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Twitter to increase word limit of Direct Messages to 10k characters

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twitter-117595_640In a piece of good news for Twitteratti, Twitter has decided to increase the word limit for direct messages (DMs) to 10,000 characters from the present 140.

Twitter’s product designer Sachin Agarwal informed developers of the news ahead of the change, which will be rolled out to users in July, Venturebeat.com reported. No official date has been decided for the change though. The move does not remove Twitter’s design choice of constraining tweets to 140 characters — only direct messages.

“It’s a beautiful constraint that has inspired a whole new form of writing,” Twitter investor Chris Sacca wrote in a blog post earlier this month about what Twitter can do to improve. Sacca did not say he had a problem with the 140-character cap on DMs — and that is what’s changing.

Direct messages in other social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, do not have length limits. But Twitter’s affinity for the 140-character limit goes back to Twitter’s earliest days, when Twitter sent tweets in text messages. Now those days are long gone, and Twitter can evolve to meet the needs of its users and investors.

However, before you start fretting at the prospects of receiving unsolicited extra long messages there is some more news for you. You can stop people you do not follow from sending you these new, extra-long DMs. You can do that by un-checking the “Receive Direct Messages from anyone” box in the Security and privacy sections in Twitter’s settings.

– (IANS)

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WhatsApp Launches Campaign to Reduce Spread of Fake News Amid COVID-19

The campaign aims to curb fake news amid COVID-19

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WhatsApp launched a new education campaign to curb the spread of fake news during the ongoing pandemic. Pixabay

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Friday launched a new “check it before you share it” education campaign, expanding its efforts to reduce spread of misinformation on its platform amid COVID-19 pandemic.

This campaign acts as a simple reminder that it is the responsibility of everyone to double check the facts before forwarding messages to flatten the misinformation curve, WhatsApp said.

It tries to inculcate behaviour that urges users to gain more information about the messages they receive through any of the many ways, like reaching out to the MyGov helpline to receive crucial updates or searching the web.

“This campaign helps convey our collective responsibility and the need to always verify before sharing information,” Shivnath Thukral, India Head of Public Policy for WhatsApp, said in a statement.

WhatsApp announced the MyGov helpline (+919013151515) last month.

To promote the MyGov helpline, the WhatsApp campaign conveys the precautionary measures that people should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 like to cough in elbows, stay home, wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and to keep social distancing.

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“This campaign helps convey our collective responsibility and the need to always verify before sharing information,” said Shivnath Thukral, India Head of Public Policy for WhatsApp in a statement. Pixabay

People will be able to see these ads on Facebook and Instagram, and message the helpline with just one tap, WhatsApp said.

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In a bid to curb misinformation related to COVID-19, WhatsApp, which has 400 million users in India, last month said it would limit frequently forwarding messages to 1 chat at a time.

WhatsApp has faced scrutiny as rumours spread on the platform have been linked to several mob killings in India.

The instant messaging platform, however, said that 90 per cent of messages sent are between two people and it has seen a significant increase in the amount of voice and video calling across India during the COVID-19 pandemic. (IANS)

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Twitter Launches New Gratitude Emoji in India

The new gratitude emoji that can be triggered with '#thankful', #gratitude' ,etc

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Twitter India has launched a gratitude emoji. Pixabay

Micro-blogging platform Twitter India on Wednesday launched a new gratitude emoji that can be triggered with ‘#thankful’, #gratitude’ and other variations of the words.

Since March 15, there have been over 250 million tweets worldwide expressing gratitude and thanks – a 26 per cent increase from February’s average.

“Who do we see people expressing that gratitude for? The most common word is ‘everyone’. Everyone who is an essential worker. Everyone who has helped. Everyone in healthcare. Everyone who has reached out. Everyone,” the company tweeted.

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“To give you another way to show your gratitude, we’ve created an emoji that will appear when you use #thankful or other hashtags for #gratitude (in various languages),”, the company tweeted. Pixabay

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“To give you another way to show your gratitude, we’ve created an emoji that will appear when you use #thankful or other hashtags for #gratitude (in various languages),” it added.

Earlier in April, on WorldHealthDay, Twitter had also sent out a token of appreciation for healthcare workers by tweeting with ‘clap’.

The platform recently onboarded the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (@MoHFW_INDIA) to Twitter Seva to help Indians with a speedy resolution to their health-related queries. (IANS)

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Our Work Has Become More Critical Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: Twitter India

The company has also increased its use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content

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Since introducing its updated policies on March 18, Twitter has removed more than 2,400 tweets containing misleading and potentially harmful content. Pixabay

As disinformation related to COVID-19 is spreading faster than the virus itself, micro -blogging platform Twitter feels that its work has never been more critical and its service has never been in higher demand than ever before globally, including in India.

The power of a uniquely open service during a public health emergency is crystal clear, says Mahima Kaul, Director, Public Policy, India and South Asia at Twitter, adding that they are continuing to review the rules in the context of COVID-19 and considering ways in which they may need to evolve to account for new behaviours.

Since introducing its updated policies on March 18, Twitter has removed more than 2,400 tweets containing misleading and potentially harmful content. “Our automated systems have challenged more than 3.4 million accounts targeting manipulative discussions around COVID-19. We will continue to use both technology and our teams to help us identify and stop spammy behaviour and accounts,” Kaul told IANS.

Twitter has received positive response to its efforts in curbing COVID-19 related fake news and misinformation in India. The efforts include an events page dedicated to COVID-19 information called “Coronavirus Tweets from Indian authorities”, which is essentially a timeline of tweets from verified Indian officials and bodies such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi), Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan), the official Citizen Engagement Platform of the Government of Indian (@mygovindia, Press Information Bureau (@PIB_India) and other state and Central ministers, as well as public health agencies.

“Every account holder in India can see this page on the top of their home timeline. If someone has their settings set to Hindi, then they will see the same page with Hindi Tweets. The timeline also lets people track developments around the latest social distancing and healthcare information,” informed Kaul. The platform recently onboarded the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (@MoHFW_INDIA) to Twitter Seva to help Indians with a speedy resolution to their health-related queries.

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“This public service is allowing the Ministry to communicate effectively and at scale with the public, especially in crisis situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The dedicated account @CovidIndiaSeva establishes a direct channel between the Government and citizens to provide access to authoritative health and public information,” Kaul elaborated.

She said that Twitter India is regularly working with trusted partners, including public health authorities, researchers, NGOs, and governments to keep improving its fight against COVID-19. “To tackle misinformation related to COVID-19, we have broadened our definition of harm and expanded our safety rules to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources with the intent to influence people into acting against recommended guidance,” said Kaul.

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As disinformation related to COVID-19 is spreading faster than the virus itself, micro -blogging platform Twitter feels that its work has never been more critical and its service has never been in higher demand than ever before globally, including in India. Pixabay

The company has also increased its use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content. “Additionally, we’re continuing to review and require the removal of Tweets that do not follow the Twitter Rules – half of which we catch before they’re ever reported to us. We continue to remain vigilant,” Kaul added.

Twitter is releasing a new endpoint into Twitter Developer Labs to enable approved developers and researchers to study the public conversation about COVID-19 in real-time. Tweets by people on the service will be made available to researchers and developers for free. According to Kaul, the data will help research the spread of the disease, understand the spread of misinformation, crisis management, emergency response, and communication within communities.

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“As we’ve said on many occasions, our approach to protecting the public conversation is never static. That’s particularly relevant in these unprecedented times. We intend to review our thinking daily and will ensure we’re sharing updates on any new clarifications to our rules or major changes to how we’re enforcing them,” Kaul told IANS. (IANS)