All Articles Tagged "facebook"

Hey, Facebook…I Mean Twitter: Popular Social Network Takes A Page From Its Competitor With Redesign

April 9th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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twitter redesignWe knew a major Twitter redesign was upon us after the popular microblogging site began testing the change in February. Now, Twitter has confirmed, announcing the redesign on its blog on Tuesday.

“Moment by moment, your Twitter profile shows the world who you are,” wrote Twitter designer David Bellona in the post. “Starting today, it will be even easier (and, we think, more fun) to express yourself through a new and improved web profile.”

The new profile features a larger profile photo and a customizable header image. Also, Twitter places your most engaging tweets front and center, making them larger than the rest. Users will also be able to pin a tweet to the top of the page. For those looking to provide a snazzy self-description (yeah, taking your profile information one step further), this new feature will come in handy. Finally, you can now filter tweets when viewing others’ profiles, letting you see all tweets, tweets with photos and videos only, or just tweets and replies.

Similar to Facebook, Twitter now has a square profile photo in the top left and the dominating, large “cover” photo on the top. The basic user information is housed below the profile photo; followed by photos and friends.

For those people who aren’t fans of Facebook’s design—I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had my reservations about the platform since they rolled out the cover image and news feed roll outs—I’m interested in hearing what they have to say about the new look.

On the flip side, I’m already laughing at some of the pins and header images that’ll hit the network in part due to by Black Twitter. On days when gladiators overtake the social space (Scandal Day) or a politician or public figure goes left with their commentary, I can only imagine the memes and other images that’ll hit the “cover” area, tweets with photo/video timeline, and pins. But I can also see how those same options will affect change when a child goes missing, an injustice has been committed and we just want to get the word out about something for the greater good.

The new profile has already rolled out to a select group of celebs, including First Lady Michelle Obama, professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, singer-songwriter John Legend and Scandal’s leading lady, Kerry Washington. The new design will roll out to everyone else over the “coming weeks.”

What do you think about Twitter’s redesign? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Facebook Paid $2B for Virtual Reality Gaming Startup Oculus, But Kickstarter Supporters Get Nada

March 27th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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An Oculus user in Germany. via @Oculus

An Oculus user in Germany. via @Oculus

Update: As we mentioned previously, Oculus began as a Kickstarter project that raised a couple  of million dollars to get off the ground. Now it has a couple of billion dollars thanks to Mark Zuckerberg. However, none of those crowdfunding supporters who helped the company become what it is today will be getting a piece of the sale.

About 10,000 people have pitched in since August 2012, receiving in exchange a thank you from the company, a t-shirt, or an early version of the VR product, depending on the level of donation. Now that the company has been sold, some of those supporters have fired off angry notes online accusing the company of selling out, not so much because they’re not getting a piece of the pie (although we’re sure that’s part of it) but because they think the sale is counter to what the Oculus brand is supposed to be.

“I backed this concept in the hopes they’d make something wonderful. Sadly, all they did was make them selves [sic] wonderfully rich,” one commenter notes.

“Despite all the ire, the Kickstarter campaign worked exactly the way it’s supposed to. Early enthusiasts brought the product to the attention of bigger backers. And since Kickstarter doesn’t offer equity in the projects featured on the site, those early backers made a donation, not an investment. Oculus and Kickstarter don’t have an obligation to return any of the money,” writes The Huffington Post. The article notes that there is a crowdfunding platform, Fundable, that does offer equity if that’s what people are looking for.

Do you think the Oculus folks should give a little something more to the Kickstarter supporters?

Update by Tonya Garcia

Originally posted March 26, 2014

Facebook obviously isn’t hurting for money. The Internet giant has just purchased virtual reality gaming company Oculus VR for $2 billion. Yes, $2 billion! Don’t forget Facebook just paid $19 billion to buy WhatsApp.

The move shocked many in tech. Facebook will pay $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock, reports Forbes. Another $300 million could be paid in earn-out in cash and stock based on “the achievement of certain milestones.”

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

On Facebook, Zuckerberg revealed his plans for Oculus. “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home,” he wrote.

Oculus’ virtual reality headset Rift is beyond hot even though it’s not yet available on the mass market. A second Oculus Rift development kit is being offer in pre-order for $350.

The Rift headset has, reports Business Insider, “completely changed the way many feel about video games.” According to reports, the headset immerses the user in a virtual gaming environment.

