• Special Report
  • Haj pilgrims should be given liberty to choose airline: AIMPLB

    Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh): The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) claimed that while scrapping Haj subsidy is not an issue; pilgrims must be given the liberty to choose any airline of their choice.

    “We are not rejecting the government’s proposal to scrap subsidy for Haj pilgrims, we, along with several other Muslim organisations, will demand that pilgrims be allowed to fly with any airline of their choice. It has been observed that fares of Air India are double that of other carriers. The government must permit Haj pilgrims to choose an airline of their choice,” AIMPLB’s Zafaryab Jilani told ANI.

    Centre ends subsidy to Haj pilgrims
    The Union government on Tuesday scrapped the Haj subsidy for pilgrims as the fund will instead be used for the empowerment of minorities from this year. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the Haj subsidy funds will now be used for the education of girls and women of the minority community.

    “When we say development with dignity, then we must also say Haj with Dignity. Around 1.75 lakh people will go to Haj this year. We are in support of strengthening the minority. Haj subsidy funds will be used for educational empowerment of girls and women of the minority community,” he told the media. However, there is an exception to the rules for the poor and people over 70 years of age.


  • 2g Scam: Vinod Rai compromised CAG’s sanctity, had ulterior motives, says Former minister A. Raja

    New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A. Raja, acquitted in the so-called 2G scam case, contends that the sanctity of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) office was “severely compromised” by Vinod Rai who clearly had “ulterior motives” in over-reaching the bounds of his constitutional function while auditing accounts relating to the 2G spectrum allocation in 2010.

    “He (Rai) had to foist his personal (or influenced) agenda by sensationalising information and creating the appearance of procedural lapses and financial misappropriation. His presumptive loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore has been subsequently debunked, but it became engraved in public memory and led to my tribulations,” says Raja in his book “2G Saga Unfolds” (Har-Anand Publications).

    The book, completed much before the judgment of the CBI court in December and set for release on Saturday, details the decisions Raja took on spectrum allocation and how he had followed rules and kept everybody, including then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the loop. He says he was pained when a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court cancelled the 122 2G licences granted by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2007 on the basis of false narratives and media sensationalism.

    He also has a grouse over the “silence” of Manmohan Singh and then cabinet colleague P. Chidambaram in defending his “wholly justified” actions when institutions like the Central Vigilance Comission (CVC), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and the Supreme Court were “refusing” to hear his defence.

    “I never asked for any clemency from the courts in the criminal case that was filed against me, but I am disturbed by the manner of implementation of the rule of law,” he says in the preface to the 222-page book, completed on May 10, 2017. He said he tried to establish, right from the issuance of 2G licences, that arrows of suspicion and false propaganda were fired at him with statutory and constitutional bodies concerned “setting off from a position of misinformation and remaining steeped in incomprehension”.

    “…CAG Vinod Rai, while appearing well-intentioned, has executed the functions of his office with ulterior motives and lack of objectivity.” The former minister, who had to quit the UPA II following the CAG report, refers to Rai’s book “Nation’s Conscience Keeper”, in which he wrote a few chapters on 2G allocation, and says as the government auditor, he was the “sutradar who created the devious apparition which the media and political opposition followed”.

    “It is unfortunate that even the highest court of the country became a prey to this.” In fact, he says that during the trial, he wanted to call Rai as witness but the CBI took the stand that it didn’t take the CAG report as the basis of its investigation. “Whatever it is, they cannot cover up the fact that the CBI chargesheet contains only the ‘irregularities’ pointed by the CAG in its report. Clearly, Rai, whose statements would not have stood the test of cross examination in the court, was being protected by the CBI from being called as a witness.”

    In the chapter on his resignation, he writes that the government’s intention became quite clear when the 2G case was divided into two parts — “making one as their shield and the other as a sword — for the CBI to wield against me”. Raja writes about how he was in favour of a JPC to probe the allegations but Chidambaram was opposed to this.

    “Chidambaram’s stand on 2G case is still a puzzle to me. He is an administrator of strong acumen, an able lawyer and a seasoned politician, yet I was surprised to see him shying away from discussing the 2G situation with me and even avoided speaking to me when we happened to pass each other at an airport.

