Internet & Web

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Twitter revenue rises 14%, but user growth failed to impress
Twitter revenue rises 14%, but user growth failed to impress
Credit: Brett Jordan

Twitter reported Thursday a net income of $29 million in the third quarter, or 4 cents per diluted share, a decline from the same period last year. The company also reported a revenue of $936 million, beating the analysts' expected revenue of $777 million.

The return of live events and previously postponed product launches helped drive the increased advertising spending, Twitter CFO Ned Segal said in a statement in the company's earnings release.

The monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) was 187 million, bellow the 195 million expected.

Twitter discussed in its letter to shareholders its efforts to combat misinformation and provide context to users, especially with the uncertainty that could surround election results in the US as mail-in ballots are expected to potentially prolong the outcome.

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US hospital systems facing 'imminent' threat of cyber attacks, FBI warns
US hospital systems facing 'imminent' threat of cyber attacks, FBI warns
Credit: unsplash.com / Javier Matheu

The FBI and two other federal agencies have warned that the US healthcare system is facing an “increased and imminent” threat of cyberattacks, including data theft and extortion attempts to lock up hospital information systems, and that there is "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to US hospitals and healthcare providers."

"We are experiencing the most significant cyber security threat we’ve ever seen in the United States,” so Charles Carmakal, chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm Mandiant.

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Italian Competition Authority opens investigation against Google
Italian Competition Authority opens investigation against Google
Credit: Courtesy of Philipp Klöckner

The Italian Competition Authority has opened an investigation against Google, questioning the discriminatory use of the huge amount of data collected through its various applications, allegedly preventing rivals from competing effectively as well as adversely affecting consumers.

In addition, Google has allegedly used their technology to achieve a targeting capability that some equally efficient competitors are unable to replicate by using tracking elements enabling its advertising intermediation services.

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Patients of psychotherapy clinic blackmailed after data breach
Patients of psychotherapy clinic blackmailed after data breach
Credit: unsplash.com / MINDY JACOBS

After patient data has been stolen from a large psychotherapy clinic in Finland, patients have been contacted individually by a blackmailer. The data appears to have included personal identification records and notes about what was discussed in therapy sessions. It said it believed the data had been stolen in November 2018, with a further potential breach in March 2019.

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Youtube runs out of space for advertising bookings for the US election
Youtube runs out of space for advertising bookings for the US election
Credit: unsplash.com / Christian Wiediger

According to a report by Bloomberg, Youtube can only actually accommodate a part of the ordered commercials for the US elections. Due to the demand the advertising prices have doubled in some cases.

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Hackers hijack and publish mental health data of hundreds of people
Hackers hijack and publish mental health data of hundreds of people
Credit: Blogtrepreneur (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The criminals demanded from the psychotherapy center Vastaamo 450,000 euros in exchange for stopping publishing the data. The release of patient data - including minors - ceased on Friday, sparking rumors about a possible payment. The information published so far includes the patient's personal data and the content of the therapy sessions.

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Twitter and White House deny hack of Trump's Twitter account
Twitter and White House deny hack of Trump's Twitter account
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

According to Twitter, there are no indications that the claims of the security researcher are true that Trump's Twitter account has been compromised by using the password "maga2020".

The press office of the White House also does not want to comment on "Security procedures around the social media accounts of the president" and says that the story around the alleged hack is "Definitely not correct".

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Quibi shuts down six months after going live
Quibi shuts down six months after going live
Credit: Quibi

Shortform streaming mobile platform Quibi has announced it will shut down on December 1, just six months after going live.

"We feel that we’ve exhausted all our options. As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace," the company wrote in a statement, stating that "the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing."

Quibi will attempt to sell its content and technology in the upcoming months.

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Reform of the Youth Protection Act in Germany

Children and young people are to be better protected against harassment and cyberbullying on the Internet in the future. The Federal Cabinet has updated the Youth Protection Act of 2002 and adapted it to the new platforms such as YouTube, messenger services and TikTok. Accordingly, providers must meet requirements such as secure presettings, child-friendly help and complaint systems and uniform age rating.

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Facebook Dating launches in Europe
Facebook Dating launches in Europe
Credit: Facebook

Facebook Dating, the company's competitor to various dating apps, has launched in Europe today. Facebook claims the service has created 1.5 billion matches since its international launch in 2018.

"Facebook Dating won’t suggest your Facebook friends as potential matches, but if you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you’re interested in," so the company in a statement.

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Donald Trump’s Twitter account hacked by Dutch ethical hacker
Donald Trump’s Twitter account hacked by Dutch ethical hacker
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The researcher, Victor Gevers, had access to Trump’s personal messages, could post tweets in his name, and change his profile. Gevers took screenshots when he had access to Trump’s account. Trump, an active Twitterer with 87 million followers, had an extremely weak and easy to guess password and had according to the researcher, not applied two-step verification.

