How Facebook figures out everyone you’ve ever met

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

…Facebook isn’t scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer’s address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases.

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

In real life, in the natural course of conversation, it is not uncommon to talk about a person you may know. You meet someone and say, “I’m from Sarasota,” and they say, “Oh, I have a grandparent in Sarasota,” and they tell you where they live and their name, and you may or may not recognize them.

See Twitter follower demographics, interests and behaviors with Audience Insights

Twitter unveiled Audience Insights last week. The new tool can help marketers better understand the audience interacting with them on the social network. The Audience Insights dashboard provides information about a variety of characteristics, categorized by demographics, interests, lifestyle, purchasing behavior, mobile use and TV viewing behavior.

Audience Insights are available to any advertisers or analytics users. To access your information go to and click on Followers. 

Facebook Instant Articles

What you need to know about Facebook Instant Articles

What are Instant Articles?

  • Instant Articles are stories from big-name news outlets that appear within Facebook’s iPhone app in their entirety rather than simply as a link to elsewhere on the web. [Wired]
  • Facebook is working with nine launch partners for Instant Articles: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. [Facebook Media]
  • Facebook allows publishers to control the ad sales, branding and content; sell ads on the articles and keep all the revenue; and get data on their readers. [Digiday]

How do Instant Articles work?

  • The app is using the same technology Facebook has used to get photos and videos to load quickly. It pre-loads the story as you approach it in your News Feed, and is able to show you the top of the story as soon as you tap. On the web, publishers typically lard their pages with dozens of modules for serving advertisements and analytics; one reason instant articles load faster is because they strip most of those out. [The Verge]
  • Instant Articles makes use of a tool called AsyncDisplayKit. By tapping into the iPhone’s multi-core processors, the user interface is quick and responsive. [Ben Cunningham]
  • Facebook lets publishers use their own publishing tools, and then converts stories automatically into a format that works on Facebook’s app. There are bells and whistles, like a photo- and video-panning feature Facebook imported from its Paper app. [Re/code]
  • Essentially, the social network reads special tags coded into the story to reformat it, but refers back to the underlying link so that reading it counts as a mobile web view [The New York Times]
  • You can “like” individual elements of the story, follow the authors or the news organization on Facebook and even share the story on other platforms, such as Twitter. [The New York Times]
  • The Instant Article experience is only available on the Facebook app for iPhone. Those using Android will see the article in their news feed the way it normally would. [The New York Times]
  • ComScore gives Instant Article publishers full credit for any traffic those stories generate on Facebook’s app. [Re/code]

Why is Facebook doing this?

  • As more people get their news on mobile devices, Facebook wants to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook. The articles are hosted on Facebook’s servers, are well designed and create a better experience than the typical 8-second wait for an article to load on the mobile web. [The Verge]
  • Facebook is taking a 30 percent cut if the ads are sold through the Facebook network. [Contently]

What concerns do publishers have about Instant Articles?

  • In this deal, Facebook retains sole control of its news feed algorithm. [NPR]
  • Facebook is working to solidify itself as the default place where millions or possibly even billions of people go to get their news . The risk is that it will wind up helping Facebook more, and that eventually Facebook—a for-profit company that has shown no evidence that it actually understands or cares about “journalism” per se—will become the trusted source of news for millions of users, rather than the publications that produce content. [Fortune]
  • Facebook will becomes the de facto solution for publishers’ mobile challenges, publishers effectively limit their business to content creation and could become dependent on others to deliver their audience. [VentureBeat]
  • Once news sites join Instant Articles, they’ll lose their leverage and Facebook will impose more and more unfavorable terms on them. [Vox]
  • By publishing on Facebook, publishers may cannibalize their in-house ad sales teams. [VentureBeat]
  • What happens when Facebook goes away? Are today’s publishers, by then, just portable content generators ready to be passed to the next platform? Or have they been replaced by something else entirely? [The Awl]

Who worked on Instant Articles?

  • Project Manager Michael Reckhow and designer Mike Matas are part of the team behind Instant Articles. These are the same guys behind Facebook’s Paper app. Matas came to Facebook when Push Pop Press was acquired in 2011. [TechCrunch]

Instagram launches @music channel

Instagram launches @music – their first dedicated vertical channel focusing on popular and emerging artists.

By creating exclusive editorial content, Instagram hopes to become a full-service destination for music lovers, and to enhance its position as a critical ally for artists and labels.

Buzzfeed News

Could we be headed for @movies, @videogames, @books….? Is this an extension of Instagram and the start dedicated channels? Maybe it’s the start of Instagram creating exclusive content for their platform ala YouTube’s Creator Space. Down the rabbit hole of speculation.

When it comes to music, Roots drummer and “Tonight Show” bandleader Questlove (@questlove) is all about the highs and lows. Take DJing, for instance. Give the crowd too many hits and you’ll numb them into the ground; too many non-jams and you’ll drive them off the dance floor. “When I first started, I was just desperate,” he says about the lack of pacing in his shows. “I was like, this is a hit, this is a hit, this is a hit. And you get addicted to the adrenaline rush of, ‘OH MY GOD THIS IS MY SONG.’ You kill them so much. I realized that now I am more obsessed with the opposite. I will put a bad song on and actually watch them filter out the floor. And I will wait two minutes [then play] ‘Uptown Funk’ –– ‘OH MY GOD IT’S MY SONG’ –– and then the scream is bigger than before. –Instagram @music Photo by @questlove

A photo posted by Instagram @music (@music) on

The New York Times goes all-in on Instagram

The news needs to live where you (or your users) live.

I’m giving The New York Times a big bear huge for taking this step outside of page one and their homepage.

Over the past few weeks, the Times started new Instagram accounts for its video team, sports desk, marketing department and events team. Those four joined existing Times accounts for food, travel, fashion and T Magazine content. That makes eight active Times Instagram account today, with plans to launch a primary @NYTimes account in the next month or two.

“It’s not an effort to drive traffic to the site. That’s very hard to do on Instagram,” said Alexandra MacCallum, assistant managing editor for audience development at the Times. “It’s much more about building awareness and, hopefully, loyalty for The New York Times broadly, but particularly for the Times’ incredible visual storytelling.”