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Facebook starts testing Sponsored ads in Messenger

Facebook Messenger is used by a lot of brands and businesses to communicate with their users, customers, or fans. According to Facebook, 1 billion messages are sent on the platform each month between businesses and users. So it only makes sense that Facebook wants to monetize that and businesses want to take advantage of it to reach more users with special offers or product ads. And that's what Facebook is starting to do.

In the coming weeks, a test group of people in Thailand and Australia will start seeing ads in their Facebook Messenger app. These will show up on the Messenger home screen below recent conversations, as is the case with birthday notifications or the list of currently active users.

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Hugo Barra is joining Facebook as the new head of Oculus VR

Former Googler Hugo Barra announced recently that he was leaving his gig at Xiaomi, where he's worked as a global VP since 2013. Everyone was wondering where he would go, and now we know. Barra is Facebook-bound. Specifically, he's going to be the head of Oculus VR at Facebook.

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Slideshow being tested in Facebook app after iOS debut back in June

Back in June, Facebook released a new feature to the iOS app, Slideshow, which takes photos uploaded to the service and turns them into videos, much like in Google Photos. We've received a tip that says this is now being tested in the Facebook app on Android, although it's hard to say how widely.

None of the Android Police team have Slideshow in the Facebook app, so we've not actually been able to use it. However, what we can say is this: it appears in the 'Post to Facebook' Activity, above the 'Tag Friends' option. Tapping it brings up gallery pictures, of which you can choose images for the slideshow.

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Facebook introduces Live Audio for voice-only broadcasts

After announcing Live 360, Facebook is continuing its crusade into the live broadcasting arena with an audio-only format cleverly named Live Audio. The premise is extremely basic: users will be able to broadcast their voices to any subscriber who may be tuning in.

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Group video chats now rolling out to Facebook Messenger

Facebook has made a few long-awaited additions to Messenger lately, including that new Snapchat-like camera interface. Well, there's one more big change coming in 2016—group video chat. This feature it rolling out to Android and iOS starting this very day. You'll have to forgive the iPhone screens, that's all Facebook has provided. It should look similar on Android.

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Facebook announces global rollout of new 'native camera' for Messenger

Users of Facebook Messenger have been seeing a new camera tool pop up in recent weeks, but it wasn't consistent or widely available. Now, Facebook is rolling this feature out to everyone in Messenger. The so-called native camera is easier to access and it has a ton of effects and filters. I'm told by some young people that it's much more like Snapchat now.

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Facebook releases its standalone Events app for Android (only two months after iOS)

Facebook's Events app was announced back on October 7 as another standalone app you could download to access one feature among the social network's many entities. At the time, the app was made available to iOS, but now it has finally crossed over to our side of the mobile divide and is available on the Play Store.

Events from Facebook, as the official name of the app says, lets you check on events you're already interested in, see events your friends might be attending or have invited you to, as well as events announced by pages you already follow. It also lets you browse events by location, time, and interest to see what's happening around if you're planning a trip or maybe looking for something to do in town and don't have anything set yet.

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Instagram live video will start rolling out in the US today

Instagram's focus on sharing pictures has expanded steadily ever since the Facebook acquisition, and now it joins its parent company in offering live video. After announcing the feature a few weeks ago, Instagram says the feature is rolling out to all US users this very day. It's a bit different than the way Facebook and others handle live video, though.

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Now you can play games in your conversation threads within Facebook Messenger

Anyone remember the days of playing those silly Facebook games? Since the world has changed quite radically since the heyday of Zynga, it feels like that era was so long ago. Perhaps in a bit of nostalgia or an urge to incite over-competitiveness among friends, Facebook has rolled out games within the Messenger app.

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Android Auto integration with Facebook Messenger now available

Texting while driving can be extremely dangerous, but replying to messages with your voice is probably the safest way to do it. I've used Google Now (well, it's not called Now anymore) on my Nexus 5X countless times to send SMS and Hangouts messages while driving. Facebook today announced that the Facebook Messenger application for Android has added support for Android Auto.

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