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Facebook still tracks you after you deactivate account

I thought deactivating my Facebook account would stop the social network from tracking me online. But Facebook kept tabs on me anyway.

Over the past year, I’ve tried to minimize my presence on Facebook. I deleted a 10-year-old account and replaced it with a dummy account that I use as little as possible. I deleted the app from my phone.

As of January, I started deactivating my dummy account every time I used it, rather than just log out. I couldn’t break up completely with Facebook because I needed it to sign up twice a week for a workshop.

I thought the precautions would reduce how much data Facebook gathered about me. Turns out, I was wasting my time.

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Even when your account is deactivated, the social network continues collecting data about your online activities. All that data gets sent back to Facebook and is tied to your account while it’s in this state of limbo. It’s as if you’d changed nothing.

Facebook says it only removes all of your data if you permanently delete your account. Deactivating isn’t as extreme, the company says, and the social network continues collecting your data in case you change your mind and want to return to your profile. Facebook expects deactivated users to return and wants to continue serving them ads relevant to their new interests.

‘A deceptive practice’

On the site, Facebook explains that deactivating is a half-step to complete deletion. But it says little about how data collection works during the period. In its data policy, Facebook suggests deactivation to manage your privacy but doesn’t mention that it still collects data during that period.

The ongoing collection of data from deactivated accounts could be considered misleading, privacy experts warn.

“Most people would expect less or no data collection during a deactivated period,” said Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of private search engine DuckDuckGo. “Deactivated means cease to operate, and you wouldn’t expect all the wheels to be turning.”For consumer transparency purposes, I would be concerned that this is a deceptive practice.Kathleen McGee, former chief of the New York State attorney general’s Internet Bureau

The average person would assume that Facebook pauses data collection when your account is deactivated, said Kathleen McGee, the former chief of the New York State attorney general’s Internet Bureau.

People could look at deactivating accounts and mistake it for an opt-out when it isn’t, she explained.

“For consumer transparency purposes, I would be concerned that this is a deceptive practice,” said McGee, now a technology counsel at the Lowenstein Sandler law firm.

The vague disclosure the social network provides is another point of concern about its privacy protections. 

In March 2018, Facebook found itself in hot water after Cambridge Analytica, a British consultancy, was collecting information about people on the social network through several personality quizzes. The backlash prompted a campaign encouraging people to delete their Facebook accounts. The Pew Research Center found that 42 percent of Americans have taken a break from the social network at some point during the last year.

Active tracking

Facebook already tracks people online, even when they’re logged out or don’t have an account, through tools like the Facebook Pixel and plugins like the Share button on pages.

The social network’s Share button is on 275 million web pages. It collects data allowing advertisers to see what kind of content you’re viewing. That’s why you’re likely to see ads for sports in your Facebook feed if you’ve been visiting a lot of sports websites.

If you aren’t a member, the social network can identify you through your browsers and deliver ads using its Facebook Audience Network, the company detailed in 2016. The service uses your browsing habits to target ads as you surf the internet, just as it would if you were on Facebook. Even if you don’t have an account, Facebook is following you.

Facebook said deactivating your account was never intended to be a measure for data privacy but rather for privacy from other people on Facebook.

It makes sense to deactivate your account if you’re trying to hide from people online because other users won’t see your profile, posts and previous comments. You’re essentially invisible to everyone on the social network. Except Facebook. It does nothing to prevent Facebook from collecting data on you.

Your best bet to stop the data collection is to delete your account. You’ll get 30 days to change your mind. During that period, Facebook will continue gathering data about you, the company said.

Weinberg suggested that Facebook either change its data collection for deactivated accounts or explain that caveat better to people.

“Companies should always try to match user expectations to whatever feature they’re providing,” Weinberg said.

Surprising consumers is usually a cause for alarm for regulators, McGee said. With Facebook failing to explicitly explain that your data is still being collected, even when your account is deactivated, the former prosecutor argued, a reasonable consumer is being misled.

“Facebook should remedy this by not collecting information when someone has deactivated their account,” McGee said.

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In a world of Google and Amazon, libraries rethink their role

One night a few years ago, Tony Marx was closing up a Bronx library when he noticed a kid sitting on the steps. The boy was pecking away on the oldest laptop Marx had ever seen. Puzzled, Marx asked him what he was doing.

The boy told Marx he was doing his math homework. The assignment was online and the boy’s family couldn’t afford broadband at home. So the youngster camped out on the library stoop to pick up its leaked signal.

