Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Will Video Ruin Instagram's Appeal?

Jun 20, 2013
Originally published on June 20, 2013 2:31 pm

UPDATE on Thursday at 1:44 p.m. ET: Instagram For Video Arrives

As expected, Facebook announced Thursday that its photo-sharing service, Instagram, will be adding a video feature. It's called Video on Instagram, and will let users create 15-second videos and choose from 13 filters for their creations. Instagram video is available for download on iOS and Android devices now.

This move pits Facebook against Twitter, which owns the six-second video-sharing service, Vine. This morning, in advance of Facebook's press conference, Vine announced several new features.

Our Original Post:

Facebook is expected to announce Thursday that its photo-sharing app, Instagram, will soon allow short video uploads. The new feature comes as Twitter's six-second video-sharing app, Vine, enjoys a user base of 13 million (and growing).

In many ways, allowing moving images to a service that's used for sharing stills is a natural evolution. But it also brings a significant change to the Instagram experience.

Ahead of the announcement, we recruited the help and expertise of two NPR user experience designers, Alyson Hurt and Danny DeBelius, to get a sense of what's working for Instagram as it is now, and why users might be wary about what's coming. The Insta-video fears seem to fall into a few buckets:

1. The Noise And Clutter Fear

The fear here is that video destroys the silent, simple core experience of Instagram — scrolling down a stream of images. "For the core functions — posting photos and browsing the latest photos from your friends — it's a pretty focused experience," Hurt says. As they are now, Instagram feeds don't require much attention from users. Those who like that utilitarian function of Instagram worry about the noise and/or the uneven quality of video gunking up their feeds and disturbing what they perceive as a peaceful cyber-meadow. It's likely that Instagram designers anticipated this fear and will offer a way to opt out of videos in your stream.

2. The Not-Enough-Bandwidth Fear

Sometimes Instagram (or the 3G/4G connections available) can't even handle uploading a single image. Now, users are supposed to upload videos, which take more time to load? "This has been one of my major sticking points with Vine," DeBelius says. "I can't tell you how many times I've had uploads fail because of the bad data connection problem on mobile."

3. The Fear Of Change

Living a modern life means constantly adapting to new technologies, features and updates. But even if the Instagram user base isn't inherently change-averse, "There's certainly the 'if-it-ain't-broke,-don't-fix-it' inertia," Hurt says. "Instagram needs to make a case for why video deserves a place alongside its photos." (The revenue case is strong. The tech trades are all playing up the notion that Facebook had to compete against Vine in this fast-growing mobile video space.)

4. The Cheesiness Fear

The folks in this camp say video just isn't as elegant. Imagine a filtered video. Do we really want to look at the Hefe filter on a video? That could just be cheesy.

Looking Ahead

To be fair, depending on the implementation (and the experience), video could get widely adopted by Instagram users and find success that beats Vine. But the Houston Chronicle's Dwight Silverman reminds us of one cautionary tale with eerie parallels:

"Back when it was at the top of the photo-sharing heap, Flickr began allowing its users to upload video. It seemed like a natural extension to the site's mission at the time, but many of its users weren't happy.

"They complained that the videos — though limited to 90 seconds in length — caused the site to run slower, and ruined the Flickr experience. There was even a Flickr group devoted to protesting the new feature."

Today, Flickr still allows for video uploads, but not from mobile apps. And rarely do you find videos in user streams. Following the expected video addition to Instagram, we'll be eager to check back with our UX experts — and you — to see how you're using the new feature — or not using it.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.