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Tech

Facebook’s dilemma: How to police claims about unproven COVID-19 vaccines

Since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus an international health emergency in January, Facebook Inc has removed more than 7 million pieces of content with false claims about the virus that could pose an immediate health risk to people who believe them.

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Tech

How MyJio App Has Quietly Transformed Itself into India's WeChat, One Update At A Time

For mobile users, a companion app that lets them manage their prepaid or postpaid connection is now par for the course. Every mobile service provider has one. You can see the billing details or prepaid validity details, make bill payments and recharge and even make payments for friends and family who may also be using a prepaid or postpaid connection from the same service provider. In fact, you can also manage other services by the same company, if they offer home broadband or DTH TV services as well, for instance. However, not everyone does it as well as Reliance Jio, and the MyJio app for Jio prepaid and postpaid users, JioFiber subscribers as well as JioFi and JioLink users.

Is MyJio a super app, perhaps? With the sort of wide options, mini apps and functionality that are available in one app, it can most certainly be classified as one. And speaking of super apps, the Chinese owned app WeChat is in trouble in the US. It is often classified as a super app, at least in China, for the variety of options it offers, including messaging and payments. US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order that says WeChat and TikTok will be banned in the US in 45 days, if they are not sold by their Chinese owners. WeChat is owned by Tencent while TikTok is owned by Bytedance. Both apps are already banned in India, because of significant concerns around user data privacy and security.

MyJio App-2

The MyJio app is available for Android phones as well as the Apple iPhone. Recent updates have seen the evolution of MyJio from a companion app to manage your mobile or broadband connection, to something of a super app. It now offers a lot more. The basics remain very much in place, with the complete account overview of your prepaid or postpaid plan, managing multiple accounts if you have more than one SIM card and connection and make payments as and when required. The MyJio app is the single app for Jio mobile users as well as the JioFiber broadband services. Yet, that is not all. The MyJio app, at this time, integrates a lot more including JioPay, JioCinema, JioChat, JioNews, JioSaavn, UPI payments for digital payments while shopping or for bill payments including utility bills, JioCloud and JioEngage—some of these are integrated within the app, and some of these are mini-apps that offer extensive functionality without having to download another app on your phone.

If you are still not a Jio mobile or a JioFiber subscriber, you can use the app to buy a new Jio connection and get the new SIM card delivered to your doorstep. You can also quickly port to Jio as well, if you are using an Airtel or Vodafone mobile connection.

As for the extensive value additions that the MyJio app gets you, streaming remains a priority in these times. The app gives you single tap access to JioSaavn for music streaming. The service has more than 45 million songs listed on the platform at this time. Then there is the JioCinema video streaming service, which bundles movies, TV shows and Originals. Since the subscriptions for these services are included in Jio mobile and JioFiber subscription packs, for instance, access is seamless too.

JioPay is one of the most important elements of the MyJio app for Android and iPhone. This is basically your mobile wallet for making digital payments using your credit card or wallets including JioMoney, Paytm and PhonePe. UPI payments are also a critical new addition to the digital payments system in the MyJio app, that lets you make payments at stores and also online for bills and payments directly from your UPI linked bank account.

JioNews is the service that includes news curations in more than 13 Indian languages, as well as videos across genres of content, access to more than 250 e-papers of the day’s newspapers and more than 800 magazines for you to access. There is also JioEngage that lets you take part in contests and games and win prizes. There is also JioInteract, which is an AI powered virtual assistant that connects you with celebrities. Then there is HelloJio which answers any queries you may have about the service, as a customer.

Focused on productivity is the JioCloud service that lets you store files and data on the cloud, accessible within the app, so that you don’t have to struggle with multiple cloud storage apps.

In a way, the MyJio app does a lot more than simply let you manage your mobile or broadband or data connection. The myriad of services that are integrated within one app ease the pain of using multiple apps for the same tasks. This also takes advantage of Jio’s billing and prepaid plans which bundle a lot of these subscription-based services as part of the monthly bill or recharge for the mobile or broadband services, to integrate everything in one place.


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Tech

Facebook removes one of largest QAnon conspiracy groups after false posts

SAN FRANCISCO Facebook said on Thursday it had removed one of the largest public groups devoted to the QAnon web of conspiracy theories after repeated violations of the company’s policies.

The group, called Official Q/Qanon and with nearly 200,000 members, had been deleted after multiple individual postings were removed for crossing the lines on bullying and harassment, hate speech, and false information that could lead to harm, a Facebook spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman, who declined to be identified, said Facebook took the action on Tuesday and was monitoring other QAnon groups as it strengthens enforcement in the area.

