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Facebook begins testing ‘Stories’ on desktop site

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New Delhi, Aug 4: After the success of “Stories” feature on Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook has begun testing the feature on its desktop site now.

“Stories” are ephemeral posts that include photos or video that are visible for 24 hours before they disappear.

According to a report in TechCrunch on Thursday, “Stories” feature on the desktop site is located on the right side, and a small question mark icon appears in the “Stories” module which explains the feature’s purpose, when hovered over with your cursor.

Instagram registered over 150 million “Stories” by its daily users in first five months. Now it has 250 million daily users, compared with Snapchat’s 166 million which first introduced the feature on the social media sites.

According to Facebook, half of the businesses on Instagram created a story in the past month and Instagram’s average usage has climbed to 32 minutes per day for those under 25, and 24 minutes per day for those 25 and up.

Facebook has introduced “Stories” feature on all its platforms including Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Facebook mobile.

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TRAI speeds up process of Mobile Number Portability

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New Delhi, Dec 14: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) amended the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) regulations to ease and quicken the process of portability.

The timeline for porting a mobile number within the Intra-Licensed Service Area (Intra-LSA) or the same circle has been limited to two days and that in a different circle or an Inter-Licensed Service Area (Inter-LSA) has been kept at four days.

Further, the regulator also said a telecom operator would have to pay a penalty of not exceeding Rs 10,000 for any misinformation about the portability and each wrongful rejection of portability request.

“If any access provider or mobile number portability service provider contravenes the provisions… (it shall) be liable to pay an amount, by way of financial disincentive not exceeding Rs 10,000 for each wrongful rejection of the request for porting,” the TRAI circular said.

TRAI also shortened the validity period of Unique Porting Code (UPC) to four days from the previous period of 15 days for all Licensed Service Area (LSA) except the LSAs of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North-East for which the validity of UPC remains unchanged.

For the cases of corporate porting, the present limit of 50 numbers in single authorisation letter has been enhanced to 100 numbers per authorisation letter, the circular said.

“Post implementation of this regulation (amendment), appropriate Quality of Service (QoS) parameters will be devised by the authority to monitor the role of MNPSPs (Mobile Number Portability Service Providers) and Access Providers in the new scenario,” it said.

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Account removal, information requests up from India: Twitter

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New Delhi, Dec 14 : The Indian government made information requests for 355 Twitter accounts in the January-June 2018 period while law enforcement agencies in the country asked the micro-blogging platform to remove 237 accounts for violating the law of the land.

According to Twitter’s 13th biannual Transparency Report, the company provided some information to the Indian government in 11 per cent of cases.

“Twitter withheld two accounts and 23 Tweets in response to a legal demand from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) under Section 69A of the India Information Technology Act, 2000, for propagating objectionable content,” the company said in the report late Thursday.

When it comes to legal requests (including 9 requests in the form of court order) from India, 19 accounts and 498 Tweets were withheld as per the rules.

In total, Twitter met the legal demands to withhold some content from India in 5 per cent of the cases.

“Governments (including law enforcement agencies), organisations chartered to combat discrimination, and lawyers representing individuals are among the many complainants that submit legal requests,” said Twitter.

In July-December 2017, the Indian government made information requests for 315 Twitter accounts and law enforcement agencies had asked the social network to remove 144 accounts.

Globally, Twitter received 10 per cent more government information requests (combined emergency disclosure requests and non-emergency requests), which is the largest percentage increase since its July-December 2015 report.

“The latest report shows that Twitter received approximately 80 per cent more global legal demands, impacting more than twice as many accounts compared to the previous reporting period.

“Similar to the last reporting period, roughly 87 per cent of the total global volume originated from only two countries: Russia and Turkey,” Twitter said.

For the first time, Twitter published metrics pertaining to its actions to fight spam and other malicious forms of automation.

“We challenge millions of potentially spammy accounts every month, requesting additional details, like email address and phone numbers to authenticate them. From January to June, 2018, approximately 75 per cent of accounts challenged ultimately did not pass those challenges and were suspended,” informed the company.

The average number of reports it received through reporting flow continued to drop — from an average of approximately 868,349 in January to approximately 504,259 in June.

“These report decreases indicate the effectiveness of our proprietary built technology in proactively identifying and challenging accounts at source and at scale,” said Twitter.

In the same period, Twitter suspended 487,363 accounts for violations related to child sexual exploitation.

Nearly 97 per cent of these accounts were proactively flagged by a combination of technology, including PhotoDNA, and other purpose-built internal proprietary tools.

Twitter also suspended a total of 205,156 accounts flagged for promoting terrorism. Of those suspensions, 91 per cent consisted of accounts that were proactively flagged by internal, proprietary tools.

“The number of reports we received from governments of terrorist content decreased by 77 per cent compared to the previous reporting period,” said Twitter.

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Facebook dismisses report of journalists’ frustration with fact-checking

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San Francisco, Dec 14: Facebook has dismissed a media report that claimed journalists working as factcheckers for the social media giant are frustrated and are ending partnerships as the company failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.

A report in The Guardian on Thursday said outside reporters have lost trust in Facebook, “which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work”.

Reacting to the report, Meredith Carden, Head of News Integrity Partnerships at Facebook, said the Guardian story presents several inaccuracies.

“Contrary to a claim in the story, we absolutely do not ask fact-checkers to prioritise debunking content about our advertisers,” Carden said in statement.

The report, she added, is based primarily on the account of a single fact-checker who has not been involved with the Facebook fact-checking program for six months.

“We have been committed to fighting misinformation for years now and have strong relationships with our third-party fact-checking partners — we now have 35 partners in 24 countries around the world,” said Facebook.

The report quoted Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a factchecking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years, as saying that the social network is using journalists for handling crisis PR.

“They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly don’t care,” said Binkowski, who now runs her own fact-checking site which does not partner with Facebook.

According to Facebook, it values the ongoing partnerships and the work that these journalists do.

The third-party fact checking programme was launched in 2016 after the US Presidential election.

“We’re planning to expand the programme to even more countries in 2019,” said Carden.

According to Facebook, three separate researches have found that the overall volume of false news on Facebook is decreasing since it put up third-party fact-checking programme and other anti-misinformation measures in place.

However, The Guardian report said the company has ignored journalists’ concerns.

Some newsroom leaders said “they had grown increasingly resentful of Facebook, especially following revelations that the company had paid a consulting firm to go after opponents by publicising their association with billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros”.

A New York Times investigation in November suggested that the social network hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm that “dug up dirt on its competitors” including Soros.

Reacting to the report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg denied they had any prior knowledge about this firm.

“It was later revealed that Sheryl Sandberg had directed her staff to research Soros’s financial interests after he publicly criticised the company,” the Guardian report said.

The report quoted another factchecker as saying that he was demoralised.

“They are a terrible company and, on a personal level, I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” said the anonymous factchecker.

IANS

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