Delhi High Court stays online sale of drugs, prescribed medicines


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Delhi High Court stays online sale of drugs, prescribed medicines


अब नहीं खरीद पाएंगे ऑनलाइन दवा, दिल्ली हाईकोर्ट ने E-Pharmacy पर लगाई रोक

प्रतीकात्मक फोटो.

नई दिल्ली : दिल्ली हाईकोर्ट ने ऑनलाइन फार्मेसी (E-Pharmacy) द्वारा इंटरनेट पर दवाओं की बिक्री पर रोक लगा दी. इन दवाओं में डॉक्टर के पर्चे पर लिखी गईं दवाएं भी शामिल हैं. मुख्य न्यायाधीश राजेंद्र मेनन और न्यायमूर्ति वीके राव की पीठ ने उस याचिका पर अंतरिम आदेश दिया, जिसमें दवाओं की ऑनलाइन ‘गैरकानूनी’ बिक्री पर रोक लगाने की मांग की गई.

अदालत ने इससे पहले इस याचिका पर केंद्र, दिल्ली सरकार, केंद्रीय औषधि मानक नियंत्रण संगठन, भारतीय फार्मेसी परिषद से जवाब मांगा. अदालत ने इस मामले में आगे की सुनवाई के लिए अगले साल 25 मार्च की तारीख तय की. डॉक्टर जहीर अहमद द्वारा दायर याचिका में कहा गया है कि दवाओं की ऑनलाइन गैरकानूनी बिक्री से दवाओं के दुरुपयोग जैसी समस्याएं पैदा हो सकती हैं. 

टिप्पणियां


बता दें कि इस साल सितंबर में स्वास्थ्य मंत्रालय ने दवाओं की ऑनलाइन बिक्री का एक ड्राफ्ट बनाया था. इसके मुताबिक, ऑनलाइन दवाओं की बिक्री के लिए ई फार्मेसी को एक केंद्रीय प्राधिकार के पास पंजीकरण करवाना होगा. इन कंपनियों को मादक द्रव्यों की बिक्री की अनुमति नहीं होगी. ऑनलाइन फार्मेसी को केंद्रीय औषध मानक नियंत्रण संगठन (सीडीएससीओ) के यहां पंजीकरण करवाना होगा.

(इनपुट: भाषा)



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Amazon Launches Spark in India, a Community-Driven Experience for Online Shoppers


Amazon India on Thursday launched “Spark”, a new feature that is aimed to bring a community-driven experience to online shopping in the country. The new feature seems to be highly inspired by Instagram and uses customers’ browsing and shopping behaviour to provide them with a personalised feed. It not only allows you to post your stories, polls, questions, or ideas alongside images and hashtags – just as a social network – but also lets other Amazon customers react to your posts with comments and “smiles”. This is similar to how you usually like or favourite social media posts. Importantly, Amazon brought the Spark feature in the US last year.

With Spark, Amazon India believes that customers will be able to find content from influencers, brands, and publishers as well as community content from select, qualifying customers. The feature also offers community rewards majorly in the form of comments and smiles and badges. Additionally, the company trends from your browsing and shopping behaviour to personalise your feed.

The ultimate goal with the Spark feature is to enhance product discovery by offering a community experience. While the way the feature gathers different posts under one roof looks similar to Pinterest, the ability to tag different items to your images, hashtags, and the comments system makes it similar to Instagram. However, unlike a social network including Pinterest or Instagram, Amazon Spark revolves content around the products available through the online marketplace.

There two tabs on the Amazon Spark page, namely Feed and Explore. The Feed tab brings the content based on your interests. In contrast, the Explore tab allows you to view the content based on different categories such as Tech & Gadgets, Women’s Style, Food & Drink, and DIY, Arts, & Crafts.

Amazon also lets you create your post for the Spark feature with an image, poll, link, or a question. Once created, you can tag up to five interests. These interests are in line with the categories available on the Amazon.in site. This means you’ll get interests such as Cameras, Computers, Electronics, or Mobile & Tablets.

A bag icon is displayed with the Spark post if there is an image that shows a product which is available on Amazon.in. You just need to click on that bag icon to directly to the listing of that product. Also, there is a view count that is available just below the images shared to let you see how many times the images are being viewed.

