Facebook Launches ‘Catchup’ Audio Calling App

Facebook is testing a new app that’s designed to help friends and families in the U.S. to coordinate phone calls or set up group calls with up to eight people.



“Catchup,” built by Facebook’s internal R&D group, differs from other group chat apps, in that the calls are audio-only, not video, and displays users’ status to indicate they’re available to talk.

Catching up has never been this easy. See who’s available and effortlessly join one-on-one and group calls. Never play phone tag or make an appointment to call someone again. Keep in touch more, think about it less. Any time you’re free to talk, CatchUp!

According to TechCrunch, the app appears to take cues from the recently highly popular Houseparty app. For its part, Facebook says the app was built so that people can make calls when they know the other person is free, because not knowing is “one of the key reasons people no longer make phone calls.”

CatchUp won’t need a Facebook account to use the service — the app works with your phone’s contacts list. The app also gives users privacy settings so they can control who can join 1-on-1 and group calls.

Catchup is a free download for iPhone available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Facebook

This article, “Facebook Launches ‘Catchup’ Audio Calling App” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Israeli Security Company NSO Pretends to Be Facebook – Disposable mail news

As per several reports, Facebook was imitated by an Israeli security company that is known as the “NSO Group” to get the targets to install their “phone-hacking software”.

Per sources, a Facebook-like doppelganger domain was engineered to distribute the NSO’s “Pegasus” hacking contrivance. Allegedly, serves within the boundaries of the USA were employed for the spreading of it.

The Pegasus, as mentioned in reports, if installed once, can have access to text messages, device microphone, and camera as well as other user data on a device along with the GPS location tracking.

NSO has denied this but it still happens to be in a legal standoff with Facebook, which contends that NSO on purpose distributed its software on WhatsApp that led to the exploitation of countless devices. Another allegation on NSO is about having delivered the software to spy on journalist Jamal Khashoggi before his killing, to the government of Saudi Arabia, citing sources.

Facebook also claimed that NSO was also behind the operation of the spyware to which NSO appealed to the court to dismiss the case insisting that sovereign governments are the ones who use the spyware.

Per sources, NSO’s ex-employee, allegedly, furnished details of a sever which was fabricated to spread the spyware by deceiving targets into clicking on links. The server was connected with numerous internet addresses which happened to include the one that pretended to be Facebook’s. And Facebook had to buy it to stop the abuse of it.

As per reports, package tracking links from FedEx and other links for unsubscribing from emails were also employed on other such domains.

NSO still stand their ground about never using the software, themselves. In fact they are pretty proud of their contribution to fighting crime and terrorism, mention sources.

Security researchers say that it’s almost impossible for one of the servers to have helped in the distribution of the software to be within the borders of the USA. Additionally, reports mention, NSO maintains that its products could not be employed to conduct cyber-surveillance within the United States of America.

Facebook still holds that NSO is to blame for cyber-attacks. And NSO maintains that they don’t use their own software.


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Facebook Acquires GIF-Sharing and Creation Platform GIPHY for $400M

Facebook today announced that it has acquired the popular GIF sharing platform GIPHY, and it will be joining the Instagram team. Instagram has supported GIPHY search in Stories for years now, but Facebook said it will “further integrate” the platform’s GIF library into Instagram and other Facebook apps.

The sum of the GIPHY acquisition by Facebook is reportedly around $400 million, according to Axios.



The company aims to eventually make it even easier to find GIFs and stickers in Instagram Stories and direct messages. GIPHY will continue to operate its own library of GIFs and stickers, while Facebook will invest in the company’s technology and relationships with content and API partners.

On Facebook, GIPHY access allows users to search for and post GIFs in comments. Both GIFs and stickers are supported in Facebook and Instagram Stories, as well as in direct messaging. Likewise, Facebook-owned WhatsApp supports GIFs in a similar fashion.

Tags: Facebook, Instagram, Giphy

This article, “Facebook Acquires GIF-Sharing and Creation Platform GIPHY for $400M” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Facebook SDK Issue Causing Some iOS Apps to Crash

Multiple iPhone and iPad users are seeing their apps crashing at launch as of this afternoon, and the issue appears to be caused by a faulty Facebook SDK that the apps are using.


There are multiple complaints about apps crashing continually on iOS devices on the MacRumors forums, and a wide range of apps appear to be impacted. Google’s Waze app, for example, won’t launch, and there have been complaints about apps that include Pinterest, Spotify, Adobe Spark, Quora, TikTok, and others.

Multiple developers on GitHub have attributed the problem to a Facebook software development kit used by the apps for sign-in purposes. Apps are failing to open even when users do not use the Facebook login options included.

It’s not clear when the issue will be fixed, but with so many apps affected, it could be addressed shortly. Facebook will likely be able to fix the problem over the air with a server update.

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Facebook Launches Messenger Kids in Dozens More Countries, Makes it Easier for Parents to Connect Kids With Friends

Facebook has announced the launch of Messenger Kids in over 70 more countries as well as several new features for parents to help their children connect with friends and family during the global health crisis.


The new features include Supervised Friending, which gives parents the option to allow their kids to accept, reject, add or remove contacts.

When a child takes a friending action, parents will be notified through Messenger and can override any new connections made by going to the Parent Dashboard, where they will also be able to see a log of recent activities.

Facebook is also letting parents approve other adults to connect their child with other children through group chats in the Messenger Kids app. Facebook likens the feature to how a teacher might “help their child navigate classroom or team friendships” in the real world.

Lastly, parents in the U.S., Canada and Latin America can now make their children’s name and photo visible to certain users.


Facebook originally launched Messenger Kids in the United States in December 2017, aimed at kids under the age of 13. The app has arrived in a handful of additional countries since then, but today’s announcement is its broadest rollout by far.

