Tag: instant messaging

WhatsApp now highlights messaging services as a fake-news vector

Articles

WhatsApp debuts fact-checking service to counter fake news in India | Engadget

India: WhatsApp launches fact-check service to fight fake news | Al Jazeera

From the horse’s mouth

WhatsApp

Tips to help prevent the spread of rumors and fake news {User Advice)

Video – Click or tap to play

My Comments

As old as the World-Wide-Web has been, email has been used as a way to share online news amongst people in your social circle.

Typically this has shown up in the form of jokes, articles and the like appearing in your email inbox from friends, colleagues or relatives, sometimes with these articles forwarded on from someone else. It also has been simplified through the ability to add multiple contacts from your contact list to the “To”, “Cc” or “Bcc” fields in the email form or create contact lists or “virtual contacts” from multiple contacts.

The various instant-messaging platforms have also become a vector to share links to articles hosted somewhere on the Internet in the same manner as email, as has the carrier-based SMS and MMS texting platforms when used with a smartphone.

But the concern raised about the distribution of misinformation and fake news has been focused on the popular social media and image / video sharing platforms. This is while fake news and misinformation creep in to your Inbox or instant-messaging client thanks to one or more of your friends who like passing on this kind of information.

WhatsApp, a secure instant-messaging platform owned by Facebook, is starting to tackle this issue head-on with its Indian userbase as that country enters its election cycle for the main general elections. They are picking up on the issue of fake news and misinformation thanks to the Facebook Group being brought in to the public limelight due to this issue. As well, Facebook have been recently clamping down on inauthentic behaviour that was targeting India and Pakistan.

WhatsApp now highlighting fake news problem in India, especially as this platform is seen as a popular instant-messenger within that country. They are working with a local fact-checking startup called Proto to create the Checkpoint Tipline to allow users to have links that are sent to them verified. It is driven on the base of a “virtual contact” that the WhatsApp users forward questionable links or imagery to.

But due to the nature of its end-to-end encryption and the fact that service is purely a messaging service, there isn’t the ability to verify or highlight questionable content. But they also have placed limits on the number of users one can broadcast a message to in order to tame the spread of rumours.

It is also being used as a tool to identify the level of fake news and misinformation taking place on the messenger platform and to see how much of a vector these platforms are.

Personally, I would like to see the various fact-checking agencies have an email mailbox where you can forward emails with questionable links and imagery to so they can verify that rumour mail doing the rounds. It could operate in a similar vein to how the banks, tax offices and the like have set up mailboxes for people to forward phishing email to so these organisations can be aware of the phishing problem they are facing.

The only problem with this kind of service is that people who are astute and savvy are more likely to use it. This may not affect those of us who just end up passing on whatever comes our way.

Facebook Messenger goes native on Windows 10 desktop at last

Article

Facebook finally brings Messenger and Instagram apps to Windows 10 | CNet

Facebook Messenger for Windows 10 PC now live in the Windows Store | Windows Central

From the horse’s mouth

Facebook

Press Release

Windows Store link

My Comments

Facebook Messenger Windows 10 native client

Facebook Messenger – now native on Windows 10

Previously, I wrote about why desktop operating systems need to be supported with native-client apps for messaging platforms. Here I highlighted how the likes of ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger and Skype started off in the “regular-computer” / desktop operating system sphere and when the smartphones came on the scene, newer messaging platforms ended up being based on iOS and Android mobile platforms first.

Facebook Messenger Windows 10 live tile

Facebook Messenger live tile – now a message waiting indicator

The advantages that I highlighted included a stable client program that works tightly with the operating system; and the ability to work tightly with the operating system’s file-system. security and user-experience features extracting the maximum benefit from the user experience.

Now Facebook have answered this goal by providing a native client for Microsoft Windows 10 users, especially those of us using regular computers running this operating system.

Facebook Messenger Live Tile - Tablet mode

Facebook Messenger Live Tile – Tablet mode

This program ticks the boxes for a native client app by using its Notification Center to show incoming messages and chats; along with the ability to show messages as a Live Tile on your Start Menu. There is the ability to upload photos, videos and GIFs from your computer’s file system, which can be a bonus when you have downloaded your pictures from your good digital camera and worked on them using a good image-editing tool.

Of course, you have the features associated with your iOS-based or Android-based Facebook Messenger experience such as knowing when your correspondents are “up-to-date” with the conversation. As well, you have that similarly uncluttered experience which makes it easy to navigate your chats while it doesn’t take up much room on your screen when it is in the default windowed state.

You can deregister iMessage if you move away from your iPhone

Article

iMessage deregister Webpage

Deregister iMessage from your number without your iPhone

Apple finally offers an easy solution to its missing text message problem | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Apple

Deregister iMessage site

My Comments

If you are moving towards another non-Apple platform for your smartphone or have decided to change your mobile phone number, you may run into issues with Apple’s iMessage “over-the-top” message service which you used as your enhanced messaging service with iOS.

