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6k social media content takedown orders this year

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The number of orders issued by the central government to social media companies to take down posts and accounts under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, has seen a steep rise over the last couple of years, with nearly 6,000 orders issued until the first week of June this year, officials familiar with the matter told Hindustan Times.

The number, said officials, has gone up from being around 3,600 in 2019, to over 9,800 in 2020. The posts asked to be taken down have been spread out across social media companies, including prominent players like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

“The posts concerned various issues including the recent farmers’ agitation, Kashmir, Khalistan and the pandemic that could have been a threat to public order or violated section 69(A) of the IT Act,” an official familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity, adding, “The orders were sent to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Telegram. 99% of the orders have been complied with.”

Section 69(A) of the IT Act allows the government to act against social media posts and accounts that may pose a threat to public order or India’s sovereignty and integrity, defence of India, security of the State, and friendly relations with foreign states.

The order to block a post/account is issued by a designated officer appointed by the central government, who chairs an inter-ministerial committee comprising officials from the ministries of law and justice, home affairs, information and broadcasting and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). The committee approves requests from different stakeholders, including states and central agencies, and also gives the intermediary a hearing. The designated officer at present is Pronab Mohanty, the deputy director general of UIDAI.

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According to a reply filed by the ministry of electronics and information technology in Parliament on March 10, 9,849 URLs/accounts/web pages were blocked in 2020, up from 3,603 in 2019; 2,799 in 2018; and 1,385 in 2017. Of these, 1,717 orders were sent to Facebook and 2,731 to Twitter.

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The government has already sent Twitter two non-compliance notices for failing to act against certain accounts in the last six months that had posted on the ongoing farmers’ agitation and the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year in June, the government invoked this very provision to block access to over 250 mobile applications, mostly of Chinese origin, including popular short video streaming platform TikTok and game PUBG in the wake of increased tensions with the People’s Republic of China.

In January this year, the government asked Twitter to take down content on the farmers’ agitation that carried a controversial hashtag regarding the Prime Minister, saying that it was a threat to public order. While Twitter withheld access to the posts, it refused to take down content by activists and journalists saying that it violated the tenets of free speech. A month later, as the impasse between the government and Twitter continued over the demand to block 257 accounts and posts related to farmers protests, the government asked the company to take over 1,178 accounts that may “foment trouble”.

In April, the central government issued emergency blocking orders to take down over 100 “inflammatory” posts and accounts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram related to Covid-19, including an official Facebook page of Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The government faced pushback against the orders, which included blocking access to accounts of Congress’ Pawan Khera, Revanth Reddy, TMC’s Moloy Ghatak, a West Bengal state minister and filmmaker Vinod Kapri, with many arguing that the posts ordered to be blocked were critical of the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic.

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Apar Gupta, Internet Freedom Foundation trustee, said that the trends are related to the increase in the number of internet connections and rising online advocacy of subjects concerning citizenship laws and farm laws. “With respect to the examining committee, these orders earlier were restricted to specific posts to social media. But now some of these orders also require accounts to be blocked,” Gupta said. “ The continuing practice of lack of transparency and secrecy continues to be a problem.”

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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