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PayPal introduces annual fee for inactive users in some countries
PayPal introduces annual fee for inactive users in some countries
Credit: Courtesy of PayPal

With new usage guidelines coming into force on December 16 inactive users will be forced to pay a inactivity fee that will only be deducted from existing credit on the respective accounts.

If the available amount is not sufficient, then only the remaining credit is used up. Linked payment sources such as accounts or credit cards will not be accessed. The penalty will be twelve euros and it is not clear in which countries it will be introduced.

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Pakistan to reverse TikTok block after the company vows to moderate content
Pakistan to reverse TikTok block after the company vows to moderate content
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, LogoTikTok (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Pakistani government decided to lift the ban on TikTok after the Chinese company agreed to moderate content and block all accounts involved in spreading "obscenity and immorality".

The spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced on Monday: "TikTok has agreed to moderate accounts in accordance with local laws."

TikTok was the third-most-popular app in the country over the past 12 months, just behind WhatsApp and Facebook, with some 20 million monthly accounts users.

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Twitter follows Facebook with ban of content that denies Holocaust
Twitter follows Facebook with ban of content that denies Holocaust
Credit: unsplash.com / Kon Karampelas

On Twitter, it will be forbidden in the future to question the historically proven crimes of the Nazis. According to the service's statement, this also applies to the denial or trivialization of other "violent events" or their glorification, while Facebook's regulation specifically covers the Holocaust. "We strongly condemn anti-Semitism and hate has no place on our platform," a Twitter spokesperson told Bloomberg.

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Apple requests Telegram to shut down chat channels of the Belarusian opposition
Apple requests Telegram to shut down chat channels of the Belarusian opposition
Credit: Courtesy of Telegram

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has announced that Apple has requested that Telegram shuts down three channels that are "used by the people of Belarus to expose the identities of their oppressors". Apple states that violence might be incited because personal details of Belarusian "law enforcers and propagandists" get shared in the channels, according to Durov.

He assumes that the channels will be blocked from iOS devices to avoid a ban from the Apple AppStore.

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Slack will implement global messaging across workspaces
Slack will implement global messaging across workspaces
Credit: unsplash.com / Pankaj Patel

A new Slack feature that is set to be rolled out in 2021 will allow users to message each other directly across workspaces. Users will get a unique link that you can share with other users that will then be able to message you directly, no matter if you are in the same workspace or not.

The feature will be rolled out through Slack Connect which aims at enabling collaboration between businesses of different sized.

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Facebook announces the removal of content denying the Holocaust
Facebook announces the removal of content denying the Holocaust
Credit: unsplash.com / Greg Bulla

Facebook has announced an update to the site's hate speech policy. In the press release, the social network states that following the "well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people" a new policy will now "prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust" on Facebook.

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G Suite gets rebranded to Google Workspace
G Suite gets rebranded to Google Workspace
Credit: Courtesy of Google

Google just rebranded G Suite to Google Workspace. Workspace brings together Gmail, Docs, Meet, Room and Drive and introduces a "new brand identity that reflects our ambitious product vision and the way our products work together" and "a deeply integrated user experience that helps teams collaborate more effectively, frontline workers stay connected, and businesses power new digital customer experiences".

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QAnon banned on all Facebook-owned platforms
White truck with a QAnon bumper sticker.
White truck with a QAnon bumper sticker. Credit: XPlayer2x (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook has announced that all accounts associated with QAnon will be banned from all Facebook-owned platforms. They stated that "starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts for representing QAnon. We’re starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks" and added that "our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports".

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Twitter to change image cropping amid bias concern
Twitter to change image cropping amid bias concern
Credit: Sara Kurfeß

Twitter announced Thursday it would make changes to how preview images are cropped amid concerns about possible bias. When posting pictures, Twitter users noticed the company algorithm selected white faces over black ones in preview images.

The company wrote a blog post titled "Transparency around image cropping and changes to come" explaining the development of a solution to deal with the bias problem.

"We are prioritizing work to decrease our reliance on ML-based image cropping by giving people more visibility and control over what their images will look like in a Tweet. We’ve started exploring different options to see what will work best across the wide range of images people Tweet every day. We hope that giving people more choices for image cropping and previewing what they’ll look like in the Tweet composer may help reduce the risk of harm," the company said in the post.

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Twitter warned developers that private keys and tokens could have been exposed
Twitter warned developers that private keys and tokens could have been exposed
Credit: Ravi Sharma

In an email to developers, Twitter warned of a bug that may have exposed their private application keys and account tokens due to a mistake on how Twitter stored the information in the browser's cache.

