Nokia and Facebook Are Touting Their Undersea Exploits


Nokia and Facebook are setting speed records under the sea.

The two companies revealed the results of multiple field trials of their 5,500-kilometer (3,418-mile) submarine cable between New York and Ireland, saying that the cable used new probabilistic constellation shaping from Nokia Bell Labs and shaped 64-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation), setting a spectral efficiency record of 7.46 b/s/Hz (bits per second per Hertz) and boosting the system’s capacity by nearly 2.5 times.

Nokia and Facebook also tested an 11,000-kilometer (6,835-mile) round-trip submarine transmission using shaped 64-QAM, and the two companies reported a record spectral efficiency of 5.68 b/s/Hz, as well as their first demonstrations of wavelengths of 200 gigabits per second and 250 Gb/s and 16 QAM via a transatlantic submarine route.

The two companies said the results of the first test indicated the potential for upgrading the cable to 32 terabits per second, per fiber, and the second test demonstrated “sufficient performance margin to support reliable, commercial operation.”

Full results will be presented in a post-deadline paper at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition, being held in Los Angeles Tuesday through Thursday.

Facebook global optical network architect Stephen Grubb said in a release announcing the test results:

Facebook wants to increase the pace of innovation and adoption of next-generation optical technologies. This field trial with Nokia demonstrates that the scalable optical technology of PCS together with narrow linewidth laser sources can achieve capacities extremely close to the Shannon limit. This ensures that we are both maximizing our investment in submarine cable systems, as well as continuing to drive the cost per bit of submarine transport lower.

Nokia head of optical networking Sam Bucci added:

We are thrilled to partner with Facebook to promote our common commitment to accelerating innovation in optical transmission. By demonstrating promising areas of Nokia Bell Labs research such as PCS, as well as coherent technologies available today, we hope to chart a path forward for the industry toward higher capacities, greater reach and more network flexibility.

The new hello button on Facebook is causing a lot of embarrassment- and here’s why

FACEBOOK has quietly introduced a brand new hello button so people can give each other a virtual wave.

But it seems the brand-new feature has been causing endless embarrassment, with users complaining they’ve accidentally sent a hello to people they aren’t friends with, or even worse – ex-partners.

 Facebook quietly introduced the new hello button on the site earlier this month

Facebook quietly introduced the new hello button on the site earlier this month

Earlier this month, the new button started appearing at the top of people’s profiles on the social media site – right next to where you would click to send a friend request.

It is believed that Facebook bosses say it is a casual way of introducing yourself to someone and if they say hello back, it then gives you the option to form an online friendship.

But with many people using the social network to check up on their ex-partners, snoop on their boss or check out their crushes, many have hit the hello button by accident.

This in turn means that the person they have been online stalking knows that there have been people searching their profile.

And taking to Twitter, many have complained how the new features has left them cringing with embarrassment.

One revealed: “I was stalking my managers Facebook whilst I was at work and accidentally sent a “hello”, wow never wanted to die so much in my life.”

Emily added: “The amount of times I’ve accidentally hit the hello button on facebook is a joke, looking proper eager to people I’m not even friends with.”

Another person tweeted: “Trying to add people on Facebook and hitting the say hello button noooooooo I am not waving at u, mortified.”

While Amy wrote: “Why has Facebook made a “hello” button look like an absolute creep when I’m trying to add someone.”

However, Facebook fanatics have discovered a way to take back your hello, before the person sees it.

All you have to do is click the hello button again and it gives you the chance to take back the online greeting.


Facebook must delete hate postings, Austria court rules


A court in Austria has ordered that Facebook must remove postings seen as hate speech, in a ruling that is set to have international implications.

The case was brought by the country’s Green Party after its leader was targeted by a false account.

The court said postings not just in Austria but worldwide must be deleted. Facebook has not yet commented.

The ruling is seen as a victory for campaigners who want to make social media platforms combat online trolling.Facebook icon

  • What should social networks do about hate speech?
  • Children see ‘worrying’ amount of hate speech online

The appeals court in Vienna ruled that postings against Greens’ leader Eva Glawischnig as any verbatim repostings should be removed.

It added that merely blocking the messages in Austria without removing them for users abroad was not sufficient.

The court said it was easy for Facebook to automate this process.

The head of the Austrian Green party, Eva Glawischnig, casts her ballot at a polling station in Vienna, Austria on 29 September, 2013.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEva Glawischnig was targeted by fake Facebook accounts

A Green lawmaker, Dieter Brosz, said Facebook could no longer claim it was just a platform and needed to take responsibility for tackling hate postings.

