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Facebook Responds to Ad Boycott with Updated Hate Speech Policy

Facebook has responded to over a hundred companies that have pulled ads from the social network in the past week. The ad boycott is an effort by some of the nation’s most prominent brands, including Coca-Cola and Verizon, to compel Facebook to update its policy regarding hate speech. Facebook has now announced a first step in addressing the issue. New restrictions will ban any ad that implies hate speech or propagates false information about voting.

New Policy 

The Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, the NAACP, and other civil rights organizations launched a boycott on Facebook ads for the month of July. In a little over a week, the cause gained broad traction, attracting over a hundred of the nation’s foremost companies. Facebook is now trying to heed the call to limit the spread of hate speech and misinformation.

But Facebook’s new policy only extends to advertisements. No personal posts will be censored, a concession to those who feared Facebook would try to limit free speech.

The updated policy will prohibit “claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others.” Further regulations will combat ads that convey negative sentiments about immigrants and refugees.

The new restrictions will also tackle the spread of misinformation. This includes inaccurate reporting about the coronavirus pandemic, pro-justice protests, and voting information. In the interest of public awareness, the platform will label posts that can’t be verified. Furthermore, any post that discusses voting will be flagged with a link to Facebook’s voting information center.

Facebook’s Statement

“Facebook stands for giving people a voice, and that especially means people who have previously not had as much voice, or as much power to share their own experiences,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a lengthy post. He hopes that his company’s efforts would enable users to “ultimately use their voice where it matters most — voting.” Zuckerberg cited the upcoming election and current civil rights movements as motivators for the change.

The world’s largest social media company, which also owns and operates Instagram, has long been accused of dismissing criticism. But Facebook makes about 98% of its profit from advertisers. As a result, the boycott has intensified the pressure to address the spread of hateful or misleading information.

Still, Zuckerberg credits Facebook’s “civil rights auditors,” Laura W. Murphy and Megan Cacace, for shaping the policy update. Additionally, he says that the many of the changes “come directly from feedback from the civil rights community.”


Verizon Joins Growing Ad Boycott Against Facebook

Verizon has joined a growing list of companies pulling advertisements from Facebook. The boycott will span the month of July, in an effort to pressure the social media juggernaut to revise its hate speech policy.

Verizon Joins the Movement

Verizon now joins a growing alliance of companies boycotting Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram. Recently, outdoor apparel brand Eddie Bauer pledged its commitment to the boycott, as did ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s. Earlier this month, the founders of the Vermont-based creamery were arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest.

Also among the nearly 100 companies joining the boycott are North Face, Patagonia, Modzilla, REI, and Unilever.

A Cause to Fight Misinformation

The boycott is the result of the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Among the campaign’s organizers are civil rights groups like the NAACP, Color of Change, the Anti-Defamation League, Free Press, Sleeping Giants, and Commons Sense. The movement began just over a week ago.

The campaign is an effort, launched by the Anti-Defamation League, to censure misleading comments by President Trump. Trump has joined other far-right voices in spreading misleading information and hate speech on the world’s largest social network. But unlike Twitter, which has removed doctored videos and tagged certain misleading tweets propagated by President Trump, Facebook has hesitated to respond. Founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has faced criticism from both inside and outside his company by people who deem his inaction troubling.

Still, as the general election nears, misinformation on Facebook could present a threat. Fake news campaigns had a tangible effect on the 2016 election. Moreover, as the global pandemic, its ensuing financial crisis and national protests continue to dominate the news cycle, authentic, dependable information is critical. Facebook’s hesitance to remove misleading information is not a neutral position.

Verizon’s Statement

John Nitti, Verizon’s Chief Media Officer, said in a statement:

“We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action…We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”

Facebook’s Response

Carolyn Everson, Vice President of Facebook’s Global Business Group, said in her statement:

“We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

Accordingly, Facebook has announced some changes since Verizon’s announcement. The company is banning advertisements that could lead to any racial or religious division. The pressure is having an effect.


