Internet & Web

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US court rules that Apple needs to pay $506 million over patent violations
US court rules that Apple needs to pay $506 million over patent violations
Credit: unsplash.com / Mika Baumeister

A federal jury in Texas has decided that Apple needs to pay $506,2 million in damages and interest for using patented 4G technology in hardware made by the company.

Following the jury verdict, five patents were willfully infringed leading the District Judge Rodney Gilstrap to be able to increase the compensation amount by three times compared to what the jurors have set. Panoptis Patent Management had sued on behalf of one of its clients as they manage the intellectual property and patents for companies in order to enable them to focus on "innovation and new development".

According to local media Apple will appeal the decision made by the court.

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Facebook faces lawsuit over illegal harvesting of biometric information from Instagram users
Facebook faces lawsuit over illegal harvesting of biometric information from Instagram users
Credit: Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum

In a new lawsuit, filed Monday in Redwood City, Facebook is accused of collecting, storing and profiting from biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without explicitly asking for their consent.

According to the suit, Facebook started informing Instagram users about their biometric data being collected only at the beginning of 2020, which allegedly violated an Illinois privacy law.

Last month, the social media company offered to pay $650 million to settle a different lawsuit in which it was accused of illegally collecting biometric data through a photo-tagging tool provided to Facebook users.

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TikTok tracked Android users’ device identifiers until late last year
TikTok tracked Android users’ device identifiers until late last year
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday TikTok’s Android app collected its users’ MAC addresses for 18 months in violation of the platform rules. The MAC address serves as a unique identifier for each user’s device.

Since 2015, both the App Store and the Google Play Store had banned the collection of MAC addresses as a matter of policy, but the video app used a loophole. According to the Journal, nearly 350 apps on the Google Play Store used a similar loophole, generally for ad-targeting purposes.

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Former COO sues Pinterest, accusing it of gender bias
Françoise Brougher
Françoise Brougher Credit: Pinterest

Françoise Brougher, Pinterest’s former COO, has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of gender discrimination. Brougher is suing the company to hold it “accountable for discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and the Labor Code,” according to a Tuesday filing in San Francisco Superior Court.

Brougher, who was abruptly fired from the company in April, states in the lawsuit that she had a less favourable equity compensation package than her male peers. She also claims that she was also left out of crucial decision-making by other executives, was subjected to a hostile work environment, and ultimately fired by CEO Ben Silbermann when she spoke up against her treatment.

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Facebook states that they have removed 7 million posts with false information about Covid-19
Facebook states that they have removed 7 million posts with false information about Covid-19
Credit: Screenshot Transparency Report

In its sixth Community Standards Enforcement Report, Facebook has released data showing that the platform has removed seven million posts that contained false information about the Covid-19 pandemic, a cure or the virus itself.

In addition, 22,5 million posts have been removed on the grounds of hate speech and 8,7 million which are in connection to extremist organizations.

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Scribd acquires presentation-sharing platform SlideShare
Scribd acquires presentation-sharing platform SlideShare
Credit: Scribd

Scribd announced Tuesday the acquisition of presentation-sharing platform SlideShare from LinkedIn for an undisclosed price. According to LinkedIn, Scribd will take over operation of the SlideShare business on September 24.

Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd said, "Our acquisition of SlideShare is a major step towards creating the world’s largest digital library."

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Mozilla announces that they will layoff around 250 employees
Mozilla announces that they will layoff around 250 employees

The Mozilla Corporation has announced that around 250 employees will lose their jobs as part of a restructuring. According to the announcement "economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted" the revenue of the corporation.

Earlier in 2020 around 70 employees had already lost their jobs.

Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker has stated that: "Though we’ve been talking openly with our employees about the need for change — including the likelihood of layoffs — since the spring, it was no easier today when these changes became real. I desperately wish there was some other way to set Mozilla up for long term success in building a better internet".

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TikTok announces plans to sue Trump Administration over ban
TikTok announces plans to sue Trump Administration over ban
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The video-sharing app hugely popular with the smartphone generation will file the federal lawsuit as soon as Tuesday, according to a person who was directly involved in the forthcoming suit but was not authorized to speak for the company.

It also alleges that the administration's national security justification for the order is baseless, according to the source.

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Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Credit: unsplash.com / Dan Gold

A California judge ruled that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees in a stunning preliminary injunction issued Monday afternoon.

Uber said it planned to file an immediate emergency appeal to block the ruling from going into effect.

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Facebook removes QAnon conspiracy group
Truck with a bumper sticker referring to QAnon.
Truck with a bumper sticker referring to QAnon. Credit: XPlayer2x (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook has deleted the Official Q/Qanon group with nearly 200,000 members. The group was dedicated to sharing and discussing QAnon conspiracy theories.

According to a spokeswoman for Facebook, the company removed the group for "repeatedly posting content that violated our policies."

