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I assume you have all caught the Facebook news from yesterday. If not go here. Suggesting that apps were a legacy from the PC age Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new wrapper for Android homes called Home that is embedded in a six handsets - three each from HTC and Samsung - and will be available to download via the Google Play Store.

The 'wrapper's customise the home screen of an Android phone enabling notifications, images and messages to appear on the main screen of the phone.

Its nearest cousin is the way in which Amazon has wrapped its content around the Kindle Fire Android powered tablets.

It is an interesting move but is it enough to make you want to run your phone via Facebook?

Well it is a shift in emphasis that Facebook needed to make. It has to get more people using Facebook on their mobiles so it can present mobile advertising to them.

Zuckerberg said."The home screen is the soul of your phone. It sets the tone. We feel it should be deeply personal." And: "It's putting people first in your phone."

So in order for consumers to let Facebook lodge on their home phone the company needs to deliver a pretty compelling set of features.

Well slowly but surely over the past year or so that is exactly what Facebook has been doing.

Want to make a call? Well Facebook recently introduced its free Messenger calling service in the UK. So if you and your Facebook buddy both have the service live and a Wi-Fi connection you can chat without paying.

Want to listen to music? Well don't bother firing up your Spotify app you can listen to your tracks on Spotify via Facebook. Image - well they have Instagram. Want to read the news - well several sites have Facebook apps.

You get the picture. It has always been the stated aim of the company for Facebook to be the internet for people and with Facebook Home on the mobile it could mean that people spend more of their time using the company's services.

What I think Facebook are hoping for is that Home goes viral. In that users download it and show it off to their friends outlining all the benefits, who then go and download it. It is fair to say that with Android they have good chance too for even though the OS is highly customisable a lot of phone owners barely tweak their home screen at all.

The next question for Facebook then is getting the Home feature to work on iPhone or Windows handsets. It is not a move that you can't see Apple freely and readily making, but if Home becomes massively popular on Android it may have no choice.

It looks like Facebook has an interesting year ahead.

In a couple of days time Facebook has a press event in the US where it has invited journalists to 'Come see our new Home on Android.'

However if you were expecting a minor tweak or two to its Google app, forget it. The gossip is that this is something much bigger.

Rumours of Facebook phone have been buzzing for years now and on Thursday it seems like we will finally (sort of ) get it. We may also get a Facebook skin that you can download as your home screen.

Several sites, most notably this one, are running with the story that Facebook will unveil a HTC handset called the Myst, which will be running a tweaked version of Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean). The big change is that Facebook will be totally integrated into the handset so that when you switch the phone on the first thing it does is log you in.

There's also a Facebook powered home screen which will at the very least give you notifications as well as displaying contacts that you can now make voice calls too using Facebook Messenger.

The Myst phone apparently sports a 4.3inch screen, 1.5Ghz processor, 1GB RAM and packs a five mega pixel camera too.

The big question is whether you will be able to download a version of the new tweak and install it on your Android phone. Also will it work with any Android OS, or just Jelly Bean?

So what do you think? Surely the upgrade will be available across all Android handsets - well Jelly Bean ones at least. And as for the phone I am not sure how many people are going to be tempted into buying a mid-range HTC handset purely on the strength of being able to access a Facebook skin/launcher - especially if they can get that via the Google Play store anyhow.

Well, we will find out soon enough.

Good news for the UK's Facebook users. The Facebook Messenger app, which lets users make free calls to each other using mobiles, is now available here too.

It was launched in the US in January and has been a significant success. Now the app, which is still in beta and only for iPhone users, is available here and as long as you have it on board your smartphone and can access a Wi-Fi/3G connection you can make a call. The other caveat is that the person you want to contact also uses Messenger.If they don't have Messenger open than you have the option of leaving a message.

Making a call is fairly straightforward. As long as you are both online you fire up the app choose who you are going to call and start ringing.

Let's hope that the Android version isn't too far behind.

The WSJ has a report today that Facebook is considering using Twitter style hashtags to help people stay up to date with breaking stories and key conversations on its social networking platform.

