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Snapchat Denies CEO Evan Spiegel’s purported disinterest in expanding Business to “poor countries” like India creates Controversy in Social Media

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Snapchat Logo, VOA

New Delhi, April 16, 2017: A day after Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel’s purported disinterest in expanding business to “poor countries” like India created controversy in social media, parent company Snap Inc denied the allegation, saying no such remark was made, reports said on Sunday.

US-based news website Variety on Saturday quoted Snapchat’s ex-employee Anthony Pompliano as saying that Spiegel in September 2015 told him that “the app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain”.

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But the company denied the remarks reports of which had resulted in the rating of the popular app dropping to a “single star” from an apparent “five star” on the App Store.

“The simple fact is that he (Pompliano) knows exactly nothing about Snap’s current metrics. He and his lawyers are — not to put too fine a point on matters — just making things up,” Variety reported Snap’s attorneys as saying.

Denying the claims of Snapchat being termed as a ‘rich people’s app’, the attorneys termed Pompliano a “disgruntled employee fired for poor performance”.

The portal YourStory published an official statement from Snap that said: “This is ridiculous. Obviously Snapchat is for everyone! It’s available worldwide to download for free.”

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Meanwhile, the rating of the popular app dropped to a “single star” from “five star” on the App Store.

According to the app info on App Store, the “Customer Ratings” of the current version of the app was “single star” (based on 6,099 ratings) and all versions’ rating was “one and half star” (based on 9,527 ratings) as on Sunday morning.

The rating for the app on Android Play Store was “four star” (based on 11,932,996 ratings).

Indians did not take the comment lightly and took to social media to lash out at the statement from the CEO. As the ratings of the app dropped, the criticism of the CEO and the app increased.

“First of all, I didn’t even want to give any freakin’ star to this app. Evan (CEO of Snapchat) shows how stupid he is by saying this. I bet 3/4th of his company is run by Indian employees. If he didn’t want to expand it to poor countries, then why is this app free? Why didn’t he put any charges on it?” a user wrote on App Store, condemning the CEO.

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Some users wrote, “Poor India & Spain need better than Snapchat”, “Good bye, My Snapchat Account and Snap Inc. You’ll be product of gone by era and derision”, and “Poor Evan Spiegel”.

The app was also trolled on Twitter. #boycottsnapchat became the most trending hashtag on Twitter overnight.

“I haven’t seen any Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians etc Tweets yet. Thanks @Snapchat for Uniting us,” a user tweeted.

“I was addicted to @Snapchat but I love my country more than this app. Let’s see how you earn without Indians. @evanspiegel #boycottsnapchat,” another user wrote on twitter.

Some users even flagged the app for hateful content and left a message, “Dear @snapchatsupport, flagged you for hateful content. #boycottsnapchat”.

According to a report in Forbes on Thursday, Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram surpassed Snapchat in daily active users of “Stories” feature, though the format was first launched by Snapchat in 2013.

Instagram’s “Stories” feature was now used by more than 200 million people every day — an increase of 50 million since January.

On the other hand, Snapchat which launched the “Stories” format in October 2013, had 161 million daily active users in February.

“Stories” feature is an ephemeral chain of photo and video clips with filters and special effects. More recently, Facebook and WhatsApp also introduced the feature, imitating Snapchat.

Snapchat has more than four million users in India. (IANS)

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Send Your own Nudes to Facebook to Stop Revenge Porn

Facebook is testing a new method to stop revenge porn that requires you to send your own nudes to yourself via the social network's Messenger app

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Send your own nudes
Send your own nudes via messenger app to yourself.Pixabay.

Sydney, Nov 9: Facebook is testing a new method to stop revenge porn that requires you to send your own nudes to yourself via the social network’s Messenger app.

This strategy would help Facebook to create a digital fingerprint for the picture and mark it as non-consensual explicit media.

So if a relationship goes sour, you could take proactive steps to prevent any intimate images in possession of your former love interest from being shared widely on Facebook or instagram.

