humbled to have us as 'ambassadors' for the platform. He was grateful for our time and energy to make communities better, and he challenged us to take what we learned and be engaging in our local areas."

As it was explained to them by Facebook VP Ime Archibong, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (former CEO of Google), Facebook is a 15-year-old company with 2.3 billion Facebook users worldwide. And 90 million small businesses actively use Facebook to both promote and interconnect with their communities.

And Facebook recognized that Sauer and Pridemore liked changing the world like they did.

A match made in cyberspace.

Group photo of the 400 selected businesses, Sauer and Pridemore among them, at the 4th Annual Facebook Communities Summit on Feb.

They came back even more pumped up than they already were. And their relationship with Facebook isn't a one-hit-wonder.

"Next for us is that we want to be more intimately involved in downtown Valdosta," Pridemore said. "We are currently searching for a space downtown to bring art, business, and mentorship to the community downtown and to help make our amazing place even better. We are committed to growing new leaders and helping them pursue business right here in Lowndes County. Facebook has big plans for us on the immediate horizon that we will be able to share in the middle of March."

Sauer and Pridemore have known each other since 2008 when they met in New York. They've been striving to realize their dreams ever since. The two own five Badcock locations, in Valdosta, Lake Park, Douglas, Madison, FL, and Brandford, FL.

Sauer and Pridemore met in 2008 and have been chasing their dreams ever since.

Stay tuned for the big news the two will be revealing in the coming weeks.

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