28 major updates from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Snapchat, Instagram & WhatsApp

Major news from the digital platforms: Google and Facebook take aim at Fake-News sites, state of Instagram advertising, Facebook buys CrowdTangle, Hulu acquires The Video Genome project, Snapchat just filed for its IPO, and more

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Obama criticizes the spread of fake news on Facebook: President Obama took time during a press conference today to assail the spread of fake news online, particularly the way it travels on Facebook. “In an age where there’s so much active misinformation and it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television,” he said, “if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”

Jack Dorsey blames automated system for white supremacist Twitter ads: Twitter’s chief executive has apologized after at least one white supremacy ad surfaced on the platform. Jack Dorsey tweeted that a “mistake” had been made and blamed his company’s automated system for failing to flag the ad. “We did a retro and fixed!” he exclaimed.

Facebook’s new Community Help tool lets users offer and find help during emergency crises: At its Social Good Forum in New York today, Facebook announced Community Help, a tool for its users to offer help during natural disasters or terror attacks. When such an event happens, users in the affected areas will receive a prompt to turn on Safety Check and can either offer relief efforts like food or temporary shelter, or seek the help they need.

Facebook stops collecting WhatsApp user data in Europe after government pressure: Facebook has stopped collecting WhatsApp user data across Europe, the Financial Times reports, bowing to pressure from privacy watchdogs across the continent. The shift in policy means that European users of the messaging app will no longer have information — including phone numbers — relayed to Facebook, but the social network says it may only be a temporary suspension while the laws are debated.

Facebook acquires emotion detection startup FacioMetrics: Facebook could one day build facial gesture controls for its app thanks to the acquisition of a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company called FacioMetrics. The startup made an app called Intraface that could detect seven different emotions in people’s faces, but it’s been removed from the app stores.

Verizon acquires SocialRadar to buff up MapQuest’s location data: We got word earlier today that Verizon had acquired SocialRadar, a mapping startup founded by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen that promises to provide its users with far more accurate location data for businesses — down to where exactly a door is. Reached by phone, Chasen confirmed the acquisition.

Twitter adds QR codes for some reason:Twitter today introduced QR codes into its apps for iOS and Android, because not having QR codes was Twitter’s biggest existential threat as a business and the main reason that no one ever followed anyone on the service.

Facebook updates metrics reporting following more calculation errors: Facebook is doubling down on its metrics reporting with a renewed focus on transparency. The update comes with the announcement that the company found yet more bugs in its metrics calculations. Less than two months ago, Facebook revealed it had been overestimating video ad viewing times for two years.

Facebook overhauls metrics, makes corrections, adds viewability: In a sort of course correction, Facebook made several announcements Wednesday pertaining to audience and ads measurement on the social network. The news includes several metrics corrections — though none likely to cause as much consternation as September’s revelation that Facebook had been overstating the “average duration of video viewed” due to a miscalculation — more third-party verification, a new blog to communicate ongoing metrics changes, and the formation of a new Measurement Council.

Snapchat just filed for its IPO: Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, has filed confidentially for its initial public offering, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company is seeking to raise as much as $4 billion, which would give it a valuation of between $25 billion and $35 billion, the report states.

Snapchat inks deal with Foursquare for more precise geofilters: Snapchat will soon be able to show you ads that more precisely pinpoint where you are at any given time. Snap, the company behind the ephemeral messaging app, just reached a deal with Foursquare that will allow it to use the location intelligence company’s extensive library of mapping data to power its geofilters, the place-specific graphics that users can overlay on their photos.

Facebook launches a unified inbox for businesses on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram: Facebook is unveiling a new feature that should make it easier for businesses to stay on top of conversations across Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Benji Shomair, Facebook’s global head of Pages, described the new functionality as “one of our most frequent requests.”

Pinterest launches an ‘Explore’ section for trending topics and ideas: Pinterest today is launching a new section of the app that is geared around surfacing trending and top ideas that’ll get additional new content in front of users. Called “Explore,” it’s a new section of Pinterest that pits its recommendation algorithms against trending content across Pinterest from publishers and other sources that’ll get content in front of users that their existing social graph might not tap into. This is something that a lot of other apps already tap into — such as Instagram’s explore and Snapchat’s discover features.

