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35

First evidence of WhatsApp integration pops up in Facebook Messenger

Early last year, we got word that Facebook was considering cross-platform chats between WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, running on a unified, encrypted backend. After the first small steps towards compatibility in the form of Messenger Rooms in WhatsApp, we now see this cross-app integration taking shape. According to WABetaInfo, a few hints have appeared in Facebook Messenger that reveal how the company is working on a way to contact WhatsApp users through the app.

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19

Facebook will spare your eyes from the incessant stream of political ads coming your way this fall

Regardless of what side of any particular issue you're on, political ads kind of suck — and on top of that, it's not even clear how effective they are. The brass at Facebook is acknowledging that fact, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a piece published recently in USA Today that users will soon be able to opt out of seeing them entirely.

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4

Here's where you can find Messenger Rooms in Facebook and Instagram

Facebook has rolled out Messenger Rooms, its answer to the Zooms and Google Meets of the world, in the United States through its Facebook and Instagram apps. The company announced what was really an expansion of its Messenger video call capabilities last week.

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28

Facebook acquires Giphy, plans to fully integrate GIFs into Instagram

Facebook has acquired GIPHY, a social platform centered around GIFs. Axios is reporting from sources that the company paid $400 million in the deal.

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12

Instagram Lite is dead, all hail full-fat Instagram (Update: Potential relaunch)

Social media platforms have maintained slimmed-down versions of their apps in the past few years to grab more users from developing markets with low-end hardware. Facebook, however, has decided to shut down Instagram Lite and is now redirecting users to the main app. The company has not said why.

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21

Nab a Facebook Portal Mini for just $80 ($50 off) for simple video calling with friends and family

When Facebook announced it was releasing the Portal series of devices for video calls, skepticism abounded. Development on the devices continued unabated though, and they've been extremely well-reviewed. Facebook has come out with several variants in the past two years, including 10" and 15" models; today, its 8" variant, the Facebook Portal Mini, is on sale for just $80.

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9

Instagram Live broadcasts can now be watched on the web

Instagram Live has become one of the largest platforms for personal streaming, but broadcasts were only viewable from the mobile app, which can be a drag for longer streams. Fortunately, Instagram has now added support for watching Live content from the web, so you can watch homebound celebrities from the comfort of a large screen.

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3

Instagram adds video Co-Watching to help users cope with social isolation

As more of us are stuck inside during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Instagram is rolling out a number of new features. The most interesting among them is the ability to watch videos live with friends during video calls, but the social network is also adding links to coronavirus resources from the World Health Organization, plus a "Stay Home" sticker (seen above) that adds posts to one big story.

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45

These video streaming services are reducing bandwidth consumption following the coronavirus pandemic (Update: TikTok)

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, most people have to stay quarantined at home to prevent the spread of the virus. This is causing increased network usage, as people need a stable connection to work, study, and of course, entertain themselves. Sadly, the latter requires a high bandwidth, which providers are trying to contain by reducing the quality of their service.

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43

Vine's successor Byte is now out on the Play Store

Vine was the internet phenomenon that proved that short, easily digestible video clips could be tremendously popular and spark creativity. However, the rigid six-second format had soon been adopted and loosened up by Instagram and later TikTok, and after Twitter purchased Vine, it vanished into obscurity. An unceremonious death followed in 2016. But Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann still believes in the format and has been working on a successor for a long time. After an extensive beta phase, this new product, Byte, is now official and stable on the Play Store.

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