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Mom asks, Facebook answers as photo plea for daughter’s anticipated milestone goes viral

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All Betsy Kneepkens wanted was one picture, of her daughter Gianna, making a basket representing her 11th point scored Friday night in a game played by her Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers at Pine City.

For Gianna, No. 11 would be the 3,000th point of her high school career, an accomplishment reached by only 20 other girls in Minnesota basketball history.

For her heartbroken mother — 90 miles from a gym where pandemic rules limit seating to 44 people and visiting fans are not allowed — it would mean the world to have the milestone documented.

After a much-publicized Facebook plea and some private maneuvering, she’ll get the picture. And be able to witness the expected moment herself.

“It’s been resolved,” Pine City athletic director Richard Engelstad said Thursday afternoon. “Mom and Dad are going to be at the game.”

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It sure didn’t look that way when Betsy Kneepkens went to her Facebook page Wednesday evening.

Her daughter had told her the day before that visiting fans couldn’t be at the Pine City game, the latest of many pandemic setbacks going back to the 2020 Class 2A tournament. After beating New London-Spicer 60-56 in the quarterfinals in the Hilltoppers’ first state tournament appearance in 20 years, the team was set to play Providence Academy in the semifinals March 13 when they were told the tournament was being canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Acknowledging she was not savvy to Facebook’s potential viral power, Betsy Kneepkens started typing with the simplest and best of motherly instincts.

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“I am looking for a Pine City parent who can be in attendance on Friday and is willing to take a picture,” she wrote in a post, providing details of her daughter’s anticipated feat. “We would like one picture taken of her 11th point [if she scores that much].”

A look at Marshall’s recent games suggests Mom was being modest about her daughter’s chances.

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Gianna, a 5-11 senior guard who has committed to play at Utah, is averaging 38.4 points per game this season. Regarded among the top girls’ players in the state, she’s already had games scoring 51 and 48 points for the Hilltoppers (4-1).

That prolific scoring put her on pace to reach 3,000 points at Pine City, part of a conference that decided before the season to limit spectators to home team fans. The state permits up to 150 people if capacity allows, but Pine City’s gym capacity was further reduced by the required 12-foot buffer between players and fans, wiping out five rows of seats, Engelstad said.

Once Betsy Kneepkens figured out how to adjust her post’s setting so others could share it, her plea quickly spread. As of Thursday afternoon it had been shared more than 300 times, reaching countless thousands of Facebook users. Among them were members of the parent-loaded, passionate Let Them Play MN Facebook group, with more than 25,000 members.

Several noted that the game would be livestreamed. All well and good, but not the same as a picture, Kneepkens said, something “you can put up and you can take a look at.”

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The responses yielded four or five Pine City parents offering to take pictures. “Being willing to do that and celebrate for her, that’s supercool,” Kneepkens said. “That kind of made me cry.”

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And now Betsy and her husband, Don, will be able to attend the game. Duluth Marshall assigned them some team tasks that allow them not to be counted against the gym’s capacity. “That is fine with us,” Engelstad said.

The creative solution solidified the Kneepkens’ chance to see a historic moment for youngest child Gianna, who sharpened her basketball skills playing against five older brothers, in a season filled with uncertainty.

“We want to be there for her,” Betsy said. “It’s been a journey. Any parent wants to be there for their kid when they do something that’s a little bit of a milestone.”

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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