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Making world a better place: Microsoft

Making world a better place: Microsoft- mybigplunge


Making world a better place: Microsoft

Microsoft has been indulging in innovative steps to make the internet accessible to all parts of the world and at the same making it a safer place from threatening terrorist posts. More than half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to the internet and Microsoft wants to change that.

The company has recently announced that it has given grants to 12 startups in 11 countries, which are working to bring affordable internet access to people around the world.

They include AirJaldi, a service in India that sells wireless broadband at low cost; Kelase, an e-learning platform in Indonesia; ARED, a distributor of mobile charging and Wi-Fi stations in Rwanda; and Axiom Technologies, a broadband internet service for the state of Maine.

The aim is to “democratise access to the Internet through grants, commercial partnerships, connecting new leaders and community engagement,” the company said in a statement.

Not disclosing the amount of each of the grants, Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) said that it hopes the grants to help small service providers expand the reach of their hardware and software. Microsoft will further give the entrepreneurs free software like Azure cloud services.

Microsoft’s ‘Affordable Access Initiative’ is part of its goal to invest $1 billion over the next three years to use its cloud services for “the public good.”

Many big tech companies are initiating attempts to bring internet connectivity to rural areas. While Google and Facebook are actually building the tech to do that, Microsoft is partnering with entrepreneurs at a local level. It would help to address the needs of specific communities more directly.

Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of business development, said in a statement, “Our hope is to create sustainable solutions that will not only have an impact today but also in the years to come.”

While making the internet accessible for all is a necessity, one cannot ignore the recent threating posts and violent images the terrorist groups have put up to instil fear in minds of people through the internet. Microsoft has made improvement in that area too. There is growing outraged that terrorists use social media to recruit new members.

“The events of the past few months are a strong reminder that the Internet can be used for the worst reasons imaginable,” Microsoft said in a statement.

In a 1,100-plus word blog post, Microsoft specified policies for removing “terrorist content” online, which it defined as anything that supports organisations on the U.N. Security Council Sanctions List.

The company has also changed its terms of use “to specifically prohibit the posting of terrorist content on [their] hosted consumer services,” such as OneNote, a cloud-based document program.

Microsoft wrote in its post, “When terrorist content on our hosted consumer services is brought to our attention via our online reporting tool, we will remove it.” The company also stated it will fund technology in identifying and curbing the distribution of terrorist material, and working to educate young people about misinformation and hate speech.

Microsoft, however, is entering into this conversation months later than the likes of Twitter and Facebook. But the company says it plays a different role.

“Although Microsoft does not run any of the leading social networks or video-sharing sites, from time to time, terrorist content may be posted to or shared on our Microsoft-hosted consumer services. In light of this, we want to be transparent about our approach to combating terrorist content,” it said.

Twitter changed its policy on violent posts last year, which now include more explicit rules about shutting down accounts. Twitter even announced in February that it has shut down more than 125,000 accounts since the middle of last year.

Facebook has also been aggressively going after terrorist accounts, which is evident from the incident that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was threatened by a group of ISIS supporters earlier this year. In a 25-minute video, a group called ‘Sons Caliphate Army’ showed pictures of Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey engulfed in flames.

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