Anyone can use Facebook to boost a message. Even Russian agents.

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There’s no longer any question at all: Russians meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, and they relied on social media tools we can all use.

Facebook and its photo-sharing site, Instagram, are mentioned dozens of times in the indictment handed down Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller. Twitter, YouTube, and PayPal are also mentioned at various points. 

Mueller, for those catching up, was appointed by the Justice Department in May 2017 to investigate alleged foreign meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. The Friday indictment is only the latest development in the lengthy process of disentangling who interfered and how they did it. Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Russia, Donald Trump, and 2016 Election


'Stranger Things' Shannon Purser got a delightfully sneaky message from her barista

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#JusticeForBarb, though yet to be fully realised, is still at the top of our minds. 

Perhaps also for Stranger Things star Shannon Purser, known to fans as the doomed Barb Holland, who received a strong and rather sneaky message of support from her barista on Wednesday.

Picking up a chai latte from Starbucks on Burrard & Smithe in Vancouver, Purser found a little surprise on her cup.

thanks guys pic.twitter.com/4EnZOEyZvf

— Shannon Purser (@shannonpurser) February 7, 2018

That, is one legendary barista. In fact, the Stranger Things-savvy employee behind the hidden message, Starbucks barista Gail, tweeted her delight while Purser was in the cafe. Read more…

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Kristen Bell delivers strong Time's Up message in opening monologue at SAG Awards

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Kristen Bell just delivered a strong opening monologue as the first ever host of the SAG Awards on Sunday.

Fronting a deliberately all-female presenter bill for the 2018 ceremony, The Good Place star presented a strong opening speech — and with the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements against systemic sexual abuse in Hollywood gaining immense traction, Bell’s monologue was always going to include a nod.

Mid-way through Bell’s monologue, she really hit the Time’s Up button on the head.

“Everyone’s story deserves to be told — especially now,” she said. “We are living in a watershed moment, and as we march forward with active momentum and open ears, let’s make sure that we’re leading the charge with empathy and diligence. Because fear and anger never win the race.” Read more…

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White House government shutdown away message is a political attack on Democrats

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Donald Trump’s White House sunk to a new level of petty on Saturday, as the United States government shutdown.

Callers dialing into the publicly available White House comments line — at 202.456.1111 — are greeted with a recorded away message. An unrecognizable female voice politely explains that the government is shut down because Democrats are holding it “hostage.”

Listen for yourself. This is a recording we captured ourselves when dialing the White House comment line shortly after 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday. Read more…

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's tender New Year's message made the holiday a little less horrible

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Unless you live in a designated warm place like Miami or Los Angeles, New Year’s is widely accepted as the worst holiday of the year.

Thankfully, there are little tweets for us cold climate people that keep us goingHamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda had one of the sweetest this year, with just the right amount of corniness to make it chug.

Miranda pulled up a Facebook post he wrote on New Years Eve six years ago as he was creating Hamilton.

“It’s very hard to write battle wraps between Jefferson and Hamilton when you’re nowhere near as smart as the people for whom you are writing. The hamster in the hamster wheel that runs my fevered brain needs a drink,” Miranda wrote at the time. Read more…

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George Michael's family shares touching message for everyone missing him on Christmas

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since pop star George Michael passed away.

He will forever be tied to Christmas, as the mastermind behind Wham! tune “Last Christmas” passed away on Christmas Day 2016.

Michael will also be forever remembered for his many acts of kindness, the details of which didn’t emerge until after his death at age 53.

A year later, his family has shared a Christmas message to his many fans who are still mourning his passing. (“Yog” is a nickname for Michael, which comes from the pronunciation of his given name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou.)  Read more…

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New Android Messages update adds Duo integration, new message indicators, RCS for dual SIM phones, and more

Google’s Android Messages has received a new update. The patch log of the new version 2.7 doesn’t contain details about any changes, but a teardown of the APK file has revealed a few notable additions. 

One of the important features coming with the latest update is integration with Google Duo. If you have contacts that have Duo installed, their respective title bars should now include a video camera icon. 
Android Messages will also indicate how many new messages you’ve received when you re-open a conversation. Last …

Marshawn Lynch has an important message for Donald Trump right on his pre-game shirt

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If his approval rating isn’t registering and Donald Trump needs help determining who is not on his side of history these days, he can look for answers in Marshawn Lynch’s wardrobe.

The Oakland Raiders running back, known just as much for his on the field antics as he is for his playful treatment of the media, was spotted wearing a shirt with a strong message ahead of Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos: “Everybody vs. Trump.”

It’s a loud and clear statement, particularly in the face of dissent between Trump and NFL players who are Kaepernicking (or taking a knee) against police brutality and racial injustice.  Read more…

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How to use WhatsApp on your computer to message more

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WhatsApp is clearly a great messaging app — it just reached one billion daily users. But it’s not always ideal to be holding huge conversations on your smartphone.

You might not know that WhatsApp isn’t just bound to your phone, though. You can use it on your computer, too. This lets you get a better look at photos, makes reading lengthy paragraphs a little more manageable, and allows you to scroll faster through group messages to get to what you’re looking for.

Here’s how to set up WhatsApp Web so you have access to the app in two places instead of one. Once you do this, all of your messages will be synched between the two devices.  Read more…

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Authorities release ironic last text message sent by electrocuted 14-year old

Last week we passed along the sad story about Madison Coe, the 14-year old girl who was electrocuted after bringing her cellphone into the bath with her. Yesterday, the Lovington Police released a text that was apparently sent just before Coe was shocked to death. The text, sent to a friend, contained a photo of an extension cord wrapped in a towel and read, “When you use and (SIC) extension cord so you can plug your phone in while you’re in the bath.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Lovington Police Department have determined that the phone itself never was submerged …