Facebook CEO once again proves he is a saint

Earlier this week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan announced a joint-venture LLC between the two of them and announced that together they would be releasing 99% of their held Facebook stock. – WHAT?

In an act of humanitarianism, the pair decided that they wanted to donate 99% of their company stock to “advancing human potential and promoting equality,” as their way of giving back. In their announcement, they came full circle back to the Internet quite a few times, explaining the actions on the basis that the Internet and technology on their own cannot solve the world – humans have to do their part, too.

A lot of people have seen this action as valid and admirable, only further adding to the world’s view of Mark Zuckerberg as a truly great guy. Priscilla Chan has kept a low profile, but is just as incredible, living her days as a pediatrician, philanthropist, and the other half of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that funds humanitarian projects. “We must directly engage with the people we serve,” wrote Zuckerberg and Chan in their announcement.

The two will be donating the money from their Facebook company shares over the course of their lifetime. Way to go, guys!

You can read more about the article referenced by this post here.

You can read more about the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and what it means for both Facebook and the world at large here.


The next Facebook flash fad might be stealing your data

Every so often, a quiz app surfaces on Facebook and takes the platform by storm. The newest big one is now proving to be not so fun.


The latest quiz app trend is “Most Used Words,” a small-frame software that sifts you the content on your Facebook profile to see which words you have used the most. It has recently received quite a bit of behind-the-scenes backlash after being accused of data stealing.

When Facebook users agree to the terms of the quiz app, they allow the software access to a great deal of what should be private information, including IP address, profile picture, age, education history, hometown, and other specifically identifying information. Vonvon, the South Korea-based company that created the quiz app, has said they are using this information in accordance to Facebook’s Privacy Policy, but some Virtual Private Network analysts are not so sure. This quiz app is a “privacy nightmare” according to UK-based VPN company Comparitech.

To protect themselves against such breaches, Facebook users should consistently check their privacy settings and make sure only the right (and safe) third party applications have access. Users should also pay closer attention when they are connecting their Facebook accounts to third party sites.

Read more about the potential privacy compromise and how to better protect yourself here.

Solidarity or controversy?

In wake of the recent attacks in Paris this past weekend, Facebook launched a temporary profile picture filter that, when activated, would put a French flag over a user’s profile picture to show support France. Some users jumped on this opportunity to show their solidarity while some this offensively, for a multitude of reasons.


On the one side, the side that supports the filter, users tend to jump this opportunity because it’s an easy, low-risk way to show that you are aware something is happening. People like this, as it does not require a lot of action, but still creates a way to show some form of support. People who support the filter are aware it does nothing tangibly to solve anything, but it’s just a way to show support and spread awareness (like wearing pink during breast cancer awareness month, and participating in No Shave November).

On the side arguing against the filter, people are arguing that there should have been more filters, saying that more than one tragedy happened this weekend and Facebook should have been more in tune with the world beyond the first world. Additionally, people are starting to create a sort of “shaming” vibe, stating that people who change their profile picture to the flag are “ignorant and unaware” and should focus on the world at large, not just the pretty countries. They also argue that if you really supported Paris, you would donate.

photo courtesy of Tsepang Matekane

Personally, I agree that there should have been more filters to show support for every country affected this weekend, but I don’t think shaming people or even angrily refusing to filter your profile picture will solve anything any better. (fun fact: I was one of the ones who changed my profile picture).

You can read more about the rationale behind the backlash here.


I’m sure we’ve all noticed it and haven’t thought much of it, but the Facebook company has finally decided to capitalize on Instagram’s potential for hosting advertisements. As the Facebook company has worked hard to build a massive digital media marketing presence (second-largest after Google), this expansion into Instagram was no surprise. The company finally allowed companies and marketing groups to advertise specific things within Instagram, adding “Sponsored” posts to everyone’s Instagram feeds.

As an attempt to cash in on teens, young adults, and Millennials, groups have tried to advertise on Instagram for a while. This demographic tends to use Instagram more than Facebook so companies have been trying to get ads onto the platform for quite some time to try to reach Millennials in a place they will most actively see.

