Facebook announces Embedded Posts, copies yet another Twitter feature

Facebook says it has started rolling out a much wanted feature – embedded posts. This new Facebook feature will allow users to post Facebook posts on other Web pages.

“Embedded Posts let people add public posts from Facebook to their blog or web site. When embedded, posts can include pictures, videos, hashtags and other content. People can also like and share the post directly from the embed,” Facebook software engineers Dave Capra and Ray He said in a post introducing embedded posts on Facebook.

Though not all Facebook posts are embeddable, only those posts whose privacy settings are set to public can be embedded.

Facebook announces Embedded Posts, copies yet another Twitter featureThis new Facebook Embedded Posts feature will allow users to embed Facebook posts on other Web pages.

Facebook Embedded Posts is currently limited to the content posted by a few news publishers and Facebook says broader availability is coming soon.

Embedded Posts is only the latest in the long list of Twitter features that Facebook has aped. The last major feature that Facebook copied from Twitter was the hashtag.

While Twitter users have been on their own using the # symbol as a prefix to a word or phrase to group related tweets for quite some time, Twitter began hyperlinking hashtags from July 2009 and Facebook began rolling it in June 2013.

That blue and white icon with a check mark is a much desired badge on Twitter. So what if even a fake account can flaunt one? It was only last month that Facebook announced its own blue check mark for “authentic accounts of celebrities and other high-profile people and businesses on Facebook.” Twitter’s verified account feature dates back to 2009. Though unlike Twitter, Facebook will verify authentic identities on its own and users cannot request to have a profile or Page verified.

One big difference between Facebook and Twitter was that Facebook required consent from both users for one to get updates from the other, while on Twitter an one-sided action would suffice. With the ‘Subscribe’ button, introduced in September 2011 (and renamed to ‘Follow’ in December 2012) Facebook let its users receive posts from other Facebook users, even from those they are not friends with. Quite like Twitter.

@mentions pre-dates Twitter, but its usage gained popularity with the rise of Twitter. While Twitter added support for @mentions (or @replies or tagging) in May 2008, Facebook’s integration came more than a year later in September 2009.

That’s not all. Twitter had this feature, where hovering over a username would display an information box with the users’ details (Twitter has now changed the action from rollover to click) and this, obviously, found its way into the Facebook user experience.

If you are in the mood for some micro-inspirations, here’s one. Twitter no longer asks you to tweet “What are you doing?” (it has switched to “What’s happening?” for quite some time now) and when Facebook went for a redesign in August 2008 it added prominence to its status update feature and began asking users, “What are you doing right now?”. Note the similarity?

It’s not that Twitter didn’t seek inspiration elsewhere. It did and continues to do. So does Google+. The problem with this feature aping is that the competing social networks are slowly becoming clones of one another, feature by feature. Soon there might be little to tell them apart from their brand names.

Vodafone India offers free Twitter access for three months

Vodafone India is offering its prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers free Twitter access for a period of three months starting 29 July.

Under the promotion, users will be able to access mobile.twitter.com or the Twitter Android app without incurring any data charges on the Vodafone network. The operator clarifies that access to mobile.twitter.com would be free only when the subscriber uses the native or default browser.

It also adds that “the Eligible Subscriber would only be charged for connection setup, at 10p/10KB on 2G all circles except Uttar Pradesh (West), Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka and 2p/10KB on 3G and 2G in Uttar Pradesh (West), Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka in case he/she is subscribed to Pay As You Go Tariff at Prevailing Pack Tariff in case he/she has subscribed to any of the Vodafone India Mobile Internet Packs.”

Free Twitter access is available only when the subscriber sets the APN to ‘www’ in the Internet data settings on the phone. The offer is not available to BlackBerry users.

It’s also worth pointing out that visiting external links from tweets will lead to users incurring data charges.

Vodafone is also running advertisement messages within the Android Twitter app showing promotional messages under individual tweets and pop-up messages when one tries to compose a tweet, as reported by some users. (Hat tip – Pravin @beingpractical)

It’s not the first time an Indian telecom operator has tied up with Twitter to offer free access. In April, Reliance Communications had also tied up with Twitter to offer a “Twitter Access” program for three months, wherein it offered its GSM subscribers access to Twitter’s mobile website and app without levying any extra data consumption charges.