How Much Screen Time is Too Much?

Concerns about the harm caused by too much screen time – particularly when it is spent on social media – are widespread. But working out what a healthy amount might be is far from easy. Apple’s Tim Cook recently said he would not want his nephew on a social network, while child health experts wrote to Facebook warning excessive use of digital devices and social media “is harmful to children and teens”. Some negative experiences on social media – like bullying, or becoming worried about how your appearance compares to…

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Mobile Commerce enabler DOCOMO Partners with Safaricom to Launch first App Store Integration with M-PESA.

Global mobile commerce enabler, DOCOMO Digital has partnered with Safaricom to give customers the option to pay for content on the Google Play Store using M-PESA. The integration, which is powered by DOCOMO Digital’s mobile commerce enabling platform using Google Play’s payment API, allows M-PESA customers to use the mobile money service to pay for goods and services from the app store. The service is available to more than 27 million M-PESA customers in Kenya with an Android smartphone or tablet. From today, customers matching this criteria can purchase content…

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No More Bulk Tweeting and Duplicate Accounts on Twitter

Twitter is announcing major limits on how users and apps can automate tweets, in order to curb spam and political propaganda bots. Developers are now banned from using any system that simultaneously posts “identical or substantially similar” tweets from multiple accounts at once, or makes actions like liking, retweeting, and following across multiple accounts at once. Twitter will remove these options from its own TweetDeck app, and third-party developers have until March 23rd to comply. Twitter says these actions are “an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious…

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Vatican organizes first ever hackathon in history dubbed VHacks

The Vatican alias the holy city is organizing its first ever hackathon in history dubbed VHacks.”I did not have to pitch the idea to the Pope,” laughs Jakub Florkiewicz, the co-initiator of the event. “But the participants of the event hopefully will,” he adds. So how did this unlikely event come to be? “It’s a story about a student arriving in Rome with an idea, and finding people who got excited about that idea,” Florkiewicz explains. “Passionate myself about hackathons, I had the luck of meeting people – Vatican insiders –…

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Experts think AI Might Mess with us in the Next Five Years

When we talk about the dangers posed by artificial intelligence, the emphasis is usually on the unintended side effects. We worry that we might accidentally create a super-intelligent AI and forget to program it with a conscience; or that we’ll deploy criminal sentencing algorithms that have soaked up the racist biases of their training data. What about the people who actively want to use AI for immoral, criminal, or malicious purposes? Aren’t they more likely to cause trouble — and sooner? The answer is yes, according to more than two…

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WhatsApp Users can now Call Without Internet thanks to Rwandan Made Prototype

It is easier for a WhatsApp user in diaspora to audio or video call or chat with his or her counterpart in Africa who has the same application than traditional telephone calls and text messages. The situation is the same for people who use Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat, to mention a few. But at the moment, the number of smartphone holders is very small in many developing countries especially in Africa. For instance, the number of smartphone holders in Rwanda is below 1.2 million. This challenges service providers…

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The Wikipedia Free Access Zero Program Hits an Abrupt End In 2018

The Wikimedia Foundation has announced that free access to Wikipedia will end in 2018, which was part of the Wikipedia Zero partnership programme. The organization has discontinued Zero and has stopped forming new carrier partnerships. It will let its existing alliances end over time. Wikipedia Zero was created in 2012 to address high mobile data costs when accessing the service.Through the program, the foundation partnered with mobile operators to waive mobile data fees for their customers to freely access Wikipedia on mobile devices. “Over the course of this year, no…

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Google Chrome launches default ad-blocker

Google has launched an ad-blocker for its Chrome web browser that is designed to prevent “annoying” and “intrusive” ads being shown to users. Google announced the move to curtail full-page and auto-playing video ads, among others, last year. The choice of which ads to block will be determined by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) – made up of companies including Google and Facebook. Sites will have 30 days to remove disruptive ads before blocking begins. A survey of 40,000 US and European web users found that the most intrusive…

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Snapchat CEO says the redesign is here to stay

Despite a lot of backlash over a big redesign for the Snapchat app, the CEO Evan Spiegel vigorously defended the redesign and basically said people need to get used to it. Spiegel said at the Goldman Sachs Internet & Technology Conference that even people complaining about the app was a sort of validation that the changes the company wants to happen are, indeed, happening. Snap aimed to try to separate the idea of communication and broadcasting with Snap into similar buckets, rather than the features being kind of mixed up…

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Germany’s Flawed Social Media Laws

The new German law that compels social media companies to remove hate speech and other illegal content can lead to unaccountable, overboard censorship and should be promptly reversed, Human Rights Watch said. The law sets a dangerous precedent for other governments looking to restrict speech online by forcing companies to censor on the government’s behalf. Governments and the public have valid concerns about the proliferation of illegal or abusive content online, but the new Ger“man law is fundamentally flawed,” said Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Rights Watch. “It is…

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