LinkedIn will help people in India train for semi-skilled jobs

Microsoft has launched Project Sangam, a cloud service integrated with LinkedIn that will help train and generate employment for middle and low-skilled workers.

The professional network that was acquired by Microsoft in December has been generally associated with educated urban professionals but the company is now planning to extend its reach to semi-skilled people in India.

Having connected white-collared professionals around the world with the right job opportunities and training through LinkedIn Learning, the platform is now developing a new set of products that extends this service to low- and semi-skilled workers, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at an event on digital transformation in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Project Sangam, which is in private preview, is “the first project that is now the coming together of LinkedIn and Microsoft, where we are building this cloud service with deep integration with LinkedIn, so that we can start tackling that enormous challenge in front of us of how to provide every person in India the opportunity to skill themselves for the jobs that are going to be available.”

LinkedIn also plans a placement product for college graduates that will help students finds jobs regardless of whether they studied at top universities or not, Nadella added.

Microsoft announced earlier in the day its Skype Lite, a version of Skype that consumes less data. The company is also offering a ‘lite’ version of LinkedIn, reflecting the need for vendors to factor in low Internet bandwidth, usually running on low-cost and inadequately featured smartphones, when designing products for markets in countries like India.

LinkedIn Lite works on 2G links and is four times faster than the original LinkedIn client, Nadella said.

A large number of low-skilled and semi-skilled workers that Microsoft is targeting with its Sangam project still use feature phones, which will likely be a challenge as Microsoft tries to popularize the service.

Nadella has also backed a controversial Indian government sponsored project to use biometric data collected from over 1 billion people as an authentication mechanism for a variety of services offered by both the government and the private sector.

The project, called India Stack, aims to use a biometric system, called Aadhaar, to facilitate the digital exchange of information. Microsoft said on Tuesday that Skype Lite would support Aadhaar authentication, pointing out to potential uses of the technology such as for verifying the identity of a candidate for a video job interview. Project Sangam too offers authentication using Aadhaar.

Skype Lite is another example of how India Stack is driving the company’s innovation agenda, Nadella said in Mumbai. He announced in Bangalore on Monday that the company’s end user products including Windows would be “great participants in the India Stack.”

The Aadhaar project has been criticized by privacy activists for collecting biometric information such as the fingerprints and iris scans of people in a central database, which could be misused by both governments and hackers who might get access to the data.The government has been trying to extend the use of Aadhaar, initially designed for the distribution of government benefits and subsidies, to a variety of financial and other services.

“It is indeed shameful that Microsoft is supporting the centralized surveillance project of the Indian government which has dramatically increased the fragility of the Indian information society,” said Sunil Abraham, executive director of Bangalore-based research organization, the Centre for Internet and Society.

“As Indian citizens we must realize that Microsoft will have our biometrics or our authentication factors that can be used to frame us in crimes or clean out our bank accounts,” he added.

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Sterling K. Brown’s Emotional Facebook Live After ‘Memphis’ Episode

Spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us, plot details from “Memphis” will be revealed.

Even Sterling K. Brown was left weeping after Tuesday’s episode — and he knew what was coming before the fans did!

Immediately following the show, the actor hosted a 12-minute Facebook Live — which was more like a therapy session — to answer questions and comments from followers, and was overcome with emotion while reflecting back on the death of his on-screen character Randall’s father, William Hill (played by Ron Cephas Jones).

“I’ve seen this episode a few times now and it still gets me. Proud of this show. Proud of the work. So happy to be a part of something like this,” Brown said.

“Nobody knew that this show was going to be what it has become. We knew that it was something that we were proud of and we felt that it could be something that moved people and touched people, but to see the way in which you all are responding and feeling,” he continued. “It’s not my goal to bring you to tears. That happens to be the byproduct of what we do. Tears do happen to come, but I want you to feel connected and recognize that we’re all in this together and that no man or woman is on an island unto themselves.”

http://people.com/

http://people.com/
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Brown, who shared that he had an uncle die from cancer, wanted fans to know that he went through a similar experience as Randall.

“If you have family that you haven’t talked to in a while or friends that you feel that you have gotten out of touch with, then call them up. And let ‘em know how much you love them and how much you care because tomorrow is not promised,” Brown said as he wiped away tears from his eyes.

“You got to let the people know while they’re here how much they’re appreciated and how much you love them,” he added. “There are a lot of people who have to deal with the grief of losing people from this horrible disease, this debilitating disease. I want those people to know that they’re not alone — that in some small way, we are here with you.”