Shorten Your Sales Cycle – Adopt Online Collaboration

Gone are the days when a sales representative had to visit the prospective clients to inform about the benefits of products or services. With the help of Internet, the functions and advantages of the products can be easily demonstrated to the potential customers. Therefore, more and more companies are creating and using online demos to increase their sales and reducing the operational costs.

With the introduction of online demos, sales cycles have become shorter and hassle-free. Moreover, these demos enable business organisations to expand their operations beyond geographical borders. The best advantage of using this technology is that it allows users to share desktop, which results in convenient transfer of files. Participants can also use whiteboard in order to interact with each other conveniently. Using whiteboard, they make sure that the actions on desktop are visible to the entire group on either side.

Since the technology is evolving rapidly, the Internet demonstrations are becoming more and more productive. And when it comes to country like Singapore, the online presentations are even more useful as most of the business organisations in the nation prefer online meetings.

There are numerous organisations in Singapore that rely on web conferencing for demonstrating their products and services to their geographically spread clients. Through online demos, the local companies, besides presenting their existing range, can provide a glimpse of their upcoming offerings.

Singapore is a hub of numerous multinationals and the internet presentations are a huge success in this country. The main reason behind this success is that online demos consume less time as compared to in-person meetings. Though several airports, railways lines and highways are being constructed, travelling takes a lot of time while fulfilling airport, check-in and Visa formalities. Therefore, online demonstrations seem to be the best option for all those companies which are willing to increase their revenue while spending less time on travelling.

There are various CSPs providing reliable and cost-effective services for hosting online demonstrations. These service providers employ latest equipment to help demonstrate products’ features in 2D as well as 3D mode. Moreover, they provide support throughout the meeting and ensure that the host does not come across any trouble while describing the functionalities of products. Since there are various service providers, it is a bit difficult to find a trustworthy vendor. In this case, a thorough market research can be conducted to narrow down the search for a credible CSP. The market research also helps in selecting a CSP that offers best services at reasonable prices.

Benefits of Video Calling for Businesses

Video calling for businesses has come a long way. It is no more an expensive system in a large conference room, which needs IT personnel at every step. In fact, today companies large and small are adapting video as part of their day to day operations.

Here are top benefits of video conferencing for HR professionals-

1. Job interviews – Group video calling, better known as video conferencing is one of the best technologies HR can use to attract, retain and develop millennial employees. As per Redshift’s research, a majority of HR professionals use video calls as a preferred method of communication, more than emails and phone calls. The survey tells that video interviews are as good as in person interviews, and beats phone calls when it comes to making good hiring decisions. Video interviews remove the constraints of geographical boundaries for talent acquisition. Niche companies often require candidates with unique skills sets, and video calls make it possible to hire the best talent for the position from anywhere in the world.

2. Employee trainings – On boarding employees comes with its own challenges. Most companies have to fly a trainer to remote areas to impart training to new employees or relocate their new employees. These traditional ways have serious drawbacks: they are very costly, ineffective and involve stressful travel. Video conferencing is cost-effective to provide hands-on training to employees located in different areas. It requires no travel and results in better engagement and learning of new employees.

3. Marketing the products – Providing live demos and interactive and engaging but has its own drawbacks like reaching a smaller audience, leading to limited sales. On the contrary, marketing your products through video calling has many advantages. Your market is huge as you can reach a larger audience across the world via video calls. Live video demonstrations like video conference demos give you an advantage over traditional methods: the reach of a pre-recorded video and grip of a live demo.

4. Enhanced collaboration– Video conferencing not only has enormous benefits for businesses but also employees. Often hiring the best talent can be challenging due to commuting to far off places. The traditional workplace is on its way out as worldwide collaboration and remote teams become more common. Many big brands like Amazon have witnessed major benefits of allowing workers to telecommute with the support of a good video conferencing system.

The advantages of free video calling, conferencing and video chatting are enormous. There are many video conferencing and chatting apps available in the market that bridges the gap between employers and employees, leading to a productive workplace. Video conferencing has become a day to day necessity for not only organizations but people across the world.

