Facebook introduced several new features in 2015, including a new payment platform that allows users to send money through Facebook chat and disappearing messages – two features which, combined, might create some issues for users. It introduced a new Privacy Checkup tool to help its users control their information, eavesdropped using your computer’s microphone to “identify the things you’re listening to or watching based on the music and TV matches,” and was the venue for several scams targeting users. Here are Lavasoft’s top Facebook stories from 2015:

Facebook Tests Disappearing Messages, Scares Users With Photo Magic

This year Facebook tested a new feature in its chat function that allows users to send messages that will disappear after an hour. Facebook also tested a facial recognition feature called Photo Magic, which scans newly taken photos on mobile devices and notifies the user when it has identified their Facebook friends.

How Safe is Facebook’s New Payment Platform?

Facebook rolled out its new payment platform for all US-based Facebook Messenger users this year. According to their news release, “The first time you send or receive money in Messenger, you’ll need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a US bank to your account.” After a user has entered their debit card information into the system, the payments feature allows the user to either click a dollar sign icon in the chat window or simply type a dollar amount inside the chat which will then transform into a payment link.  

Facebook Tracks How We Laugh Online

Facebook analyzed data from its users, collected from public posts and comments, containing standard expressions identifying laughter online. They subsequently analyzed the popularity of different types of e-laughter as well as demographic data. LOL!

Facebook Introduces a Security Checkup Tool

Facebook introduced its new Security Checkup tool for web-based users. The tool highlights the social media site’s existing arsenal of security options, prompting users to address potential threats item-by-item. Combined with the previously released Privacy Checkup tool, the social media giant is attempting to force its billions of users to look under the hood of their Facebook account and ensure a greater level of access and privacy control. 

Eavesdropping Technology: How Your TV, Barbie, and Facebook Can Hear You

Facebook does not record your conversations but its Music and TV Identification feature uses your microphone to “identify the things you’re listening to or watching based on the music and TV matches we’re able to identify.” 

‘Most Used Words’ Facebook App Trades Privacy for Likes

A new Facebook app called “Most Used Words” went viral this year. The app is not a proprietary Facebook feature but originates from a third-party South Korean company called Vonvon. Millions of users downloaded it and the app collected a significant amount of their information. 

Social Media Spam: Facebook’s Free Plane Ticket Hoax

As email providers have successfully adapted to eliminate spam and social media is now a prevalent mode of communication, both legitimate marketers and spammers are increasingly using venues such as Facebook. A popular form of Facebook hoax has become prevalent again this year: the free planet ticket hoax.


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