And Brown wasn’t the only This Is Us star to tear up. “I couldn’t tweet through the tears. I have no words just love & admiration,” Chrissy Metz tweeted.

In the episode, a weak (but determined) William and Randall take a road trip to Memphis, and experience some quality father/son bonding along the way. In the midst of discovering a whole new family, Randall is quick to realize William’s true intentions for the trip — he is heading home to die.

http://people.com/

http://people.com/
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

After William stopped his chemotherapy treatments in the midseason return, his fate was left hanging in the balance, a move that Cephas Jones thinks ultimately “worked out beautifully.”

“Up until a certain episode, there was still a question on whether he was going to die, whether there was going to be a cure for him,” he said. “Up to a certain point, I realized through Dan [Fogelman, the show’s creator,] that he’s definitely going to pass away. We just have to get there and we’ll see how we get there.”

But it may not be the final time fans will see Cephas Jones. “We could see young William. We’ve created a world there,” directors and executive producers John Requa and Glenn Ficarra said.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC.

Sterling K. Brown’s Emotional Facebook Live After ‘Memphis’ Episode

Spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us, plot details from “Memphis” will be revealed.

Even Sterling K. Brown was left weeping after Tuesday’s episode — and he knew what was coming before the fans did!

Immediately following the show, the actor hosted a 12-minute Facebook Live — which was more like a therapy session — to answer questions and comments from followers, and was overcome with emotion while reflecting back on the death of his on-screen character Randall’s father, William Hill (played by Ron Cephas Jones).

“I’ve seen this episode a few times now and it still gets me. Proud of this show. Proud of the work. So happy to be a part of something like this,” Brown said.

“Nobody knew that this show was going to be what it has become. We knew that it was something that we were proud of and we felt that it could be something that moved people and touched people, but to see the way in which you all are responding and feeling,” he continued. “It’s not my goal to bring you to tears. That happens to be the byproduct of what we do. Tears do happen to come, but I want you to feel connected and recognize that we’re all in this together and that no man or woman is on an island unto themselves.”

http://people.com/

http://people.com/
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Brown, who shared that he had an uncle die from cancer, wanted fans to know that he went through a similar experience as Randall.

“If you have family that you haven’t talked to in a while or friends that you feel that you have gotten out of touch with, then call them up. And let ‘em know how much you love them and how much you care because tomorrow is not promised,” Brown said as he wiped away tears from his eyes.

“You got to let the people know while they’re here how much they’re appreciated and how much you love them,” he added. “There are a lot of people who have to deal with the grief of losing people from this horrible disease, this debilitating disease. I want those people to know that they’re not alone — that in some small way, we are here with you.”

And Brown wasn’t the only This Is Us star to tear up. “I couldn’t tweet through the tears. I have no words just love & admiration,” Chrissy Metz tweeted.

In the episode, a weak (but determined) William and Randall take a road trip to Memphis, and experience some quality father/son bonding along the way. In the midst of discovering a whole new family, Randall is quick to realize William’s true intentions for the trip — he is heading home to die.

http://people.com/

http://people.com/
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

After William stopped his chemotherapy treatments in the midseason return, his fate was left hanging in the balance, a move that Cephas Jones thinks ultimately “worked out beautifully.”

“Up until a certain episode, there was still a question on whether he was going to die, whether there was going to be a cure for him,” he said. “Up to a certain point, I realized through Dan [Fogelman, the show’s creator,] that he’s definitely going to pass away. We just have to get there and we’ll see how we get there.”

But it may not be the final time fans will see Cephas Jones. “We could see young William. We’ve created a world there,” directors and executive producers John Requa and Glenn Ficarra said.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC.

Why Is Facebook Helping Fund CPAC?

The social networking giant caught all kinds of flak for its role in the 2016 election. But that isn’t stopping it from bankrolling a huge, often-controversial conservative confab.

A pillar of famously liberal Silicon Valley is underwriting Washington’s biggest gathering of conservatives.

Sources with direct knowledge of the matter tell The Daily Beast that Facebook made a six-figure contribution to CPAC, the yearly conference for conservative activists which will feature President Donald Trump, White House advisor Steve Bannon, NRA president Wayne LaPierre, and other right-wing favorites.

Facebook’s contribution is worth more than $120,000, according to our sources. Half of that is cash, and the other half is in-kind support for CPAC’s operations. Facebook will have a space at the conference for attendees to film Facebook Live videos, and will also train people on best practices for using the social network and Instagram.