“Holy moly,” Marx, the president and CEO of the New York Public Library, remembers thinking. “‘In the information capital of the world, this kid can’t do the math homework we want him to do to succeed.'”

Since then, the NYPL has rolled out a host of services aimed at closing the digital divide, which is exactly what it sounds like: the gap between those who can easily get online and those who can’t. The famous library — who hasn’t seen Patience and Fortitude, the marble lions who guard its main entrance, in the movies? — provides computers and laptops at its locations, and lends out mobile hotspots for months at a time. And like at Starbucks, the Wi-Fi is free.

The NYPL is far from the only library rethinking its role in the digital age. Around the globe, libraries are repositioning themselves to meet the needs of a world where almost everything on the shelves can be found online. Many see themselves as centers of digital culture offering classes in the latest tech, such as 3D printing and digital video editing. Key to that mission is helping patrons who can’t afford internet service, like Marx’s young friend, find a way to get online.

As of Sunday, libraries across the US began celebrating their evolving mission as part of National Library Week. Melinda Gates serves as the honorary chairwoman of the annual event, which American Library Association started in 1958. Gates is a good choice. She and husband Bill began funding computers, internet access and software for libraries in low-income communities through a foundation they established in 1997. The foundation wound down in 2018, but gave away more than $1 billion worldwideduring its run.

Providing internet connections is increasingly important for libraries as more aspects of our lives move online. Forty-seven percent of US households earning less than $30,000 don’t have broadband, according to Pew, and 44 percent don’t have a desktop or laptop. At the NYPL, three quarters of the people who check out the hotspots live in households earning less than $25,000 a year, Marx says.

A digital shift

If you want an example of how bad the digital divide is, look no further than San Francisco, the world’s tech hub. More than 10 percent of the city’s nearly 900,000 residents don’t have internet at home, according to the San Francisco Public Library. City Librarian Michael Lambert says the library is the largest free provider of high-speed internet to the community, having facilitated over a million internet sessions a year. The SFPL also lends around 200 mobile hotspot devices that patrons can keep for three weeks at a time.

The main library, walking distance from city hall, offers programs on everything from computer basics to coding. In early May, it holds Connect With Tech Week, an initiative to promote internet access and build tech skills. An annual Senior Tech Expo is designed to help older patrons with basics, such as downloading e-books and browsing the internet.

Thirty-two-year-old Victor Franco has been accessing Treehouse, an online platform that teaches coding, using his SFPL account. He finished the Python basics course and is now in a machine learning track.

“I was looking into enrolling in coding boot camps, so I decided to take a look at the e-learning courses offered through the library,” Franco said.  

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Lambert says the percentage of physical checkouts at the SFPL has plateaued, and more people are taking advantage of the library’s digital collections through applications like Libby, Hoopla and RB Digital. Those digital checkouts make up about a quarter of the library’s circulation activity, which was more than 11 million in 2018, Lambert says.  

That digital shift has freed up library staff to plan more events and programs, he adds, because they don’t have to spend as much time putting books on shelves. They’re also available to answer people’s questions via online chat services.

“We were the original search engines,” Lambert said of the role libraries historically played. “And we still fulfill a very important function for helping people find information.”

Teen spaces

It isn’t just long-established libraries that are adapting to the environment. Three years ago, a nonprofit called Heritage Services teamed up with community leaders in Omaha, Nebraska, to create Do Space, a “technology library” that aims to provide access to software, computing and emerging tech like 3D printers. Sessions such as Cyber Seniors teach older patrons how to use their phones, while Tech Help Tuesdaysoffers drop-in advice for people with questions about their phone, tablet or computer.

Do Space also has a range of equipment, such as a 3D scanner, that visitors can use. The scanner has come in handy for 26-year-old William Verrillo, a dental student at Creighton University who uses the tech to create digital orthodontics for class.

“I was really surprised they had a 3D scanner,” Verrillo said, adding that it’s a technology that’s hard to come by. “It’s an awesome resource.”

Another youth-oriented space, TeenHQ at the San Jose Public Library in California, features a gamer lounge and drop-in makerspace training for patrons who want to learn how to use a 3D printer. It also offers time on a sewing machine.  

“The library’s always been a leader on youth education and youth empowerment,” said Elizabeth Nolan, a San Jose librarian. “This was just sort of an extension of that idea.”

Community engagement

Libraries aren’t simply waiting for patrons to come to them. The Parkman Branch of the Detroit Public Library takes the internet to its patrons.