Did Racism Play a Role in Grenfell Tower Fire Tragedy?

In 2017, a fire broke out in the Grenfell Tower residential complex in West London. The fire caused 72 deaths and over 70 injuries, the deadliest structural fire in the UK since WWII. After three years, inquiries into the tragedy are set to resume next month.

During this time of increased focus on racial justice due to the death of George Floyd, many believe that the tragedy will come to be understood as an example of racism as the residents were disproportionately black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME). Nour-eddine Aboudihaj, the founder of the Grenfell Tower Trust, has claimed that residents of the tower were made to live in a “death trap. There were a lot of complaints about electricity cuts, gas, all these issues, but they were not listened to. The fact residents were from immigrant or BAME backgrounds means they weren’t listened to and they were treated unfavorably.”

Representative Imran Khan is pushing for a broader concept of racism to be applied to the understanding the tragedy. “That’s what institutional racism is about,” Khan said. “It’s not some individual deliberately doing something in a racist fashion. It’s whether any policies, procedures, acts or conduct directly or indirectly led to consequences.”

Khan’s push for recognition of a broader concept of racism will find sympathetic ears among those who recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hurt minorities around the world.


Opinion: The Symbolism of Trump’s Planned Rally in Tulsa

For months, White House insiders have reported that the President is growing restless in Washington, and longs to return to the campaign trail. After all, Donald Trump’s political rise was rooted in his freewheeling rallies, where he pontificates at-length about his own strengths, belittles his adversaries and arouses the crowd like a carnival barker.

Now, the White House reports that Trump will return to the trail for the first time since March, when coronavirus restrictions forced him to hunker-down in the executive mansion. Though he was able to maintain an audience for several weeks during his daily live press briefings (which he has since ceased), it’s been three months since the President has been able to stand in front of a raucous crowd of fans who will cheer his name and celebrate his musings. But oh how the world has changed since March.

In addition to the global pandemic and the economic tailspin that continue to plague the nation, the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer fast-tracked the cause of racial justice in the United States, making equality and police reform a top priority not just for the far-left, but for much of the political center. Even Republican Mitt Romney has knelt in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and it was only eight years ago that his party wanted him to be president.

So there’s no escaping the conversation of racial justice as Trump prepares to rally his followers on June 19th and while no one can ever predict what this president plans to say, his very schedule has already dropped a bevy of hints.

Time and Place

Foremost, consider the day that President Trump has chosen to resume his reelection campaign. The 19th of June is, for many, a commemoration of the end of slavery. Juneteenth, as it’s called, memorializes the 1865 abolition of slavery in Texas, the final state to receive news of Union victory in the Civil War. While some deem Juneteenth the “Black 4th of July,” there’s little cause to believe that Trump is headed to Tulsa to celebrate the progress of African-Americans.

Then there is the question of where Trump will hold his first rally in months. The President will be heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma to speak to his supporters, a city with a dark history of racial violence, including the deadliest instance of racist brutality in American history. The so-called “Black Wall Street Massacre” occurred in 1921, and resulted in the death of 300 Americans in Tulsa, which at the time had one of the most thriving black middle classes in the country. Dubbed “Black Wall Street” to celebrate the financial providence of its African-American residents, Tulsa was targeted by white supremacists who burned black-owned businesses to the ground and indiscriminately shot at Tulsa residents in a two-day bloodbath.

While the incident has not been a traditional unit of American history classrooms, it’s gained heavy attention in recent years, most notably by the hit HBO series Watchmen, in which the pilot episode depicts a ten-minute reenactment of the violence. But would Trump really choose Tulsa to speak for the first time since George Floyd’s death as an act of intentional malice?


Michelle Goldberg of The New York Times contends that “it’s highly unlikely that Trump, who reportedly didn’t know what happened at Pearl Harbor when he visited in 2017, is familiar with the Tulsa massacre.” Still, she argues, “there are people around Trump who are sophisticated enough to understand the message the rally is sending, including Stephen Miller, one of the president’s closest aides and an out-and-out white nationalist.”

