asking Facebook

Facebook says it’s been asking Apple to let people change iPhone’s default messages app for years – The Verge

With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple finally acquiesced to a longtime request from customers: the company introduced an option to change your default apps for browsing the web and handling email. But many other categories of apps — messages, music, calendar, etc. — remain stuck on Apple’s built-in software. Facebook isn’t too pleased about that. According to The Information, Facebook is making a more forceful push to convince the iPhone maker to let people choose their own preferred messaging app.

“We feel people should be able to choose different messaging apps and the default on their phone,” Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook’s head of Messenger, told The Information. “Generally, everything is moving this direction anyway.” According to him, Facebook has routinely asked Apple over the years to make it possible for third-party apps to take over as the default messaging client. The answer has always been no. “The main guess is that messaging drives hardware sales,” he said, when asked why Apple’s stance remains unchanged.

And that’s probably right on: Apple’s iMessage platform and the features it enables between iPhone owners — voice messages, read receipts, reply / typing indicators, stickers and message effects, Memoji, and more — are a driving factor in why people buy and stick with iPhones.

As MacRumors notes, letting other apps take the place of Messages would require significant changes to iOS, which currently doesn’t allow third-party apps to receive SMS text messages sent to an iPhone’s phone number. And seeing as this is Facebook we’re talking about, you’d still have to weigh the privacy implications, even if the company has committed to end-to-end encryption for messaging.

Just today, news broke that Apple will temporarily stop taking its usual 30 percent cut from in-app payments for online Facebook events. This came after Facebook painted Apple’s fee as detrimental to businesses trying to endure the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary agreement will expire at the end of 2020. And though it represents a small win for Facebook, clearly the company has bigger goals and still wants to become a bigger part of the iPhone experience — for people who want it — as the company unifies its messaging platform between Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. As Apple continues to face scrutiny from policymakers and growing public criticism from developers, Facebook seems to think now’s the moment to pile on the pressure.

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Facebook Reveals

Facebook leak reveals Oculus Quest 2 as a 4K standalone VR headset – Ars Technica

Embark on a new quest —

New Snapdragon XR2 processor pushes nearly 50% more pixels than the original Quest.

  • Meet the Oculus Quest 2, now in white!

  • The strap design looks pretty different from the original.


  • Rear view shows more of the strap.


  • Close up on the strap’s rear connection behind your skull.


  • The handheld Quest controllers have been updated with “new ergonomics” according to the leak.

  • Close up on the new controllers.


  • Check out this average consumer having so much fun with the new Oculus Quest 2!


  • You could be this gleeful, too, if you were in the Oculus Quest 2!


  • Branding!


Facebook has inadvertently revealed key information about its next VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2, ahead of an expected unveiling at the Facebook Connect conference later this week.

As discussed in videos posted briefly on Facebook’s Blueprint e-learning platform (and since archived on YouTube), the Oculus Quest 2 is presented as more of a spec upgrade to the existing Quest than a completely new generational split. The standalone headset, which doesn’t require external sensors or processing hardware, will play all original Quest games, according to the video. The Quest 2 can also display VR games running on a Windows PC via Oculus Link, just like the original headset.

The Quest 2 sports a SnapDragon XR2 processor, according to the videos, a significant upgrade from the Snapdragon 835 that was adapted for the Quest from mobile phones. Chipmaker Qualcomm says the XR2 can provide two times the CPU & GPU performance, four times the pixel throughput, and 11 times the AI operations per second, compared to the 835.

That extra power goes in part toward an “almost 4K display” on the Quest 2 with nearly 2K resolution per eye, according to the video. That’s a nearly 50 percent increase in raw pixel count over the original Quest, making it “the highest-resolution headset we’ve ever made).

The new headset also sports an upgrade to 6GB of RAM (up from 4GB on the original) and will come in configurations with up to 256GB of storage. The headstrap has been redesigned as a “new soft touch strap” while the Oculus Touch controllers have been “updated with new ergonomics,” according to the videos.

While the Facebook leak didn’t specify a price, Walmart listed a condenamed “Oculus Point Reyes” headset at $399 for the 256GB storage option earlier this month.

