Facebook Messenger finally gets an unsend feature

You can now retract messages on Facebook Messenger—but act fast.

On Tuesday, Facebook Messenger finally got an unsend feature. Unfortunately, it only gives you up to 10 minutes to delete the message. Once the time limit passes, you’re out of luck.

The unsend feature works for one-on-one sessions and group chats. To use it, simply tap on the message you want to delete. You’ll notice a new option that says “Remove for Everyone.” Click on it, and you’ll delete the message in question. Facebook will then replace the text with an alert, notifying everyone in the chat the message has been scrubbed.

The feature is handy in the event you mistype something or accidentally send the wrong photo to a friend. But it’s pretty much useless if you drunk message your ex one night and then wake up the next morning realizing you made a horrible mistake.

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In contrast, Facebook-owned WhatsApp gives you one hour to delete a message, while the app Telegram gives you 48 hours to remove a bad text.

So why did Facebook settle on the 10-minute time limit? Most of the times, people actually delete messages within a minute of sending them, the company told PCMag. Extending the time limit longer might also introduce ways to abuse the unsend function as well, the company said, without elaborating. Still, Facebook plans to monitor use of the new feature, and will tweak the time limit if needed.

The company has been promising an unsend feature since last April after Facebook was found mysteriously deleting messages company CEO Mark Zuckerberg had sent on the app. Facebook said it did so for security reasons, but the whole incident raised questions about why normal users didn’t have the same privilege. Now you sort of do. But you won’t be able to recall any messages you’ve sent months or years ago. The best you can do is delete the message from your own chat window.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.

Mark Zuckerberg’s sister slams Facebook, says ‘I want to be part of the solution’

Randi Zuckerberg was brought in by her brother to work at Facebook in 2004 when the fledgling start-up had just 50 employees.

She worked in the live video department of the social network but says by 2011 she felt she had no choice but to leave.

“I hated being the only woman in almost every room that I was in for 10 straight years,” she told CNN. “And I always thought, you know, gosh, I want to be part of the solution, not continue to be part of the problem.

“So I think maybe I need to step outside of Silicon Valley and really understand where we’re losing women and where we’re losing girls in this funnel.”

Ms. Zuckerberg says that little has changed since her days at the social network.

“One of the things that I did realize is that I desperately wanted to see a world where there was more representation from women in the room,” she said. “And I can’t understand why, after 15 years, it’s changed so little.”

Ms. Zuckerberg offers a strange piece of advice to women working in the tech sector which she says will help them get their foot in the door.

“My best advice for young women in tech is to have a man’s name like Randi because I can’t even tell you how many meetings I got in those early days of Facebook because people thought that they were meeting a dude,” she said. “And I just feel like it is my life mission to use the luck that I had and hold the door open for other women.”

The Zuckerbergs are four siblings — Randi, 36; Mark, 34; Donna, an author, 32; and Arielle, a venture capitalist, 29.

This story originally appeared in news.com.au.

Facebook removes 22 more pages connected to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and InfoWars

New York (CNN Business)Facebook on Tuesday removed 22 pages connected to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his fringe right-wing website InfoWars.

The move came as part of a broader effort by Facebook to enforce its recently updated recidivism policy. 89 pages in total were unpublished on Tuesday afternoon as part of the crackdown, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business.
"We use a broad set of signals to determine if a Page violates our recidivism policy and determined these Pages violated our policy for reasons including having similar titles to the Pages we unpublished and having the same admins," the Facebook spokesperson said.
Facebook had removed four pages associated with Jones and InfoWars in August 2018, saying that the pages had violated its policies against hate speech, graphic violence, and bullying.
    In late January, Facebook announced it had tightened its recidivism policy, aiming to prevent repeat offenders from using other pages they manage to continue behavior that violates the social media company's rules.
    "We've long prohibited people from creating new Pages, groups, events, or accounts that look similar to those we've previously removed for violating our Community Standards," Facebook explained in a January 23 blog post. "However, we've seen people working to get around our enforcement by using existing Pages that they already manage for the same purpose as the Page we removed for violating our standards."
    "To address this gap, when we remove a Page or group for violating our policies, we may now also remove other Pages and Groups even if that specific Page or Group has not met the threshold to be unpublished on its own," Facebook's announcement added.
    The company said at the time it would begin "enforcing this policy in the weeks ahead."
    One of the pages managed by Jones that was unpublished Tuesday was a page called NewsWars, which amassed more than 30,000 followers before it was taken down.
      The Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday that the company had not removed Jones' personal profile from the website.
      "When we enforce our recidivism policy against Pages, the admins can still maintain their profiles on Facebook but are no longer able to create and use a Page akin to one we've removed," the spokesperson explained.

