Dhaka, Sep 6 (AP/UNB) -A chill, bearded and nose-ringed Jack Dorsey appeared unflappable as he faced hours of questioning from members of Congress Wednesday on issues as wide-ranging as political bias, hate speech, school safety and election manipulation.
At 9:30 a.m., he began at the Senate intelligence committee, alongside Facebook's practiced and polished chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and an empty chair in place of the absent Google co-founder Larry Page. In the afternoon, a 1:30 hearing featured a solo Dorsey before the 54-member House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Dorsey, who meditates regularly, live-tweeted his opening statement and answered questions in a low, measured tone. He repeatedly declined to rise to the bait offered by sometimes scathing legislators, instead holding forth as the nerdy and earnest CEO who just wants to improve his company and its role in the world.
When Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton pressed Dorsey on Twitter's allegiance to the U.S., Dorsey steered a serene middle course. Asked if he saw a difference between cooperating with the U.S. government and the Russian or Chinese governments, Dorsey demurred. "Not sure what you mean," he said.
"Are you an American company?" Cotton asked.
"We are an American company," answered Dorsey, who at 41 is the same age as Cotton.
"Do you prefer to see America remain the world's dominant global superpower?"
"I prefer that we continue to help everywhere to serve," Dorsey replied, going on to affirm the importance of adhering to Twitter's terms of service, protecting its users from 24/7 surveillance and, eventually, helping intelligence agencies when given a "proper legal order."
And so it unrolled, hour after hour, from one side of Capitol Hill to the other.
While Dorsey deferred some questions for follow-up, it wasn't the constant refrain for him that it was for Mark Zuckerberg during his own marathon congressional testimony back in April. That performance, in which the Facebook CEO skidded through the sometimes uninformed questions from members of Congress, helped Zuckerberg close the door on his company's privacy scandal — but also prompted an avalanche of online memes depicting him as an alien robot.
Dorsey, meanwhile, got high marks from Rep. Billy Long, a Missouri Republican and former auctioneer, who earlier in the hearing had drowned out a loud, conspiracy-minded protester with his old auction chant until security arrived.
"A lot of people come into these hearings and they practice and they coach them and they tell them how to act," Long said. "It's obvious that no one did that for you. You are who you are."
Though who knows. There are also people who spend hours picking out clothes and trying out hairstyles to appear effortlessly unkempt. Twitter did not respond to questions Wednesday about Dorsey's preparation for the hearings.
Compared to Zuckerberg, Dorsey "came across as more mature and more comfortable," said Richard Levick, founder and CEO of public-relations firm Levick. "His answers are thoughtful and you can see that he is really thinking about it."
Facebook's Sandberg also seemed to get a warmer reception than her boss had a few months earlier. A former Washington insider, Sandberg answered many questions directly and deflected others with little noticeable effort. But even she stumbled a bit, at one point telling senators that Facebook aims to present users with "alternative facts" when they come across fake news stories, inadvertently echoing an infamous formulation from Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Sandberg most likely meant that Facebook tries to present people with factual stories that provide more reliable information than disputed articles. And her overall performance earned points.
She no longer appeared dismissive, as Zuckerberg had been early on, about the prospect of foreign elections meddling. And she no longer insisted that Facebook was merely a neutral tech company that hires engineers and not journalists, as she did less than a year ago.
"They are realizing that they are (one of the) most powerful platforms of information," Levick said. "And they have more responsibility than the Wild West."
Dhaka, Sep 6 (UNB) - Huawei, world’s leading ICT solutions provider has selected 10 outstanding ICT talents from 5 renowned universities of Bangladesh for a China tour.
The gala event of ‘Seeds for the Future’ 2018 held at the Customer Solution Innovation and Integration Experience Centre (CSIC) in Gulshan Avenue, Dhaka for the reception of the finalists.
The programme was inaugurated by Zhang Zhengjun, CEO of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd. and Dr. S. M. Mostofa Al Mamun, Head of the Department of EEE of DU was also present at the event. The students will get a two-week hands-on learning experience in Beijing and Shenzhen, departing on September 8.
