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Facebook raises its Zoom game, lets Messenger Rooms broadcast via Live

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Zoom has run away with the prize in the last few months for becoming the video calling platform of choice for people confined to their homes, whether they are making work calls or friend calls. No one really talks about “Teamsing up” (“Skyping,” perhaps?), or “Hangoutsing” or “Meeting“, or indeed “Roomsing.” But many people talk about Zooming, even when they’re not using Zoom to do it.

Today Facebook added in a new feature to its own contribution to the video chat landscape that should lead, if not immediately to more usage, more engagement when Messenger Rooms does get used.

The social network has announced that people using Messenger Rooms — the video chat software that lets people create calls with up to 50 people via a link (no Facebook or Messenger account required to join the call) — can now choose to broadcast that Rooms chat to Live, the feature in Facebook that lets people broadcast directly through Groups, Pages and in timelines via your Profile.

Facebook Rooms via Live will still come with controls for the call host: the limit is 50 people, users need a link to join, and the moderator/call host can still remove people if needed.

The difference now is that those calls will essentially be carried out on a stage, seen by as many as would have seen a Live broadcast posted by that host. When the room goes “Live”, participants will have to opt-in to be a part of it, and they can also leave before it starts to broadcast.

Messenger Rooms was first announced as “Rooms” in a limited rollout at the end of April. Seen by some initially as a Houseparty competitor, it was launched was a time when the world was well into numerous shelter-in-place orders to try to stem the spread of the global health pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus and were turning to video conferencing as a way to stay connected.

Amid many alternatives, Zoom had quickly emerged as the most popular way for people to do that, albeit, not without lots of controversy, partly due to the fact that this enterprise company had never in its wildest dreams thought it would take off as a consumer product and get used by a billion people. Meanwhile, Rooms was then rolled out globally as Messenger Rooms in June.

Because of the controversies Zoom faced, and because Facebook is, well, Facebook, it didn’t really matter at first how well Messenger Rooms was picking up traction: the message was that Zoom should be worried.

It’s actually not clear how many people are now using Messenger Rooms. (We’ve reached out to Facebook to ask.) Nor is it even clear if Facebook ultimately finds Zoom a threat.

Today’s news, it seems, is about adding more incremental engagement across Facebook overall, and adding in features that already exist for the de facto leader in the market.

You can already stream a Zoom call on Facebook Live, so why not be able to stream a Messenger Rooms call live there too? (I don’t know if Facebook will extend that to the other places where Zoom can stream, which include YouTube and Twitch.)

Facebook said that the feature is getting rolled out in limited release today and will soon expand globally to everywhere that Messenger Rooms works. Facebook also says this is a work in progress, with other news features coming soon, too.

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

One of George Santos’s biggest and most offensive lies was the one he told, on multiple occasions, about having grandparents who’d had to run for their lives during the Holocaust. In 2021, the then candidate claimed in a campaign video that his “grandparents survived the Holocaust.” Several months later, he told the Jewish News Syndicate: “I’m very proud of my grandparents’ story,” which he said included “fleeing Hitler.” Perhaps laying the groundwork for his explanation in the event he got caught in this specific fabrication, he told Fox News Digital in February: “For a lot of people who are descendants of World War II refugees or survivors of the Holocaust, a lot of names and paperwork were changed in name of survival.”

Like so many things that have come out of Santos’s mouth, the one about his grandparents and the Holocaust does not, in fact, appear to be true, as multiple genealogy records indicate his grandparents were born in Brazil and, according to one genealogist who spoke to CNN, “There’s no sign of Jewish and/or Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way.” Perhaps another sign that Santos does not have family members who were hunted by Adolf Hitler? His alleged willingness to joke about Hitler killing Jews, and Black people too.

Patch reports that in March 2011, Santos commented on a Facebook photo shared by a friend showing “someone making what appears to be a military salute with the caption ‘something like Hitler’.” Commenting below, Santos allegedly wrote: “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hiiiiiiiiiiiitlerrrrrrrrrrr (hight hitler) lolololololololololololol sombody kill her!! the jews and black mostly lolllolol!!! Dum.” A former friend told the outlet they recalled seeing the offensive comment, took a screenshot and sent it along. Patch says it also “verified through another former friend, Gregory Morey-Parker, that the original Facebook post under which Santos wrote the Hitler comment existed.” Presumably that will not be the case for very long. Morey-Parker, who was also once roommates with Santos, also told Patch that the newly sworn-in congressman would regularly make offensive jokes, typically about paying the bill for meals, “but he brushed it off saying he was Jewish. He’d always say that it was okay for him to make those jokes because he was Jewish,” Morey-Parker recalled. (Santos has copped to the fact that he is not actually Jewish, by insisting he never said he was. “I never claimed to be Jewish,” he said in an interview with the New York Post shortly after many of his lies initially came to light. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”)

In an email, Santos’s attorney claimed to Patch that the comment was somehow fake, writing: “the Facebook comment that you reference…is completely false, absolutely disgusting — There is absolutely nothing to talk about.”



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Sui-Based Ethos Wallet Raises $4.2M in Seed Round

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Sui-Based Ethos Wallet Raises $4.2M in Seed Round

“When we first set our sights on developing a wallet on the Sui blockchain, it became our mission to evolve what a crypto wallet is. Currently, they are viewed as a place to store crypto assets, however, they have the capability to do much more,” Eldeib said in the press release. “With Ethos, we’re working on developing, discovering and interacting with blockchain-based applications and to make those interactions safer and easier to use.”

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Donald Trump allowed back on Instagram and Facebook, Meta announces

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Donald Trump allowed back on Instagram and Facebook, Meta announces

Donald Trump will be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram, as parent company Meta announced it would be ending its two-year suspension of his accounts. His suspension will end “in the coming weeks”, the social media company confirmed, with Sir Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, saying the public “should be able to hear what their politicians are saying”. Sir Nick added that the company will add “new guardrails” to Mr Trump’s account “to deter repeat offences” just over two years after he used social media to incite an attack on the US Capitol. Sign up for our newsletters.

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