QAnon followers espouse an intertwined series of beliefs based on anonymous web postings from someone claiming special insider knowledge of the Trump administration. The core tenet is that President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child-sex predators including prominent Democrats.

Though the FBI has identified QAnon as among fringe movements likely to encourage extremist violence, a growing number of office-seeking Republicans have praised the loose association.

In May, Facebook removed a smaller network of QAnon accounts that pushed false information about the deadly coronavirus.

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Sushant Death Probe: Call Records Show Rhea Spoke To Mumbai DCP Abhishek Trimukhe 5 Times

Twitter last month went further, saying it would delete or restrict many thousands of QAnon accounts.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Tech

Indonesia imposes 10% VAT on Facebook, Disney, Tiktok – tax office

JAKARTA Indonesia has added more techology companies that will be obligated to apply 10% value-added tax on sales to Indonesian customers to include Facebook, Disney and TikTok, the tax office said in a statement on Friday.

Southeast Asia’s biggest country, which has a population of nearly 270 million people, announced last month it will impose 10% VAT on sales by technology firms including Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Google, as spending patterns shift with increased remote working amid the pandemic, which has hit government finances.

The additional companies announced on Friday include three units of Facebook, Tiktok Pte Ltd, Apple Distribution International Ltd, The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) Pte Ltd, and more of Amazon’s subsidiaries, including its audiobook unit Audible and its voice assistant Alexa.

The companies did not not immediately respond to requests to comment.

Under Indonesia’s rules, non-resident foreign firms which sell digital products and services in Indonesia worth at least 600 million rupiah ($41,039.67) a year or which generate yearly traffic from at least 12,000 users will be required to pay the 10% VAT.

Indonesia expects to record a 13% annual drop in state revenue this year as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts business activity.

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($1 = 14,620 rupiah)

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Tech

Trump issues bans on China's TikTok, WeChat, stoking tension with Beijing

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled sweeping bans on U.S. transactions with China’s ByteDance, owner of video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent, operator of messenger app WeChat, in a major escalation of tensions with Beijing.

The executive orders, which go into effect in 45 days, come after the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called TikTok and WeChat “significant threats.”

The hugely popular Tiktok has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers and the administration over national security concerns surrounding data collection, amid growing distrust between Washington and Beijing.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded efforts on a program dubbed “Clean Network” to prevent various Chinese apps as well as Chinese telecoms firms from accessing sensitive information on U.S. citizens and businesses.

James Lewis, a technology expert with Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the orders appeared coordinated with Pompeo’s announcement.

“This is the rupture in the digital world between the U.S. and China,” he said. “Absolutely, China will retaliate.”

“On TikTok, Trump is clearly putting pressure on Bytedance to close the deal,” Lewis said.

TikTok has 100 million users in the United States. While WeChat is not popular in the country, the app, which has over 1 billion users, is ubiquitous in China. It is also widely used by expat Chinese as a main platform for communications with family and friends as well as a medium for various other services such as games and e-commerce.

WeChat and TikTok were among 59 mostly Chinese apps outlawed in India in June for threatening the country’s “sovereignty and integrity.”

Operator Tencent is China’s second most-valuable company after Alibaba at $686 billion. It is also China’s biggest video game company and earlier this summer opened California-based studio.

Its shares fell nearly 10% in Hong Kong after Trump’s order. The yuan, which is sensitive to Sino-U.S. relations, lost 0.4%.

Tencent and ByteDance declined to comment.

SWEEPING POWER

Trump issued the orders under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that grants the administration sweeping power to bar U.S. firms or citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with sanctioned parties.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will identify transactions covered by the prohibition after the orders take effect in mid-September.

The development comes soon after the U.S. ordered China to vacate its consulate in Houston, Texas, followed by China’s order requiring the United States to vacate its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

But tension has been simmering between the two powers for months, with the United States taking issue with China’s handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak and moves to curb freedoms in Hong Kong.

Trump said this week he would support the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft Corp if the U.S. government got a “substantial portion” of the sales price. He nevertheless said he will ban the service in the United States on Sept. 15, though some Republicans have raised concerns about the political fallout of banning the popular app.

The app may be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, and the United States “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security,” Trump said in one order.

In the other, Trump said WeChat “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”

The order would effectively ban WeChat in the United States in 45 days by barring “to the extent permitted under applicable law, any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd.”

Late on Thursday some China watchers in Washington were already questioning the logic behind the orders.

The order “calls TikTok a national security threat,” said Derek Scissors, an expert on Sino-U.S. economic relations at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. “Either we’ve missed the threat for three years or it just became one and yet we are waiting 45 days.”

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(Additional Reporting by Mohammad Zargham, Echo Wang, Nandita Bose and David Shepardson; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing)

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Tech

Apple macOS Big Sur Public Beta Is Now Available For Download: Does Your MacBook Support It?