Matt Schlapp—chairman of the American Conservative Union, which funds the gathering—told The Daily Beast his group welcomes Facebook’s participation.

“We are glad Facebook agreed to be at CPAC and to acknowledge the importance of conservatives to their company, and we continue to work with them on issues important to conservatives,” he said.

“Facebook participates in events hosted by organizations across the political spectrum,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “Our presence allows us to facilitate an open dialogue where people can share their views and create content to engage their audiences, just as we did during other political events such as the Republican and Democratic Party conventions. Our involvement is not an endorsement of any particular position or platform.”

Facebook also regularly sponsors Netroots Nation, an annual conference for progressive activists. This isn’t the first year it has sponsored CPAC.

But that was before Facebook’s political work generated so much controversy——both inside the company and within the broader Silicon Valley community. In September of 2016, The Daily Beast revealed that Palmer Luckey—the founder of the Oculus Rift virtual reality system, bought by Facebook for $2 billion—was meeting with alt-right icon Milo Yiannopoulos and secretly funding a project to attack Hillary Clinton online; activists launched a campaign immediately afterwards to boycott the firm, and Luckey disappeared from public view for months thereafter.

The Wall Street Journal reported in October that Trump’s own Facebook posts fueled intense debate within the company about what kind of content was acceptable——particularly his calls for a ban on Muslims from entering the U.S. Mark Zuckerberg himself had to determine that Trump’s posts were okay, according to the paper’s report. And The New York Times reported that after Trump won the election, some company employees worried the spread of racist memes and fake news on the site may have boosted his candidacy.

“A fake story claiming Pope Francis—actually a refugee advocate—endorsed Mr. Trump was shared almost a million times, likely visible to tens of millions,” Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina who studies the social impact of technology, told the Times. “Its correction was barely heard. Of course Facebook had significant influence in this last election’s outcome.”

The American Conservative Union has also been highly critical of Facebook in the past. On May 26, 2016, the group announced it had declined an invitation from Facebook to participate in a roundtable meeting for conservative leaders. That was when Facebook faced significant criticism from the right for its news feed curation practices. Many argued that the social network deliberately blocked conservative outlets’ stories from widespread distribution, so Facebook held an event to try to quell conservative concerns.

“We believe this is more than just a matter of bias; in fact, we’d go so far as to say it is a matter of free speech,” the ACU said in a statement. “And while we appreciated the invitation to attend Facebook’s recent meeting with conservative leaders and members of the media, we felt it necessary to decline that invitation in lieu of some real movement by the company to make a change in their practices.”

ACU Executive Director Dan Schneider wrote a letter on May 23, 2016, to Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, asking his committee to interview Facebook whistleblowers about the controversy and “root out existing problems and then work with Facebook to fix them” so that the Federal Trade Commission would not have to intervene.

“We always believe voluntary compliance is superior to governmental intervention,” Schneider added.

CPAC this year will feature a bevy of Trump allies, including boosters of the president’s travel ban executive order. One panel at the event, featuring Republican members of Congress, is titled, “If Heaven Has A Gate, A Wall, And Extreme Vetting, Why Can’t America?”

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The event will also feature Breitbart News senior editor Joel Pollak, Citizens United president David Bossie, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Clarke is famous for making incendiary comments, including for predicting that Black Lives Matter activists will team up with ISIS to destroy America.

It’s an attitude that might put Clarke at odds with a broad swath of Silicon Valley, which trends left politically.

Coraline Ada Ehmke, a software developer who also works with tech companies to limit on-platform harassment, said Facebook’s donation to CPAC is a “betrayal” of its commitment to diversity.

“They’re betraying every immigrant, every woman, every Muslim, every person of color and every transgender employee that they have,” she said.

“Facebook has been touting that they got a 100 percent ranking from the Human Rights Campaign. With this, Facebook is talking out of both sides of their mouth,” said Ehmke.

“You can’t tout diversity efforts and simultaneously work to undermine the rights of those you are trying to recruit,” she added.

CPAC generated its fair share of controversy this year, when it invited Yiannopoulos, a now-former Breitbart editor, to speak. CPAC promptly uninvited Yiannopoulos after video surfaced of him discussing favorably discussing pedophilia.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has himself publicly gone after Trump for some of his more controversial policies. Zuckerberg criticized Trump’s travel ban in a post on the social networking site, for example, saying he was “concerned” by Trump’s executive orders.

“We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help,” he wrote. “That’s who we are.”

—with additional reporting by Ben Collins