Internet giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google have all come under fire in many countries for failing to remove hate speech from their platforms promptly.

Last month, German ministers approved plans to fine social media firms up to 50m euros ($53.3m; £42.7m) if they fail to remove hate speech and fake news quickly.

The companies have recently announced measures to address the issue:

  • Facebook said it would hire 3,000 people to help stop hate speech, child abuse and self-harm being broadcast on the website
  • Google said changes on how its core search engine works would help stop the spread of fake news and hate speech


Facebook is testing Messenger ads around the world

Mark Zuckerberg introduces a messenger platform at the F8 summit.

Facebook’s plan to monetize Messenger is going global.

The company said on Tuesday Messenger ads would be available around the world through an expansion of its current tests. The new image ads will appear in the home tab of the Messenger app. If a user clicks on the ad, it will direct them to an off-platform location of the advertiser’s choosing. A select group of advertisers would be allowed to purchase the ads today, with the capability being added to more companies over the next few weeks.

Mark Zuckerberg introduces a messenger platform at the F8 summit.

Facebook began testing Messenger homepage ads in January in Australia and Thailand. More than 1.2 billion people use Messenger every month, according to Facebook. The company told CNBC last September it was looking to monetize Facebook Messenger and What’s App, where it was seeing users naturally interacting with businesses.

Businesses can also pay for sponsored messages, which are paid messages sent to users who previously had a conversation with the company.

Facebook brings Live broadcasting to its Spaces virtual reality app

In an effort to seemingly combine a couple of the top tech trends of the year, Facebook will soon be allowing users of its Oculus Rift virtual reality system to live stream themselves inside VR to their Facebook friends and followers as avatars.

The Facebook Live functionality will be arriving on the Spaces app, which is still in beta. Users will be able to go live to all their friends and can position a virtual camera to capture their experience. A lot of things will look familiar to a traditional Live broadcast for the streamer, but things like physically reaching out and grabbing a comment to show those watching are things only possible in VR.

Facebook Spaces may be just a preview of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 10-year vision for virtual reality at the company, but with Messenger video calls and Facebook Live broadcasts already coming to the app, it’s clear that the company isn’t shying away from building a bridge between its loftier VR bets and its central 2D service, which now boasts 2 billion users.


It may be a while before every feature sees a VR counterpart though.

“There are things that aren’t going to map one-to-one, but I think in a lot of ways Facebook is sort of the 2D metaverse,” Facebook VR guru Mike Booth told TechCrunch. “It’s a huge network of people, places and things, so it’s a question of how we present those things in VR and how we let people access them and interact with them, but it’s also huge so there’re a lot of things to figure out and explore.”

To Booth, bringing Facebook Live to Spaces is just as much about “evangelism” as anything else, allowing larger groups of friends to get exposed to the app and virtual reality in general.

Whether users see the need to return to a feature like this is the real question; VR systems have some pretty obtrusive setups and don’t lend themselves to the ease of use that going Live on mobile boasts. Whether seeing avatars is fun and quirky or just gimmicky seems to be something that might be up for debate after only a couple minutes of live streaming, but for Facebook, much of their VR strategy involves a lot of trial and a lot of potential for error.


Facebook’s Virtual Reality Ambitions Could Be Threatened by Court Order


Facebook Inc’s big ambitions in the nascent virtual reality industry could be threatened by a court order that would prevent it from using critical software code another company claims to own, according to legal and industry experts.

Last Thursday, video game publisher ZeniMax Media Inc asked a Dallas federal judge to issue an order barring Facebook unit Oculus from using or distributing the disputed code, part of the software development kit that Oculus provides to outside companies creating games for its Rift VR headset.

A decision is likely a few months away, but intellectual property lawyers said ZeniMax has a decent chance of getting the order, which would mean Facebook faces a tough choice between paying a possibly hefty settlement or fighting on at risk of jeopardizing its position in the sector.

For now, Facebook is fighting on. Oculus spokeswoman Tera Randall said last Thursday the company would challenge a $500 million jury verdict on February 1 against Oculus and its co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe for infringing ZeniMax’s copyrighted code and violating a non-disclosure agreement.

Randall said Oculus would possibly file an appeal that would “allow us to put this litigation behind us.”

She did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

An injunction would require Oculus, which Facebook acquired for $3 billion in 2014, to stop distributing the code to developers or selling those games that use it.

Such a court order “would put a huge stumbling block in front” of Oculus, said Stephanie Llamas, an analyst with gaming market research firm SuperData. It would offer the company’s rivals in the new market, which include HTC, Sony Corp, Alphabet Inc and others an “important opportunity for them to become first movers.”