Facebook said that it developed the app with guidance from the National PTA, as well as experts in child development and online safety. Messenger Kids does not require children to create a Facebook account, but instead asks parents to download the app, authenticate it, and then create a miniature profile of their kid that is linked to the parent’s Facebook account.

Messenger Kids is available on the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Facebook Makes Its Largest Bet on the Developing Market; Invests $5.7 Billion in Indian Internet Giant Jio – Disposable mail news

“The country is in the middle of a major digital transformation, and organizations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indian people and small businesses online. With communities around the world in lockdown, many of these entrepreneurs need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses.”

This is what Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, said in a post to his Facebook page on the occasion of the social media giant making its biggest single investment by putting $5.7 billion into Jio Platforms of India on Tuesday.

Adding later on that the move indicates its ‘commitment’ to India, as approximately more than 388 million people in India have been in a solid connection with the internet service over the past four years via Jio.

While numerous businesses have been harmed by the aftermath from the Covid-19 pandemic, huge technology companies are positioned to profit over the long haul as more people resort to their services while keeping indoors.

Facebook is thusly making preparations to move ahead with vital and strategic investments at a very ‘fragile’ time in the global economy.

David Fischer, Facebook’s chief revenue official, and Ajit Mohan, Facebook’s managing director in India, in a blog-entry by-lined by the former said that “One focus of our collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy. For instance, by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop, and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”

With more than 400 million Indian citizens utilizing WhatsApp and more than 300 million people utilizing the company’s core social network, therefore Facebook sees a lot of chance with Jio.

Apart from this, last week India’s Economic Times revealed that Facebook and Reliance were intending to use WhatsApp and Jio administrations to make a WeChat-style “super-app” for India.

Tencent’s WeChat has enormous penetration in China, with in excess of a billion users and numerous independent businesses utilizing it for payments, promotion, and communication.

Yet, it is to be noticed this isn’t Facebook’s first swoop into the Indian market.

Quite a long while ago, it attempted to offer free internet connectivity to Indian users in a program called Free Basics. Yet, that initiative hit a lot of obstacles until it was ultimately banned in the nation by the telecom regulator TRAI, in 2016.

What’s more, is that the regulators concluded that businesses couldn’t offer free internet services that supported only a few companies over the others.

Facebook has been at a disagreement with the Indian government over WhatsApp for quite some time recently.

The government had demanded that WhatsApp change its encryption to trace messages back to their source, which WhatsApp refused to comply with. Simultaneously, regulators have over and over again thwarted WhatsApp’s request to offer a payments service to its Indian users.

Here are some of the reaction tweets by people on the Jio-Facebook collab.


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Screenshots Reveal Facebook iOS App Has Hidden Dark Mode

Facebook appears to be working on a dark mode for its flagship iOS app. WABetaInfo managed to enable the hidden setting, which is still under development and not yet available to public or beta users.


9to5Mac followed suit, and their screenshots suggest Facebook is aiming for a theme that’s closer to greyscale than the true blacks used in Apple’s dark mode for iOS 13. Facebook offers a similar theme in its Android app.

It’s unclear why Facebook is preferring a greyscale theme, as this negates the potential energy-saving benefits of its dark mode for OLED iPhones (pixels on an OLED panel are individually powered and true black pixels remain inactive).

Still, the alternative new look should be easier on the eyes when viewed in dark environments. WABetaInfo says the feature can be turned on and off manually or set to adjust based on the device’s system settings.

Some UI elements still need working on to make the interface look consistent in dark mode, and there’s no word on when Facebook intends to launch the feature, which could change in the interim. Facebook Messenger got its own dark mode in April 2019. Last month, Facebook started rolling out an optional dark mode for users accessing the social network from a web browser.

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Facebook Launches New ‘Kit’ App for Apple Watch to Keep in Touch With Your Closest Friends

Facebook’s experimental NPE Team today has launched a new app called “Kit” or “Keep in Touch” for connecting with close friends over Messenger on the Apple Watch.

To get started, users scan a QR code on the Apple Watch, or enter an access code at fb.com/devices. Then, users select a Messenger contact and can quickly send that person a message, voice recording, emoji, or their location with a single tap.


While the main Facebook Messenger app already supports the Apple Watch, TechCrunch notes that Kit is focused on keeping in touch with close contacts, such as a significant other, best friend, or family member. Kit is essentially a simplified version of the Messenger app on Apple Watch for keeping in touch with only a few people.

This is the second app released by Facebook’s NPE Team in the last week after “Tuned,” a messaging app designed to provide a “private space” for couples to connect. “NPE” stands for “New Product Experimentation.”

Kit is free on the App Store for Apple Watch only. It appears to be limited to Canada for now.

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Facebook Launches ‘Tuned’ Messaging App for Couples

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Facebook Launches ‘Tuned’ Messaging App for Couples

Facebook has quietly released Tuned, a new messaging app designed to provide a “private space” for couples to connect, reports The Information.


Designed by NPE, an experimental group within the company that was established last year, the app encourages couples to share messages, notes, cards, voice memos, photos and Spotify songs with each other, thereby creating a “digital scrapbook” of their relationship. As described on the App Store:

A private space where you and your significant other can just be yourselves. With Tuned, you can be as mushy, quirky, and silly as you are together in person, even when you’re apart. Creatively express your love, share your mood, exchange music, and build a digital scrapbook of your special moments.

The free-to-use app connects couples using their phone number and doesn’t require a Facebook account, although it does comform to Facebook’s data policy, which means the information provided in the app could be used for ad targeting.

According to Facebook, the Tuned app was released under a separate brand “to help set the appropriate expectations with users that NPE Team apps will change very rapidly and may be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people.”

Tuned for iPhone is available to download today from the ‌App Store‌. [Direct Link]

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