• Special Report
  • India faces manmade water crisis

    By Bharat Jhunjhunwala IN put fpj
    The per capita availability of water in Delhi is more than that in Amsterdam. China, with a larger population, uses 28% less fresh water than India. We have ample water yet we face a huge water crisis.

    About 80 percent of our water is used for agriculture. We are cultivating water-guzzling crops like grapes in Maharashtra, sugarcane in UP and red chilies in Rajasthan. Often times, we export these crops. In doing so, we pack our scarce water into sugar and chilies and send that water for the consumption of foreign nationals. This huge use of water is the main cause of our crisis. We are diverting almost all the water of our rivers for irrigation through the canals. Further, we extract large amounts of water from the groundwater aquifers. The water level in the aquifers is falling by up to 1 meter every year. That is leading up to less availability of water. The depletion of groundwater also results in water of our rivers percolating into the ground and the rivers going dry. The Yamuna has become dry for 100 kilometers below the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana for this reason.

    We are encouraging our farmers to grow the water-guzzling crops because the use of canal water is also not metered. Farmers have to pay a small fixed amount based on the area irrigated irrespective of the numbers of irrigations. Thus, farmers flood the fields many times over even though such excessive irrigation adds precious little to the crop production. Further, they are being given free electricity to pump out the water from the groundwater aquifers. The simple solution is to price canal water on the basis of the volume of water used and remove subsidies on electricity. That will force the farmers to use the water judiciously. It will become uneconomic to cultivate grapes, sugar cane and chilies because farmers will have to pay huge amounts for the water used. They will themselves give up the cultivation of these crops. That will reduce the agricultural demand for water substantially; and make more water available to the industries and urban habitations.
    However, our farmers are already reeling under financial crisis. It is wrong to suggest an increase in the cost of water for their use. The way out is to increase the sale price of the crops simultaneously. Say the cost of cultivation of sugar cane is Rs 250 per quintal today and the sale price is fixed by the government at Rs 300 per quintal. Now, the cost of cultivation increases by Rs 30 to Rs 280 per quintal because of the increase in the price of water. The purchase price of sugar cane can be simultaneously increased by Rs 30 to Rs 330 per quintal. Then there will be no impact on the farmer. His margin will remain unchanged at Rs 50 per quintal. The difficulty here is that the cost of sugar for the urban consumer will increase.

    The urban people have to choose between cheap sugar and plentiful water. They can seek an increase in the price of water for the farmer and a corresponding increase in the price of sugar. That will reduce agricultural demand and make available more water for drinking and bathing. Alternatively, they can argue in favour of the present low price of water for the farmer and correspondingly maintain the present low price of sugar. The solution of the water crisis lies in the hands of the urban people.

    We have made the problem worse by storing water in large dams like Tehri and Bhakra. However, the open storage in the reservoirs leads to about 10 to 15 percent water being lost to evaporation. Secondly, these dams hold monsoon waters and reduce the floods. These floods spread the water over large areas and recharge the ground water. Reduction in the floods, therefore, means less recharge of ground water and less availability of water for irrigation. The large dams, therefore, have two contrary effects on the availability of water. On the plus side, they store water which is provided through canals for irrigation. On the minus side they lead to loss of water by evaporation and less irrigation due to less recharge of groundwater. Instead of dams, we can store the monsoon waters in the ground water aquifers by making check dams on the streams and bunds in the fields. We can store more water in this way. The storage capacity of the groundwater aquifers in UP alone is about 76 billion cubic meters which is about 30 times the storage capacity of 2.6 billion cubic meters of the Tehri dam.

    River interlinking is equally misconceived. It will not add to the availability of water. It only shifts the irrigation from one area to another. In fact, it may reduce the total irrigation. The loss of irrigation due to less floods in the so-called “surplus” areas may even be more than the increase in the so-called deficit areas.

    Action is also needed in reducing the water usage by the urban people. The urban sewage can be recycled. Treated sewage can be used for washing cars, watering gardens and flushing toilets. Urban buildings must have two supplies of water. One supply should be of fresh water to be used for bathing and drinking. Second supply should be of recycled water to be used for washing cars and the like. Industries in Nagpur and Mumbai buy sewage from the Municipal Corporation, treat it and use it for industrial purposes because price of fresh water is high. Similar high price of fresh water for urban consumers will make it economical for them to install two supply streams for fresh and recycled water. The Mahanagar area of Lucknow previously had such a two-stream system. Need is to reestablish that system.