To get started with Amazon Spark, you just need to select the Spark option from the left menu of the Amazon app on your smartphone. Alternatively, you can visit the Spark page directly on the Web.

“With Spark’s interest-based social community and content model, we are aiming to make product discoverability easy and convenient as well as fun,” says Kishore Thota, Amazon.in’s Director of Customer Engagement, in a press statement. “We are thus using this community content and experience to enhance product discovery by tagging products to content and making them seamlessly ‘shop-able’.”

India isn’t the first market for Amazon Spark. The company, in fact, launched the feature in the US back in July last year, as reported by TechCrunch. It was initially developed for mobile devices, though it’s currently accessible through desktops as well.

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Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy S10+ Renders Leak Online, Shows Infinity-O Type Display


Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy S10+ Renders Leak Online, Shows Infinity-O Type Display

Photo Credit: MobileFun

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, Samsung Galaxy S10, and Samsung Galaxy S10+ renders

Samsung is largely expected to launch three variants of the Galaxy S10 next year. Renders for all the three variants has now leaked online, along with leaks of the protective film and a separate render of the Galaxy S10 Lite as well. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite is expected to be the cheapest variant of all, and the Galaxy S10+ is expected to be the most premium. All the three variants will sport the Infinity-O type display with the hole for selfie camera design. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is expected to sport dual front cameras, whereas the other two to sport single cut outs up front.

Olixar has already started selling protective cases and covers of the Samsung Galaxy S10. The MobileFun listings suggest that all the three variants will look the same up front – with the Galaxy S10 Lite sporting a 5.8-inch display, the Galaxy S10 sporting a 6.1-inch display, and the Galaxy S10+ sporting a 6.4-inch display. This listing was spotted by SamMobile first.

The first two variants are seen to sport a triple camera setup at the back, while the Galaxy S10+ variant is seen to sport quad cameras at the back. There’s no rear fingerprint scanner in sight, so it’s either mounted on the side or underneath the display. The most premium variant is tipped to sport an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, while the cheapest variant may mount it on the side edges.

A separate leak, courtesy tipster Ice Universe, of the protective film confirms the front of the Galaxy S10 Lite. It reiterates the Infinity-O type display design, lending more weight to recent rumours. He has also published a concept render showing off the same front of the Galaxy S10 Lite as the Olixar listings.

galaxys10 cases iceuniverse main samsung galaxy s10

Photo Credit: Twitter/ Ice Universe

The tipster also notes that the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite will sport a 5.8-inch 2K+ Super AMOLED display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will sport a 6.1-inch 2K+ Super AMOLED display with 19:9 aspect ratio, and the Samsung Galaxy S10+ will sport a 6.4-inch 2K+ Super AMOLED display with 19:9 aspect ratio.

Apart from the regular models, Samsung is currently in the news for developing a 10th-anniversary Galaxy S10 model that is codenamed “Beyond X” and is speculated to have 5G support as well as a total of six cameras. The new flagship is expected to arrive early next year.





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Bangladesh Briefly Shuts 58 Online News Sites, Due To Security Concerns


The 58 sites were not registered with the information ministry, official said. (Representational)

Dhaka: 

Bangladesh’s telecoms regulator shut down dozens of online news portals for several hours on Monday, citing security reasons, as officials scrutinise hundreds of sites before a parliamentary election this month.

The move comes as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government is already facing criticism for introducing laws that many journalists fear are aimed at curbing press freedom. 

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) asked International Internet Gateway (IIG) operators to block 58 news sites, BTRC spokesman Zakir Hossain Khan said, without elaborating on the security concerns. The portals were inaccessible for at least 12 hours.

“When an issue is raised to us by the commission which is related to law and order of the country, we are bound to comply,” IIG President Sarwar Alam Shikder said.

The 58 sites were found to be not registered with the information ministry and therefore their content was being examined, said Abdul Malek, an official at the ministry.

“It is the responsibility of this ministry to bring all news portals under a system so that they can run smoothly,” he said, adding that hundreds of websites were under scrutiny.

While Hasina’s government has won widespread global praise for letting in hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar, its critics have decried her increasingly authoritarian rule, the government’s handling of student protests this year and its crackdown on free speech.

