Zuckerberg and Chan Giving 99% of Their Facebook Shares to Charity

Mark Zuckerberg is not one to shy away from the public spotlight with his charitable activities. Facebook is part group providing refugee camps with internet and recently joined with another billionaire, Bill Gates, to help fund renewable energy. Today though he has shocked the world with two major announcements.

The first announcement was the birth of Zuckerberg’s daughter, Max, to wife Priscilla Chan. Alongside this announcement came one that has surprised many, the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. This will be done by their latest pledge to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shared to charity throughout their lives.

At this moment in time, that 99% is valued at a staggering $45 billion, one of the highest charitable donations in history, obviously! The announcement was made in a note to their daughter on Facebook. Working to promote the values of equal value and “pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be”, the note continues to state that they love Max and “feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children”.

We’ve seen how Facebook can be used to reunite families, and even lost pets, now we could see it take a step to making the entire world a better place.

Congratulations Mark and Chan and thank you.

Facebooks’s Internet.org to Bring Internet to Africa

Yet another awesome step forward for global connectivity, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has cemented his last year claim that a specialised team are working on building drones, lasers and satellites to deliver internet to everyone; today at the Mobile World Congress.

During his presentation, he spent a substantial amount of time discussing the Facebook-backed nonprofit Internet.org, which aims to bring free internet access to four African countries, along with Columbia and India.

“We’re working on it,” Zuckerberg said. “When we have that stuff, the goal is to form the same type of partnerships we have today with our partners to give people more tools to connect. Some of the technology we have today isn’t cost effective… just because we’re working on plans and satellites doesn’t mean that that is the type of stuff that will do it. Over the next five to 10 years, there will be a lot of innovation. People like talking about that kind of stuff because it’s sexy, but it’s not the big bit”

This seems oh so familiar to the earlier presentation from Google’s Senior VP Sundar Pichai (found here), who stated that they are also gearing up to launch solar-powered, internet giving drones in certain countries later this year. When asked about a possible collaboration with Google, his response was “Sure. I’d love to do more with them”.Internet.org first launched in Zambia, teaming up with a local operating partner and incorporated Google search, calling it an “important tool.”

Probably the most profound statement from his presentation “To grow the Internet is expensive… we want to make progress.”

Thanks to Mashable for supplying this information

Facebook Drops Oculus Rift Bomb, Internet Fights Back!

Facebook have swooped in to pick up some serious hardware real estate this week, shelling out a staggering $2bn for virtual reality headset creators Oculus. While this new source of financial support is great news for Oculus and their Oculus Rift VR headset, many of the financial backers, consumers and even a few games developers are not happy and the fallout is hurting both Facebook and Oculus in a big way.

For starters there has been a wave of cancellations for Oculus Rift pre-orders, so much so that the pre-order cancellation page has hit the top of reddit’s /r/gaming and after a while even made the front page. Of course this is hollow as we don’t have numbers for real cancellations, but the evidence certainly stacks up that there are a lot of angry people out there in relation to the sale of the company, so many comments sections full of stuff that I simply cannot repeat here… It’s pretty much all too offensive for publication.

Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey took to Reddit to put peoples concerns to rest (see quotes below), unfortunately I don’t think many people are listening as all they hear is “facebook! facebook! facebook!”, which is ironic as it’s on Facebook that most of these ex-Oculus fans are doing most of their complaining.

“There are a lot of reasons why this is a good thing, many of which are not yet public. There is a lot of related good news on the way. I am swamped right now, but I do plan on addressing everyone’s concerns. I think everyone will see why this is so incredible when the big picture is clear.”

“It is an acquisition, but we will be operating independently. Our ongoing relationship really is more like a partnership.”

“We have not gotten into all the details yet, but a lot of the news is coming. The key points: 1) We can make custom hardware, not rely on the scraps of the mobile phone industry. That is insanely expensive, think hundreds of millions of dollars. This deal specifically lets us greatly lower the price of the Rift. 2) We can afford to hire everyone we need, the best people that fit into our culture of excellence in all aspects. 3) We can make huge investments in content. More news soon.”

