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Technology • Internet & Web
WhatsApp now offers voice and video calls on desktop app
WhatsApp now offers voice and video calls on desktop app
Credit: WhatsApp/Facebook

WhatsApp announced it is adding support for voice and video calls to its desktop app, a feature that has been long-awaited by users.

"Voice and video calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp can’t hear or see them, whether you call from your phone or your computer. We’re starting with one-to-one calls on the WhatsApp desktop app so we make sure we can give you a reliable and high-quality experience. We will be expanding this feature to include group voice and video calls in the future," the company's statement read.

Technology • Internet & Web
Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news
Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news
Credit: unsplash.com/Obi Onyeador

Australia's government has passed a new law that will require tech giants such as Facebook and Google to pay publishers for using their news content. Market regulator Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) publishers have had little negotiating power until now because they are so reliant on tech monopolies like Google and Facebook.

Technology • Internet & Web
Australian ministers say Facebook's news ban is "an assault" on democracy
Australian ministers say Facebook's news ban is "an assault" on democracy
Credit: unsplash.com/Brett Jordan

After Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and sharing news on its platform, the Australian government heavily criticised the move, calling "an assault" to democracy while still moving forward in passing a law that would force Big Tech giants to pay for news.

“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote on Facebook. “They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.”

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook criticizes Apple’s iOS privacy changes in newspaper ads
Facebook criticizes Apple’s iOS privacy changes in newspaper ads
Credit: via @DaveStangis (Twitter)

Facebook published full-page newspaper ads in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post on Wednesday criticizing Apple’s upcoming iOS privacy changes.

"We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere," the headline read. "At Facebook, small business is at the core of our business," the ad continues and claims that Apple's changes will be "devastating to small businesses," and ends by writing that"small businesses deserve to be heard. We hear your concerns, and we stand with you."

Apple responded by saying it was "standing up" for people who use its devices and that user "should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not."

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook Dating launches in Europe
Facebook Dating launches in Europe
Credit: Facebook

Facebook Dating, the company's competitor to various dating apps, has launched in Europe today. Facebook claims the service has created 1.5 billion matches since its international launch in 2018.

"Facebook Dating won’t suggest your Facebook friends as potential matches, but if you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you’re interested in," so the company in a statement.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Facebook says it has rejected 2.2 million ads attempting to obstruct voting in US election
Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg Credit: Liberal Democrats (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Facebook has rejected a total of 2.2 million ads and withdrawn 120,000 posts for attempting to "obstruct voting" in the upcoming 2020 US election, said Facebook VP of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg.

Clegg also said: "Thirty-five thousand employees take care of the security of our platforms and contribute for elections. We have established partnerships with 70 specialised media, including five in France, on the verification of information."

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook to add labels to "problematic content" from public figures
Facebook to add labels to "problematic content" from public figures
Credit: unsplash.com/Alex Haney

Facebook will start to add labels to posts from public figures if the content is violating the platform's policies but won't remove posts as they might be deemed "newsworthy". This move comes weeks after Zuckerberg criticised Twitter for adding labels to policy-violating tweets of politicians and other public figures. In response to Facebook's inaction on hate speech, many high-profile advertisers started boycotting the social network and pulling their ads.

In a post to his Facebook account, Mark Zuckerberg announced the policy change, stating: "We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. We'll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society -- but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies."

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook News available to all in US, with local news and video
Facebook News
Facebook News Credit: Facebook

Facebook News, the social network’s section dedicated to journalism, launches today for all users in the United States. The product was announced by Facebook back in October but as a limited test to some users.

Out of the test phase, Facebook News allows users to react and share articles, but not to comment. Users are also able to hide articles, topics and publishers they don’t want to see.

Facebook is also now testing news video, which it didn’t have last fall, and it has introduced a local news section to Facebook News

In addition to algorithms, journalists make the selection of stories.