The election is being held on December 30.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

For the latest News & Live Updates on Election Results from each assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh,Rajasthan,Mizoram,Chhattisgarh,Telangana, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for updates.





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Vivo Nex 2 With 10GB RAM Spotted on GeekBench, New Renders Leaked Online


Vivo Nex 2 With 10GB RAM Spotted on GeekBench, New Renders Leaked Online

Photo Credit: Weibo

Vivo Nex 2 is said to sport dual displays and triple rear cameras

The first Vivo Nex grabbed headlines for its true bezel-less display design and pop-up motorised selfie camera setup. In a bid to keep the uniqueness alive, Vivo is said to be bringing two screens on the upcoming Vivo Nex 2. The device seems to have taken inspiration from the recently launched Nubia X, and now it has been spotted on GeekBench with 10GB RAM and Android Pie software. The Vivo Nex 2 has also been leaked in photos once again, and this time specs have also leaked alongside.

The Vivo Nex 2 has been spotted on GeekBench with model number Vivo V1821A and it is listed to sport 10GB RAM., reiterating previous leaks. The listing suggests that the smartphone will sport a Snapdragon 845 processor, and not the new Snapdragon 855 SoC launched recently. Furthermore, the smartphone is listed to run on Android Pie out-of-the-box.

The images leaked on Weibo are similar to the renders and photos leaked in the past, and they show two screens – one in the front and one at the back. There’s no front camera, but there are three cameras supported with a flash at the back. There’s also a ring-shaped fill light at the back of the device. The tipster notes that the Vivo Nex 2 will sport one 6.56-inch bezel-less display up front, and a smaller 5.5-inch display at the back as well. The tipster reiterates that the smartphone will not sport a Snapdragon 855 processor, and suggests that the battery will also shrink in size, when compared to the predecessor, to make room for the second screen.

In any case, the Vivo Nex 2 is set to launch on December 11, and the company has already started taking registrations in China. The smartphone is also being teased regularly running up to the launch, and it’s only a matter of time, before all the details become official.



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Online Registration For Drone Operation Starts


Under the norms, drone users will be required to do one-time registration of their drones.

Mumbai: 

Civil Aviation Ministry announced Saturday it has started the registration process for drone operators in the country, to be done through a portal called ‘Digital Sky’.

The government, in August, had put in place regulations for operations of remotely piloted aircraft, to come into effect from December 1.

Under these norms, drone users will be required to do one-time registration of their drones. They will also need to register the pilots of drones as well as their owners.

“Happy to announce that we are launching the Online Registration Portal for #Drone Flying Permission, #DigitalSky from TODAY. The platform is now live,” Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet.

For drones of micro size and above categories, operators are required to register on the Digital Sky portal, he said in another tweet.

Nano drones can start flying legally from Saturday, the ministry said in a release later.

It also said the digital platform has begun accepting registrations of users, and payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh portal (bharatkosh.gov.in).

According to the ministry, to get the permission to fly, RPAS (remotely piloted aerial system) or drone operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan.

“Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’,” the ministry said.

The location of these zones will be announced soon. Permission will be made available digitally on the portal, it added.

To prevent unauthorised flights and ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit will not be able to take off.

“Drones are an industry of the future. India will be taking lead in this sector and will be working with countries around the world to develop common, scaleable standards. This industry has a large potential for Make in India and also to export drones and services from India,” Prabhu was quoted as saying in the release.

The ministry has constituted a task-force on the recommendation of Drone Policy 2.0 under junior minister Jayant Sinha.

The task-force is expected to release its final report by the end of this year. Drone 2.0 framework for RPAS is expected to include regulatory architecture for autonomous flying, delivery via drones and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, the ministry said in the release.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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Inmates Posing As Women Online Blackmailed Hundreds Of Troops


South Carolina inmates victimized hundreds of people, investigators say. (Representational image)

The South Carolina inmates filled their time posing as women and scrolling social media and dating sites until a few key details caught their eye.

Cropped hair. Proximity to military bases. Maybe a photo or two in uniform.

Then, the messages to entrap and blackmail service members began from within the walls of South Carolina correctional facilities, crafted with a simple and terrifying scheme, authorities said.

After romantic messages and racy photos were exchanged, prisoners would pose as the fictitious girl’s father, telling victims that she was underage and the images constituted child pornography.