And get this: Oculus’s founder, Palmer Luckey, is just 21. He used crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise $2.4 million in 2012 and start the company. Oculus raised $75 million in a round of funding led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

And prior to the Facebook deal, Oculus VR “was in discussions for exclusive partnerships with a number of other large tech firms, though nothing on the scale of the Facebook acquisition at the time, according to two people familiar with the deal,” reports Buzzfeed. At the time, the company was not for sale, but  it seems Zuckerberg was able to entice them.

The deal is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2014.

Early WhatsApp Employees Get $160 Million Each From Facebook Purchase

February 24th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

To say it was a good week at WhatsApp would be a major understatement! When Facebook purchased the messaging app for a whopping $16 billion (plus a possible $3 billion more), early employees got great a payday as well.

Facebook will pay the purchase amount with $12 billion in stock, $4 billion in cash, and $3 billion in stock grants for WhatsApp staff that will vest over the next four years, reports Business Insider.

The $12 billion in stock and $4 billion in cash will be split among WhatsApp owners (including Jan Koum, above) and WhatsApp employees who own a piece of the firm.

According to Forbes, “Early employees are said to have comparatively large equity shares of close to 1 percent.”

So when you do the calculations, one percent of $16 billion comes to $160 million each.

While we’re sure they are celebrating over at WhatsApp, the folks at Facebook are probably a little somber this morning. The company’s stock fell five percent after hours following its purchase of WhatsApp, reports  TechCrunch. (It’s up more than three percent as of the last NASDAQ numbers we saw this afternoon, to just above $71.) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum calmed down investors in a joint phone call and the share price up picked up a bit.

“They discussed how WhatsApp would focus on growth rather than monetization. Zuckerberg said ads were not the right way to monetize messaging services, and Facebook CFO David Ebersman noted that WhatsApp will not prioritize further roll out of the $1 a year subscription fee it currently charges in some but not all countries,” reports TechCrunch.

Wha The? Facebook Agrees To Buy WhatsApp Messaging Service For $16 Billion

February 20th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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via Twitter

Mark Zuckerberg via Twitter

Facebook has announced its purchase of text messaging app WhatsApp for an eye-popping $16 billion ($4 billion in cash, $12 billion in stock). And the price could go even higher as WhatsApp founders and staffers continue to roll in stock units for the next four years. WhatsApp users pay $1 per year for a subscription and the first year is free. Facebook reported $7.9 billion in revenue for 2013 and there are no immediate plans for trying to make any money on the new app.

The deal makes the $1 billion Facebook paid for Instagram look small (well, not really, but you know what we’re saying). And it kind of makes Snapchat look smart (maybe?) for turning down the $3 billion that Facebook offered them.

Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook gang justify the price by citing the growth of WhatsApp. The app is way more popular internationally than it is here in the US. It has 450 million users around the world and, according to a press release posted on the Facebook blog, 70 percent of those users are active on the app daily. “WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” Facebook has 1.2 billion users around the world.

Having reached this level of ubiquity, Facebook is now concerned about hanging on to those users and making sure they’re not all geriatric. There are ongoing murmurs about the aging population on Facebook, and The New York Times posits that this move is part of an effort to continue to attract a younger crowd.

“The acquisition also reflects a new strategy at Facebook: The company intends to acquire or build a family of applications instead of simply buttressing its core social network,” the paper writes.

Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s founder and CEO, has been in contact with Zuckerberg since 2012. This final deal was hashed out on Valentine’s Day over chocolate-covered strawberries that the Facebook exec had meant to share with his wife Priscilla. Koum assured users yesterday that nothing about WhatsApp would change with the deal. Once the deal closes, Koum becomes a Facebook executive and a member of the board.

The deal raises questions about the value of all these social media and digital companies, with many of them highly valued even when they don’t actually generate any revenue. Business Insider points out that it’s the fastest-growing app in history and, even at $1, with hundreds of millions of users, that’s hundreds of millions of dollars.

And beyond dollars, there’s value to those users. As we’ve already said, Facebook is trying to hang on to its users as well as gain a new, younger crowd. It’s making billions in annual revenue from advertising, and having those users is a major selling point.

Are you still an avid FB user? Anything in particular that you’d like to see the social network add?


I Was Supposed To Get Married Yesterday…But My Man Is Nowhere To Be Found

February 14th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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supposed to get married yesterday

Source: Time Inc

Perhaps by now you’ve seen this gray and pink graph circulating around Facebook. It’s a predicator of your perfect marriage date. Yes, you read that correctly. Time Inc, developed a widget, that predicts the best time for you to tie the knot. How could a widget know something so seemingly arbitrary, right? It’s silly. But then again, just too good to resist. So I had to click. Well, as the website explains, the number is determined solely by what your Facebook friends are doing, specifically when they’re getting married. It seems like a lot of my Facebook friends, people my age (I’m 26 by the way.) and younger have already taken the plunge and tied the knot. 30 out of 753 seemed like a lot to me for some reason. So I assumed my date would be rapidly approaching. But I couldn’t have anticipated the number that was going to show up on my screen.

