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By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook is testing ads inside its Oculus Quest headset
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook announced today that it is testing in-headset ads in its Oculus Quest virtual reality platform over the next few weeks. The company will kick off the test with Resolution Games' Blaston along with other developers.
The move marks the first time ads will show up inside the Oculus VR system. Facebook aims for the test to gather feedback from developers and the community. In the future, the company plans to expand ads across the entire Oculus platform and its mobile app after incorporating input from the early testers. You will have the option to open an ad or save the link for later.
Facebook will also provide guidance to businesses and developers in terms of putting ads on Oculus. As usual, you'll have the option to hide specific ads or companies from showing up in ads and there will be no changes to how the firm collects and processes user information. Facebook vowed to keep sensitive data including raw images from Oculus sensors and weight or height data from Oculus Move on-device. The company also promised that it won't use movement data, voice interactions, nor the content of your conversations to target ads.
Of course, developers will receive their share from ad revenues that appear in their apps, although it isn't clear how much they're getting. While the in-headset ads are still in early testing, Facebook revealed that it's "exploring new ad formats that are unique to VR."
Facebook to make jobs of group admins easier with a bunch of new tools
by Sayan Sen
Admins and moderators on any online forum have a hard time managing their respective communities and Facebook groups are no different. So, in order to make the work of admins easier, the social media giant today is introducing several new tools that'll assist in the management of such groups.
First up is Admin Home, which is a new simplified interface for admins to help monitor and manage the groups.
Here's what Facebook says it will allow you to do:
Keeping an eye on every comment or post in a group is difficult for moderators or admins, especially in a group that is a large one. Now, a feature to help with comment moderation is coming to the Admin Home panel. It will allow an admin to set specific criteria for automatic moderation of posts and comments based on the several criteria options available. It will also help defend against spam and restrict promotional material.
The attached video walks you through the available options.
AI will also be lending its hand to assist admins to alert them about potential squabbles when it detects anything of that nature. The feature, still being tested, is called "Conflict Alerts". This will allow admins to take action against such activities swiftly.
Another new feature called "member summary" is also being introduced. The feature is pretty self-explanatory from the name itself and will allow admins to check data related to their post history and such for specific members in a group.
There are more features still like appealing directly to Facebook in case admins want some content to be directly reviewed by Facebook itself. These features are gradually rolling out to everyone and should be available to users across desktop and mobile. You can read more about it here.
Google, Amazon, and more, to be sued over the "world's biggest data breach"
by Sayan Sen
Online protection of our private data is always a hot topic in today's world that revolves around the internet. Big tech companies often face the brunt of regulators and such due to the amount of data they collect and manage. In the latest development related to this, a Senior Fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Dr. Johnny Ryan, has decided to file a lawsuit against the IAB Tech Lab. The lawsuit is being filed in a Hamburg District Court against what the ICCL believes is the "world's biggest data breach".
IAB Tech Lab is a consortium comprising of some of the biggest tech firms, like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc., and it's responsible for providing the technical standards based on which the online digital ad space operates.
In the digital ads marketplace, ads are placed on various websites using a method called Real-time bidding (RTB). RTB is the process in which digital advertising inventory is bought and sold in real-time. In its lawsuit, the ICCL has pointed out that the use of RTB greatly violates the user privacy of millions since so much personal data is being shared across vast networks.
Here's what Dr. Johnny Ryan has said about the matter:
A list of the biggest nine names that broadcast the highest amount of RTBs has been provided by ICCL. It contains the names of some usual suspects.
For more details about the matter, you can visit ICCL's official webpage.
This isn't the first time a lawsuit related to RTB has been filed as Google was recently slapped with a €220 million (~$268 million) fine by a French investigation body that the company agreed to settle with.
Source and images: ICCL
This Facebook AI can deepfake text style in an image even from a single example
by Sayan Sen
Facebook today has launched TextStyleBrush research project, the company's new AI that can replicate and reproduce the text styles in an image. The model can even do so using just a single example source deepfake style. Not only image text styles, TextStyleBrush also works effectively on handwritings too. The technology is based on self-supervised learning which means that manual input required for the model is low making it generally fast.
The AI analyses the text aesthetic of the provided source image and then produces a different output text but with the same style. Below are some examples of text styles as well as handwritings:
As is often the case with AI rendered images, the outputs all seem to be somewhat blurrier in appearance compared to the source images but we can see that the technology, for the most part, seems to work quite well.
One of the purposes of publishing the TextStyleBrush research, says Facebook, is to utilize the available knowledge and research data to prevent the misuse of the technology in the future once it is more widely available. The company is well aware of situations that can arise due to the abuse and exploitation of such technologies when it ends up in wrong hands.
You can read more about TextStyleBrush in the official blog post here and if you are interested in its technical details, you can find them here.
Next stop, Faces?
By Abhay V
Facebook Messenger updated with new themes, payment improvements, and more
by Abhay Venkatesh
Facebook today announced a few new features rolling out to Messenger users as part of the latest updates. The firm is adding a few new themes for chats, introducing improvements to Facebook Pay, and adding a way to quickly reply to media on chats.
There are three new themes that are making their way to Messenger and Instagram users, which include one with Olivia Rodrigo’s signature face stickers to celebrate the launch of Olivia’s new album titled Sour. The other two options are the World Oceans Day theme to promote sustainability and cleanliness of the ocean, and the F9 – Fast and Furious 9 theme – to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Fast franchise.
Facebook Pay is receiving a few new enhancements that make the payments service easier and safer to use for those who accept payments from clients and unknown users – such as freelancers. Users can now use QR codes and payment links to send across their information and request money. The QR code is situated right at the top of the Facebook Pay UI in Messenger’s settings.
The messaging platform is also adding a nifty way to respond to multimedia messages in chats. Now, users can reply to received media just like they would to stories. The in-line Quick Reply Bar sits at the bottom of the image and will be familiar to those who use stories across platforms. Though small, the capability is a nifty way of quickly responding to received images or the like.
These changes are rolling out to the Messenger and Facebook apps on Android and iOS. However, it seems that the new themes on Instagram will work only for those who have enabled integration with Messenger.