      Irish top model, mother of 4 reportedly found dead hours after cryptic Facebook post

      A fashion model and mom of four has been found dead hours after a mysterious and profanity-laced Facebook post.

      Alli MacDonnell, 37, was one of Ireland’s top models and was signed with the Andrea Roche’s AR Model Agency.

      News of her shocking death came hours after she wrote online: “Why is it ok for a man to call a girl a fat ugly c–t?????? Seriously new level of pushing someone to the edge.”


      It is not clear whom she was referring to or when the alleged incident occurred.

      Police have decided to not treat her death as suspicious but will be investigating anyone who was in contact with MacDonnell before the tragedy.

      “It is not believed that anyone else is involved with the death but anyone who has had recent contact with the deceased will be asked to provide statements to the gardai [the state police force of the Irish Republic],” a source told the Irish Mirror.

      “A coroner’s file will be prepared for an inquest to be held.”

      MacDonnell was a single mother of four children — Alex, 17, Sara, 15, Harry, 9, and Siena, 2 — whom she described as her “world” on her Instagram.

      MacDonnell, who studied at Trinity College Dublin, campaigned for autism awareness as an ambassador for Autism Action after Harry was diagnosed with the condition in 2016.

      Her best friend John Compton revealed the model was in talks to host two new TV shows before her death.

      One was a prank show and the other was a program about autism.


      Compton described how he had spoken to the model hours before he learned of her death.

      “We are all beyond devastated,” Compton told the Irish Mirror.

      “She was the life and soul and one of the happiest people you would ever meet. She had so much to live for. She was an amazing mom and a fantastic campaigner for autism. She did such good work.”

      News of the mom of four’s death emerged Monday with heartbroken friends paying emotional tributes on social media.

      She had only celebrated her younger sister’s 21st birthday last week.

      Model and actress Vivienne Connolly said she was “devastated.”

      “You were not only beautiful on the outside but inside too. Such a loss to everyone who ever had the pleasure to know you,” friend Tori Dempsey-Walsh said.

      “Absolutely devastating. What a beauty inside and out. No matter how beautiful we knew you were it’s how you feel inside that matters,” friend Stephanie Whelan added.

      “You were a very proud mammy and you children will grow up knowing how strong their mammy was and make you so proud. RIP beautiful. Shine bright like the diamond you were.”

      The model had called for a greater understanding of people with autism.

      Speaking in 2017, MacDonnell said how she felt alone when her son Harry was diagnosed with autism, which came shortly after she gave birth to baby Siena.

      “I had just had a baby four days before that. There was a lot going on and when I got Harry’s diagnosis … I cried for days,” she told the Irish Independent.

      “I hadn’t got a clue about autism. I’m learning more about it every day as I meet more kids and adults on the spectrum.”

      In October 2018, she revealed how 2-year-old Siena also has autism.

      “I’m only human so some days are difficult but I get there and some days I want to crawl into a ball and sleep for a year,” she said.

      “I take each day as it comes and try my best. I work hard and I love my kids with every inch of me. They may have ASD but they are healthy and happy and very much loved.”

      Autism Ireland CEO Samantha Judge said McDonnell was an “amazing mother” and a tireless campaigner for autism.

      “Here at Autism Ireland, we are very shocked and saddened at the loss of Alli. Alli was an amazing mother, a beautiful woman, inside and out,” she said.

      “She was a very strong voice for autism as a mother, and she was so supportive of her children and of the charity.


      “She will be a great loss to us. Alli worked tirelessly to raise awareness of autism. She was a great friend and an amazing ambassador for Autism Ireland.

      “We could call her and ask for her help at any time and she worked with us whenever we needed her.

      “She was truly an inspirational person and we are all grieving a huge loss today.”

      This article originally appeared in The Sun.

      Early Facebook investor blasts company in new book ‘Zucked’

      New York (CNN Business)Facebook is bad for democracy and its executives have put profits over their civic responsibilities, an early investor in the company charges in a new book.

