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In Pakistan, man jailed for 13 years over ‘Facebook hate speech’

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Lahore: In a shocking case, a man in Pakistan has been sent to prison for 13 years by an anti-terrorism court for allegedly posting ‘sectarian hate speech’ on Facebook, a move that drew flak from rights activist.

32-year-old Saqlain Haidar, a Shia Muslim and an hotelier in the city of Chiniot in Pakistani Punjab was also fined Rs 250, 000 for “posting hateful material against companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)”, an official of the Counter Terrorism Department said while requesting anonymity, The Express Tribune reported.

Confirming the incident, local counter-terrorism official Abdul Majeed said, “The convict was arrested on October 27 after locals complained about him and he was charged for spreading sectarian hatred under various clauses of the anti-terrorism act.”

Bytes for All, a human rights group, expressed its deep concern over Haidar’s case.

“We are extremely concerned that an anti-terrorism court has been used to hear a case apparently related to online speech rather than to any violent activities.”

Ironically, banned terrorist groups like the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi continue to spread hatred on social media without any fear.

It was the first time someone was convicted for posting ‘sectarian material’ on Facebook, but that blasphemy charges were often brought against social media users, Bytes for All added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Facebook not yet ready with digital payments on Messenger in India

When launched, the new payments feature is set to give a tough competition to Paytm and other digital payment services like Google Tez

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The Facebook's image.
Facebook not ready for online payments. Pixabay

Facebook has no plans as of now to bring digital payment facility to its Messenger application in India, informed sources said on Thursday. “There are currently no tests planned for recharges or peer-to-peer payments on Messenger in India,” the sources told IANS.

Factor Daily had reported that Facebook has begun a beta version of recharge payments for mobile phone and other prepaid services on Messenger. “Mobile recharge option is a Facebook ‘Marketplace’ offering — which is actually going on as a pilot test which is right now available to only Android users in some regions,” the sources added.

The icon of Facebook.
Facebook has many fake profiles. Pixabay

Launched in 2016, Marketplace is a user-to-user exchange platform for buying and selling goods with others within the community. Currently, the peer-to-peer payment service on Messenger is available for its users in the US and the UK.

More than 1.3 billion people around the world are now using Facebook Messenger every month. The growth of Messenger now puts the app at par with Facebook-owned WhatsApp which also has over 1.3 billion monthly active users (MAUs). WhatsApp, however, has rolled out the testing phase of its digital payment feature in India — a first such move globally — which will be officially rolled out to its over 200 million Indian users in the days to come.

Also Read: Facebook introduces new privacy updates for EU users

When launched, the new payments feature is set to give a tough competition to Paytm and other digital payment services like Google Tez. 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. IANS

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