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Facebook Develops New Privacy Technologies "Multi-Year Effort" Sees Facebook Working on 3 Privacy Tools

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - In The News, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

At a time in which Facebook is facing controversy over its relationship with privacy, the company has announced that it is launching a “multi-year effort” to build practices that prioritize privacy.

Specifically, Facebook announced this week that is partnering with academics and global organizations to work on projects involving privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs). This term refers to technologies that minimize the amount of user data processed in order to protect personal information.

“PETs involve advanced techniques drawn from the fields of cryptography and statistics,” Facebook wrote. “These techniques help minimize the data that’s processed while preserving critical functionality like ad measurement and personalization.”

This news comes at a time in which Facebook is in the hot seat. The company has been the centre of privacy disputes for years, and it recently shut down third-party research efforts.

Thus, Facebook’s new push for PETs may be a sign of good things to come – or it may simply be an effort to change the company’s reputation.

Read below to learn about the three types of PETs that Facebook is working on.

Secure Multi-Party Computation

Multi-party computation, or MPC, allows multiple organizations to work with the same data set without unnecessarily sharing private data between the parties. Data is encrypted on both sides, preventing each party from seeing the other party’s data.

Facebook is testing a product called Private Lift Measurement, which uses MPC to assist advertisers.

On-Device Learning

While MPC is based on collaborative efforts between parties, on-device learning is based on a singular device’s data. On-device learning essentially trains an algorithm to find insights on a device without tracking individual data.

Facebook compares the feature to something like auto-correct or text prediction, explaining that the algorithm works based on a user’s habits rather than their private data.

Differential Privacy

This feature adds an extra touch of privacy by adding ‘noise’ to data sets. In other words, it adds a bit of incorrect or falsified information to less important parts of the data or identifiers. This is particularly helpful for large data sets used in public research.

Facebook has described the development of these technologies as a multi-year effort, and has not shared a tentative release date.

 

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

Facebook Announces Re-Brand Under the Name ‘Meta’

10/29/2021

Facebook has experienced its fair share of scrutiny over the past year, and now, the social media giant is looking to move past the controversy by announcing some pretty major news – the company is rebranding and changing its name to Meta.

For those wondering, “why Meta?,” according to founder Mark Zuckerberg’s official founder’s letter posted to Facebook, the new name represents “an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.”

A press release added that “Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.”

“The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.”

For marketing professionals panicking about what this means for their Facebook and Instagram ads, don’t worry. The name change will not apply to individual platforms owned by Meta (previously known as Facebook), only the parent company that owns them. Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp will all keep their names and branding.

How Google Reacted

Once the news dropped yesterday, Google reacted pretty quickly, with the search engine ranking news and content for Meta almost immediately.

Even Google staff like John Mueller and Danny Sullivan commented about it over on Twitter:

That’s pretty much all we know right now about this big re-brand. You can learn more about the new direction the company is taking at https://about.facebook.com/meta.

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Massive Global Facebook Outage Affected Over 3.5 Billion People

10/05/2021

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day for influencers, social media managers, and casual social media users (or uneventful, depending on how you look at it). Yes, we’re talking about themassive global Facebook outage that saw Facebook-owned apps like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp go down for over six hours.

For those living under a rock, the outage began around 11:40 AM eastern time on  October 4 and lasted until around 6:30 PM, affecting over 3.5 billion users worldwide.

It’s been reported that the outage caused significant damage to the social media giant, resulting in shares plummeting and costing founder Mark Zuckerberg an estimated $6 billion.

Besides platforms shutting down for several hours, some eagle-eyed observers also noticed that during the outage, the Facebook domain went up for sale. Considering the fact that Facebook and all its other platforms are now functioning as normal, it’s safe to say nobody was able to purchase the domain out from under them. However, it’d be pretty interesting to see how that situation would have played out.

So, what exactly caused such an unprecedented event? Facebook confirmed it was “configuration changes on the backbone routers that co-ordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication” and had a “cascading effect… bringing our services to a halt.”

Facebook added that it is still trying to determine what exactly happened so it can “make our infrastructure more resilient,” but that there was “no evidence that user data was compromised.”

Once all platforms came back online yesterday evening, Mark Zuckerberg also issued an apology on his public Facebook page, posting:

“Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Many have theorized that the outage was caused by something much bigger than just a glitch, and is related to former Facebook employee Frances Haugen’s upcoming testimony on Capitol Hill. Haugen is expected to testify today about allegations that the company “chooses profits over safety’

The Ripple Effect

Besides social media users being unable to post about their day-to-day lives or latest anti-vax theories, the outage had a massive effect on billions of people and businesses around the world.

Here’s one example: For over six hours, Twitter experienced a massive boost in popularity as Instagram and Facebook users flooded the platform in order to communicate with one another and find out more information about the outage. In fact, traffic was so unusually high that Twitter experienced its own small outage.

It’s also important to note that for some, this outage was merely an inconvenience that meant a day off from social media, but for small businesses and marketing professionals who rely on Facebook and Instagram to communicate with customers and market themselves, this outage was pretty devastating. Fortunately the outage was resolved in less than a day, and no significant damage was caused (with the exception of Facebook’s monetary loss and damaged reputation).

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