Two years ago, the Parkman Branch partnered with Libraries Without Borders to create pop-up libraries in laundromats around Detroit. Dubbed the Wash and Learn Initiative, librarians hit three locations to set up laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots. They also had some books on hand for kids and teenagers.

Creating the connected spaces in laundromats made perfect sense to Qumisha Goss, a librarian at the Parkman Branch who was involved in the project. Poorer families — the ones that can’t afford internet access at home — spend a lot of time in laundromats because they don’t have washers or dryers. Since customers often have to wait around for hours for their clothes to be done, the computers gave them a way to be productive during that time. They’ll go to pay their bills, check email or write a resume, Goss says.We were the original search engines.San Francisco City Librarian Michael Lambert

Though the library also offers Wi-Fi and computers, the laundromat has the additional benefit of being open 24/7. When the library’s closed, Goss says, people head to the laundromat for computer and internet access, even if they aren’t doing laundry.

When the program first started, Goss wasn’t sure how popular it was. But she quickly found out when she removed the computers to clean them and perform other maintenance. During their absence, members of the community streamed into the library to ask where they’d gone. “That was the first indication that people had really started to use them regularly,” she said.

It’s no surprise the initiative has been so popular. In an internal survey conducted two years ago, patrons cited access to Wi-Fi and computers as the top two reasons they go to the library.

Wash and Learn has really been successful because it’s been able to meet people where they are without adding further inconvenience,” Goss said. “It’s hard to get a parent to come to a session at the library every Wednesday at a certain time if they have a weird schedule. Whereas if you develop this space in a laundromat, they have to wash their clothes at some point, so they can come whenever they want to.”

Looking forward

The digital shift taking place at libraries across the country has understandably led to some uncertainty and concern about their futures. In a since-deleted Forbes op-ed published last year, one writer suggested that Amazon should just replace libraries to save taxpayers money.

It’s no surprise that suggestion didn’t sit well with librarians.

“It was so shortsighted because libraries are so much more than a warehouse of books,” SFPL’s Lambert said. “We’re a community space that’s free and open to everyone without needing to buy anything.”

As technology continues to develop, libraries will likely do everything they can to keep up or stay ahead of the curve. But in a world where so many interactions happen online, perhaps one of the best assets they can provide is being a physical space for people to convene.

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Marx, the president and CEO of the NYPL, says he lost track of the young patron who was camped on the library’s steps doing his math homework. Still, the library executive says the experience inspired him to put more emphasis on getting people into his institution and online.

“People will still be coming in for books and special collections, but my guess is over the longer haul, libraries will end up being the civic spaces, particularly in poorer neighborhoods where people have no place else to go that’s quiet,” Marx said. “Placeswhere they can sit, where they can have a computer and be treated with respect and not asked for their credentials.”

Facebook Adds New Tributes Section, Improves Legacy Contacts Policy for Memorialised Profiles

Facebook is tweaking its tools for profiles of people who have passed away. The world’s largest social network announced on Tuesday that it will use artificial intelligence apart from improving its existing policies to make things easier for the friends and family of the deceased. Back in 2015, Facebook had started letting another user become a legacy contact who gets control of a profile when someone passes away.

Facebook says it will now start offering more control to the legacy contact. A new section called ‘Tributes’ will be available where friends and family will be able to post their messages about the person they lost.

Tributes will be a dedicated section on a person’s Facebook profile. Friends and family members who post in this section will be able to view others’ posts. The legacy contact assigned by Facebook will remain in complete control of this section.

Facebook says over 30 million people view memorialised profiles each month to remember their loved ones. The Tributes section will still preserve a person’s original timeline which was maintained while they were still alive.

Users fill up their Facebook profiles with a large amount of data over several years. This includes major life events, photos, status updates, their interests, and so much more. After they pass away, these users leave behind all that data.

Now, when someone passes away Facebook will verify if a person is actually dead before assigning someone else control over their profile. Earlier, anyone could reach out to Facebook and ask for a profile to be ‘memorialised’.

When an account has been memorialised, the legacy contact will be able to switch profile and cover photos, post a status update and share a link to a memorial service. Legacy contacts still cannot read the person’s private messages posted and received on Facebook.

In addition, Facebook will also use artificial intelligence to keep profiles of people who have passed away from showing up at the wrong places. For example: not showing up birthday alerts of someone who has passed away to their friends and family.

As more and more people spend a larger part of their lives on digital platforms, it becomes essential for companies like Facebook to keep their memories alive. Facebook says it will continue to build and improve its products based on user feedback.