Facebook recently announced that all its VR headsets will soon require users to have a Facebook account. Facebook recently stopped selling the Quest in Germany amid potential legal and privacy concerns raised by that move by German regulators.

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Facebook Twitter

Facebook and Twitter put warning label on Trump’s posts on voting twice – CNN

(CNN)Facebook and Twitter placed warning labels on — but did not remove — social media posts by President Donald Trump on Saturday after he urged North Carolina residents to show up to polling places even if they have already submitted a mail-in ballot, a practice state election officials have explicitly advised against.

Trump claimed that North Carolina voters should “make sure your Ballot COUNTS” by visiting polling places to “see if it was COUNTED. IF NOT, VOTE!”
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein tweeted in response to the President, telling North Carolina residents: “Do NOT do what the President directs.” He added that voting twice is a felony and voters should not “unnecessarily risk exposure to more people” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Voters in North Carolina do not need to head to the polls to check whether their ballot has been counted. Patrick Gannon, a public information officer with the North Carolina State Board of Elections, told CNN’s Maegan Vazquez and Nikki Carvajal in early September that there are three different ways for people to check the status of their ballots.
They can use a tool called BallotTrax; they can check the voter search tool on the board’s website which will show when a voter’s ballot has been accepted; or they can contact their county board of elections.
State officials have sought to correct Trump numerous times on the misleading claim. Last week, North Carolina’s state board of elections said absentee ballots are counted after Election Day, and that voters who have already submitted a mail-in ballot will not be able to vote in-person on a regular ballot.
Those who “insist” on voting in-person will be given a provisional ballot, officials said, which may not be counted if voters have already submitted a mail-in ballot.
Twitter’s label said Trump’s posts ran afoul of the platform’s rules about civic and election integrity. Facebook said voting by mail “has a long history of trustworthiness.”
Neither label informed users about the potential illegality of attempting to vote twice. But in a separate statement to CNN, Twitter acknowledged it is a felony to vote more than once in the same election, citing last week’s state-issued guidance.
“Per the North Carolina State Board of Elections, voting twice in the state is illegal,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “To protect people on Twitter, we err on the side of limiting the circulation of Tweets which advise people to take actions which could be illegal in the context of voting or result in the invalidation of their votes.”
Facebook and Twitter have tried to persuade the public that they are ready for the election by rolling out new policies directed at political speech. Facebook has said it will limit some political advertising the week before Election Day, while Twitter this week introduced new rules on election misinformation that could result in greater enforcement against Trump’s tweets.
But Saturday’s incident suggests the platforms will continue to allow Trump to confuse the public about how mail-in voting works.
Trump has repeatedly claimed in recent weeks, contrary to state election officials, that voters’ mail-in ballots may not be counted. Previously, Facebook removed a video of Trump encouraging Americans to vote twice. But neither Facebook nor Twitter removed Trump’s latest post.
Asked to explain why Trump’s latest post was permitted to stand, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone cited the North Carolina advisory and its explanation of various safeguards to prevent double-voting.
Twitter’s label on Trump’s tweet said it “may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.”

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Facebook Users

Facebook will pay users to log off before 2020 election – New York Post

September 7, 2020 | 10:10pm | Updated September 8, 2020 | 7:29am

It’s pay to not play.

Facebook is offering users money to refrain from using the site and Instagram in the weeks leading up to the bitterly contested November elections.

To assess the impact of social media on voting, the company will pay selected members up to $120 to deactivate their accounts beginning at the end of September.

“Anyone who chooses to opt-in – whether it’s completing surveys or deactivating FB or IG for a period of time – will be compensated,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois tweeted last week. “This is fairly standard for this type of academic research.”

The Silicon Valley giant said it expects 200,000 to 400,000 people to take part.

“Representative, scientific samples of people in the US will be selected and invited to participate in the study. Some potential participants will see a notice in Facebook or Instagram inviting them to take part in the study,” Facebook said. “Study samples will be designed to ensure that participants mirror the diversity of the US adult population, as well as users of Facebook and Instagram.”

