Blogging, social media updates: Tanzanian law, Pak blogger getting threats, offers from social networks...

Tanzanian law kills blogging

The Tanzanian law asking for a hefty registration fee equaling $900 a year for online publishing has come into force [we talked about it earlier too], effectively killing blogging. That includes other forms of online publishing such as websites, forum engagements and posting on YouTube. Bloggers also have to produce a tax clearance certificate. 

Those not abiding by the law incur a penalty of approximately $2500 fine with or without imprisonment!

The rule had in fact come into being in March itself, but it was challenged in the Mtwara high court. Now the high court has turned down the appeal against the rule, and the rule is in force from 15th June.

Many bloggers have quit in protest, quit as they cannot pay registration fee, or have offered their blogs to be run from outside Tanzania. 

Pakistani blogger says, family getting threats from ISI

Pakistani blogger and activist, Ahmad Waqass Goray, who now lives in the Netherlands, has through a series of tweets, stated that his elderly parents living in Pakistan are getting threats so as to silence him. 

His tweets show the threat he is to live with and depict his sense of persecution, so we are adding no editorial comment:
""Thread : Men from Pakistani intelligence agency ISI visited my elderly parents in Pakistan yesterday 20th June. They said loud and clear that they have orders to abduct and torture my father and attack my family to teach me a lesson. This is not the first incident.""
""ISI officials and men in Army uniform along with the FIA have been threatening the families of other activists as well. Many people can not report it due to fear.""
""If my family is harmed any way directly or indirectly the world should know that General Faiz DG ISI internal wing, Brigadier Adil Sector Commander Lahore and their staff is responsible.""
""It should have been clear by now that I will not be blackmailed by blasphemy campaigns and guns pointed at my family... Pakistan is my country and I will keep fighting to free my country from this terror. Abductions, killings, dumping political activists and terrorizing families has to end. ""

Extortionist blogger or a case of defamation?

Kenyan blogger, Robert Alai, has slapped a defamation notice on publishers of Weekly Citizen, a weekly publication, for an article against him, asking for 'immediate withdrawal of the defamatory words and an unqualified apology'

The article claims that the blogger has been threatening his victims with damning exposes if they fail to pay him money demanded by him. 

It is also reported that after the defamatory article appeared, Alai stormed the editorial department of the paper and damaged property. Alai has faced many charges of rowdy behavior, scuffles with police etc earlier and also been jailed for a short period.

'Linking tax' from EU regulators?

It is reported on Forbes website that EU Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs has approved copyright proposals that require, according to the report, """"any site linking to a third-party site with a snippet to adhere to an astonishing 28 separate copyright laws, or else pay for a license to provide the link.""""

Critics say, the law, if it comes into force (it still needs approval of EU Parliament), will lead to a copyright tyranny, distortions in the flow of information on the web and political repercussions.
You can visit the report here.

Facebook to come up with 3D pictures on newsfeed

Facebook is to soon have 3D posts on newsfeed, as announced in its F8 Conference in May. We tried to find how it will improve viewers' experience of viewing photos taken from mobile phones.

When you tilt your phone, touch the photo or scroll it, the photo will respond to the movement, giving a feeling of depth. 

Humans get 3D sense of objects in real world because of two eyes which simultaneously process the object from two angles. In addition, we get to see objects from different angles when we slightly move ourselves while looking at the object. 

Though by taking many pictures with a single camera while panning it (as it happens in 360 degree photography) and then stitching them through a software is how 3D imagery works, Facebook is reported to be giving us this small 3D effect on photos taken with dual camera mobile phones. The images taken by the two cameras will be processed through depth measuring and other features of the back-end software.

The feature is likely to be rolled out in August.

Paid group content on Facebook

Facebook has launched a pilot for allowing group administrators to offer additional content on paid subscription. 

The regular features of groups will remain available to other members, but the new option will let group makers earn a few bucks for their time and energy spent on maintaining the group.

Facebook explains on its blog: ""We hear from group admins that they’re looking for ways to help them earn money to deepen engagement with their members and continue to support their communities. Many admins do this today by creating an additional subscribers-only group that sits alongside their existing group, and rely on additional tools to track and collect payments. Subscription groups were created to make it easier for admins to provide these experiences with built-in tools, and to save them time so they can focus on offering members-only content. For members, they’re now able to sign-up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android.""

A report says, the fee could range from $4.99 to $29.99 per month.

Instagram introduces long-form videos with IGTV

Instagram has rolled out long videos, of up to one hour duration, on this popular platform known for small video flicks. The platform already allows streaming of videos up to this duration. 

The IGTV video is in vertical format (i.e. the way we normally hold and view the mobile phone). It can be streamed live or can have a recorded video that lasts one full hour. Besides it being available on Instagram, a standalone IGTV app has also been issued. 

It is anticipated that some YouTube video creators will shift to Instagram, maybe for the novelty sake or getting incentives from Instagram or having faced issues with YouTube. It might also impact other video providers such as NetFlix.