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Growing phenomenon of Indian language inclusion in the internet

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There is a growing phenomenon in India that seems have shed light on the root cause behind the difficulties in bringing those without access to the internet. Many social media and e-commerce web portals have begun to make available their content in various regional languages.

Here are the major organizations that have expanded to include Indian vernacular languages.

Facebook

In 2012 social networking website Facebook announced that it would be made available in eight regional Indian languages. These include Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi.

It said during the launch that “with over 50 million people in India on Facebook, we want to make sure that everyone has a great Facebook mobile experience regardless of the device that they choose to use,” Facebook’s Country Growth Manager Kevin D’Souza said in a statement.”

Since then it has had its Indian user base, its second-biggest market globally, grown to 125 million by June 2015.

Snapdeal

Snapdeal became the first e-commerce portal in India to offer its content to users in multiple regional languages.

On December 15, 2015, it launched its multilingual interface with an aim of bringing more Indians to shop online by surmounting the language barrier. Hindi and Telegu have already been available for its mobile interface.

Other Indian languages will be made available by Jan 26th, in time for India’s Republic day. These languages include – Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese and Punjabi.

Rohit Bansal, co-founder of Snapdeal, pointed out the advantages of such a move during the launch.

 “Customers are at the heart of everything we do and we are excited about using technology to make the experience more authentic for our users. India’s linguistic diversity is a huge opportunity to expand the market to include those users who would prefer to engage online in their native languages. Our decision to go multi-lingual is driven by the feedback that we have received from our users. We are sure this will enable millions of new users to join the digital commerce revolution that is sweeping across India. Snapdeal’s multi-lingual platform will redefine the rules of the game and will allow sellers and buyers from all across India to explore and transact without any constraints of language,” he said.

Quikr

Following the announcement of Snapdeal, the Indian classified advertising site – Quikr – launched seven vernacular language interfaces for its website. The languages were Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi to browse as well as post ads in.

This feature would open doors for many uninitiated but aspiring Indians. It would allow consumers to browse, search, post ads and interact with buyers and sellers in their language of choice.

Speaking at the launch, Pranay Chulet, Founder and CEO, Quikr said, “We are a made in India business that has always focused on what the Indian consumer needs. With Indian internet expanding beyond air-conditioned offices and homes and into the streets of the country, local languages are definitely the next frontier for us. I strongly believe that language should no longer be a barrier for people seeking to transact online and am super excited about the strong response our verticals such as QuikrC2C and QuikrJobs have already received in local languages.”

Twitter

In 2015, micro-blogging website twitter made itself accessible in four more Indian languages, which include Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil. “We’ve updated Twitter.com and the android app to support these additional Indian languages,” it said in a statement.

Earlier it was available in Hindi and Bengali before the four languages were added.

Moreover, it has also launched hashtags in other Indian languages.

“We’re excited to announce we’ve rolled out hashtags, not just in Hindi, but also in all Devanagari script based languages: Marathi, Sanskrit and even Nepali, as well as Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi, Gujarati, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada,”  it said in a statement.

(Inputs from Rajesh Ghosh)

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Facebook
Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi Extends Condolences to France Terror Attack Victims

“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)