Last month both Twitter and TikTok also cracked down on QAnon content.

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Google will prevent minors in the UK and EU from seeing ads for unhealthy food and drinks from October on
Google will prevent minors in the UK and EU from seeing ads for unhealthy food and drinks from October on
Credit: unsplash.com / Robin Stickel

Google has updated its "Other restricted businesses policy" and will start "to restrict the serving of High Fat Sugar Salt (HFSS) Food and/or Non-Alcoholic Beverages (F&B) advertising for minors in the United Kingdom and European Union".

The policy will be applied to the Google Display Network and YouTube and there apply to all people under the age of 18. Google stated that the new policy will be enforced from the 6th of October.

Some examples for the products that fall under these advertisement restrictions are sweetened beverages, cakes, pizza, salt, butter, pork and a number of other products.

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Twitter adds labels for government and state-affiliated media accounts
Twitter adds labels for government and state-affiliated media accounts
Credit: Russia Today (Twitter Reproduction)

Twitter announced the introduction of labels for accounts and tweets tied to government officials and "state-affiliated media."

In a blog post, the company says: "Twitter provides an unmatched way to connect with, and directly speak to public officials and representatives. This direct line of communication with leaders and officials has helped to democratize political discourse and increase transparency and accountability"

Russia Today (RT) was one of the first accounts to be labelled "affiliated media", with Twitter pointing the ties of the media outlet with the Russian Government.

Twitter suggested that these labels are part of a more significant effort "to protect that discourse because we believe political reach should be earned not bought."

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TikTok announces new data centre in Ireland to store European user data
TikTok announces new data centre in Ireland to store European user data
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

TikTok announced Thursday it would invest €420million in establishing a data centre in Ireland. The company states all European user data will be stored in this new location when the data centre is operational in early 2022.

In a press release, the company states: "Protecting our community's privacy and data is and will continue to be our priority. Today's announcement is just the latest part of our ongoing work to enhance our global capability and efforts to protect our users and the TikTok community."

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Twitter fixes security issue affecting some Android devices
Twitter fixes security issue affecting some Android devices
Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Twitter announced Wednesday a security vulnerability in its Android app. The company stated the problem relates to an Android security issue in versions 8 and 9 of the popular mobile operating system, and that it doesn't have evidence attackers exploited the vulnerability.

According to Twitter, around 96% of all their Android users already have installed the necessary security protections, leaving 4% still vulnerable to attackers through outside apps accessing private data on their devices.

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Covid-19 pandemic boosts online dating, and Match Group forecasts sales above estimates
iPhone displaying the Tinder app
iPhone displaying the Tinder app Credit: Kon Karampelas

Match Group Inc. reported Tuesday strong gains in profit and revenue in the second quarter above Wall Street expectations. The company is the owner of Tinder, Match.com, OKCupid and other online-dating properties.

As dating apps became an alternative to face-to-face meetings, as restrictions to stop the spread of the pandemic, results for the quarter were positive. Tinder gained 200,000 users in the quarter, taking its average subscribers-base to 6.2 million.

In an email, CEO Shar Dubey said: "Despite the pandemic, our user trends, like engagement and willingness to pay for our products, is up, proving what we’ve always known: Our products satisfy a very critical human need, and those needs aren’t going anywhere".

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WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
Credit: WhatsApp

WhatsApp added a new feature that makes it easier for users to verify whether the assertions made in forwarded messages they have received on the app are true. The new feature, called "Search the Web" works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.

"Search the web" is being rolled out starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

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Apple states it has no interest in buying TikTok
Apple states it has no interest in buying TikTok
Credit: Solen Feyissa

Apple Inc has no interest in acquiring TikTok, a company spokesperson told Axios, denying an earlier report published by Axios, citing Apple has expressed interest in buying the ByteDance-owned firm.

Microsoft is currently negotiating a deal to acquire the popular short-video app, with a 45-day deadline imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.

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Snapchat to test new TikTok-like music feature
Snapchat Logo Illustration
Snapchat Logo Illustration Credit: unsplash.com/Morning Brew

Multimedia messaging app Snapchat has announced a new feature that will let users add songs to their video posts, similar to TikTok. Snapchat has made a licensing deal with Warner Music, Universal Music Publishing Group and other music industry companies to offer a "robust and curated catalog of music."

"We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves. Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that helps capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends," so a Snapchat spokesperson.

The new feature will launch first for users in Australia and New Zealand, and later this fall in Canada and the United States.

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Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Credit: Aaron Weiss

The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.

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Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Credit: Yuri Samoilov (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Telegram, the messaging app, filed a formal antitrust complaint to the EU over Apple’s App Store. The company joins Spotify and Rakuten in complaining the app store represents a monopoly power, given that developers have to accept Apple’s terms, including a 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases.

