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By Abhay V
Facebook testing removal of like counts on its Android app
by Abhay Venkatesh
Earlier this year, Instagram began experimenting with hiding likes on posts, where followers of the poster could no longer see the number of likes on a particular post. Part of the reason for this change is to combat brands artificially inflating engagement and purchasing likes to do so. The firm further expanded the test to more markets, suggesting that the initial tests yielded positive results. Now, it looks like the parent company Facebook is beginning to test this feature on its app as well.
Spotted by Jane Manchun Wong, an individual famous for uncovering unreleased features by reverse engineering apps, the Facebook Android app prototype gets rid of the like/reaction counter for everyone else but the poster – similar to how it works on Instagram. This means that users will only be able to see the names of the people that have reacted to a particular post. The reaction count, however, is still available for the comments.
In addition to combating the nuisance of fake profiles and inorganic engagement, this feature would also be a part of the digital wellbeing efforts. Studies suggest that social media engagement and popularity may be linked to mental wellbeing. The absence of the number of likes/reactions would improve genuine engagement.
Thought Instagram has publicly acknowledged the existence of such a test, the feature seems to still be in its very early stages as far as the Facebook app is concerned. Given that Instagram is owned by Facebook, it makes sense that removal of reaction counts may roll out to the Facebook app as well. It will be interesting to see how the company communicates the change when and if it makes it out to the wider public, and how businesses and brands react to this.
Twitter is mulling over getting rid of the 'like' button
by Sharath Ravishankar
Until 2015, Twitter's 'like' button was rather different: it was referred to as the 'favorite' button, and came in the form of a star, rather than its current heart-shaped persona. It was changed over because according to the company, "you might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite."
It looks like things are once again set to change on this front, however: in what looks like an attempt to distract people from the lack of a way to edit tweets, Twitter is giving its users something else to be angry about: the 'like' button's potential removal.
As the above blurb indicates, there's not much to go on right now, though the Telegraph article that broke this news does link us to studies that revealed that 'like' buttons - not just on Twitter - have a tendency to encourage an unhealthy need for validation more than anything else; getting rid of the 'like' button would dramatically change how people interact on the platform.
Needless to say, users are upset over both the nature of this move as well as the company's apparently lax attitude towards its platform's rampant harassment issues.
Not long after, Twitter's PR chief, Brandon Borrman spoke out in an attempt to clear the air, stressing on the fact that such a change will not take place anytime "soon", like the initial tweet had mentioned.
Of course, such a drastic change to the site's engagement mechanism isn't likely to happen overnight. Core money-makers like sponsored tweets and other advertisements require the presence of easily available metrics in the form of likes and retweets, and taking one of those away would involve a drastic thinking of the platform and how it generates revenue.
Consequently, it remains to be seen how Twitter's efforts to work out the various issues plaguing it pan out.
Source: The Telegraph
Facebook plagued by as many as 100 million fake "likes"
by Gabriel Nunes
Back in June, Facebook announced that the social network had reached the remarkable milestone of two billion active users. But because of its widespread reach in society, the social network is also being used for counterfeits. For example, Facebook has recently banned 470 "fake" Russian accounts and pages trying to influence politics and some users were exposed to malware capable of detecting a user's system settings to deliver the appropriate adware.
Now, researchers from the University of Iowa have found an ecosystem of more than 50 websites that offer free, fake "likes" for user's posts in exchange for access to their accounts. According to their findings, about one million Facebook accounts are enrolled in "collusion networks" run by spammers, which generated as many as 100 million fake "likes" between 2015 and 2016.
Furthermore, the researchers claim spammers have recently turbocharged their efforts due to a loophole found in the code used to allow third-party applications to access a user's Facebook account. The issue automates the process of "liking" posts, which was previously a manual process. Even though Facebook claims it is already patched, USA TODAY was able to join one of those networks and make use of it even after the company's statement.
Of course, people who use those services are violating Facebook's terms of service and run the risk of having their personal data used by unknown parties. As stated by Zubair Shafiq, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Iowa:
Users of social networks should always pay special attention to requests regarding access to their private data. Also, reviewing which websites and apps have access to one's account should be a habit. If you are a Facebook user and want to check which apps have access to your account, first go to the Settings menu and then to Apps, or click here for direct access.
By Usama Jawad96
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare YouTube trailer now has over one million dislikes
by Usama Jawad
A couple of days ago, Activision issued a statement clarifying that despite the hatred received on social media, pre-orders for the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare are "off to a very strong start". The company also stated that the number of dislikes for its YouTube trailer does not worry them too much because Call of Duty: Black Ops II faced a similar situation and turned out to be one of the most successful games of the franchise. Activision will certainly be hoping for the same this time as the number of dislikes for the latest trailer have exceeded one million, compared to 250,000 likes.
Currently, it is the eighth most disliked video on YouTube ahead of the Ghostbusters reboot's trailer, Justin Bieber's Boyfriend, Nicki Minaj's Stupid H*e, and Rick Perry's Strong. The reveal trailer has been viewed a whopping 13 million times on YouTube. Most viewers have shown their dislike for the trailer because of the futuristic setting where players will be tasked with neutralizing a group known as the "The Settlement Defense Front", which attempts to take control of Earth's scarce resources and hold the planet hostage. A majority of the viewers claim that the series needs to go back to its roots instead of warfare in space, which they believe will be a better experience on established futuristic franchises such as Halo. Others have also disliked the video because of the fact that the remastered Call of Duty: Modern Warfare won't be purchasable separately and will have to be bought with the $80 Legacy Edition with Infinite Warfare.
Currently, the number of dislikes for the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare YouTube trailer are almost 15 times more than the previous entry in the franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops III. It is notable that the trailer for the upcoming game also has more than four times the dislikes of the franchise's previous seven entries combined. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (~80,000 dislikes), Advanced Warfare (~50,000), Ghosts (~20,000), Black Ops II (~60,000), Modern Warfare III (~20,000), Black Ops (~3,000), Modern Warfare II (~2,000) combined have less than 250,000 dislikes.
Even though dislikes for the upcoming game's trailer are indeed the highest the franchise has ever seen, it's also interesting to note that Infinite Warfare is the second most liked reveal trailer in the franchise. Only Black Ops III's YouTube trailer has been liked more (~400,000 likes) than the aforementioned game. Given the statistics and Activision's statement about how the franchise enjoys "millions of people in our community who want to have new innovative experiences in the game each year and Infinite Warfare is going to deliver that", it'll be interesting to see how the latest entry in the Call of Duty series fares once it's released on November 4, 2016.
When I get a notification of say a quote, I get directed to the thread but not to the actual quote.