"Prior to the fix, if you used a public or shared computer to view your developer app keys and tokens on developer.twitter.com, they may have been temporarily stored in the browser’s cache on that computer," the email read. "If someone who used the same computer after you in that temporary timeframe knew how to access a browser’s cache, and knew what to look for, it is possible they could have accessed the keys and tokens that you viewed."

Twitter shared that it has not yet seen any evidence that these keys were compromised, but alerted developers out of an abundance of caution.

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MontanaBlack, biggest German Twitch streamer, banned for a month over sexism
MontanaBlack, biggest German Twitch streamer, banned for a month over sexism
Credit: Foto Schattke GmbH & Co KG / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Because of sexist content, streaming star Marcel Eris, known as MontanaBlack, has been blocked on the streaming platform Twitch. The 32-year-old from Buxtehude had shared various sexist content on his Twitch account while on vacation in Malta.

Among other things, Eris commented in one of his videos with crude comments on the body of a woman posing in the distance, of whom he took photos. He also filmed on the street and commented on the appearance of women with grunts.

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Epic Games, Spotify and others form advocacy group to push for app store changes

Companies including “Fortnite” maker Epic Games Inc., Spotify Technology SA, and Tinder owner Match Group Inc. have forged an alliance to pressure Apple Inc. and other app-store operators to make changes to their marketplace rules.

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Facebook states that withdrawal from EU is possible if data sharing with US servers will not be allowed
Facebook states that withdrawal from EU is possible if data sharing with US servers will not be allowed
Credit: unsplash.com / Thought Catalog

Following an announcement of Facebook Ireland's head of data protection Yvonne Cunnane, it is not clear how the company "could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU" following a preliminary order to stop the data transfer of European customers to servers based in the United States.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) had voiced concerns over possible surveillance of the data by the United States government.

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U.S. judge halts order to remove WeChat from app stores
U.S. judge halts order to remove WeChat from app stores
Credit: WeChat

Early Sunday, the U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler blocked the Commerce Department from requiring Apple and Google to remove WeChat for downloads. The judge issued a preliminary injunction at the request of the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance.

The preliminary injunction also blocked the order barring other transactions with WeChat in the United States that could have degraded the site’s usability for current U.S. users.

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After Trump "blessing" of Oracle deal, the U.S. will delay TikTok app store ban by one week
After Trump "blessing" of Oracle deal, the U.S. will delay TikTok app store ban by one week
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Logos TikTok & Oracle (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The U.S. Commerce Department on Saturday announced a one-week delay until September 27 on order to remove TikTok app from mobile application stores owned by Apple and Google. The decision came after President Trump has given tentative approval to an Oracle-Wallmart deal that will keep TikTok alive in the country.

Trump said, on Saturday, that "I have given the deal my blessing, I approve the deal in concept."

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Revised terms for Oracle's TikTok bid accepted by both companies
Revised terms for Oracle's TikTok bid accepted by both companies
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Logos TikTok & Oracle (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A revised term sheet by the United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchi has been accepted by Oracle and the TikTok owner Bytedance.

The approval of the United States and the Chinese governments are for the deal are still pending.

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Whistleblower alleges Facebook of ignoring global political manipulation
Whistleblower alleges Facebook of ignoring global political manipulation
Credit: unsplash.com / Alex Haney

According to a 6,600-word memo that has been obtained by BuzzFeed News, a former Facebook data scientist accuses Facebook of ignoring political manipulation on a global scale.

In the memo, Sophie Zhang gives "concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion".

One of the examples given is that 672,000 fake accounts have been removed that globally manipulated the narrative during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zhang also stated that she has "personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I’ve lost count".

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Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, reaches 600m daily active users
Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, reaches 600m daily active users
Credit: Douyin

The Chinese version of TikTok called Douyin has reached 600 million daily active users in August, so its parent-comapny ByteDance which also owns TikTok. While both apps are rather similar, Douyin also features e-commerce options, livestreams and uploads of full-length movies. During the Douyin Creator Conference in Shanghai, ByteDance China CEO Kelly Zhang stated that Douyin has over 22 million creators that made over 41.7 billion yuan (or $6.15b USD).

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Customs and Border Protection seize 2,000 OnePlus Buds claiming they are "counterfeit Apple AirPods"
Customs and Border Protection seize 2,000 OnePlus Buds claiming they are "counterfeit Apple AirPods"
Credit: CBP

US Customs and Border Protection tweeted that officers at John F Kennedy International Airport had "recently seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong, valued at $398K had they been genuine."

The box from the tweet picture states that the product is from OnePlus and not Apple, but according to a CBP spokesperson: "Upon examining the shipment in question, a CBP Import Specialist determined that the subject earbuds appeared to violate Apple's configuration trademark."