Recently, in collaboration with the respective faculties and Huawei expert team, Huawei selected top performing students to travel to China and learn about the next generation of technologies including 5G, Internet of Things, and cloud computing. With impressive investment in R&D over the years, Huawei is becoming a world leader with a richly varied list of products and services for telcos, businesses, governments and consumers, says a press release.
Zhang Zhengjun, CEO of Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Limited said in his opening speech, “Seeds for the Future” is their most heavily invested CSR programme worldwide. Starting in 2008, Seeds for the Future has been launched in 108 countries and regions. By the end of 2017, the programme has benefited over 30,000 students from more than 350 universities worldwide.
Through this program, a total of 3,600 top students have been able to visit and gain practical work experience at Huawei's headquarters in China. Seeds for the Future focuses solely on the development of young ICT talents through world-class ICT technologies.
He said, “I believe that, at the end of this program, students will enhance their ability to adapt to the ICT industry, and gain more exposure and understanding of the latest technologies. Huawei will always keep contributing to the ICT and telecom sectors of Bangladesh.”
He also mentioned that Huawei will continue to support Digital Bangladesh 2021 by acting as the best partner in building ICT infrastructure in Bangladesh, a leading enabler in digital transformation of vertical industries, a provider of best-experience technological products to consumers, and more importantly, a platform to develop more and more ICT talents for Bangladesh.
“We hope and welcome the seeds to join us, join ICT Industry of Bangladesh to help the country achieve the vision of Digital Bangladesh 2021 by contributing their knowledge,” he added.
This year’s selected universities are- Dhaka University (DU), Islamic University of Technology (IUT), Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (RUET) and Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET).
Dhaka, Sep 6 (UNB)- Grameenphone announced the names of the seven finalists for Telenor Youth Forum Grand Finale 2018.
The TYF Bangladesh finalists are Tasneem Omar Ava - BRAC University; Sameen Alam, and Syed Sameen Shahrear - IBA Dhaka University; Tarek Musanna, and Md. Nazib Intesar - BUP; Sabiha Saju Ibne Abedin - IBA JU; and Iftekher Mahmud - ARMY IBA.
Two winners from the TYF Bangladesh 2018 Grand Finale will head off to Oslo, Norway, in December 2018 during Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
Dhaka, Sept 6(UNB) - Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company, has started distributing helmets and safety jackets among driver - partners of Uber MOTO, reiterating its commitment to the safety of both riders and driver-partners.
The distribution of Uber’s safety pack started on Tuesday, said a press release on Thursday.
Less than a week of launch of their unique global safety toolkit, this week saw the start of Uber distributing safety packs to partners who use UberMOTO to get riders from A to B.
More the 3000 safety packs will be distributed by the end of the month. Each safety pack includes, two helmets (one for the driver and one for the rider), fluorescent safety windbreaker jacket and brightly coloured T-shirt
Additionally, partners who received these packs were also given a special session on road safety practices.
Prabhjeet Singh, Regional General Manager, Uber said, “At Uber, safety of our riders and driver partners is a priority and a commitment. At Uber we are uniquely positioned to use technology to innovate and continue to solve for rider and driver safety concerns.”
Just a few days ago Uber had launched “Safety Toolkit” - a consolidated and comprehensive set of features in-app for riders in Bangladesh.
The safety toolkit is aimed at building on the existing safety features available to riders in Bangladesh and improving both awareness and usage rates of some of the existing as well as newly introduced features.
Besides, the emergency button that provided riders direct access to 999, the police control room, is now placed under the shield button in the safety toolkit umbrella and will offer a quicker swipe feature for riders during an unwanted emergency.
Uber also ensures that the Moto service is not available from 12 - 6 am ensuring moto partners are not taking trips very late at night. UberMoto also has no forward dispatch (available on rides) to ensure uberMOTO partners are not distracted by beeps or phone calls about the next trip while already on one trip.
