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Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency is official, Calibra wallet app coming 2020

Rumors have swirled for some time about a Facebook cryptocurrency and now it's official. It's called Libra and its lofty mission is similar to that of other digital currencies that have come before it, to "reinvent money" and "transform the global economy." At the same time, Facebook is sharing the wider plans for Calibra, a newly-formed subsidiary in charge of blockchain and financial services products going forward.

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42

Something good finally comes out of the Huawei ban

The Huawei ban has been a nightmare for the company, with organizations ranging from Google to the Bluetooth SIG having been pressured into severing ties with it, but it's not all bad news — Facebook bloatware apps can no longer be pre-installed on Huawei devices, according to Reuters.

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19

Facebook introduces Avatars because every app needs its own Bitmoji wannabe

Facebook is trialing a way to personalize the engagement its users can have with the content on its platform. Avatars are currently being tested in Australia as a Bitmoji-like addition to standard reactions and generated GIFs. A global roll-out is reportedly targeted for later this year at the earliest, but there are questions about how big of a draw this feature will be for existing users as well as departed users that may want to make a return.

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19

[Update: In stable] WhatsApp beta rolls out continuous voice note playback and message forwarding count

Step by step, WhatsApp has been implementing features to combat the uncontrollable spread of fake or even just sugar-coated news on its platform. Today's update to the beta app includes one more measure to help monitor forwarded messages, but it also brings one very handy feature for voice notes.

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8

Facebook finally releases Portal companion app for Android

Communication and information display have started to move beyond the smartphone to smart displays and dedicated video devices like the Facebook Portal. Speaking of which, the social media giant has pushed out an Android app for managing said Portal devices. You can now send photos to the Superframe, add accounts, call your Portal when you're away from home, and manage your favorites.

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7

Instagram kills Direct, its standalone Snapchat competitor, merges it into main app

In order to fiercely compete with Snapchat, Facebook launched Stories on almost all its messaging platforms, beginning with Instagram. The feature was so popular it succeeded in dethroning its rival, which encouraged the company to release a standalone messaging app called Direct. Although the new software brought some extra features like exclusive filters, Instagram has decided to merge all functionalities into its main application.

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64

[Update: Night Mode, more screenshots] Here's our first look at WhatsApp's dark mode

There are few things in life more certain than Android users getting excited about an app adding a dark mode. Personally, white text on black/dark backgrounds tires my eyes, especially during daytime, but I'm not here to argue with you about personal preferences. If you like dark modes in apps, you'll be happy to know that WhatsApp is working on its own.

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52

WhatsApp vulnerability exposed civil rights promoters to hacking attempts

WhatsApp is scrambling to determine the impact of a now-patched vulnerability in its iPhone and Android apps that allowed hackers to inject spyware into users' devices. The security hole is at the center of at least one known recent hacking attempt against a lawyer representing a group suing the surveillance software vendor that made the spyware.

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17

Facebook shuts down its 'Bonfire' group video chat app

Facebook has a habit of cloning popular apps, or integrating popular features from its competitors into its own platforms. Houseparty is a group video calling app that was fairly popular a few years ago, and Facebook released its own clone in 2017 as 'Bonfire.' Now the company has shut down Bonfire, and it never even arrived in the United States.

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49

Facebook makeover drops iconic blue app bar, puts more focus on groups

Recent design trends on Android take away app bars' individual colors and replace them with white, making it harder for us to distinguish apps. After Facebook already followed that fad with its Messenger redesign (which thankfully includes a dark theme), the company announced at its annual developer conference F8 that its main app and website will become whiter, too. Along with these visual changes, groups will receive a more prominent place on the platform.

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