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Austrian Student Leading Class Action Lawsuit Against Facebook Over Privacy

Mark Zuckerberg presumably contemplating life. (Wikimedia Commons)

Facebook could soon be in big trouble, and not just because Slingshot is probably gonna stink.

An Austrian law student, Max Schrems, is leading the charge in what could become a massive lawsuit against Facebook over privacy issues, the Daily Mail reports. Mr. Schrems is asking Facebook users worldwide to join him in demanding damages of €500 each over alleged violations of the European Union’s privacy policies. Read More

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Snapchat’s Jealous Older Brother Facebook Developing Rival Video App

Facebook, just let Snapchat do its thing. (Getty)

In a continued desperate effort to stay relevant among today’s youths, Facebook is reportedly building a video chat app to rival Snapchat.

Facebook is internally referring to the messaging app as Slingshot, the Guardian reports. Slingshot is currently under development, but could be released as soon as this month — provided Facebook doesn’t remember what happened to its Poke app, and decide to scrap the project altogether. Read More

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Facebook Suspends Woman’s Account Because of Home Birth Photos

Ms. Fowler and her newborn baby, looking far from pornographic (Instagram)

Facebook has temporarily suspended a California woman’s account after deciding photos of her home birth were in violation of its policies.

In December 2013, Venice Beach resident Ruth Fowler used Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to live blog the home birth of her son, Nye. She also documented her post-delivery trip to the hospital, where she went to treat her excess bleeding. By posting the candid photos, Ms. Fowler hoped to normalize the birthing process and help spread awareness about alternatives to giving birth at the hospital.

The photos included shots of her experiencing labor pains, preparing for the birth in a tub after her water broke, resting with and breastfeeding her son and donning an oversize diaper to catch excess blood.

Though Ms. Fowler told Betabeat she had received a surprising number of supportive emails, she noted that one entity isn’t quite as thrilled with the photos of her childbirth process and placenta: Facebook. Read More

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Instagram Adds Video Feature So You Can Now Show Us Clips of You Drinking Your Cocktail

Here it is. (Photo: Instagram/Facebook)

The update we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived, and you can now post videos to your Instagram.

“Video is a complex medium … it’s hard to edit, it’s hard to manage, it’s hard to upload,” said Instagram’s Kevin Systrom at Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ today. In fact, he added, he and his cofounder considered including video initially, but they couldn’t do it with the “speed, simplicity, and beauty” of photos. So now, team Facebook to the rescue!

You’d think Mr. Systrom had never even heard of Vine. Read More

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No, Facebook Is Not Deliberately Blocking Logins from TOR

(Photo: Wikipedia)

A post on the blog went viral this morning, hitting the front pages of both Reddit and Hacker News. The post stated that Facebook had begun blocking logins from users attempting to access it from the anonymized browser TOR. For activists and political dissidents who use the Internet to communicate with the outside world in countries where doing so is a crime, being unable to login to Facebook using TOR posed a huge problem. Read More

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Consider Us #Blessed: Facebook Is Rolling Out Clickable Hashtags

Hashtags on Facebook.

Hashtag singularity is near: Facebook just added the feature to select users’ News Feeds in an effort to make the social network even more unbearable.

Upon clicking a hashtag, like “#blessed,” a pop up window displays statuses that are collected from Facebookers using the same hashtag. You know, exactly how it works on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram since Facebook is now playing catch up. Read More

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So Long, Madison Avenue: Facebook Moving New York Employees to Frank Gehry-Designed East Village Office

770 Broadway. (Photo:

As Facebook expands in New York, it’s doing it in a very fanciful manner. A company spokeswoman told Betabeat that its new office space at 770 Broadway will be designed by starchitect Frank Gehry with “open floor plans, natural lighting, and an emphasis on space for collaboration.” And probably zero straight lines.

The new outpost is double the size of Facebook’s current office on 335 Madison Ave., which will be shuttered. The entirety of FBNY will move in early 2014 into the spacious 100,000 square feet space in the Village where it will house people from sales, marketing, engineering, design, marketing, and communications. Facebook will be sharing elevators with Aol/Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, and J. Crew and its lease term is for 10 years. Read More