Facebook On A Rise: Hits One Billion Users

Facebook reaches 1 billion users markLooks like the time is rising for Facebook. According to a statement by Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday morning, the social networking site has reached the milestone of over one billion people as active users.

Here is the link- http://newsroom.fb.com/News/One-Billion-People-on-Facebook-1c9.aspx

Zuckerberg wrote, “If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you. Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.” He further talked of his commitment and added, “I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.”

The social networking site is surely busy these days. Facebook is working on to come up with latest ways to boost revenue from ads in the mobile network.

The balance sheet provided on the site gives us many facts about Facebook’s popularity.

It also talks to top five countries where Facebook is seeing quick growth include Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States.

As per reports, around 600 million users are accessing the social networking site via their mobile devices. Also the average age of a Facebook user is seen to be 22.

A strong and growing medium, Facebook has more than 219 billion photos that have been uploaded to the site, apart from those deleted. Also users have listened to around 62.6 million songs at least 22 billion times on the social networking site.

Considering more success for Facebook, the network has logged 140.3 billion friend connections, 17 billion of which have been tagged with users’ locations. To know more popularity of the firm, consider this. All users have reached for the “Like” button on Facebook and other sites more than 1.13 trillion times since the widget went live in February 2009.

Earlier, in July 2010, Facebook hit its last major milestone of having 500 million users.

Taking facts from the data sheet, the social networking site officially hit the mark of one billion users on Sept. 14. at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time.

However, no excuse for the delayed announcement was given.… Read the rest

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Personal Messages Not So Personal On Facebook Anymore: Claims A French Newspaper

Facebook keeps on changing its privacy norms to offer users the best services. But certain speculations have come round the corner claiming that the social networking site has made private messages of millions of users, public on its Timeline feature.

The report was first published in Metro, a French newspaper and was later picked up by other tech sites. Well, on being looked into the matter, the rumors seem to be untrue.

Facebook cleared its stake, went back and checked the messages. The social giant said that the much-talked about Timeline messages are actually old wall posts, and even if there’s private information, these messages have been there the entire time. Facebook said the confusion could have been created as there was no option to like or comment on a single wall post before 2009.

However, this denial by Facebook has not been accepted by some users, who claim that the social networking site has made their private messages public.

The speculation is surrounding years from 2007 to 2009, when Facebook had just launched. And the latest timeline in 2012 makes it easy for users to browse old posts according to the year, which also lets them see each other’s old posts.

However, those concerned about old posts, can restrict access to them. Just follow the instructions on Facebook privacy settings.

Rumors have always clouded Facebook’s privacy norms. Earlier also in Dec. 2011, a Finnish publication posted the same warnings on the same feature, which later got picked by other tech sites, which also later turned out to be untrue.… Read the rest

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Facebook Stocks Fails To Hit The Bull’s Eye, Initiates Mobile Ads To Boost The Investors

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is trying to take the social networking site to a new level, following a blow in the firm’s stocks over the last two weeks.

Facebook’s stock crashed 40 percent down from its IPO of $38 and now stands at $22.86. Trying to generate revenue for the firm, Facebook initiated ads for mobile, which Mark hopes will be a boon for the sinking morale of investors and would also monetize its mobile traffic.

However, there are many analysts who believe that Facebook’s stock could go down to $15 or even less.

According to an article published in barrons.com, writer Andrew Barrey feels that Facebook’s business stays uncertain and it’s unlikely that the social networking site will hit off with focus on mobile ads.

Facebook is trying to monetize its services without compromising on the user experience. And as mobiles have a small screen, Facebook won’t get much chance to configure ads.

Currently, Facebook trades at price per earnings (PE) of 48 cents a share.

Facebook is valued at $61 billion, or $53 billion excluding estimated $8 billion in cash. The social networking site is clearly lagging far behind Google and Apple. According to Barron.com, Facebook’s shares do not make a good buy and stand at as little as $15. However, Wall Street’s consensus offer more optimistic estimate for Facebook, showing its earnings to rise 31%, to 63 cents a share in 2013.

Facebook has a slow growth rate. And problems in mobile advertising don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. So it’s doubtful that investors would want to put in money in the firm.

There’s another point discussed in the article. Facebook has also started to issue many restricted stock to its own employees, so that they stay within the firm. The social networking site had taken out $1.4 billion restricted shares last year, which accounted for around $500,000 per employee. Adding that to this year, the firm has issued $1 billion of its restricted stock.

These restricted stock units (RSUs) that employees have do not have stock options and could be out for sale anytime in the coming months.

As per Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook said that it’s the firm’s way to compensate.

However, people such as Mark Cuban, Investor, believe that Facebook pulled off its IPO at a high price of $38, to keep its revenue at the maximum, which did get it an impressive amount of $10 billion. He also stresses on the fact that the only ones who lost in the game were the shareholders who thought they could pass the stock on to someone who will pay more.

Further, Cuban added that Facebook could boost spirits among its employees by merely reissuing stock, which can give better benefit to its employees.