      Tech investor Roger McNamee makes these claims in "Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook catastrophe," due out on Tuesday.
      McNamee has said he served as a mentor to CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook's early years and discouraged the young entrepreneur from selling the business for $ 1 billion to a bigger tech company. Facebook is currently worth about $ 500 billion.
      McNamee argues in the book that the business models of Facebook (FB) and other tech giants are bad for society due to their reliance on advertising. He says platforms need to keep people on their sites as long as possible and often the most polarizing, divisive, and emotive content is what keeps people engaged.
        "Facebook and Google designed their products to create habits that for many people become an addiction," McNamee told CNN Business on Monday. "They manipulate attention for profit and enable bad actors to manipulate some users in ways that harm them and others."
        But he argues the public has "more power than they realize."
        "They can withdraw some of the attention internet platforms depend on by altering their usage and demand action by policy makers in government," he told CNN Business.
        Facebook is pushing back. "We take criticism seriously," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement provided to CNN Business. "Over the past two years, we've fundamentally changed how we operate to better protect the safety and security of people using Facebook. The reality is Roger McNamee hasn't been involved with Facebook for a decade."
        McNamee has long been a vocal critic of Facebook. In an interview with CNN Business last spring, McNamee said he had become concerned about the potential dangers of Facebook in 2016 when he noticed ostensibly pro-Bernie Sanders pages sharing what he called "cruel" and "misogynistic" memes about Hillary Clinton. McNamee said he suspected the memes were not actually be from real Sanders supporters.
        In October of that year, McNamee said, he reached out to Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to express his concerns about "bad actors" potentially exploiting Facebook.
        Although the executives were cordial and arranged for him to talk to someone else on their teams, he said he didn't believe the company had taken his concerns seriously.
        It later emerged that a Russian government-linked troll group had been active on Facebook throughout the 2016 election, posing as Americans on both sides of the political divide. It is not known if the pages McNamee had noticed were authentic or not.
        While Facebook did not mention him by name, on Monday Facebook published a blog post headlined "What is Facebook doing to address the challenges it faces?" that addressed some of the issues McNamee raises in his book.
          "Although we didn't do enough to anticipate some of these risks, we've now made fundamental changes," Facebook said in the blog post. "This past year we've invested record amounts in keeping people safe and strengthening our defenses against abuse. We've also provided people with far more control over their information and more transparency into our policies, operations and ads."
          McNamee said the goal of the book is to "help everyone understand the platforms they love to use have a dark side and what they can do to protect themselves and their children."

          Quitting Facebook might make you happier, but dumber: study

          Facebook has been blamed as the most far-reaching distributor of “fake” news, but a major new study reveals that the social media platform may actually be educating the masses overall.

          Researchers at New York and Stanford universities started by inviting nearly 3,000 Facebook users to fill-out extensive questionnaires on their daily habits, politics and general mood. They then randomly chose half of these participants to deactivate their accounts for a payment of $ 102 — the average cost of what participants said it would take to get them to cut off digital access to their social life.

          Researchers kept tabs on the test subjects’ profiles to ensure they were not cheating, and about one percent of them couldn’t make it the whole month. They also regularly checked-in with subjects to assess their mood throughout the study.

          After four weeks, surveys were provided again to measure emotional and intellectual changes.

          Those who managed to abstain from Facebook had at least one hour or more of extra free time and reported marginally better moods, though, notably, not enough to support the theory that heavy social media use makes people miserable. They were also five to 10 percent less polarized on political issues than their control group who remained on Facebook throughout the study.

          But when it came to factual knowledge of current events — the Facebook-breakers scored lower than they had prior to deactivation.

          “It’s hard to know what to make of this,” says Stanford economist and co-lead study author Dr. Matthew Gentzkow in a statement to the New York Times. “It may be that seeing a lot of news and politics on Facebook tends to polarize people. But once they’re off Facebook, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re using the extra time to read [the newspaper].”

          This story originally appeared in the New York Post.

          Facebook @15: It’s time to be the parents in the room and hold this greedy, adolescent company accountable

          In the past 15 years, Facebook has grown from college campus staple, to social media juggernaut, and now a poster child of corporate greed acting to the detriment of its consumer base. How did we get here with a corporation that is still in its adolescence?

          February 4th marks the 15th anniversary of Facebook. After 15 years of innocently being encouraged to expose every minute detail of our personal lives online, there is no doubt we now firmly live in a post-private world with virtually no social filters of appropriateness or truth.

          Like all teenagers, Facebook is arrogant and self-important in their defense of these often-questionable business practices. While profiting from all this sharing, they deny any responsibility for the truthfulness or appropriateness of what is posted and propagated–making atrocities like the Russian election interference possible. Never mind the premium paid access Facebook provides to firms it selects permitting active exploitation of your personal information without obvious consent.