According to the paper hashtags are currently being tested so that users can track conversations about specific topics. The paper also notes that Facebook has been using hash tags by stealth since its acquisition of the Instagram image sharing service which uses them

The paper says

Facebook is testing whether to follow Twitter's lead and allow users to click on a hashtag to pull up all posts about similar topics or events so it can quickly index conversations around trending topics and build those conversations up, giving users more reason to stay logged in and see more ads. Instagram, which Facebook acquired last year, already uses hashtags, allowing users to sort photos by the symbol.

So is this a god idea - of just further evidence that Facebook is becoming more like Twitter and vice versa?

Well in some ways people are already using hash tags on Facebook. People who joint post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously have to keep to Twitter's rules - so that means less than 160 characters and sometimes use of hash tags.

Some Facebook users will post hash tags to highlight certain topics to underline to their friends that they are posting about a specific issue.

I could see hash tags on Facebook working well. It will be interesting to see how they operate though. Would you just be presented with posts from your friends? Or would you also be able to see fan pages? I guess to make it work properly you would also need to see posts from people you aren't friends with too.

Got a secret crush on one of your Facebook pals, but can't bring yourself to declare your love for them. Well there's an app for that.

There;s a new free Facebook app which will at the very least give Cupid a bit of a nudge and may even bring you together.

Both Interested enables users to chose a trio of Facebook friends that they have the hots for and enables them to send an anonymous message letting them know that they have a secret admirer who is one of their Facebook pals.

If your crush wants to find out more then they like the app and it will then send email to both parties telling them who it is and maybe bringing them together. If your crush isn't interested then it all stays anonymous - unless of course they share it with everyone via social media...

It is an interesting little app which is capable of causing all kinds of mayhem. Forget to log out of your Facebook account and you might suddenly find yourself sending anonymous love messages to all manner of hotties...

Incidentally there is a similar app that works on a much more direct way here.

So, as expected the big Facebook news focused on a major revamp of the news feeds. The first in nearly five years.

Essentially what Facebook has done has added some cosmetic changes to the feed to make it look more vibrant and colourful, and added a series of other elements to the feed so that you can see images, news articles etc.

Now you can choose between the following feeds

- All Friends - a feed that shows you everything your friends are sharing
- Photos - a feed with nothing but photos from your friends and the Pages you like
- Music - a feed with posts about the music you listen to
- Following - a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow.

Interestingly the new design means that now Facebook has the same look and feel on mobile, tablet and web.

There's no specific time as to when the new feeds will be rolled out, although Facebook has invited people to, visit and add themselves to the waiting list.

The web changes will happen first, followed by Apple iOS ones and then finally Android.

At the conference Mark Zuckerberg said that he aimed to "give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper in the world. The News Feed was primarily text but now that we have these cameras in our pockets News Feed has grown to 50 percent photos and visual content.

So how do you feel about the revamp? Facebook users are notoriously resistant to change and if previous upgrades are anything to go by the tweaks won't be popular at first, but then we will get used to them.

footalk.jpgThis could be an interesting one. British based company FooTalk has announced an upgrade to its app which will enable Facebook users to talk to anyone in the world freely via their smartphone.

Facebook Calling currently enables users to make free calls, but only inside North America. FooTalk's tweak means that Facebook's UK users can make Facebook-related free calls, but they will need the app.

Also the FooTalk service works across the globe.

The app, which is available for both iOS devices (iOS5 and above), or Android devices (version 2.1 or later) already enables people to make free calls to each other using Wi-Fi in a manner not unlike Skype.

Now though it has incorporated Facebook more deeply into services. So Facebook contacts are listed in a separate tab of the FooTalk address book, which clearly identifies which Facebook friends also have FooTalk and are available for calling.

The uses can make the call if a person has FootTalk and if the person they are calling doesn't have the service it will offer them an invitation for FooTalk and allow the caller to leave a message on their wall.

"With Facebook now connecting over 680 million mobile users, we want to offer people the chance to take this connection over and above simply sharing status updates and images" commented Graeme Hutchinson, co-founder of FooTalk.

"We believe this is the next step in how we will use social media to communicate and have made this functionality as simple and easy to use as possible, ensuring that even the least technical Facebook users can connect with each other on a call as well as in the usual way."

