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Facebook launches TechWire, a new tool to find tech news alerts

Facebook has publicly introduced FB Newswire, a new way for technology journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed breaking news. The resource includes news stories, first-person analysis, photos and videos that were posted on Facebook by technology journalists, companies and influencers.

 

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This is Facebook's latest effort to try to win users away from Twitter, which has remained a popular resource for journalists searching for story leads. FB Newswire launched in April and this is the next step in Facebook's strategy to keep users engaged.

 

Facebook has a massive user base and increasing ad revenue, making it an appealing resource for news agencies to take advantage of.

Facebook launches standalone groups apps to help users stay sorted

Facebook has spun off its Groups feature, and while mobile users will still be able to access their Groups through mobile apps, will also benefit from using a standalone Groups app. The app is now available in the Google Android and Apple iOS app stores today.

 

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The No. 1 social networking website continues to unbundle core features, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously telling investors and journalists that individual apps could be the future of mobile Facebook. He previously said that "each app can only focus on doing one thing well, we think."

 

"Facebook is another outlet for students to share stories, swap lyrics and collaborate outside of the program," said Donnie Smith, Donda's House Executive, in a statement. "Phone numbers change, email addresses stop working, but we can always find our participants whenever we need to on Facebook."

Indian govt. orders Internet service providers to block porn sites

The Indian government has decided to go on a blanket ban spree by making all the Internet service providers in the country block access to 39 websites. Most of these websites are not only porn sites, but also free image and file hosting websites.

 

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While viewing porn in India isn't illegal, the distribution and watching child pornography is banned. What should be noted is that these websites and the content providers/owners are hosting it outside of India where are governed under their respected country's laws, such as 18 USC 2257 where producers are required to point out that all models are at least over 18 years of age. The Department of Telecom isn't very clear about the imposed blanket ban, but it does display the message "this website has been blocked until further notice either pursuant to court orders or on the directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications".

 

Some deem that this is an abuse of power as there are no actual laws in the IT act where the Indian government can force Indian-based internet service providers to block porn sites along with the image and file storing websites. Sunil Abraham of Centre for Internet and Society said, "There is a possibility that government is interpreting some sections of the IT Act to suit its purpose but I feel that is wrong and should be challenged in the court by ISPs if they care about the rights of their users."

Continue reading 'Indian govt. orders Internet service providers to block porn sites' (full post)

Reddit CEO steps down after a disagreement over office space

Yishan Wong was the CEO of Reddit, until just recently when he resigned over a disagreement with the board of Reddit over a new office.

 

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Lead investor in Reddit's most recently funding round, Sam Altman, said: "The reason was a disagreement with the board about a new office (location and amount of money to spend on a lease). To be clear, though, we didn't ask or suggest that he resign-he decided to when we didn't approve the new office plan". Altman added that the explanation "sounds non-credible (and it's certainly one of the craziest professional things I've ever been a part of), but it's actually what happened".

 

Altman said that Wong wanted to move the location of the office from San Francisco to Daly City, where he said: "Yishan wanted to move the office from SF to Daly City. The board pushed back but said we'd agree to it with certain data (we wanted Yishan to figure out how many employees would stay with the company through the move, get a comparison to other market rents, etc.-all questions I think a board should ask when thinking through a major commitment). This is certainly not what I was expecting to be dealing with so quickly after investing in reddit, but we'll make the best of it".

Continue reading 'Reddit CEO steps down after a disagreement over office space' (full post)

YouTube launches Music Key monthly music subscription service

No. 1 video website YouTube has announced its Music Key music subscription service, giving subscribers the chance to listen to music from thousands of independent record labels. Music Key will be available on Google Android-powered smartphones and PCs, and will allow YouTube visitors to listen to music with no ads.

 

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Smartphone owners will be able to stream music in the background while they use other apps. The service will be by invitation only for the first six months, which will also be free during limited testing - a lifetime pricing of $7.99 will be offered for the early testers, and regular service will be available for $9.99 per month. In addition, YouTube Music Key subscribers will be given free access to Google Play Music All Access.

 

An Apple version of the service is currently waiting for approval by Apple in its App store.