Sales of the Rift itself would not be barred, but Llamas, said a lack of available titles could hinder Facebook’s offering relative to HTC’s Vive headset and Sony’s PlayStation VR.Facebook's Virtual Reality Ambitions Could Be Threatened by Court Order

That market is relatively small at the moment – sales of VR hardware and software totaled $2.7 billion in 2016 – and mainly limited to gaming. But Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has predicted the technology “will become a part of daily life for billions of people,” revolutionizing social media, entertainment and medicine.

SuperData says the VR market will be worth $37 billion by 2020. Likewise, investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald last year issued a report predicting VR would account for 10 percent of Facebook revenue in four years’ time.

ZeniMax’s lawsuit arose from 2012 correspondence between Luckey and famed video game developer John Carmack, creator of the Doom and Quake series and then a ZeniMax employee. Luckey signed a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax covering his communications with Carmack.

Carmack joined Oculus in 2013 as chief technology officer. ZeniMax sued in 2014, claiming Carmack’s work while its employee was crucial to the Rift. At trial, Facebook said ZeniMax concocted its claims because of “sour grapes” over missing the VR trend.

Zuckerberg testified that “the idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.”

The jury decided Oculus had not stolen trade secrets but had infringed ZeniMax’s intellectual property. It also said Oculus breached the non-disclosure agreement.

IP lawyers said the judge would consider factors such as whether ZeniMax continues to be harmed and whether money is sufficient compensation.

Edward Naughton, a Boston-based copyright lawyer with Brown Rudnick, said ZeniMax has a strong argument because its technology continues to be used without its permission and the jury’s verdict does not compensate for that.

“I think they have a pretty good shot here,” Naughton said.

Mitchell Shelowitz, a copyright lawyer in New York, noted that the non-disclosure agreement explicitly stated ZeniMax would be entitled to an injunction in the event its terms were violated.

Not all lawyers agree ZeniMax has the stronger position. Chicago-based IP lawyer Joshua Rich said he thinks Facebook has a good chance to repel the injunction by arguing that ZeniMax is not being harmed by the sale of the Oculus products because it is not direct competitor.

If Facebook can get past the injunction fight, the calculus could change, said Naughton. Facebook may believe it has strong arguments on appeal or, because it has so much cash on hand, it may hope to wear ZeniMax down to the point where it settles on favorable terms.

“Facebook has deep pockets,” said Naughton. “That allows them to put their opponent into litigation fatigue.”


Facebook Tracking Lawsuit Judge Says Keeping Online Activity Private Is Users’ Responsibility


A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Facebook accusing it of tracking users’ internet usage between April 22, 2010, and Sept. 26, 2011, regardless if they’ve logged out of the network.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila on Friday, June 30, stated that the plaintiffs didn’t manage to prove that they had “reasonable expectation of privacy,” or suffered “realistic” economic harm or loss.

Facebook Privacy Lawsuit: What You Need To Know

As The Guardian reports, the plaintiffs alleged that Facebook leveraged “like” buttons found on other websites to track which sites they visited, which essentially meant that the world’s largest social media network could create a detailed documentation of their online activity and browsing history. This, argued the plaintiffs, broke federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws.

It works this way: when you stumble upon an article on the web you’d like to share on Facebook, oftentimes there’d already be integrated “buttons” you can click on to share the said article directly to various channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and more. When a user visits a site with a like button, the browser sends information to two places: to Facebook and the server where the page is stored.

The plaintiffs argued that Facebook’s alleged tracking of sites broke federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws. Davila did not agree.

“The fact that a user’s web browser automatically sends the same information to both parties does not establish that one party intercepted the user’s communication with the other,” he said.

The lawsuit adds that Facebook had promised that cookies are deleted when a user logs out. However, the site continued to receive the information until a researcher spilled the beans on Facebook’s behavior in 2011.

Plaintiffs Could Have Blocked Facebook’s Intrusions But Chose Not To: Judge

He also stated that the plaintiffs could have gone out of their way to keep their online activity private, either by using Incognito mode on their preferred browser, or by using an opt-out tool by the Digital Advertising Alliance. But in the end, the judge said they failed to prove that the social media network illegally “intercepted” or eavesdropped on their interactions.

Unfortunately, the plaintiffs can’t go to court again with privacy invasion and wiretapping claims, but what they could do is pursue a renewed breach of contract claim, according to Davila.