    Action is also required to require industries to move to “Zero Liquid Discharge” (ZLD). The consortium of 7 IITs that made a Ganga River Basin Management Plan has suggested adopting this policy. Industries will be required to treat and reuse the waste water. This will reduce the amount of water by them because they will meet part of their requirements from the recycled water.

    At the end of the day, the urban consumers have to take a call. The present policy provides them with cheap sugar and low-priced water for washing their cars; but it is leading to a crisis. The alternative is that they may pay more for sugar and for fresh water and have the same available in greater measure. That will also save our rivers and environment as well.

    Bharat Jhunjhunwala is a former Professor of Economics at IIM Bengaluru.



  • 90 houses destroyed by Australia wildfires

    Canberra: At least 90 houses and properties were destroyed by wildfires raging in various parts of southeastern Australia over the weekend, officials said on Monday. Some 70 houses were burnt down by a fire in the town of Tathra, which has been blazing since early Sunday morning, reports Efe news.

    A volunteer firefighter was injured and four civilians were treated for smoke inhalation, but no one has been reported missing so far, according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. The wildfire, fuelled by strong winds and high temperatures, spread rapidly over an area of 1,070 hectares but the fire service finally managed to control it due to change in weather conditions.

    The fires have destroyed 18 houses, killed livestock and razed farms in areas some 200 km southwest of Melbourne. Firefighters are working Monday to contain a fire in Cobden and Penshurst, where some 1,700 homes are left without power as electrical poles and infrastructure has been damaged. Experts had warned authorities in recent reports about the worsening of extreme heat waves and wildfires due to increased carbon dioxide emissions.

    The fire season in Australia varies according to the area and weather conditions. Australia’s worst wildfire in the last decades occurred in February 2009 in the state of Victoria, when an area of 4,500-sq.km area was burnt down, killing 173 people and injuring 414 others.


  • It was an ‘absolutely amazing’ week, says new world no 1 Roger Federer

    London: After celebrating his return to the top of the ATP rankings by clinching the Rotterdam Open, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has insisted that it was an ‘absolutely amazing’ week for him.

    Yesterday, Federer, the oldest man to clinch the world number one spot in tennis, eased past Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 to clinch his 97th title at the Rotterdam Open.

    Speaking after his win, Federer revealed that though his goal was to make it to the semi-finals as he wanted to become the oldest man to seal a numero-uno spot, he somehow managed to lift the title.

    “Thank you very very much. What a week it’s been, absolutely amazing. The goal was to make it to the semis but I won the tournament so I am very happy. I would like to thank everybody who has been part of this tournament over the years. Getting the players back and making them feel incredibly welcome,” the Daily Express quoted Federer, as saying.

    Meanwhile, the Swiss star also hailed Dimitrov after a tough week in the Netherlands, adding that he is looking forward to face him ahead in the season.

    “Of course I would also like to congratulate Grigor after a tough week. I hope you feel better tomorrow or tonight already. All the best for the season, keep it up and I’m sure I’ll see you around soon,” he said.

    By becoming the oldest number one male player by defeating Dutch opponent Robin Haase in quarter-finals, the 36-year-old had surpassed eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi, who previously held the record at 33 years since September 2003.

    Federer first became world number one in February 2004 and had not topped the rankings since October 2012. He, in fact, slipped to a low of 17th in January 2017. Federer will officially dethrone his old rival Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings when the new ATP rankings are updated on Monday.

  • We have managed short-pitched balls pretty well on this tour: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

    Johannesburg: The impressive performance in the ongoing South Africa tour has helped improve Indian batsmen’s reputation of not being good players of short-pitched balls, pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar has asserted. Kumar said South Africa’s ploy to unsettle Indian batsmen with short-pitched balls back-fired in the first Twenty20 on Sunday. whenever India goes abroad, the reputation is that India are not good at batting against short bowling.

    This time we have not seen that thing. We have really tackled it well. Today they bowled 5-6 overs of short bowling to us early on and it really backfired on them,â? Bhuvneshwar said after India’s 28-run win. “Whatever the reputation we had, in the last few years we are playing totally opposite of that. We have managed the short ball pretty well on this tour. They wanted to bowl short but it didn’t really work well for them,â? he said. Bhuvneshwar (5 for 24) grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul in T20 internationals to help India restrict South Africa to 175-9 in 20 overs. â?oWhat I was trying to do is bring about change of pace in my bowling.

