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By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook is testing ads inside its Oculus Quest headset
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook announced today that it is testing in-headset ads in its Oculus Quest virtual reality platform over the next few weeks. The company will kick off the test with Resolution Games' Blaston along with other developers.
The move marks the first time ads will show up inside the Oculus VR system. Facebook aims for the test to gather feedback from developers and the community. In the future, the company plans to expand ads across the entire Oculus platform and its mobile app after incorporating input from the early testers. You will have the option to open an ad or save the link for later.
Facebook will also provide guidance to businesses and developers in terms of putting ads on Oculus. As usual, you'll have the option to hide specific ads or companies from showing up in ads and there will be no changes to how the firm collects and processes user information. Facebook vowed to keep sensitive data including raw images from Oculus sensors and weight or height data from Oculus Move on-device. The company also promised that it won't use movement data, voice interactions, nor the content of your conversations to target ads.
Of course, developers will receive their share from ad revenues that appear in their apps, although it isn't clear how much they're getting. While the in-headset ads are still in early testing, Facebook revealed that it's "exploring new ad formats that are unique to VR."
Facebook to make jobs of group admins easier with a bunch of new tools
by Sayan Sen
Admins and moderators on any online forum have a hard time managing their respective communities and Facebook groups are no different. So, in order to make the work of admins easier, the social media giant today is introducing several new tools that'll assist in the management of such groups.
First up is Admin Home, which is a new simplified interface for admins to help monitor and manage the groups.
Here's what Facebook says it will allow you to do:
Keeping an eye on every comment or post in a group is difficult for moderators or admins, especially in a group that is a large one. Now, a feature to help with comment moderation is coming to the Admin Home panel. It will allow an admin to set specific criteria for automatic moderation of posts and comments based on the several criteria options available. It will also help defend against spam and restrict promotional material.
The attached video walks you through the available options.
AI will also be lending its hand to assist admins to alert them about potential squabbles when it detects anything of that nature. The feature, still being tested, is called "Conflict Alerts". This will allow admins to take action against such activities swiftly.
Another new feature called "member summary" is also being introduced. The feature is pretty self-explanatory from the name itself and will allow admins to check data related to their post history and such for specific members in a group.
There are more features still like appealing directly to Facebook in case admins want some content to be directly reviewed by Facebook itself. These features are gradually rolling out to everyone and should be available to users across desktop and mobile. You can read more about it here.
Twitter loses its intermediary status in India, can be sued for unlawful content
by Subir Kathuria
Twitter is no longer classified as an intermediary in India and will now be treated as a publisher due to its non-compliance with the new Information Technology Rules which came into force on May 26. The laws required the appointment of statutory officers by all social media companies, which Twitter failed to do so even after multiple opportunities from the government. Due to this change, Twitter and its officials have lost their immunity and safety net and will now be liable for the actions of users on its platform.
Government officials say they have not received any information about the appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer from the company. Twitter on its part says it has appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer in India but has not yet shared the details with the IT ministry which it plans to do soon. The government has also taken notice of Twitter not publishing the name of its CCO on its website. Although none of the social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, have this published with only the names of its grievance officers available in the public domain.
Several journalists, political leaders, and Twitter have already been named in a First Information Report (FIR) on June 15th after an elderly Muslim was reportedly beaten up on June 5th in a town in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, and the video of the abuse went viral on Twitter.
Section 79 of the IT Act in India protects companies like Twitter from any repercussions from the actions of its users on its platform by classifying them as an "intermediary" instead of a publisher. For the users, Twitter losing this legal protection will have no effect. However the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) says that the "intermediary" status is not something that has been granted by the Government of India, but it's inbuilt protection given by the law, and as such, the government cannot make the change in distinction.
Twitter and the Government of India have not been seeing eye to eye for some time now. The government, on several occasions, forced Twitter to take down certain tweets including those criticizing the government's COVID-19 response. The government even sent a team from Delhi Police's Special Cell to raid and search at Twitter India's office in Delhi/NCR, which was later called a routine inspection. Twitter in its retaliation removed the blue tick from the handle of Vice Presidents of India's account, which it later restored.
Source: Ravi Prasad (IT Minister, India) via HindustanTimes
Google, Amazon, and more, to be sued over the "world's biggest data breach"
by Sayan Sen
Online protection of our private data is always a hot topic in today's world that revolves around the internet. Big tech companies often face the brunt of regulators and such due to the amount of data they collect and manage. In the latest development related to this, a Senior Fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Dr. Johnny Ryan, has decided to file a lawsuit against the IAB Tech Lab. The lawsuit is being filed in a Hamburg District Court against what the ICCL believes is the "world's biggest data breach".
IAB Tech Lab is a consortium comprising of some of the biggest tech firms, like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc., and it's responsible for providing the technical standards based on which the online digital ad space operates.
In the digital ads marketplace, ads are placed on various websites using a method called Real-time bidding (RTB). RTB is the process in which digital advertising inventory is bought and sold in real-time. In its lawsuit, the ICCL has pointed out that the use of RTB greatly violates the user privacy of millions since so much personal data is being shared across vast networks.
Here's what Dr. Johnny Ryan has said about the matter:
A list of the biggest nine names that broadcast the highest amount of RTBs has been provided by ICCL. It contains the names of some usual suspects.
For more details about the matter, you can visit ICCL's official webpage.
This isn't the first time a lawsuit related to RTB has been filed as Google was recently slapped with a €220 million (~$268 million) fine by a French investigation body that the company agreed to settle with.
Source and images: ICCL
By Usama Jawad96
Twitter gets a new Arabic language setting to cater to feminine forms of words
by Usama Jawad
Twitter has been consistently testing and adding new features to its service in the past few months including a premium Blue subscription, Spaces on the web, a Revue newsletter signup button (subscribe to Neowin's newsletter here!) on profiles, and more. Now, it has announced that it is adding a new Arabic language setting to support feminine forms.
Twitter says that several languages support both masculine and feminine forms of words including Arabic, so in order to cater to the latter as well, it is adding a new "Arabic (Feminine)" language on its platforms. People who opt for this setting will be addressed in the feminine form of Arabic words, with examples being "Tweet", which will change from غرّد (masculine) to غرّدي (feminine), and "Explore", which will change from إستكشف (masculine) to إستكشفي (feminine).
Twitter believes that this will make its platform more inclusive, especially for people who speak Arabic. To that end, it has also launched a campaign called "#FeminineArabic أتحدث_بالمؤنث#" which triggers a new emoji on use as well. The company went on to say that:
Currently, this language setting can be enabled from Settings and privacy > Accessibility, display, and languages > Languages on the web. The firm plans to roll out support on its Android and iOS apps soon as well.