Facebook says Messenger has more than 500 million users

Facebook Messenger now has more than 500 million monthly active users, even though many users weren't happy about being forced to download and install the service as a separate app. The No. 1 social networking website currently has 1.35 billion monthly active users, and wants to continue growing the number of Messenger users - and hopes to reach 1 billion next.

 

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Active Messenger user figures increased 150 percent in one year - which was largely due to it being mandatory on smartphones.

 

The effort has angered some Facebook users, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently explained his company's reasoning: "On mobile, each app really can focus on doing one thing well, we think. You're probably messaging people 15, 20 times a day, and having to go into an app and wait for it to load and then go through a bunch of steps to get to your messages or send a message is a lot of friction."

Amazon China and India facing issues with local governments

Amazon, Inc. is facing issues when doing business in China and India, but assured that they won't shut down its operations. According to reports, Amazon India is having a tough time dealing with Indian laws that result in an impact on its business.

 

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Earlier, many reports pointed out that operations in these countries may shut down. But Amazon India assured that though they are facing issues, they aren't shutting down their operations. The company has also said that it will be investing $2 billion in India (12,000 crore INR in local currency) for its business, with around $1 billion invested in the country so far.

 

Amazon India said that they are already facing unique risks. Currently, the retail giant is facing tax issues with the Karnataka government. According to sources, the government wants the company to pay value-added tax since they're storing goods at the company's warehouse. There's also a problem for Amazon where the Indian government restricts the ownership of Indian companies by foreign companies when it comes to multi-brand retailing online and via retail stores.

Continue reading 'Amazon China and India facing issues with local governments' (full post)

Fake virtual girl Sweetie helps bust Australian sexual offender

Australian sex offender Scott Robert Hansen recently pleaded guilty in Brisbane to sending obscene pictures to a minor, possession of images of child abuse, and failure to comply with a sex offenders order, and was busted with the help of a virtual girl. The virtual 10-year-old, named Sweetie was a unique effort to find innovative, modern methods to help law enforcement track down predators.

 

 

Sweetie was created by Terre des Hommes, a Dutch children's rights group, and was constructed to look like a 10-year-old girl. There have been at least 1,000 adults in 71 countries that have contacted Sweetie, in an attempt to have her perform sexual acts. All chat and video logs are saved and passed along to law enforcement in each country, as the effort to arrest sexual offenders continues to evolve.

 

The project took place for 10 weeks in 2003, as a team of four researchers were approached by adults looking to engage in sexual behavior with Sweetie.

Continue reading 'Fake virtual girl Sweetie helps bust Australian sexual offender' (full post)

Google now provides two-factor authentication with physical USB key

aGoogle is making its two-factor authentication even safer, with the announcement of support being added for Security Key. With this, Google allows its users to purchase a physical USB stick from a third-party company that can be used as your personal identification when logging into Gmail, Chrome, or any other Google account.

 

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Once you've acquired your security key, you can plug it into your computer, press the built-in button on the dongle when asked, and voila - you're secure, and you now have a security key. This key only works after verifying the site you're logging in to, verifying that it is indeed a Google site and not some phishing attack. The device uses the FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol, which means it can be used to log into other websites that support the U2F protocol, as long as you're within Chrome.

 

The service itself is free, but you'll need to secure yourself a not-so-free USB security key. Amazon currently sells FIDO U2F keys starting at around $5.99, all the way up to around $50.

Continue reading 'Google now provides two-factor authentication with physical USB key' (full post)

Google shifts stance, fighting privacy by highlighting legal websites

Google is shaking things up a bit overseas, as the company tries to help copyright groups defend against Internet piracy. Instead of prominently linking to websites that allow users to download copyrighted content illegally, Google will display legal services, including Google Play, Spotify, and other alternatives. Legal sites will float to the top and illegal content will be displayed lower in the results.

 

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Of course, Google is requiring legal services to pay for advertising so they appear at the top of search results - and the BPI trade group doesn't think companies should have to pay.

 

"There should be no cost when it comes to serving consumers with results for legal services," a Google spokesperson told the BBC. "Instead we have urged Google to use the machine-readable data on the Music Matters website, which lists all services licensed in the UK, and to promote these legal services above illegal sites and results in their search, using appropriate weighting applied fairly and equally across services."

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