The same judge previously had dismissed an earlier version of the lawsuit back in 2015.

Thoughts about the privacy lawsuit against Facebook? What about online activity-based targeted advertising, which seems to be the underlying motivation in this case, suppose Facebook’s behavior is true? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below if you have any thoughts or opinions!

Facebook Live Video Streaming Now Available on Desktop

Facebook Live was first only available to mobile devices (and Pages), but it has now expanded its services for all users to be able to stream directly from desktops. This ability brings more options for live broadcasters to directly go live through a webcam, and also shows Facebook’s seriousness towards live streaming and its push for video on its platform.

Moving forward, you will now see a live video button on Facebook’s desktop site as well. Earlier, the feature was made available to Pages, but now everyone with a Facebook account can go live through a webcam. Facebook has also added the ability to attach sophisticated hardware to ensure high quality broadcasting if users so prefer.

Facebook Live Video Streaming Now Available on Desktop

Furthermore, gamers and gaming companies can also use Facebook for attracting a streaming audience on their Profiles and Page as well. “If you’re a gamer, this new feature makes it easier than ever to stream your PC gameplay to friends and followers and engage with them while you play. If you’re giving your friends or followers a tutorial or how-to guide, you can incorporate on-screen graphics, titles, and overlays. Or if you’re an artist, you can go live and switch seamlessly between cameras as you narrate the process,” the company notes.

The Live Video option is available alongside Check in, Activities, and others on the top of the NewsFeed/ Timeline. Starting a live video is as easy as posting a Status, and it shows up the same way it did when you posted through your phone.

Recently, it was reported that Facebook, after the success of its Live video feature, is looking to broadcast original TV-like programmes from various genres and may pay hefty amount for it. Facebook was interested in original content from a slew of different genres, from sports to science, and the social networking giant was willing to pay for the content and could offer in the low- to mid-six-figure range per episode for scripted content. Facebook may go for weekly series and shows that last around 30 minutes.

Facebook ‘M’ deploys army of virtual assistants to help fix your life

facebook messenger
In February, a startup introduced Magic, a service that promised that you could order up virtually anything via text message, than have it delivered to your door. It launched, went viral, then…faded. Now Facebook wants to do Magic one better.

As of today, Facebook is launching a trial of M, a service that lives on top of its Messenger application in iOS and Android. Dial M for Messenger, as it were, and a hybrid team of algorithms and real-life assistants promises to help you with your mundane tasks. To try the new service, users can tap a small button at the bottom of the Messenger app to send a note to M. (If you use Messenger, you may already be signed up for the trial.)

“Today we’re launching M, a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf, a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. “It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people. M will be available to a very, very small number of people in the Bay Area to start. We’re looking forward to seeing how they use and enjoy it.”

It’s not clear exactly what M’s limitations are. According to the decidedly neutral Wired story that helped launch M, the assistant is designed to help answer questions like “Where is the best place to go hiking in the Bay Area?” and “Can you help me order flowers for my Mom’s birthday?”—both informative questions as well as tasks that can be accomplished. M’s real-life assistants will also apparently remain on hold to talk to the cable company on your behalf—wasting their lives, not yours.

“It can perform tasks that none of the others can,” David Marcus, vice president of messaging products for Facebook, told Wired.

Why this matters: If Facebook can turn M into the go-to destination for the sorts of myriad tasks that we hate to do ourselves, it could have a real winner here. But the seemingly impossible challenge is the scope of it all—Facebook expects to handle requests from the 700 million Facebook Messenger users? Even if we’re talking a staggered rollout here over a period of years, the scale of what Facebook seems to want to accomplish appears insurmountable.

How M would differ from Siri and others

Numerous virtual digital assistants go to work each day as part of the Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows platforms. Still, Siri, Google Now, and Cortana largely answer fact-based questions and perform simple tasks confined to a computing device. Facebook’s M would go a step further, making intelligent decisions on your behalf.

As of now, however, Facebook is not tapping into its social graph to help answer those questions—so presumably you’ll have to tell M what type of flowers your mother likes, rather than asking M to comb through her timeline and discover that fact for itself. It’s also not clear whether M will actually make a purchase for you, or simply point you to a service or website for you to take care of yourself.

Eventually, everyone that uses Messenger—yes, all 700 million users—will get to use M, Facebook promises. That seems virtually impossible to do with a team of live employees. So that will put the onus on Facebook’s algorithms to figure out what you want and then do it for you, all with you paying for the privilege. It’s not clear that Magic, a small startup, was able to make this work. Can one of the largest companies on the planet, Facebook, be successful?