The default setup for iMessage is to route all your regular inbound and outbound SMS and MMS traffic via this service. This can cause problems with you or your contacts not receiving messages if you are moving off the iPhone platform or phantom messages coming through from your old number when you are changing phone numbers.

To deal with this problem, you would typically use the iPhone’s Settings control panel to deactivate iMessage and is something you may have to do before you move off to the other platform or arrange to have your mobile number changed by your carrier.

On the other hand, Apple has provided an answer for those of us who have done the switchover without deactivating iMessage on the iPhone. This can happen when you are in a hurry to switch over or have your mobile service immediately provisioned on your new non-Apple phone.

Here, you visit a page on their Website and key in your mobile phone number to deregister it from iMessage. You will receive a “confirmation number” on your new phone as an SMS, which you then subsequently key in to the Website to set this deregistration in stone. If this doesn’t work, you may have to contact Apple’s technical support to make sure this happens. You may also have to contact Apple’s technical support if you are not receiving SMS or MMS messages on your iPhone after a number change.

This doesn’t affect other iOS or Mac OS X devices that use iMessage because these work on your Apple ID (email address) as being your iMessage address. It primarily detaches your existing mobile number from your Apple ID as an iMessage address.

It could be improved by providing iMessage management through an Apple-hosted Web dashboard that allows you to do things like deregister your phone number or manually add, change or delete phone numbers associated with your iMessage service. This can be of importance with situations like travellers and expats who use SIM cards from providers local to where they are travelling in order to dodge roaming fees or have local-mobile-number presence.

Dealing with Internet trolls

Article

How to kill a troll | Naked Security (Sophos)

My Comments

Anyone who has a personal Internet presence on a message board, social network or similar environment or operates such a presence for their company or other organisation can end up facing the worst side of the Internet.

This is typically in the form of the “Internet trolls” who exist on message boards, social networks, blog comment trails and online chat rooms just to cause trouble. This has manifested in online harassment which is mainly in the form of schoolyard-grade activity like foul names or targeted embarrassment attempts. But there have been acts like physical threats against person, animal and property; stalking, sustained harassment and sexual harassment with young women being the main victims.

It included a situation that I faced regarding a café I regularly visited where their Facebook presence was tarnished with foul comments because the business didn’t permit a protest group to put some flyers about their campaign by their cash register. Here, I was defending the café in their stance regarding what had happened.

But what can you do? You could block the accounts where the behaviour is coming and implement technological measures that do this for you. Here, such measures work on logic like blocking relatively young accounts that mention you, accounts with very few followers that mention you or accounts that generate replies containing certain keywords.

On the other hand, you could embarrass the source of the comments. This plays on various analogies associated with social taboos like in-workplace sexual harassment where a person isn’t just hauled up before law courts but the court of public opinion doesn’t look favourably on them. This would be hard to implement in the online world due to the ease in which one can create an anonymous online presence such as with the use of multiple disposable emails or pseudonyms.

Some countries like the UK have given their online-harassment laws more teeth such as legislating for longer prison terms. To the same extent, we should be encouraged to use all of the civil and criminal laws available to us as a tool to deal with Internet trolls, but a key problem is working with the problem from a cross-jurisdictional angle. This is where you identify that the activity is appearing from another state within the same country in the case of countries like Germany, Australia and USA, or another country; such as someone residing in the UK being harassed by someone using a computer located in New York State in the USA.

As well, there have been various PR activities to pillory the trolls such as Mary Beard’s activity after being victimised by schoolyard-grade online behaviour. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind on British TV and had her friends and supporters work together to “fight back” against the troublemakers. Businesses and organisations who have been “got at” by trolls can use their loyal support base who have an active online presence such as their regular customers to work together for this same goal. 

Let’s not forget that the channels that exist to report trouble on a social network, bulletin board, chat forum or the like do exist for you to report this kind of trouble.

Personally, I would encourage any campaign to crack down on Internet trolling to be done as a group of many people. They can pool resources and use their contacts to work together to defend the people who are being affected or make life hard for the troublemakers. This can manifest in using technological tools to limit their effect on the affected forums, using civil and criminal legal action against the troublemakers or use online and offline public-relations efforts with a view to pillory them.

Sometimes some disturbing situations that happen with social networking, Internet forums, instant messaging and the like may require you to simply ignore or block trouble on the Internet but others may require you to work actively against it.

Skype to work on concurrent notification annoyances

Article

Skype Just Fixed the Single Most Annoying Thing About Notifications | Gizmodo

From the horse’s mouth

Skype

Blog Post

My Comments

Skype with uncluttered Modern user interface

If you work with Skype on your Windows tablet, your Android smartphone doesn’t beep when your Skype correspondent replies

A common annoyance with instant messaging or social-networking usage is all your devices beeping and lighting up when your correspondent replies to you while you are chatting with them. This is typically because most of us want to install native client-side applications for our favourite instant-messaging services and social networks on each of our devices and have them logged in to the services at the same time.

Skype are tackling this in an application-wide manner by determine which actual Skype client you are actually interacting with at a particular time during a conversation. This then allows the service to mute all other Skype apps that are currently logged in to reduce this problem when it comes to your text messages.