“Oculus continues to operate independently! We are going to remain as indie/developer/enthusiast friendly as we have always been, if not more so. This deal lets us dedicate a lot of resources to developer relations, technical help, engine optimizations, and our content investment/publishing/sales platform. We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.”

“Almost everyone at Oculus is a gamer, and virtual reality will certainly be led by the games industry, largely because it is the only industry that already has the talent and tools required to build awesome interactive 3D environments. In the long run, though, there are going to be a lot of other industries that use VR in huge ways, ways that are not exclusive to gamers; the current focus on gaming is a reflection of the current state of VR, not the long term potential. Education, communication, training, rehabilitation, gaming and film are all going to be major drivers for VR, and they will reach a very wide audience. We are not targeting social media users, we are targeting everyone who has a reason to use VR.”

“This acquisition/partnership gives us more control of our destiny, not less! We don’t have to compromise on anything, and can afford to make decisions that are right for the future of virtual reality, not our current revenue. Keep in mind that we already have great partners who invested heavily in Oculus and got us to where we are, so we have not had full control of our destiny for some time. Facebook believes in our long term vision, and they want us to continue executing on our own roadmap, not control what we do. I would never have done this deal if it meant changing our direction, and Facebook has a good track record of letting companies work independently post-acquisition.”

Pre-orders being cancelled, a poorly timed reveal and a lot of heat and backlash from the community is not good for any product. Fortunately for the hopeful (like myself), the cash injection has secured the future of the product for some time and I’m not going to cancel my pre-order any time soon.

Developer Notch has stated Facebook “creeps me out” and said that Minecraft will no longer be coming to the Rift, at least in 1st party support form, there are already mods out there, but they’re sub-par in terms of overall quality. I expect a couple more developers will follow suit, but perhaps time will see them return if the company can prove that it will act independently and not morph into a Farmville accessory as many people are currently fearing.

I’m not sure this is a bad thing for the hardware or Oculus or even consumers, but once again only time will tell who is right and I really do hope I am right. We have a comments section below for good reason, get venting your thoughts on this one as we would love to know your what you think about this deal.

Breaking News: Facebook Buys Oculus Rift In $2 Billion Deal

Facebook have just blown the lid off of one of the biggest stories we’ve had all week! Oculus Rift is now under the ownership of Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook.

The deal has just been announced as Facebook and Oculus reached a deal worth a total of $2 billion, this includes $400 million in cash payouts, with the rest being padded out with Facebook shares, as well as some additional earn-out in opertunities in cash and stock based on them reaching certain milestones, which could add another $300 million to the deal. This is obviously HUGE news, with Oculus Rift now in a position where funding and further development shouldn’t be an issue.

“This is really a new communication platform,” Zuckerburg said. “By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR, said. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

So there you have it, the future of Oculus Rift is still going to be one awesome gaming device, but now with the financial backing and support of Facebook, the future is even brighter for the VR headset and at $2 Billion, Zuckerberg clearly thinks it’s worth the investment.

Thank you Oculus for providing us with this information.

WhatsApp Goes Down Just Days After $19bn Acquisition

With a huge user base of more than 450 million monthly users, WhatsApp is nothing short of extremely popular as a method of getting touch with each other. This obviously got the attention of the Zuckerberg clan as Facebook recently spent an appallingly large amount of money acquiring the app, $19 billion to be exact, although around $15 billion of that is Facebook shares.

Unfortunately for the new owners, things aren’t going especially smooth this week, as the apps users are reporting mass outages, prompting the company to tweet “We hope to be back up and recovered shortly.”

The service only appeared to go down for a few hours, but when you have such a large user base who may have been relying on the series, then you’ve got a huge amount of unsent messages hanging on your network. No doubt  Facebook can deploy some serious investment into the companies infrastructure in the not to distant future.

Personally I didn’t even notice that the service had gone down yesterday, but I do rely on it quite a lot to stay in touch with friends and family, so fingers crossed they’ve got it all sorted.

Thank you Sky for providing us with this information.

Facebook Exceeds Expectations With 874 Million Monthly Mobile Users

Due to mobile advertising, Facebook’s growth in Q2 substantially increased and continued to climb up and over the 1 Billion target. Moreover, the social network’s Analysts had their expectations exceeded with over $2.02 Billion in revenue for the Q3, 2013.

