Home AppsApps News Tasneem Akolawala, 09 February 2017 Highlights Flipboard has been redesigned across platforms
It comes with a new Smart magazines feature
The Homepage carousel design has been changed as well Flipboard has announced a major app redesign across platforms with v4.0. The company has gone on the drawing board and rethought how users want their news fed to integrate changes accordingly. The app brings along something called as 'Smart Magazines' that essentially is manually-curated news feed catering to your interests and passions. Getting rid of the old design, Flipboard v4.0 brings a lot of customisation, social sharing, and community building features with this latest update.
The redesigned Flipboard app brings in an intuitive design that picks up posts from Twitter feeds, bloggers, publishers, and Flipboard community to populate your feed. The 'Smart magazines' feature essentially lets you make your own magazine – based on your interests. For example, you can create a magazine about Cricket, and then fine-tune what the magazine will entail. By adding keywords like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli, the magazine will curate news for those keywords on priority. You can create multiple magazines of such kinds on different topics to keep stories organised on the Flipboard app.
If you glance upon a story that you like, a new heart button lets you boost that post to notify friends. Furthermore, you can even make personalised magazines of your own, add many members, and share news on it on the go. All your Flipboard friends will see the articles you share, and they can contribute some interesting finds too. You can even share articles with Flipboard members individually, and follow magazines of your friends.
Flipboard sticks to the red and white colour palette, but has a new Home carousel design and an updated profile page that is home to all your stories, likes, and topics. As mentioned, it is available across platforms i.e. Web, Android, iOS, and Windows. Let us know what you think of the redesigned Flipboard app in the comments section below.
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Home MobilesMobiles News Shubham Verma, 09 February 2017 Highlights The Edge Moto Mod lights your Moto Z when notification arrives
It's an Indiegogo campaign that needs backing up to $15,000
Once backed, Edge Moto Mods will be sold starting $55 Smartphones these days are enroute to stagnation in form factor and design, but Lenovo brand Moto tried to break the monotony with its Moto Mods that can be slapped at the back of its Z series smartphones. The Moto Mods are accessories that can enhance some features on your Moto Z smartphones, while also beautifying them at the same time. Until now, Moto Mods have only been available from the company itself or big third-parties like JBL, with doors open for other smaller kickstarter projects to commence developing their own Moto Mods built out of developer programme. We are now seeing one of these smaller projects that is essentially a LED-notification light frame called the Edge.
The 'Edge' Moto Mod is an Indiegogo project that aims to make you look at your phone only for the notifications that you want to look at. It is an RGB lighting system for Moto Z smartphones that glows when notifications arrive on your smartphone in four different patterns. You can personalise different apps that will be pushing notifications on your phone with a plethora of colours from a colour palette. Apart from this, you can also see battery status along with charging status, group your notifications, customise SMS and phone calls separately, and smart save auto switch-off/on feature among others. All of the aforementioned things can be managed through a dedicated app.
Motorola on Why Google's Project Ara Failed, and How Moto Mods are Different

There are another two variants of the Edge Moto Mod – Edge Force and Edge Air. The Edge Force mod packs a 2000mAh battery inside it while the Edge Air supports wireless charging for your Moto Z smartphone. The project is due reaching its goal of $15,000 after which only it will be able to ship the Edge Moto Mod in July at $55 – however the latter variants are going to cost $59 with additional shipping charges.
To recall, Motorola last year partnered the Indiegogo campaign to encourage mod development for its Moto Z smartphones, following its plan to open Module Development Kit for smaller third party developers.
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Home Social networkingSocial networking News Indo-Asian News Service, 09 February 2017 Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Facebook has rolled out a new feature that shows full weather forecast on its mobile app and desktop site.
According to a report in TechCrunch, within the new Weather section, users can view a full forecast for a week ahead, powered by data from Weather.com.
The new feature, an extension of its earlier version 'weather greetings', can be accessed from News Feed or the mobile app's 'More' menu.
“Facebook confirmed that the new feature was launched to around 95 per cent of its global population this week,” the report noted.
Facebook rolled out 'weather greetings' a year ago in News Feed, which would briefly update the weather on top of the News Feed.
In the latest feature, users will see a similar weather information with a link to the full, five-day forecast.
