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Facebook and tech companies lend helping hand for people stuck in Chennai floods

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Chennai: Social network sites and tech companies are playing their part in the rescue operation of Chennai floods.

Facebook activated the “Safety Check” feature for its users in Chennai early on Thursday, while Google has compiled all critical information under its “Crisis Response” tool to provide them relief in the flood-hit city, media reports said.

Those in the Indian city of Chennai can mark themselves as “safe” from the floods.

Posted by TIME on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

As the torrential rains in Chennai continued for the fourth straight day, with power and telephone lines down in many areas owing to flooding, Facebook’s Safety Check feature would allow people to mark themselves as “safe” from the floods, Time reported.

The feature, which debuted in October 2014, allows Facebook to ask users whether they’re safe if located near a natural disaster. A click or tap on the “I’m Safe” button lets friends and loved ones know straight away. Users can also check to see whether their friends are safe too.

BSNL has announced free calls from BSNL to BSNL network for next seven days. Airtel has announced 10 Airtel to Airtel minutes and 30 rupee recharge. Airtel also announced that 50 MB data will be given all prepaid users.

Paytm also announced a 30 rupee recharge to any customer. All they have to do is call on a given  number. MTS is giving free 1 GB data to its all users for next three days.

Zomato has started a meal scheme wherein the company will provide a meal for Chennai residents for each meal purchased via its website. The meal scheme resulted in over 55,000 people across India buying meals and Zomato adding 55,000 from its own side for the people of Chennai.

Ola was the first to give help by providing boats to people stuck in the flood.

Social media users across the country were all praise for the efforts these companies have made.

Other than that people through their Facebook and Twitter accounts are trying to give as much help as possible. In this tragedy, India has come out with hope and fight.

(IANS)

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Facebook Dismisses Report of Journalists’ Frustration With Fact-Checking

The report quoted another factchecker as saying that he was demoralised

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Facebook, data
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook has dismissed a media report that claimed journalists working as factcheckers for the social media giant are frustrated and are ending partnerships as the company failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.

A report in The Guardian on Thursday said outside reporters have lost trust in Facebook, “which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work”.

Reacting to the report, Meredith Carden, Head of News Integrity Partnerships at Facebook, said the Guardian story presents several inaccuracies.

“Contrary to a claim in the story, we absolutely do not ask fact-checkers to prioritise debunking content about our advertisers,” Carden said in statement.

The report, she added, is based primarily on the account of a single fact-checker who has not been involved with the Facebook fact-checking program for six months.

“We have been committed to fighting misinformation for years now and have strong relationships with our third-party fact-checking partners — we now have 35 partners in 24 countries around the world,” said Facebook.

The report quoted Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a factchecking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years, as saying that the social network is using journalists for handling crisis PR.

“They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly don’t care,” said Binkowski, who now runs her own fact-checking site which does not partner with Facebook.

According to Facebook, it values the ongoing partnerships and the work that these journalists do.

The third-party fact checking programme was launched in 2016 after the US Presidential election.

Facebook, data
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re planning to expand the programme to even more countries in 2019,” said Carden.

According to Facebook, three separate researches have found that the overall volume of false news on Facebook is decreasing since it put up third-party fact-checking programme and other anti-misinformation measures in place.

However, The Guardian report said the company has ignored journalists’ concerns.

Some newsroom leaders said “they had grown increasingly resentful of Facebook, especially following revelations that the company had paid a consulting firm to go after opponents by publicising their association with billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros”.

A New York Times investigation in November suggested that the social network hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm that “dug up dirt on its competitors” including Soros.

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Reacting to the report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg denied they had any prior knowledge about this firm.

“It was later revealed that Sheryl Sandberg had directed her staff to research Soros’s financial interests after he publicly criticised the company,” the Guardian report said.

The report quoted another factchecker as saying that he was demoralised.

“They are a terrible company and, on a personal level, I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” said the anonymous factchecker. (IANS)