Facebook goes ahead with an app for kids

Facebook is forging ahead with its messaging app for kids, despite child experts who have pressed the company to shut it down ad others who questioned Facebook’s financial support of some advisers who approved the app. “We sometimes provide funding to cover programmatic or logistics expenses, to make sure our work together can have the most impact,” Facebook said.

Messenger Kids lets kids under 13 chat with friends and family. It displays no ads and lets partners approve who their children message. But critics say it serves to lure kids into harmful social media use and to hook young people on Facebook as it tries to compete with Snapchat or its own Instagram app.

They say kids shouldn’t be on such apps at all – although they often are. “It is disturbing that Facebook, in the face of widespread concern, is aggressively marketing Messenger Kids to even more children,” the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said this week. Facebook has touted a team of advisers, academics and families who helped shape the app in the year before it launched.

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Oprah on Prez bid: Not for me, I lack the DNA for it

Chat show icon Oprah Winfrey has brushed off speculation she might run for US President in 2020, saying in an interview published on Thursday that she lacks “the DNA for it”. When Winfrey delivered a rousing speech at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month, it rekindled longstanding speculation over the billionaire’s political ambitions – and a possible run for the Oval Office. Some democrats – still reeling from Hillary Clinto’s shock loss to Donald Trump – have embraced the idea of having their own celebrity candidate the next time around.

But in an interview with InStyle, carried out three weeks before the Globes published in the fashion magazine’s March issue, the 63-year-old downplayed the idea of a presidential run, saying, “That’s not for me. I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not,” said the self-made-entertainment tycoon. “And so it’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it,” she added.

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Putin to seek new term as Russian president

Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he would seek a new six-year term in the country’s March elections in a move that would make him the longest serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.

Putin, who has been in power for the last 18 years, is expected to sail to victory, with only token opponents competing against him. “I will offer my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian Federation,” he said at the GAZ factory in Nizhny Novgorod, surrounded by workers.

Putin’s widely expected announcement came as Russia reeled from a decision by the International Olympic Committee to ban the country from the Winter Games as punishment over claims of state-orchestrated doping. But despite a litany of mounting problems including corruption, poverty and poor healthcare, the 65-year-old leader enjoys approval ratings of some 80 percent. Just hours earlier, Putin had declined to confirm his candidacy at a glitzy event dedicated to volunteers.

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