Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

Facebook opens its first African HQ

Facebook has opened its first African headquarters in Johannesburg.

The new office will focus on growing markets in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa as the business looks to expand its African user base. With saturation in this part of the world far from reached, according to a Facebook spokesperson, Africa is “one of the places where our next billion users are coming from”.

There are currently 120 million Facebook users across the continent. However, this figure is set to grow as internet access becomes more widely available; in part down to Facebook’s programme, which aims to improve internet access worldwide.

In addition to attracting new users, Facebook is also planning to encourage more African businesses to advertise on its platform.

With 80% of users in Africa accessing the site by mobile phone, the new HQ will also look to partner with governments, telecom operators, agencies, etc. to promote the value of its app.

Facebook diversity figures show little improvement

It hasn’t all been good news for the social media giant, with the latest data showing that despite hiring 2,897 new employees, the overall ratio of male to female employees changed just 1%. In total, 68% of all Facebook employees are male.

Likewise, 91% of the company’s US staff are white or Asian, including 94% of the senior leadership. Despite diversity efforts, of the new employees, there were only six black men and one black woman.

Commenting on the data, a Facebook spokesperson said: “While we have achieved positive movement over the last year, it’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be. There’s more work to do. We remain deeply committed to building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics. It’s a big task, one that will take time to achieve, but our whole company continues to embrace this challenge”.

Pinterest prepares for buyable Pins

Pinterest has contacted its user base to let them know about changes to its privacy policy in preparation for the introduction of buyable Pins. Buyable Pins, which are set to launch in the U.S on the iPhone and iPad, will allow users to purchase products from Pinterest, without having to go to the seller’s website or app

In an email to users, Pinterest said that while it won’t be rolling out buyable Pins across the world just yet, it was making a few updates to its Privacy Policy in preparation. The main points were that:

  • When someone buys something on Pinterest, they’ll need to share payment and contact details. This info will be stored for future purchases, and shared with the seller who will treat it as if the purchase was made via their website.
  • Pinterest hopes to make Promoted Pins more relevant and useful to users. Purchase data will be used to help target advertising Pins accordingly.
  • Users can edit their privacy settings to hide their purchase info.

Messenger goes solo

Messenger, Facebook’s standalone messaging app no longer requires users to have an active Facebook account. Instead, users in the United States, Canada and Venezuela who download the app will be asked to create an account for the app, if they are not already on Facebook.

With the exception of integrated features, such as accessing the contact details of Facebook friends, Messenger will continue to deliver the same level of functionality.

It is expected that the solo version of Messenger will be rolled out to more countries after it has been tested in its current markets.

Facebook adds Snapchat style stickers

Facebook is currently testing a photo uploader that lets users overlay Snapchat-like filters, stickers and text on pictures.

Available only on iOS, Facebook has not, as yet, provided any timeframe for the feature to be released on Android.


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