The behaviour will return to normal when you aren’t interacting with Skype or when a call notification comes in so you don’t miss conversation opportunities. A question that can be raised with this functionality is what if you want to “jump” from one device to another such as to instigate your text conversation on your laptop but want to continue it on your tablet which you use while lying on the couch. Here, if you are starting a reply on the second device such as the tablet in the above situation, the app  on the second device should detect the activity and enable its audio prompts.

It may be easy to think of having platform-wide methods of detecting actual interaction so as to, for example, squelch other devices’ alert sounds when you are chatting. But this would have to be achieved on an application level with the application’s server or host knowing which device you are interacting with when you operating that device due to the requirement to work in a cross-platform environment.

At least Skype have answered a situation that ICQ and other instant-messaging systems haven’t anticipated – one owning many different devices for surfing the Internet and having them monitor instant-messaging services.

Setting up Apple iChat for Facebook Chat and Messaging

Windows users have been able to use the Facebook Messenger as a desktop option for gaining access to Facebook’s chat and messaging features. Similarly, users of the iOS and Android mobile platforms have benefited from having access to the Facebook Messenger app as a dedicated path to this same service.

But how can you gain full-time access to the Facebook chat and messaging functionality on your Apple Macintosh without the need to open your Web browser? You can when you use the iChat software that is integrated with the Mac OS X operating system.

Here, the Mac has to be equipped with iChat AV 3 or later which is part of the operating system from 10.4 Tiger to 10.7 Lion. It will provide an “always-live” messaging and “green-dot” presence feature that you would expect with the Web-driven Facebook messaging interface.

  1. To set this up, you click on the “Preferences” item in the iChat menu.
  2. Click on the “Accounts” option in this window, then click the + icon at the bottom of this window as if you are adding a new iChat account.
  3. Select “Jabber” as the account type.
  4. Supply the credentials as:
    Screen Name: <Your_Facebook_User_Name>@chat.facebook.com
    Password:<Your_Facebook_Password>
  5. For the Server Options, make sure that “Automatically find server name and port” option is checked. If this doesn’t work, you may have to fill in “chat.facebook.com” in the Name and 5222 in the Port for the Server details
  6. Then click Done to add the account.

For this acoount to work automatically, you have to select the “Enable this account” and “Log in Automatically” options for it to log in and show you as online when you use your Mac. Here, you will see the list of all the Facebook Friends who are currently online with that green dot.

Email suits messages to be taken further better than the social-network message

A common task that I have had to help people with lately is when they use an instant messaging service or the messaging function in a social-network service to send a message that is to be handled further. This is more so with people who rely heavily on Facebook as their online communications medium and start to forget their email address.

For example, it may be a message that is to be sent to somebody by email or to be printed out in order to be signed then sent by postal mail or fax. This includes messages that contain “boilerplate text” that is to be modified with further information before being sent or printed out.

Most instant-messaging or social-network messaging user interfaces don’t have a way of allowing you to print out or select the text of a particular message. This is typically frustrated by the “conversation” view that these user interfaces show the messages in, and this problem can be made worse by hard-to-manipulate user interfaces like laptop trackpads or touchscreens.

What do you do?

Here, it would be preferable that if you are talking with a correspondent via a service like Facebook, make sure that each of you know each other’s email address, not just the “handle” or member-name for these messaging services.

Then, send the message that is to be “taken further” to the correspondent using email rather than the message system. Infact you compose the message to be taken further using your email software or Webmail user interface. The correspondent can then print out that message or copy it to their word-processing software for modification and printing out.

Facebook’s chat facility now approaching Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger but a long way to go

Articles

Facebook unveils video chatting, thanks to Skype | The Digital Home – CNET News

Facebook intros group chats, new chat tool design | The Digital Home – CNET News

Facebook Reveals Video Chat Powered By Skype | Mashable

My Comments

Facebook’s chat functionality has now become a mature adult now that it offers group chatting and is about to offer Skype-powered videocall functionality.

What I do like about this is that rather than reinventing the wheel as Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger did to develop their video-chat services, Facebook have taken a sensible path. Here they have implemented Skype technology to power their video chat functionality.

The main reason I see this is going on is because Google are encroaching on Facebook’s territory with their Google+ social network service and Facebook have to provide a reason to keep their userbase loyal to their social network. It may also affect Skype’s native userbase who may use Facebook as a static notification tool while using the Skype client for text, audio and video chatting.

Native support

It may require Facebook to provide native support for this new level of chat functionality in their client-side applications. This is especially important for people who have used desktop instant-messaging services like ICQ or Windows Live Messenger and like the ability of these programs to operate in the background while they undertake their main activities.

Similarly, it could support the mobile, VoIP and “big-screen” platforms and take advantage of what each of these platforms can offer, such as “big-screen” video conferencing on larger TV sets for example.

This goal can be achieved more easily through the use of Skype code with Facebook interlinking and could be implemented in devices and platforms that have either of these functions written in to their base, such as the “smart-TV” platforms.