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A Trip to Africa Helped Facebook Improve Its Android App

Facebook updated its Android app last week, claiming it would work much faster for users.

After a trip to Africa to test how the Android app behaves in difficult conditions, a team from Facebook concluded it needed to make some changes. In a blog post, Facebook engineer Alex Sourov explains how the company used that experience to make a number of improvements to the app.

Mobile access on Android devices in the country was extremely slow, and the lack of memory on the devices resulted in constant crashes. The team members also burned their monthly data plans in 40 minutes.

“Our trip to Africa really highlighted the importance of our work on mobile performance, data efficiency, networking reliability, and application size for emerging markets. We’ve made a concerted effort to improve in all these areas and achieved a significant amount of success in the past year,” Sourov writes in the post.

In the latest version of Facebook’s Android app, you can now Like posts, pictures and Pages, and remove tags, without needing an Internet connection. Furthermore, the app’s download size has been reduced by 65%, compared with the beginning of the year, and start times have been reduced by more than 50% in the six months following the trip.

The update does not apply to iOS devices, however, perhaps because Android devices are far more popular in developing countries.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/06/23/facebook-android-africa/

Reddit Code Mystery May Never Be Solved


More than a week after a cryptic note was deciphered by Reddit users, followers of this mystery gathered on Thursday at the New York City meeting spot referenced in the code.

About 15 people were on the scene looking for answers — a far cry from the 150 or so that flocked to a nearby spot just a few days earlier when an Internet user claiming to be the original code-giver changed the date and location.

For those just catching up, here is the back story: Reddit user delverofsecrets sought the Internet’s help when a “homeless looking man” handed him an encoded message and a $50 bill on a New York City subway. It was later deciphered by Reddit users: “There’s plenty more money to make. Figure this out and prepare to meet July 19th, 56th & 6th. There’s a hot dog stand outside Rue57 cafe. Ask for Mr. Input.”

Several days later, a Reddit user claiming to be the code originator sent a private message to delverofsecrets, referencing a different location at an earlier date. But nothing occurred at that meet up either. Delverofsecrets — who later deleted his account after receiving threatening messages and phone calls — did not show up at Thursday’s meeting.

Reddit Code

On 56th and 6th, the hot dog vendor said he had never heard of Mr. Input until Reddit fans approached him after the code went viral. Employees of the Rue57 restaurant were just as surprised to hear they were a part of the message.

Some believed the code could be a part of a marketing ploy for the film The Dark Knight Rises, which had a pre-screening recently just a block away. But judging by today’s turnout, it’s unlikely that a marketing team is behind the initiative.

Although the Reddit code mystery may never be solved, one thing is for sure: The Internet is watching, and there might be huge potential for marketers looking to pull an elaborate stunt like this in the future.

Are you surprised that the Reddit code turned out to be nothing? Do you think this would work for a marketing company? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/19/reddit-code-bust/

Get a Room: 9 Intimate Apps for Couples


10 Filters Facebook Needs To Install Immediately

Betches love Facebook as much as we love any of our other social media, if not more because Facebook has been leading the fight in providing shit-talking ammo since 2004 or whenever it was invented.  However, just like most things in the world, Facebook has a lot of room for improvement, specifically, there’s no way to stop certain types of posts from infecting your newsfeed. I’ve come up with a list of some filters every betch needs in her Facebook newsfeed, so, you're welcome. I hope FB will cut me a check for this.

  • 1. Engagement Filter

    No betch likes a reminder of her increasing chances that she will die alone (she won’t, but that won’t stop her from thinking it). What’s worse is that I’ve noticed people get engaged like clockwork on Sundays, to make me feel worse about the fact that I’m literally immobile due to a hangover. The last thing I need when I’m trying not to puke in my trash can is one of my random sorority sisters ODing on romance and sappy shit. At least I can hug my trashcan though.

  • 2. Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Stopper

    Notice how I’m not choosing a side here, but bombs go off in the Middle East and all of a sudden, everyone’s got a Masters in International Relations. Here’s how I feel about this: if you feel strongly enough to post about it, some random person's comment’s probably not going to change your mind. Similarly, if you feel strongly enough one way or the other to comment on someone’s status, their platitude-ridden rebuttal also isn’t going to change your mind. So quit it with the intellectual masturbation circle jerks, alright?

  • 3. Jesus Blocker

    No I do not need to pray for you and your family simply because you got a flat tire. Nor do I need to be alerted about how good God is literally every time you wake up in the morning. Haven’t you heard, there are people dying in the Middle East? Pretty sure Jesus isn’t going to answer my prayers for you to get over your cold. Not that he’d listen to my prayers anyway since I’m a JAB.

  • 4. Hashtag Limit

    I'll give you 3 hashtags but once you go over that limit Facebook should just shut that shit down. Also no more than 2 words per hashtag. #howthefuckisanybodyevensupposedtoreadthis #whatthefuckisthatshit

  • 5. No Baby Zone

    For the last and final time, no one gives a shit about your baby or his/her bowel movements. Go share these magical moments with your baby daddy, provided you know who he is.

  • 6. Sap Zapper

    Honestly I wish that once you declared yourself in a relationship with someone on FB, they made it so you weren’t allowed to write on his/her wall, period, until you broke up. Why are you writing just a heart on his wall? I know y’all have each other’s numbers, come on, we don’t all have to see this. That goes double for tagging them in a status.