    “The only grouse that I have is that he did not support the idea of JPC and as a result the Supreme Court bench had — what I can best describe as — an emotional outburst against me and the government. He need not have done anything to protect or support me but he could certainly have helped a good government from being subjected to ignominy and its image being tarnished.”

    Raja says he heard from his cabinet colleagues from the Congress that Chidambaram was of the view that there might be a “big scam” and hence his arrest was temporarily essential to steer the wrath of the Supreme Court and to avoid criticism against the Prime Minister.

    “This is hearsay and is possibly untrue gossip. However, Chidambaram’s silence and his avoiding me put me on caution about what might be coming down the road. I sensed that a decision to put me behind the bars had been taken to salvage the government’s image. I was preparing myself both mentally and physically for jail life — I became vegetarian and started exercising twice daily.”

    In the last chapter on closing arguments, Raja says that it was his contention that the “sanctity of the CAG was severely compromised by its then head Vinod Rai. “Vinod Rai clearly had ulterior motives in over-reaching the bounds of his constitutional function. “It is my conviction consequent to the whole experience of the trial that there was political motivation to kill UPA II and Rai’s was the shoulder on which the gun was placed. It is indeed sad that in spite of having so many intelligence agencies and eminent legal minds at its disposal, the UPA II government couldn’t sense this and only tried to use me as a shield but were still unable to escape the bullet.

    “The UPA government’s and even more so Manmohan Singh’s palpable silence in relation to defending my wholly justified actions, especially when the governing bodies (CVC, CBI, JPC and the Supreme Court) were refusing to hear my defence, felt like silencing of our nation’s collective conscience.

    “My sense of victimisation was compounded by the fact that for the first time in history an individual (Raja) was thus hounded by various institutions (constitutional bodies) with the full force of their bureaucratic machinery,” Raja writes.


  • Donald Trump reveals highly anticipated ‘Fake News Awards’

    Washington DC: President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated fake awards are out. While people thought the news was “error 404” turns out the website had crashed moments after the link was tweeted by President Trump.

    “2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative,” wrote the website GOP that had published the list.

    Following are the winners of “Fake News winners” as mentioned by the website:

    The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.
    ABC News’ Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report.
    CNN FALSELY reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.
    TIME FALSELY reported that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.
    Washington Post FALSELY reported the President’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. Dishonest reporter showed picture of empty arena HOURS before crowd started pouring in.
    CNN FALSELY edited a video to make it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister. Japanese prime minister actually led the way with the feeding.
    CNN FALSELY reported about Anthony Scaramucci’s meeting with a Russian, but retracted it due to a “significant breakdown in process.”
    Newsweek FALSELY reported that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump’s hand.
    CNN FALSELY reported that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim that he was told he is not under investigation.
    The New York Times FALSELY claimed on the front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report.
    And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!
    However, the list emphasised on President Trump’s achievements under his tenure till now. “While the media spent 90% of the time focused on negative coverage or fake news, the President has been getting results,” said the website. “The economy has created nearly 2 million jobs and gained over $8 trillion in wealth since the President’s inauguration,” stated one of the points.

    It also said that African Americans and Hispanics “are enjoying the lowest unemployment rate” in recorded history. “ISIS is in retreat, having been crushed in Iraq and Syria,” stated another point. Earlier this month, Trump promised to unveil the award winners on Wednesday, and was questioned about the delayed awards.


  • Vijender trumps – Retains WBO Oriental & Asia Pacific pro boxing titles

    Jaipur : Vijender Singh belatedly went into the offensive to defend his WBO Oriental and Asia Pacific Super middleweight titles with an unanimous verdict over African champion Ernest Amuzu here Saturday night, continuing his unbeaten run in the pro circuit.

    With this victory, Vijender has now won 10 pro bouts on the trot.

    The 32-year-old Olympic bronze medallist has so far enjoyed a great run in the professional career, winning all his nine fights, and tonight was no different at a jam-packed Sawai Mansingh Stadium as he emerged as the king of ‘Rumble Rajasthan’.

    It was very cautious first round from both, and barring a few jabs here and there, both tried to read each other’s styles.