“We are doing this because our goal is to develop products that connect people to the things they care about most and create moments of joy in people's day, like simply telling you that it's going to rain later,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Mass Effect: Andromeda Doesn’t Have the Paragon and Renegade System to Give It a Traditional RPG Feel Moto Z Series Gets a New Moto Mod – The 'Edge' LED Notification Light

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Home GamesGames News Rishi Alwani, 09 February 2017 Highlights Mass Effect: Andromeda is out on March 21
The game opts for a greyer representation of player morality
It should allow for different outcomes for different scenarios Mass Effect: Andromeda will not have the series’ long-running Paragon and Renegade System. As the name implies, it lets players choose options that are outright morally correct or otherwise. The game’s developers explained why it won’t be making the cut in Mass Effect: Andromeda.
“What we have now is based more around agreeing and disagreeing. The reason I like that is because in the trilogy it’s like, ‘I’m gonna play Paragon,’ and then you know which way you’re moving the stick on every conversation. You don’t have to think about it, because you’re just going to hit Paragon every time,” Creative Director Mac Walters told Official Xbox Magazine (via GamesRadar).
Mass Effect: Andromeda Release Date Announced
The reason for this shift is to allow for different outcomes depending on the character you’re talking to and the situation you’re in.
“We’ve added in four tones and we’ll talk a little more in the future, but they basically allow other types of characters to express them[selves] in one of four different ways, and sometimes one of two different ways,” Walters said about the different voice tones.
“And I think that gets back to that more traditional role-playing sort of feeling which is less about ‘Do I want to be good or bad,’ and more about ‘How do I want to express myself.’”
Mass Effect 2 Trailer Inspires Donald Trump Campaign Video
With Mass Effect Andromeda out on March 21 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC, we’re yet to see how much of an impact this change has on the game plays over its duration. Hopefully developer BioWare elaborates on this in the days to come.
Rishi Alwani Email Rishi Rishi writes about video games and tech. Legend has it he bleeds pixels.
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Home TelecomTelecom News Shubham Verma, 09 February 2017 Highlights 5G has officially been taken as a term for next-gen wireless standard
It will be complete by late 2018, says 3GPP
It is expected to focus more on IoT and higher Internet capacity Rubber-stamping the much-speculated name to the next generation wireless communication technology, the 3GPP cellular standards group has officially adopted the term '5G' going forward. The 'Organizational Partners' have approved the new logo of 5G along with the name, which will become the forthcoming wireless standard. The new 5G logo is derived from the LTE Advanced Pro design, however forgoing the general recurrence of the 4G LTE branding.
The 3GPP cellular standards group said that the idea behind this derived logo “is to keep a familiar design aspect with the use of plain black text and textured waves, but to make the logo stronger and sharper – ready for use on the new radio and next generation core specifications for 5G.” As we said, the 5G logo bears 'waves' over it, same as what we see over the LTE Advanced Pro version.
5G wireless technology specifications are still being finalised and it is expected to be ready by late 2018. This is also when the first of the imminent phases – Phase 1 – will roll out, while the Phase 2 is due for completion in the year 2020. As we said, the definition of 5G is yet to be given by the group – however it's said to aim more on bandwidth rather than high speeds like 4G. We have already been hearing a lot about 5G to be more IoT-specific, which we can expect to kickstart the 'Internet of Things' era. “The use of the 5G logo on 3GPP specification cover sheets is intended to help the industry to identify at which point in time 5G features will appear,” said the 3GPP in a release.
The advancement of 5G will begin after the Phase 1 rolls out across the globe, which hopefully includes India in the roadmap. Several telecom companies, chipset manufacturers like Intel, Qualcomm, Nokia and Samsung have already unveiled their devices that will support the upcoming technology.
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Home LaptopsLaptops News Tasneem Akolawala, 09 February 2017 Highlights Windows 10 latest build gets picture-on-picture feature
Microsoft is calling it Compact Overlay
Windows 10 Creators Update should arrive in April Windows 10 is looking to bring many features with its Creators Update sometime this April, and the preview builds have already given us an idea of what's coming. Now, a new build has been released for Windows 10 Insiders and it brings the useful picture-on-picture feature.
Microsoft is calling it 'Compact Overlay' and it is available for all fast ring Insiders as part of the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build 15031. The company is testing this feature and looks to release it commercially with the Windows 10 Creators Update across platforms. This feature will let built-in apps like Skype and Movies & TV to run in a small window while you navigate on other apps. This means that while watching a movie or during a video call, you could check your IMs or other apps simultaneously without shutting them down. Compact Overlay will transform the video call into a small dialogue box in the corner, while you do other things. This will allow you to not lose the video, and encourage multi-tasking.