According to this widget and the lives my “friends” are leading I had a day, a single day to get married. And y’all I looked at this graph on Wednesday. So instead of sitting here writing this article in the midst of a polar vortex, by now, I should have consummated my marriage and be sipping something fruity on the beach kicking off my week-long honeymoon. (On another note though, who gets married in February?!)

For a split second I thought ‘Man! Maybe I’m really behind.’ Maybe instead of sitting in my drawers scrolling through Facebook, I should be at some happy hour trying to snag a man. You know how they try to scare us with the ticking time bomb that is your biological clock. Can we just pause to acknowledge that the reason so many of us are in a rush to settle down and get married is more about the kids than the man himself? (Or maybe that’s just me.)

Anyway, after my slight panic, I remembered, while I would love to be married one day, with the kids and the mini van and all that, yesterday was certainly not that day. From where I stand right now, this time next year won’t be that day either. The thought of constantly worrying about someone else’s feelings exhausts me right now. Hearing my mother’s tales of how the skin on her nipples was raw from breast feeding me is cringe worthy to say the least and the thought that I might not be able to sleep when I want, because of the kids or the man, makes me want to shed very real thug tears.

And speaking of crying, as much as I’ve shed tears of sincere joy, watching my friends get engaged and then married and then announcing their pregnancies (darn those Facebook anniversary videos), I have to remain true to my own timeline. I’m not the type to plot, scheme and move heaven and earth to be with just any old man because that’s what 30 out of 753 people are doing right now. And as good as some of these online relationships look (some of them, I know, are a hot azz mess), I know it’s not my time yet.

We’ve learned we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. Iyanla told us “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” She’s right. But watching the highlight reel of people’s lives on Facebook can make that indisputable fact, hard to remember. So hopefully this article serves as yet another reminder.

As ridiculous and quite useless as that online graph proved to be in the context of my real love life, it certainly helped to remind me that judging my life based on the milestones of others was a recipe for failure and discontent.

I know you want to know your marriage date right? Go ahead and find out here. And then let us know your results and whether or not you’re on track.

Is It Okay To Be “Friends” With Your Exes On Social Media When You’re In A New Relationship?

January 29th, 2014 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Before you go into a new relationship, should you break off all contact with your exes, including on social media?

Sometime last year, I found myself on my boyfriend’s computer, using it to do some work. When I opened it up and clicked on the button for a new tab, like most Macs using Safari (he’s not up on the greatness of Chrome yet), it showed me the sites that he had been to recently. I didn’t pay it much mind, until I saw that he had been on his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page.

What the hell?

That’s what I thought at that moment, but as it was the first time I had noticed anything like that, I let it go. Well a month or so later, I needed to use his computer again really quickly and when I opened up his laptop and opened a new tab, there her Facebook page was in his recently viewed sites. Again. I wasn’t feeling that s**t. We weren’t too far in our relationship so I just wanted to understand what it was he was doing or looking for on her page, so I confronted him about it. As far as I knew, he only got on Facebook a couple times a year (one reason is still to say thank you for birthday wishes) and she wasn’t his friend on the the social media site–so he looked her up.

He apologized and said that a friend of his had brought her up in conversation because said friend is still cool with the young woman. Afterwards, he decided to see what she had been up to by looking up her page on Facebook. He said he didn’t have her number anymore, he didn’t want to get in touch with her at all, he was just…”curious.” I told him I didn’t appreciate it because I had noticed that he had been on her page more than once, and knowing that it made me upset, he claimed he wouldn’t do it again. As far as I know, he hasn’t.

But is it jacked up that I’m still “friends” with my exes on social media?

I guess you could call me a hypocrite. To be honest though, I was friends with all of them on Facebook before I met my boyfriend (well, except for Instagram…I just joined that last year, so you know…). On all the social media sites I frequent, I’m friends with my two boyfriends from college (one who I was with for almost two years) and a love interest from post-college. I don’t start conversations with them or message them about anything, but sometimes they comment on my pictures to crack a joke with me…and I’ll joke back. I know, I know, I feel terrible…

Considering my feelings for my boyfriend and that I don’t feel anything for these fellas anymore, I thought it harmless to be connected to them (not physically of course) on social media. But when one of my exes decided to friend me on Instagram and went through quite a few of my pics to like them (even though he’s in a relationship, and on a side note, he likes none of the pics with my boyfriend in them), I started to feel a little weird. Considering the way I felt about my boyfriend just looking at the Facebook page of his ex-girlfriend (they were together for more than two years) I started to feel a little guilty. Every few days I see the pics of my exes in my feed and every once in a while I’ll even feel inclined to click through their pics to see what they were doing with their lives.  What jobs they’re having, if they went back to school, etc. I guess you could say I get “curious” too. I don’t want to look petty by unfriending all of them, because before they were my boyfriends and exes, they were my friends. But then again, if the shoe was on the other foot, I would obviously feel some type of way if my boyfriend was “friends” with the former ladies of his life.

