WhatsApp will start showing you ads in 2020

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WhatsApp stickers
Lookout! The ads are coming.
Photo: WhatsApp

Conversations with your friends won’t be the only thing that shows up inside your WhatsApp next year. Facebook has confirmed ads will also start appearing in 2020.

You’ll see them in WhatsApp Status, the messaging platform’s answer to Instagram Stories.

Instagram plans to kill standalone Direct app

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Instagram 2
It's time to say your goodbyes.
Photo: Instagram

Instagram has confirmed plans to kill its standalone Direct app for Android and iOS.

The Snapchat clone made its debut in December 2017, but is being axed as part of Facebook’s mission to consolidate its services into a single platform. Users will see their conversations automatically moved to the regular Instagram app.

Fact checkers will start patrolling Instagram for bogus posts

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Instagram fact checking
Instagram will use fact-checking teams to identify false information.
Photo: Instagram

As part of a promise to choke off fake news and conspiracy theories on its platforms, Facebook will begin sniffing out false posts on its photo-sharing app, Instagram.

Facebook reportedly has 52 “fact-checking partners” in 30 countries to flag dubious posts, a program it has been building since December 2016, one month after a contentious presidential election that was widely considered influenced by bad actors using social media.

New Instagram will take worry out of being liked

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Instagram fact checking
Instagram will use fact-checking teams to identify false information.
Photo: Instagram

Facebook is retooling Instagram to take some social pressure out of social media.

The photo-sharing app, which along with the iPhone sparked a revolution in instant photography, will reduce the pressure by making “likes” private so followers engage the content, not how popular it is. Instagram is also playing with ways to reduce the prominence of follower counts.

Instagram taps seller of fake likes with multi-million dollar lawsuit

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Instagram lawsuit
Instagram is using a new tool to combat bots that generate fake likes – lawsuits.
Photo: Pixabay

Facebook is suing a New Zealand-based company for selling fake likes and follows to users of its photo-sharing app, Instagram.

The lawsuit, filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accuses the defendants of using different companies and websites to peddle bot-generated likes, views, and new followers, which violates Instagram’s terms of use along with U.S. computer fraud laws.

Facebook Assistant is taking on Siri and Alexa [Updated]

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Facebook Portal
The Facebook Portal smart display is getting a digital assistant with artificial intelligence.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook is going into the voice-driven digital assistant race. Its AI tech will go into the line of Facebook Messenger-driven smart displays this social networking/advertising company launched last fall, as well as other future devices.

Facebook could bring Messenger back to its main app

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Facebook Messenger unsend
It’s about time!
Photo: Facebook

Facebook could bring Messenger back to its main app as part of its strategy to merge all of its chat services into one.

Evidence of the change has been discovered in recent code. Facebook is yet to confirm the move, but it certainly looks like it is already making preparations.

Facebook admits hundreds of millions of passwords were exposed

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facebook
The issues keep piling up for Facebook.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s time to change your Facebook and Instagram passwords again.

Facebook revealed today that it unknowingly stored hundreds of millions of passwords in a readable format on its internal storage systems. There’s no information yet that the passwords were accessed by any nefarious people, but you should probably update yours, just in case.

Some of your favorite iOS apps are feeding your data to Facebook

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facebook
Oh look, another Facebook controversy.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Deleting your Facebook account isn’t enough to stop some apps from sending deeply personal information about you to the social network.

The Wall Street Journal found a wide range of apps that send personal information to Facebook even if you don’t have an account. Health apps and real estate apps were discovered sending a lot of information to Facebook and the type of data might surprise you.

Apple pulls third-party SDKs from Shazam in latest update

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Shazam on iPhone XS
The latest update is out now.
Photo: Apple

Apple has pulled all but one third-party SDK from Shazam in its latest update.

The move wipes out analytics firms, ad networks, open-source projects, and more — including Google AdMob, Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads, and DoubleClick. Only HockeyApp, a Microsoft platform for beta testing, is still available.