Technology

Companies Cheer Completion of Open-Design Transatlantic Internet Cable

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Microsoft on Friday announced completion of the Marea undersea cable, which stretches 4,400 miles between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain.

A joint project of Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, the cable lies more than 17,000 feet below the ocean’s surface.


The Marea cable coiled on ship

The Marea cable coiled on ship

It is the first cable to link Virginia and Spain. The Bilbao terminus provides access to network hubs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Marea is located several miles south of the current connection points between the United States and Europe, for protection against natural disasters or other major disruptive events.

Ahead of Schedule

Its open design will let it evolve with technology and interoperate with a variety of networking equipment.

“The project’s success could set an example for other global communication initiatives to emulate,” said James Scott, senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure.

“Its focus is on resilient and reliable connections and on a modular, open design,” he told TechNewsWorld.


Beginning installation of the Marea cable

Beginning installation of the Marea cable

Announced in June 2016, Marea was scheduled for completion in early 2018. Its two-year construction is about three times faster than the norm.

Marea provides up to 160 Tbits/sec connectivity and is the highest-capacity subsea transatlantic cable to date.

Transatlantic submarine cables carry 55 percent more data than their transpacific counterparts, and 40 percent more data than between the U.S. and Latin America, according to the Brookings Institute.

Marea’s Impact

Marea will enhance the Microsoft Cloud, said Suresh Kumar, corporate VP, Microsoft cloud infrastructure and operations.

Along with the announcement of Marea’s completion, Microsoft announced Azure Availability Zones, its infrastructure service for resiliency and high availability.

“The more networks in the Internet, the more bandwidth … and the greater the ability to provide higher quality of service,” noted Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

Marea makes Microsoft and Facebook “less beholden to other service providers for long-haul bandwidth,” he told TechNewsWorld.

It also could provide both companies with a new form of business and revenue, McGregor said. “Most of the global infrastructure was designed for voice traffic. This project used the latest in technology with the expectation that it’ll be used for many forms of data traffic.”

Telxius’ Role

Telxius, created in February of 2016 by Spanish telecom giant Telefnica, has 15,000 Telefnica towers in various countries, as well as the Telefnica Group’s international network of over 19,000 miles of submarine optic cable.

Telefnica sold up to 40 percent of Telxius to U.S.-based global investment firm KKR Group earlier this year for about 1.5 billion dollars.

The Race to Provide Communications Access

Marea isn’t Microsoft’s first undersea cable venture. Back in 2015, it announced investments in cable projects with Hibernia and Aqua Comms to link its data center infrastructure from North America to Ireland and on to the UK.

Also in 2015, Microsoft joined a consortium building the transpacific New Cross Pacific Cable Network.

In 2014, Google announced participation in the “Faster” transpacific undersea cable project.


Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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Using tech to get a good night’s rest

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Most of us know about circadian rhythms and the sleep cycle. We have a basic idea of REM. We know it’s best not to wake up during a deep sleep. But all of this used to be academic. It wasn’t like you could watch yourself sleep. Alarm clocks were set for a certain time, and that time had nothing to do with how deeply you were snoozing.

But now, a wave of technology is helping everyday people understand their unconscious lives. Thanks to sophisticated apps, watches and even mattresses, you can independently adjust the way your body behaves at night.

An entire branch of medical science — polysomnography — helps diagnose sleep disorders, and it’s hard to say whether a free app can rival a specialist’s advice. As researchers at the University of Washington put it in a report, “Consumer Sleep Technologies: A Review of the Landscape”: “These technologies have the potential to both improve and impair collective and individual sleep health depending on method of implementation.” In other words, the jury is still out.

Still, many people believe that the right technology can positively affect sleep patterns, especially when used in a thoughtful and methodical way. Here’s some tech, including apps, trackers, gadgets and special smart mattresses, that may help you catch more Z’s.

More on this…

Sleep apps

Sleep apps are handy because there’s no need for extra hardware; you can download them onto your smartphone. The apps use the accelerometer in your phone to figure out what your body is doing. You place the phone near your body in bed, it detects when you toss and turn and it makes an educated guess about what sleep stage you’re in.

Ever wonder how your phone knows which way is up or how that digital compass can point west? That’s all your accelerometer. It detects which way your phone is oriented and can determine whether your body is moving around. The app gathers data based on your movements and gives you a report at the end of each cycle.

