Facebook to unveil new versions of Portal video chat devices this autumn

The release of the Portal new video chat devices fits into Facebook’s focus toward private messaging by encryption of conversations. (Reuters)
Updated 11 June 2019
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Facebook to unveil new versions of Portal video chat devices this autumn

  • The launch comes amid concerns over Facebook’s privacy and content moderation practices
  • Facebook is one of the biggest global players in private messaging with its WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona: Facebook plans to release new versions of its Portal video chatting devices this autumn, the company’s vice president of AR/VR, Andrew Bosworth, said during an interview at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“We have a lot more that we’re going to unveil later in this fall, new form factors that we’re going to be shipping,” Bosworth said of the new devices.
He did not say how many had been sold since Portal’s launch late last year in the United States, or what the new devices were.
The launch came amid concerns over Facebook’s privacy and content moderation practices that have led some people to abandon the service and the company to warn of thinning profits.
The release of new video chat devices fits into Facebook’s focus toward private messaging by encryption of conversations on more of its messaging services.
Facebook is one of the biggest global players in private messaging with its WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, each used by more than 1 billion people. Only WhatsApp fully secures message content from all outsiders, including Facebook itself.
Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in March that within a few years, direct messaging would dwarf discussion on the traditional, open platform of Facebook’s news feed, where public posts can go viral across the world.
Bosworth said in the interview on Monday the devices did not have the ability to record things and were only for calls.
“There was a lot of conversation around us launching Portal. But it’s about what Facebook is at its core. It’s entirely about private conversation,” Bosworth said.


Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

An Egyptian carries a load of newspapers in Cairo, Egypt, in this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2014. (AP)
Updated 16 June 2019
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Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

  • ‘The fake accounts ... are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners’

CAIRO: Egypt is reported to have 4 to 6 million fake news pages on social media accounts, according to Ali Hosni, undersecretary at of the General Directorate of Information and Relations at the Egyptian Interior Ministry.
The fake accounts, made to spread false information, are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners, he added.
Egypt has faced a flood of false rumors on an almost weekly basis, with claims such as that a newly appointed minister was in fact dead, or that of a girl kidnapped in the Beheira, who turned out to have runaway to avoid taking her exams.
According to a recent global survey, 86 percent of internet users have admitted that they have fallen for fake news online. The survey also showed that Egyptians were the most gullible in terms of fake news.

Prohibitory step
The government passed a law prohibiting fake news in an attempt to control the problem. The law, passed in July 2018, states that social media accounts with over 5,000 followers will be treated as media outlets, and their owners could be subjected to fines or prison for spreading fake news.
Responses to the law were skeptical, as people wondered what defined fake news, while others found the law to be vague. With the global survey’s results, it can be presumed that the 2018 fake news law did not have too much of an impact.
There have been multiple reports of social media accounts masquerading as officials and in Egypt turning out to be fake. One, the page for Education Minister Mahmoud Abo Nasr, had 80,000 Facebook followers on it — his genuine official page had only 55,000 followers.