Tag Archives: Online

The NRA Massively Increased Online Advertising After the Parkland School Shooting
March 24, 2018 6:08 pm|Comments (0)

As activists from around the country gather in Washington to march for gun safety regulation, new data shows that the National Rifle Association has been aggressively resisting their message through online ads. In the weeks following the school shooting that triggered Saturday’s protests, the NRA spent more than six times its prior daily average on digital ads – including some that appeared with media intended for children.

The finding came from the digital research firm Pathmatics, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. The NRA briefly suspended its online ad efforts after a February school shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But Pathmatics found that over the 24 days after the ads resumed, the NRA spent an average of $ 47,300 per day, up from an average of $ 11,300 per day before the murders.

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The ad spending was primarily focused on social media, with Facebook pocketing an average of $ 34,000 of it per day. The NRA also climbed the ranks of the biggest-spending YouTube advertisers, and Pathmatics found that some NRA ads were displayed with videos from Kids’ Toys, a very popular channel featuring two youngsters reviewing Barbie dolls and Lego playsets.

A media commentator told the Tribune that this odd placement probably showed the NRA’s desire for broad reach, rather than the targeting of any specific audience. The NRA reportedly continued to use long-running ads after the shooting, most of them aimed at increasing memberships.

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Careem acquires Middle East online restaurant listing platform, to trial food delivery
February 18, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

DUBAI (Reuters) – Careem, a Middle East competitor to Uber Technologies [UBER.UL], said on Sunday it had acquired RoundMenu and would start trialing food delivery services through the restaurant listing and reservation online platform this month.

The Dubai-based ride hailing firm acquired the website and app for an undisclosed sum.

“Careem will begin testing a delivery capability for RoundMenu customers on a small scale later this month,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

RoundMenu has a presence in 18 cities across nine Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, according to its website.

There is demand for delivery services in the Middle East, particularly in the Gulf Arab states where temperatures can soar above 50 degrees in the summer.

Several food delivery companies, including Talabat, Zomato, UberEats, and Deliveroo, are active in the region.

RoundMenu has raised $ 3.1 million in funding since it launched in 2012, the Careem statement said.

Careem said in June it would accelerate expansion plans after raising $ 500 million from investors, including German carmaker Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding.

In July, it took a minority stake in an Egyptian start-up that connects commuters with private buses in Cairo.

Reporting by Alexander CornwellEditing by Shri Navaratnam

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Britain urged to prosecute social media firms over online abuse
December 13, 2017 12:39 am|Comments (0)

LONDON (Reuters) – Social media companies should face prosecution for failing to remove racist and extremist material from their websites, according to a report by an influential committee.

FILE PHOTO – A picture illustration shows a Facebook logo reflected in a person’s eye, in Zenica, March 13, 2015.REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Prime Minister Theresa May’s ethics watchdog recommends introducing laws to shift the liability for illegal content onto social media firms and calls for them to do more to take down intimidatory content.

Social media companies currently do not have liability for the content on their sites, even when it is illegal, the report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life said.

The recommendations form part of the conclusions of an inquiry into intimidation experienced by parliamentary candidates in an election campaign this year.

“The widespread use of social media has been the most significant factor accelerating and enabling intimidatory behavior in recent years,” the report said.

“The committee is deeply concerned about the limited engagement of the social media companies in tackling these issues.”

While the report said intimidation in public life is an old problem, the scale and intensity of intimidation is now posing a threat to Britain’s democracy.

FILE PHOTO – People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

The report found that women, ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political candidates are disproportionately likely to be the targets of intimidation.

The committee heard how racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and anti-Semitic abuse is putting off some candidates from standing for public office.

Platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are criticized for failing to remove abusive material posted online even after they were notified.

FILE PHOTO – A 3D-printed YouTube icon is seen in front of a displayed YouTube logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration

The committee said it was “surprised and concerned” Google, Facebook and Twitter do not collect data on the material they take down.

“The companies’ failure to collect this data seems extraordinary given that they thrive on data collection,” the report said. “It would appear to demonstrate that they do not prioritize addressing this issue of online intimidation.”