Now this is a really smart idea. Over the past few years there have been countless ways to see the info from your Facebook feed in different formats. Flipboard,the magazine style version of your feed for the iPad is one that comes to mind and is still massively popular.

Now here's a Facebook app that also has huge potential - Social Studios has developed an app that turns the information from your Facebook news feeds in to a daily personalised TV show.

You can watch the video above to get an idea of how it works, but basically it mixes videos, images and status updates to let you know what has been happening that day to your friends.

To give it that TV show veneer the company have employed Noa Tishby - who is probably hugely popular in the US but means zip to Brits - to present it. So she says things like 'here's your top three videos for the day' before presenting that cat video your sister posted and your mate's band's gig footage etc.

It is a really sweet idea and I think it could be massively viral very quickly. It is still in beta and I couldn't get it to work in London this morning, but it should be available and everywhere soon.

It does have some drawbacks. You have to use Google Chrome to watch the video and also it doesn't seem to work (yet) on tablets or mobile devices.

It will probably seem a little cheesy to British users too given its very American Entertainment Tonight type format.

However it is clear that the LA/Israeli based start up is on to something. Imagine if they could mix in hyper local news too. Or maybe news about musicians or film stars you are passionate about? What about your own personalised music show with clips and interviews from the rock stars you love?

Anyhow check it out - you have to downland the app from Facebook - as I think this could be huge.


We all know that Facebook's "Other" inbox is just a bit stupid. It allows random people to get in touch with you, but then when they do it doesn't alert you, it just files the messages away and more often than not they go unnoticed for a LONG time. It would be much more beneficial for users to never be able to contact strangers or to just have an occasional alert system whenever they do. Anyway, we're not here to tell the Facebook team what to do, because it's really down to the stupid users to mess everything up anyway.

The biggest Facebook communication fail we've come across in a long time hails from the US this week, where Clayton County police in Georgia used Facebook to tell a mother about her son's death. Don't worry, they didn't write it on her wall or anything, but they sent a note from a secret undercover account, which meant it went straight into that darned Other inbox and stayed there for weeks while the family were searching for their son.

Due to the fact it was sent from some weird, dodgy-looking account, even when the message was read the family weren't so sure it was legitimate.

According to Digital Trends, Clayton County police issued a statement, which read:

"Society has accepted social media as a major form of communication. We make every possible attempt to apply best practices when handling these sensitive matters. We will continue the traditional methods of personal face to face contact as we integrate this new tool of social media."

In other words, we messed up royally and won't try and use the interwebz again in future.

Read more:
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook


Last week we were all exposed to the horror that was Bang With Friends, a Facebook app thing that hooked you up with mates that you want to "bang", who also want to "bang" you, because apparently the world of the internet isn't gross and sleazy enough and some people find it really hard to get laid. Well hot on the heels of that rather worrying Facebook sex app comes Would Love 2, which works on the same principle, but makes it sound like it's linking people up to go on nice dates rather than casual sex sessions.

Would Love 2 is an iOS app that allows you to scroll through your Facebook friends and select which you'd be happy to "date". These contacts are then saved in your "locker" and kept completely private, unless someone you've selected happens to select you too... then DING DING DING, the app will alert you both to the match and allow you to take it from there.

Although Would Love 2 could be used in much the same sleazy way as Bang With Friends, the premise is at least a little different, with the former being solely about... Well... BANGING and "finding friends who are down for the night" and the latter being focused more on "taking the rejection out of dating". Whether it's used to help lonely people find their soulmates remains to be seen, but at least it seems just a little less scumbag-y than Bang With Friends... Maybe.

Find out more:

facewash-image.jpgThere are tonnes of things that annoy us about Facebook, like photos of our friends' ugly babies, chavvy status updates DAT SOUND LYK DIS and of course lots of over-sharing about illnesses, arguments and fertility issues. Really swear words are the least of our worries - in fact they make mundane updates just a tad bit more interesting - but if you're offended by profanities, then a new app called FaceWash is for you.

FaceWash scans through everything to do with you on Facebook, including your profile, news feed and photos you're tagged in, removing all of the naughty words from existence.

