Facebook Messenger’s money transfer tool is heading to the UK

Back in 2015, Facebook introduced the ability to send money to friends through Messenger and now it has brought that capability to UK users. It’s the first time Facebook has launched the feature outside of the US.

A number of companies have begun working peer-to-peer payment abilities into their services. Skype lets users in nearly two dozen countries send cash within its mobile app via PayPal and PayPal has a bot that let’s you send money within Slack. In May, the encrypted messaging app Telegram began supporting payments through chatbots, as did Facebook last year. Facebook Messenger also lets you send payments through PayPal and introduced a group payment option earlier this year. Apple is also in on the money transfer game, allowing iPhone and iPad users to send money within iMessage via Venmo or by telling Siri to send cash via Square Cash, Monzo or PayPal. Additionally, Apple has its own Venmo-like money transfer service in the works that’s due to be released sometime this fall.

Transfers through Facebook Messenger will work in the UK as they do in the US. Users will need to link a debit card to their account before sending or receiving money. The feature is rolling out to UK users in the next few weeks.

Via: Bloomberg

Engadget RSS Feed

Facebook adds a link to Trending News in the app’s main menu

The redesigned Trending Topics section of Facebook is now called Trending News and the updates to this feature — which were announced in May — are now available to most US users on both iOS and Android devices. For iPhone users, Trending News also has its own direct link in the Facebook app’s main navigation menu — a feature that’s in testing for Android, according to TechCrunch.

In May, Facebook announced an overhaul of its Trending Topics feature, which it was beginning to roll out to iPhone users. With that update, clicking a topic would bring you to a carousel of publications that had written about that particular subject rather that just one news source. In a statement, Facebook said, “By making it easier to see what other news outlets are saying about each topic, we hope that people will feel more informed about the news in their region.” And the update was meant to get around the news “filter bubble” effect wherein feeds are sometimes limited in scope due to having Facebook friends that all have similar interests.

Along with the news source carousel, Trending News also features actual headlines rather than just a topic — which was hinted at in the May announcement, but not described in detail. With the headlines come a photo, the name of the outlet that published the headline and how many other sources have written on the subject. Each story is also ranked. For example, while writing this, the 17th headline in my Trending News section was this article of ours and the tab noted that 26 other sources had written on the topic.

The revamped Trending section is now available for most US Facebook users on mobile and the direct navigational tab should be coming to Android users sometime soon.

Source: TechCrunch

Engadget RSS Feed

Prisma can turn Facebook Live broadcasts into artistic affairs

Prisma’s latest update gives you the power to air artistic videos on Facebook Live. When you switch from Photos to Videos, you’ll now see a “Live Stream” button that broadcasts whatever it is you’re capturing on cam. You’ll be able to apply any of the eight available art filters onto your broadcasts, which means you can transform any ordinary event into a moving painting on the fly. Unfortunately, this feature has a pretty limited reach: you’ll only get Facebook Live integration if you have an iPhone 7 or a 6s. Prisma says it’s because videos are processed locally on the device — the update also improves overall video quality — and requires the phones’ power.

In its announcement, the company said it knows both Facebook and Google are working on their own Prisma-like offerings. The social network launched artistic filters along with Snapchat-like features for Live a few days ago, while Google revealed that it’s working on its own style-transfer technology at the same time. Prisma CEO Aleksey Moiseenkov says it’s “really cool that Google and Facebook are trying to copy” the company’s app, but he thinks “that’s the evidence that style transfer and all this on-device deep learning stuff matters a lot for every big company in the world.”

Besides announcing the new feature, the company also assures Android fans that it still plans to bring offline processing to the platform, even though it’s taking some time to do so. Prisma promises to launch GIF support, to add social sharing options and to improve photo quality and offline processing time, as well.

Source: Prisma

Engadget RSS Feed

Facebook is still trending fake news stories

It’s been six weeks after Facebook’s “trending topics” section was publicly called out for promoting a blatantly false story about Megyn Kelly and very little — if anything — has changed. According to a new audit from the Washington Post, that Megyn Kelly incident was far from an isolated case.

In fact, after logging every trending story spotted from four different Facebook accounts during peak workday hours in September, the Post discovered at lease five trending stories that “were indisputably fake” and three others that were “profoundly inaccurate.” One such blatant example popped up the day after Apple’s big iPhone event and claimed that the Tim Cook said the iPhone 8 would have “Siri physically coming out of the phone and doing all the household chores. (The site in question was literally called “Faking News.”)

What’s more: the Post audit found even more times when the trending topics section surfaced straightforward press releases, Medium posts and links to iTunes or other online stores — in other words: things that aren’t news. While the newspaper notes that their results shouldn’t be taken as conclusive because the trending section is personalized to each user, it is clear evidence that Facebook’s switch from human editors to a completely algorithm-driven system still needs some work.

Source: Washington Post

Engadget RSS Feed

Facebook Messenger offer 3D Touch previews on your iPhone 6s

Add one more to the list of Facebook apps belatedly making use of recent iPhone features. Facebook has introduced 3D Touch support to Messenger on iOS, making your iPhone 6s or 6s Plus that much more useful when you’re chatting up a storm. The update adds pressure-sensitive previews to seemingly everything — you can peek at chats, contacts, locations, media, web links and even stickers. If you want to find out whether or not that conversation or photo is worth viewing, you’ll want to get the new version right away.

Source: App Store

Engadget RSS Feed

Facebook adds SMS to Messenger for Android

A few months ago, Facebook was reported to be testing SMS integration in its Messenger app for Android. Now, that feature is officially live. It’s entirely optional, so you’ll need to enable it. To do so, head over to Settings in the Messenger app, select “SMS” and then choose “Default SMS app.” This means all of your text messages will be sent and received on the Messenger app. Your SMS conversations will be in purple to differentiate them from the default Messenger blue.

Interestingly, SMS in Messenger doesn’t support just text and images. It also supports rich content like stickers, GIFs, emojis and location sharing — just like regular Messenger conversations. Facebook also wanted to clarify that none of the messages are stored on the company’s servers; all of the text messages are sent via SMS as per usual. That does mean that regular texting fees do apply.

This feature is only for the Android app due to the limitations of iOS. But seeing as Apple’s own Messaging is getting a lot of these Messenger-like enhancements — emojis, stickers etc — iPhone users probably aren’t missing out too much.

Source: Facebook

Engadget RSS Feed

Facebook intros diverse Messenger emojis for all platforms

Facebook has created brand new emojis for Messenger, redesigned its old ones and standardized them for all operating systems. The social network will begin rolling out 1,500 newly designed emojis tomorrow, which will show up the way you see them on your device no matter the recipient’s platform. No more empty boxes taking their place if you’re chatting with someone using another OS. Even better, the new graphics embrace diversity — they include hand gestures and human faces in different skin colors, as well as images of same sex couples.

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you already have access to Apple’s diverse smileys. But Messenger’s new selection is accessible everywhere the app is available, including Android and the web. At the moment, you can only use hand gestures in FB’s original blue-and-white coloring on Android, and you barely even have choices on the web. Messenger will ask for your preferred skin tone when you get the update, though you can change it again later.

Facebook is also taking a leaf out of Google’s book and launching more emojis that represent women, showing them in professional attire (e.g. police officer) and doing various activities like swimming, running and surfing. Finally, all 1,500 options will be available through the app’s new emoji picker when they make their way to your device.

Engadget RSS Feed