Pay money to make it go away, the inmates demanded, or police would be notified.

In all, 442 troops from across the country fell prey, paying out more than $560,000 in the so called “sextortion” scheme, authorities said Wednesday, after five arrests and 15 indictments in the wake of a crackdown on an elaborate network.

“With nothing more than smartphones and a few keystrokes, South Carolina inmates along with outside accomplices victimized hundreds of people,” Daniel Andrews, an Army investigator focused on computer crimes, said in a news release.

Operation Surprise Party was launched in January 2017 by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, officials said, and later joined by Army, Air Force, state and federal agents. The announcement marked the first phase of the operation, though it is unclear when the investigation began or what alerted authorities to the practice.

More than 250 other people are under investigation and could face charges, said Jeff Houston, an NCIS spokesman.

Victimized troops paid out of fear that their careers would be jeopardized by the fake claims, officials said. Sometimes blackmailers would also pose as police. It is not clear how the extortion ring grew so elaborate or how inmates were marshaled into the operation.

NCIS could not say why troops were specifically targeted. It is possible schemers leveraged feelings of integrity and professionalism to shame military personnel. And troops are subject to both civilian and military laws – which could raise the perception that a crime would be even more personally and professionally catastrophic.

Online romance scams have frustrated military officials for years, as they disrupt military duties and erode resources.

In one common scheme, scammers steal online photos of fit men in sharp uniforms and post them on dating sites. Women looking for romance are taken in by invented stories of widowers or single parents on combat deployments and in need of money, said Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command.

Stories of wartime danger with a tinge of romance helped sell the scam. And the unpredictability and long duration of deployments provide a baked-in excuse for scammers to never quite meet or speak on the phone, Grey told The Washington Post on Wednesday.

In past years, angry calls flooded military investigator offices and other commands. Women wanted information on troops who took money and disappeared. But the troops were unwittingly used, Grey said.

The calls still come, Grey said. But increasingly, suspicious targets now call to check whether a wartime love story is just too good to be true.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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Red Dead Online Battle Royale Mode Is Called ‘Make It Count’: Report


Red Dead Online release date is November 30 for all owners of the game and while some of you may rush to get the Red Dead Online patch with a download size of 5.5GB, it appears that more information surrounding the many modes of Red Dead Online have been made public. Red Dead Online will have, as past leaks suggested, a battle royale mode. The Red Dead Online battle royale mode is called ‘Make It Count’ according to information datamined from the Rockstar Social Club site.

Unlike PUBG or Fortnite, Make It Count is limited to 32-players. Also limited is the number of weapons at your disposal while the game map shrinks. It’s one of the few Red Dead online modes available at launch in a list that includes campaign-like missions related to new character Horley. These have you going into locales like Tumbleweed and Armadillo. Twitter user Illogical Mods (via Eurogamer) snagged these details via the Rockstar Social Club.

Red Dead Online Modes

  • Most Wanted
  • Make It Count
  • Name Your Weapon
  • Team Shootout
  • Hostile Territory
  • Open Races

As per documents pertaining to the game obtained by Trusted Reviews (which has now been taken down), the open-world Wild West game will sport substantial multiplayer options.

“It remains unknown whether battle royale will operate in similar fashion to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Fortnite, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Rockstar hopes to capitalise on the popularity of those two titles,” wroteTrusted Reviews’ Jordan King at the time.

Furthermore, the post sheds light on Red Dead Redemption 2’s other modes such as Revive and Survive, and Money Grab.

“Revive and Survive pits two teams against each other as they try and stay alive. You’ll have a limited amount of time to revive your teammates before they are eliminated. Finally, Money Grab features two teams fighting to procure bags of money in a central location. You’re expected to collect and return them to your base as quickly as possible,” the report continued.

It will be interesting to see how Red Dead Online will be received. Apparently Rockstar is having issues with ensuring demand for Red Dead Redemption 2 is met if the shortages for the game at stores both online and offline in India are any indication.


If you’re a fan of video games, check out Transition, Gadgets 360’s gaming podcast. You can listen to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS, or just listen to this week’s episode by hitting the play button below.





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How Lies Become Truth In Online America


Christopher Blair has made up stories about sharia in California and immigrants defacing Mount Rushmore.