Facebook logo
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The results of the study are expected to be released sometime next year.

“To continue to amplify all that is good for democracy on social media, and mitigate against that which is not, we need more objective, dispassionate, empirically grounded research,” Facebook said in describing the plan.

The research will be carried out by independent data scientists, company officials said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last Thursday that he was banning new political ads in the week before the election to curb misinformation.

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deleted Facebook

Facebook deleted a viral video full of false coronavirus claims. Then Trump shared it on Twitter. – The Washington Post

Twitter on Tuesday penalized Donald Trump Jr. for posting misinformation about hydroxychloroquine, the social media giant said, underlining the tough stance it has taken in policing misleading posts from high-profile users, including President Trump, in recent months.

Twitter said that it ordered the president’s son to delete the misleading tweet and that it would “limit some account functionality for 12 hours.” Trump Jr. can still direct-message followers using his account, but he cannot tweet, retweet or like other tweets during the 12-hour restriction.

Trump Jr.’s deleted tweet now shows a notice that says, “This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”

The tweet, which featured a viral video showing a group of doctors making misleading and false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, was directly tweeted by Trump Jr.’s account. That contrasts with his father, who retweeted multiple tweets from others showing clips of the same video to his 84.2 million followers Monday night.

Twitter removed the videos, deleting several of the tweets that President Trump shared, and added a note to its trending topics warning about the potential risks of hydroxychloroquine use.

“Tweets with the video are in violation of our covid-19 misinformation policy,” Liz Kelley, a spokeswoman for Twitter, told The Washington Post.

Donald Trump Jr. spokesman Andy Surabian said the restriction was “further proof that Big Tech is intent on killing free expression online and is another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump addressed the video at his press briefing Tuesday afternoon and reiterated his support for hydroxychloroquine.

“There was a group of doctors yesterday, a large group, that were put on the internet and for some reason the internet wanted to take them down and took them off,” he said. “…I don’t know why, I think they’re very respected doctors.” He added of Twitter, Facebook and other companies that removed the video, “maybe they had a good reason, maybe they didn’t, I dont know.”

It’s the first time Trump Jr. has had his tweeting privileges removed by the company, although Rudolph W. Giuliani, a fellow surrogate for the president, had his account temporarily locked in March for tweeting misinformation about hydroxychloroquine. Trump Jr. retweeted a tweet from his father’s reelection campaign earlier this year that Twitter labeled as violating its policy on manipulated media.

President Trump has not faced the same tweeting lockout, but Twitter has attached warning labels to five of his tweets in the past two months for running up against the site’s rules.

Trump shared clips from the video — which claims that masks and shutdowns are not needed to stop the spread of the virus — as he shared 14 tweets over half an hour defending the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that the president has repeatedly promoted, and attacking Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert.

On Monday evening, Facebook scrubbed from its site the same viral video after more than 14 million people watched it. Facebook was still removing posts of the video Tuesday morning. YouTube said it also removed the video.

Social media companies have been cracking down on Trump and other politicians as the election nears, drawing attacks from the president and his supporters. After Twitter added fact-check labels to two of Trump’s misleading tweets about mail-in ballots in May, the president signed an executive order directing federal resources to consider rethinking a law that shields Internet companies from liability. That law, Section 230, protects social media companies from being liable for nearly anything users post on their sites.

But Twitter didn’t back down and labeled three more of Trump’s tweets in the following weeks for violating its policies on manipulated media, inciting violence and abusive behavior.

Facebook left the same Trump posts untouched, prompting a massive backlash from civil rights advocates and others. Prominent advertisers began boycotting the company and calling for it to better police hate speech. Eventually, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company would start labeling posts from anyone, including politicians, that violated its policies but that it deemed newsworthy enough to leave online. The newsworthiness label has not yet been applied to any of Trump’s posts.

Republican politicians and conservative supporters of Trump have accused the companies, without convincing evidence, of censoring conservative voices and showing bias against Republicans. The social media companies have consistently denied the allegations. Some prominent Republicans and conservative pundits called on supporters this summer to follow them to a newer social media site, Parler, which claims to be a haven for free speech online, although it still has rules.

Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, also had her account restricted after tweeting the video, Twitter confirmed. The Arizona party tweeted about the decision, calling it “Election interference!” to restrict Ward’s account.

The issue of alleged bias is almost certain to come up Wednesday when the chief executives of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are scheduled to testify before a congressional committee about antitrust concerns.

Trump’s decision to share Monday’s misleading video about hydroxychloroquine comes amid mounting criticism, from opponents and allies alike, over his handling of a pandemic that has now killed at least 145,000 people in the United States. The president spent months obstinately denying the severity of the crisis, refusing to wear a mask in public, blaming the rise of case numbers on testing and campaigning against governors’ shutdown orders. In recent weeks, however, Trump has occasionally changed tack, donning a mask in public for the first time earlier this month and deciding to cancel the Republican National Convention events set to take place in Jacksonville, Fla.

The video Trump shared Monday night showed a collection of doctors speaking in favor of treating covid-19 patients with the antimalarial drug. The clip focused on the testimony of a woman named Stella Immanuel, who received a medical license in Texas in November, according to state records. Immanuel did not return a request for comment.

Immanuel says she previously worked as a doctor in Nigeria and calls herself a “deliverance minister” who is “God’s battle ax and weapon of war.” She has given sermons attacking liberal values and promoting conspiracy theories including, in her words, “the gay agenda, secular humanism, Illuminati and the demonic new world order.” Another doctor shown in the video, a noted Trump supporter, called Immanuel a “warrior.”

“You don’t need a mask,” Immanuel claimed in the video, contradicting the widely accepted medical advice that has been promoted even by the White House coronavirus task force and Trump himself. She repeatedly called studies questioning the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine “fake science.”

“We don’t need to be locked down,” she continued, despite evidence that stay-at-home orders have helped curb the spread of the virus. “America, there is a cure for covid.”

There is no known cure for the novel coronavirus or the disease it causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Multiple studies have disputed claims that antimalarial and antiviral drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and chloroquine can help treat or even prevent the coronavirus. Last month, the FDA revoked an emergency approval that allowed doctors to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to covid-19 patients even though the treatment was untested.

Still, Trump has repeatedly promoted the drugs. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, took to Fox News this month to urge the FDA to issue a new emergency approval for the drug after a study, widely panned by scientists as flawed, showed some effectiveness from early use of the medication.

The controversial video was promoted across social media platforms earlier Monday by the conservative site Breitbart News, a political group called the Tea Party Patriots, and a recently formed coalition of advocates calling themselves America’s Frontline Doctors. Neither Breitbart nor the organizers behind the event responded to The Post’s requests for comment.

America’s Frontline Doctors has a website that appears to be just 12 days old. That site links to the Twitter account of the group’s founder, Simone Gold, a Trump-supporting doctor based in Los Angeles. The group claims to consist of several doctors who appear to be licensed in California, Georgia and Texas.

Different versions of the clip were shared Monday by Breitbart, which covered the group’s news conference, and the Tea Party Patriots, which had reportedly organized the summit.

Monday’s viral video prompted thousands of posts spreading false information about the pandemic. The first tweet the president shared, which included the clip, suggested that hydroxychloroquine was being maligned in a ploy to discredit Trump and harm his reelection bid.

“WOW!! Doctor calls out what should be the biggest scandal in modern American history,” said the now-deleted tweet shared by Trump. “The suppression of #Hydroxychloroquine by Fauci & the Democrats to perpetuate Covid deaths to hurt Trump.”

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Emoji Facebook

Facebook, Google and Apple Announce New Emoji Updates for World Emoji Day – Social Media Today

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has dampened enthusiasm for event days in 2020, today is World Emoji Day, which aims to celebrate those small, cartoonish characters than have now become a significant part of the way people communicate.

Indeed, according to research, some 92% of people have used, and/or regularly now use, emojis in their messaging. Many people who were once opposed to adding smiley faces and the like to enhance their comments now see the utility, and that’s lead to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all providing quick emoji responses, in the form of Reactions on posts, to make it easier for their users to communicate, quickly and effectively, often via smaller, mobile keyboards.

