Facebook's child-friendly Messenger Kids app launches on Amazon Fire tablets in the U.S.

Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, which launched on iOS in December, is now coming to the Amazon Appstore in the U.S. Messenger Kids, as the name implies, is aimed at children under the age of 13, and features a variety of parental control options that allow parents to supervise the online interactions of their children. 

The app is a standalone experience that doesn’t require phone number verification or even a Facebook account to work. The only Facebook account needed is that of the parent who is going to set up the app and have access to their …

More than half this country apparently uses Facebook's Messenger


Messenger sure is popular Down Under.

Facebook revealed its first country-specific stats for the instant messaging platform, claiming 13 million Australians use Messenger each month. 

That’s more than half the country’s population, and 80 percent of smartphone users, according to data from Statista.

The popularity of Messenger in Australia is why Facebook has identified it as a key market. It’s why it’ll be one of the first countries outside of the U.S. to launch the Discover tab on Messenger, which puts bots from businesses and publishers within reach on the app. Read more…

More about Tech, Australia, Social Media, Instant Messaging, and Facebook Messenger

Download this: Why Facebook's app looks so different


Facebook’s app is looking a lot different and, surprise surprise, not everyone is a fan.

The company showed off the redesign back in August, when it introduced its latest News Feed updates. But the revamped mobile app is still gradually rolling out to everyone, so many people are just starting to see it. 

Predictably, as with most major Facebook updates, there’s been a strong reaction even though the update isn’t finished rolling out yet. 

The app is now really gray, and looks much flatter, with comments looking more like chat messages than a threaded conversation.  Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Design, Social Media, and Apps And Software

Facebook's latest new features are designed to stop scammers from stealing your profile photos

This may not be a problem most people think about, but as it turns out, social media photo theft is a major issue. Whether for the purpose of creating fake profiles or using them for sketchy web advertising, your photos could easily turn up somewhere online without your knowledge or consent. To this effect, Facebook’s latest feature test, right now limited to India only, is designed to stop people from misusing profile photos.

The way this works is far from simple, though: the profile picture guard is actually comprised of five separate layers of protection. …

Facebook's latest update aims to reduce links to spammy websites filled with ads

The almighty Facebook announced plans to limit linking to low-quality websites that could be considered spammy or sensational. The social network claims the changes will be introduced based on the community’s feedback and will be rollout out starting today on all platforms.

Upon the arrival of the update, Facebook users should see fewer posts and ads in News Feed that link to these so-called “low-quality web page experiences.” The update is meant to help reduce the level of monetization of these spammy websites.

Facebook claims that it reviewed hundreds of …

Facebook's new Direct feature is literally Snapchat

Facebook has been putting a lot of work into making its apps look and behave more like Snapchat recently. The most visible example of that is Messenger Day, which launched just a couple of weeks ago, but the company has also been experimenting with various additions to its core app, which it has now begun rolling out to all users.

First off, there’s Stories, which is pretty much exactly the same as its Instagram counterpart – one or more photos that are visible by all of your friends in a 24-hour window. It’s not immediately clear whether this is …

Facebook's Gear VR app allows you to view 360-degree photos and videos

Although some may still consider it to be a niche product, virtual reality is steadily becoming more available and popular. While Oculus VR and the HTC Vive still remain inaccessible to most people due to their demanding PC specification requirements, platforms such as PlayStation VR, Gear VR, and Google Daydream/Cardboard help make quality virtual reality experiences available to the masses.

Gear VR is one of the oldest and most fleshed out mobile virtual reality platforms that currently exists, and today Facebook revealed that it would be brining new software over to the headset …

Hugo Barra to head Oculus as Facebook's virtual reality VP

Google’s former Android darling, Hugo Barra, finally dispelled the lingering doubts over what exactly is he going to do, now that he is back in Silicon Valley from his position as VP of the Chinese up-and-comer Xiaomi. What, a VR position, of course, did you expect anything else? That’s also not any VR job, but a head of Facebook’s virtual reality efforts. Given that Facebook now owns Oculus, there will be no shortage of talent in the department that Hugo Barra will be heading. As you can see in the interview above, he has some pretty strong opinions on how virtual reality …