NORTH WATERBORO, Maine: 

The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed. He logged onto his website and began to invent his first news story of the day.

“BREAKING,” he wrote, pecking out each letter with his index fingers as he considered the possibilities. Maybe he would announce that Hillary Clinton had died during a secret overseas mission to smuggle more refugees into America. Maybe he would award President Donald Trump the Nobel Peace Prize for his courage in denying climate change.

A new message popped onto Blair’s screen from a friend who helped with his website. “What viral insanity should we spread this morning?” the friend asked.

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Christopher Blair, 46, in the woods near his home in North Waterboro, Maine

“The more extreme we become, the more people believe it,” Blair replied.

He had launched his new website on Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign as a practical joke among friends – a political satire site started by Blair and a few other liberal bloggers who wanted to make fun of what they considered to be extremist ideas spreading throughout the far right. In the last two years on his page, America’s Last Line of Defense, Blair had made up stories about California instituting sharia, former president Bill Clinton becoming a serial killer, undocumented immigrants defacing Mount Rushmore, and former president Barack Obama dodging the Vietnam draft when he was 9. “Share if you’re outraged!” his posts often read, and thousands of people on Facebook had clicked “like” and then “share,” most of whom did not recognize his posts as satire. Instead, Blair’s page had become one of the most popular on Facebook among Trump-supporting conservatives over 55.

“Nothing on this page is real,” read one of the 14 disclaimers on Blair’s site, and yet in the America of 2018 his stories had become real, reinforcing people’s biases, spreading onto Macedonian and Russian fake news sites, amassing an audience of as many 6 million visitors each month who thought his posts were factual. What Blair had first conceived of as an elaborate joke was beginning to reveal something darker. “No matter how racist, how bigoted, how offensive, how obviously fake we get, people keep coming back,” Blair once wrote, on his own personal Facebook page. “Where is the edge? Is there ever a point where people realize they’re being fed garbage and decide to return to reality?”

– – –

Blair’s own reality was out beyond the shuttered curtains of his office: a three-bedroom home in the forest of Maine where the paved road turned to gravel; not his house but a rental; not on the lake but near it. Over the past decade his family had moved around the country a half-dozen times as he looked for steady work, bouncing between construction and restaurant jobs while sometimes living on food stamps. During the economic crash of 2008, his wife had taken a job at Wendy’s to help pay down their credit-card debt, and Blair, a lifelong Democrat, had begun venting his political frustration online, arguing with strangers in an Internet forum called Brawl Hall. He sometimes masqueraded as a tea party conservative on Facebook so he could gain administrative access into their private groups and then flood their pages with liberal ideas before using his administrative status to shut their pages down.

He had created more than a dozen online profiles over the last years, sometimes disguising himself in accompanying photographs as a beautiful Southern blond woman or as a bandana-wearing conservative named Flagg Eagleton, baiting people into making racist or sexist comments and then publicly eviscerating them for it. In his writing Blair was blunt, witty and prolific, and gradually he’d built a liberal following on the Internet and earned a full-time job as a political blogger. On the screen, like nowhere else, he could say exactly how he felt and become whomever he wanted.

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Christopher Blair, 46, sits at his desk at home in Maine and checks his Facebook page, America’s Last Line of Defense

Now he hunched over a desk wedged between an overturned treadmill and two turtle tanks, scanning through conservative forums on Facebook for something that might inspire his next post. He was 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, and he typed several thousand words each day in all capital letters. He noticed a photo online of Trump standing at attention for the national anthem during a White House ceremony. Behind the president were several dozen dignitaries, including a white woman standing next to a black woman, and Blair copied the picture, circled the two women in red and wrote the first thing that came into his mind.

“President Trump extended an olive branch and invited Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton,” Blair wrote. “They thanked him by giving him ‘the finger’ during the national anthem. Lock them up for treason!”

Blair finished typing and looked again at the picture. The white woman was not in fact Chelsea Clinton but former White House strategist Hope Hicks. The black woman was not Michelle Obama but former Trump aide Omarosa Newman. Neither Obama nor Clinton had been invited to the ceremony. Nobody had flipped off the president. The entire premise was utterly ridiculous, which was exactly Blair’s point.

