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Technology • Internet & Web
Spotify has implemented a Stories feature
Spotify has implemented a Stories feature
Credit: Pendect / Courtesy of Spotify (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Following the trend of implementing a Stories feature into the application, Spotify has rolled out a first version of the feature that is already present in other platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Spotify uses the feature on top of the "Christmas Hits" playlist to show users short videos of artists talking about their favorite Christmas songs.

Technology • Internet & Web
Solomon Islands announce plans to ban Facebook to preserve 'national unity'
Solomon Islands announce plans to ban Facebook to preserve 'national unity'
Credit: Torbenbrinker / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The government of the Solomon Islands has announced that Facebook will be banned in the nation.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has stated that the country has a "duty to cultivate national unity and the happy coexistence of our people" adding that Facebook would undermine "efforts to unite this country".

Internet and telecommunications providers in Solomon Islands will meet with communications officials to discuss how they will block the world's largest social media network.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Twitter and Facebook to transfer presidential accounts to Biden on Inauguration Day
Twitter and Facebook to transfer presidential accounts to Biden on Inauguration Day
Credit: @POTUS, via Twitter

Twitter has said it would transfer all accounts associated with the White House, including the @POTUS account, to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20, the company told Politico. Facebook has also stated it would transfer control of all presidential accounts on its platform to the Biden adminstration.

"Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021. As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is being done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration," a Twitter rep said.

The @realDonaldTrump account will remain under Donald Trump's control after Biden's inauguration, but will lose the special protections it gets due to Trump's status as a world leader and therefore will be subject to the same rules as the majority of the users on the platform.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook to be possibly shut down in Vietnam following censorship requests
Facebook to be possibly shut down in Vietnam following censorship requests
Credit: unsplash.com / Thought Catalog

A senior official from Facebook has told Reuters that the Vietnamese government is pressuring the platform to censor more local political content on the social network. If the company does not comply it could face a ban in the country. Vietnam's foreign ministry stated on the matter that "spreading information that violates traditional Vietnamese customs and infringes upon state interests".

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter rolls out Fleets feature similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories
Twitter rolls out Fleets feature similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Twitter introduces a new feature called "Fleets" which enables users to share content such as tweets, videos or photos to other users in a separate section of the social media platform.

Content posted to Fleets will be visible for a 24-hour period and vanish after, similar to the Story feature on other platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger. The feature will be rolled out to users worldwide.

Technology • Internet & Web
Zuckerberg says Bannon has not violated enough policies for suspension
Zuckerberg says Bannon has not violated enough policies for suspension
Credit: Anthony Quintano from Honolulu, HI, United States / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg defended this decision to not ban Donald Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon after he called for the beheading of former FBI director Christopher Wray and pandemic expert Anthony Fauci in a video broadcast. In a conversation with employees Zuckerberg stated that Bannon was "close" to "crossing that line" but did not break enough rules to justify banning him, so his account will remain available.

Technology • Internet & Web
WhatsApp launches payment service in India
WhatsApp launches payment service in India
Credit: Courtesy of WhatsApp

After testing WhatsApp payments in India for some years, Facebook has been granted a legal permit to roll out the payment service across the country.

The service uses the Indian Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and users are able to make payments to any user using an app that is built on that standard.

Technology • Internet & Web
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.

Technology • Internet & Web
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.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Mayor of Copenhagen steps down over sexual harassment
Frank Jensen
Frank Jensen Credit: News Oresund (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Frank Jensen, mayor of Copenhagen since 2010, resigned on Monday following several allegations of sexual harassment. Jensen will also step down from his role as deputy leader of Denmark's governing Social Democratic Party.

Jensen's exit came after two women said they were sexually harassed at social events by Jensen in 2012 and 2017, respectively with both saying he touched them without consent.

Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, called Jensen’s resignation the "right decision" in a Facebook post and told the local news agency Ritzau it is "obvious" there are problems in the Social Democratic Party that must change immediately.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Facebook says it has rejected 2.2 million ads attempting to obstruct voting in US election
Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg Credit: Liberal Democrats (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Facebook has rejected a total of 2.2 million ads and withdrawn 120,000 posts for attempting to "obstruct voting" in the upcoming 2020 US election, said Facebook VP of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg.

Clegg also said: "Thirty-five thousand employees take care of the security of our platforms and contribute for elections. We have established partnerships with 70 specialised media, including five in France, on the verification of information."

Technology • Internet & Web
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.

Technology • Internet & Web
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.

Technology • Internet & Web
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".

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Facebook counters Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma" that criticized practices of the social network
Facebook counters Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma" that criticized practices of the social network
Credit: The Social Dilemma (Instagram)

In a post, Facebook has taken a stance towards the accusations from the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma".

Facebook stated that "the film’s creators do not include insights from those currently working at the companies or any experts that take a different view to the narrative put forward by the film" and added that "it gives a distorted view of how social media platforms work".

Regional News • Europe • European Union
European Union drafts Digital Services Act to regulate large technology companies
European Union drafts Digital Services Act to regulate large technology companies
Credit: Corentin Béchade / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Commission is working on a new legislative package in order to regulate major online platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others. According to an internal paper, one of the goals is to prevent "unfair practices". One rule could specify that the platforms would "not be allowed to pre-install their own applications exclusively" such as installing mobile apps on smartphones and preventing users to uninstall them.

In addition, there could be new restrictions on the usage of data generated by their services for their own commercial activities. This kind of data could only be used if made "accessible to other commercial users".

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Singer Helen Reddy dies aged 78
Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy Credit: AustinMini 1275 (Public Domain)

Australian singer Helen Reddy has died at the age of 78. Her passing was announced in a statement on her official Facebook page by her children. Reddy had spent the last years of her life in a care home in Los Angeles after being diagnosed with Addison's disease and dementia.

"It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles. She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever," her children Traci and Jordan wrote.

Reddy was the singer behind the feminist anthem "I Am Woman" which became prominent in the women's liberation movement in the 1970s.

Technology • Internet & Web
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.

Business • Economy
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/Brett Jordan

Facebook will open its second African office in Lagos, Nigeria in 2021 to support the Sub-Saharan region, the company said in a statement.

“The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world," the Head of New Product Experimentation Ime Archibong said. “All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

Technology • Internet & Web
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".