So what calculus is at play behind the choice to resume the Trump campaign in Tulsa on Juneteenth? Florida Congresswoman Val Demings tweeted her response this way: “The president’s speech there on Juneteenth is a message to every black American: more of the same.”

Indeed, Trump does have a pattern of turning the screw on hot-button issues as opposed to deescalating controversy. In 2017, after a white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia resulted in the death of a counter-protester, Trump insisted that there were “very fine people” on both sides of the demonstration (which featured armed Nazis marching past a synagogue). And his first speaking engagement after the episode was in Phoenix, a generally left-leaning city with a large Hispanic population whose mayor begged the President to stay away.

After congressional Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the President’s first rally was in the Minneapolis district represented by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a progressive critic of Trump’s whom the President once told to return to Somalia (where she’d fled as a refugee when she was a child).

In both instances, Trump spoke in states that he had won in the 2016 election, though he spoke in mostly liberal metro areas knowing that his presence would attract protest, media attention, and a signature pinch of chaos.

But if the large-scale public demonstrations that have become ubiquitous in the last few months are any indication, Trump’s return to the campaign trail will likely attract its fair share of protesters. Of course, Trump’s supporters have been just as starved of the President’s voice and it’s unlikely that he will struggle to fill arena seats. Trump may get his pinch of chaos yet.

Still, optics aren’t everything. Even if thousands flock to Tulsa to either support or protest Trump’s rally, it’s what he says that will make a difference. As the national discussion of race continues to overwhelm public discourse, and as Joe Biden continues to lead Trump in national polls, the Tulsa rally may prove to be a defining moment of Trump’s reelection campaign, where he will deliver a message that could shape his entire post-pandemic candidacy.


Help yourself and love it


To attain his business goals and objectives within a stipulated time frame, an entrepreneur must identify the right caliber of people in a view to assemble a truly productive team.

The need for effective teamwork cannot be overemphasized. It is critical for any business. In fact, the strength of your business could be seen in terms of your teamwork.

An entrepreneur, who aspires to be successful in the face of ever threatening competition, must scan the environment for three types of people. ( click for complete article )


Uber Announces New Safety Regulations, Requiring Drivers and Riders to Wear Masks

As more governments move to re-open public life, Uber, the world’s leading ride-hailing app, has announced a variety of new safety precautions to keep drivers and passengers safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Starting Monday, Uber will require all drivers and passengers to wear facial coverings while using the service, and to go through a digital checklist that includes putting on a mask and sanitizing hands.

Uber will use artificial intelligence built into its app to verify that its drivers are complying by the new safety regulations. They will be required to prove that they’re wearing a mask by sending a selfie to the Uber app, and riders will receive a notification to confirm that their driver has complied. Passengers will additionally be asked to sit in the back seat only, and to keep windows open for ventilation.

“It’s important to us that you know what to expect,” Uber said in a statement. “Over the last two months, our tech and safety teams have been hard at work building a new product experience that will help protect everyone, every time they use Uber.”

“Everyone must take proper precautions not only to protect yourself but also the driver and the next person getting in the car after,” added Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshani. “It’s about protecting not only yourself but everyone around you.”

To ensure compliance by all Uber participants, drivers and riders alike are being asked to notify the company if they witness any violations of the safety protocol. Repeat offenders risk having their accounts terminated.

“We are encouraging drivers to cancel trips without penalty if they don’t feel safe, including if the rider isn’t wearing a face cover,” the company said.

As a further commitment to the new health regulations, Uber says it has allocated $50 million for buying masks, disinfectant spray, wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves for drivers and riders. Uber claims it has already obtained some 23 million masks.

Its leading ride-hailing rival, Lyft, announced similar guidelines this month. Both international companies will apply their rules uniformly in all markets to ensure that safety is a priority for app-users in every region across the world.


Facebook Acquires Giphy to Integrate With Instagram

Facebook announced Friday that it would be acquiring GIPHY, the leading purveyor of animated GIFs, in a reported $400 million deal. The acquisition envisions a streamlined use of GIFs on Facebook-owned Instagram, where users already enjoy using short animations in GIF form to communicate.

