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Lifestage is Facebook's teen-only video profile app

While Facebook has around 1.7 billion users worldwide, not that many of these are teenagers, with most 13-19 year olds preferring Snapchat or Instagram (for, in my mind, obvious reasons). In an attempt to combat this, Facebook released Lifestage for iOS devices back in August, and now the Android app has just arrived.

Lifestage encourages users to upload pictures and videos based on their likes, dislikes, or feelings. These are then turned into video profiles which others can see. There is no privacy whatsoever on Lifestage - everything is public. Facebook is aiming the app at school communities - once a school has more than 20 users, other profiles are visible.

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Facebook introduces Recommendations, a formal way to get suggestions from your friends

As I have moved on from sharing my every move via Facebook, one of the most useful things I do on the platform nowadays is take advantage of the expertise of my friends. Finding a place to get lunch, identifying a dentist covered by my employer's insurance, and all manner of similar problems can be solved in part by soliciting suggestions from my social network. Facebook is now rolling out a feature called Recommendations that helps you make sense of your friends' input.

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Facebook adds support for casting videos from your phone or desktop

Google's casting platform has been around for a few years now, and Facebook has thus far ignored it. That changes today; after a small test of the feature earlier this year, Facebook has announced official support for casting videos from your phone or desktop. It looks a little different than you may be used to, though.

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Facebook at Work is now Workplace by Facebook, available for all companies

Over a year ago, Facebook began testing their internal communication tool, Facebook at Work, with a number of organizations. Not only has Facebook renamed the platform to 'Workplace by Facebook,' they are finally publicly releasing it. Starting today, any company can use Workplace.

In the same vein as Google+ for Work, Workplace tries to adapt social networks for internal use at businesses. Facebook's news feed, search, trending posts, live video, and more have all made the jump. Workplace also features unlimited file, photo, and video storage, monitoring tools, team and project groups, and Single-sign on (SSO) support. Integration with G Suite (the new name for Google Apps for Work), Okta, OneLogin, Ping, and Windows Azure AD is also supported.

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Facebook officially announces Marketplace, an easier way to buy and sell items locally

Facebook has been planning some form of a Marketplace feature for years. It was first announced in 2007, then didn't really happen. Finally in 2015 it began appearing for some iOS users, and earlier this year, on Android as well. Now Facebook has finally released the feature publicly, on Android and iOS alike.

Facebook has always had Groups specifically for buying/selling items locally, and Facebook reports that "more than 450 million" people visit these groups each month. The new Marketplace feature is simply a better way to do what people already use Facebook for. The new Marketplace tab is a welcome change from using Facebook Groups in terms of sorting; you can filter items by location, category, or price.

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[Update: APK Download] Facebook releases Messenger Lite, a cut-down version of Messenger for emerging markets

Facebook Lite was released early last year, and it's pretty good - it takes up less space than the regular Facebook app and consumes much less data. As a follow-up, Messenger Lite is now available, meaning phones in countries where data is thin on the ground and people with small amounts of storage can use Messenger as well.

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Facebook Messenger gains Direct Share on Marshmallow and above

Facebook Messenger, mostly just referred to as Messenger these days, (or "I'll send you a link on Facebook") has improved at a rate of knots over the last year or so. It's had a material overhaul, nicknames and color functions added, group calling, games, new emojis, SMS support, and probably a lot more. Today another new feature has arrived Messenger, especially for Android: Direct Share.

In my travels across the web, I've seen many people asking for this feature. Well, now it's here, and it works as well as you'd expect it to. Find a tweet, reddit post or comment, a link, anything that brings up Android's share menu, and if you're running at least version 88.0.0.11.69 or above (thanks, Alexander Sofinskiy), plus Android 6.0 Marshmallow or 7.0 Nougat, you should see your most-messaged people appear in the Direct Share menu above the apps.

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Facebook Messenger introduces Instant Video, an answer to Google Duo

In a Google Duo world, do you really want to fire up an old-fashioned video chat? Facebook figures your answer is 'prolly not,' so it's simplifying the experience inside of Messenger. This change is called Instant Video.

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WhatsApp updates Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to add sharing information with Facebook

WhatsApp today has updated its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for the first time in four years, to reflect changes made in the app since that time. Perhaps the most important changes regard information sharing with Facebook and the 'Facebook family of companies,' and updates concerning WhatsApp Calling, which launched over a year ago now.

The changes regarding Facebook mean that some information on a WhatsApp account can be shared with Facebook to help improve the company's products and services. This should allow for better spam fighting and abuse, as well as seeing "better friend recommendations and more relevant ads on Facebook."

So what information is actually being shared from WhatsApp to Facebook?

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Instagram reaches 1 billion installs on the Play Store, the 19th app to do so

The latest app to join the rather exclusive 1 billion club on Google Play is... drumroll please... Instagram. This is quite surprising when estimates only put the number of accounts at 500 million, but I guess the downloads counter doesn't differentiate between unique installs or not. Either way, it scares me that Facebook owns the two biggest social networks in the world.

After the Facebook app, then WhatsApp, then Messenger, Instagram is the fourth of Facebook's apps to get 1 billion installs. Again, scary. Getting 1 billion installs is no easy feat - especially since at the last count Android only had 1.4 billion users.

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