“We live in an Idiocracy,” read a small note on Blair’s desk, and he was taking full advantage. In a good month, the advertising revenue from his website earned him as much as $15,000, and it had also won him a loyal army of online fans. Hundreds of liberals now visited America’s Last Line of Defense to humiliate conservatives who shared Blair’s fake stories as fact. In Blair’s private Facebook messages with his liberal supporters, his conservative audience was made up of “sheep,” “hillbillies,” “maw-maw and paw-paw,” “TrumpTards,” “potatoes” and “taters.”

“How could any thinking person believe this nonsense?” he said. He hit the publish button and watched as his lie began to spread.

– – –

It was barely dawn in Pahrump, Nevada, when Shirley Chapian, 76, logged onto Facebook for her morning computer game of Criminal Case. She believed in starting each day with a problem-solving challenge, a quick mental exercise to keep her brain sharp more than a decade into retirement. For a while it had been the daily crossword puzzle, but then the local newspaper stopped delivering and a friend introduced her to the viral Facebook game with 65 million players. She spent an hour as a 1930s detective, interrogating witnesses and trying to parse their lies from the truth until finally she solved case No. 48 and clicked over to her Facebook news feed.

“Good morning, Shirley! Thanks for being here,” read an automated note at the top of her page. She put her finger on the mouse and began scrolling down.

“Click LIKE if you believe we must stop Sharia Law from coming to America before it’s too late,” read the first item, and she clicked “like.”

“Share to help END the ongoing migrant invasion!” read another, and she clicked “share.”

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Shirley Chapian, at her computer desk and with the screen reflected in her glasses, sometimes wakes up to check Facebook in the middle of the night

The house was empty and quiet except for the clicking of her computer mouse. She lived alone, and on many days her only personal interaction occurred here, on Facebook. Mixed into her morning news feed were photos and updates from some of her 300 friends, but most items came directly from political groups Chapian had chosen to follow: “Free Speech Patriots,” “Taking Back America,” “Ban Islam,” “Trump 2020” and “Rebel Life.” Each political page published several posts each day directly into Chapian’s feed, many of which claimed to be “BREAKING NEWS.”

On her computer the attack against America was urgent and unrelenting. Liberals were restricting free speech. Immigrants were storming the border and casting illegal votes. Politicians were scheming to take away everyone’s guns. “The second you stop paying attention, there’s another travesty underway in this country,” Chapian once wrote, in her own Facebook post, so she had decided to always pay attention, sometimes scrolling and sharing for hours at a time.

“BREAKING: Democrat mega-donor accused of sexual assault!!!”

“Is Michelle Obama really dating Bruce Springsteen?”

“Iowa Farmer Claims Bill Clinton had Sex with Cow during ‘Cocaine Party.’ “

– – –

On display above Chapian’s screen were needlepoints that had once occupied much of her free time, intricate pieces of artwork that took hundreds of hours to complete, but now she didn’t have the patience. Out her window was a dead-end road of identical beige-and-brown rock gardens surrounding double-wide trailers that looked similar to her own, many of them occupied by neighbors whom she’d never met. Beyond that was nothing but cactuses and heat waves for as far as she could see – a stretch of unincorporated land that continued from her backyard into the desert.

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Shirley Chapian’s news feed awaits her. She says she doesn’t believe everything she reads

She’d spent almost a decade in Pahrump without really knowing why. The heat could be unbearable. She had no family in Nevada. She loved going to movies, and the town of 30,000 didn’t have a theater. It seemed to her like a place in the business of luring people – into the air-conditioned casinos downtown, into the legal brothels on the edge of the desert, into the new developments of cheap housing available for no money down – and in some ways she’d become stuck, too.

She had lived much of her life in cities throughout Europe and across the United States – places such as San Francisco, New York and Miami. She’d gone to college for a few years and become an insurance adjuster, working as one of the few women in the field in the 1980s and ’90s and joining the National Organization for Women to advocate for an equal wage before eventually moving to Rhode Island to work for a hospice and care for her aging parents. After her mother died, Chapian decided to retire and move to Las Vegas to live with a friend, and when Las Vegas become too expensive a real estate agent told her about Pahrump. She bought a three-bedroom trailer for less than $100,000 and painted it purple. She met a few friends at the local senior center and started eating at the Thai restaurant in town. A few years after arriving, she bought a new computer monitor and signed up for Facebook in 2009, choosing as her profile image a photo of her cat.

