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Twitter unveils redesigned misinformation warning labels

Twitter users will soon see new warning labels on false and misleading tweets, redesigned to make them more effective and less confusing.

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Twitter unveils redesigned misinformation warning labels
GNN Media: Representational Photo

The labels, which the company has been testing since July, are an update from those Twitter used for election misinformation before and after the 2020 presidential contest. Those labels drew criticism for not doing enough to keep people from spreading obvious falsehoods.

The redesign launching worldwide on Tuesday is an attempt to make them more useful and easier to notice, among other things.

Experts say such labels, used by Facebook as well, can be helpful to users. But they can also allow social media platforms to sidestep the more difficult work of content moderation — that is, deciding whether or not to remove posts, photos and videos that spread conspiracies and falsehoods.

Twitter only labels three types of misinformation: “manipulated media,” such as videos and audio that have been deceptively altered in ways that could cause real-world harm; election and voting-related misinformation and false or misleading tweets related to COVID-19.

The new designs added orange and red to the labels so they stand out more than the old version, which was blue and blended in with Twitter’s color scheme. While this can help, Twitter said its tests showed that if a label is too eye-catching, it leads to more people to retweet and reply to the original tweet.

Twitter said Tuesday the redesigned labels showed a 17% increase in “click-through-rate,” which means that more people clicked on the redesigned labels to read the information debunking false or misleading tweets.

Misleading tweets that got the redesigned label — with an orange icon and the words “stay informed” were also less likely to be retweeted or liked than those with the original labels.

Tweets with more serious misinformation — for instance, a tweet claiming that vaccines cause autism — will get a stronger label, with the word “misleading” and a red exclamation point. It won’t be possible to reply to, like or retweet these messages.

SOURCE: AP

 

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

Business

US dollar hits high against Pakistani rupee

The dollar rose by 52 paise to 176.50 paise on the interbank market

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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US dollar hits high against Pakistani rupee

Karachi: The US Dollar continued its surge against the rupee on Friday, gaining 48 paisa to reach another high of Rs175.46 in the interbank market.

According to foreign currency dealers, at the start of trading, the dollar rose by 52 paise to 176.50 paise on the interbank market.

The rupee lost 48 paisas (0.27%) to close at Rs175.46 against the greenback in the inter-bank market, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The dollar had closed at Rs174.98 against the rupee the other day. The value of US currency was decreased by 6 paisa in interbank.

It is to be mentioned here that the dollar had earlier closed at a record high of 175.73 at the interbank on November 12.

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World

Ban on travel from Africa widens as new Covid variant sparks fear

WHO names new variant as Omicron which is more infectious than Delta: New virus reaches Europe 

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Ban on travel from Africa widens as new Covid variant sparks fear

New York: The United States, Brazil, Canada, and Saudi Arabia became the latest countries to restrict travel from southern Africa, where a new Covid strain labelled a "variant of concern" has been discovered in a potentially heavy blow to the world's efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Health Organization said the new variant is more infectious than the dominant, highly transmissible Delta strain, and renamed this B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19 as Omicron.

It has reached Europe with one confirmed case in Belgium after being found in South Africa, Botswana and then in Hong Kong.

Anxious tourists in Johannesburg rushed to the airport to catch a last flight out as nations across the globe started shutting their doors, while many worried the new variant could be more resistant to vaccines.

Markets around the world plunged as news of the latest setback in the fight against the pandemic sank in.

US President Joe Biden said countries should donate more Covid-19 vaccines and give up intellectual property protections to manufacture more doses worldwide to stem the spread of the virus.

"The news about this new variant should make clearer than ever why this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations," he said.

Scientists are now racing to determine the threat posed by the heavily mutated strain, and whether the current coronavirus vaccines should be adjusted.

The WHO said it could take several weeks to understand the variant and cautioned against imposing travel curbs while scientific evidence was still scant.

EU officials holding an emergency meeting agreed to urge all 27 nations in the bloc to restrict travel from southern Africa, even though many members had already announced flight suspensions.

 

- 'Draconian' travel bans -

Europe is already struggling with a coronavirus surge, and the Netherlands on Friday became the latest country to ramp up anti-Covid restrictions with the early closure of bars, restaurants and shops.

"From Sunday, the whole of the Netherlands is effectively closed between 5pm and 5am," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

Belgium announced the first publicly known case of B.1.1.529 in Europe: an unvaccinated person who returned on November 11 from Egypt via Turkey. The health ministry did not give the individual's nationality, age or gender.

