Neowin: Facebook Messenger launches coronavirus community hub to offer resources and tips

Neowin: Facebook Messenger launches coronavirus community hub to offer resources and tips. “Facebook launched today a new coronavirus (COVID-19) community hub designed to help people stay connected with friends and family members as part of social distancing. The new hub also aims to help fight the spread of misinformation on the messaging platform.”

TechCrunch: Facebook Messenger ditches Discover, demotes chat bots

TechCrunch: Facebook Messenger ditches Discover, demotes chat bots. “Chat bots were central to Facebook Messenger’s strategy three years ago. Now they’re being hidden from view in the app along with games and businesses. Facebook Messenger is now removing the Discover tab as it focuses on speed and simplicity instead of broad utility like China’s WeChat.”

New York Times: Tech Companies Detect a Surge in Online Videos of Child Sexual Abuse

New York Times: Tech Companies Detect a Surge in Online Videos of Child Sexual Abuse. “The number of reported photos, videos and other materials related to online child sexual abuse grew by more than 50 percent last year, an indication that many of the world’s biggest technology platforms remain infested with the illegal content.”

Lifehacker: Facebook’s Messenger Kids App Now Has More Parental Controls

Lifehacker: Facebook’s Messenger Kids App Now Has More Parental Controls. “Facebook has announced the launch of some new tools in its Parent Dashboard that should make it easier to monitor your child’s chat history, remove and report inappropriate images or videos, and log them out remotely.”

BGR: Sadly, you now need a Facebook account to start using Facebook Messenger

BGR: Sadly, you now need a Facebook account to start using Facebook Messenger. “A few years ago, Facebook made it possible for new Messenger users to start talking to their friends and family without registering for Facebook. That was actually a great way to stay off Facebook for anyone not happy with the intrusiveness of the world’s biggest social network, without giving up one of the best things about Facebook. Going forward, however, new Facebook Messenger users will have to register for a Facebook account to actually use the chat service.”

TechCrunch: Facebook’s Messenger adds Star Wars-themed features and AR effects

TechCrunch: Facebook’s Messenger adds Star Wars-themed features and AR effects. “Star Wars has come to Facebook’s Messenger app. Facebook today announced a new set of Star Wars-themed features for Messenger users, including a chat theme, reactions, stickers and AR effects. The features were developed in partnership with Disney to help promote the upcoming film, ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,’ which premieres nationwide on December 20.”

Fast Company: There’s now a chatbot to give refugees instant legal advice

Fast Company: There’s now a chatbot to give refugees instant legal advice. “For a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who is trying to navigate the legal path to resettlement, it can be difficult to find answers—and overstretched humanitarian organizations can take as long as three months to respond to an email when the demand for help is highest. A new chatbot called Mona, designed for Facebook Messenger and Telegram, can help more quickly.”