Previously, Uber has also introduced a first-of-its-kind insurance program for riders and driver partners. The policy will provide both riders and driver partners with free coverage for accidental death, permanent disablement and hospitalization in case of an accident while on-trip using the Uber App.
Washington, Sep 5 (AP/UNB) — Facebook and Twitter executives plan to defend their companies in two congressional hearings, arguing they are aggressively trying to root out foreign actors who want to do the United States harm just weeks before the midterm elections.
Twitter's CEO will also face angry Republicans who claim the companies have shown evidence of bias against conservatives. In prepared testimony released ahead of a House hearing Wednesday afternoon, Jack Dorsey says his company does not use political ideology to make decisions.
Congress has sharply criticized the social media companies over the last year as it has become clear that they were at the forefront of Russia's interference in the 2016 elections and beyond. That scrutiny has led to additional criticism over the companies' respect for user privacy and whether conservatives are being censored — frustrations that are particularly heightened ahead of the midterms.
"The companies have made progress, the government has made progress, but the bad guys have made progress as well," said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, which will hear from both companies in the morning on the subject of foreign interference. Warner has proposed a series of ways the companies could be regulated for the first time.
The afternoon hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee will feature only Dorsey in a hearing focused on bias and the platform's algorithms. Some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have pushed the idea ahead of the elections that Twitter is "shadow banning" some in the GOP because of the ways search results have appeared. Twitter denies that is happening.
Missing from the conversation will be Google, which refused to make its top executive available for the Senate intelligence hearing. The panel invited Larry Page, the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, but the company said it would send a lower-ranking executive instead. The committee rejected that offer, and is expected to have an empty chair at the hearing for Page.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr said Tuesday that Google doesn't "understand the problem" if it doesn't want to work with the government to find solutions.
The back-and-forth with Google is the latest in a year's worth of attempts by Congress to force the companies to focus more sharply on the Russian interference issue. While Burr says he believes Facebook and Twitter do understand the problem, it took both companies several months last year to acknowledge they had been manipulated.
It also underscores how difficult the problem may be to solve. While the companies have made many changes around their policies and have caught and banned hordes of malicious accounts over the past year, their business models — free services that rely on attracting as many users as possible for as long as possible and finding out as much about them as possible — remain the same. Some critics have charged that unless they change this, they will continue to contend with bad actors taking advantage of their systems.
In prepared remarks for Wednesday's hearing, Facebook's No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, details many ways the company is addressing the problem but reiterates that the company was slow to spot it. Thirteen Russians were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year on charges of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election by creating fake accounts that pushed divisive issues on social media.
In her testimony, Sandberg details ongoing efforts to take down material linked to the Russian agency, including the removal this year of 270 Facebook pages. Still, Sandberg says the company's overall understanding of the Russian activity in 2016 is limited "because we do not have access to the information or investigative tools" that the U.S. government has.
"This is an arms race, and that means we need to be ever more vigilant," Sandberg says.
Dorsey says Twitter has continued to identify accounts that may be linked to the same Russian internet agency in Mueller's indictment. He says Twitter has so far suspended 3,843 accounts the company believes are linked to the agency, and has seen recent activity.
On bias, the Twitter CEO is aggressive in defending his company, saying in the prepared House testimony that he wants to be clear about one thing: "Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules."
To address the concerns, Dorsey offers an explanation of how Twitter uses "behavioral signals," such as the way accounts interact and behave on the service. Those signals can help weed out spam and abuse.
He says such behavioral analysis "does not consider in any way" political views or ideology.
Dorsey says the San Francisco-based company is also "committed to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress."
Only Dorsey was invited to the House hearing after specific Republican concerns about bias on Twitter. While all three tech companies have been accused of political bias against conservatives, the more public-facing nature of Twitter has made it an especially easy target.
Despite the companies' denials, conservatives have continued to push the issue ahead of the 2018 elections.
"Sadly, conservatives are too often finding their voices silenced," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement when the hearing was announced. "We all agree that transparency is the only way to fully restore Americans' trust in these important public platforms."