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Instagram’s Reportedly Working on a New Tool Which Replicates TikTok’s Key Features

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There’s one thing that you can be absolutely certain of with every new social media trend these days – replication.

Any time you see a new tool, a new app, a new trending function, you can bet that other platforms will seek to copy it, in an effort to maximize their own potential, for one, but also, to limit the impact of the competition. If you can get all the latest features and tools in the app/s you already know and love, there’s no need to download and check out any others, right?

Evidently that theory works, at least to some degree, as this week, reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong has found that Instagram is once again replicating a competitors’ features, this time with TikTok in the firing line.

Instagram 'Clips' example

As explained by Wong, Instagram is working on a new, TikTok like tool called ‘Clips’:

“Just like TikTok, “Clips” allows users to record segments of videos into a single video Story. Just like TikTok, users can overlay music on clips. Just like TikTok, users can adjust the speed and timer of each video clips.”

So, just as it’s done with Snapchat’s Stories, AR masks, YouTubeHousepartySquad and a range of other apps and functions, Facebook, through Instagram, is looking to add in yet another similar function in order to fend off competition, and keep its 2.7 billion active users (across its “family of apps”) from straying to these shiny new offerings.

The strategy does make a lot of sense. TikTok has been steadily rising over the last year, and now claims to have more than 500 million active users, though that figure hasn’t been officially updated for some time. There have also been some questions over the app’s capacity to retain its users, with “a significant majority” of new users said to be abandoning the app within 30 days of downloading, and reverting back to the platforms on which they already have established friend networks.        

That’s where Facebook, in this case through Instagram, wins out. While new apps are able to gather attention, Instagram has over a billion users, and is available in regions where many other apps have yet to launch. By releasing copycat features, Facebook can stifle new app growth, often beating them to market in these new areas, despite its version being a copy, and maximizing their use on the platforms which users are already familiar.

Stopping users from even downloading these new apps is a key first step, so if Facebook can copy the same tools and keep users engaged, and in-app, they’ve already won a significant part of the battle.

As such, it’s no surprise to see Instagram looking to copy TikTok, or any new app and tool. It may seem a little cheap, a little tacky even to be so blatantly copying your competition. But it clearly works. Snapchat’s growth has stagnated since Instagram stole Stories, while Houseparty was sold to Epic. You may not like how Facebook goes about squeezing out smaller challengers. But it works.

But will it work for TikTok?

As noted, there are already questions about TikTok’s long term viability, and the company has been secretive about its ongoing engagement stats. That would likely suggest that there is some truth to the aforementioned issues with user retention – and if people can create TikTok style clips within Instagram instead…

Replication seems like a questionable tactic, but Facebook’s dominance continues to expand.  There’s no word, at this stage, on an official rollout of this new Instagram option. 

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Gmail’s dark mode is rolling out to Android phones. Turn it on now

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With Android 10Google lets you apply a systemwide dark theme across its new mobile Android OS, and you can easily turn it on in individual Google apps on your phone as well, from Calculator and Calendar to YouTube. But Google doesn’t let you apply it everywhere, and a few popular apps — including Chrome — lack a dark-mode setting. Gmail has been one of them, but it’s no longer a holdout, as Google has started to roll out a dark-mode setting for Gmail on Android 10. Google is pushing the update out slowly, so it’s not available to everyone yet.

Dark mode is increasingly in demand. Before Android took it on, the popularity of dark modes for apps was already growing, for Facebook Messenger and the Slack and Reddit apps, for example. And Apple’s also following the dark mode trend, as iPhones and iPads ($249 at Walmart) will also get a dark theme with the release of iOS 13 this month.

The new version of Apple’s mobile operating system will apply the theme broadly, from wallpaper, widgets and notifications to Calendar and Messages.

With dark mode, you can conserve a bit of battery life and your phone’s screen will be easier on your eyes at night. Google first added dark mode to an Android Pie update earlier this year, but the theme didn’t show up everywhere. In Android 10, dark mode is much more widespread, and apps that use the default system theme will automatically adopt the new dark mode when you turn it on, inverting dark and light colors. 

