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Pinterest Questions

Pinterest's possible Q&A Product

I was checking up on the analytics for Cut Out + Keep’s Pinterest account, and noticed a new option, Questions. It’s currently just a blank page, but I took a look through the code, and found a whole load of references to a feature that looks almost ready for release.

Pinterest Q&A

It’s looking like an upgrade to comments could be coming, with users able to ask a question about the pin they’re viewing. The pinner (or perhaps the source of the pin’s original URL, as a business-page only feature), gets a notification, and can answer the question. Users will be asked to confirm they’re asking a question, and not a comment, and all the usual functions to delete, report and like/unlike questions are present in the code.

The most obvious example of questions-related code is within status codes used for analytics tracking:

ANSWER_CREATE: 240,
ANSWER_DELETE: 243,
ANSWER_EDIT: 242,
ANSWER_LIKE: 244,
ANSWER_REPORT: 246,
ANSWER_UNLIKE: 245,
ANSWER_VIEW: 241,
...
QUESTION_CREATE: 220,
QUESTION_DELETE: 223,
QUESTION_EDIT: 222,
QUESTION_LIKE: 224,
QUESTION_REPORT: 226,
QUESTION_UNLIKE: 225,
QUESTION_VIEW: 221,

Although, just looking through the current website code for question shows over 100 matches!

Alongside code on the website, there’s code present in the iOS and Android apps, along with deep-link integeration.

If this takes off, it’ll be a really exciting update to Pinterest. With so many pins lacking information, it’ll become a more useful place to discover new things. It’ll also help bring back inactive users - a question often demands a response!

I’m hoping this launches soon, and lasts a little longer than others

Proof of Instagram Video in Code

The buttons used in Instagram's Video product

There’s a lot of talk about what Facebook will announce on 20th July. One possibility, Instagram Video seems likely to happen - but not necessarily at this event

Instagram Video

I decided to take a look at Instagram - the current app, the API and the website. Before long, I came across mentions of .tVideo and .tVideoIndicator CSS classes on profile pages, and this image (Update: It’s been removed - here’s a cached copy) hosted on their CDN.

The sprites - a play/pause and volume/mute button, and their connection to videos in the markup seems to mean that Instagram video is a certainty. A mute button is the big giveaway on a photo-sharing app…

The buttons used in Instagram's Video product

The Facebook event

I’d be doubtful that the event invitations sent out could be anything to do with Instagram. Facebook needs a strong launch for their next product. I can’t see a coffee-cup stain connecting with video features.

My best guest would be a Flipboard competitor - Facebook wants to get a coffee-cup’s worth of time each morning. Monthly Active Users is a tough metric to keep growing - the next most important measurement would be Time On Site. A Flipboard-style section, with top social articles, content from RSS feeds and stories from sites you’ve Liked could easily become a daily destination to catch up on the web. And, it’d be sure to push up Time On Site, and, in turn, possible revenue from advertisers.

Will Facebook RSS Replace Google Reader?

A few weeks back, I spotted mentions of RSS feeds in Facebook’s code. With the closure of Google Reader at the end of the month, Facebook could be a new place to keep up-to-date with content from around the web.

Facebook code revealing RSS Feeds

Facebook schemas list all the types on content and the connections between them. Users have photos, photos might have a place and so on.

A new entry appeared - now users have RSS feeds, each RSS feed has multiple entries, and a list of subscribers. What’s surprising is that the code mentions RSS specifically, and distinctly from existing interest lists and friend lists. Also, note that this is unconnected to Facebook outputting RSS feeds, which they’ve done for a while.

I’ve tried to access RSS feeds through the API, but it’s currently locked down, and only available to whitelisted apps.

Facebook could make a great RSS reader, and I’d hope something gets launched before Google finally pulls the plug on Reader.

Update: Facebook have removed rssfeed and rssentry details from the schema.

Official Facebook Logo Updated

A revised Facebook logo just went up on Facebook’s Newsroom site

Before After

Not much in it. The new Facebook Home logo also drops the lighter blue line, and pulls the f to the edge of the box.

What’s strange is that the new logo download is full transparent, with the f fully cut out. I’m not sure if that’s an oversight, or they’re hoping to use the logo more creatively.

Wider update

A number of other official pages have had their logos updated for the first time in years:

Before After
Developers
Privacy
Security
Universities
Mobile
Non Profits
US Govt
Facebook Live
Sports
Journalists

…I think it looks great! I haven’t seen the new logo appear on the Like button, or as the favicon on all pages of Facebook yet, but I can’t imagine it’ll be long.

