Facebook Spaces unveiled as new virtual reality ‘hang out’ space

A conference worker passes a demo booth at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP)
Updated 19 April 2017
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Facebook Spaces unveiled as new virtual reality ‘hang out’ space

DUBAI: On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled its newest platform at its annual developers’ conference, a place you can hang out with your social media friends in virtual reality (VR).
Facebook Spaces gives users the opportunity to create a personalized avatar using their Facebook photos. Through this avatar, users can interact with others in a virtual world.
The test version of Facebook Spaces is based on the use of Oculus Rift headgear.
Facebook Spaces lets Rift users “hang out” with friends in virtual worlds as if they were in the same room in the real world, according to a demonstration by Rachel Franklin, who heads the social VR team at the California-based firm.
“We have only just scratched the surface of social virtual reality technology,” she said.
While kicking off the conference in the heart of Silicon Valley, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg also launched a mission to make smartphone cameras windows to augmented reality, focusing on what people have in hand instead of waiting for high-tech eyewear.
He called smartphone cameras an initial and promising platform for augmented-reality features in applications tailored to synch with the social network.
“I am confident now we are going to push this augmented-reality platform forward,” Zuckerberg said, predicting the technology would eventually be incorporated into eyeglasses.
“We are going to make the camera the first mainstream augmented-reality platform.”
He noted an array of things that could easily fill their roles virtually, such as game boards or television screens, with users being able to easily play or view without need for physical versions.
An upbeat Zuckerberg, who fired off jokes, also showed how digital plants, animals, masks and more could be added to real scenes viewed through smartphone cameras in the same manner that games such as Pokemon Go let people catch animated creatures in the world around them.
“Augmented reality will help us mix the digital and the physical in new ways,” Zuckerberg said during a keynote presentation.
(With AFP)


Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain, CTO says

Updated 26 April 2018
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Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain, CTO says

LONDON: Facebook will introduce new measures to boost transparency around adverts in Britain by June this year and require political ads to be clearly labelled, the firm’s Chief Technology Officer told a British parliamentary committee.
In a written submission to the UK parliament’s media committee, Mike Schroepfer said those wanting to run political adverts would have to complete an authorization process and the messages would also have to display who paid for them.
Facebook has said that the personal information of about 87 million users might have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign.
Lawmakers have also raised concern over the use of social media in Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union in 2016.
“I want to start by echoing our CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: what happened with Cambridge Analytica represents a breach of trust, and we are deeply sorry. We made mistakes and we are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Schroepfer wrote.
Earlier this month, Zuckerberg apologized to US senators for issues that have beset Facebook, including shortcomings over data protection.
But the 33-year-old Internet mogul managed to deflect any specific promises to support any congressional regulation of the world’s largest social media network and other US Internet companies.
Schroepfer, who was appearing before the British media committee on Thursday, said it was clear Facebook had not done enough to ensure its tools from “potentially being used for harm” or take a broad enough view of its responsibility.
“That was a mistake,” he wrote.