The Redmond-based company says that the latest build also introduces Dynamic Lock which means that you could pair your smartphone with the PC, and as soon as the phone is far away from the PC (outside of the Bluetooth range), it will automatically lock itself. The company also said that the Windows 10 Creators Update is 'feature complete' which means that testers won't get any more new features in preview builds.
Separately, Windows Central reports that Microsoft gave a sneak peek at Project Neon during Windows Developers Day live stream, finally making it official. Project Neon is what Microsoft is calling the revamped Windows 10 design language internally. The new UI essentially 'aims to add fluidity, animation and blur to apps and the operating system'. Its mission is to create a simple yet modern design language for the OS across platforms – be it all types of Windows 10 devices, including Windows 10 Mobile, HoloLens and even Xbox. Project Neon also looks to further Microsoft's 3D efforts, and the company is expected to fully detail this at its Build Developers Conference in May.
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Home MobilesMobiles Features Sanket Vijayasarathy, 09 February 2017 Highlights Xiaomi surprised the world with the near bezel-less Mi MIX
Bezel-less smartphones are set to provide an immersive experience
Galaxy S8, iPhone, LG G6 are expected to sport bezel-less designs Many have argued in recent years that smartphones these days are lacking any true sense of innovation and that there has been a general stagnation when it comes to design. In many ways though, 2016 proved to be year of experiments in the smartphone industry. While some companies like LG brought in modular smartphones, some others – most notably Apple – decided to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Going by the rumours so far, 2017 is likely to bring in another iconic change to the design of smartphones. Bezel-less phones are set to headline 2017, with some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Apple, Samsung, and LG are looking to come out with bezel-less or near bezel-less phones, just as we had always imagined futuristic phones would look like.
Fewer bezels, more fun
Back in 2014, Sharp introduced an edge-to-edge smartphone, the Aquos Crystal. The phone itself failed to make an impact in the market, but did give us a glimpse of what bezel-less phones could look like.
Xiaomi took everyone by surprise last year when it launched the near bezel-less Mi MIX. Indeed, the Mi MIX came the closest so far to removing bezels completely, with an impressive 91.3 screen-to-body-ratio. The Mi MIX comes with almost no bezels on the side and top, and a thin chin, which makes it hard not to be amazed with one of the most innovative phones from last year.
One of the biggest wins with a bezel-less phone is the large display, in a relatively compact device. Watching anything from movies to playing games to capturing videos and images on a display without borders is just the kind immersive experience everyone has been hoping for.
Seeing as how the average display size of smartphones has moved upwards of 5-inches, with 5.5-inch and 5.7-inch displays becoming the norm, bezel-less phones have the benefit of adding a larger display without increasing the size of the phone.
Some cons to bezel-less displays
There are a few issues that crop up with bezel-less phones, if one is really nitpicking. Going by the phones released so far, the loss of bezels in the likes of the Mi MIX or the Aquos Crystal has so far meant having to move the front-facing camera to the chin, which can take a little getting used to.
Front-facing features like proximity sensors, and the earpiece, for example, have to be moved somewhere else to make room for the display. Edge-to-edge screen also ups the risk factor if you drop the phone, because if the edges are damaged on a regular phone, your screen could still be usable, but that's not the case here.
There's also the problem with accidental touches – the lack bezels mean holding the phone without accidentally registering a tap along the edges becomes harder, and can be an irritant in some situations.
Whether or not a completely bezel-less phone is possible is something that will need to be seen as time goes by. 2017 will move closer to that reality and we look at some of the upcoming smartphones that are expected to sport a bezel-less or near bezel-less design, based on all the rumors we know so far.
Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung began chopping down bezels a few years ago with the Galaxy S6 Edge. The handset featured almost no bezels on the right and left sides. Successive Galaxy Edge models followed the same trend. Similar edge-to-edge design was then seen on the Galaxy Note series.
Samsung knows it needs to come out with a flagship in 2017 that will make people forget the tragedy that was the Galaxy Note 7. The fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 was arguably one of the company's best devices in terms of design and specifications. The South Korean giant will look to take things a few notches higher with the upcoming Galaxy S8. Here's what we know so far.
In an attempt to take on Xiaomi's challenge, the upcoming Galaxy S8 is being touted to lack bezels on the right and left sides, with slim bezels on the top and bottom. The Galaxy S8 is rumored to ditch the Home Button while the fingerprint scanner moves over to to the back.
