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Facebook launches petition feature, its next battlefield – TechCrunch

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Gather a mob and Facebook will now let you make political demands. Tomorrow Facebook will encounter a slew of fresh complexities with the launch of Community Actions, its News Feed petition feature. Community Actions could unite neighbors to request change from their local and national elected officials and government agencies. But it could also provide vocal interest groups a bully pulpit from which to pressure politicians and bureaucrats with their fringe agendas.

Community Actions embodies the central challenge facing Facebook. Every tool it designs for positive expression and connectivity can be subverted for polarization and misinformation. Facebook’s membership has swelled into such a ripe target for exploitation that it draws out the worst of humanity. You can imagine misuses like “Crack down on [minority group]” that are offensive or even dangerous but some see as legitimate. The question is whether Facebook puts in the forethought and aftercare to safeguard its new tools with proper policy and moderation. Otherwise each new feature is another liability.

Community Actions start to roll out to the US tomorrow after several weeks of testing in a couple of markets. Users can add a title, description, and image to their Community Action, and tag relevant government agencies and officials who’ll be notified. The goal is to make the Community Action go viral and get people to hit the “Support” button. Community Actions have their own discussion feed where people can leave comments, create fundraisers, and organize Facebook Events or Call Your Rep campaigns. Facebook displays the numbers of supporters behind a Community Action, but you’ll only be able to see the names of those you’re friends with or that are Pages or public figures.

Facebook is purposefully trying to focus Community Actions to be more narrowly concentrated on spurring government action than just any random cause. That means it won’t immediately replace Change.org petitions that can range from the civilian to the absurd. But one-click Support straight from the News Feed could massively reduce the friction to signing up, and thereby attract organizations and individuals seeking to maximize the size of their mob.

You can check out some examples here of Community Actions here like a non-profit Colorado Rising calling for the governor to put a moratorium on oil and gas drilling, citizens asking the a Florida’s mayor and state officials to build a performing arts center, and a Philadelphia neighborhood association requesting that the city put in crosswalks by the library. I fully expect one of the first big Community Actions will be the social network’s users asking Senators to shut down Facebook or depose Mark Zuckerberg.

The launch follows other civic-minded Facebook features like its Town Hall and Candidate Info for assessing politicians, Community Help for finding assistance after a disaster, and local news digest Today In. A Facebook spokesperson who gave us the first look at Community Actions provided this statement:

“Building informed and civically engaged communities is at the core of Facebook’s mission. Every day, people come together on Facebook to advocate for causes they care about, including by contacting their elected officials, launching a fundraiser, or starting a group. Through these and other tools, we have seen people marshal support for and get results on issues that matter to them. Community Action is another way for people to advocate for changes in their communities and partner with elected officials and government agencies on solutions.”

The question will be where Facebook’s moderators draw the line on what’s appropriate as a Community Action, and the ensuing calls of bias that line will trigger. Facebook is employing a combination of user flagging, proactive algorithmic detection, and human enforcers to manage the feature. But what the left might call harassment, the right might call free expression. If Facebook allows controversial Community Actions to persist, it could be viewed as complicit with their campaigns, but could be criticized for censorship if it takes one down. Like fake news and trending topics, the feature could become the social network’s latest can of worms.

Facebook is trying to prioritize local Actions where community members have a real stake. It lets user display “constituent” badges so their elected officials know they aren’t just a distant rabble-rouser. It’s why Facebook will not allow President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence to be tagged in Community Actions. But you’re free to tag all your state representatives demanding nude parks, apparently.

Another issue is how people can stand up against a Community Action. Only those who Support one may join in its discussion feed. That might lead trolls to falsely pledge their backing just to stir up trouble in the comments. Otherwise, Facebook tells me users will have to share a Community Action to their own feed with a message of disapproval, or launch their own in protest. My concern is that an agitated but niche group could drive a sense of false equivocacy by using Facebook Groups or message threads to make it look like there’s as much or more support for a vulgar cause or against of a just one. A politician could be backed into a corner and forced to acknowledge radicals or bad-faith actors lest they look negligent

While Facebook’s spokesperson says initial tests didn’t surface many troubles, the company is trying to balance safety with efficiency and it will consider how to evolve the feature in response to emergent behaviors. The trouble is that open access draws out the trolls and grifters seeking to fragment society. Facebook will have to assume the thorny responsibility of shepherding the product towards righteousness and defining what that even means. If it succeeds, there’s an amazing opportunity here for citizens to band together to exert consensus upon government. A chorus of voices carries much further than a single cry.