Perhaps the most helpful feature is the alarm clock. Just set a window of time that you want to wake up, and the app will determine when you’ve entered your “lightest” sleep. Unlike an old radio clock, the alarm tones are gentle and soothing, drawing you effortlessly from your dreams.

The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, with its sensitive movement detection, its range of low-key alarms and its easy-to-read sleep reports, is a popular option. Click here for more details and links to it in the Apple App or Google Play store.

Another option is the Sleep Time app, which uses a similar cycle-based alarm. Sleep Time also has a catalog of “soundscapes,” which replicate the noise of a natural environment, like a beach or a rainforest, to help you to fall asleep and wake up. Soundscapes also be helpful for people with insomnia. Click here for direct links to Sleep Time in the Apple and Google stores.

Some people live in noisy buildings or neighborhoods, and they need an alternative to the sounds of honking horns and slamming doors. The Relax Melodies app offers a range of subtle sounds, such as music, ambient noise or “meditation sessions.” All of these soundscapes are designed to put the listener in a restful mood and even encourage sleep. Click here to check it out.

Fitness watches

Sign up for any race, and you’ll find hundreds of runners synchronizing their fitness watches. But they’re not just for athletes: Millions of people are investing in high-tech watches to help them track their steps, monitor their heart rates and improve

their sleep patterns. Even the cheapest models, like Letscom Activity Tracker and Wesoo K1 Fitness Watch, have built-in sleep monitors.

There are lots of advantages to fitness watches: They feel very natural on your body, so you don’t have to share a bed with your phone. And if you’re active, you’re already downloading your data, so you can add your sleep report to your miles run and calories burned.

The market is saturated with fitness watches, but the two dominant brands, Fitbit and Apple Watch, make sleep tracking easy:

Fitbit, thanks to its early development and sleek designs, is still the best-known name. Like a phone app or high-quality sleep monitor, it detects your movements while you sleep. Like the Sleep Cycle app, it figures out your particular “sleep stages.” When you’ve gathered enough data, Fitbit provides “insights” into how your sleep patterns compare to others of your age and gender.

Apple Watch, curiously, doesn’t have a sleep tracker built into it, but you can download the app of your choice from the iTunes store.

Sleep trackers

Sleep trackers are everywhere, and they come in a range of designs: Some are panels that you stick under your bed. Others are bracelets, sculptures and even a glowing sphere. Unlike your

phone, the trackers are specifically designed to study your sleep patterns, and as unobtrusively as possible. Click here for a list of the best non-wearable sleep trackers you can buy.

Each device uses “actigraphy” to document your physical movements during the night. For example, the Beddit Sleep Monitor is a long white strap that you can fasten to your bedsheets. You barely notice its presence, and it senses when you’re shifting or rolling over. Many trackers also can also record your heart rate and whether you snore.

Smart beds

The idea of a smart bed may seem like science fiction, but if you’re willing to spend the extra money, these high-tech mattresses can change their firmness based on your physical needs.

The leading brand is Sleep Number, whose mattresses are famous for changing their firmness. Sleep Number uses a matrix of smaller pockets that inflate and deflate as the night wears on. These mattresses can isolate certain parts of your body, providing a firm surface for your shoulders and a softer surface for your legs, or vice versa.

One of the most significant advancements is the elevating mattress, which can be a lifesaver for people with severe snoring and even sleep apnea. When the bed detects snoring, it will rise

automatically toward the top, shifting the sleeper’s head. When you download your data, Sleep Number will even give you a score for how well you slept.

The sleep tracker by Eight Sleep is a cover that you pull over an entire mattress. In addition to a smart alarm system, it has a warming feature that can be set on a timer. You can use the Eight Sleep app to monitor sleep patterns and recent exercise.

You can even connect your Eight Sleep mattress to your Amazon Echo. Feeling a little chilly? Just tell Alexa to warm up your mattress, and the temperature of your cover will rise. Welcome to the future!

How else can you use tech to better your body, mind and spirit? Be sure to listen to or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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The long wait for a Persian iPhone keyboard

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iPhoneImage copyrightReuters
Image caption Apple introduced new iOS on Tuesday

Android devices as well as Apple computers have Persian keyboards, but until this week the option wasn’t available on Apple phones or iPads.

For years Persian speakers used the Arabic keyboard on the iPhone, which was not really ideal for writing quickly or accurately in Persian.

There were lots of petitions to Apple, pressing them to add a Persian keyboard to mobile phones. That finally paid off with the latest release.

Arabic and Persian keyboards are very similar. But there are two major issues – the four extra letters in Persian – and the “half space” feature needed for a well-edited Persian message.

In order to type the extra four letters in our alphabet we had to press and hold another letter and wait for a window to pop up so we could drag our finger on it and see it on screen.

Yet that was still doable. The “half space” was the more serious issue.

In Persian, the letters in a single word are joined-up. Some words we make by combining two words together. These compound words should be near but not attached to each other.

On Apple and Microsoft computers, as well as in Android devices we have long been able to use a “half space” to separate words but keep them close enough. A hyphen does almost a similar task in English. But the half space is used far more in Persian.

Image caption First line is typing without half space and the second line has the half space. Extra Persian letters are circled in Red. Half space button has a blue circle around it.

For example: “I work for the BBC.”

If I want to write this sentence in Farsi, I use the “half space” three times to keep the BBC letters close to each other and to join two parts of the verb.

For several years, many Iranians and Afghans signed petitions, hoping to add the keyboard. One of my friends personally wrote to Steve Jobs twice, but never heard back.

Even though Apple could have given us this option sooner, I took the joy of having a proper keyboard to Twitter and wrote about it there.

Some Android enthusiasts replied to me, saying their devices had it for “ages”.

Others wondered why Apple would add the keyboard as they abandoned Iranian apps.

Recently Apple has removed some apps developed in Iran from their stores. Snapp, a popular ride-hailing app like Uber, was one of those affected. Apple said it was deleting them due to US sanctions, but some Persian cooking apps or video streaming apps developed outside Iran were also deleted. Google did not take the same measures.

Even though many see Apple’s recent moves as a double standard, I still think having a Persian keyboard is good for our language.

Persian written in the Persian alphabet is common in only two countries: Iran and Afghanistan.

During the time of the Soviet Union, Iranian elites often sent their sons to Europe and the USSR to study.

Image copyrightGetty Images

Amazed by the Western world, some suggested we should change our alphabet to Latin, much like Turkey did. Others argued we would cut our ties with our literary heritage, and those arguments won out. We ended up keeping our alphabet.

Then came the era of computers and smartphones. Early technology did not support the Persian alphabet. So my generation, who grew up in the 80s and 90s, started writing Persian with a Latin alphabet on computers and early phones, calling it Farglish.

Because of the sanctions, Apple and other major tech companies do not have any legal presence in Iran and as some of these smartphones are considered expensive, they don’t have a big market in Iran and Afghanistan.

One may wonder why it was important for us to have a Persian keyboard on devices that not many Iranians own.

The answer is that we do care about our cultural heritage and appreciate any attempt to have a better connection with our great poets and writers – masters like Sa’di, Rumi, Hafiz, Ferdowsi, Khayyam and others.

A text for me is like a wall. Every word is like a brick. If I want to build a sturdy and beautiful wall I cannot use broken bricks. I don’t want any extra space between the pieces of a brick.

As a journalist or even as a user on Twitter, I would like to make a good impression on my audience.

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Walmart will deliver groceries to your fridge while you’re out

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A motorist drives through a Walmart parking lot in west Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, June 28, 2017. The company was hosting hundreds of potential vendors at its Bentonville headquarters on Wednesday, searching for products to someday stock on store shelves. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)

A motorist drives through a Walmart parking lot in west Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, June 28, 2017. The company was hosting hundreds of potential vendors at its Bentonville headquarters on Wednesday, searching for products to someday stock on store shelves. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel) (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Hate putting away groceries? Walmart and smart home device maker August are teaming up to eliminate this chore from your life.

The companies on Friday announced they are testing a new in-home delivery concept: dropping off packages inside your home — even if you’re not there — and putting your groceries away in your refrigerator.

Here’s how it will works: you’ll place an order on Walmart.com for whatever you need, including groceries. When your order is ready, a driver from the same-day delivery service Deliv will bring the items to your home. If you know you’ll be away when they arrive, you can authorize a one-time passcode for your August Smart Lock so the delivery person can enter your home and put your groceries away.

To placate inevitable security fears, Walmart in a blog post said homeowners are “in control of the experience the entire time.” You’ll get a notification on your smartphone as soon as the Deliv driver rings your doorbell. If you have a home security camera, you can “watch the delivery take place in real-time … or view a recording of it any time through the August app,” August wrote in a blog post. You’ll get a second notification on your phone when the delivery is completed and your door is locked.

More From PCmag

“When I enter my house later that day, it’s like magic — the items I purchased from Walmart.com are waiting for me, and my groceries are nice and cool in the fridge, as if they never left their display in the store,” Walmart wrote. “And the best part is that I didn’t even have to unpack anything.”

Walmart is testing this concept with “a handful of August Home customers” in Silicon Valley, who have opted to participate.

“What might seem novel today could be the standard tomorrow,” the retail giant teased.

The new collaboration comes just days after Amazon announced it’s partnering with Kohl’s for easy returns. Meanwhile, August this week unveiled two new Smart Locks and a new Doorbell Cam, all of which include DoorSense, an integrated sensor that can tell you if your door is open or closed.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.

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iOS 11 has a neat trick that makes setting up your iPhone 8 way easier

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File photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage during Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

File photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

So you’ve bought a new iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone 8, and you’re ready to set it up and replace your older model. But if your older iPhone is updated to iOS 11 you should use a brand new hidden feature inside Apple’s newest iOS release to speed up the entire process.

The feature is called Quick Start, and it’s a mix of AirPods and Apple Watch setup processes, but for iPhones and iPads.

All you need to do to fly through the setup process on the new iPhone 8 is to power your iPhone 8 near your existing iPhone. Rather than going through the setup process that you already know, just go forward with Quick Start.

Once you do that, an image should appear on the older iPhone that shows the old model has detected the iPhone 8 — this is the same animation you see on the iPhone when it detects AirPods. Press the Configure button on the old iPhone, and the new iPhone will generate an image on the screen that needs to be scanned by the older model. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same pairing process as the one used on Apple Watch.

More From BGR

Once that it’s done, the iPhone 8 will grab all of your setup data from the old phone.

Now, that only fixes the setup process, but it’s certainly quicker than the regular version. Quick Start also works on any other iOS devices that ships with iOS 11, including iPhone X that launches in early November 3rd.

Mind you, after the setup process is complete, you’ll still have to restore from an iPhone backup to also get all your apps on the new device. When Quick Start is over, you can choose to restore from the most recent iPhone backup if you so desire.

A video from Apple Insider shows the entire Quick Start process:

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Bees ‘go online’ in Manchester

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Bees in Manchester are having computer chips glued to their bodies, to help beekeepers track when they enter and exit the hive.

Rory Cellan-Jones visited the project to find out how it works.

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Uber London loses licence to operate

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Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDrivers and passengers react to news that Uber’s licence in London will be revoked

Uber will not be issued a new private hire licence, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

TfL concluded the ride-hailing app firm was not fit and proper to hold a London private hire operator licence.

It said it took the decision on the grounds of “public safety and security implications”.

Confirming it would appeal against the decision, Uber said it showed the world “far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies”.

TfL’s concerns include Uber’s approach to carrying out background checks on drivers and reporting serious criminal offences.

What does the ruling mean?

Seven things Londoners will miss if Uber goes

Now what next for Uberisation?

Your views: Uber London loses licence

Uber’s current licence is due to run until 30 September.

It has 21 days to appeal against TfL’s decision and can continue to operate while any appeals are ongoing.

Some 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers use the Uber app in London.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I fully support TfL’s decision – it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”

Image copyrightPA
Image caption Taxi drivers have been campaigning against Uber, such as engaging in this “go slow” protest in 2014

Fred Jones, head of cities for Uber across the UK and Ireland, told the BBC Uber drivers had to pass the same safety checks as black cab and mini cab drivers in London.

There had been growing speculation that the app could be banned from London.

Opponents of the firm claim it causes gridlocked roads and does not do enough to regulate its drivers.

But one driver with Uber in London said: “I don’t think it is a fair decision. Uber offers a flexible schedule, and a weekly income.”


Uber controversies

  • Chief executive Travis Kalanick, who helped found the company in 2009, resigned in July following a series of scandals and criticism of his management style
  • In June, 20 staff were sacked after a law firm investigated specific complaints made to the company about sexual harassment, bullying, and retaliation for reporting problems
  • At the start of 2017, the firm paid £16.2m ($20m) in the US to settle allegations it gave false promises to drivers over how much they would earn
  • In October 2016 Uber lost a landmark employment tribunal in the UK which ruled drivers should be classed as workers rather than being self-employed
  • A few months later Uber announced it would offer English courses, financial advice and introduce an appeals panel for its UK workers after facing criticism over lack of support and rights for its drivers
  • In 2014 the New Delhi government banned app-based taxi companies after an Uber driver raped a passenger in his vehicle
  • Uber stopped operating in Austin, Texas, when it was told drivers would have to have fingerprint background checks, but it reinstated its services after the requirement was ended

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Some 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers use the Uber app in London

Uber’s general manager in London Tom Elvidge said: “By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and the mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.

“If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.

“To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”

He said Uber operated in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities in the UK.


Analysis: From BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones

Throughout its short, tempestuous life, Uber has clashed with regulators around the world – and more often than not it has come out on top.

Its tactic has often been to arrive in a city, break a few rules, and then apologise when it’s rapped over the knuckles. Some regulators have backed down, others have run the company out of town.

In London, despite protests from angry taxi drivers, the company has had a relatively easy ride until now.

But a wave of bad publicity about its corporate culture, its lax attitude to checks on its drivers and its treatment of this freelance army seems to have spurred TfL into action.

Make no mistake, Uber will use every legal avenue to fight this ban. It will argue that consumers, in the shape of the millions of mainly young Londoners who rely on its service, will be seriously let down if it can no longer operate.

But the courts will have to balance that with the serious concerns about public safety raised by TfL.


On social media, a fierce debate has broken out over the decision.

An online petition launched by Uber urging Sadiq Khan to reverse the decision to strip its London licence has been signed by tens of thousands of people in the space of a few hours.

Twitter user @Gabbysalaza_ said that she was “annoyed” at the decision as Uber allowed to her to get out of “uncomfy” situations if out at night.

Skip Twitter post by @gabbysalazar_

As a woman who lives alone and goes outside after dark, I’m really annoyed. Uber is so useful (and cheap) when in uncomfy situations. https://t.co/Q9iaMN1rrD

— Gabriella Salazar (@gabbysalazar_) September 22, 2017

End of Twitter post by @gabbysalazar_

Labour MP Wes Streeting, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, called the decision “courageous” in a tweet.

James Le Lacheur called the decision a “victory” on Twitter.

Skip Twitter post by @JamesLeLacheur

I’ve never felt the need to use the ethical colander that is #Uber Not once. And I always make it home safely and cheaply. This is a victory

— Mx James Le Lacheur (@JamesLeLacheur) September 22, 2017

End of Twitter post by @JamesLeLacheur

General secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association Steve McNamara said it was the “right call” not to re-license Uber in London.

“This immoral company has no place on London’s street,” he said.

Across the world, Uber has been pushed out or denied access by local licensing laws.

Legislators in Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory, are debating whether to allow Uber to return after a raft of reforms designed to open up the ride-sharing market were announced.

Uber is currently fighting a test case in Denmark after four if its drivers were found to be in violation of the country’s laws requiring taxi meters.

‘Devastating blow’

David Leam, of London First which campaigns for business in the capital, said London needed to be open to new ideas, business and services.

He said: “This will be seen as a Luddite decision by millions of Londoners and international visitors who use Uber, and will also hit London’s reputation as a global tech hub.”

James Farrar, chairman of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain’s United Private Hire Drivers branch, said it was a “devastating blow” for the drivers who now face losing their jobs.

“To strip Uber of its licence after five years of laissez-faire regulation is a testament to a systemic failure at TfL,” he said.

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‘I will rape you’ post put on Facebook to advertise Instagram

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File photo: A screen displays the Instagram logo during a presentation in New York December 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

File photo: A screen displays the Instagram logo during a presentation in New York December 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Instagram used a user-generated image which included the text “I will rape you before I kill you, you filthy whore!” to advertise on parent company, Facebook, the latest sign that Facebook’s algorithm needs tweaking.

Guardian reporter Olivia Solon tweeted a picture of the offensive ad, noting that it was one of her “most ‘engaging’ posts.” According to the Guardian, which first reported the story, Solon posted the screenshot nearly a year ago. Instagram selected the post, using it to her advertise to her sister, adding the caption “See Olivia Solon’s photo and posts from friends on Instagram”.

Instagram is using one of my most “engaging” posts to advertise its service to others on Facebook 😂 pic.twitter.com/lyEBHQXMfa

— Olivia Solon (@oliviasolon) September 21, 2017

“We are sorry this happened — it’s not the experience we want someone to have,” an Instagram spokesperson told Fox News. “This type of notification is intended to let someone on Facebook know what their friends are up to on Instagram. Posts are generally received by a small percentage of a person’s Facebook friends. We are working to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

FACEBOOK USED ANTI-SEMITIC AD CATEGORIES, REPORT SAYS

Earlier this week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company would be revamping its ad-targeting policies after the company received notification from Pro Publica that it was able to purchase ads targeting anti-Semitic categories.

“First, we’re clarifying our advertising policies and tightening our enforcement processes to ensure that content that goes against our community standards cannot be used to target ads,” Sandberg wrote in a post on her Facebook account. “This includes anything that directly attacks people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or disabilities or diseases. Such targeting has always been in violation of our policies and we are taking more steps to enforce that now.”

The tech exec also said the company would be adding more human review and oversight to a process that is largely automated.

Lastly, Facebook will create a program “to encourage people on Facebook to report potential abuses of our ads system to us directly.”

“We hope these changes will prevent abuses like this going forward,” Sandberg continued. “If we discover unintended consequences in the future, we will be unrelenting in identifying and fixing them as quickly as possible. We have long had a firm policy against hate on Facebook. Our community deserves to have us enforce this policy with deep caution and care.”

FACEBOOK REVAMPS POLICIES AFTER ANTI-SEMITIC AD TARGETING SCANDAL

Earlier this month, ProPublica said it paid Facebook $30 to display three “promoted posts” in the news feeds of people who expressed interest in topics like “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.'”

ProPublica found that the ads were approved by Facebook in 15 minutes. The categories have since been removed.

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this report. This story has been updated to include Instagram’s comment.

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Gym app Pact pays $1m over broken promises

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Pact commercialImage copyrightPact

Fitness app Pact, which promised members financial rewards for meeting their health goals, has settled accusations that it broke its promises.

The app let people set exercise and dietary goals, and charged them a penalty between $5 (£3.70) and $50 if they failed to meet their target.

It pledged to share some of the “fines” with members who did reach their goals.

But the US Federal Trade Commission said Pact had now started to return money wrongly taken from subscribers.

Pact – originally known as GymPact – was launched in 2012 to help people meet fitness goals.

Pledges were verified by using smartphone location data and photographs to prove members had been to the gym.

Image copyrightPAct
Image caption Pact used smartphone data to prove people were genuinely exercising

People could choose how much they would be “fined” if they failed to meet their own targets.

The FTC alleged that the company had broken its promises and charged “tens of thousands” of people a penalty even if they had met their fitness goals, or cancelled their subscription.

It also said the app did not pay out the rewards it had promised,

“Unfortunately, even when consumers held up their end of the deal, Pact failed to make good on its promises,” said the FTC’s Tom Pahl.

As part of the settlement, the company will return $940,000 to members who earned cash rewards or were incorrectly charged.

The BBC has attempted to contact principals of the Pact team.

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President Trump suggests Facebook ad controversy part of ‘Russia hoax’

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Social media giant admits accounts with ties to Russia used site; senior correspondent Adam Housley reports from Los Angeles

Facebook to provide Congress with info on Russian-bought ads

Social media giant admits accounts with ties to Russia used site; senior correspondent Adam Housley reports from Los Angeles

In a tweet on Friday morning, President Donald Trump intimated that the Facebook ad controversy was part of the “Russia hoax” dispute that has been a sore spot for his administration.

“The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook,” the President tweeted. “What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?”

The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017

Trump’s Facebook-related tweet was part of a larger “tweetstorm” this morning, slamming Sen. Rand Paul over healthcare, Kim Jong Un and the North Korea regime, and the aforementioned “Russia hoax.”

FACEBOOK WILL RELEASE RUSSIA-LINKED ADS TO CONGRESS, MARK ZUCKERBERG SAYS

On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network would hand over to Congress the political ads purchased by Russian operatives.

Coming back from paternity leave after the birth of his second child, Zuckerberg held a Facebook Live chat and said the company would “strengthen our ad review process for political ads.”

One senior source familiar with discussions told Fox News there is a “deal” with Facebook. However, another senior source close to the negotiation disputes says there is no agreement on the breadth of material Facebook may provide.

Separately on Thursday, Facebook wrote a blog post outlining the steps it would be taking.

“After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators,” wrote Colin Stretch, the company’s general counsel. “We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election.”

FACEBOOK UNCOVERS $100K IN FAKE AD SPENDING TIED TO RUSSIAN OPERATIVES DURING 2016 US ELECTION

Earlier this month, Facebook uncovered approximately $100,000 spread over approximately 3,000 ads in fraudulent ad spending across its network tied to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia. Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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