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Goodbye Flash, goodbye FarmVille

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While much of what made 2020 such an absolute nightmare will still be with us on January 1 (sorry!), we will really, truly be leaving Adobe Flash and FarmVille behind as we enter the new year.

The end of Flash has been a long time coming. The plugin, which was first released in 1996 and once supported a broad swath online content, has become increasingly irrelevant in a smartphone-centric world: iPhones never supported Flash, and it’s been just over 10 years since Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs published an open letter outlining the technology’s shortcomings.

Adobe has been planning for the end, announcing in 2017 that it would phase out Flash by the end of this year. Most web browsers have already stopped supporting Flash, and today is the official end date, with Adobe ending support itself — although there’s still one last “death of Flash” milestone on January 12, when the company will begin to block Flash content from playing.

In related news, Zynga announced recently that the end of Flash would also mean the end of FarmVille, since the game relies on the Flash plugin.

Like Flash, FarmVille feels like a remnant of a bygone internet era (a fact that makes me feel incredibly old, since I wrote plenty of words about both of them at the beginning of my career). Launched in 2009, FarmVille’s popularity paved the way for the ascendance of Zynga and of Facebook gaming, but both Zynga and gaming have largely moved on.

The company’s co-founder and former CEO Mark Pincus commemorated the occasion with a series of tweets outlining the game’s early development (spurred by the acquisition of startup MyMiniLife).

“FarmVille demonstrated that a game could be a living, always-on service that could deliver daily surprise and delight, similar to a favorite TV series,” Pincus wrote. “Games could also connect groups of people and bring them closer together.”

And just in case there are any FarmVille fans reading this story, don’t worry: you can still play FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape, FarmVille 2: Country Escape right now, and FarmVille 3 is still coming to mobile. Today is just the final day for the original game.

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How to forward messages on your Android phone

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How to forward messages on your Android phone

Some messaging apps are more common in certain parts of the world than others. Even within the same region, we tend to use the platforms our family, friends, and coworkers are on. Whichever one you use, every messaging app has a forwarding feature that allows you to share one message with as many contacts as possible without typing the same thing multiple times or going through the copy-and-paste routine.


Although each app may have different steps to forward a text message, the overall idea is pretty much the same across all apps. Read on to find out how to forward messages on the software you frequently use.

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How to forward a text on Google Messages

The Messages app is the default texting application on some of the best Android phones, like the Google Pixel lineup, as well as phones from Samsung and Motorola. The Messages app is the stock Android texting solution, offering plenty of messaging tips and tricks for power users.

  1. Open the conversation that contains the message you want to forward.
  2. Press and hold the message until you see more options.
  3. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner and tap Forward.

  4. A list of contacts appears. Select the contact you want to send the message to. When sending it to someone you haven’t contacted in a while, tap New message. Otherwise, search for and select the person like you would when starting a new conversation.

  5. Select a contact. The message you want to forward appears in the text field in a new chat. You can then edit it if needed.
  6. Tap the Send button (right arrow) to forward the message.

How to forward a text on the Samsung Messages app

For most Samsung users, except for the recent Galaxy flagships, Samsung Messages is the default SMS app. Here’s how to forward messages in it.

  1. Open the text conversation that contains the message you wish to forward.
  2. Press and hold the message.
  3. Tap the Forward option.

  4. Search for and select the recipient in the Contacts tab. Alternatively, you can use the Conversations tab to see recent chats.
  5. Tap Done. The message to be forwarded appears in the message field, and you can edit it if needed.
  6. Tap the Send button (angled right arrow) to deliver the message.

How to forward a message on WhatsApp

If you’ve ever seen one of those silly WhatsApp messages asking you to send it to a bunch of your friends to avoid bad luck, you know it’s just a bit of nonsense. But if you want to play along or have an important message to forward to your contacts, here’s how to do it.

  1. Open WhatsApp and open a conversation.
  2. Press and hold the message you’d like to share.
  3. Tap the Forward icon (a curved arrow facing the left).