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Here’s How To Lock Chrome’s Incognito Mode Tabs With Your Fingerprint On iPhone

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Millions of internet users worldwide use Chrome’s Incognito mode to hide and protect their web activity. Google mentions on a support page that Incognito mode doesn’t keep a record of the websites you’ve visited or the site data/cookies associated with the browsing session. Further, with locked Incognito Tabs on Chrome, iPhone users can be double sure about their privacy. Before the feature arrived, iPhone users had to manually close all the Incognito Tabs before handing over their phone to someone else. The locked Incognito Tabs feature locks all the Incognito Tabs in the current session behind a password or biometric entry.

Once you enable the locked Incognito Tabs feature on your iPhone, you wouldn’t have to worry about anyone sneaking on your Incognito Tabs. The moment you minimize Google Chrome and open another app, or head to the home screen, Chrome will lock the Incognito Tabs. The next time you try to access the tabs, Chrome will ask you to enter your iPhone’s passcode or a registered biometric match. On certain iPhone models like the iPhone 8 or the iPhone SE (2022), Chrome allows unlocking Incognito Tabs via Touch ID. On the other hand, iPhone models like the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 ask users to access their Incognito Tabs through Face ID, as these models don’t have a fingerprint scanner.

Nevertheless, whether you have an old or a new iPhone, the locked Incognito Tabs feature should come in handy. Let’s discuss the steps involved in enabling the feature on an iPhone (or an iPad).

Here’s how to lock Incognito Tabs on iPhone

The locked Incognito Tabs feature is located in Chrome’s Settings menu, and it is pretty easy to enable it. Follow the steps given below on your iPhone.

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Press the three-dot icon at the bottom right corner of the screen. You should see a menu with a quick action list on top.
  3. Swipe left on the list and hit the Settings option.
  4. Now scroll down to locate and select the Privacy and security option.
  5. In the Privacy and security menu, tap on the toggle beside Lock incognito tabs when you close Chrome. Tap Enable in the confirmation dialogue box, and you’re ready.
  6. Press Done to get out of the Settings menu and back to the browsing screen.

Upon following all the steps successfully, you should be able to activate the locked Incognito Tabs. Now, let’s test the feature.

  1. On Google Chrome’s browsing window, hit the three-dot icon at the bottom right corner and tap New incognito tab.
  2. In the incognito tab, conduct a Google search.
  3. Once you see the search results, swipe up from the bottom edge of the display to open the Home Screen.
  4. Now, reopen Google Chrome. You should see a button on your screen that reads Unlock with Touch ID or Unlock with Face ID.
  5. Hit the unlock button and then place your registered finger on the Touch ID sensor, or place your iPhone in front of your face to confirm via Face ID.
  6. Upon verifying it’s you, Chrome grants access. 

Things to keep in mind

Now that you know how to lock your Incognito Tabs on Chrome, here are a few things to keep in mind. You might think you’ll lose your Incognito Tabs if you remove Google Chrome from the recent apps list, but that is not true. Even if you do that and reopen the app, you’ll find your Incognito Tabs intact behind the biometric lock.

The second thing you should know is that Chrome only locks the Incognito Tabs upon minimizing the app, which means that your regular tabs are still vulnerable. In other words, even with the locked Incognito Tabs feature enabled, anyone can access the regular tabs on your iPhone. If the feature is unavailable on your iPhone, update the Google Chrome web browser from the App Store. Since it has been around for over a year, there’s a good chance you won’t need to update Chrome to get the feature.

Overall, the locked Incognito Tabs feature acts as an extra layer of security over anonymous browsing, as it’s not just the digital threats you need to stay away from – you need to handle the bad actors in real life.