PUBG Mobile Update 0.12.0 Patch Notes Reveal Zombie: Darkest Night Mode

The PUBG Mobile update 0.12.0 patch notes reveal changes to Zombies: Survive Till Dawn promising new weapons, zombies, and allows certain zombies to climb over low walls and roofs. More importantly however, is a new PUBG Mobile Zombies mode called Zombie: Darkest Night. This mode has been touted to be a brand new mode that is different from Survive Till Dawn. There’s no PUBG Mobile update 0.12.0 release date though with Tencent talking up what to expect, we won’t be surprised to see it out soon.

PUBG update 0.12.0 patch notes

  • Survive Till Dawn changes
  • New weapons: as per the beta patch, expect these to include liquid nitrogen grenades, RPG-7, and Jungle Style Magazines.
  • New zombies: if the 0.12.0 beta update is correct, these would include zombie dogs and jumping zombies.
  • Some zombies can now climb over low walls or onto roofs.
  • Zombie: Darkest Night – Brand new zombie mode that differs from Survive Till Dawn. According to previously revealed 0.12.0 beta notes you’ll need to stay alive for one night while fighting zombies. All teams that are still alive at dawn will win.

And before you ask, no PUBG Mobile’s door glitch hasn’t been fixed yet.

You can download the PUBG Mobile 0.12.0 beta here to get an idea of what to expect. Interestingly, there’s no mention of any feature or addition that indicates Tencent is serious about its commitment to finding a reasonable resolution to PUBG Mobile addiction amidst calls for the game to be banned or worse.

The last update brought a host of leaked features such as PUBG Mobile Prime and Prime Plus subscriptions, dynamic weather to Erangel and Miramar, as well as a new ranked season and Royale Pass Season. Players could also light fireworks during matches and obtain anniversary rewards from collecting crates in-game. Tencent has appeared to make changes to how items are earned, stating that players will earn vouchers in the game’s shop if they don’t win items above a certain quality a specific number of times in a row.

Right now there’s no date for PUBG Mobile 0.12.0 to exit beta. That said, it could be at least month, given how long it took past betas to make to all players.

Alphabet’s Drone Delivery Service Takes Off in Australia

Google parent Alphabet’s drone service made its first air delivery in North Canberra, Australia, on Tuesday after getting approval from the country’s civil aviation authority.

Wing, the company’s drone delivery arm, said the delivery service will be available to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin and would gradually expand to customers in Harrison and Gungahlin.

“Wing has been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014. Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3,000 times to Australian homes in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython communities,” it said in a blog post.

Wing was spun out of Alphabet’s X research division in July last year to become an independent company within Alphabet and is part of the Other Bets division. It is headed by James Ryan Burgess.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said https://www.casa.gov.au/aircraft/standard-page/drone-delivery-systems on Tuesday Wing’s “operation meets an acceptable level of safety” and it works within the guidelines for commercial drone operators flying over 2kg.

Wing had said in December it would launch its first European delivery service in Finland in the spring of 2019.

E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc touts “Prime Air”, a future delivery system designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes using drones.

Microsoft Windows 10 Stops Requiring You to ‘Safely Remove’ USB Storage Devices

Safely ejecting flash drives out of your PC is set to become a thing of past as Microsoft has changed how Windows 10 disconnects USB storage devices. You don’t have to worry about recklessly removing your flash drive, unless of course, files are currently being written on it. The latest version of Windows 10 changes the default setting for USB and Thunderbolt-enabled external devices to ‘Quick Removal’ which means you can remove a flash drive from your PC without raising your heartbeat.

Microsoft has made the changes in Windows 10 version 1809 which was pushed out in October last year, but is being widely deployed now. Before the update, the default setting for disconnecting all USB storage devices was set to ‘Better performance’.

The new ‘Quick Removal’ default setting enables disconnection of USB devices without going through the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ process. Microsoft made the announcement in a support document.

The previous ‘Better performance’ setting involved caching data during transfers or while opening files, to improve performance. This resulted in users having to manually eject USB storage devices with the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ process.

All of that is history now, as Windows 10 users will be able to eject USB storage drives whenever they want (provided no data is currently being written on the flash drive).

One of the downsides of adding this convenience would be slower data transfer rates since Windows 10 will not be caching disk writes. However, Microsoft will still let users pick ‘Better performance’ setting in case they’re still interested. To change the policy for external storage devices, visit Start > File Explorer > Identify Specific drive letter or label. Once you have done this, right-click Start, and select Disk Management. Then, right-click label of the device, and click Properties, then Policies.