    I just wanted to take the pace off the ball because I knew it won’t be easy to hit the ball and that’s what I did. The important thing is how you mix your deliveries according to the wicket,” he said. “For instance, today we bowled a lot of slow balls. It was a part of our strategy on this wicket, to do away with pace and make it difficult for the batsmen to score. Apart from line and length, it’s important to understand how you want to mix your deliveries. It matters. Today, for instance, it was about bowling slow.â? Shikhar Dhawan scored 72 off 39 balls as India sped off in the powerplay overs. The visitors finished with 203/5, their highest total in T20 cricket against South Africa. This was despite the Proteas targeting India with a short-ball strategy.

    Bhuvneshwar hailed the team’s 28-run win in the first T20I as a “complete performance”. â?oWhen we went in there, we knew what we wanted to do as best as a bowling team. We lost the first two Test matches and then we came back. The momentum was on our side and if momentum is on your side, you have got to make it count. Credit has to go the Indian team for the way we have played in every department,â? he said. Bhuvneshwar became the first Indian pacer to pick up five wickets in each format of the game. Additionally, he has experienced a successful tour after impressing with both bat and ball in the Tests as well as the ODI series.

    Also read: India vs South Africa Johannesburg T20I: India beat SA by 28 runs
    The pacer said that managing workloads and fitness has been the key to his success. â?oFirst thing, it comes with fitness. It’s not easy playing all three formats, especially on a single tour. So the first thing before coming here what I wanted to do is manage workload. I wanted to practice but in a specific way, so as to not put extra workload on the body,” he said. taking wickets means a lot to me when you play for your country. It doesn’t matter if you take five wickets or how many as long as you’re winning matches for your country. That’s what matters and taking fifers in every format feels good. I want to do it as long as possible. Bhuvneshwar said batting first on the Wanderers pitch gave them ample idea about the nature of the wicket and it helped when they returned to defend their total.

    After we batted, we had a certain idea of the kind of wicket we would be bowling on after what we saw. But the whole picture begins to emerge only after you’ve bowled because it depends on the bowlers,” he said. “Look at their bowlers â?” they’re of a different height and have different skill sets. So you get an idea but as I said, the whole thing emerges only after you’ve bowled a few balls. For instance, if I’ve bowled the first over, I can communicate with the rest of the bowlers what’s happening on the wicket, like that,â? he added.

  • India vs South Africa Johannesburg T20I: India beat SA by 28 runs

    Johannesburg: A brilliant all-round show helped India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first Twenty-20 International (T20I) at the New Wanderers Stadium here on Sunday.

    Put in to bat, Shikhar Dhawan (72) hammered the South African bowlers all around the park and helped India to post a massive 203/5 before pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/24) wreaked havoc in the South African batting line-up to take a crucial 1-0 lead in the three-match series. With this bowling stats, Bhuvneshwar also became the first Indian bowler to take five wickets in each of the three formats (four times in Tests and once each in One Day Internationals and T20Is).

    Chasing a challenging target, South African openers J.J.Smuts (14) and Reeza Hendricks got off to a good start. But in the third over, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar  dismissed Smuts to make it 29/1. Middle-order batsmen Jean-Paul Duminy (3) and David Miller (9) were also dismissed cheaply by Bhuvneshwar and Hardik Pandya respectively. With the scoreboard reading 48/3, Farhaan Behardien (39) came in the middle and played sensibly along with Hendricks.

    The two displayed quality shots and forged an 81-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But just when things seemed good Behardien was sent back to the pavilion by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the 15th over. After adding a few more runs with new batsmen Heinrich Klaasen (16), Hendricks (70) was caught behind off Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over.

    Now with 46 needed in 14 balls, lower-order batsmen Andile Phehlukwayo (13), Chris Morris (0), Dane Paterson (1) and Junior Dala (2 not out) failed to rise to the occasion and only managed to score 175/9 in 20 overs. Earlier, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan once again unleashed mayhem in South Africa, with his 72 powering India to 203 for five wickets.

    The Delhi left-hander, who hit 323 runs in the six One-Day Internationals (ODIs), blasted 10 fours and two sixes in his 39-ball innings as others batted around him. After home captain Jean-Paul Duminy put India into bat, India’s innings was lifted by a brisk 21 off nine from Rohit Sharma, who got out in the fifth delivery of the second over after edging to wicket-keeper Heinrich Klassen off debutant Junior Dala.