"It must be repeated that this is a suspect variant -- we don't know if it is a very dangerous variant," Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said.

Israel said it has quarantined three people, one having just returned from Malawi.

Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Cyprus and the Netherlands joined Britain Friday in suspending flights from southern Africa. 

The United States, Brazil, Canada and Guatemala also restricted travel from the region. The US measures go into force on Monday.

Japan said it will require a 10-day quarantine period for travelers from the area.

The shock measures included South Africa, as well as many of the following: Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

South Africa's health ministry called the global rush to impose travel bans "draconian."

Germany on Friday used a military plane to transfer intensive-care patients to less afflicted regions, in an unprecedented move as it battles a vicious fourth wave of the pandemic.

"The last thing we need now is an introduced new variant," Germany's acting health minister Jens Spahn said.

The Philippines also suspended flights from southern Africa, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco announced bans, as well.

 

- 'Ridiculous' -

The rush to close off southern Africa comes a day after scientists in Johannesburg said they had detected the new strain with at least 10 mutations, compared with two for the Delta.

The variant is of "serious concern" and had been blamed for a surge in infection numbers, authorities in South Africa said. 

Spooked European markets fell at close by three percent, with airline shares especially hit. Tokyo closed down 2.53 percent.

The new variant caused Wall Street to plunge in Friday's holiday shortened session, with the Dow Jones index suffering its worst loss of the year as it plunged 2.5 percent.

And next week's World Trade Organization ministerial conference, the global trade body's biggest gathering in four years, was called off at the last minute Friday due to the new variant, a source told AFP.

The European Medicines Agency said it was "premature" to talk about modifying current vaccines to target the new variant.

Germany's BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer said they were studying the variant, with impact data expected "in two weeks at the latest" to say whether their jointly developed vaccine should be adjusted if Omicron spreads globally.

But Moderna said it will develop a booster specific to the new variant as part of a three-pronged strategy to fight it.  

Omicron variant poses 'high to very high' risk to Europe

The new Covid variant, dubbed Omicron and originally detected in South Africa, poses a "high to very high" risk to Europe, the EU health agency warned on Friday.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) noted in a threat assessment report that there was still "considerable uncertainty related to the transmissibility, vaccine effectiveness, risk for reinfections and other properties of the Omicron variant."

However, the overall risk that Omicron posed to the European Union and European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) was "high to very high."

Given the possibility that current vaccines may not protect against the variant, and the fact that it may be more transmissible, "we assess the probability of further introduction and community spread in the EU/EEA as high," the Stockholm-based agency said. 

"In a situation where the Delta variant is resurgent in the EU/EEA, the impact of the introduction and possible further spread of Omicron could be very high," it added. 

Apart from South Africa, Omicron has been detected in Israel in a person coming from Malawi as well as in Botswana, Hong Kong and EU member Belgium.

The agency urged countries to conduct genomic sequencing and contact tracing of confirmed cases, and called for people to not travel to affected areas.

The World Health Organization on Friday declared the recently-discovered strain to be a variant of concern.

The classification puts Omicron into the most-troubling category of Covid-19 variants, along with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

Nations rushed to ban flights to slow the spread of Omicron on Friday, while stock markets and oil prices plunged on fears surrounding the variant, potentially dealing a heavy blow to the global economic recovery.

SOURCE: AFP

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Entertainment

Legendary Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim dies aged 91

Former US president Barack Obama presented Sondheim with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work

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Legendary Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim dies aged 91

Washington: Legendary Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim, widely recognized as having revolutionized American musical theater, died Friday at age 91, his lawyer told The New York Times.

F. Richard Pappas said Sondheim -- known for musicals including "West Side Story" -- died suddenly at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, the day after celebrating Thanksgiving with friends.

Born on March 22, 1930 in New York City, Sondheim was involved in musical theater from an early age. He started playing piano at age seven and was family friends with Oscar Hammerstein II, half of the famed musical theater writing duo Rodgers and Hammerstein who wrote shows including "Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music."

Over the course of his decades-long career, Sondheim won eight Grammy awards, eight Tony awards -- including the special Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre -- and one Academy Award. He was nominated for many more Grammys and Tonys, as well as two Golden Globes.

In 2015, then-US president Barack Obama presented Sondheim with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.

SOURCE: AFP

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