So what do you think? What should I do? Are you still “friends” or connected on social media to men and women from your past? Is it harmless or is it messy?

Homie Don’t Play That: Prince Files $22 Million Lawsuit Against Facebook & Blogger Users

January 25th, 2014 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Prince pf"


There is so much that can be said about this Prince lawsuit and we could literally talk about it all day. On the one hand, everyone knows how much Prince hates when people post his videos or songs without paying him or whatever he wants for it at the time. On the other hand, he’s been out for so long that the only way some people are even familiar with him is because of the internet and the uploads.

But we’ll get back to that.

Prince is suing 22 members of Facebook and Googele’s Blogger for copyright violations and wants to see each of them pay $1 million.  Here’s the scoop from

“According to the 21-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco (via Antiquiet), the defendants “engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material.” The lawsuit targets Dan Chodera, Karina Jindrova, and 20 anonymous defendants. Chodera and Jindrova allegedly operated a no-longer-online Facebook account that posted a bunch of bootleg Prince videos. The other defendants — “Does” 1 through 20 — are accused of similar infractions, such as pointing to a 1983 Chicago set from Hey, we’d like to hear that one.

Prince asks for a jury trial, which, though highly unlikely, would have to make for some fascinating courtroom drama. In addition to the $22 million total in damages, Prince wants the defendants permanently blocked from infringing on his copyrights. He also wants them to forfeit any money they may have made from his music — with interest — and to return any “unlawful materials” to their rightful Purple custody.”

Prince is not a stupid man and surely he knows that the chances of any of these people having $1 million to fork over is slim to none, so we’re thinking this is more of a symbolic lawsuit more than anything.  He really does not want anyone posting anything having to do with his music that he cannot control…or at least get paid for in the process.

There’s got to be a better fix for this situation.  Prince and his team are probably prepared to sue everyone they can find illegally posting his music but maybe a better solution is that he hire a videographer and post them himself to a website that he charges a fee (I know, I know) to become a member. That probably won’t stop it in full but that’s a better way to monitor everything.

What do you think about this lawsuit? Is Prince alienating an entire generation of would be fans by trying so hard to shut people down who post his music?

New Study Says Facebook Cannot Foretell How Job Candidates Will Perform At Work

January 16th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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We get it. There is a towering stack of job applications looming over an HR exec’s desk. Each and everyone of them are putting their “best face” forward — selling themselves as the best fit for the job. It’s overwhelming! But nowadays you don’t need to rely on just first impressions and a prayer. With Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook right at your fingertips, you get a better sense of what a candidate is really like when they’re not trying to impress a recruiter.

But is social media really a good predictor of how a prospective employee will do on the job? A new study published by the Journal of Management (via Liberty Voice) says heck no!

During the experiment, the lead investigators looked at how recruiters rated each candidate according to their Facebook profiles. They found that these ratings did not correlate with the candidate’s current job performance evaluation at work. “Recruiter ratings of applicants’ Facebook information were unrelated to supervisor ratings of job performance… In addition, Facebook ratings did not contribute to the prediction,” the researchers noted, Liberty Voice reports.

The researchers suggest that we all act different in certain circumstances. Your wild demeanor during a girl’s night out won’t be the same as your demure behavior upon meeting Michelle Obama — or so I hope. Although a job candidate might act a complete fool on Facebook, this does not necessarily mean that she or he will bring such clownery on the job.

Not to mention the fact that many people on Facebook aren’t even themselves.  For social acceptance, their own profiles might be embellished to be perceived in a certain light. So in this case, a job candidate might seem prim and proper on their social network — they get hired — and to the employer’s dismay, they’re a complete buffoon!

This is not to say, though, that you shouldn’t be weary of what you post on the internet. The researchers are right: your cleavage pictures or sloppy drunk photos does not foretell how one will perform at work. But the very fact that you felt compelled to post such intimate and inappropriate snapshots online will make employers question your judgment.

