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Microsoft Joins Growing Facebook, Instagram Ad Boycott Over Concerns of Inappropriate Content

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Microsoft, however, has not announced its participation in the broader advertisement boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:44 AM IST

Microsoft which spent more than $115 million on Facebook ads last year is reportedly pausing advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. According to a report in Axios on Tuesday, the Windows maker is concerned about ads running alongside “inappropriate content” such as hate speech and pornography.

The software giant, however, has not announced its participation in the broader ad boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands. Microsoft had suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in May. “Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook’s policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now,” said the report citing internal Microsoft posts. Microsoft was yet to make the move official.

“Based on concerns we had back in May we suspended all media spending on Facebook/Instagram in the US and we’ve subsequently suspended all spending on Facebook/Instagram worldwide,” Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela reportedly said in an internal post on enterprise social network Yammer. “The timeline on resuming our media spending is dependent on the positive actions they take, but I expect our pause will continue through August,” Capossela added. Microsoft earlier paused spending on Google’s YouTube over similar concerns.


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Tech

TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser and 56 Other Chinese Apps Banned by India over National Security Concerns

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

The ban, which comes in the backdrop of current stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh with Chinese troops, also includes WeChat and Bigo Live.

The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call, Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein. This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.

The Information Technology Ministry in a statement said it has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”.

“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement said.

The IT Ministry said it has invoked its power under section 69A of the IT Act and rules, and has decided to block 59 apps in view of information available that they are “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

The move will “safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”, it added.

The list included prominent names like TikTok (which has over 200 million users in India), SHAREit, WeChat, UC Browser, Helo, Likee and Cam Scanner, among others.

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs, has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps, the statement said, adding that there has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of citizens. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside Parliament.

“On the basis of these and upon receiving recent credible inputs that such apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices,” it added.

Comments from these companies could not be immediately obtained.

“There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country,” the statement said.

Over 2015-19, Chinese investors including Alibaba, Tencent, TR Capital and Hillhouse Capital, have invested over USD 5.5 billion in Indian startups, according to Venture Intelligence that tracks private equity, venture capital, M&A transactions and valuations, in India.

Union Minister of Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said the move was taken to ensure the country’s integrity and protect data and privacy of Indians.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel also welcomed the decision, adding that the government has to take more substantial measures in light of the Chinese intrusion and unprovoked attack on Indian Army.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said the ban will be a big support to its ‘Boycott Chinese Goods’ campaign.

“This huge unprecedented step will go a long way in strengthening the ‘Boycott China’ campaign of CAIT. Boycott China movement is now well and truly a national reality and seven crore traders of India stands in solidarity with the Union Government,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement.

ShareChat Director Public Policy Berges Malu also welcomed the move. “This is a welcome move from the government against platforms that have had serious privacy, cyber security and national security risks. We expect the government to continue their support for the Indian startup ecosystem,” he said.

The full list of banned apps is as follows:

TikTok, Shareit, Kwai, UC Browser, Baidu map, Shein, Clash of Kings, DU battery saver, Helo, Likee, YouCam makeup, Mi Community, CM Browser, Virus Cleaner, APUS Browser, ROMWE, Club Factory, Newsdog, Beauty Plus, WeChat, UC News, QQ Mail, Weibo, Xender, QQ Music, QQ Newsfeed, Bigo Live, SelfieCity, Mail Master, Parallel Space, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, WeSync, ES File Explorer, Viva Video – QU Video Inc, Meitu, Vigo Video, New Video Status, DU Recorder, Vault- Hide, Cache Cleaner DU App studio, DU Cleaner, DU Browser, Hago Play With New Friends, Cam Scanner, Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile, Wonder Camera, Photo Wonder, QQ Player, We Meet, Sweet Selfie, Baidu Translate, Vmate, QQ International, QQ Security Center, QQ Launcher, U Video, V fly Status Video, Mobile Legends, DU Privacy.

(With inputs from PTI)


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Tech

First Indian Artificial Intelligence Summit Postponed Due to COVID-19 Concerns

The Indian government on Friday announced to postpone the nation’s first summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that was scheduled to be held in the Capital in October amid the growing new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Titled ‘RAISE 2020 (Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020),’ the summit on October 5-6 was announced as a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and charter a course to use AI for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment in key areas like healthcare, agriculture, education and smart mobility, among other sectors.

“The registrations are open for all participants and the process will remain the same as before. All AI startups are welcome to participate through the same procedure for the Startup Pitchfest,” said Abhishek Singh, President and CEO, National e-Governance Division (NeGD), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

“The step to postpone the summit is a public health measure for containment and mitigation of the current COVID-19 outbreak,” he added. The ‘Startup Pitchfest’ is a platform for startups to showcase their ideas for use of AI in accelerating social transformation, inclusion and empowerment.

The summit aims to create a data-rich environment as India has the potential to be the world’s leading AI laboratory that can eventually transform lives globally.