Apple has finally made a public beta version of its next operating system for the Mac computing devices, the macOS Big Sur, available for everyone to download. That is, if you are brave enough to use a software that is still being tested and is still under development. This follows the public beta versions of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, which have been around for some time now, for the iPhone and the iPad. The macOS Big Sur is expected to be the biggest update that macOS has received for many years, including a big visual overhaul and significant under-the-hood improvements as well as additional privacy tools. It is expected that macOS Big Sur will see a final release later this year, alongside the new iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates.

The macOS Big Sur update will be available for MacBook (2015 and later), MacBook Air (2013 and later), MacBook Pro (late 2013 and later, Mac mini (2014 and later), iMac (2014 and later), iMac Pro (2017 and later) and the Mac Pro (2013 and later). This means the 2012 MacBook Air line-up, the 2012 and early 2013 MacBook Pro (these were the first Retina Display versions) and the 2012 as well as 2013 iMacs will not get the new macOS Big Sur. Yet, this list makes it clear that even 7 year old machines will run the latest Apple macOS software, which is good news for those who are still persisting with their ageing MacBook devices. Be warned though, the macOS Big Sur Public Beta version is still representing an operating system that is being developed as we speak, and there may be some bugs or performance issues that you may encounter along the way. That is true for any software that is still in development. It is advised to not use this on your primary macOS computing device, unless you are sure that all your existing apps will work on this.

Here are the steps to install the macOS Big Sur Public Beta on your Mac computing device. First, you need to head to the Apple Beta Software Portal and sign in with your Apple ID. Then select “Enroll Your Devices” option and select macOS. You will then click on the “Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility.” If you haven’t already ever enrolled that particular Mac computing device for beta software tests, you will be asked to download a beta test profile (it’ll be a .dmg file) which you need to run and install once on the Mac. It is a good idea to take a backup of your data at this point, just to be safe. Once this is done, head to Settings -> Software Update which will now show the latest macOS Big Sur Public Beta version for download. It may take a while for this to download and install depending on your internet speed and the generation of Mac you are using this on.


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U.S.-listed Chinese stocks fall as Trump takes aim at WeChat, TikTok

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese firms fell on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump unveiled bans on U.S. transactions with the China-based owners of messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok, escalating tensions between the two countries.

The executive orders will be effective in 45 days and come after the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks.

Tencent Holdings Ltd owns the popular WeChat app, while ByteDance is the owner of TikTok.

Shares of other U.S.-listed Chinese companies backed by Tencent, including JD.com , Huya Inc and Nio Inc fell between 0.5% and 3.8%

“(There’s) some very specific companies and policies mentioned and that appears to be a proverbial line in the sand,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

China’s foreign ministry took a hard stance against the executive orders, saying it would defend the interests of Chinese businesses and warned that the United States would have to “bear the consequences” of its action.

Tencent has invested in several Chinese, American and European companies, including Tesla Inc and “Call of Duty” creator Activision Blizzard Inc .

TIKTOK ON THE CLOCK

TikTok has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers over national security concerns surrounding data collection.

“Clearly, this is a major step up of tensions between the U.S. and China which started with Huawei a few years ago and has now engulfed consumer apps,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said.

The popular video app said it was “shocked” by the executive order and added that it would seek all courses of action to “ensure that the rule of law is not discarded.”

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Reuters on Sunday reported that Trump has given Microsoft Corp 45 days to complete the purchase of TikTok’s U.S. operations.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Netflix, Amazon Video And Disney+ Hotstar Subscriptions Are Cheapest In India, But With A Catch

The cost of streaming around the world research by personal finance site Finder.com.

The cost of streaming around the world research by personal finance site Finder.com.

But we also earn a lot less on an average compared with many other countries, which means a larger percentage of Indian salaries goes in video streaming app subscriptions, while also accessing a much smaller library of content.

  • Last Updated: August 7, 2020, 8:55 PM IST

Indians are paying much lesser for video streaming subscriptions in India compared with a lot of other countries, including the Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar subscriptions. This is according to research by personal finance website Finder.com. The research suggests the average subscription cost for these three streaming platforms in India is US$4.02, which works out to around Rs 302 per month. In comparison, subscribers in the US pay around $9.66 per month, which is around Rs 725 per month, for Netflix, Amazon Video and Disney+ streaming apps. Video streaming apps have gained a lot of importance over the past few months, with millions around the world staying at home amidst the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.