Facebook is partnering with a Australian government agency to prevent such image-based abuses, the Australia Broadcasting Corp reported.

If you’re worried your intimate photos will end up on Instagram or Facebook, you can get in contact with Australi’s e-Safety Commissioner. They might then tell you to send your own nudes to yourself on Messenger.

send your own nudes to yourself
Facebook is coming up with a method to prevent revenge porn if you send your own nudes to yourself. Pixabay.

“It would be like sending yourself your image in email, but obviously this is a much safer, secure end-to-end way of sending the image without sending it through the ether,” e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant told ABC.

Once the image is sent via Messenger, Facebook would use technology to “hash” it, which means creating a digital fingerprint or link.

“They’re not storing the image, they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies,” Grant said.

“So if somebody tried to upload that same image, which would have the same digital footprint or hash value, it will be prevented from being uploaded,” she explained.

Australia is one of four countries taking part in the “industry-first” pilot which uses “cutting-edge technology” to prevent the re-sharing on images on its platforms, Facebook’s Head of Global Safety Antigone Davis was quoted as saying.

“The safety and wellbeing of the Facebook community is our top priority,” Davis said. (IANS)

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Delhi Smog : Bollywood Actors Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor, Tapsee Pannu share Their concern on Social Media

Bollywood actors expresses their concern over Delhi Smog.

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Varun Dhawan shares his concern over Delhi Smog
Varun Dhawan shares his concern over Delhi Smog.Instagram
  • Delhi smog levels are going high day by day and have become a major health concern for delhiites.
  • Bollywood actors Arjun Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Tapsee Bannu and other express their concern over Delhi Smog.

Bollywood Actors share messages about Delhi Smog

Delhi Smog has choked almost everyone’s breath. Actor Varun Dhawan who is currently shooting in Delhi for his movie ‘October’ gives a message to go green in his Instagram post. He is masked and taking a selfie with a sheet of thick smog in the background. He even captioned his selfie, “I have clicked this selfie to show you guys what actual smog looks like. I don’t want to preach I am equally to blame for this mess as most of the citizens of our great country, but now instead of blaming each other and the government let’s change. It’s time we go green. #delhichokes.”

Actors like Taapsee Pannu, Arjun Kapoor and Dia Mirza also shared their messages on social media. They wrote-

Arjun tweeted the video of an accident which took place on Yamuna Expressway today due to high level of smog.

Prepared By Pragya Mital f NewsGram | Twitter @PragyaMittal05

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Restrictions on Freedom of Expression : Pakistani Journalists Struggle with Growing Threats from Government and Militants alike

A recent cybercrime bill in Pakistan has become a vehicle for curbing media freedom, allowing the government to censor digital content, criminalize internet user activity and access bloggers' data without judicial review. Media defenders say the country's blasphemy laws also are being used to cut off public debate.

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Pakistani journalists protest to condemn an attack on their colleague, in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. Assailants riding on motorcycles have attacked an outspoken Pakistani journalist, leaving him badly hurt with head injuries. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil) VOA

Pakistan, November 2, 2017 : Journalists in Pakistan say they are facing increasing risks ranging from the government’s expanding control over social media to extremist threats that have spread from long-volatile regions to the streets of the capital.

The latest attack left a journalist badly beaten on a street in Islamabad. Earlier this year, security agencies picked up several bloggers from urban centers who said after their release that they had been tortured and humiliated.

Threats to reporters have long been a problem in volatile Baluchistan and the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, but the recent incidents have reinforced complaints by media groups that the danger is spreading to the nation’s heartland.

The victim of the beating in Islamabad was Ahmad Noorani, a senior reporter for the influential Daily News newspaper, who previously had been warned to close his Twitter account after criticizing the powerful military. The attack attracted widespread condemnation on social media, where many posts blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agencies for the attack.

Other journalists have been charged with violating the country’s vague Anti-Terrorism Act, which defines terrorism as creating “a sense of fear or insecurity in society.” Critics say it has broad potential for abuse.

