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China, India taking advantage of US: Donald Trump

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Washington: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump accused China and India of taking advantage of the US as the eight top tier candidates clashed over issues ranging from trade to foreign policy to immigration.

“If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States — China in particular, because they’re so good,” real estate mogul said during Tuesday night’s fourth Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee.

“It’s the number-one abuser of this country. And if you look at the way they take advantage, it’s through currency manipulation,” he said, calling the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among twelve Pacific Rim countries a “terrible deal.”

“It’s not even discussed in the almost 6,000-page agreement. It’s not even discussed,” Trump complained before the Kentucky senator Rand Paul suggested to the moderators that “we might want to point out China is not part of this deal.” Nor is India.

Trump also faced skepticism from his rivals over his plans to deport 11 million illegal immigrants with Ohio governor John Kasich calling it “silly”.

“Come on, folks, we all know you can’t pick them up and ship them back across the border. It’s a silly argument. It’s not an adult argument,” he said.

Jen Bush, son of a former president and the brother of another also rejected Trump’s call for deportations, saying it hurt the party’s ability to reach out to mainstream audiences: “They’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this.”

But Texas senator Ted Cruz called Bush’s plan “amnesty.” He joked that party elites and the mainstream media were easy on Bush because they don’t feel the economic threat that immigrants pose to working-class Americans.

If people were coming across the Rio Grande with journalism degrees, Cruz said, the American media would suddenly see immigration as a major problem.

On the question of how to handle the Islamic State and Russia, Trump called for the US to stay out of more confrontations saying “We can’t continue to be the policeman of the world.”

“If Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it,” Trump said, noting that he had met Russian President Vladimir Putin through a “60 Minutes” episode.

Bush quickly shot back. “Donald is wrong on this” he said. “We are not going to be the world’s policemen, but we sure as heck better be the world’s leader.”

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is running neck and neck with Trump in polls, blasted the media for what he characterized as lies about his past. Carson also said the press is treating Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton more favorably.

“I have no problem with being vetted. What I do have a problem with is being lied about,” Carson said.

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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WhatsApp Announces 20 Teams To Curb Fake News Globally

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation

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WhatsApp selects 20 teams to curb fake news globally, including India. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.

Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.

The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.

Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.

P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.

“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.

According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.

The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.

WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.

“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.

WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.

Also Read- Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)