But before you start yanking USB storage devices like you don’t care, make sure your Windows 10 installation has been updated to version 1809. Even though the update is likely to be installed automatically, you should still ensure you have it and the default setting for USB flash drives has been changed.

YouTube Music Celebrates 3 Million Downloads in India in First Week

YouTube Music clocked 3 million downloads within the first week of its launch in India, the music streaming service announced Monday in Mumbai, as it brought out a parade of star artists from across the country to celebrate its arrival and early success. The likes of Aastha Gill, Akriti Kakar, Alka Yagnik, Anirudh Ravichander, Badshah, Bianca Gomes, Clinton Cerejo, Devi Sri Prasad, Guru Randhawa, Harshdeep Kaur, Jonita Gandhi, Sonu Kakkar, and Taufiq Qureshi performed on stage, with the evening concluded by Norwegian DJ Alan Walker. All the artists (predictably) congratulated YouTube Music for its launch in India and some, like Yagnik, said that it’s exactly “what we needed as artists”.

“This year, YouTube is celebrating 11 amazing years in India,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said on stage Monday. “We’re proud of the extraordinary growth across the platform, especially with music. Our tremendous scale and reach is why many talented artists and creators across India come to YouTube to share their voice with the world. It’s why we’re seeing Indian artists connect with fans from Delhi to Los Angeles and everywhere in between.”

YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, brought up how eight music videos from Indian artists now have over 500 million views, compared to zero a year ago, and the oft-cited fact that Indian musicians have been dominating the site’s global top songs chart for several months now. That came to a head in the first week of March, when the top three spots all went to Indian artists: Alka Yagnik, Neha Kakkar, and Kumar Sanu. At the time of writing, the first two are still commanding the respective rankings, while Sanu is down to eighth position. The current global top-10 also includes Arijit Singh (9th) and Udit Narayan (10th).

“Week to week in 2019, an average one-fifth of the entries on the Global Top Songs chart featured Indian artists,” Cohen added in a prepared statement. “We want to champion artists, give back to the industry, and work to better help artists, and labels meet their priorities. Most importantly, our teams are constantly working to strengthen our platform so artists can shine. We are incredibly excited to partner with Indian artists and labels to grow faster and go further.”

Though YouTube champions itself as a boost to the music industry, the world’s biggest video platform is internationally known for being the lowest paying service for artists, according to Digital Music News. It reportedly pays $0.00074 (about Rs. 0.051) per stream, a far cry from industry leaders in Napster ($0.019, or about Rs. 1.32) and Jay Z-owned Tidal ($0.0125, or about Rs. 0.87). Both Napster and Tidal are not available in India.

With Spotify making its entrance at the tail end of February, YouTube Music is the last big player to enter India’s nascent music streaming market. It’s more affordable at Rs. 99 per month for individuals and has a family plan — Rs. 149 per month, for up to six members — unlike Spotify. And its arrival likely acted as the catalyst for Apple Music to slash its rates across the board in India, matching it on both those accounts. Moreover, most Indians have some form of listening history on YouTube, thanks to the ad-supported nature of the service.

But YouTube Music is “designed to be a paid experience”, the VP of product management, Adam Smith, told members of the press on Monday. Though you can use it for free, even basic features such as background listening — available on the ad-supported tiers of Spotify, JioSaavn, and others — are behind a paywall on YouTube Music. That makes the new service a more direct competitor with the paid-only Apple Music, since it’s essentially unusable if you don’t opt to pay for it. Paid subscriptions notably form just one percent of the music market in India.

And why should Indians pay for YouTube Music over the existing music streaming services? For one, the strength of the catalogue, Smith stressed. That’s not really a boast you hear in the music business given everyone has the same tens of millions of songs on their platform — unless you’re Spotify in India and are being held hostage by Warner Music — but Smith noted that YouTube Music additionally has remixes, covers, live performances, and music videos, of course. It’s drawing off YouTube, after all.

Better yet, YouTube Music is powered by the smarts of its parent company, Google. That means it can make use of machine learning and the Knowledge Graph when you’re trying to look up a song but don’t remember the artist, the album, the song name or even the lyrics. Type in “that hipster song with the whistling” and you’ll be redirected to Swedish indie outfit Peter Bjorn and John’s 2006 song “Young Folks”. Put in “Starbucks lovers” and the top result is Taylor Swift’s 2014 hit “Blank Space”, where the lyric “long list of ex-lovers” has been frequently misheard as the other thing.

