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Inside Facebook

Inside Facebook (Feb 28th, 2017)

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In today's Inside Facebook we’re covering Facebook's policing of posts, the company's African expansion and a Supreme Court case related to sex offenders and social media. Have any thoughts or comments on stuff you want to see? Hit REPLY and let us hear about it!

Facebook values reactions over likes when determining what content should appear in people's news feeds. The love, haha, wow, angry and sad emojis make a greater algorithmic impact than a simple push of the thumbs up button. "Over the past year we've found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they'd want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post," a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable in a statement. "So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person." Facebook says that "love" is the most popular reactions, making up more than half of all reactions. – MASHABLE

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Facebook has apologized and restored the account of a mom who criticized homosexuality on the social networking site. Elizabeth Johnston, a mother of 10, said she was suspended when she quoted passages from the Old and New Testaments condemning homosexuality. Known as the "Activist Mommy," Johnston, who has nearly 750,000 followers, said her page was frozen three times in seven days. She complained about the alleged censorship and her story received national media attention. Facebook then apologized and restored her page and posts. “They apologized and said it was a mistake, but I don’t think it is sincere,” she told LifeSite News. “How can it be a mistake?” She added: “They are muzzling me and my biblical message while Mark Zuckerberg claims that FB is unbiased." – LIFESITE

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The U.S. Supreme Court will rule on whether sex offenders in North Carolina should be allowed to use Facebook and other social media. It is illegal in North Carolina for registered sex offenders to use social media. The case involves Lester Packingham, 36, who in 2002 pled guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old. He served 10 months in prison and registered as a sex offender. In 2010, Packingham was arrested for posting his reaction under an alias to getting out of a parking ticket on Facebook: "No fine. No Court costs. No nothing. Praise be to God. Wow. Thanks, Jesus." He was forbidden from using commercial social networking sites like Facebook that children could join. Now the Supreme Court's task is deciding whether the law, meant to prevent communications between sex offenders and minors via social media, is so broad that it violates the Constitution's free-speech protections. A ruling is expected by June. – NY TIMES

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Facebook plans to lay 500 miles of fiber optic cable to help bring internet access to three million Africans. The social networking company is partnering with Airtel and BCS to provide the internet service in Uganda. According to The Guardian, Africa is home to more than 1.2 billion people, but only 226 million had smartphones at the end of 2015. Facebook has previously attempted to bring web service to Africa by using satellites and drones. In 2015, Facebook used solar-powered drones to fly overhead and beam internet to rural areas. The project is expected to begin by the end of 2017. – RECODE

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A Melbourne, Australia auction house was blocked by Facebook from boosting an image of an oil painting of two nude women and a black cat in a bed. The oil on paper work was set to be auctioned next week. The 37-year-old Charles Blackman image depicts a naked bottom and breasts and was posted a week ago on Mossgreen Auction's Facebook page. When the company tried to boost the post, however, Facebook refused. In a message to the company, Facebook said: “This advert wasn’t boosted because it violates ad guidelines by advertising adult products or services including toys, videos or sexualising enhancement products … this decision is final.” See the image here: Mossgreen Managing Director Paul Sumner responded. “Seriously? are we that prudish that the two girls naked on a bed sends us in to a tailspin?” – THE AUSTRALIAN

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Facebook has shut down the official account of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s party, Fatah, after concerns that the account was being used to promote violence. Munir Jaghoub, a spokesman of Fatah’s Mobilization and Organization commissariat, said in The Jerusalem Post that he believes Facebook closed the account because of a historic photo of former PA President Yasser Arafat, holding a rifle, while standing alongside Fatah Vice Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul. Jaghoub said the photo of Arafat and other material published on the Fatah account do not constitute incitement. A Jerusalem Post review of Fatah's account’s history revealed posts and pictures that glorify violent acts against Israelis. "To those who argue, to the ignorant, and to those who do not know history…Fatah has killed 11,000 Israelis,” the post read. – JERUSALEM POST

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Samsung's Smart TV is the first platform to offer Facebook's new video app. The app is now available on its 2017 QLED TV, as well as all 2015, 2016 and 2017 Smart TV models. The app allows users to sign into their Facebook accounts, then view the videos shared by friends or Pages they follow. Facebook plans to expand the app to other smart TVs. Facebook is aggressively expanding into video, developing set-top apps, pushing Facebook Live broadcasting and considering the creation of original scripted content. In addition, Facebook has begun to share revenue with users who show ads during their Facebook Live broadcasts and testing mid-roll ads in videos, in an attempt to compete with YouTube. – TECH CRUNCH

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