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How to turn off political ads on Facebook

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Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

It’s election year in the US, which means you’re probably going to see lots of political ads. While some social media platforms have banned them — such as Twitter — Facebook has yet to do so. But luckily, as of this June, it does offer an option to shut them off yourself.

Facebook‘s history with political ads, and politics in general, is a complicated and unpleasant one. Suffice to say the platform’s infamous for hosting a great deal of disinformation, much of it centered in the political sphere, and several ads have had some nasty imagery accompanying them. Word from Bloomberg and New York Times is that Facebook is considering banning political ads ahead of the next election, so it’s likely the company finds them as thorny and problematic as a lot of users do.

Read: Instagram now lets you pin 3 comments on your posts – here’s how

So if you want to take the initiative and remove political ads from Facebook yourself, here’s how you can do it.

First, you’ll need to use the Facebook app, as the settings are much easier to access there. Go to the settings menu under “Settings and Privacy” on the app’s menu. Once you’re there, find the Ad Preferences Setting.

Once you find that, tap on it and scroll until you find “Ad topics,” which will be listed under your interests. The Ad Topics in question are a motley collection, with alcohol, parenting, and pets being put on the same level as politics.

Select the ellipsis next to “Social Issues, Elections or Politics.” You’ll see the option to “See fewer ads on this topic.” Tap this. While it probably won’t completely eliminate political ads from your feed (Facebook doesn’t guarantee it will, hence the use of the word “fewer”), it’ll help cut down on what you do see.

And that’s it! Now you’ll see fewer political ads on Facebook. Good luck!

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The PS4 controller will work with PS5, but not PS5 games

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Well, R.I.P. the PS4 controller… kind of. Sony today revealed in an official PlayStation blog post which PS4 peripherals can still be used with the upcoming PlayStation 5. While some peripherals will carry over, the PS4 controller won’t, at least not when it comes to playing the new games.

The company says, in response to the question of whether the DualShock 4 controller will work with PS5 games: “No, we believe that PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we’re bringing to the platform, including the features of DualSense wireless controller.”

Read: A eulogy for my deceased PS4 controller (2014-2020)

So it seems the company is really going all-in on the DualSense controller, touting it as a major factor in gameplay. It could be a gimmick — we won’t know until we get the console in the fall. Regardless, it seems it might be time to for the DualShock 4 to enter semi-retirement.

In case you’re wondering what, then, are gamers supposed to use their Dualshock 4s to do with their PS5 if not to play PS5 games, Sony’s sort of supplied that answer. According to the announcement, the Dualshock 4 and it’s third-party licensed cousins will work “with supported PS4 games.” Goodness only knows how many games that’ll be, as Sony has given a few different answers to that. PS5 system architect Mark Cerny said in a presentation on the PS5 that almost all of the PS4’s most popular games would be playable on the PS5. Sony later released an updated statement assuring everyone that the “overwhelming majority” of PS4 titles would be playable on the new console.

As for the rest of the peripherals, it seems more will work than won’t: Sony confirmed that licensed arcade sticks, racing wheels and the like will work with the PS5, as will the Platinum and Gold Wireless headsets. For those of you into VR, the PlayStation Camera will also work with the PS5 via an adapter. Sony does caution everyone to check with the manufacturer to be certain the device is compatible.

We’ll know better when we lay hands on the PS5 later this year. Now if Sony could nut up and provide us with a price, that’d be grand.

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Google confirms the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G are coming this fall

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The Pixel 4a‘s reveal was Google‘s biggest news of the day, but that technically wasn’t the only device the company announced today. It also confirmed the existence of the upcoming Pixel 5, as well as a 5g edition of the Pixel 4a. That’s not surprising given all the rumors so far, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted considering the wealth of delays and cancellations due to coronavirus.

The company says the new devices will arrive ‘this fall,’ and will be avaible in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. Moreover, the company was even so kind as to tell us the Pixel 4a (5G) — that’s how Google stylizes the name — will cost $499.

An extra $150 bucks for 5G seems like a steep price to pay, especially considering how limited 5G access still is. But it’s not all bad — rumors have pointed to the Pixel 4a 5G also being a larger version of the 4a, so it will essentially fill the role of a ‘4a XL.’ You’ll get a bigger screen and presumably more battery life for your money — at least when you’re not using 5G. The XL will also presumably use Qualcomm’s 765 chipset, which should be a little more powerful than the 730 in the regular 4a.

Still, I suspect many people will end up going for the cheaper model – $350 is a very enticing price for that Pixel camera. Unfortunately, the company didn’t say much about the Pixel 5, but with fall rapidly approaching, it won’t be long until we find out more.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on
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Published August 3, 2020 — 19:29 UTC

Napier Lopez

Napier Lopez

August 3, 2020 — 19:29 UTC

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Google’s $349 Pixel 4a is finally here — but is it too little too late?

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After waits of eons and tons of rumors, Google‘s mid-range Pixel 4a is finally here. The company announced the device today with a starting price of ____.

Google’s naturally banking on its renowned camera tech along with nifty and clean Android experience to entice users. Before we talk more about the device, let’s have a look at the device’s not-so-impressive spec sheet.

Specifications

  • Screen: 5.81-inch full HD+ display
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Rear camera: 12-megapixel single camera with f/1.7 aperture
  • Front camera: 8-megapixel single camera with f/1.7 aperture
  • Internal storage: 128GB
  • Battery: 3,140mAh
  • Charging: 18W USB-PD fast charging. 
  • Software: Oxygen OS 10.5 based on Android 10

The company is releasing just one size this time, so there’s no Pixel 4a XL. It says that the design team managed to cram 5.81-inch of the screen in a relatively smaller body. So there wasn’t any need for a larger phone. Even after that, thick bezels on the front are visible and daunting.

Google has removed the Soli sensor for this version, so there’s no face unlock. Plus, it doesn’t have the Pixel 4’s telephoto camera.

If you’re not in love with Pixel’s camera, it’s hard to make a case for the phone. Especially in markets such as India and Europe where the OnePlus Nord exists, Pixel doesn’t really match up when you compare the specifications.

OnePlus’ affordable phone has arguably a better screen, a better processor, bigger battery, and faster charging. And while it may not be able to match Pixel’s camera output, it offers a total of six cameras as compared to the Pixel 4a’s two cameras. So, you have options to take wide-angle photos from both front and the back camera in addition to macro mode photography.

Then there’s the Apple iPhone SE 2020 that offers a lot of processing speed in a relatively small frame. Plus, it also has an arguably good camera for a $399 phone.

Moreover, Google’s releasing the Pixel 4a in October in India. That’s almost too late for a phone that’s launched in August. A few of my friends were excited about the Pixel 4a launch as they run small businesses that they promote on Instagram. Pixel’s camera is a handy tool for quick product shots that look great on social media. But I’m not sure they’ll hold out for that long to buy a new device.

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on
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Published August 3, 2020 — 15:01 UTC

Ivan Mehta

Ivan Mehta

August 3, 2020 — 15:01 UTC

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