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Facebook transforms into entertainment hub

September 23, 2011
1 You can listen now to music and watch films in your internet browser – free.
2 You’ll be able to listen instantly to friends’ songs even on your iPhone.
3 One in 14 of Earth’s population logged in to try out the service.
4 Social networking site founder brushes off user rebellion over site changes.

Facebook’s latest ‘revamp’ is no cosmetic overhaul – the site will now offer films, music, news and books directly through the site, in a move that will put in direct competition with media giants such as Time Warner and Fox.One in 14 people on earth logged in this week.

‘We are making it so you can connect to anything you want. Now you don’t have to like a book, you can just read a book,’ Zuckerberg said. ‘You don’t have to like a movie; you can just watch a movie.’Recommendations from friends will appear in a feed on the site – simply clicking will allow you to jump directly into films, music and books your friends like.

Facebook’s ‘streaming’ subscriptions enable users to ‘recommend’ books, music and films, and friends to try them immediately.

‘The first five years of social networking have just been about getting people signed up,’ said Zuckerberg. Facebook is hugely popular – users now spend more time on the site than Google, and, as Mark Zuckerberg revealed yesterday, it now has 800 million users.

The site is already an entertainment giant – for games, at least. Previously unknown company Zynga – creator of Farmville – is now valued at $1 billion, and dwarfs many of the games industry’s titans.

Now Zuckerberg aims to do the same for films, television, books, news and even art, in a series of high profile partnerships with companies such as music site Spotify and film-sharing site Cinemur.

That’s when Charlie Sheen gets married, right?’ says comedian Andy Samberg, sharing a stage with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – who was more relaxed than at previous conferences.

‘Sharing’ with friends will not turn the site into a hub for digital piracy, however. Although you’ll be able to watch, read and listen directly through Facebook, most services will eventually require a subscription – similar to Spotify’s £10 a month fee for unlimited listening.

New, more detailed, ‘timeline’ profile pages allow users to add details of their lives ‘pre-Facebook’ – and create a more detailed profile.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces Timeline during his keynote address at the Facebook f8 Developers Conference in San Francisc.

The redesigned page looks more like an online scrapbook and users can add photos to their ‘timeline’ from before Facebook existed, such as photos of their birth.

Zuckerberg has made several announcements this week as the site has faced competition from the likes of Google+.


Before Mark Zuckerberg launched the latest changes to the site, ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast member Andy Samberg took to the stage to introduce two new fake features.

Wearing Zuckerberg’s usual attire of a hoodie and sandals, Samberg did his impersonation of the Facebook founder, which has become a regular feature on the show.

‘Let’s get to the part where I brag about user growth,’ Samberg said. ‘We continue to expand to the point where we’ve stop counting you guys.

‘It’s more than the population of Europe, the cast of ‘Glee’ and the amount of people claiming they came up with Facebook. Burn!’

Samberg then introduced the ‘I’m not really friends with these people’ section of the site.

The fake Zuckerberg said the new feature would be a place on your friends list to put people that you feel obligated to be friends with, but that you do not really like.

‘It’s the perfect place to put awkward friends from middle school, older drunk women you meet at charity events, racist neighbours, and aunts,’ he said.

Then he revealed the ‘slow poke’, which is a poke that moves so slowly that you can take it back if for example you gave the poke while drunk.

‘The Slow Poke’ gives users 24 hours to ‘realise you’re an idiot’ before it is sent to the friend.

The real Zuckerberg then took to the stage interrupting the monologue saying, ‘drop the act now, man’.

‘The slow poke isn’t even a real feature,’ Zuckerberg said while chuckling. ‘The deal was I was supposed to feed you real information through the earpiece.’


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