Facebook Messenger now works in Android Auto: On the heels of Google’s announcement that its in-car infotainment platform Android Auto can now function as a standalone mobile app, Facebook today announced that it’s now rolling out Android Auto integration on Messenger. That means Android Auto users will be able to listen to and reply to texts from friends on Messenger using voice commands.

Twitter reveals new features to protect you from online harassment: As promised, Twitter has revealed new features to further defend you against online harassment and abuse. Rolling out in “the coming days”, the service’s 317 million monthly active users will be able to utilize a “mute” feature on their notifications, preventing tweets from being displayed based on specific keywords, phrases, and entire conversations.

Google Buys Shopping Search Startup in Bid to Increase Revenue From Images: Google last month quietly bought Undecidable Labs, a startup founded by a former Apple director that focused on turning online searches into purchases, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Why Nescafe is deepening its ties with Facebook: Nestle-owned Nescafe is not letting the troubles Facebook has encountered over the past few months deter it from investing more budget into the social network as the coffee-brand forges ahead with its ambitious e-commerce plans.

Twitter and NBA secure exclusive ad partners for original livestreaming shows: Over the summer, during a string of seemingly weekly livestream partnerships with sports leagues, Twitter announced that it was teaming with the NBA to create original content for the platform.

Hulu acquires The Video Genome Project to improve recommendations ahead of live TV service’s launch: Amid a growing number of video streaming services, Hulu today has finalized an acquisition that will allow it to better compete on user experience, by way of improved recommendations. The company has bought the assets The Video Genome Project (The VGP), which maintains one of the largest, structured databases of video content. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Hulu says only a small team from The VGP will join the company.

Zuckerberg claims 99% of Facebook posts “authentic,” denies fake news there influenced election: In case you missed it, last night Mark Zuckerberg published a response to accusations that “fake news” on Facebook influenced the outcome of the U.S. election, and helped Donald Trump to win. The CEO claimed that at least 99% of news content on Facebook was “authentic.”

Adobe to acquire TubeMogul for $540 million: Adobe has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire TubeMogul for approximately USD540 million net of debt and cash. Under the terms of the agreement, Adobe will commence a cash tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of TubeMogul for USD 14 per share.

Zenith launches automation in digital planning: Zenith has developed a new system of automation for digital planning that it claims delivers significant improvement in effectiveness for marketers. Over the past six months a taskforce of data scientists and strategists from Zenith has been developing sophisticated automation of digital planning using the network’s machine-learning technology and bespoke algorithms.

Facebook Messenger launches its public group chat feature “Rooms” in select markets: Facebook’s experiment with semi-anonymous social networking centered around interests, via a standalone app called Rooms, failed. But the learnings from that earlier experiment have now popped up in Facebook’s Messenger application as a new feature called Rooms, which is rolling out now in select markets.

Facebook buys CrowdTangle, the tool publishers use to win the internet: Facebook today announced that it has purchased CrowdTangle, a 4-year-old tool that publishers use to track how content spreads around the web, for an undisclosed sum. By showing its subscribers a kind of real-time pulse of the web, CrowdTangle has developed an outsized but mostly hidden influence on the stories you see popping up in your news feeds throughout the day.

5 charts: The state of Instagram advertising: In upcoming years, Instagram’s ad revenue is projected to take off as it becomes a larger part of Facebook’s overall business. Agencies are increasingly turning to the platform and diversifying their spend as Instagram rolls out new products. And although Snapchat has emerged as a threat, Instagram’s projected revenues still significantly exceed their competition.

WhatsApp opens up video calling to everyone: WhatsApp is rolling out video calling today to its billion-plus monthly users. That’s basically the entire story — if you’d like to use it, update the app, open a chat, and tap the familiar video camera icon in the top-right corner. The video chat results look like the video chatting you’ve done before on FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, or Google Duo: two faces, one in a smaller window, with a handful of small features for changing the position of the chat windows or turning the camera around.

Apple Considers Wearables Expansion With Digital Glasses: Apple Inc. is weighing an expansion into digital glasses, a risky but potentially lucrative area of wearable computing, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google and Facebook Take Aim at Fake-News Sites: Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced steps to prevent fake-news websites from generating revenue through their ad-selling services, signs that technology companies are moving to address a growing controversy about misinformation on the internet.