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Facebook: Stocks, Drones, And Wi-Fi, Oh My!

Some big news and new features for Facebook this week — the first being that Facebook has integrated games into its Messenger platform.

The update is coming soon to 30 countries worldwide on both Android and iOS operating systems. Soon users of Facebook Messenger will be able to play Words with Friends, PAC-MAN, SPACE and Galaga, among others. This gaming addition will soon roll out to 30 countries.

Over 1 billion people worldwide use Facebook messenger to communicate — textually, via video, and non-verbally via GIFs and emoji, and soon many of them they can compete with their friends as well.

It’s a clever integration that could work to boost user numbers even higher — and it allows Facebook Messenger to further compete with rival Chinese messaging/social media/eCommerce/everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mobile app WeChat, which already hosts games for its 700 million monthly active users.

Yes, the internet and all of its things continue to proliferate, and in the future it could largely broadcast from the sky if Facebook and its Wi-Fi beaming Aquila drones (like the one Zuckerberg gave to the Pope in August) have anything to do with it — barring any future missteps like the one back in June, of course.

What seems like old news has recently come back into the spotlight. Just today, it was found that the National Transportation Safety (NTBS) board was reportedly brought in to investigate the incident involving one of Facebook’s drones crashing during the landing phase of its first test flight earlier this summer.

Peter Knudson, an NTSB spokesman, was quoted as saying that the accident occurred at 7:43 a.m. Mountain time in Yuma, Ariz., and that the NTS classified the failure as an accident, meaning that the drone received substantial damage.

Though Facebook released some information on the crash in late July, the company didn’t mention anything regarding the NTSB investigation.

The solar-powered Aquila drones boast a 113-foot wingspan and the ability to fly between 60,000 and 90,000 feet for up to 90 days, providing a 60-mile area with Internet access. An estimated 4 billion people worldwide still don’t have reliable Internet access, if any at all.

A future with worldwide internet access could lead to untold revenues across a wide range of eCommerce sectors. But it’s best not to get ahead of oneself — it’s all about baby steps.

For instance, Facebook is testing out a new feature that takes users’ location data and shows them nearby locations listed on Facebook’s Pages that provide public Wi-Fi. Currently, the Find Wi-Fi feature is being tested on select iOS devices. There are no reports on whether Android users could potentially have the ability to test the new feature as of yet.

This addition could be part of a push to boost user use of the Facebook Live streaming service. Live video streaming is notoriously unreliable without a strong, stable internet connection.

To close out this week’s tracker, founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, the estimated fourth richest man in the world, has made another step in his goal of donating 99 percent of his Facebook stake for improving the world within his lifetime.

Last week, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and CZI Holdings, the foundations Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan put toward philanthropy, sold an additional $95 million in Facebook stock toward the cause between November 17 and 18. The two sold $190 million back in October and another $190 million in September.

Zuckerberg and Chan first announced their philanthropic plan back in December 2015 and followed up in September of this year by pledging to put $3 billion toward fighting disease in the next decade.

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