The super thin bezels on the Galaxy S8 will increase the display size while still maintaining the overall form factor of the handset. The Galaxy S8 is expected to come in 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch displays with an aspect ratio of 18:5:9 from the traditional 16:9. Both the models are also touted to sport QHD Super AMOLED displays.
Here's Everything We Know About the Samsung Galaxy S8 So Far

LG's modular LG G5 flagship in 2016 may not have gone down well with people, but the company is looking to bounce back with the upcoming LG G6 smartphone. Rumours that have poured in so far have pegged the G6 to sport a bezel-less design with a 5.7-inch QHD+ (1440×2880 pixels) display with an impressive aspect ratio of 18:9.
The LG G6 is expected to feature screen-to-bezel ratio of over 90 percent. So far the leaks and teasers have not revealed too much about where LG plans to slim down the bezels. It is likely that the bottom bezel (which was the modular part of the G5) might disappear while the top will continue to house the front-facing camera, sensor and earpiece.
According to the invite sent out by the company, the LG G6 will be unveiled at a pre-event on February 26 ahead of MWC 2017. The official invite further teases a bezel-less flagship that is sized appropriately to fit in the hand. Whether or not the G6 improves on the Mi MIX is something that will be seen in just a few weeks.
Xiaomi Mi 6 or Mi MIX 2

Of course, one cannot leave out the company that started the bezel-less trend in 2016. Xiaomi's Mi MIX was a limited production-ready smartphone that sparked the curiosity of the public. The phone proved that such a device was no longer a concept but a reality.
While nothing is set in stone as of now, Xiaomi is unlikely to stop with the Mi MIX. The Chinese company is expected to come out with something this year – perhaps a Mi MIX 2 or maybe a wider launch of the original.
Some rumours in November suggested that a miniature version of the Mi MIX was in the works. The device is rumored to sport a 5.5-inch screen with a similar screen-to-body ratio as the bigger variant. However, nothing more has been spoken of on that front.
Finally, we could see the upcoming Mi 6 to feature slim bezels like the Mi MIX. The most expensive variant of the Mi 6 is already pegged to feature a dual-edged curved screen with a ceramic body.
Apple iPhone 8

Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 is touted to be something special from the company that is celebrating the iPhone's tenth anniversary. Moreover, expectations are high for Apple to come out with some drastic changes to what the company has produced so far.
With companies like Xiaomi having raced ahead with near bezel-less phones, and Samsung expected to do the same with the Galaxy S8, Apple is running the risk of being monotonous. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus did not bring anything new in its overall aesthetics. The Plus version, however, managed to grab a lot of attention with its dual-lens camera, which helped Apple reach an all-time record of $78.4 billion (approximately Rs. 5,30,498 crores) in revenue the last quarter.
The idea of a bezel-less iPhone has been associated with Apple for a few years now. The Cupertino-giant in recent years has been cautious in what it brings to the iPhone and what it takes away. Ditching the headphone jack for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus was a big move but not a first.
The iPhone 8, however, is being rumoured to sport a bezel-less design. To make this happen, the company will be ditching its iconic Home Button and will implement a fingerprint sensor under the display, which Synaptic says is quite possible. The Plus variant is also touted to sport a curved OLED display. However, its too early in the day to trust any of these rumors.
Apple iPhone 8 Specifications, Release Date, and More: The Rumours So Far
Apple has been known to take things slow which is why one shouldn't expect a near bezel-less design anytime soon. As such, the company may just include some bonus features (which could include slimmer bezels) with the Plus variant as has been the trend for the company in recent years.
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Home InternetInternet News Gadgets 360 Staff, 09 February 2017 Highlights Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal partnered to lobby against a GST provision
They want the tax-collected at source requirement removed
They argue that this provision will increase complexity and costs At a press conference organised by FICCI on Thursday, the heads of Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal all found common cause as they expressed their worries about the TCS (Tax Collection at Source) provision of the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Under this provision, online marketplaces are responsible for collecting – and paying – taxes on behalf of their sellers. This is something that all three companies, the major players in the e-commerce space in India, are against, as they argue it will hamper the growth of e-commerce.
Currently, e-commerce operators share data on sales to the government periodically to ensure tax compliance. In the proposed model, additional TCS reporting, reconciliation, and governance could lead to greater complexity of business operations, and block capital, the companies argued.
