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By Abhay V
Facebook Messenger is facing a massive outage [Update]
by Abhay Venkatesh
Facebook Messenger seems to be facing a massive outage, as users have begun reporting on Twitter and other areas that the service is down. The outage is resulting in users not being able to send and receive messages, and it seems to be affecting people in the U.S., U.K., India, and other areas. Indications of issues include a "Connecting" or "No internet connection" message at the top of chats.
A quick look at Downdetector suggests that the issue just began a couple of hours ago, and we can confirm from our testing that the issue seems to affect all platforms. There is currently no word from the company about the outage or what is causing the service problems. Even the Platform Status page does not contain information on the current outage. Additionally, Downdetector reports also hint at issues with Instagram, but the user reports on Twitter suggest that more users are facing problems accessing Messenger.
We will keep a close eye on the reports and any official information and will update the article accordingly.
Update: Looks like Messenger and Instagram are back up and running, based on the drop in reports from Downdetector and our testing. Though the outage lasted for close to three hours, the social media giant is yet to provide any information on the cause of the problems.
Facebook defends personalized ads, improves advertising tools for businesses
by João Carrasqueira
Facebook has been insistently trying to convince users that personalized ads are a good thing, especially since Apple announced that it would start letting users know if apps tried to track the user's habits in iOS. Facebook's angle has been the idea that targeted ads play a big role in helping small businesses be discovered and grow.
With that in mind, Facebook today announced an initiative called Good Ideas Deserve to be Found, which aims to remind people of the importance of personalized advertising for small businesses. Facebook is sharing some stories of small businesses with creative ideas for products and services, and on Facebook, and talking about how its personalized ads can help those businesses grow. The hashtag #DeservetobeFound, along with a new Instagram sticker, can also be used to help promote these small businesses.
Aside from blatantly trying to protect its main source of revenue, Facebook also announced a handful of measures to help businesses on Facebook. The Ads Manager is getting updated to be simpler and easier to understand so businesses can get started promoting themselves more efficiently, and the Businesses Nearby section will help restaurants by showing what kind of dining options they offer.
Facebook is also waiving fees for businesses using Checkout in their Facebook Shops through June 2021, and paid online events will also not give any money to Facebook through August. While Facebook's intentions are obviously not selfless, businesses that rely on Facebook to reach their audience should find some good news in today's announcement.
Facebook reaches an agreement with Australian government, will unblock news in the country
by Anmol Mehrotra
Last week, Facebook decided to block Australian users from accessing news in the country after the Australian government forced the company to pay publishers for using their news articles. While this was a drastic move from Facebook, it did not come as a surprise to many as Facebook and Google have been in disagreement with the government over the "News Media Bargaining Code" legislation.
While Google finally caved and signed an agreement with multiple publishers including Nine Entertainment and News Corp, Facebook took more of a nuclear route and blocked users from access the news in the country. After a week of news blackout, Facebook has announced that the company will unblock the news after reaching an agreement with the government. The company said:
On its Journalism Project page, Campbell Brown, VP, Global News Partnerships further noted that the company will be happy to let users access news articles as long as Facebook gets to decide what articles will appear on the platform.
While Facebook still has to work out deals with news outlets, the new agreement will allow users to access news articles while Facebook negotiates with the government and the media. In the meantime, Microsoft decided to seize the opportunity and offered to fill the void if Google exited the country.
By Jay Bonggolto
TikTok and Instagram are addressing eating disorder issues with new resources
by Jay Bonggolto
Social media platforms like Instagram have been working to address self-harm content on their platform by prohibiting graphic images such as cutting, among other measures. TikTok also introduced policies last year that banned ads for fasting apps and weight loss supplements for promoting "negative body image".
Now, these platforms are beefing up their efforts to keep users safe from self-harm. Facebook announced today that Instagram will begin displaying links to resources from groups that address eating disorder issues when users search for related content. TikTok is also rolling out new features to encourage body inclusivity in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Instagram's new features build upon its existing measures that include blurring images which may trigger negative body image and redirecting users to resources that promote body acceptance. So if you try to search for #EDRecovery (eating disorder recovery) or share relevant content, for example, you'll see links to resources that aim to guide you on developing body confidence. These pieces of advice have been created in partnership with NEDA as well and you'll see them first before Instagram shows the search results for your specific query.
In addition, the Facebook-owned platform will display contact information of eating disorders organizations in specific countries. These include Beat in the UK, National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Canada, and Butterfly Foundation in Australia. If you see a post from someone affected by a negative body image, for example, you'll also see these resources in order to provide help. Additionally, you'll be able to message or talk to a friend directly from these resources over the next few weeks if you ever need help with some difficult moments you're going through.
Instagram is also soliciting feedback from experts worldwide to understand how to address emerging issues related to eating disorders. These new efforts are part of Instagram's commemoration of the third National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the U.S.
For its part, TikTok will surface quick access to NEDA's hotline for treatment information and support starting this week when you search for phrases related to eating disorders such as #edrecovery and #proana. The music and video service will also show tips to check for posts that may potentially lead to self-harm as well as how to focus on one's positive attributes and offer help to someone dealing with eating disorder.
Throughout the rest of the year, TikTok will provide public service announcements (PSA) that aim to help those with eating disorders recover from this condition in collaboration with NEDA. The service vows to keep refining its policy on content that glorifies eating disorders and improve the way it detects harmful content.
By Namerah S
How to enable the dark theme on Facebook desktop
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Social media giant Facebook released dark mode for the desktop and iOS platforms in March last year. Even though testing of the Android version of the dark theme began earlier, general availability came out after the desktop and iOS versions.
We have already done a tutorial to turn on dark mode on Android. Today's guide will walk you through the steps of toggling the desktop version of dark mode. Follow the below instructions to say hello to the dark side of Facebook on PCs.
Step 1: Visit Facebook on your PC's web browser. Once open, locate the small arrow pointing downwards on the upper left corner of the dashboard and click on it.
Step 2: After clicking on the little downwards-pointing arrow, a dropdown menu will pop up. Select the "Display & accessibility" option.
Step 3: Clicking on the "Display & accessibility" option will take you to the dark mode feature. Simply click "on" to enable it.
Here are some before and after screenshots to showcase the differences in theme on Facebook's desktop dark mode:
With that, we conclude this short and easy tutorial to toggle the dark mode on Facebook on desktops. Happy browsing!