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Facebook Virtual Reality Avatars

Director of Research at Facebook Reality Labs Yaser Sheikh is currently working on a virtual reality project that involves photorealistic avatars using 3D technology. It’s officially called “Codec Avatars,” and is designed to let people in the future create lifelike virtual avatars of themselves quickly and easily. “The reason is because we want to be able to understand exactly how you look from every different viewpoint. Because in virtual reality, we might move and look at you from different perspectives, and it has to look as real as you do,” said Sheikh. Read more for another video and additional information.

Facebook Instagram Outage
Is Facebook or Instagram not loading on this Wednesday afternoon? You aren’t alone. There have been outage reports for Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram, across social media networks worldwide. Many decided to post on Twitter with the hashtag #facebookdown to make it a trending topic in the U.S. According to website monitoring service Down Detector, company is experiencing issues across a large portion of the U.S. and Europe as well as less reports from South America and Asia. Read more for a video about Facebook’s privacy plans and for additional information about this outage.

Facebook Messenger Dark Mode Android iOS
Photo credit: Emily Price / Lifehacker
Mobile phone users prefer “dark mode” to save energy, and the latest app to offer this feature is Facebook Messenger, as the company announced it for Android last year at the F8 conference. It’s now available all users, but activating it is not as simple as heading over to the settings menu, but rather an Easter Egg hunt of sorts. Simply put, users have to send a half crescent moon emoji to someone. Read more for a video showing exactly how it’s done.

WhatsApp Facebook Messenger Instagram Mark Zuckerberg
Photo credit: Tech Weez
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today the plans to unify the underlying messaging infrastructure of its WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger services as well as incorporate end-to-end encryption to these apps. The three services will remain as stand alone apps, and is still in the early stages of the work in hopes to complete it by the end of this year or in early 2020. Read more for a video and additional information.

EggGang Egg Instagram Post

Photo credit: Instagram
Yes, believe it or not, a stock photo of an egg has become the most user liked Instagram post ever, surpassing 35-million likes at the type of writing. “I was sitting at home reading an article online about the top 20 Instagram posts of 2018. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to try and beat the record with something as basic as possible. Which led to me deciding on the egg. I guess it’s also a comment on celebrity culture and how fragile and easily cracked it is (pun intended),” said the account owner to Penn Live. Read more to see how celebrity Kylie Jenner responded to this after it broke her record for most liked post.

Intel Facebook AI Integrated Circuit CES
Intel announced on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it’s working together with Facebook to develop a new artificial intelligence chip set for release in the second half of this year. It aims to help with what researchers call inference, or the process of taking an artificial intelligence algorithm and putting it to use, like automatically tagging friends in photos. This comes after Amazon said it had created an inference chip this past November. Amazon’s chip is not a direct competitor to Intel and Nvidia’s business because it won’t be selling the chips, but instead sell services to its cloud customers that run atop the chips starting next year. Read more to watch Intel’s CES 2019 press conference video.

Instagram Update Horizontal Scroll

Instagram made its users quite frustrated with an unexpected update that made its timeline feed scroll from left to right, instead of the traditional vertical format. Apparently, the head of Instagram announced that the change was meant to be a small-scale test, but a backend mistake caused it to roll out to a large number of users. “That was supposed to be a very small test that went broad by accident. Should be fixed now. If you’re still seeing it simply restart the app. Happy holidays!” said Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram. Read more for another video and additional information.

Babies with Teeth
Photo credit: Ashley Evans | Facebook via PetaPixel
Photographer Ashley Evans started the “Babies with Teeth”, or infants with grown-up teeth ‘Photoshopped’ into their mouths, after playing around with an app called YouApp. Photoshop was required to edit some of the babies, while the rest were touched up directly in the app. “I had an app and wanted to see what my son looked like with teeth. It was hilarious so I did it to my daughter. I then posted in a Facebook group and it just blew up from there,” Evans told PetaPixel. Read more for some of the most popular images from the series.

Facebook Pop-Up Store

Photo credit: Engadget

You’d probably never imagined Facebook getting into the brick-and-mortar department store business, but that’s exactly what’s happening with the social media giant’s new partnership with Macy’s. They’ve teamed up to create pop-up shops for digital brands at the department store’s busiest locations throughout the holiday season. You’ll find a total of 100 e-commerce brands, including Two Blind Brothers, Love Your Melon, Bespoke Post Charleston Gourmet Burger Company and much more. Continue reading for more pictures and information.

Facebook Portal

Facebook’s “Moonshot” Lab has just launched its first consumer products, the Portal ($199) and Portal Plus ($349) smart speakers. Set to compete with Amazon’s Echo when they’re released in November, these devices offer a more interactive experience that allows users to connect with friends using both voice and video. The company states that it won’t listen in on your conversations or store the contents of video chats on its servers. It will only send voice commands to Facebook’s servers when activated by the user, and those are stored in the user’s activity log, which can be deleted manually. Continue reading for two hands-on videos, more pictures and information.