In case you haven’t seen the ads yet, each advertisement looks just like a normal uploaded photo, but there is a small icon in the top right corner of the screen indicating it is in fact an ad, not a normal user post, and the photo is actually a hyper link too. Tapping twice on these ads will like the image presented, but tapping once opens up whatever is linked to it: a link to purchase an album by a musician, a promotional website, etc.

You can read more about the advertisements, what it means for your individual Instagram experience, or what this means for the future of Instagram here.

Instagram & Boomerang, a beautiful relationship

Instagram has added another app to its family! The standalone mobile application, Boomerang, has joined the ranks among Instagram’s other standalone apps to bring users the ability to create animated photos and gif-style content to add animation and a little excitement to their profiles. This has proven to be an interesting addition to the Instagram application lineup and has started to garner popularity among Instagram users.

(screencaps courtesy of Instagram)

The app works as follows. Individuals download the app and shoot 1-second mini-videos that are really just multiple photos blended into one looping frame. Although the mini-clips must be shot within the Boomerang app, once the app has completed the process the finished product can be shared on most social media platforms.

This is exciting for social media managers and Instagram gurus because it opens up both a new style of gif and a new medium for social media content. By creating these 1-second images that loop backwards and forwards, users can create creative illusions that can be used for all kinds of social media marketing and promotion. I look forward to seeing how businesses and companies approach this new medium, or if they embrace it at all.

You can read more about the application, its economic specifications and details about its operation here.

$9.99 for 30 seconds

This week, YouTube announced a service to remove the short ads played before YouTube videos. YouTube Red will allow users to stop those ads from ever appearing in their web browsers for $9.99 a month (unless you’re an iPhone user, then your charge will be $12.99– dang iOS in-app purchase fees), an amount YouTube has deemed acceptable. Video-watchers will no longer have to sit through those 15 to 30-second inconveniences if they choose to participate in this exchange.


In addition to ad-blocking, the service provides users the opportunity to save videos to their portable devices for off-line video play, access to a YouTube music app coming later this year, and exclusive high-quality videos and show from popular YouTubers.

Despite the fact that this service is completely optional now, it is absolutely part of a lengthy plan to get users to pay to use YouTube at all. This is starting within the coming quarters as YouTube is making popular YouTubers agree to push their content into paid-service only streaming, rendering their videos “private” in the U.S. if they do not comply. YouTube execs hope to see YouTube become a paid service within the coming years, but they won’t tell you that in any press release. Keep an eye out, limited access to Jenna Marbles and Vine compilation videos could be on its way.

To read more detailed information about YouTube Red and quotes directly from YouTube execs, you can check out the article here.

A reintroduction to Imgur

Imgur has been around for about 6 years, but only recently has it really started to gain traction. This month the image-sharing site reached a solid 150 million followers, which is definitely a number not to look at lightly. Forbes magazine spoke with the site’s CEO and Community Manager, brother and sister pair Alan and Sarah Schaaf, about the recent growth of the platform and what makes it different from the other platforms and image-sharing sites available to internet junkies and social media-lites.

In a world with no shortage of social media platforms, it can be hard to stand out and be original. Imgur addressed this by promoting the site as a place where “introverts can be extroverts,” indicating it’s a relatively safe space for users to genuinely express themselves. “[Users/Introverted users] don’t have to worry about curating their own brand and are able to express themselves more authentically. They can go on Imgur and be themselves.”

This allows Imgur to compete with other platforms by providing said safe space. Rather than collecting likes or favorites on content like many platforms out today, Imgur users aim to collect upvotes and prevent downvotes, which promotes a sense of community among users on the site. Without those likes, images are given a more collective, qualitative reputation instead of a quantitative set of likes.

To read more about Imgur, the growth it has experienced, and what it stands for both as a company and social media platform, I highly recommend the piece published by Forbes, Imgur’s Alan Schaaf: Image-Sharing Site Lets People Express Themselves ‘Authentically’.