Let’s take a look at how RSUs work-

Suppose Facebook offers 1,000 shares to its employees that have a value of $30. Now in case the price falls to $10, they will get $10,000, instead of initial $30,000 offered. This means that the plunging stock will give employees less value in shares, and that Facebook will give them lot more, say around $10 to make them feel as valuable as they were before its stocks plummeted.

Something similar had happened with Google in 2009. The firm lost more than twice the market cap valuation as compared to Facebook now, when the search giant simply repriced its stock options.

The big variation between Facebook now and Google then lies in the RSUs.

Facebook can’t change the price of RSUs, as the one who holds RSUs is only bothered about the current stock price. Instead, Facebook would just have to take out more shares at the new price.

RSUs it appears also have a taxable value upon issue, while stock options do not.

During that time, Google also had political cover for its move, as it was seen as a measure to cure errors of its own doing. Also it wasn’t the only firm going through economic slowdown that time.

So in case Facebook follows suit Google, it would anger many investors, which could also create long lasting rage with a breach of trust that would hurt the stock holders even more.

William Hambrecht, another investment banker and IPO expert feels that Facebook would get lot of criticism and could also lose credibility in case it tries to restore the value of its employees’ shares.

Coming back to the $15 stock price, majority of Wall Street analysts are optimistic about Facebook’s stocks. Many investors are just waiting for the lock-up on insider shares to end, which will only tell what the market response would be.

By then, it will also become clear as to how the social networking site plays its hand at RSUs.… Read the rest

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Facebook Launches Mobile Ad Beta Service

Facebook has been losing out on its revenue due to the lack of advertisement services in its mobile and tab apps. And therefore, with a plan to get back into the business with a bang, the social networking site launched a beta version of their new mobile ad service. With this beta version, Facebook will serve targeted ads to users even when they visit other sites and app stores.

Based on users’ likes, age and other information, Facebook will show users ads relevant to them, even when they are outside the social network.

With this mobile ad network, Facebook hopes to earn revenue on traffic, without hurting its users’ experience.

It will also give app developers and brands a powerful way to reach specific audiences that they’ll be willing to pay more than if they advertised with a less accurate ad exchange directly.

However, Facebook has not yet revealed the names of advertisers, ad exchanges, ad networks, or publishers involved.

On opening their Facebook page on mobile devices, users might see small banner ads, which will be targeted based on their biographical and social data within non-Facebook mobile iOS and Android apps along with other mobile websites where users have confirmed themselves with Facebook. Advertisers, on the other side, will set a bid with Facebook to target users as per their demographic.

Meanwhile, Facebook will sync its user IDs with other mobile ad exchanges. So whenever a Facebook user visits one of the apps or sites where these exchanges have placements, the exchange immediately sends Facebook that user’s ID and asks if there’s a bid set to target them. And in case there’s a bid, Facebook will pay the ad exchange some portion of the bid to show the ad to users.

These ads can eventually lead users to the App Store pages from where they can download the content. Currently, the social networking site is testing the app to see how users perform. The service might start later today. In case it hits off with users, Facebook could get a way of making lot of money that it recently lost in plummeted share prices.… Read the rest

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No Instagram for Your Windows Phone, At least for Now!

Quite opposite to all speculations we have heard so far, Instagram- the famous photo sharing app won’t be seen in the Windows Phone, at least for a while.

As reported in the VentureBeat, sources have revealed that developers at the photo sharing firm, now owned by Facebook, are not working on any app for Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform.

Earlier, there have been many reports indicating that Instagram will be available on Windows Phone. The app is currently available on iPhone and Android.

The rumors started off on blaze when Nokia released a video promo of Lumia 920, which had an Instagram for Windows Phone icon on the phone’s home screen.

But that is just not the case.

Maybe previously, developers at Instagram were working on to make a version for Microsoft’s mobile operating system, but as per news, the Facebook-owned firm has no plans to launch a Windows Phone app.

On being asked to comment, Facebook refused to talk of any existence of lack of such app. Earlier this month, Facebook acquisition of Instagram got official with the deal finally closing in. The photo social site hit the mark of 80 million users and 5 billion photos were reportedly shared in July 2012. The site saw a rise of 50 million users post the announcement of deal.

Considering the news, it seems that Windows Phone users won’t get access to the famous photo sharing app to capture or share pictures within the phone network, at least for the time being!… Read the rest

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The Deal is Official! Facebook Acquires Instagram

The deal is now official. FTC has also given its nod. The social networking site, Facebook is now the owner of photo sharing application, Instagram.

After a long wait, both the companies announced on Friday that their much-awaited deal is now final.

The billion dollar transaction, which now reached $736 million following the collapse of Facebook’s stocks, is now official and complete.

Facebook laid out the welcome carpet for Instagram and said that the latter will continue to serve its users as effectively.

Offering the photo-sharing app an opportunity to grow, Instagram has already shared 5 million photos over the network so far.

It was reported by ComScore that Instagram’s website is at the 56th spot for being the most popular site in the US. It has around 22.7 million unique visitors per month, up from 16.5 million in just a month. The photo sharing site also got 80 million users in July, growing from 50 million in April this year.

