Twitter Bans Political Advertisements, Asks Facebook To Follow Suit

New Delhi: Putting pressure on Facebook to follow suit, Twitter has officially banned all kinds of political ads from its platform, weeks after CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the micro-blogging site would no longer allow those ads. No political content will be promoted from candidates, parties, governments or officials, public accounts committees (PACs) and certain political non-profit groups. "Twitter globally prohibits the promotion of political content. We have made this decision based on our belief that political message reach should be earned, not bought," the micro-blogging platform said on Friday.

It defines political content as content that references a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, ballot measure, legislation, regulation, directive or judicial outcome. "Ads that contain references to political content, including appeals for votes, solicitations of financial support, and advocacy for or against any of the above-listed types of political content, are prohibited under this policy," said Twitter.


Dating App Tinder Gets Special Access To Facebook Data

New Delhi: Despite dismissing Tinder cofounder Sean Rad as irrelevant, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg allowed the dating app special access to user data, as revealed by leaked exchanges between the two executives. Access to Facebook data helped Tinder thrive, but there came a point when it inched closer to losing that access, Forbes reported on Thursday. Released this week, the leaked correspondence is part of a long-running law suit in California state court, between former Facebook app developer Six4three and Facebook.

The documents running into nearly 7,000 pages were leaked to Duncan Campbell in February 2019 but published on Wednesday. According to Campbell's website, he is an investigative journalist and a forensic expert based in Ireland. In 2014, Facebook, which is facing several antitrust investigations, announced a new set of rules to prevent third-party app developers from getting access to data on users' friends. The social networking giant set May 2015 as the deadline for complying to the new rules. But some firms continued to have access to the crucial data, including Tinder.


Citizens Lab Track Govts Across 20 Countries Using Israeli Software To Target WhatsApp Users

New Delhi: Citizen Lab, a laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy of the University of Toronto which is helping WhatsApp find Israeli spyware-affected users, has identified over 100 cases of abusive targeting of human rights defenders and journalists in at least 20 countries across the globe via the piece of spyware called Pegasus. The digital assault happened on individuals ranging from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America "that took place after Novalpina Capital acquired NSO Group and began an ongoing public relations campaign to promote the narrative that the new ownership would curb abuses".

After the incident, Citizen Lab volunteered to help WhatsApp identify cases where the suspected targets of this attack were members of civil society, such as human rights defenders and journalists. "We continue to investigate the incident, and conduct outreach with the individuals targeted with these attacks to assist them in becoming more secure, and to better understand the cases," Citizen Lab said in a statement. NSO Group, which also goes by the name Q Cyber Technologies, is an Israeli-based company which develops and sells spyware technology. It is majority owned by Novalpina Capital, a European private equity firm.


Small Businesses In India Being Empowered By Microsoft, Jio

New Delhi: Microsoft is empowering small businesses in India in their Cloud journey with Reliance Jio, the company's CEO Satya Nadella has said. Reliance Industries (RIL) in August announced partnership of its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm with Microsoft in the technology space, including creation on cloud solutions. As per the partnership, Jio will leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to develop innovative cloud solutions focused on the needs of Indian businesses.

"Organisations today need a distributed computing fabric to meet their real world operational sovereignty and regulatory needs," Nadella said during the company's earnings call after posting $33.1 billion in revenue with $10.7 billion in net income (an increase of 21 per cent) for its first quarter of fiscal year 2020. "In India, we're bringing the power of Microsoft Cloud to millions of small businesses through our partnership with Jio, one of the largest mobile carriers in the country," Nadella added.


Facebook Now Fifth Estate, Says Zuckerberg

New Delhi: A defiant Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stressed that his platform has now become a 'Fifth Estate' in the world alongside traditional news media and people no longer have to rely on traditional gatekeepers in politics or media to make their voices heard. Delivering a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on Thursday, he said social media platforms have decentralised power by putting it directly into people's hands.

"People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world -- a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society," said Zuckerberg, apparently challenging those who wish to break up the social networking giant. Senators and presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are pitching hard to break up Facebook, amid regulators scrutinising the company over anti-competitive practices and privacy scandals.