Twitter said in a statement it has announced several updates to its platform aimed at cutting down on abusive content and it is taking action on 10 times the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year.

YouTube declined to comment, while Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Many politicians have become more vocal about the abuse they face after Labour’s Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two young children, was shot and repeatedly stabbed a week before Britain’s Brexit referendum last year.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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How to Watch Thanksgiving Football Online for Free Without Cable
November 23, 2017 12:05 am|Comments (0)

Thanksgiving’s three NFL matchups might be some of the most-watched games all year. But there’s a catch—the games between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys at 4:30 p.m., and New York Giants and Washington Redskins at 8:30 p.m., could have fewer viewers than years past, because of an increasing amount of cable subscribers who are cutting the cord.

But you don’t need cable to catch these games. If you’ve got a high-speed internet connection, there’s a lineup of live streaming television services that have put in a lot of practice for Thursday’s big games, which will air on FOX (fox), CBS (cbs), and NBC, respectively.

Since those are major, over-the-air networks, the easiest way to catch the games is to plug a digital, over-the-air antenna—if you have one—into the back of your television and change the channel to your local affiliate. But if you don’t have that hardware, catching the game could be as simple as downloading a smartphone app and setting up an account. Here are the live streaming television services that offer free trials that include FOX, CBS, and NBC.

DirecTV Now

You can watch games on Thanksgiving using DirecTV Now‘s seven-day free trial. After that time, the service costs $ 35 per month for a package with at least 60 live channels. That basic-level plan includes CBS, FOX, and NBC, but beware—not every subscriber is guaranteed to get those local channels (a problem that plagues all these streaming services). So, before the opening snap, check your local channel availability here.

Fubo TV

A streaming television service geared towards sport fans, Fubo TV has a seven-day free trial which offers 70 channels. After the trial is up, the service costs $ 19 per month for the first two months, and $ 39 per month after that. Packing all sorts of sports networks like Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports, and NBC Sports Network—as well as the NFL Network—it’s made for fans of the gridiron, and not just on Thanksgiving. For an extra $ 9 per month, you can get NFL Red Zone and six different PAC12 channels, which turn this streaming service from a turkey day side dish into a season-long, all-you-can-eat football buffet.

Hulu with Live TV

Like DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV also offers CBS, FOX, and NBC, but it also comes with its deep library of on-demand shows, which may be good if one of the games turns into a blowout. The service is free for a week, after which it runs $ 39 per month. There’s also an option to add on a cloud DVR service, which might be a smart investment if you’ve got a house full of people distracting you from the game, or if you want to watch the halftime show again.

Sling TV

Sling TV offers a seven-day free preview as well as FOX and NBC, but you can only get those channels in select markets and on its higher-tiered “Blue” plan, which costs $ 25 per month after the trial. (Sling’s lower tiered “Orange” plan costs just $ 20 per month, but doesn’t have those networks.) But while Sling TV Blue also offers the NFL Network, so it might be worth keeping after Thanksgiving, if you’re a big football fan. But there is one downside to going with Sling TV: No CBS, which means no Chargers versus Cowboys game.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue is a dicey proposition for football plans, but if you’ve got a PlayStation 4, it might be the streaming service for you. The service has a five-day free trial and costs as little as $ 39 per month after the promotional period ends, but you’ll want to go for either the $ 45 “Core” or $ 55 “Elite” plan, because they both pack NFL Network. Also, from Sony’s description of PlayStation Vue’s services, it’s unclear what networks the plans include, and not just because of channel availability by zip code. For instance, some pages on Vue’s website say that CBS, FOX, and NBC are included, but others only list FOX. Inconsistencies like this might cause a fumble on Thanksgiving, so beware.

YouTube TV

Google’s take on live, streaming television, YouTube TV, has a seven-day free trial, 40 channels and an infinitely large cloud DVR capability for $ 35 per month. It’s got all the major networks, including CBS, FOX, and NBC, but the catch is that it’s only available in select markets (though, there are quite a few). YouTube TV subscriptions also give viewers access to YouTube Red, which has all sorts of original content.

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Online Game “Blue Whale” Blamed for Suicides Amongst Players
October 27, 2017 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

The Indian Supreme Court says online portals must spread awareness about the deadly game.