Several bloggers critical of the government or the military have vanished for weeks, later saying they had been kidnapped by the intelligence services.

Popular blogger Asim Saeed was snatched by unknown men earlier this year. He told the BBC in an interview last week that he was picked up by Pakistan intelligence agencies and tortured during his detention.

Digital media rights activists, meanwhile, are warning that Pakistan is attempting to cut back on internet freedom.

“In my opinion, the government is terrifying the social media activists,” Usama Khilji, director of the internet freedom organization Bolo Bhi, told VOA’s Deewa service. “Social media is a democratic medium where people can express their thoughts without any restrictions. However, it has been observed, when people share their thoughts, the government feels insecure.”

Anwar Iqbal, a Washington-based senior journalist and correspondent for the leading English-language newspaper Daily Dawn, agreed.

“The Pakistani state feels vulnerable in the presence of growing social media and wants to stifle the discourse on topics it considers sensitive,” he said.

The state does not want media to discuss sensitive issues like relations with the U.S., China, Afghanistan and India, Iqbal said, particularly in light of President Donald Trump’s new policy for the region calling for Islamabad to crack down on terrorist safe havens.

Reports from watchdog groups

Human Rights Watch’s 2016 report said media were being deterred from reporting on or criticizing human rights violations by the security services.

“Many journalists increasingly practiced self-censorship, fearing retribution from both state security forces and militant groups. Media outlets remained under pressure to avoid reporting on or criticizing human rights violations by the military in counterterrorism operations,” the report said.

Reporters Without Borders, a global media watchdog, in its annual report this year, ranked Pakistan 139 of 180 countries on its Press Freedom Index, despite its reputation having one of the most free media environments in Asia. The report says the nation’s media “are targeted by extremist groups, Islamist organizations, and the feared intelligence agencies” — all of which are on the group’s list of “Predators of Press Freedom.”

Even when the threats come from extremist groups, journalists say, the government has done little to pursue the perpetrators.

But Interior Minister Talal Chaudry defended the government’s actions, suggesting the reporters should be doing more to protect themselves.

journalist
Journalist Zafar Achakzai, who was held for sharing content criticizing security forces on social media, sits in his office after being released from jail, in Quetta, Pakistan, July 9, 2017. VOA

“We have included insurance for journalists in the journalists ‘protection bill,” he said. “Sometimes, journalists are not trained or not properly equipped, and that is why they become victims of violence. We understand journalists are sometimes victims of violence, and that is why we are bringing a comprehensive bill for working journalists in the parliament.”

Journalists: Situation worsening

But many journalists say things are getting worse. A recent cybercrime bill has become a vehicle for curbing media freedom, allowing the government to censor digital content, criminalize internet user activity and access bloggers’ data without judicial review. Media defenders say the country’s blasphemy laws also are being used to cut off public debate.

“We have laws in place for social media, but it’s not being controlled,” Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yousef told Deewa when asked how the government can avoid the blasphemy law from being misused against social media.

Such problems are longstanding in Pakistan’s troubled southwestern Baluchistan province, where newspapers have been shut down and newsstands shuttered for more than a week amid threats from militant groups claiming the local media are too supportive of the central government.

“The resistance [militant] groups are calling on boycotting all media houses, threatening press offices and journalists,” Behram Baloch, who is now working from home, told VOA. “To address this issue, we held a meeting here at the press club. We decided to suspend our activities for a while, and press club will remain closed. Our movement is limited, and many of our colleagues have left their jobs.”

Militants from separatist groups, banned by the state, threw a hand grenade at an office of a newspaper agency in Turbat, Baluchistan, injuring eight people.

“Journalists as well as the Newspaper Editors Council received threats. As a result, our workers were forced not to leave their homes. They include press workers and hawkers. We were, thus, unable to pick up newspapers [for delivery],” said Mir Ahmed, general secretary of the Newspapers Wholesalers Association.

“Life and death are in the hands of God.” (VOA)