Wednesday October 17, 2018
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Facebook Assigns A Task Force For The Elections in India in 2019

Facebook said that India was an important market for Facebook and that it was strengthening the team in India to understand the local forms of hate speech.

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This photo shows the logo for Facebook on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. VOA
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 Facing the uphill task of tackling election-related interference on its platform as India gets ready for polls next year, Facebook on Saturday said it is establishing a task force comprising “hundreds of people” in the country to prevent bad actors from abusing its platform.

“With the 2019 elections coming, we are pulling together a group of specialists to work together with political parties,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Policy Solutions, told the media here.

Facebook has also set a goal of bringing a transparency feature for political ads — now available in the US and Brazil — to India by March next year, Allan informed.

With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad.

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

In May this year, Facebook announced that all election-related ads on Facebook and Instagram in the US must be clearly labelled — including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the ad.

When users click on the label, they would be taken to an archive with more information such as the campaign budget associated with an individual ad and how many people saw it – including their age, location and gender, Facebook had said.

The social media giant later introduced the transparency feature in Brazil.

The introduction of the same feature in India would help users identify political propaganda easily.

“The task force for India will have security specialists and content specialists, among others, who will try to understand all the possible forms of election-related abuse in India,” added Allan during a workshop on Facebook’s “community standards” in the capital.

India
A gardener works on the lawns of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India. VOA

Allan explained that while the disinformation linked to real-world violence is checked by the team mandated to maintain Facebook’s community standards, other forms of disinformation are handled by a different team of fact checkers.

“The challenge for the task force in India would be to distinguish between real political news and political propaganda,” Allan noted, adding that the team would be very much based in the country and would consist of both existing human resources working on these issues within the company and new recruits.

Facebook came under intense scrutiny of policy makers in the US after allegations of Russia-linked accounts using the social networking platform to spread divisive messages during the 2016 presidential election surfaced.

Since then, it has stepped up efforts to check abuse of its platform by bringing in more transparency in the conduct of its businesses, including in advertisement policies.

India, BJP
Counting of Karnataka polls will be done on 15th May, VOA

Echoing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s earlier comments on elections across the world, Allan said the social media platform “wants to help countries around the world, including India, to conduct free and fair elections”.

In April, Zuckerberg said Facebook will ensure that its platform is not misused to influence elections in India and elsewhere.

“Our goals are to understand Facebook’s impact on upcoming elections — like Brazil, India, Mexico and the US midterms — and to inform our future product and policy decisions,” he told US lawmakers during a hearing.

Facebook uses a combination of technology, including Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and reports from its community to identify violating content on the platform.

The reports are reviewed by members of its “Community Operations” team who review content in over 50 languages in the world, including 12 from India.

Facebook, India
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at a Facebook developers conference in San Jose, California. VOA

“By the end of 2018, we will have 20,000 people working on these issues, double the number we had at the same time last year,” he said.

“We are also working to enhance the work we do to proactively detect violating content,” Allan said.

Speaking at the 16th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here later in the day, Allan said Facebook was cooperating fully with the investigating agency (Central Bureau of Investigation) in India with regard to the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal.

The British political consultancy firm was in the midst of a huge controversy for allegedly inappropriately harvesting data from about 87 million Facebook accounts.

Without giving details of the impact that the Cambridge Analytica scandal had on India, he said that the impact was probably limited and that most users in India need not worry that their data was stolen.

Also Read: Facebook Better Prepared to Defend Itself Against External Manipulation For The Elections

“Yes, we have a responsibility to keep data safe. We employ some of the best security engineers in the world. When we notice a breach, we let people know immediately,” Allan said at the summit.

“We are investing more and more in countries outside the US so that they can tell us how our services should be designed,” he said, adding that India was an important market for Facebook and that it was strengthening the team in India to understand the local forms of hate speech. (IANS)

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HP Unveils its Convertible ENVY x360 in India

The HP Pavilion Tower 590 is available at a starting price of Rs 22,990 (+GST)

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HP launches premium convertible ENVY x360 in India. Flickr

Expanding its premium portfolio, HP Inc. on Tuesday launched the HP ENVY x360 convertible powered by AMD Ryzen processor for the millennials in India.

HP ENVY x360 with AMD Ryzen R3 processor would be available from November at a starting price of Rs 60,990.

The variant with 256GB storage will cost Rs 74,990. The company is also offering a bundled HP Active Pen that works with Windows Ink.

“We have about 30 per cent share in the premium segment and this is growing much faster than the lower-priced segment. We’re expecting to increase our share and get rapid uptake from the customers,” Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP Inc. India, told IANS here.

“At HP, we believe in insights-driven innovation that enables us to deliver the PC experiences that users want. The HP Envy x360 is a combination of sleek design, optimum performance and quality at an affordable cost,” he added.

The convertible features the all new HP Command Center which lets users optimise system performance, fan noise and temperature with its CoolSense technology.

The device supports Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds, to provide fast Internet connections for demanding streaming apps for movies, music and gaming.

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HP ENVY x360 with AMD Ryzen R3 processor would be available from November at a starting price of Rs 60,990.. (IANS)

The unique design of the laptop draws inspiration from hand-crafted pieces that feature the Damascus pattern — a high precision technique used in manufacturing specialty knives, known to be tough and durable, the company added.

AMD Ryzen processor gives performance up to 12.5 hours of battery life, charging from zero per cent battery life to 50 per cent on 45 minutes charge with HP Fast Charge technology, the company claimed.

The Corning Gorilla Glass NBT touchscreen gives highly intuitive reaction, with HP Active Pen for a seamless and natural work experience.

The device is available in Dark Ash Silver colour with an angular Damascus pattern, thin bezels and edge-to-edge backlit keyboard.

Also Read- Chandra Observatory By NASA Back in Action

Devices including the HP Pavilion 15 ultra-thin 15-inch laptop, HP Pavilion Tower 590 desktop and the HP 15 Notebook were also unveiled.

The HP Pavilion 15 laptop with AMD Ryzen R5 processor would be available in November at a starting price of Rs 62,990 while the one with AMD Ryzen R3 processor is available now at a starting price of Rs 36,990.

The HP Pavilion Tower 590 is available at a starting price of Rs 22,990 (+GST). (IANS)