“Instagram isn’t going anywhere,” said representatives at Instagram. “The Instagram app and its features will stay the same one you know and love, and we’ll keep working together to build a better Instagram for everyone.”

Mike Schroepfer, VP of engineering, Facebook emphasized on the social networking site’s eagerness to work with Instagram. He said, “Instagram will continue to serve its community, and we will help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.” He further added, “We also can’t wait to work with the talented Instagram team to improve the mobile experience.”

Instagram’s mobile experience is usually considered as one of the best in the business.… Read the rest

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Facebook Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz Sheds Shares!

Three months ago when Facebook went public, the social networking site saw a drop in its stocks, which made many insiders sell their shares. The latest in the news is Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder, Facebook, who is shedding off his sizable stakes in the social networking site.

Moskovitz left Facebook in 2008 to find Asana. On Tuesday, he completed 12 different trades in 150,000-share increments during a two-week period starting Aug. 17, ending on Sept. 4, 2012.

As per multiple filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the 28-year-old entrepreneur and Facebook insider has reportedly sold 1.8 million shares for $34.5 million.  This accounts to around 450,000 shares of the social networking so far this week, reducing his hold to 6.15 million Class A stock, which has less voting than Class B stock. He has 126.2 million Class B shares. The Class B shares can be changed for sale to Class A shares at a one-to-one ratio.

The trades were completed at price ranging from $20.08 to $17.56 per share.

Earlier, last month, Peter Thiel, first outside investor of Facebook also dumped his remaining holdings in the social networking site with a gain of $395.8 million.

The news could be worrisome for investors as all insiders sell their shares. But thankfully not everyone is stripping off of their stakes.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook said in a filing that he is committed to hold all his stakes in the firm for at least another year.

Marc Andreessen and Donald Graham, Board members of Facebook also specified that they would only sell enough shares to cover their tax liabilities.

Facebook went public in May with an IPO of $38 a share. The social networking site saw a decline since then, following the speculation of other investors selling off their shares.… Read the rest

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Facebook Speeds Up App for iPhone and iPad

Facebook recently heard the pleas of iPad and iPhone users and launched an upgrade of the version of its Facebook App for iOS. Those who suffered due to the slowness and sluggishness of Facebook apps can now breathe a sigh of relief as the new app offers quick, easy, and fast browsing.

Marked Facebook 5.0 for iOS, the app hit the Apple App Store Friday and comes with the most updated change ever.

Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder and CEO, Facebook seemed happy with the new app and posted on his page, “We just released a new Facebook app for iPhone and iPad, and it’s a lot faster. Our team completely rewrote it from the ground up to focus on speed. It’s a big step forward.”

The upgraded app is made to offer twice as fast services in three areas such as launching the app, scrolling through the News Feed, and opening photos in feed.

Other changes include old photo sharing and opening experience, which has now been transformed to much zippier and faster process. With this new app, users just need to tap a photo to open it right away and pull down to close the photo just as quickly. Notifications should now also load just as swiftly.

Mick Johnson, product manager for iOS revealed in a statement, “As you scroll down your news feed, all your friends’ stories appear faster than ever. A banner lets you know when new stories come in, and you can tap once to immediately see the latest updates.”

Now it is believed that with Facebook 5.0 for iOS, users experience on iOS devices won’t be as tedious or boring. With the success of this app, Facebook can mark a step ahead in an opportunity to monetize its service via Sponsored Stories and application ads when the service has just got better and faster!

So do you also find Facebook 5.0 for iOS to be notably quicker? Upload it right away in case you haven’t and let’s see if it’s twice as fast or not.… Read the rest

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Facebook-Instagram Deal Cleared by FTC

The US Federal Trade Commission has given a go ahead to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, saying that it has no antitrust issues with the deal and will let it advance further.

Getting Facebook a step ahead in the deal, FTC said its commission held a unanimous voting of 5-0 to close the investigation and let the deal move on.

The news was brought forward in a press release by the commission.

Facebook seemed to be pleased by the FTC decision. The social networking site had bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and company shares in April, a month before going public.

However, Facebook’s shares fell, which put the final deal today at $747 million.

Since photos are a key part of Facebook’s social network, it is believed that technology of Instagram would help the latter improve users’ mobile experience.

Following the announcement of acquisition, Facebook even released “Facebook Camera”, its own photo-sharing app.

Launched in 2010, the photo-sharing app, Instagram, has more than 80 million registered users. The app is also available for Android and iOS devices.

Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive, Facebook said in April that the firm had no plans on “doing many more of these” high-profile acquisitions of companies, which has a wide user base.

He also said that currently Instagram users could anticipate connecting with social networking service competitors such as Tumblr and Twitter. Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would not just try to integrate everything into the social networking site.

Instagram made some innovative integration into its Instargram 3.0., adding a geolocation feature, which indicates that the service is continuing to evolve.

The deal between the two companies has already been approved by the Office of Fair Trading in Britain.

Facebook hoped to close the deal in the second quarter of the year, but awaiting clearance, the firm told potential investors ahead of its May 18 initial public offering that it expects to finalize the transactions by the end of 2012.… Read the rest

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