  4. Choose the user to receive the message from the Frequently contacted and Recent chats lists. You can also search for a specific name using the corresponding icon.
  5. Tap Send (right-facing arrow in the lower-right corner).

Forward messages on WhatsApp web

Multi-device support in WhatsApp has been around for a while, so chances are, you probably use the messaging service on your Windows computer, Mac, or Chromebook. Here’s how to forward messages on WhatsApp Web.

  1. Go to WhatsApp web and link your device by scanning the QR code.
  2. Once signed in, give it time to sync your messages. When it’s done syncing, open a conversation.
  3. Click the downward arrow in the upper-right corner of the message and click Forward message.
    Click the arrow > Forward message.

  4. Select the messages you want to forward.
  5. Click the forward icon in the lower-right corner of the chat.
    Click the forward icon

  6. Select a contact from the recent chats or use the search bar to send it to someone you haven’t contacted lately.
  7. Click the paper rocket icon to send the message.
    Select a contact and click the Send button.

The number of contacts you can forward messages to at once is limited to five chats, including one group chat. Also, when forwarding a message for the first time or one that has been forwarded multiple times, it’s labeled as “Forwarded” or “Forwarded many times.”

How to forward a message on Telegram

Telegram is like WhatsApp on steroids, at least in terms of features. Both apps may be direct competitors, but many of their actions are similar. If you’ve been using Telegram or only made the switch during Facebook’s downtime, here’s how to forward messages in the app.

  1. Launch the Telegram app and select a relevant conversation.
  2. Long press the message you want to forward.
  3. Tap the Forward icon in the upper-right corner or at the bottom of the message (it looks like a curved arrow, like on WhatsApp). The groups, channels, and personal contacts you’ve recently messaged are listed.

  4. Select the recipient.
  5. Tap the Send button (lower-right arrow) to forward your message. You can add some extra text in the message field before sending it.

How to forward messages on Signal

It may be a two-horse race between WhatsApp and Telegram for the title of the best third-party messenger, but Signal isn’t far off in terms of features. After all, 50 million installs are no joke. If you’re one of those users, here’s how to forward a message from one chat to another:

  1. Launch the Signal app.
  2. Open the chat where the text you wish to forward is located.
  3. Tap and hold the message bubble.
  4. Tap the Forward option.

  5. Select a contact from the list. A text field pops up where you can add more text.
  6. Once done, tap the blue arrow to send.

How to forward text messages on Facebook

If you’ve opted to use Facebook Messenger for your texting needs, here’s how to forward a message on Facebook Messenger:

  1. Launch the app on your smartphone
  2. Tap a conversation and navigate to the message you wish to deliver.
  3. Long press it to reveal more actions.
  4. Tap the Forward option, select the recipients, and click Send.

Beware of fake news while forwarding messages

Fake news is everywhere, most of which spreads via social media. It’s also the reason why these messaging platforms limit you from bulk-forwarding messages. If you receive a forwarded message that looks fishy and asks you to forward it, you’re better off not doing it. This exchange of fake information isn’t limited to text messages. You’ll also see it happening via spam calls, so using the built-in Caller ID or third-party Caller ID apps is important.

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Amazon’s advertising business grew 19%, unlike Google, Meta

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Amazon's advertising business grew 19%, unlike Google, Meta

The regulator was concerned with Amazon’s dual role as both a marketplace and a competitor to merchants selling on its platform.

Nathan Stirk | Getty Images

Amazon’s advertising business continues to grow despite a general slowdown in digital advertising, which has hurt companies like Google parent Alphabet, Facebook parent Meta and Snap.

The online retail giant’s advertising services unit brought in $11.6 billion in sales for the fourth quarter, representing a 19% year-over-year increase, according to its earnings report Thursday.

Although Amazon’s advertising unit still constitutes a small fraction of the $149.2 billion in revenue the company recorded in its fourth quarter, it represents a fast-growing area that analysts believe could be a crucial player in the digital advertising market.

Indeed, while investors were pleased that Meta is cutting costs, sales in the company’s fourth quarter dropped 4% year-over-year to $32.17 billion.