We can't really understand why you'd need to download FaceWash, but maybe if you spend a lot of your time stalking people and your boss is fine with your social media obsession but not your use of curse words, then it could be just the solution you've been looking for.

Start using FaceWash now if you want your online life to be more "professional" or, you know, boring.


Awh it's hard to be a single guy when everyone else is having lots of sex and buying their girlfriends chocolates and kittens. But fear not, because a Brazilian company has decided to set up a dating site with a twist, the twist being the girls aren't real, they're just pretty Facebook fakes to fool everyone else into thinking you've got a girlfriend. Genius! We see no problems or issues with this plan WHATSOEVER. asks that you hand over just $39.99 of your hard earned cash - we're sure REALLY lonely people can think of another way to spent nearly $40, but each to their own - to create a fake Facebook profile full of cutesy photos, updates and all of the other bits and pieces of information to dupe your mates into thinking she's a real life human being.

But fear not, it's not even as if these women are completely made up, apparently men are lonely and women are poor, so many of the profiles are copies of actual people who hand over their details for a 50% share of's profit. This is great in making the whole messy lie as convincing as possible, but still doesn't solve the problem of what to do when someone asks you to bring her round for dinner...

The whole idea behind the site is to make lonely people feel a bit less lonely, but it's primary function is to make exes jealous. However, if you'd rather impress a potential lover than make an old one feel crappy about themselves, then you can purchase an ex-girlfriend too, which presumably in some people's warped minds makes them more appealing to the opposite sex.

It's almost as creepy as the virtual girl who'll sit and smile at you. Almost.

[Via Cnet]

facebook-graph-search copy.jpg

So we've all been waiting eagerly - well, kind of - to find out what Facebook's big new announcement will be this evening and, like many predicted, the social network has added a new smart search engine called Graph Search.

Yep it sounds a bit like some mathematics term we probably should all remember from Secondary School, but in actual fact it's a way of sifting through the data about photos, people and connections that live on

The new search feature will appear as a big search bar at the top of each page you visit. You'll be able to start new searches and will then be served up data under that title, so the Facebook team use the example of "people who like things I like". You'll then have a page with that title at the top and a list of people who into the same stuff as you.

Once Graph Search is up and running, you'll be able to use it to find data about four distinct things, people, photos, places and interests. Over on the Facebook Newsroom the team outline the kinds of searches you'll make to find each type:

People: "friends who live in my city," "people from my hometown who like hiking," "friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park," "software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing," "people who like things I like," "people who like tennis and live nearby"

Photos: "photos I like," "photos of my family," "photos of my friends before 1999," "photos of my friends taken in New York," "photos of the Eiffel Tower"

Places: "restaurants in San Francisco," "cities visited by my family," "Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India," "tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends," "restaurants in New York liked by chefs," "countries my friends have visited"

Interests: "music my friends like," "movies liked by people who like movies I like," "languages my friends speak," "strategy games played by friends of my friends," "movies liked by people who are film directors," "books read by CEOs"

It's not the big web search competitor some were speculating about earlier today and the team are keen to point out the differences:

"Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: "hip hop") and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: "my friends in New York who like Jay-Z") to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that's been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses."

Facebook users just love to constantly use the site then whine about how it's not private or secure enough and it's clear the team have already prepared for that kind of criticism by pointing out that Graph Search has been built "with privacy in mind" and no matter what you search for the privacy and settings of each separate piece of content will be respected.

There have been mixed reactions to the news so far, with many wondering why a network that's dedicated to connecting you with people you know is suddenly so concerned with helping you find new people. Some of the searches certainly do seem a bit like a creepy dating tool and social media is sleazy enough without an added way for scumbags to find us. However, when it comes to helping you find out more about your friends then it seems like a good idea. We think.

Obviously social media land is already speculating about what the news means for businesses, as searches that are concerned with pages were mentioned at the event, like "sushi restaurants that my friends have been to in Los Angeles", which could open up places, events and brands to an even wider audience.

Read the official Graph Search post over on the Facebook Newsroom. You can sign up to the beta version of Graph Search here:

facebook-event-invite-1.jpgFacebook is holding a big, top secret, super special event at its headquarters in California this evening, which has lead to all kinds of speculation today about what Zuckerberg and the team will be announcing or unveiling to a sea of hard to please tech journalists.

