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Facebook’s AI helps the blind see photos in feeds

Facebook’s AI helps the blind see photos in feeds

Last week at BUILD 2016, Microsoft revealed a Seeing AI project that combines decades of research in computer vision, neural networks, and artificial intelligence to help the blind identify anything using only one single app. Not to be outdone, Facebook is also announcing a similar thrust aimed at people with severe visual impairments. Dubbed Automatic Alternate Text, the feature uses those same computing technologies and theories to identify contents of a photo in a Facebook post, allowing screen readers to describe them as if they were text, and giving visually impaired people a better idea of the picture in their head.

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Oculus software said to be always on, privacy worries arise

Oculus software said to be always on, privacy worries arise

Oculus has just recently launched the consumer version of its Rift VR headset and, aside from some delays in shipping, things look good for the company so far. Reviewers are still on the fence about virtual reality in general but most seem to be quite positive about the experience using the Oculus Rift. However, Oculus commercial journey has just begun and already it might be entangled in some controversy around the thorniest of topics these days: privacy. The Oculus services installed on PCs have been discovered to always be running. Coupled with some privacy policies, the situation is raising some alarms for some people.

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Report: Egypt nixed Free Basics over Facebook’s refusal to spy

Report: Egypt nixed Free Basics over Facebook’s refusal to spy

In December, news surfaced that Egypt had shut down Facebook’s Free Basics Internet service, news that itself followed the social network’s troubles in India. The move was a sudden one, and officials made no public announcements about their reason for pulling the plug. According to new sources who have surfaced, Free Basics was canned because Egyptian government officials wanted access to spy on users, something Facebook reportedly rejected.

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Facebook Instant Articles is adding video advertisements

Facebook Instant Articles is adding video advertisements

Facebook is going to add video advertisement support to Instant Articles, a platform for publishers that presents articles more quickly to the social network’s users. In addition to the new video advertisements, Instant Articles will also get a new ad unit block on top of the ones already available, something Facebook anticipates will boost ad impressions more than 20-percent.

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Facebook offers BlackBerry one last hope, makes web app available

Facebook offers BlackBerry one last hope, makes web app available

BlackBerry users with devices other than the Android-powered Priv are used to bad news when it comes to their platform of choice, but they were hit extra hard earlier this month when Facebook announced it was dropping support for its native app on the BlackBerry 10 OS, pulling its WhatsApp messaging service as well. What with Facebook being the most important website to hundreds of millions of people, it's easy to understand why BlackBerry users would be upset.

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Facebook Messenger gets KLM Royal Dutch Airlines bot

Facebook Messenger gets KLM Royal Dutch Airlines bot

Facebook Messenger has announced that it has a new bot that is running in some locations with a wider rollout coming in the following days. The bot is the first for an airline partner and that airline is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. To use the bot when you book a ticket with the airline, you have to choose to receive info via Facebook Messenger.

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Facebook Messenger code hints at in-store payment feature

Facebook Messenger code hints at in-store payment feature

Facebook is quietly working on a feature that will allow its users to make in-store purchases using its Messenger app, according to a new report. The feature and others were spotted in the app’s code, with other possible future features including “secret conversations” perhaps akin to what WhatsApp recently rolled out. Facebook is tipped to have a large team working on the new buying feature.

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Glitch sends Facebook Lahore Safety Check to the whole world

Glitch sends Facebook Lahore Safety Check to the whole world

Following catastrophic events like the 2011 tsunami that hit Tokyo, Facebook launched its new Safety Check feature to utilize the vast reach of the social network to connect affected people with their families and friends. It basically works by sending out a notification asking you if you're OK when Facebook detects you're within the affected area. This weekend, however, some Facebook users from different places around the world were being asked by Safety Check if they were alright, saying they were in Lahore, Pakistan where a suicide bomb killed dozens and injured hundreds.

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Facebook quietly developing impersonation security alerts

Facebook quietly developing impersonation security alerts

Most people have had to deal with an online bully at one point or another, but the harassment usually comes in the form of unwanted messages, whether they’re replies to tweets or comments on statues. Less common but no less problematic are online impersonations, a more involved form of online bullying in which one person creates an account pretending to be another person. Such actions can range from annoying to career-destroying, and now Facebook’s creating a tool to prevent it altogether.

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Facebook Messenger has a secret basketball game

Facebook Messenger has a secret basketball game

It's March Madness time, and as such Facebook has added a 'hidden' basketball game to Messenger. The game came with the app's latest update, and simply involves sending someone a basketball emoji, after which point you'll be tasked with flicking digital basketballs into a digital hoop, aiming to beat your own best score. Get the details on how to play after the jump!

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Facebook, WhatsApp pull support for BlackBerry

Facebook, WhatsApp pull support for BlackBerry

This week Facebook and WhatsApp have effectively pulled support from BlackBerry as a platform. Ironically many would not have gotten this news (outside of those that use the apps on the platform) would it not have been for an update from BlackBerry assuring developers that they continue to offer their support for the future. In response to the decisions made by Facebook and WhatsApp, BlackBerry is asking BlackBerry 10 users to Tweet the tag #ILoveBB10Apps to ask that the social networks stay.

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Facebook Messenger for Windows 10 wants to take up your whole screen

Facebook Messenger for Windows 10 wants to take up your whole screen

I've used a lot of different instant messaging services over the years to keep in contact with friends online. These days, most people tend to just chat on Facebook, which is why the Messenger app for mobile devices is so popular (if a bit detested, for being a separate app). And it looks like the company is bringing their widely-used app to Windows.

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