Facebook Signs Deal With ESL to Live Stream E-Sports

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook to bring over 5,550 hours of e-sports events, original content
  • It also recently announced a tie-up with Major League Baseball
  • Twitter also partnered with ESL, Dreamhack to live stream tournaments

Taking on Twitter and Amazon-owned Twitch when it comes to live-streaming sport events, Facebook has now announced a partnership with global e-sports company ESL to bring over 5,550 hours of e-sports events and other original content to its platforms.

The news came after Facebook announced a tie-up with Major League Baseball (MLB) earlier this week to live stream 20 regular season games on the social network.

Facebook Signs Deal With ESL to Live Stream E-Sports

“The move will aid Facebook in challenging Amazon-owned Twitch as well as Twitter, both of which have esports deals as part of their efforts in the live-streaming space,” technology website TechCrunch reported on Saturday.

In March, Twitter partnered with ESL and Dreamhack to live stream tournaments and other e-sports events. More than 15 events in the ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) and DreamHack circuits will be live streamed globally on Twitter and connected devices.

In addition to all Intel Extreme Masters and ESL One tournament content, ESL will also produce live original content for Twitter, including a weekly 30-minute show featuring highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.

The social network has also updated its developer policies so that people cannot use the platform just for attention grabbing and flooding people’s news feeds with irrelevant content.

The move will explicitly forbid live videos that are “only images” (including animated images) or polls linked to largely inanimate material.

 

Facebook Rolls Out New 'Order Food' Feature for Mobile and Web

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The feature is showing up for select people in US
  • It appears on web and the app as well
  • The ‘Order Food’ feature is powered by Delivery.com and Slice

Facebook is rolling out a new ordering food feature, in a bid to keep users hooked onto its app, and not stray off to another app for other tasks. The social media giant now has a new option on Web and mobile allowing users to order food online. This ‘Order Food’ feature is showing up for select users for now, and only users in America are set to get it first.

Facebook Rolls Out New 'Order Food' Feature for Mobile and Web

This new feature is possible due to Facebook’s partnership with Delivery.com and Slice in the US, announced back in October. TechCrunch reports that the option shows up on Facebook’s side bar or the app’s main menu. By clicking on it, the Order Food option throws up all the supported restaurants. The restaurants are displayed with a featured image, rating, cuisine, and a price point. There’s a Start Order button at the bottom of it, clicking on which will take you to the selected restaurant’s page. It then shows you if the restaurant is open for delivery or pickup. You can then add delivery address or switch to pickup, whatever you prefer. Then from the menu, you select what you want to order, see how much delivery fee is levied, final amount to be paid, check your cart, choose mode of payment, and confirm the order.

The feature is fairly simple, and is self-explanatory, once you begin to use it. Once the order is confirmed, it gives you an average estimate time of delivery as well. Unfortunately, this feature could not be tested by us, as the option is only showing up for select users in US for now. There is no word on if Facebook plans to roll this service out to other countries. Food ordering services like Delivery.com and Slice will benefit heavily from this new feature, as it can reach out and tap into the large audience database of Facebook. Facebook confirmed the roll out of the new feature to TechCrunch.

 

From the user’s point of view, it eliminates the need to open another app to order food, and can now do an additional task from Facebook itself. Ride sharing app Uber also tapped into the online food ordering market with UberEats, and has launched the service in India earlier this month. However, Facebook has made this feature available within its app, and hasn’t launched a separate app like Uber.

Let us know if this feature is showing up for you, and whether it is working smoothly in the comments below.

China Shuts Some Live Streaming Sites, Punishes Companies

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Almost half of China’s Internet users use live video streaming sites
  • The live broadcasting market was worth CNY 21 billion in 2016
  • Ministry of Culture said that it had shut down 10 hosting platforms

Chinese authorities have punished dozens of companies involved in live online broadcasting and shut down numerous hosting platforms for showing content that was pornographic, related to gambling or involved content considered superstitious and harmful to minors.

Almost half of China’s 730 million Internet users use live video streaming sites and apps, according to authorities. The live broadcasting market was worth CNY 21 billion ($3 billion or roughly Rs. 19,733 crores) in 2016, an increase of 180 percent from the year before, according to market research company iResearch.

