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Inside Facebook (Jul 21st, 2017)

$FB (1 p.m. EST): $164.52 (↓ .01%) // 90-day high: $164.54 // 90-day low: $143.68 // More info

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Facebook is adding a new feature that will allow people who run pages to create groups within them. The groups will allow users to chat directly with each other and with the owners of the page. Chris Cox, Facebook's chief product officer, compared the groups to a club for "super fans" and says the idea came from a niche group the Washington Post created for readers and journalists to communicate with each other. Facebook has more than 70 million pages.  — VERGE

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Facebook published a patent for a modular electromechanical device that can incorporate a speaker, microphone, phone, touch display, and GPS. Google spent years developing a similar modular phone called Project Ara, which made it to a pilot test before the project was scrapped last year. Former members of the Project Ara team are now working for Facebook's Building 8, the company's consumer hardware lab. The employees named on the patent all previously worked at Nascent Objects, a 3D modular gadget startup that was acquired by Facebook last year. — BUSINESS INSIDER

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Facebook shares surged by a record 40 percent prior to its second-quarter earnings report next week. This is despite anticipated lower earnings and technical indicators that the stock is "overbought." Wall Street analysts are estimating that the company will earn less than originally forecasted because of capital expenditures on data centers and video initiatives, which will be valuable in the long term but lower the operating margin in the short term. Facebook was the most active single stock option on Wednesday with double the average call volume. The company's Q2 earnings report will come on July 26. — CNBC 

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WhatsApp's latest beta test includes a "picture-in-picture" mode that allows users to continue a video call while browsing other text messages. Currently, the feature is only available on the latest Android O system. Other new features that are still in beta include the ability to play YouTube videos in the app, make UPI money transactions, recall and edit sent messages, and live-location sharing. WhatsApp began as a text-messaging app, but started enabling video calls last year. — GADGETS 360

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A lobbying group representing Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft is backing Apple in its legal dispute with Qualcomm. The tech lobbying group filed comments with the International Trade Commission asking regulators to reject Qualcomm's call to ban iPhone imports. Qualcomm supplies chips to Apple, and the companies have been battling in court over patent issues. Apple began using Intel chips in its iPhone 7. — FORTUNE

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Oculus has indicated that its upcoming standalone headset will not replace Rift. Facebook/Oculus executives told CNET that their VR strategy was to support the first generation Rift headsets and Touch controllers by investing in game development. According to the head of Rift, Nate Mitchell, the quality of any standalone headset (including the prototype Oculus Santa Cruz) will not be as powerful as that of Rift for a couple of years. Facebook committed another $250 million to fund VR content in October. — CNET

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