Not all of Google’s apps use the system default theme automatically. Along with Gmail, you’ll need to turn on dark mode in Calendar, for example, and YouTube. Here’s how to turn it on in Gmail on Android 10.

Turn on the Gmail dark mode setting in Android 10

gmaildarkmode
In Android 10, you can now apply a dark theme to Gmail.Google. Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

While many of Google’s Android apps will adopt a dark theme when you turn it on in overall settings, you need to flip it on separately in Gmail.

1. In the Gmail app on your phone, tap the hamburger menu in the top left.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and tap Settings.

3. Tap General Settings.

4. At the top of the list, tap Theme.

5. Tap Dark or, if you’ve already set the dark theme as your system default, tap System. default.

Set dark theme as the system default in Android 10

For those apps that automatically adopt the default system, here’s how to turn on the dark theme.

1. In Settings, tap Display.

2. Near the bottom of the list of settings, toggle on Dark theme.

You can do more with Gmail than just change how it looks, of course. You can keep spammers from tracking you, for example, and unsend messages to avoid regret.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/gmails-dark-mode-is-rolling-out-to-android-phones-turn-it-on-now/

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WhatsApp: Hackers on the prowl, protect yourself

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Users are being urged to update their WhatsApp smartphone apps immediately because of a security bug that allows hackers to take over your phone by simply calling it, whether or not you answer.
These hackers could get hold of all your personal information.
They act on your integrity and sometimes send out pornographic posts and inciteful posts, as if you sent them!
They will change your phone number to theirs and replace you in whatever chat group you belong to.
For instance, Mr. Lucas Ajanaku, whose phone was hacked yesterday narrates his ordeal, “I received a call from a number about 6.50pm in the thick of production. The caller introduced himself as one naval captain. The person that came to my mind was one Capt. Olayiwola of NIMASA. We belong to the same WhatsApp group with Dele Adesina, Femi Falana (SAN) and many others from my town in Ekiti.
“He started by saying he noticed I don’t usually contribute on ‘our platform’ and I told him he was right because I am a very busy person. I told him my wife was also on the platform and draws my attention to important developments there.
“Then he broke the ice: there’s a group programme that’s coming up by 10pm, he would want me to be part of it. I asked, what programme, and he said it’s going to be beneficial for me because experts will share their success tips and offer advice on the need to have multiple income streams. I told him I don’t have the time as I would be tied to production but he said I could hook up any time I was free. My phone beeped and he told me he had sent a code for me to be part of the programme. I checked the code and he demanded to know the four-digit stuff, which I read out to him.
“He already knew my name since that preceded the conversation. A few minutes afterwards, a message came from WhatsApp that I had exited the app. I was asked to verify. Instead of verifying, I restarted my phone in the hope that it would cancel out the tech reaction. But the verification request popped up again. I drew the attention of my guy in the ICT department to it. He encouraged me to do the verification.
“At speed of lightning, these scam messages started rolling in like a dammed river losing its fetters. Before I could say Jack, people that knew me and what I stood for started calling, wondering why such messages should emanate from me.”
In order to prevent such things from happening to you, do the following immediately:
•Go to the bottom right hand side of your WhatsApp main page
•Select Settings
•Click on Account
•Click on Two-step verification
•Enter PIN (Choose a six-digit PIN you will remember)
•Confirm your PIN
•Input your email address
(Use a valid email address)
•Confirm your email
•Save your selections
With the above precaution, if someone wants to change your settings, WhatsApp will ask them for the two-step verification and without it the account won’t open.

Source: https://www.sunnewsonline.com/whatsapp-hackers-on-the-prowl-protect-yourself/

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Facebook’s new dating app has two features that may enable cheaters

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  • On Thursday, Facebook launched its in-app dating feature Facebook Dating in the United States.
  • In a September 2018 statement, Nathan Sharp, the product manager for Facebook Dating, said the feature could help millions of singles connect.
  • But certain aspects of Facebook Dating could also unintentionally make it a choice app for people looking to start affairs.
  • When you create a profile in Facebook Dating, it removes your relationship status and won’t match you with existing friends from your regular Facebook profile.