In its complaint, Telegram took issue with Apple’s argument that the App Store commission keeps it running. Pavel Durov, Telegram founder, stated "Every quarter, Apple receives billions of dollars from third-party apps. Meanwhile, the expenses required to host and review these apps are in the tens of millions, not billions of dollars. We know that because we at Telegram host and review more public content than the App Store ever will".

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Trump states he plans on banning TikTok in the United States
Trump states he plans on banning TikTok in the United States
Credit: unsplash.com / Kon Karampelas

During an Air Force One flight from Florida to Washington, President Donald Trump has stated that "as far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States". He added that he has the authority to issue such ban through an executive order, but has yet to follow through on his statement.

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Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Credit: unsplash.com/visuals

According to the Japanese national broadcaster NHK, Japan is seeking to ban TikTok for the app's alleged sharing of domestic user data with the Chinese Government. A group of lawmakers has proposed the ban of several in China developed apps which will most likely be submitted to the government by September. Early this year, India banned several Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat and others.

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17-year-old teenager arrested in connection with Twitter hack
17-year-old teenager arrested in connection with Twitter hack
Credit: unsplash.com/Kon Karampelas

Early Friday morning, a 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark from Tampa, Florida was arrested in connection with the Twitter hack that targeted around 130 high profile accounts including Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Bill Gates on July 15.

Clark is being charged with over 30 felony counts, including identity theft, hacking and organized fraud and is set to be charged as an adult. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren described him as "not an ordinary 17-year old" in a press conference. It's unclear whether Clark was working alone.

Twitter tweeted a statement, writing: "We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses. For our part, we are focused on being transparent and providing updates regularly."

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White supremacist David Duke gets permanently banned from Twitter
David Duke's suspended Twitter account
David Duke's suspended Twitter account Credit: Screenshot via Twitter

David Duke, white supremacist and former KKK grand wizard, has gotten his Twitter account permanently suspended on Thursday. Duke's account was banned "for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct" and for sharing "harmful links," so a Twitter spokesperson.

Twitter's move comes just a month after YouTube banned Duke's channel in late June for violating its "strict policies prohibiting hate speech."

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Twitter considers subscription options after ad revenue drop
Twitter considers subscription options after ad revenue drop
Credit: unsplash.com/Kon Karampelas

Twitter is exploring additional ways to make money after reporting that advertising revenues fell 23% in the second quarter. Though the platform has been seeing a record user growth and reported its largest year-over-year increase, the platform is looking into options to supplement lacking advertising revenue.

CEO Jack Dorsey recently told investors that Twitter is looking onto running tests for a subscription model that would "complement" Twitter's ad revenue. "We have a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter. We are in the very, very early phases of exploring," so Dorsey.

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Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Slack, Microsoft Teams (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The complaint details Microsoft’s illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law. Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the actual cost to enterprise customers.

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Spotify launches support to video podcasts
Spotify launches support to video podcasts
Credit: Spotify

Spotify announced on Tuesday the global launch of video podcasts, a feature that allows users to watch the video content from a select group of creator podcasts.

In a direct response to YouTube, where only paid subscribers can listen to video content in the background, Spotify says all of its users will be able to seamlessly move between the video version and the audio.

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Facebook removes "Unmasking America!" group for spreading Covid-19 misinformation
Facebook removes "Unmasking America!" group for spreading Covid-19 misinformation
Credit: unsplash.com/United Nations COVID-19 Response

"Unmasking America!", one of the largest anti-mask groups on Facebook, has been removed for the violation of Facebook's policies against spreading misinformation about Covid-19. The group, with almost 10,000 members, was sharing what they called "the TRUTH about masks" and claimed masks would obstruct oxygen flow and that masks were a "psychological anchor for suppression, enslavement and cognitive obedience."

After an inquiry from The Verge, Facebook spokesperson Dami Oyefeso responded: "We have clear policies against promoting harmful misinformation about COVID 19 and have removed this group while we review the others."

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Argentina: Telecom falls victim to a ransomware, attackers demand $7.5 million
Argentina: Telecom falls victim to a ransomware, attackers demand $7.5 million
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Telecom, Argentina's largest telecommunications company, suffered a ransomware attack to its call centre on July 18. The attackers asked for a $7.5 million ransom demand to unlock encrypted files, a value that should double if not paid in 48 hours.

The company announced : "Telecom reports that it managed to contain a cyber attack attempt, of global dispersion, on its platforms. No critical services of the company were affected. It should also be noted that no client of the company was affected by this situation, as well as the bases of company data. Customer service efforts, suspended preventively, will be gradually restored.".

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South Korea fines TikTok for mishandling children's data
South Korea fines TikTok for mishandling children's data
Credit: unsplash.com / Solen Feyissa

The social network platform TikTok has been fined around $154.000 for mishandling data of children in South Korea. According to the Korea Communications Commission that issued the fine, the data of children under 14 years old has been collected without the required consent of their legal guardians.

In addition to the collection, the data had been transferred overseas without the permission or disclosure to the users.