Giphy’s Service

GIPHY is a platform for the creation and sharing of Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) media, which are typically just a few seconds long, and have become an indelible part of meme culture. Invented in the ’80s, GIFs have become ubiquitous in recent years as a way to convey tone and emotion over text-based modes of communication. GIPHY’s vast library includes short, soundless, looped videos that draw from film and television, and are categorized by an exhaustive list of tags. (You can find GIFs that convey happiness, excitement, annoyance…the list is endless).

GIPHY’s library is already accessible on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct Message, where users can search for their desired GIF image, copy it, and paste it into their text-based conversation. And the easy integration of the GIPHY library into a variety of different apps has made it one of the most accessed GIF libraries out there.

Details on The Long-Desired Acquisition

This is not Facebook’s first attempt at acquiring GIPHY. Back in 2015, the social media giant tried to buy-out a young GIPHY, but the start-up declined the offer, opting instead to make deals with a variety of social media platforms and seek to grow its fanbase.

Now, Facebook has succeeded in its purchase, with a stated goal of integrating GIPHY into Instagram “so that people can find just the right way to express themselves.” And while the $400 million price-tag may seem high for a program that was already accessible on Instagram, it makes sense when you consider how many other platforms make use of GIPHY’s library.

Slack, Twitter, and iMessage have all integrated GIPHY into their respective services, and there are no signs that such platforms plan to disassociate from the function now that it’s a Facebook asset. In fact, Facebook hopes that users continue to access GIPHY, regardless of their preferred messaging app.

“People will still be able to upload GIFs,” assured Vishal Shah, Vice President of Product at Instagram. “Developers and API partners will continue to have the same access to GIPHY’s APIs; and GIPHY’s creative community will still be able to create great content.”

Potential Legal Challenge?

While Facebook has recently faced scrutiny by antitrust advocates in Congress, the acquisition of GIPHY is unlikely to trigger any related inquiry, a source familiar with the transaction confided to The Washington Post. Only deals of a certain magnitude would warrant government review.

Still, in February of this year, the Federal Trade Commission revealed it would launch a wide-ranging inquiry into past Facebook acquisitions, as well as similar transactions by other tech giants that have been too small to catch the attention of government watchdogs. In the process, the agency warned that it could unwind those deals it deems to be in violation of antitrust rules.

To this moment, Facebook’s acquisition of GIPHY has garnered no official legal backlash.


Quantum Supremacy: How Supercomputers will Enhance Everyday Life

While it sounds like the stuff of dystopian science-fiction, quantum supremacy is actually a very real milestone for a super-computer. It’s achieved when such a processor can perform a calculation in a matter of seconds that would take a normal computer several years.

Google recently claimed that its 54-qubit Sycamore processor achieved quantum supremacy when it cracked a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken the world’s leading super-computers 10,000 years. Though Google’s declaration has been disputed by some, it’s worth taking a look at what the real-life applications of such quantum capability could be.

Cracking passwords

Currently, any hacker or entity trying to use brute-force on an encrypted password could waste years trying to gain access. But quantum computers have the potential to gain brute-force entry in a matter of seconds, eviscerating encryption as we know it. On the other hand, quantum computers would also be able to create even more complex forms of encryption, ultimately making passwords even stronger.

Drug design

Currently, in order to see the effects of a drug, scientists must synthesize the molecule and observe its interactions with other molecules. This takes a lot of trial and error time and resources. But quantum computers could model and run simulations of drug interactions in record time. While this would save researchers time and money, it would also save lives in the log run as the trial periods of life-saving medications could be aggressively shortened – sounds like a pandemic must-have.

Artificial Intelligence

Quantum computer’s ability to solve complex problems involving hefty amounts of information in a matter of seconds is sure to bolster the rise of artificial intelligence, which will need to process data at lightning-speed to reach its true potential.