No matter how secretive tech events are nowadays, we can usually all guess what's going to happen, but so far rumours about Facebook's shindig this evening range from the social network launching a phone to beefing up its search offering. All we've got to go on is the invite that was sent to US journalists on the right, which makes it sound like the team could have been "building" anything from a new app to a bloody castle. So what might happen and what will it mean for us regular users?

A search engine within Facebook

We genuinely haven't got a clue what's going to happen tonight, but if we HAD to put money on it, then judging from today's column inches it's got something to do with beefed up search functionality.

Zuckerberg has mentioned his desire to add different levels of search integration into the social network a few times in the past, but it could range from a comprehensive Facebook-branded search engine, a Quora-style question and answer format or just a few more ways to search the web with the platform's current Bing tie-in.

The long awaited Facebook phone

Just like the search engine idea, we've been hearing rumours about a Facebook phone for as long as we can remember too.

However, we're pretty sure even Zuckerberg wouldn't have been able to keep the lid on a finished product without some random piece of hardware from some random factory leaking, so as interesting as it'd be we'll probably have to wait a little longer for the elusive Facebook phone.

A new way to send and receive messages

Granted this rumour is nowhere near as exciting or clearly defined as a new phone or way to search the web, but given Facebook's been tinkering around with Poke, rolling out a way for users to pay to send messages and playing around with a VoIP-based calling service, we'd love to see these changes all added to one new messaging package that'll really change the way we communicate with one another.

Then again the main benefits of Poke have been to send self destructive photos and paying to harass people you don't know just sounds like a breeding ground for weirdos. GREAT ZUCK, JUST WHAT WE WERE AFTER. NAKED PHOTOS OF STALKERS.

new-facebook-timeline copy.jpg

We first heard about the changes Facebook intended on making to all of our timelines AGAIN late last year and now it seems they're slowly being rolled out to users in New Zealand.

Now admittedly the changes are fairly minor, your timeline will soon consist of one larger column on the left that's reserved for posts that you and your friends have shared. The right-hand column will contain everything else, like recent activities, your friends list, the music you've been playing and so on. See, it really won't make that much of a difference. Although those that like featuring their big life events and showing off about stuff will now find that content doesn't get stretched across your whole profile anymore, but instead just sits at the top of the left hand column.

Interestingly a lot of US-based tech press have today been invited along to an event at Facebook HQ next Thursday. Although nothing has been officially revealed about what's going down at the event, the invite does read "come and see what we're building", which sounds rather exciting, right?

[Via Digital Trends]

facebook-messenger-voice.jpgFacebook has updated its Messenger application this week to allow people to send voice messages to one another, which could be cute and funny or just really REALLY annoying.

When you visit the Messenger application from an iOS or Android device today you'll see that when you click "+" next to the message box you now have the option to attach a photo, take a new photo or record your voice. Just hold down the record button, say what you have to say and release it again when you're done.

Facebook is certainly realising the importance of quick mobile messaging, as it launched its Snapchat-like disposable message application Poke just before Christmas.

Facebook Messenger is available from iTunes and Google Play for free.

facebook-small.jpgWe all know Facebook's the best place to boast about what you're eating, doing and seeing, but most of us also know that boasting about your criminal activity and drunken antics is never a good idea, even if you think it's only your nearest and dearest that you're sharing them with.

Well a teen over in the US has learnt that lesson the hard way after his status update about drink driving on the social network led to him getting arrested.

Jacob Cox-Brown wrote:

"Drivin drunk... classsic ;) but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P."

We love the use of emoticons Jacob, bravo.

Shortly after, not one but two of Cox-Brown's friends contacted the police, who just so happened to be investigating a case of dangerous driving that led to two damaged vehicles. He's since been charged with two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver. We guess those duties include not getting blind drunk and not playing dodgems with other people's cars.

The local Astoria police issued a press release about the incident:

"Astoria Police have an active social media presence. It was a private Facebook message to one of our officers that got this case moving, though. When you post...on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long."

