Facebook denies launch of branded phone

Facebook has denied rumours it is to launch a branded mobile phone with HTC, saying an ’official’ handset would go against its key principles.

In a briefing to select members of the UK press this morning, Dan Rose, Facebook’s VP of partnerships and platform marketing, said the forthcoming HTC phone is using the existing Facebook application programming interface (API), already used by other manufacturers, and isn’t a co-branded handset.

“HTC, like many manufacturers, is implementing Facebook using our API,” he said. “This is a common use of the platform and we want to see more of it. The rumours about there being something more to the HTC device are overblown.”

Rose added that an official phone would contradict how Facebook wants its platform to be used by third parties, including handset manufacturers.

“One of the key principles of our platform is that we want to make it as broadly available as possible, so calling something the official Facebook version goes against that,” he said.

Rose also said the company had no plans to offer ads for third-party sites, including the 2.5m sites using its social graph, or charge for any traffic data passed on.

On of his key themes was how the social web will cause “disruption” across existing industries, citing the extraordinary growth of social gaming companies like Playfish and Zynga.

“You’re in fact seeing companies inside Facebook, where they see the opportunity to build a truly social application – something fundamentally different to what they’ve done historically – as attractive,” he said.

On Tuesday Facebook launched an ad format that shows users the interactions, such as likes or check-ins that their friends have made with a brand. It said this will make ads more effective and relevant to users. Brands will be able to show information such as Places check-ins, page likes and posts within the ad units.

At the start of the week Facebook confirmed a $1bn (£627.3m) investment from Goldman Sachs Overseas Offering, valuing it at $50bn (£31.4bn)

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

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