“Looking to connect with friends and other like-minded people,” she wrote then.

She had usually voted for Republicans, just like her parents, but it was only on Facebook that Chapian had become a committed conservative. She was wary of Obama in the months after his election, believing him to be both arrogant and inexperienced, and on Facebook she sought out a litany of information that seemed to confirm her worst fears, unaware that some of that information was false. It wasn’t just that Obama was liberal, she read; he was actually a socialist. It wasn’t just that his political qualifications were thin; it was that he had fabricated those qualifications, including parts of his college transcripts and maybe even his birth certificate.

For years she had watched network TV news, but increasingly Chapian wondered about the widening gap between what she read online and what she heard on the networks. “What else aren’t they telling us?” she wrote once, on Facebook, and if she believed the mainstream media was becoming insufficient or biased, it was her responsibility to seek out alternatives. She signed up for a dozen conservative newsletters and began to watch Alex Jones on Infowars. One far right Facebook group eventually led her to the next with targeted advertising, and soon Chapian was following more than 2,500 conservative pages, an ideological echo chamber that often trafficked in skepticism. Climate change was a hoax. The mainstream media was censored or scripted. Political Washington was under control of a “deep state.”

Chapian didn’t believe everything she read online, but she was also distrustful of mainstream fact-checkers and reported news. It sometimes felt to her like real facts had become indiscernible – that the truth was often somewhere in between. What she trusted most was her own ability to think critically and discern the truth, and increasingly her instincts aligned with the online community where she spent most of her time. It had been months since she’d gone to a movie. It had been almost a year since she’d made the hour-long trip to Las Vegas. Her number of likes and shares on Facebook increased each year until she was sometimes awakening to check her news feed in the middle of the night, liking and commenting on dozens of posts each day. She felt as if she was being let in on a series of dark revelations about the United States, and it was her responsibility to see and to share them.

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Shirley Chapian, 76, sits in a lot near her home in Pahrump, Nevada.

“I’m not a conspiracy-theory-type person, but . . .” she wrote, before sharing a link to an unsourced story suggesting that Democratic donor George Soros had been a committed Nazi, or that a Parkland shooting survivor was actually a paid actor.

Now another post arrived in her news feed, from a page called America’s Last Line of Defense, which Chapian had been following for more than a year. It showed a picture of Trump standing at a White House ceremony. Circled in the background were two women, one black and one white.

“President Trump extended an olive branch and invited Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton,” the post read. “They thanked him by giving him ‘the finger’ during the national anthem.”

Chapian looked at the photo and nothing about it surprised her. Of course Trump had invited Clinton and Obama to the White House in a generous act of patriotism. Of course the Democrats – or “Demonrats,” as Chapian sometimes called them – had acted badly and disrespected America. It was the exact same narrative she saw playing out on her screen hundreds of times each day, and this time she decided to click ‘like’ and leave a comment.

“Well, they never did have any class,” she wrote.

– – –

Blair had invented thousands of stories in the past two years, always trafficking in the same stereotypes to fool the same people, but he never tired of watching a post take off: Eight shares in the first minute, 160 within 15 minutes, more than 1,000 by the end of the hour.

“Aaaaand, we’re viral,” he wrote, in a message to his liberal supporters on his private Facebook page. “It’s getting to the point where I can no longer control the absolute absurdity of the things I post. No matter how ridiculous, how obviously fake, or how many times you tell the same taters . . . they will still click that ‘like’ and hit that share button.”

By the standards of America’s Last Line of Defense, the item about Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton was only a moderate success. It included no advertisements, so it wouldn’t earn Blair any money. It wasn’t even the most popular of the 11 items he’d published that day. But, just an hour earlier, Blair had come up with an idea at his computer in Maine, and now hundreds or maybe thousands of people across the country believed Obama and Clinton had flipped off the president.

“Gross. Those women have no respect for themselves,” wrote a woman in Fort Washakie, Wyoming.

“They deserve to be publicly shunned,” said a man in Gainesville, Florida.

“Not surprising behavior from such ill bred trash.”

“Jail them now!!!”