    Vijender seemed to have found his bearing only when the sixth round started.

    He landed some real hard punches on Amuzu’s rib- cage to take control of the bout. Amuzu returned the favour with a few of his own, but the West African Boxing Union Middleweight champion could not sustain the tempo against his determined Indian opponent.

    A confident Vijender then turned up with renewed vigour to unleash a flurry of punches on Amuzu.

    Two powerful jabs on Amuzu’s jawline must have hurt the African, but he retaliated with a hook aiming at Vijender’s head.

    It was easy picking for Vijender thereafter as the Amuzu committed technical blunders by rushing to the corners.

    With Vijender having the upper hand, a tired Amuzu tried to stage a fightback but the Indian was up to the task, even as the duo exchanged a few punches.

    Vijender played a percentage game during the final round when he had already suffered a muscle pull and didn’t attack a lot.

    Prior to this bout, Amuzu had 23 wins under his belt including 21 knockouts out of 25 fights.

    In other under-card bouts of the day, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Amandeep Singh defeated Punjab’s Manoj Kumar.

    Kuldeep Dhanda beat Fateh Singh, Pradeep Kharera got the better of Nikhil Sharma, while Dharmender Grewal beat Harsh Nagar.

  • India vs Sri Lanka Visakhapatnam ODI: Statistics highlights of the third match

    Visakhapatnam: Statistical highlights of the third and final cricket one-dayer between India and Sri Lanka here. India’s winning streak of eight successive bilateral series is a new record for them. After losing 4-1 to Australia in Australia at the start of the last year, India have won each of the eight bilateral series they have played.

    The world record is 14 consecutive bilateral series victories by West Indies between 1980 and 1988. Out of ten bilateral series against Sri Lanka in India since 1982, India have won nine — the remaining one ended in a draw. India have played 51 ODIs vs Sri Lanka in India, winning 36 and losing 12 while the remaining three could not produce results — win/loss ratio 3.000. India have won 21 out of 29 ODIs contested (lost 7 and NR 1). India’s win/loss ratio of 3.000 is their all-time best in a calendar year. India’s run-rate of 5.93 is their best ever in a calendar year in ODIs, eclipsing the 5.88 recorded in 2009.

    Sri Lanka have fared poorly this year in ODIs – just 5wins out of 29 matches contested (lost 23 and NR 1). The win/loss ratio of 0.217 is the worst recorded by any team this year. Dhawan’s unbeaten 100 off 85 balls is his 12th century in ODIs. Dhawan has recorded four hundreds vs Sri Lanka – the most registered by him against a team. In wins, Dhawan is averaging 53.75 – his tally being2903, including ten centuries and 17 fifties, in 58 matches. # Dhawan race to 4,000 runs in just 95 innings.

    Just five players have taken fewer innings for this milestone -South Africa’s Hashim Amla (81), West Indian Vivian Richards(88), England’s Joe Root (91), India’s Virat Kohli (93) and Australia’s David Warner (93).  Dhawan’s feat of reaching 12 centuries in 95 innings is the fifth quickest in ODIs – the top four being Quinton de Kock (74 innings), Hashim Amla (81), Virat Kohli (83) and David Warner (90). For the third time, Dhawan was adjudged the Player of the Series in ODIs. Kuldeep Yadav (3/42) has recorded his second best figures in ODIs behind the 3 for 41 vs West Indies at North Sound on June 30, 2017.

    He was deservingly named the Man of the Match for the first time in ODIs. Danushka Gunathilaka has made just 30 runs at a poor average of 10.00 – the least average recorded by him in an ODIseries. His scores were 1 at Dharamsala, 16 at Mohali & 13 at Visakhapatnam. His previous worst performance in a series of three matches was against Bangladesh in Sri Lanka in 2016-17 -43 runs in three innings at an average of 14.33.  Upul Tharanga (95) has posted his sixth fifty vs India- his 36th in ODIs. Tharanga has totalled 1011 runs (ave.48.14) in 25 matches this year, including two hundreds and six fifties.

