Onavo VPN App Being Shut Down
Facebook is ending its unpaid market research programs and taking down the Onavo VPN app from Google Play, according to TechCrunch. The Onavo Protect app is also eventually going to shut down fully and it will cease data gathering features. Plus Facebook is no longer recruiting new users for the Facebook Research app.
Facebook was originally paying users in the U.S. and India between the ages of 13 to 35 up to $20 in gift cards per month to give the company VPN and root network access to spy on mobile data. This is reportedly one of the ways that Facebook was able to detect the growth of WhatsApp prior to the massive acquisition.
Location Tracking Update
The feature will not actually change on Facebook for iOS, but Facebook is going to send an alert to everyone on that platform who chose to turn on Location History in the past so that they can decide whether or not to change the settings. And Facebook for Android will offer users a way to stop collecting location data when the app is not being used.
“Android and iOS are by far the two most popular mobile operating systems, but their location settings work differently. Android offers a single on/off switch for Location Services, so you can decide whether to share your precise location with Facebook and other apps,” said Facebook engineering director Paul McDonald in an announcement about the feature. “But iOS offers an additional option, so you can share your precise location always, only when the app is in use, or never. As a result, one of the questions we often hear from people using Facebook for Android – but not those using iOS – is whether Facebook gets their location even when they’re not using the app.”
Fundraising Feature Being Tested In Stories
Instagram is working on “Donation” sticker
It lets users to start fundraisers for their favorite non-profits pic.twitter.com/hrhjkpPNpM
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 18, 2019
Facebook is reportedly testing a feature in Instagram that would allow users to make donations to non-profits through Stories, according to TechCrunch. TechCrunch cited credible reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong as its source for the upcoming feature.
When this feature releases to the public, then users will be able to search for a non-profit and add the ability to make donations through Instagram Stories. Instagram confirmed this feature to TechCrunch and said that they are hoping to roll it out for all users later this year.
“We are in early stages and working hard to bring this experience to our community,” said a Facebook spokesperson via TechCrunch. “Instagram is all about bringing you closer to the people and things you love, and a big part of that is showing support for and bringing awareness to meaningful communities and causes. Later this year, people will be able to raise money and help support nonprofits that are important to them through a donation sticker in Instagram Stories. We’re excited to bring this experience to our community and will share more updates in the coming months.”
To make donations, you would most likely have to provide Instagram with your banking or credit card information. Or it might be possible to pull your payment information from your Facebook account if it was saved there.
Vaccination-Related Searches Getting Filtered
Anti-vaccination advocates have been tapping into social networks to further their messages. Last week, I reported that Facebook is considering the removal of anti-vaccine information. Now Pinterest is completely removing all searches related to vaccinations.
Until Pinterest has a way to limit misinformation, the company said it was going to block vaccination-related content. Pinterest users are still able to post vaccination content, but it cannot be found through search. This is a similar strategy that Pinterest used for content related to questionable cancer therapies.
“We’re a place where people come to find inspiration, and there is nothing inspiring about harmful content,” said Pinterest’s public policy and social impact manager Ifeoma Ozoma via The Guardian. “Our view on this is we’re not the platform for that.”
Pinterest has reportedly filed a confidential S-1 for an IPO planned for June, according to The Wall Street Journal. Once Pinterest goes public, the company is expected to be valued at about $12 billion. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase were hired as the lead banks.
Ev Williams Steps Down
Twitter co-founder and former CEO Evan Williams is stepping from the company’s board of directors. Williams founded Twitter with Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone in 2007. Twitter originally started off as a project at the Odeo podcasting company.
“It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the company,” said Williams in a statement published in an SEC filing. “I will continue rooting for the team as I focus my time on other projects.”
Community Guidelines Strike System
YouTube is updating its strikes policy in order to clarify what will result in a ban. These new guidelines will go into effect on February 25, 2019.
When a user is hit with two strikes, YouTube will issue channel freezes. The first strike will result in a one-week freeze and a second strike will be a two-week channel freeze.
The strikes include violations that happen via live streaming, video uploads and other content. In the past, YouTube used to issue a 90-day live-streaming ban for violations. The third strike will cause users to get banned. The strikes will reset after 90 days. And content that violates guidelines will be removed.
Polygon reported that YouTube is also adding a warning system. The first offense will result in a warning rather than a first strike. And YouTube will continue removing content that is in violation of the guidelines as part of the warning.
YouTube pointed out that 98% of users never break the guidelines. And of the 2% of users who break the guidelines, 94% of them do not repeat violations after the first strike. And YouTube will also send mobile notifications when a violation occurs and it will link to an explanation of why it happened.