China Shuts Some Live Streaming Sites, Punishes Companies

In its latest crackdown on the industry, the Ministry of Culture said Wednesday that it had shut down 10 hosting platforms and given administrative punishments, including fines, to 48 companies. It also said it had ordered closed more than 30,000 studios producing content. Most individuals’ studios consist of their bedroom or living room, but there are some businesses set up to provide multiple broadcast spaces.

The ministry said it had also given out punishments including unspecified fines and the confiscation of “illegal earnings” in relation to more than 30,000 broadcasts. A total of 547 people have had broadcasting contracts terminated.

 

It said a well-known platform, Huajiao, was punished for broadcasting a live show earlier this month in which the host falsely claimed she was in Beijing’s Forbidden City after closing time. The show was actually made in a studio.

Live broadcasting websites and mobile apps have offered money-making opportunities to students and others who chat, play games, dance or offer other entertainment online. The audience at home can pay them via virtual gifts, and the hosting platforms take a cut.

Authorities have in the past handed down penalties to platforms, saying they have been found broadcasting pornographic and other objectionable content. They are increasingly bringing out rules for the industry, including requiring platforms to obtain government licenses and hosts to register with their real names.

Facebook Testing Tools to Help People Discover Local News

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook testing products that meaningfully engage with their community
  • The test have just begun and are on three products
  • Facebook is also using software to intercept graphic content

A day after reports emerged of guidelines that Facebook follows to censor sensitive content, the social media giant said it is testing products to connect its users to local news.

As part of its ongoing push to build relationships with local publishers, Facebook is testing products that meaningfully engage with their community, a report on Poynter.org website said on Monday.

The tests, part of the Facebook Journalism Project, have just begun and are on three products, Poynter quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying.

Facebook Testing Tools to Help People Discover Local News

“One points users in community-linked Facebook groups to additional local news. Another, launching Tuesday, offers users who make their cities of residence public a badge identifying them as a local when they comment on a local publisher’s stories. A third helps people find local groups,” the spokesperson said.

 

The social media giant is looking to establish baseline metrics for the availability and discoverability of news and identify the levers that move users to consume, share, comment and form community around local news.

“This test allows administrators of groups that regularly discuss local news to add a news unit to the group. This unit will be dynamically populated based on our local news classifier with recent articles from publications that serve the location of the group. Members can then easily share an article from the unit as a link share in the group,” he said.

According to the spokesperson, publishers want new ways to connect local stories to people in the communities they serve and are encouraged to see the company testing product ideas specific to local news distribution.

 

Facebook Gets 'Live Chat With Friends' and 'Live With' Features

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Live Chat With Friends is currently being tested on mobile
  • Live Chat With Friends will be made available broadly in summer
  • Live With feature was earlier available only to public figures

It is not a hidden fact that Facebook has been trying to focus on videos for quite some time and after imitating some features from the rival platforms, it seems like the company has now decided to test waters with its own new features. Facebook has introduced two new features to its Live video service in the form of ‘Live Chat With Friends’ and ‘Live With’.

While it is debatable how useful the addition of ‘Stories’ feature turned out to be, it appears that the new features can really improve the utility of Facebook Live video service substantially. First coming to Live Chat With Friends, the new feature provides users with the option to chat only with their friends while watching a live stream. Earlier, if you might remember, users could only participate in a public chat that was flooded with comments from users across the website.

If you prefer to watch live stream videos with your friends, this feature is likely to really useful to you. “You can invite friends who are already watching or other friends who you think may want to tune in. You’re able to jump back into the public conversation at any time, and you can still continue chatting with your friends via Messenger after the broadcast ends,” Facebook said in its news post.

Facebook Gets 'Live Chat With Friends' and 'Live With' Features

Live Chat With Friends is currently being tested on mobile and will be made available more broadly this summer.

Moving to the Live With feature, users will now be able to invite other users into their live videos without them being required to be in the same vicinity as them. Live With feature allows users to collectively use Facebook Live. Interestingly, users can use this feature in both portrait and landscape modes for having picture-in-picture or side-by-side layout respectively.

In order to use this feature, users simply need to select a guest from the Live Viewers section, or tap a comment from the viewer whom they want to invite. The guest will then have the option to join or reject the request. This feature can help in conducting interviews with people in remote locations and can thereby prove to be extremely useful. Live With feature was earlier made available just for public figures but has now been made available for all users and pages, as per Facebook.

