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Inside Facebook (May 5th, 2017)

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Facebook plans to shut down Oculus Story Study, the virtual reality division that created short films such as “Dear Angelica” and “Henry.” The studio’s 50 staffers are encouraged to apply for new jobs within Oculus. All ongoing studio projects wll be immediately canceled. “We’ve been looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem,” said Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin in a blog post. “After careful consideration, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production. As part of that shift, we’ll be winding down Story Studio.” Facebook spent $2 billion on Oculus in early 2014. – VARIETY

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Facebook plans to hire 3,000 people to help screen for harmful videos and other posts, in response to the rise in popularity of Facebook Live. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that this would be on top of the 4,500 people already doing the job. Facebook has nearly 2 billion users. “If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post earlier today. “We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner — whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.” – TECH CRUNCH

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Facebook helped prevent the suicide of a teenage Georgia girl who was looking to take her life on Facebook Live. The teen on May 2 consumed pills and then put a bag over her head, while streaming live. Authorities received a call from a "concerned adult" and entered the teen's home through a bathroom window to find the girl unconscious on the floor. Facebook noticed the event and alerted the department of the footage during the live stream. "This is our first case like this," Howard told NBC News. "It was likely a cry for help. When you're doing something like that live, you're hoping someone will stop you ... Deputies on the scene were happy they were able to save her and bring her back to her family." The high school student is reportedly now doing fine. – NBC

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Facebook met with community activists and civic leaders in Chicago to talk about ways to halt the broadcast of violence on Facebook Live. The meeting came in response to a call from Rev. Jesse Jackson and others to shut down Facebook Live for 30 days following last month's murder of Cleveland grandfather Robert Godwin Sr. Jackson wants Facebook to address the growing problem of violent content on Live and to take keep that content away from children. "We know we have a lot of work to do to keep senseless violence off our platform and we appreciated the discussion today about how to work together to achieve that goal," Facebook said in a statement. – USA TODAY

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Facebook beat out first quarter estimates to start 2017, earning $8.03 billion in revenue. The company reported 1.94 billion users, up from 1.86 billion last quarter, growing at a faster 4.3 percent rate compared to 3.91 percent last quarter. Daily active users reached 1.28 billion, up from 1.23 billion last quarter. Facebook added 3 million monthly users in the US and Canada. The biggest gain, however, was in the Asia-Pacific region, which added 43 million users. Facebook beat analyst estimates on revenue, which were $7.83 billion. The growth of Facebook Live, Instagram and the ability to monetize videos through enhanced advertising has driven the growth. – TECH CRUNCH

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will broadcast its final show on Facebook Live. The circus act will stream live on the social network on May 21, in Uniondale, New York. Changing public tastes, a decline in live attendance and battles with animal rights groups helped sink the fate the American tradition. “We wanted to give families around the world one last chance to experience ‘the greatest show on earth’ together,” said Sam Gomez, the circus’s vice president of digital and relationship marketing. The circus has been a staple of entertainment in the United States since the mid-1800s. – CBS NEWS

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