India’s Supreme Court is holding hearings by advocates who want the online game “Blue Whale” banned after blaming it for 100 suicides throughout the country, according to The Indian Express.

The game issues various challenges to participants over a 50-day period; on the final day, players are instructed to complete the game by committing suicide.

The phenomenon has recently been in the spotlight in Iran too, after two girls attempted to kill themselves by jumping off a bridge (one died, the other was critically injured). Authorities later found an audio message recorded by the girls, bidding goodbye to their parents and proclaiming they would “take their lives to complete the Blue Whale game”, according to local news agency Mizan Online.

Read: Facebook Takes Steps to Prevent Suicide

The game revolves around an anonymous “master” who assigns various self-harming activities that become incrementally more dangerous, with acts ranging from watching horror movies to self-mutilation. Users are encouraged throughout to post photos of their daily challenges online.

Read: What Twitter’s Future Could Depend On

Blue Whale appears to have origins in the Russian social-networking site VKontakte, and was criticized for the same deadly impact on Russian teens earlier in 2017, according to RFERL.

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Consumer goods firms harness online data to tap Southeast Asia e-commerce boom
October 23, 2017 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SINGAPORE/BANGKOK (Reuters) – When diaper maker DSG International (Thailand) wants to know what its customers are thinking, it often turns to Lazada, an e-commerce firm majority-owned by Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N).

FILE PHOTO: The Singapore Lazada website is seen in this illustration photo June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

“From (their) data, we know mothers sometimes browse at night, so we can offer flash sales when we know customers are browsing,” says Ambrose Chan, the Thai company’s CEO.

Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest-growing internet market, home to 600 million consumers from Vietnam to Indonesia via Singapore, many of them tech- and social media-savvy. They are rapidly spending more time and money online. A Nielsen study in 2015 estimated Southeast Asia’s middle-class will hit 400 million by 2020, doubling from 2012.

Gross merchandise value of ecommerce in Southeast Asia will balloon to $ 65.5 billion by 2021, from $ 14.3 billion last year, predicts consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Research firm Euromonitor forecasts internet retailing in Indonesia, for example, will more than double to $ 6.2 billion by 2021, and Thailand will increase 85 percent to $ 2.8 billion.

(For a graphic on Southeast Asia internet sales click reut.rs/2l3qULe)

Consumer goods firms, such as Unilever (UNc.AS) and Japanese cosmetics firm Shiseido (4911.T), say the e-commerce boom allows them to push deeper into markets that can otherwise be difficult to understand and tough to penetrate due to poor retail networks and infrastructure.

“Data from Lazada has been used to position certain products where consumer preferences are different. For example, Thai customers like to buy diapers in special cartons, while Malaysians prefer multiple packs,” says Chan.

To reach more customers and get a better handle on their online behavior, consumer goods companies are forging partnerships with e-commerce firms like Lazada and fashion website Zalora.

POWERFUL, INSIGHTFUL

A customer who clicked on a 50 milliliter product may instead buy a smaller 30 ml product, said Pranay Mehra, vice president, digital and e-commerce at Shiseido Asia Pacific, noting that data and online selling experience can help firms bundle offers, decide on packaging and distribution, and influence where to set up a physical presence.

“This data is very powerful and very insightful, if used properly,” Mehra added.

Unilever, whose products range from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Dove soap, said it is seeing more demand from rural consumers in developing markets like Indonesia and Vietnam.

RedMart’s President Vikram Rupani poses at their fulfillment centre in Singapore September 22, 2017. Picture taken September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

“With all our e-commerce partners, we’re using data to help us find innovative solutions to unlock key barriers of high cost delivery and poor credit card penetration in remote areas,” said Anusha Babbar, e-commerce director at Unilever Southeast Asia and Australasia.

The conglomerate, which works with the likes of Singapore online grocer RedMart, Indonesia’s Blibli and Vietnam’s Tiki, said it introduced its St Ives skincare brand on Lazada after seeing a trend towards natural products and shopper search data.

