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Instagram lets you send short voice notes in Direct messages

Instagram's foray into messaging is slowly expanding. What began as a simple messaging section for users to communicate without leaving the image-sharing app is now a quasi full-fledged messenger with support for GIFs, tight integration with Stories, video calling, disappearing media, and more. The latest addition that began rolling out yesterday is voice messages.

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InBrief
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Facebook Lite now has more than a billion Play Store downloads

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Internal documents suggest Facebook might have exploited Android APIs to collect call and text data without permission

This March reports broke that Facebook had been gathering call, SMS, and MMS metadata from Android app users for years with questionable levels of consent. Ars Technica suggested that Facebook was exploiting a loophole in Android to harvest call and SMS data without requesting the permission from users. Facebook responded that it was only collecting metadata through Facebook Lite and Messenger, both of which ask users for that permission during setup. The platform's integrity, however, has now been brought into question once more with revelations from internal emails released by the UK Parliament that show employees explicitly discussing how they might avoid any Android permissions request when accessing SMS and call history.

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Facebook Messenger Lite gets GIF support, chat color customization, and more

Messenger Lite, a stripped-down version of Facebook's popular Messenger chat client, has limited features by necessity; Facebook engineered the app to be optimized for budget devices and slow connections. While the simplicity can be refreshing compared to the bloated messes many Facebook-owned apps are becoming, it can also be constraining — but Facebook announced today that Lite is getting new tricks to bring it closer to its feature-rich older brother while maintaining its relatively light footprint.

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Instagram now lets you choose Close Friends to share 'more personal' Stories with

Instagram Stories let you send disappearing messages to your friends, but until now, you had to send them to all your friends. That's changing now, though, as Instagram has announced a new feature that lets you pare your audience for certain Stories down to just a select subset of your followers.

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Facebook's 'Today In' local news feature is now available in more than 400 US cities

For better or worse, a lot of people get their news primarily from Facebook. The social network is aware of this, and earlier this year, started testing a feature called Today In, which brings curated local stories to users. The feature is apparently progressing well, as Facebook has announced that it's now available in more than 400 cities around the United States.

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Facebook may soon let users block comments containing chosen words and phrases from their timelines

Online harassment has been an issue for about as long as online communication has existed. Facebook is known for taking measures to combat abuse and bullying on its platform, and it seems the social network is working on another feature to that end. You may soon be able to block comments containing specified words, phrases, or emoji from appearing on your timeline.

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The new 'Your Time On Facebook' feature tells you how much time you waste on the social network

Facebook has been refined over the years to keep you online and interacting with the service as long as possible. That ensures you'll see lots of Facebook ads, but it can be a drain on your time if you get stuck in a Facebook vortex. With everyone suddenly concerned about limiting screen time, Facebook has rolled out its previously announced "Your Time On Facebook" feature. It tells you how long you've been using the Facebook app, but that's pretty much it.

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Instagram adds 'Shopping collection' for saving items to buy later

Since its acquisition by Facebook, Instagram has increasingly become less about showing people your dog and more about shopping. The platform introduced more new features to that end today, including a shopping list-like "Shopping collection" that lets you save and organize products you see on the platform to buy later.

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[Update: Rolling out] Facebook Messenger may soon let you 'unsend' messages

You've almost certainly said something you regretted in a chat, whether it was because you were tired, angry, or just looking at the wrong conversation — but Facebook Messenger could soon get a feature that'll let you take those misguided statements back. Evidence has been found that an "unsend" option is in the works.

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