          Some things are worth fighting for and respect for information privacy is one. Facebook cares that you share everything with them; but it does little to protect you back. They are a post-private parasite making money on what you share, actively trying to defeat global privacy rights and laws in complete self-interest, and maybe not really caring because they are still too young to realize the self-harm and abuse that unfettered erosion of privacy rights may cause.

          We, as a democratic society, must act like the parent in the room and hold this teenager accountable. Otherwise, we can assume this trend will accelerate as Facebook and other platforms defend themselves legally to establish that they do not owe responsibility for the complete privacy of their members’ information. They will resist restrictions on their own behavior at all costs, as teenagers are wont to do, continuing to pretend they care about social good and the “progress of technology.” Instead, they remain foolishly committed to corporate self-interest at the expense of users.

          Some things are worth fighting for and respect for information privacy is one. Facebook cares that you share everything with them; but it does little to protect you back. They are a post-private parasite making money on what you share, actively trying to defeat global privacy rights and laws in complete self-interest, and maybe not really caring because they are still too young to realize the self-harm and abuse that unfettered erosion of privacy rights may cause.

          We must use insights gained from the first 15 years of mass social media engagement to become far more interested in information activism as a society.

          A solid first step is teaching children and young adults information literacy to help them avoid lurkers and criminals on these platforms seeking undue influence over them for insidious reasons, only possible because these platforms reject responsibility for what is published on their sites.

          A second step would be voicing what universal data and privacy protections we value as a free society and demand they be implemented lest we abandon uncooperative platforms like Facebook altogether.

          Finally, it might be time to accept that unless we are prepared to pay for things online – such as social media platforms willing to protect user privacy – corporate greed will always prevail. We cannot expect these mega-profitable platforms to act in our interests if the only way they make money is by exploiting us. Because they will: no more proof of that is required than last year’s Guardian headline where Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, lamented that his company “only made $ 4.3 billion of profit in what he described as a ‘difficult year’ and he vows to make his network “good for our social well-being.”

          If he truly means what he says, how much profit is he willing to reinvest to achieve that lofty goal? I ask, for it would require abandoning large swaths of his current very profitable business model for that to actually happen.

          Regardless of his answer, there are critical questions for social media users to pose:  what exactly do we want the next 15 years to offer us?  If users leave Facebook behind in droves, protesting how the platform is behaving, it would have an instant effect.  We can dictate what Facebook does; but only with collective determination rather than individual defeatism.

          Facebook is worth nothing without users – think MySpace. We should use that power to ensure the future offers us all something different. While the rise was meteoric, the fall could be just as quick with a shift in consumer opinion on data privacy.


          Facebook has cornered the market for now; but there remains a tremendous opportunity for potential competitors to capitalize on the scraped knees of Cambridge Analytica and Russian election tampering, naming just a few…

          It is time for Facebook to grow up. Adult users on its platform must demand that it behave and comply with its stated objective of making the world a better, more connected place in which to live and raise our kids.

          Facebook removes accounts of fake news group in Indonesia

          Facebook Inc. removed hundreds of accounts, groups and pages linked to an online syndicate that has been accused of spreading fake news and hate speech in Indonesia, less than three months before a presidential election in the world’s third-largest democracy.

          Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in a statement dated Thursday that the company had removed more than 1,500 Facebook accounts, groups and pages, as well as 208 Instagram accounts, that were linked to the Saracen Group, an online syndicate in Indonesia.

          Attempts to contact representatives of Saracen were unsuccessful


          Several Saracen members were arrested in 2016 on accusations the group published and spread fake news and hate speech for clients. In 2018, one was sentenced to 32 months in prison for “intentionally spreading information to incite hate,” including against President Joko Widodo, while another was convicted for hacking into social media accounts.

          Indonesia, preparing for nationwide elections April 9, has struggled in recent years to counter fake news and hate speech spread via social media. These have included stories that millions of illegal Chinese workers have thronged to the country to scoop up jobs, and others targeting political figures in ethnicity and religion-based attacks.

          News and rumors spread quickly through messaging services like WhatsApp and social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter in Indonesia. Officials have been nervous that fake news could inflame tensions ahead of the elections. The government says that more than half of Indonesia’s population, which exceeds 260 million, uses the internet and that 129 million people maintain social-media accounts. Saracen at one point had some 800,000 Facebook followers.


          “The Saracen Group’s coordinated abuse of the platform using inauthentic accounts is a violation of our policies and we have therefore banned the entire organization from the platform,” Mr. Gleicher said. The pages and accounts had been shut not because of their content, he said, but because “the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves.”

