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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.
Facebook working on its first smartwatch with cameras, heart rate monitor and more
by Subir Kathuria
Facebook is no stranger to hardware devices, from its failed HTC First a.k.a The Facebook Phone to its VR foray with Oculus which it acquired back in 2014. It has now been reported that the social media behemoth is looking to expand its hardware portfolio by working on its first smartwatch. While there has been no official confirmation, but the grapevine has it that it might debut next summer. It is said that the company has spent roughly $1 billion to develop the first version of its watch and has hundreds of people working on it.
The device has been described to have a stainless steel frame and feature a unique design that has a display with two cameras, which can be detached from the wrist for taking pictures and videos that can be shared across apps like Messenger, Instagram, and Whatsapp. It is believed to be running a heavily modified version of Android.
Its front camera is said to be optimized for video calling and the rear one for capturing footage when detached from the frame. Specification of the front camera is not available right now but the rear camera is said to be 1080p with auto-focus. Other health-related features such as a heart rate monitor are also said to be included. Facebook has reportedly approached third-party accessory makers to create add-ons for attaching the device to things like backpacks and arms.
There are also plans to use the technology Facebook acquired from CTRL-labs for the smartwatch to serve as a key input device for its planned augmented reality glasses. CTRL-labs is a startup that has demonstrated that wristbands are capable of controlling a computer through wrist movements. The price is speculated at $400 for the first version that could launch sometime in 2022. Facebook is also said to be working on future iteration simultaneously with the second and third generations being prototyped as well.
The device is part of the larger objective to bypass Apple and Google, which control the two dominant mobile operating systems, leaving Facebook at their mercy to collect data. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants users to use the device in place of their smartphones so that all interactions happen directly between users and Facebook. The device is said to support LTE connectivity so that it does not need to be paired with a phone to work. Facebook and Apple have had a troubled past, with the latter having aggressively pushed privacy features in iOS by limiting the kinds of data that apps like Facebook can collect.
In a market dominated by Apple with around 34 million units sold last year, Facebook hopes to initially sell the smartwatch in low six figures. Given Facebook's track record with user's privacy, even that figure might be hard to achieve. Also, as the device has yet to enter mass production, there are chances the project might be scrapped altogether.
Source: The Verge | Image source: Beebom
Facebook rolls out big changes to creator monetization
by Christopher Dupres
Facebook has just announced a new set of tools for creators and influencers to make money on their platforms. The new tools include affiliate marketing programs, a change to the storefront for selling directly to followers as well as a revamped mechanism for making money during live streams.
The bulk of the changes are focused on Instagram, with all of the accompanying imagery showing the new features in action in the Instagram user interface. The Affiliate Marketing program will allow creators to sell affiliate goods directly through Instagram with an icon informing buyers that the creator will receive a commission.
The updated storefront will allow creators to link their business and personal pages and sell directly through their personal pages to fans as well as direct integration with Bravado/UMG, Fanjoy, Represent, and Spring for US sellers for quickly opening new shops.
The changes being made to Live Stream monetization will affect both Instagram and Facebook. For Instagram, the changes will allow users to buy multiple "badges" during the stream. The changes will also allow for Facebook fans to leave "Stars" on offline videos and Facebook's Stars program expands into nine new markets. On top of that, they will be offering extra payouts to creators who achieve certain milestones like streaming from additional accounts.
These seem like positive improvements for creators looking to monetize their social media following, we shall see if they do end up with more revenue at the end of the year.
Trump to remain banned till at least January 2023, confirms Facebook
by Sayan Sen
Facebook has announced today that former U.S. President Donald J. Trump's account will continue to remain suspended on the platform for at least a two-year period which became effective from January 7th when the initial ban had been imposed following the allegations of incitement of riots on the Capitol. This means the block on the former president's' Facebook account will be in place till at least January 7th, 2023. This decision comes as a result of the new suspension policy that Facebook has announced today.
Last month, while the social media giant's oversight board did support the decision of banning Trump, it however thought that an indefinite suspension on a user was rather unfair and so asked Facebook to review its policy and come up with something more appropriate. In response, Facebook has declared new enforcement protocols today whereupon on violation of Facebook's usage policies, a public figure like Donald Trump can be suspended for a two year period and following that, the decision will be evaluated to judge if an extension on the suspension is required depending on the situation prevalent then.
Recently, after the former President's "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump" section on the official Donald Trump website was removed, his senior adviser Jason Miller suggested that Trump will be joining a certain social media platform soon. After today's news, however, it seems confirmed that the platform will probably not be Facebook.
You can read about the full announcement here.