DATA AND LOGISTICS

“Traditional retailers will struggle to see customer behavior,” said Lazada Thailand’s CEO, Alessandro Piscini. “We can tell if a customer is pregnant from their search behavior.”

Slideshow (10 Images)

Lazada, he said, plans to use data science to help its merchants customize offers for specific customer groups based on age, gender and other preferences.

Zalora, which sells clothing and accessories online in markets including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, said it was working on ad-hoc projects with some brands to help them understand their customers based on data.

Lazada and Zalora are among the few e-commerce platforms that operate in multiple Southeast Asian countries. But the region is becoming a new battleground as Amazon (AMZN.O) and JD.com (JD.O) make beachheads in Singapore and Thailand.

Lazada Thailand will focus on partnering with fast-moving consumer goods companies to maintain its lead, Piscini said, and is expanding its logistics footprint across a region that has poor roads, clogged cities and thousands of often remote islands.

To be sure, online still contributes a tiny portion to consumer goods companies’ sales, but some local firms are going beyond partnerships and investing in their own e-commerce capabilities.

Thailand’s top consumer goods manufacturer Saha Group (SPI.BK) (SPC.BK) has seen online sales of some of its brands rise tenfold since it began a partnership with Lazada in June, but online still represents just 1-2 percent of total sales.

Saha is using e-commerce data to customize offerings.

“We now make real-time offerings to customers. Before, promotions would be seasonal,” Chairman Boonsithi Chokwatana told Reuters.

The company, whose products include instant noodles, toothpaste and laundry detergent, is investing 2 billion baht ($ 60 million) in logistics to support its e-commerce ambitions, including a 21-storey warehouse and a big data team, he said.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in SINGAPORE and Chayut Setboonsarng in BANGKOJK; Editing by Ian Geoghegan

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Doctors take inspiration from online dating to build organ transplant AI
January 17, 2017 6:05 am|Comments (0)

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When Bob Jones performed one of Victoria’s first liver transplants in 1988, he could not imagine that 29 years later he’d be talking about artificial intelligence and online dating.

Jones is the director of Austin Health’s Victorian liver transplant unit in Melbourne, Australia, and along with his colleague Lawrence Lau, he has helped develop an algorithm that could potentially better match organ donors with organ recipients.

Comparing it to the metrics behind dating site eHarmony, Jone said they planned to use the specially-designed AI to improve the accuracy of matching liver donors and recipients, hopefully resulting in less graft failures and fewer patient deaths. Read more…

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Report: PlayStation 4 ‘slim’ surfaces in online ad
August 21, 2016 9:35 pm|Comments (0)

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What is this slimmer, matte black PlayStation 4 console that’s up for sale online?

Seller Adam is offering what appears to be a boxed-for-retail PlayStation 4 that looks distinctly different from any version of the console that’s been sold to date. The listing on Gumtree, a U.K. site for classified ads,  refers to the hardware as a “slim line model” and carries a £295 ($ 385) asking price.

Before you cry hoax — a reasonable conclusion, to be sure — consider this: on Sept. 7, Sony is hosting a “PlayStation Meeting” in New York City. The last event bearing that name, held in 2013, featured the reveal of the PS4. Read more…

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Online gaming may boost school scores. Social media? Not so much.
August 13, 2016 6:45 pm|Comments (0)

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If you or your kids are avid gamers, here’s some good news: All that strategising may have a beneficial impact on school results. Whether regular Facebook use is a drag on one’s English test scores — that’s another question.

A study conducted by Alberto Posso, a professor at Australia’s RMIT University, found that teenagers who played online video games regularly were often able to improve their school scores. 

Students who were daily social media users, however, tended to under perform in maths, reading and science. “The results suggest that a student who uses online social networks on a daily basis will also obtain a grade in math that is 20 points lower than a student who never uses this type of social media,” Posso said in the report. Read more…

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You Can Watch 8 Minutes Of That Cheesy Mr. Robot Horror Film Online
July 30, 2016 6:55 am|Comments (0)

The previous episode of Mr. Robot finally gave us an origin story for the F Society, specifically where the group got its weird, Monopoly Man-inspired mask that has become its symbol and it comes from a fake 1980s horror film that you can watch online.

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