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Meta's Facebook revamping main feed to attract younger users

Facebook's main news feed tab will start more heavily featuring popular posts from accounts

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Meta's Facebook revamping main feed to attract younger users
GNN Media: Representational Photo

California: Meta Platforms said on Thursday it was revamping the main feed on its Facebook app to prioritize "discovery" of new content, instead of posts from accounts users follow, a bid to style its apps after short-form video competitor TikTok.

Meta executives have voiced increased urgency in recent months around boosting the company's "Reels" product, similar to TikTok's short video format that has attracted many younger users.

"Home", Facebook's main news feed tab that users will see when they open the app, will start more heavily featuring popular posts from accounts that users do not follow, including Reels and Stories, Meta said in a statement.

Facebook will suggest posts to users with its machine learning ranking system and is investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to serve recommended content, it added.

A new separate tab called 'Feeds' will offer aversion of the old approach, which overwhelmingly features posts from friends, pages and groups that users actively choose to follow.

Feeds in that tab will be presented chronologically, without personalized ranking, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. Meta said the feeds will not include suggested posts but will still have advertisements.

The world's biggest social media company has gone all in on algorithmic recommendations in recent months as the threat from TikTok has grown, a stark change from its 2018 plan to feature more posts from friends and family in the news feed.

Its Instagram app announced tests of a more "immersive" TikTok-style viewing experience in May, while Zuckerberg told investors in April that Meta was making significant investments to support the "discovery engine" approach. 

Earlier this month, Chief Product Officer Chris Cox told employees there was a plan to increase fivefold the number of graphic processing units (GPUs) in its data centers by the year-end to provide extra computing power for AI.

Sources: Reuters

Technology

NASA's new rocket on launchpad for trip to Moon

The SLS rocket is 98 meters (322 feet) tall

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NASA's new rocket on launchpad for trip to Moon

Washington: NASA's giant new SLS rocket arrived at its launchpad Wednesday in Cape Canaveral ahead of a planned flight to the Moon in less than two weeks.

It will be the maiden voyage of the Artemis program -- America's quest to return humans to the Moon for the first time since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

The Artemis 1 mission, an uncrewed test flight, will feature the first blastoff of the Space Launch System rocket, which will be the most powerful in the world.

It will propel the Orion crew capsule into orbit around the Moon, and the spacecraft will remain in space for 42 days before returning to Earth.

Starting in 2024, astronauts will travel aboard Orion for the same trip, and the following year, at the earliest, Americans will once again set foot on the Moon.

The SLS rocket, in development for more than a decade, is 98 meters (322 feet) tall.

On Wednesday it stood at historic launch complex 39B, after a 10-hour overnight crawl from the assembly building.

"To all of us that gaze up at the Moon, dreaming of the day humankind returns to the lunar surface, folks, we're here. We are going back," NASA administrator Bill Nelson said earlier this month.

The Orion capsule will fly to the Moon and 64,000 kilometers (40,000 miles) beyond it -- further than any previous crewed spacecraft.

On the way back through Earth's atmosphere, traveling at 40,000 km per hour (25,000 mph), Orion's thermal shield will have to withstand a temperature that is half that of the surface of the sun.

Liftoff for the Artemis 1 mission is scheduled for August 29 at 8:33 am (1233 GMT). If it has to be postponed due to bad weather, the backup dates are September 2 and 5.

After the 42-day trip, the capsule is supposed to splash down in the Pacific and be picked up by a US Navy vessel.

In 2024, an Artemis 2 mission is scheduled to take astronauts up to orbit the Moon but without landing on it. That honor is reserved for Artemis 3, a mission scheduled for 2025 at the earliest.

The last time people walked on the Moon was with the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

While the Apollo program featured only white male astronauts, NASA says the Artemis missions will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.

The hope is to use the Moon as a staging ground to develop technologies for sending humans to Mars.

SOURCE: AFP

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Pakistan

Pak-Saudi Arabia agree to improve coordination to deal with common challenges

Matters of mutual interests including Pak-Saudi bilateral relations were discussed

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Pak-Saudi Arabia agree to improve coordination to deal with common challenges

Islamabad: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Thursday agreed to further improve the coordination between the interior ministries of both the countries to deal with common challenges.

The agreement was reached at the meeting held at Jeddah between Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and his Saudi counterpart party, said a statement issued here. Earlier, Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Dr. Nasir bin Abdul Aziz Dawood received Rana Sanaullah upon his arrival at the Ministry, it further said. Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Aamir Khurram Rathore and Consul General Khalid Majeed were also present in the meeting.

Matters of mutual interests including Pak-Saudi bilateral relations came under discussion during the meeting. Interior minister congratulated his counterpart for making the best arrangements for Hajj 2022. The minister congratulated and thanked the Saudi government for the successful implementation of the Road to Makkah project for Pakistani pilgrims.

He stressed the need to improve the communication between the Interior Ministries of both the countries. Security cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would further be enhanced, he added. He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would jointly face all internal and regional security challenges. Pak-Saudi relations were historical, long-standing and and fraternal, he added.

Sanaullah said the Pakistani people have special devotion and love for the custodian of two holy mosques. Saudi Arabia has always provided generous help and assistance to Pakistan in the most difficult situations, he added. He congratulated the Saudi government and the custodian of the mosques for making the best arrangements for the Hajj. He said over 80,000 Pakistani Hujjaj performed hajj this year and availed the Road to Makkah facility.

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Pakistan

President urges youth to participate in monsoon plantation drive to cope with climate change

"Pakistan was the eighth country most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change"

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President urges youth to participate in monsoon plantation drive to cope with climate change

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday called for concerted efforts by all segments of society to carry out extensive plantations in a bid to save the country from the horrendous effects of climate change.

In his message on the launch of the national monsoon tree plantation drive, he urged every citizen, particularly youth, to actively participate in the campaign by planting trees in residential areas, on roadsides, and near industrial zones.

President Alvi said Pakistan was the eighth country most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.

He mentioned that rising mercury levels were resulting in glacier melting and urban flooding.

During the last 19 years, he said, Pakistan suffered around 173 incidents related to climate change besides the massive destruction this year as well.

The president said as per international standards, a country required 25 percent forest cover, however, pointed out that Pakistan only had 4.8 percent of the green area according to a World Bank report.

He emphasized carrying out plantation at a large scale across the country and mentioned the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami as the largest such plantation project in the country’s history.

Under the project, he said, 1.81 billion trees had been planted by June 2022. By 2023, around 3.29 billion trees will be planted.

President Alvi said 10,000 saplings were planted in the premises of the Aiwan-e-Sadr in 2021, while a Miyawaki forest was also raised at an area of 1.5 acres under the Green Presidency Initiative.

He expressed confidence that an increase in forest cover would help mitigate the effects of climate change in the country and would also control urban flooding.

Also, the extensive plantation would result in the preservation of wildlife and flora and fauna in the country, he added.

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