On Thursday, Facebook rolled out its in-app dating feature Facebook Dating in the United States, making it the 20th country where the feature is available.

“More than 200 million people have listed themselves as single in their relationship status on Facebook,” Nathan Sharp, the product manager for the dating feature, said in a statement in September 2018 when it first rolled out in Colombia.

“We view this as an incredible opportunity to continue helping people build relationships in meaningful ways on Facebook,” he added.

But certain aspects of the dating app may facilitate cheating, according to Paul Keable, the chief strategy officer at Ashley Madison, a website with the tag line “Life is short. Have an Affair.” He sees Facebook Dating, as well as other dating platforms like Tinder and Bumble, as competition for his service.

For one, the app duplicates your Facebook profile but removes your existing relationship status, meaning, like any dating app, you could easily join behind your partner’s back. Additionally, Facebook Dating doesn’t match you with any of your existing Facebook friends, meaning there’s a lower risk than with some other dating apps that you could get caught by your partner’s single friends who are also on the app.

Facebook Dating intends these settings to help protect users’ privacy.

facebook dating side by side profiles

Facebook’s dating feature takes your relationship status out of your profile.Julia Naftulin/Insider

Facebook Dating removes your relationship status, making it possible to use the app while staying in a “Facebook official” relationship

To use Facebook Dating, users can opt into the feature in the regular Facebook mobile app. (It appears you can’t access the dating feature through the desktop version of Facebook.)

Then, Facebook generates a new profile including your first name and age but removes any relationship status a user has on their regular Facebook profile. It adds space for you to describe yourself in three words, sentences, or emojis.

“You can also choose how you want to present yourself to potential matches, like whether you provide different information than you have on your Facebook profile, and if you share details such as your hometown, religion, occupation and more within Dating,” the site’s FAQ page says.

The platform matches people based on their preferences, interests, and Facebook activity. Users can “like” or “pass” on people Facebook Dating suggests, and message them at any time, even if they don’t both match with each other.

The feature that removes a person’s relationship status could make it simple to deceive your partner: He or she may see “married” or “in a relationship” on your regular Facebook page while you’re operating a separate dating page without that information.

Granted, the ability to appear single to potential affair partners while in a relationship isn’t unique to Facebook Dating.

“People on Match.com and Tinder lie about their marriage status all of the time,” Keeble told Insider. The folks working for Ashley Madison, he added, “aren’t the only ones facilitating affairs.”

facebook dating privacy notice

Unlike many dating apps, where you could match with your partner’s friends, Facebook Dating makes that more difficult.Julia Naftulin/Insider

Facebook Dating won’t match you with existing friends

Additionally, Facebook Dating won’t match users with anyone they’re friends with in their regular Facebook profiles. This could prevent a prospective cheater’s friends, or friends of their partner, from finding out they’re using Facebook Dating.

Other apps like Tinder or Bumble, by contrast, don’t allow users to filter whether they match with friends or friends-of-friends who could potentially out them as cheaters to their partner. And other dating apps, like Hinge, embrace the idea that friends can be a gateway to future partnerships.

“Your Facebook friends won’t know you’re using Dating unless you choose to tell them,” Facebook Dating’s FAQ page says. “Your current Facebook friends will never be suggested as matches, and you can choose whether you want friends of your Facebook friends suggested as matches — or if you’d prefer to match with people outside your friends of friends.”

That’s not to say people on Facebook Dating are forbidden to connect with existing friends; it has features that require communicating with them. But users must opt into these features, including Secret Crush. To use it, a Facebook Dating user can add up to nine of their existing regular Facebook friends as “secret crushes” to their dating profile. If one of those picks also adds that user as a secret crush, it will alert both of them.

Source: https://www.insider.com/facebooks-new-dating-app-could-help-cheaters-affair-2019-9

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