Thursday January 17, 2019
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Instagram Stories get Facebook-Like Emoji Reactions

Earlier, in June, the Facebook-owned platform silently rolled out a smaller version of the app "Instagram Lite" allowing users to save space on their phone and download it quickly

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Instagram
Instagram restores scrolling feature after users slam latest update. Pixabay

Photo-messaging app Instagram is testing a new feature that allows users to react to “Stories” with emojis, just as they can react on Facebook.

The feature being tested in the latest version of the app shows six emojies — clapping hands; laughing with tears; heart-eyes; shocked/surprised; sad; and fire.

It also appears that to react — and to get emoji reactions — both the user and the uploader must have the updated version of Instagram installed on their devices.

When asked about the test, an Instagram spokesperson gave IANS an affirmative answer.

Instagram
Instagram has also rolled out a plethora of new features to the app in recent times. Pixabay

“We are testing a way to make it easier to interact and get closer with your friends on Instagram,” the spokesperson said in an email on Thursday.

Also Read: Instagram Begins Question-Answer Option in ‘Stories’

Earlier, in June, the Facebook-owned platform silently rolled out a smaller version of the app “Instagram Lite” allowing users to save space on their phone and download it quickly.

Instagram has also rolled out a plethora of new features to the app in recent times, including the “emoji slider”, polls, and the newly added “Ask me a question” feature that allows users to answer questions on “Stories” in an open-ended format. (IANS)

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Facebook To Invest $300Mn In Local News Partnerships, Programs

The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model."

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Facebook, dating
Facebook owned photo-messaging app Instagram already supports the "Unsend" capability VOA

Facebook says it is investing $300 million over the next three years in local news programs, partnerships and other initiatives.

The money will go toward reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding Facebook’s program to help local newsrooms with subscription business models and investing in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news.

The move comes at a difficult time for the news industry, which is facing falling profits and print readership. Facebook, like Google, has also been partly blamed for the ongoing decline in newspapers’ share of advertising dollars as people and advertisers have moved online.

Facebook, Fake News
A user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. Facebook has made changes to fight false information, including de-emphasizing proven false stories in people’s feeds so others are less likely to see them. VOA

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, acknowledges the company “can’t uninvent the internet,” but says it wants to work with publishers to help them succeed on and off the social network.

“The industry is going through a massive transition that has been underway for a long time,” she said. “None of us have quite figured out ultimately what the future of journalism is going to look like but we want to be part of helping find a solution.”

Facebook has increased its focus on local news in the past year after starting off 2018 with the announcement that it was generally de-emphasizing news stories and videos in people’s feeds on the social network in favor of posts from their friends.

At the same time, though, the company has been cautiously testing out ways to boost local news stories users are interested in and initiatives to support the broader industry. It launched a feature called “Today In” that shows people local news and information , including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements, expanding it to hundreds of cities around the U.S. and a few in Australia.

Facebook, social media
Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this illustration. VOA

The push to support local news comes as Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling. The company says users have been asking to see more local content that is relevant to them, including news stories as well as community information such as road closings during a snowstorm.

The $300 million investment includes a $5 million grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a fund that will provide local U.S. newsrooms with reporting grants to support coverage of local issues. There’s also a $2 million investment in Report for America as part of a partnership aiming to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across the country over the next five years.

The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model. Facebook can’t be the only answer, the only solution — we don’t want the publisher to be dependent on Facebook.”

Also Read: Democratic Lawmakers Further Investigate Russia’s Involvement In U.S. Election

Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, which is receiving $1 million together with the Local Media Association to help their member newsrooms develop new revenue streams, said she is optimistic the investment will help.

“I think they are recognizing that trusted, credible content is of benefit not only to local publishers but to them,” she said. (VOA)