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Inside Facebook

Inside Facebook (Feb 10th, 2017)

$FB (11:41 am EST): $134.38 (↑ 0.24%) // 90-day high: $135.48 // 90-day low: $114 // More info

Thanks for reading Inside Facebook! Today we’re covering Facebook's new bereavement policy, a decision to allow an independent audit of its metrics, and the decline of the Oculus Rift VR headset. Have any thoughts or comments on stuff you want to see? Hit REPLY and let us hear about it!

Facebook has implemented a new bereavement policy, which allows for 20 days off for the death an immediate family member and 10 days off for an extended family member. In addition, Facebook has added a six week paid leave policy per year to care for an ailing family member. Employees are also allowed three days of paid sick time to take care of a family member with a short-term illness. “People should be able both to work and be there for their families,” said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. “No one should face this trade-off. We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and aging parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss.” Sandberg added: “Only 60 percent of private-sector workers in the United States get paid time off after the death of a loved one and usually just a few days." –  FORTUNE

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Facebook has hired an MTV executive to help the company develop video content. While at MTV, Mina Lefevre worked on shows such as "Faking It," "Awkward," "Finding Carter," "Scream," "Teen Wolf," "Nicole Byer, Mary + Jane," "Sweet/Vicious," and "The Shannara Chronicles." She will oversee development of the Facebook's scripted and unscripted content. Facebook has invested heavily in Facebook Live and has been working with professional content producers and everyday users to create original video content. Facebook attracts nearly 2 billion monthly users and the company is attempting to further monetize the video content. "I have always been drawn to the idea of building something and the idea of being part of the team that helps build Facebook's original content ecosystem...well, that just seems like a dream!" she wrote in a Facebook post. – THE VERGE

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Facebook is shuttering about 200 of its 500 Oculus virtual-reality demo stations at Best Buy due to low interest. The $600 cost of VR headsets and the need for an expensive, high-performance PC to run the machine have served as barriers. In addition, some people have experienced nausea while watching VR videos. The scaling back of retail displays is a not a good sign for the future of the product, according to observers. "VR seems only to be popular at trade shows," Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor said. "After a very disappointing 2016, virtual reality looks set to have another disappointing year in 2017 while its proponents work out how to fix the issues that keep it from being a success." Others are even more pointed with their criticism: "Investor optimism on Facebook's Oculus is totally misplaced," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry said in a research note. "Oculus is DOD (dead on departure). (The VR) market does not exist." –  INVESTORS

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Facebook is taking more steps to stop advertisers from discriminating based on race. Last fall Facebook created an algorithm that flagged posts for using "ethnic affinity" for housing ads. Now, the social networking company is educating advertisers not to discriminate based on age, color, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender, gender identity, genetic or medical condition, national origin, race or religion. If Facebook determines the ad violates those rules, the advertisement will be rejected. Facebook will also remind the creator of the new rules and ask them to verify that the ad isn't discriminatory during the creation process. Facebook also said it would start using machine learning technology to prevent advertisers from steering housing, employment, and credit opportunities from users who were interested in African-American, Asian-American, and US Hispanic content on the site. – ENGADGET

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Facebook app users can learn about their local weather directly from their news feed at any time. The weather section can also be found on the mobile app in the same spot where you find “Friends,” “Groups,” “Events,” and “Pages.” The weather section will include an hourly and five-day forecast powered by Weather.com. A graphic at the top of the page will also reflect the current local conditions; if it's snowing outside, you'll see snow. Facebook launched weather greetings in 2016, but the new version is more detailed, precise and displayed more prominently. – BGR

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Facebook has agreed to undergo an independent audit of its metrics by the Media Rating Council, according to Dow Jones. Ad-industry executives have been skeptical of the company's data-reporting practices after Facebook said in 2016 that it had made some mistakes in its reporting. The advertising industry relies on accurate metrics to determine media buys on the platform. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer for Procter & Gamble, said the independent audits are necessary. "Facebook's actions on media transparency are a positive step forward, particularly coming from one of the largest media players in the industry. – WSJ

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A woman is planning to broadcast the birth of her baby on Facebook Live. The Welsh woman intends to have an induced labor at 37 weeks because of concerns that her daughter might have growth difficulties in the womb. In a recent video update from her hospital bed, the woman says: “Good news! The induction is going to happen and we’re so happy." The woman, known as Ysis, or Channel Mum, has nearly 30,000 followers on Facebook. She is updating her page with regular posts. As of Friday morning, she posted "contractions are picking up." – THE INDEPENDENT

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A new way to block political posts from Facebook news feeds has been developed. Social Fixer is a browser extension that can be installed on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. After installing the extension, a wrench will appear in the top right corner of Facebook. You can click on the wrench icon to hide posts from any of the keywords you input. If you don't want, for example, terms like "President Trump" or "Democrats" to appear in your feed, any content around those keywords will be hidden. Social Fixer also allows the most recent posts to show up first, instead of Facebook's algorithm deciding the order. Social Fixer only works on desktop, not mobile. – TIME

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