For the research, Finder.com analyzed the cost of streaming in 13 countries, and also factored in the average monthly income to draw a percentage of the expenditure on video streaming subscriptions based on the income. While India has the lowest subscription cost for Netflix, Amazon Video and Disney+ Hotstar, the country also has the lowest average monthly salary at $145 (around Rs 11,000 per month). The average monthly salary in the US, in comparison is $4,458 (around Rs 3,34,000) per month. Finder.com says they have sourced the net national income per capita (US$) data from the World Bank.

Video streaming Finder research-2

“Of the 13 countries, India is the least affordable country to subscribe to streaming services, with the average cost of a streaming service accounting for 2.77% of the average monthly income. That’s a far cry from all the other countries included in the research, with streaming costs in those countries making up less than 0.50% of their monthly income,” says the research.

In India, Netflix offers four subscription plans. These are priced at Rs 199 (Mobile: SD for mobile only), Rs 499 (Basic: SD streaming), Rs 649 (Standard: HD streaming) and Rs 799 (Premium: 4K streaming). Amazon Prime subscription costs Rs 129 per month or if you want to pay annually, is priced at Rs 999 for the entire year. The Prime subscription also bundles, apart from Prime Video, some shopping benefits for purchases made on Amazon.in and also Prime Music streaming and Prime Gaming, to name a few. Disney+ Hotstar has two subscription offers in India right now. The Disney+ Hotstar VIP plan is priced at Rs 399 while the Disney+ Hotstar Premium plan costs Rs 299 per month or Rs 1499 per year. In India, subscription offers for these streaming platforms are also bundled with prepaid and postpaid mobile plans offered by Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone. Depending on which postpaid plan or prepaid recharge you pick, you might be able to snare a limited time subscription bundle for any of these streaming platforms.

The Finder.com research collects the subscription cost data for 13 countries, including UK, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Germany, France and Canada. US remains the most expensive with the average monthly cost of $9.66 followed by Switzerland at $9.54 per month. That being said, US also gets the largest library size of content across these apps, clocked at 12,506 titles, the UK gets 10,005 titles and India logs in with just 3,909 titles available for streaming.

“It’s widely known that Netflix in the United States has one of the most impressive streaming libraries in the world, but you might not know that it also has the biggest Amazon Prime library, at a whopping 31,167 titles. With their big content libraries, both the US offers the best bang for your buck out of the 13 countries, with the average cost per title across all three streaming services coming out at a measly $0.0008. Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom also average at $0.0008, while New Zealand ($0.0010) and India ($0.0010) weren’t too far behind,” says the research.


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Facebook employees to work from home until July 2021 due to coronavirus outbreak; get $1,000 for home offices

Facebook Inc will allow employees to work from home until July 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak and will give them $1,000 for home office needs, a spokeswoman for the social media giant said on Thursday.

The company joins other big technology firms that have taken similar steps recently.

Late in July, Alphabet Inc’s Google said it would allow employees who do not need to be in the office to work from home until the end of June 2021, while Twitter Inc had proposed remote work indefinitely for some of its employees.

“Based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions about these matters, we are allowing employees to continue voluntarily working from home until July 2021”, a Facebook spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

“In addition, we are giving employees an additional $1,000 for home office needs,” it added.

Facebook also said that the company will continue reopening offices in a restricted capacity where government guidance permits and where virus mitigation has taken place for about two months.

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However, the company added that it was unlikely many locations will reopen in the United States and Latin America before the end of the year, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Facebook bars pro-Trump PAC from advertising, citing repeated false posts

SAN FRANCISCO Facebook Inc is temporarily banning a Republican political action committee, the Committee to Defend the President, from advertising after it repeatedly shared content that was deemed false by external fact-checkers, the social media company said on Thursday.

“As a result of the Committee to Defend the President’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, they will not be permitted to advertise for a period of time on our platform,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.

The company declined to specify the length of the advertising ban or which posts prompted it.

Politicians’ ads and posts are not subject to Facebook fact-checking, a policy that has drawn heat from lawmakers, but content from political groups like PACs can be fact-checked.

The committee’s Facebook page, which has almost 1 million “likes,” has had four “false” or “partly false” fact-checking labels attached to content since the start of July.

Founded as the Stop Hillary PAC in 2013, the group has spent more than $15 million to advance the agenda of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to its website. It claims to reach millions of Americans via digital and telemarketing channels.

Committee chairman Ted Harvey said in a statement the group would not be “silenced by ‘woke’ Silicon Valley elites” and would reallocate its Facebook budget to other platforms.

Reuters, a Facebook fact-checking partner, determined last month that one of the group’s advertisements took a quote from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden out of context, misleadingly claiming he made racist comments in 1985.

The Biden campaign last year wrote to Facebook asking the company to reject an ad by the PAC that it said was false, according to a CNN report.

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The Trump and Biden campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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