Also, I haven’t worked out who’s behind the update - there isn’t any mention of the update from Facebook’s newsroom.

Create a Facebook Group as Your Page

Currently, only users can create and moderate Facebook Groups. But, it’s looking like Facebook are working on letting Pages create and manage groups.

On a Facebook page, it looks like it’s possible to add a Groups module to the favorites at the top of the page. However, nothing obvious happens after clicking groups. Often, a bug like this on Facebook points to new projects being worked on.

After trying to add the Groups module, I found an unfinished Groups page.

Since there’s no obvious way to create a new group, I headed to the Graph API Explorer to what can be done through the API.


Creating a Group

Using a page access token, you can POST to /me/groups with a name parameter set to your new group name.

This returns your new group ID. Query that, and you’ll get full details:

{
  "id": "530648920292865", 
  "owner": {
    "category": "Website", 
    "name": "Cut Out + Keep", 
    "id": "6308333870"
  }, 
  "name": "Test", 
  "venue": {
    "street": ""
  }, 
  "privacy": "CLOSED", 
  "icon": "https://fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net/rsrc.php/v2/yI/r/0pjqWL1NfkE.png", 
  "updated_time": "2013-01-16T01:55:46+0000", 
  "email": "...@groups.facebook.com", 
  "version": 1
}

Note that the owner is your Page!

Now, you can visit the group. Some admin actions require you to switch to use Facebook as your page.

See Everything in Your Facebook News Feed

There’s a lot of talk about Facebook pages seeing far fewer impressions on their posts. Have you ever wondered which pages you like are posting content you haven’t seen?

Good news!

There’s a special link to see everything in your Facebook news feed - hidden posts from pages you haven’t interacted with, alongside friendship stories and other units that are shown less often.

Here’s the link:
https://www.facebook.com/?sk=nf_all

Note: I’m still looking through this to see if any stories are missing, or to see if there are any other configuration options.

Undocumented Facebook API Could Mean Buttons for Everything

Facebook are working on an API to configure Open Graph objects and actions. Two new (undocumented) properties, button_text and button_icons might hint at new social plugins

Facebook code showing button_text configuration

The New API

Note: This is all undocumented. Don’t rely on it until it’s confirmed and documented by Facebook!

With an application access token, you can access a list of all configured open graph actions at /{app_id}/connections, or all open graph objects at /{app_id}/object_types

Here’s an example from a project I’m working on.

{
  "id": "341378772565972", 
  "name": "Add", 
  "type": "lookatmyroom:add", 
  "object_types": [
    341378775899305
  ], 
  "property_config": {
    "room": {
      "type": "reference", 
      "display_name": "Room", 
      "formal_name": "room", 
      "reference_object_type": 341378775899305, 
      "required_group": "primary_objects", 
      "reference_assoc_type": 325449854178103
    }
  }, 
  "allow_multiple_references": false, 
  "singular_present": "is adding", 
  "plural_present": "are adding", 
  "singular_past": "added", 
  "plural_past": "added", 
  "button_text": "Add", 
  "app_preposition": "using", 
  "is_app_secret_required": false
}

The output from this should be pretty familiar to anybody who has already set up their actions and objects on the developer site.

Each action and object has a unique id, which can be used to view, edit and delete - in exactly the same way as the rest of the Graph API.

Button Text & Button Icons

There are two new properties which only appear through the API (and not on the developer site), button_text and button_icons. The schema entries confirm these additions. If they were only for internal use, I doubt they’d be configurable. The wording isn’t a lot to go on, and I haven’t found any evidence (yet) of where these could be used for. But, here’s an idea:

Could Facebook be working on a ‘button’ social plugin?

I’d suggest that Facebook might release a variant of the Like button, but configurable to show any action from your app.

It might make sense:

  • No need to login A button is served from Facebook.com, with built-in clickjacking and security features
  • Consistent user experience No more surprise spam entries on your timeline
  • Consistent display - Facepile, ‘3 other friends also action’d this’ etc.

What do you think?

Facebook Social Wi-Fi

Facebook Social Wi-Fi appears to be a new channel for businesses to gain new fans through checkins at their wifi hotspot

Facebook code showing Social Wifi

In the code used to build the graphs and charts for page insights, there’s a list of all of the possible sources for new Likes. Adverts, Like Buttons, Like Boxes, search results, and the pages wizard top the list.

However, there’s a new entry - social_wifi. It’s (so far), the only reference I can find for it, so it’s tough to work out exactly how the feature might work.