    He became the first Sri Lankan and the third batsman to aggregate1,000 or more in a calendar year – the first two being Virat Kohli (1460) and Rohit Sharma (1293). # Sadeera Samarawickrama (42), playing in his third innings, has posted his highest score in ODIs.  In his first two innings in this format vs Pakistan at Sharjah in October 2017, he had recorded ducks. Gunathilaka and Tharanga shared a 121-run partnership -Sri Lanka’s fifth century stand for the second wicket vs India in India in ODIs. Shreyas Iyer (65) has recorded his second fifty in ODIs- the first being 88 at Mohali on December 13, 2017.

  • Brazilian football star Kaka announces retirement

    Brasilia: Former AC Milan, Real Madrid, Brazil midfielder Kaka has announced his retirement from football. The 35-year-old footballer posted a prayer on Twitter on Friday to announce his decision to hang up his boots, writing that he is “ready for the next journey”.

    “Father, It was much more than I could ever imagined. Thank you! I’m now ready for the next journey. In Jesus name. Amen,” he tweeted. The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner confirmed that he would not renew his contract at MLS side Orlando City in October.

    However, Kaka also indicated he could continue his post-playing career in football. The local media quoted Kaka as saying, “I am preparing to continue in football and to have a different role, but I will no longer be a professional player, an athlete”. “I would like to take part in a club in a role more like… a manager, a sporting director – someone between the field and the club”, he added. Kaka made his professional club debut at the age of 18 at São Paulo FC in Brazil in 2001.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d’Or award

    Paris: Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo won a record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or award for the year’s best player. The Real Madrid forward’s second successive win drew him level alongside Barcelona rival Lionel Messi on five Ballonsd’Or, after the Argentinian took second in the vote, with Brazilian Neymar third. The 32-year-old was the top-scorer in last season’sChampions League as Real successfully defended the trophy with victory over Juventus in June, and also led the Spanish giants to their first La Liga title in five years.

    “Of course I feel happy. This is something I look forward to every year,” Ronaldo said at the ceremony at the EiffelTower in Paris. “The trophies won last year helped to win this award.Thanks to my Real Madrid team-mates. And I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.” Ronaldo, who also won the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award in October, added the 2017 Ballon d’Or to his previous wins in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

    He scored 42 goals in all competitions for Real last season, and also netted 15 times in European World Cup qualifying. Ronaldo will lead Portugal at next year’s World Cup in Russia as he looks to add football’s greatest title to the2016 European Championship win when the Portuguese beat hosts France in the final. Messi and Ronaldo have now shared the last 10 Ballons d’Or since the latter’s first win after leading ManchesterUnited to the 2007-08 Champions League title.

    “I hope to play at this level for a few more years, I hope the battle with Messi continues, things happen for a reason,” he added. “I feel good this season and we’ll see what we win at the end of the year.” When asked if he would like to finish his career at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo said: “I’m happy at Real Madrid, I want to stay there… If possible.” Real Madrid president Florentino Perez would have been pleased to hear Ronaldo’s intention to stay, and he compared his current star to Alfredo Di Stefano, the only other player to win multiple Ballons d’Or while with Real. “For me, he’s the most complete player after Alfredo DiStefano, he’s Alfredo’s heir,” said Perez. “He embodies all the values of Real — effort, respect, teamwork, and solidarity.”

    The prestigious France Football magazine award, which was first won by Englishman Stanley Matthews in 1956, is decided upon by a journalists’ ballot, with each naming a top five from a list of 30. It was a replica first two from 2016, which was the first year after FIFA ended its association with the Ballon d’Or and restarted its own Player of the Year award. Neymar will be hoping to take over the mantle of 32-year-old Ronaldo and Messi, 30, in the coming years after coming third for the second time, having finished fifth last year.

    The 25-year-old left Messi’s Barcelona during the close season in a world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, where he has already scored 15 goals this season. “Neymar has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, and I’m sure he’ll have some chance to win in the future,” Ronaldo said. Veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon finished fourth after helping Juventus to the Champions League final, while Real’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric rounded out the top five.

    Centre-back Sergio Ramos was the highest-ranked Spaniard and the third Real player in the top 10, one ahead of French rising star Kylian Mbappe in seventh. Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante was the highest PremierLeague representative, with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and England’s Harry Kane completing the top 10.