  • 7. Invite Request Elimination

    OK maybe this is a thing that exists and I’m just slow, but for the love of God WHY can’t you block all requests from a certain game, instead of just from a person? Like if I didn’t want to play Candy Crush when Susan invited me, I sure as shit don’t want to accept it now that I’ve been invited by Rachel. It’s the same game and I still don’t want to play it, regardless of who invited me, so make like Britney and leave me alone!

  • 8. Cross-Post Crusher

    I have a lot of friends who link their Twitter posts to automatically post to their FB statuses because they’re aspiring comedians. I legit don’t even get why this is a thing…if I wanted to read all your Tweets I’d follow you on Twitter….that’s literally why they invented Twitter. Kindly GTFO.

  • 9. FOMO Filter

    It would be awesome if, for the one night a year you decide not to go out, you could put a temporary block on the rest of your besties’ posts so you won’t have to see how you missed Drake’s surprise appearance at the club. I also really wish I could block everything #lolla related right now.

  • 10. Rando Remover

    Every once in a while some random ass person will pop up in my feed because my friend’s friend liked their status or some shit. What gives, Facebook?

Getting a job at Facebook is practically as hard as winning the lottery; how am I the first person who’s thought of this shit? GET IT TOGETHER, MARK.

Read more: http://www.betcheslovethis.com/slideshow/10-filters-facebook-needs-to-install-immediately

Supersized Facebook Messages Crash Tablets


Very large messages sent through Facebook’s chat client can make applications and devices crash in a form of denial-of-service attack, a security researcher has discovered.

“It has been possible to disconnect three different testing users (three out of three) by sending big enough messages, one of them reported that his tablet restarted after the reception,” Buenos Aires, Argentina-based security researcher Chris Russo wrote on the Full Disclosure mailing list.

“The chat module, which at this moment I can’t use since it looks like I have been blocked,” Russo wrote, “doesn’t have any kind of limit in the amount of characters that can be sent.”

The exact message that caused the denial-of-service attack hasn’t been made public, but Russo did post the code he used with the message deleted.

In comments attached to his posting, Russo wouldn’t confirm how big his messages were. He said he kept increasing the sizes by 1,000 characters each time until the exploit worked.

As of this writing, Facebook has not commented on the issue. Russo noted that it took Facebook six weeks to reply last time he alerted them to a security flaw. The attacks don’t appear to cause any permanent damage to device hardware, but they are likely to lead to aggravation, frustration and lost productivity for users.

This article originally published at TechNewsDaily

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/09/facebook-message-crash/

Pentagon Wants to Monitor Facebook, Twitter to Predict Terrorism


The Pentagon wants computer programs that predict “cyber terrorism events” by detecting how criminal groups and hackers interact on the Internet, contracting databases indicate.

The military research arm wants scientists to build the tools to comb through networking sites — such as Facebook and Twitter — to analyze the group dynamics of online communities.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will fund the development of algorithms that make sense of the chatter of more than 1 million Internet users, and track how online groups evolve.

The goal is to help strategists identify how communities are recruiting and collaborating, who they are targeting, and the shifting allegiances in these spaces.

DARPA is interested in software that can spot conflicts between groups and weak links that the Pentagon and law enforcement could exploit for “strategic military operations” and espionage prevention.

“Little attention has been paid to how the groups compete with each other for members and influence on opinions of other teams and communities,” the solicitation for proposals reads.

The first phase of funding will support teams that can identify ways to measure group dynamics. The second phase will create a demo program that can create a coherent narrative by drawing on the movements of more than 1,000 groups and 1 million-plus members generating more than 100,000 online posts each day.

Scientists that make it to the third phase of funding are expected to produce tools that market analysts, polling organizations and defense agencies can tap. The Defense Department plans to start accepting proposals on Aug. 27. The solicitation closes on Sept. 26.

Building the tools that can formulate coherent narratives about any online network is an ambitious task. As a case in point, the various offshoots of the hacker group Anonymous are fluid communities. They succumb to internal politics; they mobilize, dissolve and resurface in new forms.

Analytical tools that study group behavior have been unable to nail down this volatility. Such software has typically been most effective when looking at smaller, static clusters of close-knit individuals, the tender acknowledges.

The Wild West that is the social media world could offer a different set of challenges.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, David B. Gleason.

This article originally published at Nextgov

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/30/pentagon-facebook-twitter-terrorism/

Instagram May Soon Move to the Web


Instagram may be planning to develop a full-on web presence. Web designer Cole Reinke found an interesting link on Instagram’s website that suggests the company may be testing an expanded version of its app.

Currently, Instagram’s site is very basic, to say the least. Users can do things like change their password and edit their profile. But Reinke found the pictured link to “View Profile” when he was recently on the site.

When he clicked on the link, he was greeted with a 404 error page, which seems to suggest that Instagram is at least testing an expanded web presence, according to TechCrunch.

When we just logged onto to the site, we were unable to see the same link.

A little more than two years ago, the first photo was uploaded the social network, which started out as a simple, free iOS app. Now, around 50 million mobile users have uploaded more than 1 billion photos to the service.

Facebook’s purchase of the service for $1 billion in April arguably started an acquisition spree by tech companies that is still going strong even today.

While the link is not exactly concrete proof, there may be mixed feelings about Instagram’s move to the web. It was really designed as a mobile product and definitely shines on the iPhone.

But Facebook is surely looking for some kind of return on its massive investment, and a full-fledged Instagram site would be a pretty big step in that direction.

This article originally published at AppAdvice

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/21/instagram-on-the-web/