Zuckerberg defends Facebook’s hands-off policy for politicians

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday defended the huge social network’s policy of refraining from fact-checking politicians, saying it’s not the job of tech firms to “censor.” Speaking to students at Georgetown University in Washington, Zuckerberg responded to critics who argued that Facebook is enabling political leaders including President Donald Trump to propagate misinformation. Zuckerberg said the policy — which does not include the fact-checking of political speech or […]

California unveils early warning earthquake app

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — California on Thursday launched the country’s first earthquake warning system in the hope that residents will be alerted within seconds of a possible impending disaster and can “drop, cover and hold on.” The app, created by the University of California, Berkeley, and unveiled on the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta quake, uses ground motion sensors located across the state to detect the start of earthquakes before humans […]

First man to perform spacewalk dies

by Marina LAPENKOVA Agence France-Presse RUSSIA, Moscow (AFP) — Alexei Leonov, a legendary Soviet cosmonaut who was the first man to perform a spacewalk in 1965, died in Moscow on Friday aged 85 after a long illness. The Russian space agency Roscosmos said it was saddened to announce the death of “cosmonaut No 11” who was twice decorated with the country’s top honour, the Hero of the Soviet Union. Tributes poured in from across the […]

Twin-screen Duo puts Microsoft back in smartphone game

by Glenn CHAPMAN SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled new Surface devices with twin-screens that open like books, including a notepad-sized version that will put it back in the smartphone game next year. Surface Duo was touted as the first device in the lineup to fit into a pants pocket, with two “paper-thin” 5.6-inch screens that unfold and work in harmony with a specially tailored Android operating system. Described as a […]

Zuckerberg to ‘go to the mat’ to fight breakup: report

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to “go to the mat” to fight a government attempt to break up the social media giant, according to a report Tuesday based on a leaked audio recording. Tech news site The Verge released leaked comments from a meeting of Facebook employees in July in which Zuckerberg said he would challenge a breakup effort, repeating his argument that splitting the company would not […]

Facebook hides ‘likes’ in Australia trial to ease anxiety

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Facebook on Friday said it began hiding the number of “likes” for posts in Australia, a trial designed to ease social pressure that could be rolled out worldwide. Account-holders across the country will also be blocked from viewing the number of reactions and video views on other people’s posts from Friday, but will still be able to see how people respond to their own. “We don’t want Facebook to feel like […]

NBA 2K league adding Shanghai team in 2020

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — The NBA 2K League will add a team in Shanghai for the 2020 season, the eSports league’s first franchise outside of North America. The NBA-affiliated league announced the addition on Thursday. The Shanghai club will be operated by eSports organization Gen.G and will join 22 existing teams, all of which are operated by NBA franchises. The 2K League, run by the NBA, partnered with internet giant Tencent to stream […]

Facebook exempts political speech from fact-checking

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook will not fact-check the statements politicians post to the site, the social network announced Tuesday ahead of the US 2020 elections, even as it works to discredit false information meant to manipulate public opinion. While the social network relies on third-party fact-checkers, including news organizations such as AFP, to help it discredit viral misinformation, it will stop short of wading into the veracity of political claims. “We don’t […]

Zuckerberg meets US senators, rejects call to break up Facebook

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met privately with members of Congress Thursday on a political reconnaissance mission to Washington, where he rejected calls for him to break up the world’s biggest social network. Zuckerberg’s visit with policymakers comes as Facebook faces a myriad of regulatory and legal questions surrounding issues like competition, digital privacy, censorship and transparency in political advertising. A Facebook spokesman said discussions were focusing in part on […]

YouTube ‘creators’ fret over impact of new child protection rules

by Julie JAMMOT Agence France Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Samuel Rader quit his job three years ago to work full time on his YouTube channel, “Sam and Nia,” featuring videos of his family life. The channel created by the Texas-based couple — with videos of their Hawaii vacation, setting up their backyard pool and other content about “Christian family life” — has become one of the stars of the Google-owned video service […]

Apple cuts prices, ramps up services as iPhone 11 launches

    by Glenn ChapmanĀ  CUPERTINO, United States (AFP) — Apple unveiled its iPhone 11 models Tuesday with a price cut for the most basic models while also laying out plans for streaming and gaming services as it bids to weather the slump in the global smartphone market. Price appeared to be a key consideration as the tech giant reduced the entry level price for the iPhone 11 to $699 and undercut rivals for its […]

Coffee and quacks served up at Chengdu duck cafe

CHENGDU, China (AFP) — Crowds in a Chinese eatery ignore their drinks to gather adoringly around four fluffy white ducks, phones poised ready for pictures, at the latest addition to the country’s growing list of popular animal cafes. “Hey! We go”, a business in the center of the southwestern city of Chengdu is proving perfect fodder for the social media-savvy generation. The four call ducks — a domesticated breed imported from Europe — can retail […]