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WhatsApp testing peer-to-peer payments feature in India

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San Francisco, Feb 9: Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp is testing a new payments feature in India that aims to allow people to send money to their friends on the app, the media reported.

The feature is currently in beta, but has not been publicly announced because it is not widely available at this time, TechCrunch reported late on Thursday citing sources familiar with the company’s plans.

When it is launched, the new WhatsApp payments feature could give popular digital wallet platform Paytm, and other messaging services that already support payments, including the recently launched Tez from Google a tough competition.

The payments feature would take advantage of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and include support by a number of banks, including the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank, the report said.

Beta testers have now found their WhatsApp interface displaying a large list of supported banks and they can see a payments feature appear in their WhatsApp Settings menu.

In order to configure the feature, users must first verify their phone number via SMS and then choose a bank.

After the completion of the configuration, the option to send a payment becomes available.

WhatsApp currently has over 200 million monthly active users in India.

To help businesses communicate better with their customers in India, WhatsApp last month officially rolled out “WhatsApp Business” — a free-to-download Android app for small businesses — in the country.

IANS

Tech

Twitter outage hits India users

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Twitter Black

New Delhi: Twitter users in several parts of the world, including India, on Wednesday reported facing problems accessing the platform as the homepage refused to load.

Instead of showing a fresh feed of tweets, “Something went wrong, try again” popped up as a message.

The cause of the outage is not known as Twitter is yet to come out with an official announcement.

According to Downdetector, which offers real-time status and outage information, there was a sudden surge in users reporting problems with Twitter at around 8.12 pm.

Most of the problems have been reported by desktop users, followed by Android and iOS users.

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India

ISRO adopts new satellite naming style, RISAT-2BR2 now EOS-01

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

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Chennai, Oct 28 : The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided follow a new naming policy for its earth observation satellites, it is learnt.

Henceforth, the Indian space agency will be naming its earth observation satellites as EOS tagged with a serial number.

As a result, ISRO’s radar imaging satellite RISAT-2BR2 has been renamed as EOS-01, an official preferring anonymity told IANS.

The ISRO on Wednesday said its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) will launch EOS-01 as a primary satellite along with nine international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

The launch is tentatively scheduled at 3.02 p.m. on November 7, subject to weather conditions.

EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, the ISRO said.

The radar imaging satellite with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can shoot pictures in all weather conditions.

The satellite can take pictures day and night and will be useful for surveillance as well as civilian activities.

This time around, the ISRO will be using the PSLV rocket’s DL variant that will have two strap-on booster motors.

This rocket variant was used the first time to put into orbit Microsat R satellite on January 24, 2019.

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

Owing to Covid-19 pandemic norms, ISRO has decided to close the rocket launch viewing gallery for the public during this launch and gathering of media personnel at the Sriharikota rocket port is also not on the cards.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Facebook must demonstrate neutrality, revamp its SOPs: Congress

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Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal

New Delhi: A day after the resignation of Facebook India’s controversial public policy head Ankhi Das, the Congress on Wednesday welcomed the change in Facebook India’s leadership team.

The Congress also said that the matter will not be resolved by just changing one individual.

“Facebook must demonstrate its neutrality through a thorough revamp of its institutional processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs), so as to ensure foolproof checks and balances that cannot be tinkered by an individual’s whims and political leanings,” said Congress General Secretary (organisation), K.C. Venugopal.

“It must also outline the steps taken to curb false, polarising and hate news/content spread rampantly on its platform, threatening India’s social harmony,” he added.

After American newspaper Wall Street Journal had on August 14 reported substantively on the blatant biases of Facebook India’s team headed by Ankhi Das, the Congress had raised the issue.

The newspaper had reported that Das and her political partisanship towards the ruling party and its leaders, by way of wilful propagation, was spreading spread fake and hate news.

Subsequently, the Congress wrote two formal letters to the CEO of Facebook Inc, Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to look into the matter seriously. Facebook responded to the letter reiterating its neutrality and promising due action.

Facebook India’s controversial public policy head Ankhi Das is leaving the company with immediate effect “to pursue her interest in public service”, the social networking giant announced on Tuesday.

“Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service. Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last nine years,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said in a statement.

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