    Dhawan’s show began after this as he got useful support from Suresh Raina (15 off 7) and Virat Kohli (26 off 20). Till the dismissal of Kohli, who was ruled LBW against spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the third delivery of the 10th over, India had already scored 108. Dhawan made the most of the ill-disciplined bowling from Chris Morris, Dala and Andile Phehlukwayo, who were allowing the 32-year-old to free his arms on the leg side.

    A failed scoop attempt of a slower delivery from Phehlukwayo ended Dhawan’s innings as Klassen dived front to removed the danger. Later, Manish Pandey (29 not out off 27), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Hardik Pandya (13 not out) took India past the 200-run mark.

  • Mehdi Hasan, Hyderabadi spinner picked by “Sunrisers Hyderabad” IPL 2018

    Hyderabad: Another Hyderabadi cricketer finds a place in the list of IPL players. “Sunrisers Hyderabad” picked Mehdi Hasan, a Hyderabadi spinner.
    After picking, Sunrisers Hyderabad tweeted, ” Mehdi Hasan joins the #OrangeArmy squad for the #IPL2018. A left-arm spinner from Hyderabad. Bid Price: Rs. 20 Lacs. Welcome, miyan”

    It also tweeted, “Another Hyderabadi on the rise. Let’s welcome our new left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan to the #OrangeArmy. We look forward to some great cricket. ”

    It may be mentioned that another Hyderabadi cricketer, Mohammed Siraj was picked by “Royal Challengers Bangalore”. His base price was Rs. 1 crore and he bagged Rs. 2.6 crore.



  • Fuel Your Passion for Photography with the New Canon EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D

    New Delhi,26thFebruary 2018 - Canon today announced the launch of the Canon EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D, the newest additions to its extensive line of entry-level EOS DSLR cameras in India. Anchored by the premier EOS DSLR system and enhanced with user intuitive interfaces, these models are ideal for beginners looking to advance from smartphone photography to greater sophistication in imaging performance. Both the Canon EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D are powered by the DIGIC 4+ image processor and equipped with the 24.1 megapixels and 18.0 megapixel,APS-C sized CMOS sensors respectively, ensuring sharp and crisp images even under low light conditions. 

    Speaking at the launch, Mr. Kazutada Kobayashi, President& CEO, Canon India, said, “With consumer preferences evolving by the hour, innovation has become increasingly significant. Our focus at Canon is to continuously innovate and further solidify our commitment to provide cutting edge technology to our customers and constantly delight them. As pioneers in imaging, we value the significance of a parallel transition between innovation and the landscape of photography. With this launch, we aim to strike a perfect balance between compact design and superior performance offering an excellent value to the photo enthusiasts and professionals; hence strengthening the EOS series providing intuitive products. In lieu of the current DSLR market scenario, we see tremendous growth opportunities in this segment.”

    Commenting on the launch, Mr. Eddie Udagawa, Vice President, Consumer Imaging and Information Centre, Canon India, said, “Canon EOS series has redefined imagery and has become an industry benchmark over the years. Launching today with the newest addition to EOS series, Canon EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D not only capture great images but also meet the requirements of social media enthusiasts with instant sharing abilities. Adapting to newer trends and technologies, we are committed to bring ground-breaking innovation to customers and elevate their photography experiences.”


    Versatile Performance for Easy Control

    The APS-C size CMOS sensor on both cameras is about 19 times larger than the 1/3.2 inch standard- type sensor typically found in a smartphone. This distinction gives the EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D an edge in performance as the large APS-C size sensor enables excellent proficiency in capturing light. Even in a low light environment, both models are able to produce high definition images with the most intricate of details intact.

    Both the EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D are equipped with an Optical Viewfinder which helps users to quickly focus and frame their subjects without experiencing any delay in image processing. As real time viewing is possible, the Optical Viewfinder is the perfect tool for capturing clear images of fast-moving subjects. 

    Recognising the increase in popularity of videos, a Full HD movie shooting function is built into both models, allowing users to capture vivid and beautiful footage.

    User Intuitive Features for Hassle-Free Operability

    With access to six types of scene modes on a single dial, shooting with a DSLR camera has never been easier. On top of the portrait, landscape, close-up, sports, night portrait and food mode, the EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D also come with five Creative Filters. This enables users to experiment with or enhance the ambience of photos to create effects that render a soft focus feel, toy camera effect, fish-eye effect, miniature effect and an artsy grainy black and white effect. 