The key things to point out in Facebook’s growth are:

  • September averaged 728 million, a 25% increase year-over-year, with monthly active users up to 1.19 Billion
  • Mobile check-ins grew to 874 million monthly, a 45% year-over-year increase, and 507 million daily users compared to 819 million and 469 million for those sectors during Q2
  • Ads on users’ daily drivers accounted for 49% of all ad revenue in Q3 2013 compared to 41% last quarter
  • Revenue from ads on the whole is up 66% from Q3 2012 totaling $1.8 billion
  • Net income is at $425 million in this year’s Q3 in comparison to the net loss of $59 million the outfit saw during Q3 2012

These numbers show that the gap between mobile and total active users continues to draw closer with each passing three-month period as Facebook continues the mobile push and social media increasingly becomes a chore for handsets and tablets on-the-go.

If the current pattern holds, the fourth quarter report could show that over half of the outfit’s revenue is coming from mobile advertising, especially with Instagram ads on the way shortly for its 150 million monthly active users.

“The strong results we achieved this quarter show that we’re prepared for the next phase of our company, as we work to bring the next five billion people online and into the knowledge economy,” said founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. He also stated that 48 percent of daily Facebook users log-in on mobile which lends a big hand to those mobile ad numbers.

Facebook also shifts dedication to improving ads as the company focuses on “making money to make better services”. COO Sheryl Sandberg mentioned that Facebook and Instagram users spend more of their time on those two social networks on mobile, more specifically one user in every five minutes, than other popular streams like YouTube, Tumblr, Pandora and others combined in the US.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information.

Facebook Admits Their Ads Are Too Annoying, Aims To Improve Them

Facebook is a free service, so it still amazes me that people complain about the advertisements on the site at all! Sure they’re annoying, but for the most part, it’s what pays for the party. Fortunately it seems that Facebook have taken note of customer complaints and are looking to improve their advertisement formats.

Naturally it is in Facebooks best interest to keep us happy about the advertisements we see on the site, because if we’re not clicking them, they’re not making any money.

Zuckerberg and his gang have admitted that the ad targeting technology they use needs work, so they will be rolling out changes over the “coming weeks”.

“We are currently working on some updates to the ads algorithm to improve the relevance and quality of the ads people see.” said Hong Ge, manager of Ad’s at Facebook.

Personally, I’m amazed they need to work so hard to target their ads, I’ve given them my personal details, shared my personal interests and gave them seemingly endless data on the things I do on a daily basis through likes and comments, yet I still see advertisements for silly flash games pop music, not the hardcore RPG’s and death metal that Facebook should know I love.

Do the advertisements on Facebook bother you, or do you not mind them since they help pay for the service? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Thank you TechnologyReview for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Facebook Ads.

“The Government Blew It” On The NSA Scandal Says Zuckerberg

While speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt, Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO spoke out about the recent and on going NSA scandal, voicing his concerns that the public deserve to know more about the sort of programs the government are running, asking for more transparency.

“I think the government blew it” he said, “We take our role very seriously, It’s our job to protect everyone who uses Facebook. It’s our government’s job to protect all of us, our freedom and the economy. They did a bad job at balancing this.”

It isn’t the first time he has spoken out either and lets be honest, nearly all of us has something to voice on the subject of the NSA in recent months, “Oh that’s really gonna help companies that are trying to serve people around the world,” Zuckerberg cracked. “I think that was really bad.”

His frustration comes from not being able to publicly disclose how many HSA requests it grands and denies, either way you can bet its a pretty huge number given the vast user base of Facebook and the amount of information people share on it.

Do you agree with Zuckerberg on this one? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information.

Image coutesy of Tech Crunch.

Auto-Play Video Ads Are Coming To Facebook

“Good news everyone, auto-playing video adverts are coming to Facebook”, “yaaaay that’s awesome!” … said no one ever.

Facebook seem to need a reason to annoy its user base, ever few months once things have settled down and people are going about their day, up crops a new change that is set to anger their users to a new degree, it’s starting to get pretty annoying too, but what if Facebook starting shouting at you to buy things, playing music to you that you didn’t want to here or started telling you about the benefits of claiming your PPI back, especially when your sitting on the bus, or just checking your messages on a Sunday morning? Sounds pretty good right? Nope I didn’t think so either.