Trading and risk assessment involve large-scale models and simulations, and quantum computers have the potential to give investors a huge edge. The Monte Carlo simulation, for instance, which visualizes the impact of risk and uncertainty in an investment, could be drawn-up in just a few seconds by a quantum super-computer.

Climate Modeling

Earth is a complex ecosystem made up of hundreds of smaller systems. Mapping out the interactions and synergistic relationships between them is a tall order. This complexity is what makes it hard for current climate models to be perfectly accurate. With quantum computing, we could create more accurate models that could handle more variables, which could give us a better idea of how we can realistically slow or reverse the effects of climate change.


Drones to Deliver Medicine

Having a drone deliver medicine seems like something out of a sci-fi movie, but believe it or not, it’s already happening today. Given the demand for delivery drivers in densely populated areas, remote and rural communities that need medical supplies are suffering, which has caused a demand for non-human delivery methods.

In October 2019, the FAA approved a UPS request to deliver medicine via drones, a practice already being used in the UK, Ireland and Rwanda.

Companies in the mix

The top two companies behind drone deliveries of medical supplies are Zipline and Medical Drones. In addition to delivering medicine, they can deliver blood and microbiology specimens such as semen and cultures.

Now consider the importance that such instantaneous shipment could have for the healthcare field. Immediate delivery of medicine via drone could be the difference between life and death, particularly for those who live far away from hospitals. Childhood vaccines that decrease infant mortality rates could be readily available to people in rural regions. And during this pandemic, drones could be providing just-in-time delivery of test kits, reagents, medicine and, maybe one day soon, a COVID-19 vaccine.

Changing the retail landscape

But it’s not just the medical community that has jumped aboard the drone ship. While services aren’t available just yet, Amazon has long planned the launch of “Amazon Prime Air,” a drone system that could delivery all sorts of shipments in select cities. Though the first successful test delivery was done in 2016, Amazon’s plan has since been waylaid by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Amazon Prime Air has the potential to be the second time the company completely changes consumer culture. Imagine ordering a phone case and having a drone deliver it to your door within 30 minutes! That’s the type of fast and efficient delivery method Amazon imagines providing to its customers.

While automation has its downsides, like replacing human workers, it could be crucial to raising the quality of life for so many around the world.


5 Innovations Bill Gates Believes Will Return the World to Normalcy

Bill Gates, business tycoon and philanthropist, has spent much of his recent career watching and responding to global health disasters. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has funded international vaccination efforts and has long advocated for the need to prepare for a global pandemic.

This week, Gates released a lengthy post to his personal blog, where he enumerates the five urgent tasks to rehabilitating the world and setting us back on the path to normalcy. The five innovations he believes are most imperative are effective treatment, a reliable vaccine, widespread testing, contact tracing, and a plan to responsibly reopen the economy.

Here’s what that all means:

1. Treatment

Before people feel comfortable returning to large gatherings outside the home, Gates says that we need a treatment that is at least 95% effective. Without such an assurance, he says, people will not feel safe enough to come into contact with strangers. One such treatment that he proposes is being tested in several laboratories. It involves the use of blood from recovered Covid-19 victims, which can provide those still fighting the disease with plasma full of virus-fighting antibodies. Still, if we cannot find a 95% effective treatment, Gates says that a vaccine will be even more essential.

2. Vaccination

Gates concedes that it typically takes five years to develop an effective vaccine, but is optimistic that it could happen faster. CDC estimates for A coronavirus vaccine are 12 to 18 months. A vaccine would give those injected with it immunity from the disease. Historically, plagues that ravaged whole swaths of the world, like smallpox and polio, were nearly eradicated as a result of wide-spread vaccination programs.

3. Testing

Tests will be critical in allowing countries to reopen, as they can confirm whether an individual has the virus, even if they are showing no symptoms. Gates advocates for the availability of at-home tests, which would make it easier for more people to check themselves without risking infection by waiting in a long line at a clinic.

