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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook is upbeat on the growth of digital payments in India and is actively working on launching WhatsApp Pay soon, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.

In an earnings call with analysts late Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the company is building out Payments for the global market.


“We have a test that is running in India for WhatsApp now, we’re hoping to launch in several other countries at some point, but I don’t want to put a timeframe on that here, but it’s something that we’re actively working on,” he said.

WhatsApp Pay, stuck owing to India’s demand to store data locally, has not gone beyond the beta testing it did with nearly one million users last year.

“In Instagram and Facebook, you have shopping, and you have Marketplace and you have all the tens of millions of small businesses that use pages and a lot that use Instagram for sharing their inventory and being able to help people discover and pay.

“When you’re using a messaging service, that everything there is very intimate and private so it feels like a more natural space to be interacting with a business in a private way for doing transactions,” Zuckerberg added.

Facebook daily active users reached 1.56 billion, up 8 per cent compared to last year, led by growth in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

This represents approximately 66 per cent of the 2.38 billion monthly active users in March.

According to Zuckerberg, privacy is the biggest area for the future of social networking.

“Today, people increasingly want the intimacy of connecting privately as well. So, I think there also needs to be a digital equivalent of the living room — a platform just as built out with all of the ways you’d want to interact privately,” said the Facebook CEO.


Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. VOA

He said the digital town squares like Facebook and Instagram will always be important and will only continue to grow in importance.

“Over time, I believe there’s an even bigger opportunity with the digital living room to build a platform focused on privacy. We all need to communicate privately, and this service could be even more important in our lives. So, I think we should focus our efforts on building this privacy-focused platform,” he noted.

The privacy-focused platform will be built around private interactions.

“You should have simple, intimate spaces where you have complete confidence that what you say and do is private. Encryption. Your private communications should be secure, and end-to-end encryption prevents anyone – including even us – from seeing what you share,” Zuckerberg added.

Also Read- Xiaomi Launches 2 Budget Smartphones in India

“You shouldn’t have to worry about what you share coming back to hurt you later, so we won’t keep around messages or Stories for longer than necessary,” he noted.

Facebook said it won’t store sensitive data in countries where it might be improperly accessed because of the weak rule of law or governments that can forcibly get access to users’ data. (IANS)


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Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content.

By Nikhila Natarajan

In a continuing study on the effects of machine learning (ML) on public conversation, Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content. "In six out of seven countries - all but Germany - tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group," Twitter blogged.

"Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organisations, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets." Since 2016, Twitter users are able to choose between viewing algorithmically ordered tweets first in their home timeline or viewing the most recent tweets in reverse chronological order.

"An algorithmic home timeline displays a stream of tweets from accounts we have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content Twitter thinks we might be interested in based on accounts we interact with frequently, tweets we engage with, and more. "As a result, what we see on our timeline is a function of how we interact with Twitter's algorithmic system, as well as how the system is designed."

The new research is based on tweets of elected officials of House of Commons members in Canada, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag, House of Representatives in Japan, Congress of Deputies of Spain, House of Commons in the UK, and official and personal accounts of House of Representatives and Senate members in the US, as well as news outlets, from April 1 to August 15, 2020.

gold Apple iPhone 6s displaying Twitter logo Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

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Flickr

Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal.

Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".

Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.

"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.

"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)


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VOA

A health worker counts antiretroviral drug tablets for a patient at The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) in the capital Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2012.

KAMPALA, UGANDA — Uganda has kickstarted a trial for the injectable HIV drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine. Researchers and those living with HIV say the trial will likely end pill fatigue, fight stigma, improve adherence and ensure patients get the right dosage.

The two drugs have been in use as tablets. The World Health Organization last year licensed their use as injectables.

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