    To improve operability, the cameras’ Scene Intelligent Auto mode automatically analyses scenes and refines images to produce beautiful, rich pictures. With just a click on the shutter button, even movement and image contrast can be reflected accurately. To simplify the understanding of product functions, both cameras are equipped with a Feature Guide for beginners to ease into the world of DSLR Photography. The Canon EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D also boasts of the Creative Zone mode which allows users to create artistic photos by optimizing the shooting settings to match their shooting intentions as closely as possible.

    With such ease of use, all that is required for capturing and sharing professional-looking photos on social media is simply to cultivate a sense of creativity.

    Seamless Connectivity for Instant Sharing

    Both the EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D are equipped with Wi-Fi for easy connection via smartphones to the Canon Camera Connect app. Through the app, users can easily share images and videos onto social media platforms. In addition, the EOS 1500D is also equipped with Near-Field Communication (NFC) connectivity.

    With the Canon Camera Connect app (available in both iOS and AndroidTM), the remote shooting function is available for users to control and adjust camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed directly from their smartphones. Not only is this function useful for selfies and group shots, but is also perfect for experimenting with creative angles. 


    Product Specifications

    Canon EOS 1500D

    Dimensions :

    Approx. 129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6mm

    Weight :

    Approx. 427g (body only)

    Image sensor:

    24.1 mega-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor

    Imaging processor:

    DIGIC 4+

    ISO speed:

    100 - 6400 (expandable to 128,000)

    Continuous shooting speed:

    Approx. 3 fps

    Maximum video quality:

    Full HD 30p/25p/24p


    9-point (All AF points support f/5.6. Cross-type AF with center AF point.)

    Connectivity functions: 

    Wi-Fi / NFC 


    3- type TFT (approx. 920,000 dots)


    Canon EOS 3000D

    Dimensions :

    Approx. 129.0 x 101.6 x 77.1 mm

    Weight :

    Approx. 389g (body only)

    Image sensor:

    18.0 mega-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor

    Imaging processor:

    DIGIC 4+

    ISO speed:

    100 - 6400 (expandable to 12800)

    Continuous shooting speed:

    Approx. 3 fps

    Maximum video quality:

    Full HD 30p/25p/24p


    9-point (All AF points support f/5.6. Cross-type AF with center AF point.)


    Wi-Fi only


    2.7- type TFT (approx. 230,000 dots)



    The price will be revealed closer to the date of sales which is towards the end of March.


    About Canon Group

    Ever since its foundation in 1937, Canon is guided by the “Kyosei” philosophy of living and working together for the common good. Canon strives to create and deliver world-class products, becoming a top global corporation by diversifying into new business fields throughout the world. Focusing on optical technologies, Canon produces office equipment, consumer and professional imaging devices, network cameras, healthcare and industrial equipment. Through the close connection between its global head office in Tokyo and regional headquarters in America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and regional headquarters in Japan, Canon combines its global and local operations organically. In 1996, Canon launched its Excellent Global Corporation Plan with the goal of serving the society with advanced technologies and becoming a trustworthy and responsible corporate citizen. The year 2016 is the first year of Phase 5 of the Plan. Currently, Canon boasts a strong global presence of 367 subsidiaries all over the world, supported by 197,673 employees. (Data as of December 31, 2016)

    Canon in India

    Canon India Pvt. Ltd., a 100% subsidiary of Canon Singapore Pvt. Ltd., is a world leader in imaging technologies. Set up in 1997, Canon markets over 200 comprehensive range of sophisticated contemporary digital imaging product and solutions in India. The company today has offices and warehouses in 14 cities across India and employs over 1000 people. Canon has over 500 primary channel partners, 14 National Retail Chain partners, and over 6000 secondary retail points. Canon has 250 own retail stores accredited as “Image Square” across 119 cities in the country. Canon India’s service reach extends to over 600 towns covering 17,774 PIN codes across India - which comprises of 300 Camera collection points, 18 Camera repair centers, 236 Printer repair centers, 185 Copier, Scanner and Large Format Printer Sales & Service dealers.

    In sync with its corporate tagline- ‘Delighting You Always’, reinforced by World class technology, Canon offers an extended product portfolio, including copier MFDs, Managed Document Services, Fax-Machines, Printers, Document and Cheque Scanners, All-in-ones, Digital Cameras, DSLR’s, Cinematic Imaging Products, Camcorders, Cable ID Printers and Card printers catering to the multiple market segments of consumer, SME, B2B, Commercial, Government & PSUs. In 2017, the imaging leader recorded a double digit growth.


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