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News Sources

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites
  • Aim is to help people “feel more informed about the news in their region”
  • The update “does not affect how trending topics are identified”

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled its latest redesign to its “trending topics” feature – its latest move to give users a variety of sources on important news events.

The huge social network – which has faced criticism for creating “filter bubbles” that reinforce the views of users, and has been accused of bias in selecting its news sources – said the new design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites.

“You’ve always been able to click on a topic to see related posts and stories, but we’ve redesigned the page to make it easier to discover other publications that are covering the story, as well as what your friends and public figures are saying about it,” Facebook said in a blog post.

“Now, when you click on a trending topic, you’ll see a carousel with stories from other publications about a given topic that you can swipe through.”

The blog signed by Facebook product manager Ali Ahmadi and designer John Angelo said the aim is to help people “feel more informed about the news in their region.”

They added there would be “no predetermined list of publications” which appear in trending topics and that the update “does not affect how trending topics are identified,” after a series of changes.

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News Sources

Earlier this year, Facebook revised its formula for trending news in an effort to weed out fake news by tweaking its algorithm to diminish the importance of how much a news story is shared.

Last year, Facebook moved to make its trending topics automated, scaling back human selection after critics complained curators were deliberately omitting stories from conservative news outlets.

Facebook made the changes last year despite arguing that its research discovered no systematic bias in story selection.

The social network, which has nearly two billion users worldwide, is an increasingly important source of news for its members.

Facebook has brushed aside the idea that misinformation spread over its network was a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, but has stepped up efforts to weed out hoaxes and unverified news.

The new “trending” design is rolling out for iPhone users in the US, and will soon be available for Android and desktop, Facebook said.

BlackBerry Says Its New Solution Can Help Businesses Monitor WhatsApp Chats

HIGHLIGHTS

  • BlackBerry has partnered VoxSmart to offer data monitoring services
  • It provides ability to capture, record, store and analyse mobile voice
  • Services will be useful for firms to monitor WhatsApp and WeChat chats

To enable financial institutions monitor data on WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging platforms in line with the upcoming European Union (EU) directive, BlackBerry has partnered with the leading mobile surveillance and compliance firm VoxSmart.

Together with BlackBerry UEM (Unified Endpoint Management), which connects and manages endpoints, VoxSmart’s ‘VSmart’ will provide financial services firms with the ability to capture, record, store and analyse mobile voice, text and third-party instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp and WeChat.

BlackBerry Says Its New Solution Can Help Businesses Monitor WhatsApp Chats

“Together with VoxSmart, we can enable businesses around the world to effortlessly capture conversations on endpoints including smartphones, wearables, tablets and laptops,” said Florian Bienvenu, Senior Vice President of EMEA Sales, BlackBerry.

“This joint solution is an excellent example of how BlackBerry is leveraging its software portfolio and developing strong partnerships to secure the Enterprise of Things,” Bienvenu added in a statement.

The companies have partnered to help financial services firms comply on time with the European Union’s “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive” (‘MiFID II’).

MiFID II, which comes into effect on January 3, 2018, demands that all financial services firms in Europe must keep records of all services, activities and transactions for at least five years.

 

Records include all electronic and instant messaging communications, telephone conversations and text messages related to or intended to conclude in a transaction, even if one does not occur.

The directive seeks to make financial markets in Europe more resilient, transparent and investor-friendly.

“VoxSmart is the only global mobile compliance solution that can capture, record, store and analyse both voice and third party instant message applications such as WhatsApp and WeChat,” said Oliver Blower, CEO, VoxSmart.

“Our partnership with BlackBerry has already led to additional proofs of concept exercises from other global investment banks and financial services firms, who are seeing the MiFID II Directive as a chance to refine their approach to mobile security and compliance,” Blower added.

Already successfully deployed to several global investment banks and trading houses, VSmart provides a perfect balance between user experience and compliance, securing and enabling regulated users, all while adhering to stringent global regulations.

McDonald's to Use Snapchat to Hire Workers in the US

HIGHLIGHTS

  • McDonald’s will hire some US workers this summer through Snapchat
  • About 250,000 people will be hired across its US restaurants
  • The chain started accepting “Snaplications” in Australia last month

In its bid to attract young applicants, American fast-food chain McDonald’s will hire some US workers this summer through the photo-sharing app Snapchat.

