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Modi eyes Silicon Valley for Digital India

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Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has already roped in Indian Americans on the East Coast and US big business to ‘Make in India’ last year, is now set to win over the Silicon Valley for his Digital India initiative.

Photo credit: mygov.in
Photo credit: mygov.in

The first Indian leader to visit California in more than 30 years later this month, Modi will go to Facebook headquarters for a town hall style question answer session and visit other top tech companies like Google and Adobe Systems and electric carmaker Tesla.

As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Sunday about the September 27 town hall visit of PM Modi at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters will “discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges.”

credit: www.s3.india.com
Photo credit: www.s3.india.com

Modi, who has more Facebook fans than any politician except for Barack Obama, is the first Indian prime minister to visit the Bay Area since Morarji Desai picked up an award at University of California, Berkeley in 1978 and Indira Gandhi visited Los Angeles in 1982.

Besides meetings with Sundar Pichai and Shantanu Narayen, India born chief executives of Google and Adobe respectively, he is also expected to attend events with Indian American entrepreneurs and social investors.

At Tesla, more than the zero emission cars that it makes, Modi may be interested in its “Powerwall”, a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, for India’s clean energy initiative.

Modi’s visit to the Bay Area, home to a large number of Indian techies, is arranged to win support for his “Digital India,” initiative that aims to expand Internet access, boost electronics manufacturing and develop apps to improve the delivery of government services.

“The visit allows Modi to build relationships with tech firms that want to invest in India, while also fostering support from the Bay Area’s influential Indian-American community,” Venktesh Shukla, president of the Silicon Valley branch of non-profit organization TiE, also known as The Indus Entrepreneurs, told the San Jose Mercury News.

For Modi, “it’s a very well thought effort to capitalise on the connection he has with the diaspora and involve them at a point in time when India is perceived to be on a positive track in terms of governance,” Subimal Bhattacharjee, a cyberspace policy analyst and former India head of General Dynamics, the US defence contractor, told the Los Angeles Times.

Modi, who last year got a rock star like reception when he gave a speech at New York’s Madison Square Garden, is expected to do it again on Sep 27 in San Jose.

An Indian-American group organizing a community reception for Modi at the 19,000-seat SAP Centre says that more than 45,000 people have registered for free passes.

After the San Jose event, Modi flies back to New York for a summit meeting with US President Barack Obama on Sep 28.

The Modi-Obama meeting in New York would cap a week long high level India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in Washington DC.

(IANS)

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Facebook Unveils Three-pronged Strategy to Fight Fake News

Apart from this, Facebook is also using machine learning to help its teams detect fraud and enforce its policies against spam

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Facebook Unveils Three-pronged Strategy to Fight Fake News
Facebook Unveils Three-pronged Strategy to Fight Fake News. Pixabay

To stop false news from spreading on its platform, Facebook has said it put in place a three-pronged strategy that constitutes removing accounts and content that violate its policies, reducing distribution of inauthentic content and informing people by giving them more context on the posts they see.

Another part of its strategy in some countries is partnering with third-party fact-checkers to review and rate the accuracy of articles and posts on Facebook, Tessa Lyons, a Facebook product manager on News Feed focused on false news, said in a statement on Thursday.

The social media giant is facing criticism for its role in enabling political manipulation in several countries around the world. It has also come under the scanner for allegedly fuelling ethnic conflicts owing to its failure stop the deluge of hate-filled posts against the disenfranchised Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“False news is bad for people and bad for Facebook. We’re making significant investments to stop it from spreading and to promote high-quality journalism and news literacy,” Lyons said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday told the European Parliament leaders that the social networking giant is trying to plug loopholes across its services, including curbing fake news and political interference on its platform in the wake of upcoming elections globally, including in India.

Lyons said Facebook’s three-pronged strategy roots out the bad actors that frequently spread fake stories.

Also Read: Facebook Planning to Increase Their Capability Through Smartphones

“It dramatically decreases the reach of those stories. And it helps people stay informed without stifling public discourse,” Lyons added.

Although false news does not violate Facebook’s Community Standards, it often violates the social network’s polices in other categories, such as spam, hate speech or fake accounts, which it removes remove.

“For example, if we find a Facebook Page pretending to be run by Americans that’s actually operating out of Macedonia, that violates our requirement that people use their real identities and not impersonate others. So we’ll take down that whole Page, immediately eliminating any posts they made that might have been false,” Lyons explained.

Lyons said Facebook's three-pronged strategy roots out the bad actors that frequently spread fake stories.
Lyons said Facebook’s three-pronged strategy roots out the bad actors that frequently spread fake stories. Pixabay

Apart from this, Facebook is also using machine learning to help its teams detect fraud and enforce its policies against spam.

“We now block millions of fake accounts every day when they try to register,” Lyons added.

A lot of the misinformation that spreads on Facebook is financially motivated, much like email spam in the 90s, the social network said.

If spammers can get enough people to click on fake stories and visit their sites, they will make money off the ads they show.

Also Read: Facebook Lets Advertisers Target Users Based on Sensitive Interests

“We’re figuring out spammers’ common tactics and reducing the distribution of those kinds of stories in News Feed. We’ve started penalizing clickbait, links shared more frequently by spammers, and links to low-quality web pages, also known as ‘ad farms’,” Lyons said.

“We also take action against entire Pages and websites that repeatedly share false news, reducing their overall News Feed distribution,” Lyons said.

Facebook said it does not want to make money off of misinformation or help those who create it profit, and so such publishers are not allowed to run ads or use its monetisation features like Instant Articles. (IANS)