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Inside Facebook (Apr 18th, 2017)

$FB (April 18, 2:53 p.m.): $140.89 (↓ 0.52%) // 90-day high: $143.44 // 90-day low: $126.78 // More info

Facebook announced a new augmented reality platform at its F8 developer conference. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said eventually people could point smartphone cameras at a bowl of cereal and have an app create tiny sharks swimming in the bowl of milk. Or, friends could leave virtual notes on the walls outside their favorite restaurants, with suggestions on which items were most delicious. The Camera Effects platform is designed to eventually be compatible with future augmented reality hardware such as eyeglasses. Facebook is allowing developers to apply for access to a closed beta of the platform’s AR Studio tool. Zuckerberg said that AR would be the next major platform for computing. The two-day conference in San Jose will serve as a platform for  the company to show off new products, experiments, and developments in camera and VR tech. – TECH CRUNCH

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Facebook is about to offer its team collaboration software, Workplace for free. The more costly, enterprise tier of Workplace, a competitor to Slack, will be available for free until September 30. After that, it will charge less than Slack, in an attempt to lure companies to make the switch. The plan is to charge organizations $3 per user for the first 1,000 members; $2 per user for the next 9,000 members; and then $1 per user after that. Slack charges between $6.50 to $12.50 per month for features such as added storage and search. – THE VERGE

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Facebook holds four out of the five spots for the most downloaded apps across the globe. Research by app analytics firm Sensor Tower reveals that WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Snapchat were the most downloaded apps for the first three months of this 2017. Video and audio streaming apps, however, dominated the revenue charts. Netflix became the highest grossing app for the first quarter of 2017, with Line, Tinder, Pandora and Spotify rounding out the rest. Netflix’s revenue grew 286 percent year-over-year – from $34.6 million to $133 million globally. – THE NEXT WEB

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Once marginalized for his views on artificial intelligence, Yann LeCun is leading Facebook's charge toward AI. "Your interaction with the digital world, your phone, your computer, is going to be transformed," LeCun said. Buzzfeed offers an in-depth profile of the man who leads a team called Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research — known internally as FAIR — and he is focused on the goal of creating computers with intelligence equal to humans. The article states that LeCun may have been ahead of his time. "The essence of intelligence, to some extent, is the ability to predict," LeCun said. "If you can predict what's going to happen as a consequence of your actions then you can plan. You can plan a sequence of actions that will reach a particular goal." – BUZZFEED

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The MLB Players Association has launched Infield Chatter, a social media network designed for players and fans. Hoping to compete with Facebook, the app already has more than 1,000 players on board, including David Price, Jose Bautista, Brandon Phillips and Miguel Cabrera. "We asked for a better way to communicate directly with fans and learn more about them, and make it easy for them to learn more about us," Minnesota Twins pitcher Hector Santiago said. "We believe this is the way to go, a true baseball community so that we can just be ourselves." The feature will allow players to communicate directly with fans. It also allows the Players Association to use tech-focused ways to engage younger audiences. "Innovation and influence is what is resonating with this group of young people," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said. – CNBC

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The man suspected in the Easter Sunday fatal shooting of a 74-year-old Cleveland man shot and killed himself on Tuesday after a brief pursuit in Erie County, Pa. Steve Stephens, 37, shot Robert Godwin Sr. in the head at close range while he was walking in public and then posted a video of the homicide on Facebook. Authorities launched a nationwide search to find Stephens. FOX News reported that Stephens at the time of the shooting faced $35,000 in debts, including $21,000 owed on a loan for a 2007 Dodge Charger and more than $5,300 on student loans. When police on Tuesday attempted to pull over the man, Stephens pulled over and shot himself to death. – NY TIMES

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San Jose Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold says "Facebook put a megaphone into the hands of madmen." Herhold points out that it took Facebook several hours to delete video of Steve Stephens shooting 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. In the video, Stephens said “I’m about to kill this guy right here; he’s an old dude,’’ before he uploaded it to Facebook. The accused killer asked Godwin to say the words “Joy Lane,’’ — the name of Stephens’ estranged girlfriend before he pulled the trigger. Herhold said company leaders and developers who plan to gather at the F8 conference in San Jose on April 18 and 19 ought to make Godwin's death center stage. "Some of the smartest people in the world will converge in San Jose Tuesday," Herhold writes. "And some of them have better answers than I do. I particularly like the notion of refining artificial intelligence to flag violent videos." – SJMN

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Want to know everything that's happening at the Facebook's annual developer conference, F8? The Verge offers blow-by-blow updates on the news coming out of the annual conference. Facebook has already announced plans regarding the future of virtual reality, bots on Messenger, 360-degree imaging and all of the latest news and information out of the event. CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage on the first day of the two-day long conference. At the beginning of his speech, he offered his condolences to the family of a 74-year-old man shot to death. The video of the shooting was then posted on Facebook. – THE VERGE

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