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2024 BMW X5 And X6 Show Why Electrification Really Matters

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Automakers are pushing, now more than ever, to electrify their lineups. Whether through plug-in hybrids that can go a few miles while running only on batteries, or by making fully electric versions of cars, several automakers are continuing to iterate on electric car design. 

Chevrolet made waves with the long-rumored Corvette E-Ray hybrid that’s helped by both electric motors and a 6.2-liter V8. BMW electrified the 7-Series in the form of the 2023 BMW I7 xDrive60. That car benefitted from 544 horsepower and upwards of 310 miles of range. Cars are changing rapidly as electrification becomes more practical, and many automakers are planning on either hybridizing or electrifying their entire lineups within a few short years.

BMW just announced a host of changes to its X5 and X6 SUVs for the 2024 model year. Those changes bring a host of improvements to both models with more powerful engines, a more high-tech and contemporary interior, and a much-improved plug-in hybrid version of the X5.

Useful electrification

According to a press release from BMW, there will be two new engine choices for the X5 and X6: a twin-turbo 3-liter inline 6 that produces 375 horsepower on the X5 xDrive40i and X6 xDrive40i models, and a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that throws down 523 horsepower on the X5 M60i xDrive and the X6 M60i xDrive. Both engines will benefit from a 48-volt mild hybrid system that boosts torque, and works with the eight-speed transmission to allow for a smoother driving experience. 

The real star of the new model range is the plug-in hybrid X5 xDrive50e. The revised drivetrain consists of a twin-turbo inline-6 and an electric motor that puts out 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque when working together. BMW says the plug-in X5 can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds, showing that a hybrid system is useful for more things than just efficiency. BMW also says that the plug-in can travel up to 40 miles on just battery power without using a drop of gas.

Modernized, capable interior

The inside of both the X5 and X6 will also feature a new 12.3-inch curved infotainment screen, and a 14.9-inch curved display for controls. Updates bring the infotainment in the X5 up to the latest BMW iDrive software, alongside a new heads-up display, Augmented View, and more modern features.

The displays will be paired with the updated BMW Operating System 8, which includes improvements to the optional driver support systems with the new Highway Assistant, and reverse assistance with optional parking assistance technology as well.

The base model X5 sDrive50i starts at $65,200, the X5 xDrive40i begins at $67,500, the plug in X5 xDrive50e has an MSRP of $72,500. The X6 xDrive40i starts at $73,900. Lastly, the M60i xDrive versions of the X5 and X6 start at $89,300 and $93,600 respectively. Prices do not reflect the $995 destination charge.

BMW says that production will begin in April of 2023 at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant.

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How To Retrieve Deleted Files From iCloud

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The file recovery process varies slightly between devices, but getting a deleted file back usually takes just a few steps. After you have restored a file, folder, or album, you can find it in the same destination where it was before deletion. 

If you deleted the files from iCloud web or iCloud Drive:

  1. Click the sidebar.
  2. Click the Recently Deleted tab.
  3. Select the files you want to recover.
  4. Click Recover.

If you want to restore all files in the Recently Deleted section, instead of selecting all files one by one, click Recover All (via Apple).

If you deleted the file on a Mac:

  1. Click the Quick Access menu button on the iCloud app on your Mac.
  2. Click Data Recovery.
  3. Click Restore files.

You can also find the file in Trash and drag it out. Or, right-click the removed file in Trash and select Put Back. Your file will be sent back to where it was originally (via Apple).

On your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open Files
  2. Select Recently Deleted.
  3. Touch and hold the file you want to retrieve.
  4. Select Recover.

If you want to restore contacts, calendars, bookmarks, or reminders, 

  1. Go to iCloud settings on the iCloud app or iCloud website.
  2. Find the Restore settings under Advanced.
  3. Pick your preferred data type.
  4. Select the backup to restore.

There a is caveat, however. If you empty Trash or Recently Deleted, your file is permanently erased (via Apple). We recommend maintaining a physical backup on a USB stick or external hard drive to keep important data safe.

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