Facebook-owned Instagram to allow users to apply for verification

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Users will soon apply for verification on Instagram as the social media giant platform rolls out a number of new features aimed at increasing transparency and engagement. Instagram said it was rolling out the feature locally to clear the air around its verification process which had become the centrepiece of several conspiracy theories including paid-for blue badges and fake influencer accounts. “Our community asked us for more transparency around this issue, and with today’s announcement we’re sharing clear details about verification requirements and eligibility criteria,” Instagram’s strategic partner manager APAC,…

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Pitch: Pinterest to give advertisers promoted video tool that takes up the width of the entire screen

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Pinterest is continuing its push into video as a potential avenue for advertisers by today saying that it will offer advertisers a promoted video tool that takes up the width of the entire screen. While Pinterest normally offers users a grid that they can flip through — compressing a lot of content into a small space — taking up the full width of the screen with a promoted video would offer advertisers considerable real estate if they’re looking to get the attention of users. The company also said it’s hired…

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China’s largest car-hailing service Didi redesigns ar-pooling platform after passenger death

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China’s largest car-hailing service Didi, has redesigned its platform after being criticized for the ‘socialization’ feature that saw drivers inappropriately commenting on the looks of female passengers reports ZDNet. The service has been halted since May 12 after a 21-year-old flight attendant reportedly died at the hands of a 26-year-old driver in China’s Henan province on May 6. The flight attendant had booked a ride through Didi and was allegedly killed by the driver who was also found dead in a river by police, according to Chinese news reports. Didi…

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Apple faces battery pledge complaints

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Apple has been accused of finding unnecessary faults with iPhones and thereby profiting from a battery replacement initiative. When the US firm announced it had been slowing down iPhones in order to “preserve battery life” in December last year, it apologised for not telling people sooner. Facing a consumer backlash, it promised owners of the iPhone 6 and more modern models a discounted or free battery replacement. It said: “We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support – and we will never…

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

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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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Mobile phone and broadband services need ‘radical improvement’

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The head of the UK National Infrastructure Commission has called for urgent action to tackle poor mobile phone coverage. Lord Adonis has written to the telecoms regulator Ofcom urging it to take action to deal with the issue. It follows a report that one million homes have poor broadband and large parts of the UK have no 4G coverage. On Friday Ofcom said calls and text messages could not be sent on all four mobile phone networks in 30% of the entire UK landmass. It is not the first time…

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Researchers can determine what smartphone a photo was taken on by analyzing it

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Researchers at the University at Buffalo have discovered a way to identify smartphones by analyzing just a single photo taken by the device. The researchers centered on a flaw in digital imaging called photo-response non-uniformity (PRNU) to do so. PRNU happens when the imperfections in the manufacturing process of each camera’s sensors create tiny variations. Those variations can cause the millions of pixels in the camera’s sensor to project colors that are slightly brighter or darker than normal, which creates a systemic distortion in the photo called pattern noise. This…

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China’s phone market is now dominated by five companies, none of which is Samsung

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China is the most unique smartphone market in the world: a phone maker can be a global sales leader without ever treading beyond Chinese borders, and small upstart challengers can suddenly explode in popularity from out of nowhere. The latter aspect is becoming harder now, however, as the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that China’s top five phone vendors are becoming a more solid and dominant group. Kantar reports that, for the calendar quarter ending in October, the top five of Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple, Vivo, and Oppo accounted for…

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Parking Insider is a mobile wallet dedicated to helping you avoid parking tickets

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Parking Insider is a smart app with a mobile wallet expressly dedicated to enabling its users to quickly and seamlessly pay for parking spots by the minute. The app also invites users to earn free minutes of parking by snapping pictures of free parking spaces, photos that it will use to create a heat map that enables others users to find open parking spots. It’s the second go at this idea by two of Parking Insider’s three creators. Shruti Kuber  and Advait Kumar are both getting their master’s degrees in…

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Schillinger’s substitute phone helps overcome smartphone addiction

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We’ve all been there: fiddling with your smartphone because it’s there, or reaching for it when you hear a text message notification. Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger created the Substitute Phone as a way to help smartphone addicts cope in its absence. Schillinger says that more and more, phones are becoming an addicting object in our lives. Users constantly play with them, even if they’re not looking for a message or expecting a call, and he was inspired to design “a tool that would help stop this ‘checking’ behaviour.” Schillinger designed…

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