Kicking things off, Snapdeal co-founder and CEO Kunal Bahl stated that “e-commerce is vociferously for GST.” This was a sentiment that was echoed by Amit Agarwal, Amazon India Head, who added that TCS can change the growth trajectory of e-commerce, and that is a cause for concern. “Tax collection at source is an exception created for online, it isn't there for offline,” he added.
Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal added, “none of us is saying that GST is bad, it is a transformative step for e-commerce,” but added, “tax collection at source is an area of concern in GST for e-commerce.”
“Due to TCS, close to RS. 400 crores per annum of capital will be locked into the system,” he added. “It will hamper working capital.”
Given that there are thousands of sellers and merchants on each platform, the shopping portals say TCS will be cumbersome and time consuming, and discourage sellers. “Success of e-commerce industry is contingent upon the success of small businesses,” Bahl added.
They say a thorough impact analysis of this tax provision on the online marketplace has not been carried out diligently. Now with the draft model GST law due to be finalised at the end of the month, the urgency is apparent.
FICCI Secretary General Dr A Didar Singh also said that “e-commerce created the first national market of the country, GST just enhances that.”
On the risk of tax evasion by sellers, Bansal said that sharing of information can help prevent this. “Tax evasion can be avoided by sharing of information,” he said. “We are already doing this with the states.”
Gadgets 360 has reached out to all the three companies seeking further comments, and we will update this article on getting replies.
SignEasy CEO on Building a Business Without Funding

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Home AppsApps Features Gopal Sathe, 09 February 2017 Highlights SignEasy lets you easily sign digital documents
The company has not accepted institutional funding
Its CEO says this is easier for B2B companies like SignEasy Today, when you talk about startups in India, there's a lot of focus on funding – these announcements command a lot of attention and in some cases seem to have become an end goal in and of themselves. But there are still a few success stories from India that are bootstrapped – that haven't taken institutional funding. Chennai-based Zoho is one such example, as is QuickHeal. Another example is the Koramangala, Bengaluru-based (and San Francisco headquartered) SignEasy, which is a solution for electronically signing documents.
The company got its start when founder and CEO Sunil Patro was living in the US, and he tells Gadgets 360 that most of the revenues, and clients, are still in the US, which is also where the company's headquarters are. But Patro, and most of his 30-member team, can be found in Bengaluru's startup-hub of Koramangala, in a small but well-lit office with the requisite glass windows and table-tennis table.
Patro says that a few years ago, SignEasy was considering looking at funding, but decided against it after some consideration. “We were never actively pitching, but here in India there was some interest in the company, and I thought it might not be a bad idea,” he tells Gadgets 360. “But the mindset in India is not really there. VC money means growth at any cost, and I thought this [being bootstrapped] was much more sustainable, and steady. And we've been very streamlined and cautious with our spending, and made enough of a profit that we've hired a small team in the US now for sales in the North American region.”
Consumer businesses need more funds
According to Patro, one of the reasons this approach has been possible for SignEasy is because it is a B2B2C SaaS product – business to business to consumer, and software as a service, for those who don't speak the jargon. What that means is that although SignEasy is a product that gets used by consumers, as a solution, it's sold to businesses which can then deploy it. It's a service that can be integrated into workflows by companies, and paid for with a subscription, not just a product.
“In B2B SaaS like us, it's okay to take the slower approach,” he adds. “And because our customers are paying, they give better feedback also, which we can use to improve our offering. In fact, the more they pay, the more they stick around as well.”
“Someone who is paying $100 to $200 [roughly Rs. 6,700 and Rs. 13,400] will give you a lot more feedback and it'll be useful feedback,” says Patro, “whereas a consumer who is using a free app will just move on to the next free app instead.”

On the other hand, for consumer facing businesses, there's a much greater need to grow quickly, since they usually can't directly monetise their audiences early, and for this reason, says Patro, VC funding is much more important in those scenarios.
It's a philosophy that seems to be working for SignEasy, because Patro tells us that in the last four years, the company has been profitable, and seen “high double digit growth.” According to him, the company has 130,000 paying users “across different tiers, from prosumers and freelancers, to the big enterprises,” and it's seen 4.5 million downloads. Perhaps more importantly, in the same period, 10 million documents have been signed, and “in the last three years, the number of documents being signed has gone up year on year by 50 percent,” says Patro.
Someone who is paying will give you a lot more feedback than a consumer who is using a free appIndia has a lot of potential
According to Patro, the bulk of SignEasy's business comes from the US. “We have most of our customers in the US, and we work with a lot of partners there as well, such as Google, Dropbox, and for that reason having our office in the US is very beneficial,” he says. On the other hand he says that the company has only scratched the surface in India so far.