Meta executives explained on Wednesday during a call with analysts that they don’t see an immediate rebound in the digital advertising market coming anytime soon. Susan Li, the company’s chief financial officer, said “Consistent with our expectations, Q4 revenue remained under pressure from weak advertising demand, which we believe continues to be impacted by the uncertain and volatile macroeconomic landscape.”

Meanwhile, Alphabet on Thursday reported fourth quarter advertising revenues of $59.04 billion, a slowdown from $61.24 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Alphabet’s YouTube advertising unit, which faces competition from TikTok, brought in $7.96 billion in the fourth quarter, representing an 8% drop from a year ago.

Tech companies that are powered by digital advertising have been under pressure from several factors, including a tough economy, increased competition from TikTok, and the lingering effects of Apple‘s 2021 iOS privacy update.

The latest Insider Intelligence survey of digital advertising revenue share worldwide revealed that Amazon now holds 7.3% of the overall online ad market, trailing Alphabet‘s Google, and Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, which respectively have 28.8%, 11.4%, and 9.1%, of the digital ad market.

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FTC sets its sights on the health data market

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FTC sets its sights on the health data market

With Carmen Paun

AN FTC FIRST — The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on companies sharing health data in new ways that could have implications for online business models, POLITICO’s Ruth Reader reports.

The FTC said Wednesday it had reached an agreement with GoodRx on a fine and remedies after the prescription discount site and telehealth provider shared customers’ health data with Google, Facebook and other third parties.

It’s the commission’s first enforcement of its 2009 Health Breach Notification Rule. Pending a court’s agreement, the decision could upend business models that rely on selling or using the data.

In the agreement with GoodRx, the agency filed a proposed order to levy a $1.5 million fine and enforce the remedies with the federal court in the northern district of California, which still must approve the agreement.

The FTC said GoodRx was unfair in its handling of customer data — alleging the company falsely claimed it complied with HIPAA and also shared information when it pledged not to. The company also had no internal processes to protect, or limit third-party access to, consumer health data, the commission said.

Though GoodRx has agreed to settle, it didn’t admit wrongdoing. The company also said it didn’t believe the FTC action would materially impact the business.

“We believe this is a novel application of the Health Breath Notification Rule by the FTC. We used Facebook tracking pixels to advertise in a way that we feel was compliant with regulations and that remains common practice for many websites,” the company said in a statement.

Still, the FTC is signaling heightened interest in the issue, data privacy experts say.

“What they’re doing is sending a warning shot across the digital bow of the online advertising industry saying, ‘Hey, these things are unfair, we’re watching, and you should not be using this health information in the way it’s being used,’” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for digital privacy and consumer protections online.

WELCOME TO THURSDAY PULSE. One bill to keep an eye on: a proposition to make roasted chile New Mexico’s official state aroma. What should your state’s official aroma be? Send ideas — and health news — to [email protected] and [email protected].

TODAY ON OUR PULSE CHECK PODCAST, Erin Schumaker talks with Megan Messerly about the millions of Americans who were allowed to remain covered by Medicaid during the pandemic and what could happen now that Congress has given states the go-ahead to reevaluate who’s still eligible for those health insurance benefits.

AMERICA DOESN’T HAVE THE CAPACITY TO IDENTIFY PANDEMIC ORIGINS, EXPERTS TELL CONGRESS — The United States doesn’t have the combination of scientific research, access to samples databases, domestic operational plans and international partnerships that can reliably identify the source of disease outbreaks such as the coronavirus pandemic, five experts told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Carmen reports.

Using genetic sequencing and analyzing blood samples stored in databases are technologies that have proven useful in detecting the origin of other diseases in the past, but a lack of access to such databases hinders origin investigation, Karen Howard, the acting chief scientist at the Government Accountability Office told the subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

International agreements should be developed to standardize sample databases that could help in researching a virus’ origin, she said, adding that the U.S. should also develop a detailed national strategy for investigating a pandemic’s beginning, she said.

One single office in the U.S. government should coordinate the work of several agencies in identifying where an outbreak started, added Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former adviser on the White House Covid-19 Response Team.