Blair had fooled them. Now came his favorite part, the gotcha, when he could let his victims in on the joke.

“OK, taters. Here’s your reality check,” he wrote on America’s Last Line of Defense, placing his comment prominently alongside the original post. “That is Omarosa and Hope Hicks, not Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton. They wouldn’t be caught dead posing for this pseudo-patriotic nationalistic garbage . . . Congratulations, stupid.”

Beyond the money he earned, this was what Blair had conceived of as the purpose for his website: to engage directly with people who spread false or extremist stories and prove those stories were wrong. Maybe, after people had been publicly embarrassed, they would think more critically about what they shared online. Maybe they would begin to question the root of some of their ideas.

Blair didn’t have time to personally confront each of the several hundred thousand conservatives who followed his Facebook page, so he’d built a community of more than 100 liberals to police the page with him. Together they patrolled the comments, venting their own political anger, shaming conservatives who had been fooled, taunting them, baiting them into making racist comments that could then be reported to Facebook. Blair said he and his followers had gotten hundreds of people banned from Facebook and several others fired or demoted in their jobs for offensive behavior online. He had also forced Facebook to shut down 22 fake news sites for plagiarizing his content, many of which were Macedonian sites that reran his stories without labeling them as satire.

What Blair wasn’t sure he had ever done was change a single person’s mind. The people he fooled often came back to the page, and he continued to feed them the kind of viral content that boosted his readership and his bank account: invented stories about Colin Kaepernick, kneeling NFL players, imams, Black Lives Matter protesters, immigrants, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, Michelle and Malia Obama. He had begun to include more obvious disclaimers at the top of every post and to intentionally misspell several words in order to highlight the idiocy of his work, but still traffic continued to climb. Sometimes he wondered: Rather than of awakening people to reality, was he pushing them further from it?

“Well, they never did have any class,” commented Shirley Chapian, from Pahrump, Nevada, and Blair watched his liberal mob respond.

“That’s kind of an ironic comment coming from pure trailer trash, don’t you think?”

“You’re a gullible moron who just fell for a fake story on a Liberal satire page”

“You my dear . . . are as smart as a potato.”

– – –

“What a waste of flesh and time.”

“Welcome to the internet. Critical thinking required.”

Chapian saw the comments after her post and wondered as she often did when she was attacked: Who were these people? And what were they talking about? Of course Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton had flipped off the president. It was true to what she knew of their character. That was what mattered.

Instead of responding directly to strangers on America’s Last Line of Defense, Chapian wrote on her own Facebook page. “Nasty liberals,” she said, and then she went back to her news feed, each day blending into the next.

A Muslim woman with her burqa on fire: like. A policeman using a baton to beat a masked antifa protester: like. Hillary Clinton looking gaunt and pale: like. A military helicopter armed with machine guns and headed toward the caravan of immigrants: like.

She had spent a few hours scrolling one afternoon when she heard a noise outside her window, and she turned away from the screen to look outside. A neighbor was sweeping his sidewalk, pushing tiny white rocks back into his rock garden. The sky was an uninterrupted blue. A mailman worked his way up the empty street. There were no signs of “Sharia Law.” The migrant caravan was still hundreds of miles away in Mexico. Antifa protesters had yet to descend on Pahrump. Chapian squinted against the sun, closed the shades and went back to her screen.

A picture of undocumented immigrants laughing inside a voting booth: like.

“Deep State Alive and Well”: like.

She scrolled upon another post from America’s Last Line of Defense, reading fast, oblivious to the satire labels and not noticing Blair’s trademark awkward phrasings and misspellings. It showed a group of children kneeling on prayer mats in a classroom. “California School children forced to Sharia in Class,” it read. “All of them have stopped eating bacon. Two began speaking in Allah. Stop making children pray to imaginary Gods!!”

Chapian recoiled from the screen. “Please!” she said. “If I had a kid in a school system like that, I’d yank them out so fast.”

She had seen hundreds of stories on Facebook about the threat of sharia, and this confirmed much of what she already believed. It was probably true, she thought. It was true enough.

“Do people understand that things like this are happening in this country?” she said. She clicked the post and the traffic registered back to a computer in Maine, where Blair watched another story go viral and wondered when his audience would get his joke.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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