Tim Cook agrees to testify before Congress in antitrust probe

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Tim Cook goes to Washington
Apple chief Tim Cook will testify before Congress, and he’ll be joined by the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Screenshot: Apple

The CEOs of four of biggest tech firms will testify in the House of Representatives’s probe into antitrust activities. That includes Apple’s Tim Cook, along with the heads of Amazon, Facebook and Google.

This is part of an ongoing investigation by the House Judiciary Committee into whether the largest tech companies play fair with smaller competitors.

Trump executive order targets social media’s ‘selective censorship’

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President Trump signs the executive order.
Pres. Trump signs an executive order that seeks to overturn protections for Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Photo: White House

Days after Twitter labeled a Tweet by President Trump as false, Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that seeks to overturn liability protections for social media services.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the president’s most powerful political opponent, called the move “a desperate distraction” on the day U.S. deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic reached 100,000.

Facebook snaps up GIF-sharing giant Giphy for $400 million

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Facebook owns 4 of the top 10 apps of the past decade
Facebook has a new acquisition under its belt.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Most of the world might be tightening its belt as the economy stumbles thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but don’t count Facebook among them! According to a report first published Friday by Axios, the social media giant is buying GIF-making and sharing website Giphy for an enormous $400 million.

Facebook Messenger Rooms can handle calls with up to 50 people in US

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facebook.messenger.rooms
Facebook Messenger Rooms allows users to host video calls of up to 50 people free of charge.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook took on Zoom and FaceTime Thursday by enabling its new video-calling service, Messenger Rooms, to make free calls between as many as 50 people.

The feature was announced last month, and is available now is the US and Canada. It’ll be rolled out globally next week, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook takes on Zoom, Group FaceTime with free video calls for up to 50 people

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facebook.messenger.rooms
Facebook on Friday announced new video calling features including Messenger Rooms, which allows users to host video calls of up to 50 people.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook announced Friday it will add the ability for free video calling for up to 50 people on its new video-calling service, Messenger Rooms. The change is taking direct aim at the Group FaceTime and the popular Zoom service that has taken the world by storm as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The expanded service will launch by days end in selected regions with a smaller number of users at launch, but will not be available for the maximum number for a few more weeks, the company said. 

Facebook Messenger Kids expands its reach, adds new features

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Facebook-Messenger-Kids
Download it from the App Store today.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook Messenger Kids, the free chat app designed specifically for your little ones, on Wednesday expanded its reach to more than 70 new markets and added a number of helpful new features.

It’s now possible for parents to give kids control over their contacts (if they wish), and for kids to join approved groups. The changes come at a time when many children are out of school and unable to see friends.

Facebook beta reveals hidden dark mode for iPhone and iPad

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Facebook-dark-mode
You can't activate it yourself just yet.
Photo: WABetaInfo

A new beta version of the Facebook app for iOS contains hidden resources that suggest a dark mode is on its way to iPhone and iPad.

The feature is expected to work in tandem with the system-wide dark mode settings on iOS for automatic activation and deactivation, but users should be able to toggle it manually, too.

Facebook creates experimental messaging app only for Apple Watch

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kip
Kit's interface is very simple.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook launched an experimental new app today that aims to make it easier to message friends and family from your wrist while stuck inside during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new app, called Kit, short for “Keep in touch”, only works on Apple Watch. Kit can be used to send voice messages, your location, emoji and more all with just a few quick taps.

IGTV app gains new Discovery tab and hands-free video recording

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instagram
Watch long-form, video from your favorite Instagram creators.
Photo: Instagram

Instagram pushed out a big update to its IGTV app Monday focused on helping users discover more content from popular creators directly in the app.

IGTV, Instagram’s house for all long-form video, hasn’t been nearly as popular as the regular IG app, but Monday’s update hopes to change that by putting a bigger focus on creators and discovery.