          Click here for more from The Wall Street Journal, where this story was first published. 

          Leaving Facebook makes people happier but less informed, study says

          San Francisco (CNN Business)Leaving Facebook may be good for your emotional well being, but you could be less informed about current events.

          A new report from researchers at New York University and Stanford University looked at what happened to people who deactivated their accounts. The researchers paid people $ 102 to turn-off their Facebook (FB) accounts for four weeks.
          The Facebook-free people reported being happier while not using the site, being less active online, and using other social-media sites less. The study found that subjects were less polarized politically but less-informed about factual news after being off Facebook for a month.
          People said they had about an hour more free time a day while their accounts were deactivated. Once the study was over, the majority chose to reactivate their Facebook accounts, though most continued to use the social network less.
            According to Hunt Allcott, an associate professor at NYU who was one of the researchers involved in the study, participants said Facebook is important to them and generally a positive thing in their lives. They also said they'd want to be paid around $ 100 a month to stop using the site for four weeks.
            "That starkly quantifies how important it is," Allcott told CNN Business.
            He said the participants continued to value Facebook — even after quitting. Asked how much money they'd want to keep Facebook deactivated for an additional four weeks after the study concluded, the people reported little change from the initial rate.
            "If Facebook were like heroin, that number would have gone way down. That was not the case for Facebook," he said.
            The researchers stressed that the takeaway of their study is neither pro- nor anti-Facebook. Their point, they said, was simply to make people aware of how they're using social media. In fact, the study also found that Facebook "produces large benefits for its users," including being a source of entertainment, a way to be active in communities and a place to socialize.
            A spokesperson for Facebook said the study is one of many on the topic but the findings about benefits were "encouraging."
            "Our teams have been working hard on these issues," the spokesperson said. "We've introduced several new tools so people can take greater control of their experience and made product updates to increase the number of meaningful conversations and connections people have on Facebook."
            Allcott said the study is significant because it's the largest randomized study around Facebook.
              "Previous research mostly looked at correlation: How much do you use Facebook and how depressed are you?" Allcott said. "These studies show that people who use Facebook more are more depressed, but the problem is correlation doesn't create causation. We didn't know if Facebook was making people depressed or depressed people were retreating into Facebook."
              The study on Facebook's effects came out at the same time that the social media company announced a record $ 6.9 billion profit and an increase in North American and European users. Account holders in the United States and Canada were worth $ 111.97 in revenue a year to Facebook in 2018, according to its latest earnings report. That's despite a slew of privacy issues and scandals involving users' data. Facebook, which launched in 2004, now has more than 2.3 billion monthly users around the world.

              Facebook kills hundreds of ‘inauthentic’ accounts linked to Iran

              Facebook announced Thursday that it had removed close to 800 pages, groups and accounts from the social media network for engaging in what it called “coordinated inauthentic behavior tied to Iran.”

              In a statement, Facebook said the 783 accounts targeted users around the world, though most of them were located in the Middle East and South Asia. The accounts on Facebook and Instagram typically misrepresented themselves as locals in at least 26 countries, including the U.S., Israel, India, France, Germany, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

              The company said the accounts’ activity was directed from Iran and in some cases repurposed content from Iranian state media about conflicts in Syria and Yemen. In all, the accounts spent about $ 30,000 on ads, paid for in U.S. or Canadian dollars, British pounds and euros.

              “We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” Facebook head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement.

              The social network uses the term “coordinated inauthentic behavior” fake accounts managed with the intent of disrupting politics and elections. Facebook has previously disclosed purges of accounts linked to groups in Burma, Bangladesh and Russia.

              House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Facebook’s announcement was “welcome and important.”

              “Transparency continues to be the most effective tool in combating the malign behavior of foreign adversaries who intend to mislead and divide the American public through social media,” Schiff said. “… , Facebook’s takedown of Iran-linked malign influence pages and accounts is further evidence that such deceptive campaigns are worldwide in ambition. This requires a level of vigilance about disinformation operations that we could not have predicted only a few years ago.”


              The company said Twitter helped its investigation by sharing information about suspicious activity it found on its own service. The companies, along with others in the tech industry, have been cooperating more when it comes to such account takedowns by sharing information.

              Such cooperation may help the companies avoid regulatory scrutiny by showing critics and lawmakers that they can set aside differences when it comes to battling outside threats that affect their users.

              The Associated Press contributed to this report.