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theEweekly Wrap

Microsoft’s big reveal, Facebook’s support team and Twitter’s newest rival

Microsoft unveils Surface tablet

After a build-up shrouded in barely concealed secrecy, Microsoft finally unveiled their new Surface tablet, designed as a direct competitor to Apple's dominant iPad. Many had already predicted what would happen after the company announced a press event last Thursday, but the decision not to reveal the location of the launch until the day itself added a frisson of anticipation to proceedings.

Sure enough, the predicted Surface prototype was revealed by chief executive Steve Ballmer. Designed to run on Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 system, Surface will also feature widely-used applications such as Office and Photoshop. It will be able to compete with the Apple iPad in the price department too, and includes a built in kickstand, unique magnesium case and a 'digital ink' stylus. Surface is expected to be released later this year.

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Facebook addresses reports

Facebook has attempted to set users at ease by revealing the process the company goes through whenever someone presses the 'report' button. It turns out that dealing with content that potentially violates Facebook's terms of use is a complicated yet efficient affair, with each notification heading to a different department of their security team.

Which department handles the report will depend on how the user answered the questions put to them when they chose to report some content. For example, if they indicate that they regard the content as threatening, their case will be sent to the Safety Team, while if they state their account has been hacked, the Access Team will try to deal with it. This new information could potentially provide some reassurance to those who wonder whether anyone at Facebook pays attention to legitimate complaints.

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MP proposes Twitter alternative

Many politicians have become notable for their Twitter use, and not always for the right reasons. Corby MP Louise Mensch, a prolific tweeter, appears to have had enough of the micro-blogging site and has set about launching a rival service, dubbed Menshn. Alongside business partner Luke Bozier, she is hoping the new site will allow users to focus more easily on one topic, initially the US presidential election. Mr Bozier also feels that Menshn will encourage people to talk to each other rather than simply broadcast their thoughts.

At first, users will only be able to join one of three topics; the election itself, the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign, while each new arrival will automatically follow 100 people Menshn deems particularly influential, and will be allowed 180 characters as opposed to Twitter's 140. It's too early to say if this will work, but it's likely to raise eyebrows among the British political Twitterati, which includes former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, Alistair Campbell, Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg.

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Written by James Riches

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