4. Contact Tracing

Tracking down people who have been exposed to the virus, or who have come into contact with infected individuals, can help prevent a widespread resurgence of the virus. Gates says that such a task would require a large corps of workers. He looks to the model adapted by Germany, wherein individuals who test positive submit information to the state in regard to where they have been in the past 14 days, to better inform anyone who may have become compromised as a result.

5. Reopening the Economy

Gates says that leaders will have to make compromises in determining which parts of our society can open, and how soon. Opening schools, Gates says, should be top priority, as they provide a larger benefit to society, not just to the students they educate, but to the parents who can work during the day instead of managing their children. But we will probably need to wait longer for large events like major sports or concerts to resume. Other considerations we will have to make include how many people can be seated in a restaurant and how far apart factory workers will have to stand from each other.


Apps to Help You Monitor Your Kids’ Screen Time—Even in Quarantine

The concept of regulated screen time is starting to look like a thing of the past.

With students across the country spending hours on the computer each day to receive distance instruction, parents concerned with how much exposure their children are getting to the internet or digital screens may feel helpless.

If you feel that way, you’re not alone, but your anxiety might not be all that necessary. We are living in strange times, but it’s not a permanent situation. Giving your kids a little more free-range online or in front of a television is not going to harm them forever, because this situation won’t last forever.

Still, if you are growing concerned that your kids have become addicted to staring at a screen and you want to have a better window into what they’re looking at for hours on-end, there are plenty of resources to assist you. Keep reading for three of the best apps to help you monitor your kids’ screen time, even if you’re sheltered in place.

Net Nanny

This app is ideal for parents who want more control over which sites or apps their children have access to. Using AI to block questionable websites, Net Nanny can also lock kids out of specific sites that their parents don’t want them accessing. (Say you don’t want you kids to watch Netflix unless you’re in the room. Net Nanny can help you block access.) It also gives parents access to their children’s internet history and sends alerts if their kids have navigated to inappropriate content. Net Nanny has a $40/year plan for one Mac computer, a $55/year plan for up to 5 devices of any brand including mobile devices, and a $90/year plan that covers up to 20 devices.


Bark is a good choice if you have preteen or teenage kids, as it monitors texts and emails, as well as YouTube, Instagram, and over two dozen other social media outlets for questionable content your child might be searching or viewing. Bark detects signs of cyberbullying, depression, online predators, and adult content, and sends parents alerts of such activity. It also gives parents flexibility as to which sites they monitor, so they can grant their children a little privacy. Bark has a 7-day free trial and then costs $14/month per family with iOS and Android devices.


This app helps parents monitor screen time on iOS and Android devices for free! The app lets parents limit access to certain apps, filter websites, enable GPS monitoring and schedule screen time and recurring activities like bedtime. Premium features include use of the app on up to 20 devices, and ability to label certain apps as either Always Blocked, Per Schedule, or Always Allowed.

The Premium version also enables a spendable screen time allowance, the family locator feature, a geo-fence creator for alerts, text blocking and web filters. And while Premium typically costs $7/month, in light of coronavirus isolation measures, OurPact says its offering three months access to these features for free.


Grocery Delivery Services You Should Try While Self-Isolating

Everyone’s got to eat, even if you’re sheltering in place. Fortunately, modern technology has made it easier than ever to get your groceries delivered directly to your doorstep, so you don’t have to brave the outside world during a global pandemic. Just remember to tip your delivery person for their efforts.

Here are five grocery delivery services you might want to consider to fill your pantries without leaving the house.

Amazon Fresh

Delivery Fee: Free with order of $35 or more

Availability: Over 2,000 cities

Membership required: Yes, an Amazon Prime subscription is required.

Amazon Delivery lets you choose from a wide range of groceries online from select national brands. It also gives you the option to order from the Amazon-owned Whole Foods. Currently the service is only available to Amazon Prime members, but if you already have a subscription, it couldn’t be more convenient.


Delivery Fee: $3.99 with order of $10 or more, free with Instacart Express subscription

Availability: 40 states

Membership required: No, though Instacart Express subscription is available for regular users at $9.99/month, or $99/year.

