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WhatsApp is now blocked in China

China has a long history of blocking or limiting access to websites, especially social networks and Western-owned sites. Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many Google services are currently blocked in mainland China. WhatsApp has been partially-blocked in the past (for a while, video chats and some other functionality wasn't working), but now the entire service seems to be non-functional.

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IFTTT adds applets for Facebook Messenger

IFTTT is a powerful automation tool that can link together many of the popular services we all use every day. The possibilities are almost endless with a bit of imagination. The platform has had a bunch of Facebook applets for some time, but the same couldn't be said for Facebook Messenger, until now.

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Facebook is testing further UI changes, including a pull-down navigation drawer

The devs in Menlo Park have been busy recently rolling out significant changes to the look of the Facebook app for Android, more about which you can read here. We've now received tips about a further change that's currently being tested which replaces the linear, swipe-left hamburger menu with a pull-down grid of options. The new layout even has notification dots, just like Android Oreo.

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Verified WhatsApp business accounts are now official

To US readers, WhatsApp may not seem like much of a big deal. Things are different elsewhere, however, and with more than 1 billion daily active users it's easy to understand why Facebook paid so much money to acquire the messaging service. After a number of rumors and clues, business accounts similar to what you can already find in the Facebook Messenger app are now coming to WhatsApp.

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Facebook Messenger Lite passes 50 million downloads

Facebook released a lite version of its Messenger application near the end of last year. As with most Lite apps, it's designed to be used in growing markets, where cellular data may be a limited resource. It's less than 10MB, works on Android 2.3 or higher, and has all of the essential features of the full app.

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Facebook is adjusting the newsfeed to make it easier to read and more conversational

Although it might not always seem like it, UX is paramount to Facebook's devs. They want to make engagement with the app as easy as possible in order to persuade users to keep coming back for more. Every change they make is rigorously tested, a difficult task given UI preferences are highly subjective among the app's billions of users. For that reason, we don't see too many changes. Over the next few weeks, Facebook is going to roll out some of the biggest visual adjustments we'll have seen for quite some time.

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Facebook introduces new video platform Watch in a bid to compete with YouTube

For a while now, Facebook has been trying to figure out what to do with video, both in its app and on the site. The social network has been testing various UI changes, such as a live streaming tab and a suggested video FAB. In the States, there has been a video tab in place of friend requests for some time, for many users at least. Since the company gave up on pushing live video quite so hard, this has been home to video notifications and suggested videos as well. Facebook has reimagined this space once again, and it will now be home to a new video platform called Watch.

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Facebook is testing a standalone video chat device, could be running Android

According to a report from Bloomberg, Facebook is building a video calling device for the home, in what is essentially a new product category. It apparently has a laptop-sized screen and smart camera technology that gives users the impression of being in the same room as one another.

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Facebook celebrates 2 billion monthly active users

This is a little bonkers. Out of the 7.5 billion people living on the planet, give or take a few hundred million, 2 billion visit Facebook at least once a month. On a conservative estimate, that's 1 out of any 4 people alive right now... any 4 humans, be it newborns, kids, teenagers, adults, elderly people, those without internet access, those in war-torn countries, those sick and unconscious, those living in the hidden nooks and crannies of our planet... literally one out of any four persons.

Mark Zuckerberg announced the news on his Facebook feed and it was later followed up by a post on the official Newsroom blog with more stats and a couple of new things.

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