Although we don't imagine most of us take part in illegal activity, boast about it online or have lots of friends that would tell the police about it all, it's still interesting to see that the authorities are now actively following up cases that involve social media more than ever.

[Via Cnet]

facebook-messaging.jpgMost Facebook users will find that when they check their Messages they've got two distinct inboxes, the regular Inbox and the Other inbox. If you've tweaked your settings it may work a little differently, but most people will find that the regular Inbox is full of messages from friends and the Other inbox contains (often creepy) messages from people that you're not friends with or don't have any mutual friends in common with.

In our opinion this system works fairly well, after a quick scroll through our Other inbox there's just a few random "hi" messages, a couple of strange requests and spam. We're glad all that's tucked far away from important messages from people we know.

However, the LA Times has reported this week that Facebook could introduce a new feature to allow people to pay for their messages to show up in the regular Inbox of people they don't know, which sounds really silly and bloody irritating.

The test appears to have only been rolled out to a small number of users in the US and these weird, spammy messages start at $1 to send. In a release sent out this week, Facebook said:

"If you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox.

"For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them."

Granted they're all valuable points, but Facebook maybe doesn't realise there are numerous ports of call for if you admired someone who spoke at an event or want to contact someone about a job opportunity, like oh, Twitter, Linkedin or good old fashioned email.

Facebook seems to be defending the test by saying some people have been annoyed in the past to learn important messages have been sent to the Other inbox, when really it's just an excuse to bring in a bit more revenue.

[Via LA Times]

facebook-makes-you-fat.jpgFacebook's regularly blamed for everything, from making us thicker to breaking up marriages and relationship left, right and centre. But today a new study reveals that it could be making us fat and spend too much as well. Great news.

According to The Telegraph today, interacting with close friends on social networking sites raises your confidence, which then reduces the power of self control and makes you more likely to grab that chocolate bar or splurge on stuff you don't need.

The research comes from a wider study from researchers at Columbia and Pittsburgh Universities, which aims to illustrate the significant effect social networking sites can have on society as a whole. The researchers carried out a series of tests and found that the raising of self esteem by chatting to friends appears to correlate with bad behaviour:

"Using online social networks can have a positive effect on self-esteem and well-being. However, these increased feelings of self-worth can have a detrimental effect on behaviour.

"Because consumers care about the image they present to close friends, social network use enhances self-esteem in users who are focused on close friends while browsing their social network. This momentary increase in self-esteem leads them to display less self-control."

The research itself seems a bit far-fetched and it's very different to past studies we've come across, which actually suggest that more time on social networks decreases our self esteem. However, the researchers are keen to point out that their studies are focused on "strong ties" with close friends and we'd still bet that interacting with people you don't know so well and "stalking" photos can still make you feel a bit rubbish after a while, because you'll start craving more meaningful interactions. But hey, at least you won't be fat and blow all of your money that way.

[Via Telegraph Image via Deneyterrio's Flickr]


Despite the fact everyone makes such a big deal about Facebook being a big baddy that wants us to sign our lives away and expose everything we do to the public, if you spend enough time digging through the settings you'll actually find you have complete control over EVERYTHING Facebook related.

However, the settings are changed regularly and it can be hard to find exactly what means what within them, which is why the social network is set to roll out a number of changes for its users this week to give them more control over their data.

The changes were first announced in an ABC News report earlier in the month and according to various sources they're being rolled out to users in New Zealand already. Yeah, we're not sure why they get them first either.

The most notable change is that instead of being some confusing, jargon-like labyrinth, privacy and data settings will be much MUCH simpler. A new privacy shortcuts menu will be added to the top of every Facebook profile and it'll allow you to review your settings with super simple terminology, like "Who can see my stuff?" and "Who can contact me?". Of course there'll be ways to delve deeper if you find that kind of language a bit condescending, but it's great to see Facebook implementing these options, especially for younger users or those who aren't as well versed in social media speak.

Some other new features include more educational messages and an easier way to browse through and untag yourself from photos with options to choose from as to why you've done it, with "it makes me sad" as our all time favourite thing about Facebook. Ever.

[Via The Next Web and ABC News]

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