Given this, whether you like them or not, emojis are significant. And marking World Emoji Day 2020, Facebook, Google and Apple have all released new info regarding their emoji options.

First off, Facebook has upgraded its default emoji pack in Messenger with new animations.

The upgraded animations look pretty slick. Facebook has experimented with various animations for its Reactions and other emoji sets, and that seems like the next level. Facebook-owned WhatsApp also recently launched animated stickers within chats as part of Facebook’s broader plan to integrate its messaging platforms.

Over at Google, the search giant has showcased a new set of more diverse emoji characters which are coming to Android this fall.

Google emojis

Google’s also shared a preview of new emoji characters, which will be made available with the release of Android 11.

Google emoji

As explained by Google:

“Hit that piñata or bang on the long drum to celebrate. Send an anatomical heart when the love is so real, so raw. Or perhaps you’ll identify with one of the new animals, like a super cute bison, an eager beaver or a polar bear that just needs a little love. There are also new food emoji, like a tamale (nom nom), a boba tea sure to make you thirsty (“black milk tea, boba, 30 percent sugar please”) and even a teapot for those who felt the “hot beverage” emoji (☕) was simply not “tea time” enough.”

The anatomical heart seems a bit unnecessary. But maybe that’s just me.

Google’s also looking to add a new emoji bar for Android devices, which will make it easier for users to add emoji characters in their messages.

Google emoji bar

“With a growing set of emoji options, and an over 40% rise in the use of emoji during shelter in place, it’s important that you can quickly and easily find and send just the right one. To do this, we’re rolling out a quick access emoji bar to Gboard beta today, and to all Gboard Android users in the coming months. Soon you’ll be able to send not just one, but five red-hearts when you want your friend to know how much you wish you could be there for them.”

So, essentially, it’s Google’s answer to Reactions, but it’ll be universally available when users are typing in any app.

Also on the new emoji train, Apple has shared a preview of upcoming emojis that will be added to iOS.

Apple emojis

You’ll note that these are the same as Google’s Android set, just different versions. That’s because any new emoji characters need to be approved by the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit organization which maintains emoji standards and guidelines. Whenever a new emoji is added, it comes via the UC, and is then translated into the characters that you see on your device.

This ensures that messages can be sent between devices, for example, with reference code for each image built into the respective operating systems. They just look a bit different. 

As per Mac Rumors, the new updates will include pinched fingers, new animals, and, again ‘anatomical heart and lungs’. Honestly, I don’t see why people would want that, but there’s clearly some use case.

In addition to this, Apple has added new headwear options to its Memoji characters on iOS 14.

As noted, whether you like them or not, emoji characters have clearly become a significant element in the modern communicative process, with most people now using them, at least in some form, within their digital interactions.

As such, it’s worth noting the latest emoji trends, and maybe celebrating by adding a couple of emojis to your updates today. 

Also, as a related aside, please take a moment to pay tribute to Microsoft for somehow making emojis, which are designed to enhance expression, even less expressive than normal text:

Happy #WorldEmojiDay











— Microsoft (@Microsoft) July 17, 2020

It seems impossible that adding emojis could reduce the emotional value of a message, but somehow, Microsoft has found a way. Amazing.

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Facebook stream

Facebook To Stream Official Music Videos From Next Month, In A Challenge To YouTube: Report – Benzinga

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) is reportedly set to introduce officially licensed music videos on its social networking platform in the United States, posing a potential challenge to Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) video streaming subsidiary YouTube LLC.

What Happened

The San Francisco-based company is scheduled to debut licensed music videos next month, TechCrunch reported Tuesday.

Facebook has set an August 1 deadline for video submissions, failing which it would create a page on its own for the videos, according to the material reviewed by TechCrunch.

Artists are not required to add their videos manually. Instead, they can enable a new setting that will give Facebook permission to add their music videos to respective Pages, which fans can access by clicking on the Page’s Videos tab.

An excerpt from an email explaining how music videos will be shared on Facebook leaked on social media.

Facebook to launch a official Music Videos feature for artists to rival YouTube?

h/t @seaninsound

— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) July 14, 2020

Artists cannot fully share their music videos on Facebook at the moment due to licensing rights but can publish short previews.