This is where this study misses the mark. Recruiters aren’t just flocking to Facebook to use deductive reasoning on their potential employees. They want to see if you’re astute enough to know that you should use a little discretion in the virtual world — especially if they’re concerned about how their workers will affect their brand. A law firm, for example, would not want to deal with client complaints about your unprofessionalism as you flaunt your “assets” on Instagram.

What’s most interesting, the researchers point out, is the faux pas on the recruiters’ side. You mustn’t forget that besides internet activity, Facebook and other social media outlets allow employers to discover a candidate’s race and gender. This adds a higher probability of bias, of course, as the recruiter now knows what a prospective employee looks like:

“There was evidence…that [recruiters] tended to favor female and White applicants. The overall results suggest that organizations should be very cautious about using social media information such as Facebook to assess job applicants,” the researchers wrote.  

My advice? If you’re going job hunting, you should deactivate your account! In this way, employers will have a pretty tough time determining what you look like or how you carry yourself on the internet.

Recruiters will be forced to rely on your application and references to decide if you’re the best fit for the company.

Kiss Facebook’s Controversial ‘Sponsored Stories’ Ads Goodbye! Company Kills Unpopular Feature

January 15th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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It was one of Facebook most unpopular–and controversial–features. Now comes word that the social media giant is finally killing its “Sponsored Stories” ads on April 9.

You’ve seen them. The ads tell you your friends’ activities with a sponsored page, app or event. Their profile pic even appears alongside the ad when they “like”it.

From the beginning in 2011, the ads caused controversy, especially with privacy advocates.  In fact, the year they launched Facebook was named in a class-action lawsuit that said the ads violated users rights by showing their “likes” and online actions without giving them a chance to opt-out or any compensation, reports The Huffington Post. Facebook itself made a lot of money off the Sponsored Stores–about $230 million between January 2011 and August 2012, according to Reuters’ examination of the court filing.

Facebook settled for $20 million and agreed to give users “more control over how their content is shared,” reports Reuters.

It seemed to be only a matter of time for Facebook to rethink the ads. Last June, Facebook said it was reorganizing  its advertising options. Facebook told CNET, the ad platform changes would make Sponsored Stories obsolete. “As announced in June of last year, we’re bringing the best of Sponsored Stories — social context — to all ads. Since this update makes Sponsored Stories redundant, we will no longer offer them as a stand-alone ad unit for marketers,” said Facebook in a statement to CNET.

But even though Facebook says they are canning the Sponsored Stories, they will still be using the postings and personal information of its 1.2 billion users for advertising purposes. According to a recently blog post Facebook explains that “social context — stories about social actions your friends have taken, such as liking a page or checking in to a restaurant — is now eligible to appear next to all ads shown to friends on Facebook.”

It appears, however, that Google+ may pick up where Facebook is leaving off.  CNET reports that in October, Google+ announced that user’s name and profile picture could show up in “Google products,” including display ads.

What do you think of Facebook using your online behavior to lure in advertisers?

Facebook Could Be Facing A Mega Class Action Lawsuit Over Private Messages

January 8th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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When some Facebook users learned the social media giant might by using their private messages to lure in advertisers they were none too happy. And now Facebook could be facing a massive class action lawsuit over its private messaging function.

“Two Facebook users are taking the company to court over claims it mines private messages for data that is then sold to third parties,” reports CNN. But Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley want the suit to be made a class action, and suggest that as many as 166 million Facebook users in the U.S. would be eligible to take part.

The lawsuit was filed  in a U.S. district court in Northern California and alleges that Facebook has been scanning messages between users labeled as “private” for links and other data over the past two years that can be sold to advertisers, marketers and data aggregators. The suit also claims this is done without proper disclosure or the consent of users. According to Campbell and Hurley, intercepting and using links included in private messages violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, as well as California privacy and unfair competition laws.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has been in hot water with users over its advertising techniques. It previously settled a class action over targeted advertising for $20 million, reports CIO.

And CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made controversial statements about how people shouldn’t be doing the things they want to keep secret in the first place.

The plaintiffs are seeking as much as $10,000 in damages for each affected user. So if the court approves a class action status, it could amount to billions and severely hobble the company.

Greg Sterling, a principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, told CIO the suit seems to have some potential for success on its face. And if the class is certified it could mean billions in potential liability for Facebook.

“However, it’s still premature to predict any outcome. Facebook has said it will aggressively defend against the claims,” Sterling said.

The scanning of private messages was initially discovered back in late 2012. And at the time, the company seemed to have acknowledged the practice, Sterling noted. But he said the question is whether the company is deceptively counting URLs in those messages as “likes” and then including that information in its ad-targeting algorithm as the complaint alleges.

So far Facebook has yet to comment.

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