  • Top foreign players to feature in Pakistan Super League Players Draft

    Karachi: Around 200 foreign players will feature in a list of 500 cricketers in the Players Draft which will be held in Lahore tomorrow for the third Pakistan Super League. Top foreign players, including Chris Lynn, JP Duminy,Imran Tahir, Carlos Brathwaite, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo,Jimmy Neesham, Angelo Mathews, Mustafizur Rahman, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mitchell Johnson, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi, Adil Rashid, Wayne Parnell, Thisara Perera, Rashid Khan and ColinIngram will up for grab in the Players Draft.

    The third PSL will have a new — sixth — franchise in Multan Sultans. Each franchise has a salary cap of USD 1.2million for the players draft to complete a squad of 20players. Teams have already retained nine players each for the third PSL and will go into the Players Draft to pick one platinum, one diamond, one gold, two silver and two emerging players each in order to complete their squads of 16. Teams may also pick up to four players in the supplementary rounds.

    Interestingly, only one Pakistani player, Ahmed Shehzadfeatures in the platinum category which has 21 players for the draft. A high number of players from England, Bangladesh and SriLanka will feature in the players draft. The Pakistan Cricket Board has announced that it will be holding a number of matches of the third PSL in Lahore and Karachi in March next year, including the final. Sources say that the foreign players, who sign contracts for the PSL, will have to also sign a clause confirming they will be available to play for their franchises in Pakistan.For this, they will be paid extra fees of USD 10,000 to 20,000per match if they travel to Pakistan.


Social Media

  • Alert! Be careful while using Facebook, Govt. agencies keep vigil

     The users of online social media have enormously increased to 241 million in India. Indians have surpassed the number of Facebook users of America which is 240 million.
    The users of Facebook should note that governments and law implementing agencies have an eye on the Facebook. Some of the voluntary agencies post emotional messages targeting the youths. Youths who get trapped by such organizations will come under the scanner of law implementing agencies.
    It is therefore advisable for users of Facebook in India and abroad to be careful of such charitable or welfare organizations.
    The youths must think twice before commenting, hitting like and posting anything on the Facebook to avoid legal complications.
    There are recent reports that Facebook is planning to link Aadhaar number to Facebook accounts in order to trace out and counter the fake accounts.

    –Siasat News

  • Now send direct live videos via Instagram

    New Delhi: Popular photo and video sharing platform Instagram announced its latest update, which will enable users to send live videos to their friends via Direct, Instagram’s messaging platform.

    With a single tap of the Direct icon, a user can send a live video, or a video they’re watching, to a friend or a group of friends and encourage them to join in, the company indicated in a blog post.

    When a user is live, he/she can tap the Direct icon at the bottom of the screen and send the live video to friends. Users also have this option when going live with a friend. Once sent, the recipient will see the live video in their Direct inbox.

    However, friends can only view the video while the sender is live. If the feed has ended, the recipient will see a message saying the video has ended.

    While the feature has been rolled out for greater engagement, users can disable the option to send live videos in Direct by accessing the same in the stories settings. Also, private account users can have only their followers viewing the video.

    On the other hand, as a viewer, one can send a live video to a friend in Direct the same way. While watching a live video, tap the Direct icon at the bottom of the screen and choose who to send it to.

    “Today’s change makes it easy to invite people to watch your live videos and send exciting live videos you’re viewing to your friends in real time,” the blog noted.

    Instagram has rolled out this update as part of its version 26 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.


  • Twitter to tell when local law demands blocking content, account

    San Francisco: To help the public better understand the scope and scale of government censorship from around the world, Twitter has updated its transparency tool to tell its users the legal compulsions behind blocking of some tweets and accounts on its platform.

    “We are updating our in-product messaging when we withhold content to clarify why content was withheld and where,” Jeremy Kessel, Global Legal Policy Director at Twitter wrote in a blog post.

    So when a tweet is withheld, users would now know if Twitter was compelled to withhold the original tweet in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

    They would also know if Twitter withheld the content to comply with local law(s).

    Similar notification will be available for withheld accounts as well.