Why It Matters

Music Business Worldwide (MBW), an industry information portal, citing a report by Swiss non-profit organization IFPI, stated that YouTube accounts for 46% of all music streaming listening time globally — excluding China. 

The San Francisco-based company claims to have paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry in 2019 from ads and subscriptions.

Facebook was reported to be pursuing deals for rights to music videos with major music labels such as Vivendi SA-owned (OTC: VIVEF) Universal Music Group, Sony Corporation’s (NYSE: SNE) Sony Music, and Warner Music Group Corp (NASDAQ: WMG) last year.

Price Action 

Facebook shares traded 0.4% higher at $240.75 in the pre-market session on Tuesday.

© 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Facebook trade

How to Trade Facebook Stock as Companies Boycott Advertising – TheStreet

Facebook  (FB) – Get Report was hammered on Friday, falling more than 8%. On Monday the selling pressure continued, with shares down about 1%, although bulls were able to bid shares up off the lows so far.

The broader market decline over the past few sessions hasn’t helped matters. However, Facebook is under such heavy pressure as more companies begin to boycott its advertising platforms in July.

So far, some of the boycotting companies include Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola  (KO) – Get Report, Starbucks  (SBUX) – Get Report and Honda  (HMC) – Get Report. In total, more than 160 companies are involved.

That’s going to be a top-line issue for Facebook and to some extent, Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Report as well. While Facebook suffered a large one-day hit, the stock is holding up pretty well so far. 

Facebook and Starbucks are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells FB or SBUX? Learn more now.

Trading Facebook Stock

Daily chart of Facebook stock.

Daily chart of Facebook stock.

Friday’s loss was an avalanche of high-volume selling, with Facebook stock breaking below $225. This mark was significant. It was resistance in January and support in May and June.

Once support gave way, the stock traded down to the 50-day moving average, before gapping below this mark on Monday morning. Trying to reclaim this metric now, it will be interesting to see whether it acts as resistance.

If it does, it puts the $200 mark in play. Not only is this level psychologically relevant, but it was also post-earnings support in late-April and May. Further, the 100-day and 200-day moving averages are near $198.

This should make the $200 area a strong support zone if Facebook stock declines that far. It may at least be good for a buy-the-dip bounce trade. 

On the flip side, let’s say Facebook reclaims the 50-day moving average. It then puts the $225 level back in play. It would be quite bullish to see Facebook stock reclaim this mark.

It puts the 20-day moving average back on the table — currently near $230 — followed by resistance at $240.

For now, I would prefer a wait-and-see approach with Facebook stock. That is, wait to see whether it can reclaim $225 or if it dips to $200, then pounce.

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Facebook testing

Facebook is testing a dark mode in its mobile app – Engadget

You might not have to stick to your computer if you want to browse Facebook in dark mode. After reports of the palette change popping up, Facebook has confirmed to SocialMediaToday that it’s testing a dark mode in its mobile apps. The feature is only available to a “small percentage” of users worldwide at the moment, according to a spokesperson. You likely won’t see if for a while, then, even though it’s clearly edging toward a wider release.

The company has already brought dark mode to a number of apps, including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. It’s not certain why the core mobile app is the last in line, but SMT noted that Facebook has a massive number of mobile users (3 billion are active across its various apps on a monthly basis). It would make sense for Facebook to be cautious about rolling out dark mode in its main app when any bugs or design issues could affect a large section of its audience.

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Facebook removes

Facebook Removes Trump Ads Displaying Symbol Used by Nazis – The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Facebook on Thursday removed advertisements posted on its platform by the Trump campaign that prominently featured a symbol used by Nazis to classify political prisoners during World War II, saying the imagery violated company policy.

The Trump campaign had used the ads, with a picture of a large red triangle, to inveigh against antifa, a loose collective of anti-fascist protesters that President Trump has blamed for violence and vandalism during the nationwide protests against racial injustice. There is scant evidence that antifa has been involved in any coordinated campaigns during the demonstrations.

“Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem,” the campaign’s Facebook ads said. Beneath the text was the red triangle, a symbol that Nazis used to identify Communists and other political prisoners in concentration camps, just as they used a pink triangle to identify people they labeled as homosexual.

It was not clear if the Trump campaign was familiar with the origin of the symbol, which was reclaimed after World War II by some anti-fascists in Britain and Germany, in the same way that various political groups over the years have reclaimed words and symbols used to oppress them.

“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” Facebook said in a statement. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”

Before their removal, however, the advertisements gained more than a million impressions across the Facebook pages of Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. They began running on Facebook on Wednesday and were flagged by a journalist for Fortune magazine on Thursday.

Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, defended the advertisements. “The red triangle is a common Antifa symbol used in an ad about Antifa,” he wrote in an email. “Pretty straightforward.”

He also said that a similar red triangle was a standard emoji, and provided links to merchandise for sale online, like water bottles and phone cases, decorated with symbols described by the sellers as “anti-fascist red triangles.”

Mr. Murtaugh noted that the red triangle was not listed in the database of hate symbols maintained by the Anti-Defamation League.

But the Anti-Defamation League said its database is not used to keep track of historical Nazi symbols, and only lists symbols commonly used by modern extremists and white supremacists in the United States. The group denounced the Trump campaign for using the image.

“Whether aware of the history or meaning, for the Trump campaign to use a symbol — one which is practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps — to attack his opponents is offensive and deeply troubling,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League. “It is not difficult for one to criticize their political opponent without using Nazi-era imagery. We implore the Trump campaign to take greater caution and familiarize themselves with the historical context before doing so.”

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum also weighed in on Twitter, noting that the red triangle was “the most common category of prisoners registered at the German Nazi #Auschwitz camp.”

Mark Bray, a historian at Rutgers and the author of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” said that “the origin of the symbol is universally agreed to be with the Nazis and the concentration camps.” He added that the red triangle was not part of the symbolism of antifa in the United States.

The fact that the triangle has been reclaimed by some anti-fascists, Mr. Bray said, does not give the Trump campaign license to use the same symbol to attack antifa. “This is a symbol that represented the extermination of leftists,” he said. “It is a death threat against leftists. There’s no way around what that means historically.”

Facebook has removed Trump campaign ads in the past, for different reasons. In March, for instance, the company took down a number of posts that contained misleading information about the U.S. census, which violated Facebook’s rules.

But the company and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, have also been adamant that Facebook will not police the veracity of political ads or posts by political leaders like Mr. Trump. That policy has received blowback internally from employees who staged a virtual “walkout” this month when the company did not take down some of Mr. Trump’s posts, which contained what many critics saw as incitements to violence and voter disenfranchisement.

Facebook’s policy stood in contrast to Twitter, which has added warning labels to some of Mr. Trump’s most incendiary tweets. Twitter has also stopped accepting political advertising, citing the potential for disinformation.

On Thursday, Twitter added a “manipulated media” warning to one of Mr. Trump’s tweets that featured a video about a supposed “racist baby” that had been altered to appear as if CNN had broadcast it.

Mr. Trump and his campaign have often charged forward with little regard for the impact of hateful symbols in their messaging, leaving critics with the impression that they are posting purposefully incendiary and racist content online.

In 2016, Mr. Trump tweeted and then deleted an image of Hillary Clinton’s face with $100 bills in the background and a six-pointed Star of David, the symbol that Nazis forced Jews to wear on their clothing. At the time, Mr. Trump defended himself by saying that the star was the shape of a sheriff’s badge.

Randal Pinkett, who was the first African-American winner of Mr. Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice,” said Mr. Trump had lost the benefit of the doubt. “When you’re already perceived or painted as a racist, everything you do that is insensitive only adds to the narrative that you’re a racist,” he said.

Last week, the president postponed a planned campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., that had been scheduled for Friday, which is the holiday Juneteenth. He and his top aides said they did not realize the significance of holding the rally on a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in America, in a city that was the site of one of the country’s most violent racist episodes. The event was pushed to Saturday.

Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting from New York, and Mike Isaac from San Francisco.

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