Part of that is because India is fairly unique in terms of regulations regarding electronic signatures, Patro tells us. “India is actually super tricky,” says Patro. “The IT Act actually had some provisions for electronic signatures, but India is actually one of the few places in the world that is not technology neutral for signatures. Basically, digital signatures [a kind of electronic 'fingerprint' for the file] is recognised, while electronic signatures [where you put your physical signature in a file] is not.”
The problem with this, as Patro point out, is that although digital signatures are considered more secure, applying them involves a lot more friction for the end user, and doesn't work well on mobile. “In the rest of the world, e-sig [electronic signatures] really took off. We have customers in banking, real estate, legal firms, all kinds of uses, and any time someone asks you to scan a document with your signature and send it, this is really the same.”
The important thing, he adds, is that any kind of signature must fulfil three needs – first, authentication of the user; second, integrity of the document; and third, it must be non-repudiable (can not be denied as having been sent). According to him, SignEasy meets all these needs.
India is actually super trickyThat said, things could change soon, he says. “Aadhaar could change things with new regulations,” explains Patro. “Right now we're waiting for the rollout, but it's a very positive development. DigiLocker is another example of how the government is looking at documents and it's a very positive step.”

New users, new features, new platforms
About a year ago, SignEasy launched its Web interface and according to Patro, that's the fastest growing part of the business, in terms of users, revenue, and documents signed. For now though, mobile users still account for 85 percent of the user base, he says.
Interestingly, mobile Web is one of the biggest new use cases for the company. “The thing is that business users will send documents to sign to customers, which could be an offer letter, or a loan application, and if they ask the customer to download an app at that stage, it's unnecessary friction,” explains Patro.
He says that although the company has been growing steadily for seven years now, there's still a long way to go. He gives us the example of a new feature that the company has just launched, called Document Fields.
“So normally, when you send a document to sign, the user has to figure out where to sign, and has to check to make sure that they've signed in all the places,” he explains. “Now, the sender can mark out document fields, so instead of panning and scanning, you can just tap the 'next' button to get to every field. This way, you'll know where to sign, and won't miss anything.”
New features like this will keep coming, Patro says, and adds, “aside from that, India is still a very big story, and even in the US where we've got a large customer base, we can still grow a lot more. In the pipeline now are tools for document creation and collaboration, archival, and shareability. There's a lot more to come.”
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Home Social networkingSocial networking News Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post, 09 February 2017 Facebook said Wednesday that it's making three changes to stop housing, employment and credit-related ads on its network that discriminate based on personal attributes.
The change has been a long time coming. The company came under fire last fall, following a ProPublica article that showed it was possible to make housing ads on Facebook that explicitly excluded certain racial groups, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. That law prohibits people from refusing to rent or sell homes to someone based on characteristics such as race. Many critics, including from the Congressional Black Caucus and the American Civil Liberties Union, called on Facebook to stop these advertisements as well as those that allowed discrimination for employment or credit-related products – two categories with their own anti-discrimination laws. Last fall, Facebook said that it would.
It's not clear how many such ads actually ran on Facebook.
The company said Wednesday that its policies now say that ads cannot discriminate people based on attributes such as race, gender, sexual orientation or medical or genetic condition, said Steve Satterfield, manager of privacy and public policy at Facebook. It also expressly forbids ads that have discriminatory content – i.e. ones that say certain types of people “need not apply.”
Second, it's placing limits on ad creation. Advertisers will no longer be able to use Facebook's culturally based audience selection tools to exclude or target ads for housing, employment or credit products. If someone tries, he or she will receive a notice telling them that that type of targeting isn't allowed. Advertisers must also affirm they understand Facebook's anti-discrimination policies.
Finally, Facebook is going to begin disapproving ads that violate these policies. It hopes to detect them automatically using machine learning, which Satterfield said will get better at judging content over time. Advertisers who think their ads are being flagged unfairly can appeal and ask for a manual review.
Facebook said it consulted many of its initial critics while crafting the new requirements. Many support the company's new policies. “We're glad to see Facebook implementing strong policies so that advertisers of housing, credit, and employment don't use Facebook's ad targeting to exclude certain users,” said Rachel Goodman, attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Program, in a statement. “We urge the rest of the online advertising industry to follow suit.”
The changes will begin rolling out globally Wednesday, starting in the United States.
© 2017 The Washington Post
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