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Instagram Launches Beta Version if its in-app Shopping Feature in US

Instagram's plans on rolling out the feature globally remain unclear

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FILE - The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

Facebook-owned photo messaging app Instagram has launched the beta version of its in-app shopping feature in the US that would allow over a billion users to buy products tagged in images or videos without having to leave the platform.

Called “Checkout with Instagram”, the feature would allow US users to shop from over 20 brands including Adidas, Kylie Cosmetics and Warby Parker, without re-directing users to other websites.

“We will introduce a selling fee to help fund programmes and products that help make checkout possible, as well as offset transaction-related expenses,” TechCrunch quoted an Instagram spokesperson as saying on Tuesday.

The photo-messaging app would charge sellers making sales an undisclosed amount of fee.

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Instagram could help you reach your target audiences better through shares and other aspects of personal marketing.

“We aren’t sharing the specific number right now. We are testing a selling fee with businesses during the closed beta. It will not change the price of the items for consumers,” the spokesperson said.

Checkout tags would appear on feed posts, Stories and Explore content from the brands in the closed beta that Instagram plans to eventually open to more businesses.

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For now, those who use Instagram’s shopping feature can pay with PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, the report added.

Instagram’s plans on rolling out the feature globally remain unclear. (IANS)

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Facebook Urges US Police to Stop Using Fake Accounts

When law enforcement has a written policy of engaging in fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts in violation of Facebook's policies, the social network should add a notification to the agency's page to inform users of the law enforcement policy

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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 should take new steps, including issuance of alerts to users, to address the proliferation of fake accounts operated by law enforcement agencies in the US, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital civil liberties not-for-profit organisation.

A report in the Guardian earlier revealed that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) violated Facebook’s guidelines by creating fake profiles on its platform tied to the University of Farmington — a sham institution that left many students, most of them Indians, in detention.

Facebook’s policy prohibits all users, including government agencies, from making fake accounts. But despite this, law enforcement agencies created fake accounts to spy on users, EFF said.

Police departments in Ohio, New York, Georgia and Nebraska said they had policies allowing investigators to use aliases and undercover profiles on social media, the Guardian reported on Monday.

“Facebook’s practice of taking down these accounts when they learn about them from the press (or from EFF) is insufficient to deter what we believe is a much larger iceberg beneath the surface,” EFF’s Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass wrote in a blogpost.

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Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. VOA

“We often only discover the existence of law enforcement fake profiles months, if not years, after an investigation has concluded,” Maass said.

In addition to suspending fake accounts, Facebook should publish data on the number of fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts identified, what agencies they belonged to, and what action was taken, EFF said.

According to EFF, when a fake/impersonator account is identified, Facebook should alert the users and groups that interacted with the account whether directly or indirectly.

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Facebook should further amend its “Amended Terms for Federal, State and Local Governments in the United States” to make it explicitly clear that, by agreeing to the terms, the agency was agreeing not to operate fake/impersonator profiles on the platform, Maass said.

When law enforcement has a written policy of engaging in fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts in violation of Facebook’s policies, the social network should add a notification to the agency’s page to inform users of the law enforcement policy, Maass said. (IANS)