In addition to the local playlists curated by the YouTube team, the app also offers music recommendations based on your Google account settings. If you’ve location history turned on, YouTube Music will suggest playlists depending on where you are — be it home, office, the gym — what time it is, and what you’re doing, such as commuting. It will then try to predict your mood and show relevant shelves, such as party music for Friday night or relaxing beats for an evening downer.

Samsung Users in India Can Now Check Prices of Their Phone’s Spare Parts Online

As smartphones get slimmer and fancier, manufacturers are also cramming in a lot more tech, which can make them tougher to repair. To ease its customers from price shocks, Samsung has now listed the prices of some of the main components of its phones, so customers can have an idea of how much that battery or screen replacement would cost them, without having to wait in queues at the service centre. This is especially useful if the phone is out of warranty.

When you head to Samsung India’s support page, there’s a section which lets you select the model of your Samsung phone and see the prices of some of the main spares such as the display, motherboard, battery kit, and the back glass. The list includes all of Samsung’s phone series starting with the flagship Galaxy S-series, all the way down to the Galaxy On-series.

Looking at the Galaxy S-series, Samsung has listed prices of the key parts dating back to the Galaxy S6. More expensive models such as the new Galaxy S10+ (Review) can be quite a costly affair to get repaired. For instance, a replacement display costs Rs. 14,365 whereas, if you were to change the motherboard of the 512GB version then that will set you back a whopping Rs. 34,182.

One thing to keep in mind is that this will not be the final price you pay, as Samsung clearly mentions in its terms and conditions. Additional charges include GST, labour, and any other consumables that would be used in the repair process. The final price will also be decided by the service centre after they’ve made their assessment of the phone.

WhatsApp Now Lets You Send 30 Audio Files at Once, iPad Support Spotted

WhatsApp is working on bringing the ability to block ‘Frequently Forwarded’ messages in group chats, and this was spotted under development in the latest Android beta update. In a bid to curb fake news, admins will be able to block ‘Frequently Forwarded’ messages. The audio picker feature that was spotted in an earlier beta has now rolled out, WABetaInfo reports

The instant messaging app is also working on iPad support, also spotted in latest iOS beta. WhatsApp’s iPad support will bring new features like split-screen and landscape mode, and will retain all of the iPhone app features like Touch ID support.

Starting with Android beta, WhatsApp just released beta v2.19.97 and tracker WABetaInfo has spottedthe company working to bring the ability to stop users from sending ‘Frequently Forwarded’ messages to group chats. The feature is under development, so users won’t be able to see it yet as its ‘disabled by default’. It should be available sometime in the future in ‘Group Settings’ and only administrators will be able to see and edit it. Essentially, WhatsApp looks to curb fake news spreading with this feature, and if the admin feels that too many fake links are shared on a particular group, he/she can switch this feature on, and users of that group will not be able to send messages that are labelled as ‘Frequently Forwarded’.

If a message is forwarded more than four times, a message is marked as ‘Frequently Forwarded’ by WhatsApp. If the admin feels that all users in the group forward only real news, they can choose to keep it disabled. WhatsApp is currently testing the feature in this Android version. No tracks have been found in the iOS app. There’s no word on when it will be made available for everyone.

WABetaInfo also notes that the audio picker feature spotted in development in January is now available in the v2.19.89 beta. It brings along a new UI for selecting audio files, allows users to preview (both audio and album art) an audio file before sending, and also lets users send up to 30 audio files at a time. The beta tracker site says the feature has rolled out completely, and we were able to spot it both on the v2.19.89 beta and the v2.19.97 beta versions.

whatsapp redesigned audio files section twitter wabetainfo

WhatsApp’s latest iOS beta v2.19.4 was also released, and tracker WABetaInfo spotted iPad support under development. Again, this means that the app is not available for iPad users on the App Store yet, but it should arrive soon. WhatsApp should presumably first release it in beta on TestFlight, and then make it available commercially. The tracker has shared screenshots showing the new iPad UI, the redesigned chat screen with new split view support, and landscape mode compatibility. The screenshots suggest that Status screen doesn’t support split view yet.

whatsapp main wabetainfo ipad whatsapp

Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

The tracker notes that the iPad app has all the similar features as the iPhone app, along with Touch ID support and the only difference is that the Camera tab is just available in the iPhone app, and wasn’t spotted on the iPad app. WhatsApp may add it before releasing it for beta users. There’s no word on when this app support will be available commercially.

Website: https://gadgets.ndtv.com, https://www.cnet.com

Jai Hind, Vande Mataram
Team CA Study

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