I understand the need for online advertisements better than most, they’re vital to the way many websites operate and without such systems most of the sites you love and use simply wouldn’t be around today. Facebook on the other hand is different, at least in my opinion and this new move is to make more money for investors, not to keep the lights on and keep the site up and running.

A report from the Financial Times suggests facebook will be using its bigger sponsors such as Coca Cola, Ford and American Express for the new video adverts and it’s likely going to cost those sponsors a lot of money to place these ads, given the potential reach and targeting that Facebook can offer via its ad system.

Facebook has already tried things such as sponsored stories and that ended up getting Facebook pulled into a lawsuit that cost them $20 million, but will they make the same mistake again with video ads? That all depends on how they integrate them and more importantly where.

There are already systems in place to embed videos in your time line (for Pages) but there’s no auto-play and this content doesn’t go live to the news feed of readers, but all that could be about to change of course.

It’s expected to go live in July and it’s expected to be a very slow and progressive roll out (so you don’t run away).

Yet all this comes with a stark reminder and it’s one I often have to point out. As much as I don’t want auto-play videos on Facebook, I really don’t have a say in the matter. Facebook is at the end of the day (in its most basic form) a free service and no one is making us use it. Zuckerberg and his pals know this of course, so they need to tread this line finely or risk loosing more users of the service.

Zuckerberg Joins 1-Dollar-Salary Club

Every once in awhile a politician or a large business owner will opt for join the Dollar-A-Year club. For some this means that they will only accept payment of $1 for a year or they may do this for a set amount of years. Usually this is because they have decided that they are well off and want to show the company and employees even the world that they are not doing what they are doing for the money, they are doing it for everyone else. The list is not very large, and not everyone gives up their bonuses. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has decided join the 1-Dollar-Salary Club. The reasoning isn’t really clear to me as to why he is taking the salary cut, though it could be for the title. It could also be due to the amount of taxes he had to pay for the 2012 tax season. It could also be to show everyone he isn’t in it for the money, and that he is here to build Facebook to be the best social networking outlet available to the public. To join the 1-dollar-salary club is possibly one of the greatest status symbols of Silicon Valley, and one of  most prestiges groups that one could join, showing the world that you are rich and successful, so you are going to continue doing everything you have been, but for free. On April 26th Facebook, INC released their 2013 Proxy Statement in which they disclosed the fiscal earnings of Mark Zuckerberg

In the first quarter of 2012, our compensation committee discussed and approved a request by our CEO to reduce his base salary to $1 per year, effective January 1, 2013. Cash Bonuses. Our 2012 Bonus/Retention Plan (Bonus Plan) provides variable cash incentives, payable semi-annually, that are designed to motivate our executive officers to focus on company-wide priorities and to reward them for individual results and achievements. All of our executive officers participated in the Bonus Plan in 2012. Our CEO will not receive a bonus under the 2013 Bonus/Retention Plan.

Below is a list of people who have joined the 1-Dollar-Salary Club (List provided from Wikipedia) Michael Bloomberg (Mayor of New York City) Sergey Brin (Google) Larry Ellison (Oracle Corporation) Darren Entwistle (TELUS) Richard Fairbank (Capital One Financial) Lee Iacocca (Chrysler Corporation) Steve Jobs (Apple), also did not take any alternative form of compensation (stock options, bonus, etc.) from 2003 until his death Richard Kinder (Kinder Morgan), also does not take any alternative form of compensation (stock options, bonus, etc.) James Li (Syntax-Brillian) John Mackey (Whole Foods Market), who also does not take any alternative form of compensation (stock options, bonus, etc.) Joseph Marinaccio (Slam Content) Larry Page (Google) Vikram Pandit (Citigroup) Mark Pincus (Zynga) Richard Riordan (Mayor of Los Angeles) Eric Schmidt (Google) Henry Samueli (Broadcom Corporation) Arnold Schwarzenegger (former Governor of California) Terry Semel (Yahoo!) Pantas Sutardja (Marvell Technology Group) Sehat Sutardja (Marvell Technology Group) Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard) Jerry Yang (Yahoo!) Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) Source