The explanation for the graph tooltip currently reads “People who liked your Page after checking in via Facebook Wi-Fi.”.

I’d suggest that page owners of local businesses would be able to associate their public wifi hotspots with their Facebook page. Then, a callout on the Facebook homepage could suggest wifi users become a fan of that page.

It’s possible Facebook could be developing a Like-gated free wifi product - similar to HotSpotSystem. However, I think forcing new connections just to use some wifi isn’t going to make for useful social data.

The social wifi product is defiantly under development - the description was changed in the last week - so, hopefully, we’ll hear more about it.

I’m excited to see something to encourage more businesses to make use of their hotspots. After all, what are you meant to do in a coffee shop other than check Facebook? :)

Update

InsideFacebook managed to get a quote from Facebook about this:

“We are currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a Wi-Fi router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook. When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook Page.”

Facebook Messages Next Target for Sponsored Stories?

Facebook code showing promoted messages

After the News Feed, Messages are one of the key components of Facebook. Looking through their code, it seems like they could be the next place you’ll see promoted content.

Messages have long been a part of Facebook. For a while, brands could send a message to all their fans. In 2011, Facebook relaunched messages, combining emails, SMS and messages across all devices, in a project codenamed Project Titan. It’s quite a technological feat, and blurs the lines between communication channels. It’s also what led to everybody owning an @facebook.com email address. However, brands lost the direct contact to the Inbox, with messages appearing in an obscure ‘Other’ folder. It seems like sponsored messages could be a new income stream for Facebook in the next few months.


After looking at the code, three things point to Facebook working on promoted messages.

  1. PAID_PROMOTION as a possible source of a message (alongside iPhone, Android, Mobile Web etc.)
  2. promotion:promoted as a message tag. Other tags are mundane - sent, archived, spam etc.
  3. is_promoted being returned in the data about each message.

Let’s go through each one.

1. Message sources

This allows Facebook to show an email icon from messages received via email, or a cellphone for mobile messages. Primarily, it’ll be used for gathering statistics on how messages are being sent and received.

In a list of sources in the code of facebook.com/messages, we find PAID_PROMOTION as a possible source.

"Sources": {
    ...
    "PAID_PROMOTION": "source:paid_promotion",
    ...
}

Paid promotion has got to mean promotion that’s been paid for, right? And what’s it doing in messages?

2. Message Tags

Facebook message tags are attached to every message. Most are obvious - Spam, Archive, Sent, Read etc., and some deal with bridging to email messages (BCC, etc.). We also see promotion:promoted, and promotion:demoted. I’m assuming a demoted message is flagged after marking a promoted message uninteresting.

"MessagingTag": {
    ...
    "PROMOTED": "promotion:promoted",
    "DEMOTED": "promotion:demoted",
    ...,
}

These wouldn’t be here unless they needed to be. The other tags are clearly the nuts, bolts and mechanics of the Messages product. This is different.

3. Message Data

Over in the data used to build your list of messages, we see is_promoted and is_demoted

{
    ...
    "is_archived": false,
    "is_demoted": false,
    "is_promoted": false,
}

This goes along with the tags, and would be used to add the correct annotations to the messages in the UI. Obviously, showing consistent messaging for sponsorships is important. Messages are across all devices, so it’s clear this data would start being returned.

It’s possible I’m getting confused somewhere along the line, but it feels like somewhere at Facebook, somebody has been busy with promoted messages. I wonder if and when it’ll be released!

Facebook Wants to Share Your Purchases

After finding the Facebook Want button last week, I decided to take a deeper look into the code behind it. What’s clear, is that Facebook have big plans for social commerce - and for sharing your purchases.

Social Context Screenshot

Though the Want button itself doesn’t work, I found it is still possible to Want an object using the Graph API. Sending a post request to /me/wants with a product parameter generates a stream story, and updates the want button counter.

Want Stream Story

The source code from the stream story gives a few more clues as to Facebook’s strategy for products. The Want/Unwant action link even includes ‘socialcommerce’

It’s clear that Facebook are working on a new OpenGraph representation of products. They’re even calling the current Product object ‘Product Old’.

I decided to look for the new model in the schema.

Nothing too exciting, until I looked at the actions associated with the object.

The product.purchased action will share purchases (or donations, it seems) of products, or items in Facebook games.

It’s possible to view the configuration page for the action - it’s similar to other built-in actions. However, other API pages for the new objects and actions give a ‘Whitelist Only’ error.

It appears that product wants and purchases will be accessible similar to other user actions - music, news and video. I’ll keep investigating Facebook’s social commerce plans and keep you updated!