Instacart lets you shop at the supermarkets in your area. Local shoppers pick up groceries based on your selection, and Instacart makes it easy to choose “substitute” items in case your first choice is out of stock. Best of all, you don’t have to be a member, so you can try it out once or twice without longer commitment for a $3.99 delivery fee.

Walmart Grocery

Delivery Fee: $7.95 to $9.95, free with Walmart Delivery Unlimited

Availability: 1,600 cities

Membership required: No

This app is great if you live near a Walmart, because it offers both grocery products and other items you might buy at the store. Plus, it has a convenient mobile app, so you can order groceries, etc. straight from your phone!

Fresh Direct

Delivery Fee: $5.99-$15.99

Availability: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington D.C.

Membership required: No

Though it’s only available in a few northeastern states, Fresh Direct offers a huge sampling of quality groceries as well as pre-made meals. Ingredients are often organic or high-quality, and some regions even allow you to order alcohol from the site.

Google Shopping

Delivery Fee: Free with minimum order of $35

Availability: Everywhere

Membership required: No

Google Shopping does not deliver perishable or fresh groceries like the above options, but it will deliver non-perishables like pasta, canned goods, and coffee. You can even use Google Shopping to stock-up bulk quantities of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and soap.


Patrick – Nyandarua South, Kenya / Farming

Patrick’s story

Patrick is 62 years old. He is married to Martha. They have no children below 18 years old. For the past 23 years, Patrick has been a farmer and he currently earns a monthly income of KES 40,000.

Patrick is requesting a loan of KES 98,000 from VisionFund Kenya to purchase seeds and fertilizer for his crops. This will be his 11th loan and he has successfully repaid his previous loans. Patrick will use the anticipated profits from his loan to purchase food for his family.

His hopes and dreams for the future are to enjoy an improved life with his wife.

A loan of $950 helps to buy seeds and fertilizer.

This loan is special because:

It helps small-scale farmers increase their production, create jobs and strengthen food security

Dl_Ndeme Group – Senegal / Livestock

Dl_Ndeme Group’s story

This group was created in September 2013 and brings together independent women who are principally involved in business and raising animals.

Khady, standing at the right in the photo with her hand raised, is the group’s representative. She is 49, married and mother to six children, of which three are girls. She is active in animal raising, which she has mastered very well.

She plans to buy sheep at a low price at the weekly markets in her area and livestock feed to fatten them up so that she can resell them.

After the sale, the profits she’ll earn will serve to support the schooling needs of her children, and also be reinvested in her business.

In this group: Thiara , Khady, Ndeye, Ndeye, Thioro

Translated from French.

A loan of $3,175 helps a member to buy sheep.

This loan is special because:

It empowers women in rural Senegal.

Jocelyn – Petit-Goâve, Haiti / Beekeeping

Jocelyn’s story

Jocelyn, aged 57 years old, is a rural entrepreneur who wants to invest in beekeeping. Previously, he was breeding animals in his little farm. After participating in a beekeeping training course offered by a local organization, he learned the techniques to get started in beekeeping.

He is now seeking a loan to buy modern hives, a beekeeping mask, a smoker, and some tools. Jocelyn thinks that this new business will allow him to earn more money to improve the living conditions of his five family members. He would like to maintain a solid relationship with Kiva lenders, as this represents a big opportunity for him.

A loan of $425 helps to buy modern hives, a beekeeping mask, a smoker, and some tools.

Juan Fiser -Olancho, Honduras / Cattle

Juan Fiser’s story

Juan, 44 years old, is married, and lives with his spouse. He owns a house in the municipality of Patuca Olancho in eastern Honduras and has worked raising animals for many years. He says that it has gone very well for him because, thanks to his business, he has managed to have his property where he works.

He is asking for the loan to purchase calves to graze and, in this way, to continue expanding his cattle-raising business. His dream is to get ahead so that when his family grows, he has the means to respond. With the support of the loan, he will achieve his dreams.

Patuca, Olancho, Honduras

This loan is special because:

It has a below-market interest rate and is repaid at harvest, when farmers can more easily repay.