The world’s largest burger chain said the company and its franchisees will hire about 250,000 people across its US restaurants for what is usually one of its busiest seasons of the year, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The chain started accepting “Snaplications” in Australia last month, allowing potential employees to make video submissions with a special filter that shows them wearing a McDonald’s uniform.

“We thought Snaplications was a great way to allow us to meet job seekers where they are – their phones,” Jez Langhorn, McDonald’s Senior Director of Human Resources in the US was quoted as saying.

McDonald's to Use Snapchat to Hire Workers in the US

The video audition could be submitted to McDonald’s Snapchat account after which McDonald’s would send back a link to the application and digital careers page for a formal application.

McDonald’s said that allowing applications through Snapchat will aid hiring efforts because many of its applicants are between the ages of 16 and 24.

This is incidentally the prime user group of the photo sharing platform. The company is also set to use other platforms like Spotify and Hulu to reach potential job seekers.

Facebook Rainbow Reaction Is Here and This Is How You Can Get It Now

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook has added the Rainbow reaction to support LGBTQ Pride
  • There are also Pride-themed masks and frames
  • Pride-themed features on Facebook will till June-end

Facebook has launched a new Rainbow emoji reaction, among several other features, in honour of the LGBTQ Pride Month — celebrated every year in June — and show support to the community and the cause. The Facebook Rainbow reaction is accompanied by a Rainbow Frame for profile pictures, Pride-themed masks and frames in Facebook Camera, and even the option to start fundraisers for the community on the platform. The new features will be available throughout the month of June.

How to get the new Facebook Rainbow Reaction

To get the new LGBTQ Rainbow Reaction and the other Prime-themed features, you need to ‘like’ the LGBT@Facebook official group. Once you like the page, you will soon see the Rainbow emoji reaction when you long-press on the like button on a post, photo, link, video, etc. Similar is the process to get the new The new features are available only in the US for now, and some even in the US complain of not getting the new features despite liking the page.

Facebook Rainbow Reaction Is Here and This Is How You Can Get It Now

Apart from the Pride-themed features on Facebook, there are some LGBTQ-supporting features on Instagram and Messenger as well. On Instagram, walls in major US cities will be turned into colourful beacons of LGBTQ support, where you can leave supportive comments on your posts. You can also celebrate Pride and be creative with stickers and a rainbow brush. Similarly, Messenger users can use Pride-themed stickers, frames, and effects in the Messenger Camera.

In a statement, Facebook said, “As Pride celebrations begin around the world, Facebook is proud to support our diverse community, including those that have identified themselves on Facebook as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or gender non-conforming. It added over 12 million people across the globe are part of one of the 76,000 Facebook Groups in support of the LGBTQ community.  The social networking giant noted that more than 1.5 million people plan to participate in one of the more than 7,500 Pride events on Facebook this year.

IRCTC Offers Rs. 50 Cashback on Tickets Bought Using New mVisa Payment Method

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Users can link their visa debit, credit or prepaid account to mVisa app
  • IRCTC will give Rs. 50 cashback to consumers using mVisa to book tickets
  • Consumers can book tickets through mVisa scan & pay on the IRCTC website

Rail travellers using IRCTC can now book train tickets by mVisa payment method that allows them to scan a QR code and pay through smartphones. Users can securely link their visa debit, credit, or prepaid account to the mVisa application on their smartphones and make their travel bookings by simply scanning their mVisa QR code on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website.

IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, is offering a promotion offer until September 4 that will give Rs. 50 cashback to consumers booking their tickets through mVisa scan and pay on the IRCTC website.

IRCTC Offers Rs. 50 Cashback on Tickets Bought Using New mVisa Payment Method

“The key to our success as India’s largest e-commerce organisation has been our ability to embrace new technologies that help us drive consumer engagement across our platform,” IRCTC CMD AK Manocha said on Tuesday. “Considering the phenomenal penetration of smartphones in India, moving to a mobile based payment solution such as mVisa was thus a natural choice for IRCTC,” he added.

 

The mVisa payment solution on IRCTC can potentially empower millions of consumers spread across Indian cities, towns and villages, to make payments using just their smartphones from the comfort of their homes.

India is currently one of the major smartphone markets in the world, with over a billion smartphones expected to be sold in the next five years. The increasing popularity and adoption of mobile devices presents a huge opportunity for the growth of mobile-based digital commerce.