January 23, 2018

Facebook has invented a new unit of time, but what is a Facebook flick?

By Luke Christou

Facebook innovated social media and has established itself as a major player in the virtual reality space. Now it’s trying its hand at time.

The tech giant has launched flicks, a new unit of time which, according to Facebook, is the smallest time unit that is larger than a nanosecond.

Facebook has publicly released the files via software development platform GitHub. These files can be downloaded and used by those working in computer programming language C++.

You might be wondering what reason Facebook has for shunning seconds, minutes and hours. However, Facebook flicks aren’t an elaborate ploy to make those 15 second adverts wedged in between 30 second videos seem less excessive than they are.

What is the point of the Facebook flick?

Developed by Facebook’s Oculus team, the company has good reason for creating flicks. Flick isn’t for Facebook users, but those generating the video content that fuels the social network.

A Facebook flick is equivalent to exactly 1/705,600,000 of a second. This is significant, as TechCrunch notes, as it means that a flick can be divided into a number of other numbers that are frequently used in the media production industry without creating inconvenient decimals.

Currently, many of framerates and frequencies used divide into recurring decimals. For example, films are shot at 24 frames per second. However, 1/24 of a second equates to 0.04166 recurring. For convenience, content-makers have to round this up to 0.04167.

Consequently, this causes a slight discrepancy which throws the 24 frames to a second rule off. While humans can comprehend why this is happening, it can confuse computer systems and lead to further problems down the line.

However, flicks solve this issue, as it divides evenly into many of the numbers that power media production. For example, 1/24 of a second, or one frame, equates to 29,400,000 flicks.

1/705,600,000 also divides evenly into 8, 16, 22.05, 25, 30, 32, 44.1, 48, 50, 60, 90, 100 and 120. This makes it suitable for use with the majority of video and audio rates.

Unless you work in media production, it is highly unlikely that you will ever hear of flick again.

However, for those that live for social media and want to be involved in everything Facebook, here are a few facts worth noting:

Topics in this article: