Facebook to advise use of masks amid latest virus spike
In this file illustration photo taken on March 25, 2020 a Facebook App logo is displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia.
AFP/Olivier Douliery

Facebook to advise use of masks amid latest virus spike

(Agence France-Presse) - July 3, 2020 - 7:40am

WASHINGTON, United States — Facebook said Thursday it would offer reminders to its users to wear protective masks, responding to the latest surge in US coronavirus cases, which has sparked renewed fears of containing the pandemic.

The social network giant said it would include the alerts at the top of feeds on Facebook and Instagram, starting in the United States with plans to expand in the future.

"With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the US, we're putting an alert at the top of Facebook and Instagram to remind everyone to wear face coverings," the company said in a statement.

Facebook will also include additional prevention tips and links to public health agencies in its COVID-19 Information Center.  

Twitter appeared to join in the call for masks with a sardonic message which referred to a longstanding demand from users for a tweet edit button.

"You can have an edit button when everyone wears a mask," said a tweet from the official Twitter account, which was shared some 93,000 times within an hour.

The moves come amid a rift in some parts of the United States on the need to wear masks, with some Americans rejecting the face coverings as government intrusion.

President Donald Trump, who has yet to be seen in public wearing a face mask during the crisis, said this week he would have "no problem" doing so under certain circumstances.

"If I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely," Trump said in an interview with Fox Business, as many US states reported a surge in the number of cases.

Heath experts expressed alarm last month when Trump held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, without requiring attendees to wear masks.

Eight members of his campaign staff working at that event tested positive for the virus.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: December 23, 2020 - 5:38pm

The latest news about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

December 23, 2020 - 5:38pm

Messaging app Telegram will launch pay-for services in 2021, its Russian-born founder Pavel Durov says Wednesday, as the growing company needed "at least a few hundred million dollars per year".

"Telegram will begin to generate revenue, starting next year," he says in a statement. "We will be able to launch countless new features and welcome billions of new users." —  AFP

December 7, 2020 - 12:40pm

The Bureau of Immigration has issued a ban on employees posting content on TikTok of them dancing or performing social media challenges while in uniform.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says in a press release that the prohibition "was imposed to strictly enforce the bureau's regulations on the wearing of the BI uniform, whose integrity must be upheld at all times because it represents the institution of the Philippine immigration service."
 
"Our policy on the wearing of the BI uniform is clear.  As public servants and supposed model Filipinos, employees must proudly wear their uniform at all times, present a professional image to the public and observe proper decorum and good taste in all their actions while they are on duty," he also says.

 

December 5, 2020 - 10:34am

A souce says shortform video app TikTok and the Trump administration had not come to terms over sale of the company's US operations late Friday as a deadline loomed.

The Committee on Foreign Investment had given TikTok parent ByteDance, based in China, until midnight to come up with an acceptable deal to put TikTok's American assets into US hands.

Talks between TikTok and government negotiators will continue even after the deadline passes, and people in the US will still be able to use the popular smartphone app for sharing video snippets, the source says. — AFP

December 1, 2020 - 5:21pm

Twitter on Tuesday rebuffs Australian calls to remove a Beijing official's incendiary tweet targeting Australian troops, as China doubled down on criticism in the face of mounting international condemnation.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sparked outrage in Canberra on Monday when he posted a staged image of a man dressed as an Australian soldier holding a bloody knife to an Afghan child's throat.

The post came just days after Australian prosecutors launched an investigation into 19 members of the country's military over alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.

Twitter says it had marked the tweet as "sensitive," but adds that comments on topical political issues or "foreign policy sabre-rattling" by official government accounts were generally not in violation of its rules. — AFP

December 1, 2020 - 8:34am

Facebook and Google are fast becoming "human rights-free zones" in Vietnam, Amnesty International warns Tuesday, accusing the tech titans of helping censor peaceful dissent and political expression in the country.

Communist Vietnam has long jailed its critics but has come under fire in recent years for targeting users on Facebook, a popular forum for activists in the country where all independent media is banned.

The social network admitted earlier this year that it was blocking content deemed illegal by authorities, while its latest transparency report revealed a nearly 1,000-percent increase in the content it censors on government orders compared to the previous six months.

Amnesty said in a Tuesday report that it had interviewed 11 activists whose content had been restricted from view in Vietnam by Facebook this year. — AFP

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