    To shine light on government requests, Twitter launched its “Transparency Report” back in 2012 and later that year, it announced the “Country Withheld Content” (CWC) tool, which the microblogging site uses to transparently handle global legal requests to remove content from Twitter.

    “The primary goal of CWC is to avoid silent removals and maximise transparency of the content that we are compelled to remove to comply with local laws, court orders, and other legal demands,” Kessel said.

    Twitter achieves this transparency through a combination of efforts. This includes providing direct notice of removal requests to affected users (when not otherwise prohibited), the use of visual indicators within the service, and by publishing the underlying legal demands on Lumen, which serves as a public repository for content removal requests.

    One example of CWC is Nazi symbols in Germany, where they are prohibited, Techcrunch reported on Thursday.

    Twitter said the latest update is part of its larger efforts to increase transparency across the platform, particularly around decisions that impact its users.

    “We are also working on improving our use of in-app notifications to alert affected users when we have received legal requests about their account,” Kessel said.

    “Our goal is to help you better understand why you may not be able to view certain types of content as you interact with our service,” he added.


  • Facebook introduce new tools to block unwanted friend requests

    San Francisco: To prevent harassment on Facebook, the social media giant has introduced new tools that keep unwanted friend requests and messages from reaching you.

    The new features proactively recognise and help prevent unwanted contact when someone you blocked sets up a new account or tries to contact you from another account they control, said Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday.

    The new tools also provide the users the option to ignore a Messenger conversation and automatically move it out of their inbox, without having to block the sender.

    “Now, you can tap on a message to ignore the conversation. This disables notifications and moves the conversation from your inbox to your Filtered Messages folder,” Davis said.

    It enables the user to read messages in the conversation without the sender seeing if they have been read.

    “This feature is now available for one on one conversations and will soon be available broadly for group messages, too,” Davis added.

    Facebook hopes that the new tools will be of immense use for women and journalists who disproportionately experience harassment on the social media platform.

    Also Read : Facebook rolls out ‘Snooze’ to ‘mute’ friends

    As those who resort to harassment on social media often rely on fake accounts, Facebook said it is building on existing features that prevent fake and inauthentic accounts.

    “These automated features help us identify fake accounts more quickly and block millions of them at registration every day,” Davis said.

    But what happens when a new account created by someone who was previously blocked does not get caught by these features?

    “We are now using various signals (like an IP address) to help us proactively recognise this type of account and prevent its owner from sending a message or friend request to the person who blocked the original account,” Davis said.

    “The person who blocked the original account is in control, and must initiate contact with the new account in order for them to interact normally,” she added.

    — IANS

  • Facebook rolling out AI tools to help prevent suicides

    San Francisco: In yet another attempt to prevent suicides, Facebook is starting to roll out Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tools to help identify when someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide, including on Facebook Live.

    The initiative – that will use pattern recognition to detect posts or live videos where someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide to help authorities respond faster — will eventually be available worldwide, except the European Union, Facebook said in a blog post on Tuesday.

    “Facebook is a place where friends and family are already connected and we are able to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook,” wrote Guy Rosen, Vice President of Product Management at Facebook.
    In October, Facebook worked with first responders on over 100 wellness checks based on reports it received via its proactive detection efforts.  “We use signals like the text used in the post and comments (for example, comments like “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?” can be strong indicators).

    “In some instances, we have found that the technology has identified videos that may have gone unreported,” Rosen said.  Facebook has a team that includes a dedicated group of specialists who have specific training in suicide and self harm.  “We are also using AI to prioritise the order in which our team reviews reported posts, videos and live streams. This ensures we can get the right resources to people in distress and, where appropriate, we can more quickly alert first responders,” the blog post read.  In addition to those tools, Facebook is using automation so the team can more quickly access the appropriate first responders’ contact information.

    “We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review reports that come in and prioritise the most serious reports. We provide people with a number of support options, such as to reach out to a friend,” Rosen informed.  Facebook in September said it was working with suicide prevention partners in India to collect phrases, hashtags and group names associated with online challenges encouraging self-harm or suicide.  Started on World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, the initiative would also connect people in India with information about supportive groups and suicide prevention tools in News Feed.