Why it matters: Inglesby said the ability to investigate a viral outbreak could be a form of deterrence against enemies who would want to use biological weapons against the U.S.

The hearing was the first for this Congress that focused on Covid’s origins, an issue that the Republican House majority has made a priority. Most questions from the Republican subcommittee members focused on whether it could be demonstrated that the coronavirus originated at the Wuhan virology lab.

The health experts testifying said the current data doesn’t clearly trace the virus to the Wuhan lab, but several studies link it to a live animal market in that Chinese city.

Michael Imperiale, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan, warned against politicizing the debate and discouraged scientists from getting involved in such research. Some of his colleagues studying viruses with pandemic potential, he said, have received death threats from people who mistrust the researcher’s work, suspecting them of deliberately engineering viruses to become more transmissible or dangerous.

“We must be careful not to throw sand in the gear that slows our progress, dissuades our scientists or discourages our young people from being a part of our scientific system,” he told lawmakers.

WYDEN WANTS INFO ON IRA REBATES — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter Wednesday to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure asking for details about the Medicare Part D and Part B inflation rebate provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The information requested includes a timeline for implementing rebates, an explanation of how those rebates will be calculated and a plan to promptly penalize companies that increase prices faster than the inflation rate.

ONCDP TO THE CABINET? A bipartisan group of 55 lawmakers asked President Joe Biden in a letter Wednesday to add the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to a Cabinet-level position.

The lawmakers wrote that, amid the opioid epidemic, the president should announce the change at next week’s State of the Union address and push ending the crisis as a top priority.

IN CASE OF DEFAULT — The largest House Republican caucus worked on a list of ideas for fiscal reform, including an item on Medicare, POLITICO’s Caitlin Emma and Olivia Beavers report.

Though Speaker Kevin McCarthy said earlier this week that Medicare and Social Security were off the table for cuts, the group is considering a way to continue payments to beneficiaries should the U.S. default on its debt.

FDA EMPLOYEES WON’T BE FIRED OVER FORMULA CRISIS — As the FDA looks to major reforms in the wake of the infant formula crisis, the agency’s commissioner said employees won’t be fired or reassigned in the changes, POLITICO’s Meredith Lee Hill reports.

The announcement came as Commissioner Robert Califf rolled out his “new, transformative vision” of the main agency tasked with overseeing food safety in the U.S., though he didn’t include specific plans to address breakdowns around infant formula.

Still, Califf pointed to some past “leadership changes.” His remarks come just days after senior FDA foods official Frank Yiannas’ resignation last week. In his resignation letter, Yiannas called for structural reforms in the troubled division.

“But the short answer is no one’s going to be reassigned or fired because of the infant formula situation,” Califf told reporters.

PANDEMIC PREP DEAL DETAILS — The World Health Organization shared plans for an international agreement aimed at improving pandemic preparations, Carmen reports.

The plan lays out ideas to avoid the failures from the Covid-19 pandemic, such as inequitable vaccine distribution.

The proposal would require countries to allow WHO rapid-response teams access to their territories to assess and support efforts to combat emerging outbreaks — after China didn’t grant fast access to international experts to the Wuhan virology lab at the pandemic’s outset.

The draft also demands that countries support temporary waivers of intellectual property rights on those products and requires manufacturers that received public funding for their development to waive their rights. That sort of provision, hotly contested through the Covid era, will likely be fought by pharmaceutical companies.

Governments will start negotiations on the agreement at a meeting later this month, with discussions continuing for the next year.

FIRST IN PULSE: Andrea Harris, previously chief of staff to Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) and two HHS assistant secretaries, will join Protect Our Care as director of policy programs.

Jean Accius is now president and CEO of Creating Healthier Communities. He previously was SVP of global thought leadership for AARP.

The New York Times reports that vaccine makers kept well over $1 billion in prepayments for Covid shots for developing countries.

Kaiser Health News writes about nursing home owners funneling cash out of facilities during the pandemic.

The Washington Post reports on research about the cancer risk associated with ultra-processed food.

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