London, Jun 8 (AP/UNB) — Facebook said Friday it has stopped letting its apps come pre-installed on smartphones sold by Huawei in order to comply with U.S. restrictions, a move that deals a fresh blow to the Chinese tech giant.
The social network said it has suspended providing software for Huawei to put on its devices while it reviews recently introduced U.S. sanctions.
Owners of existing Huawei smartphones that already have Facebook apps can continue to use them and download updates.
Facebook said people who have Huawei phones or buy new ones will still be able to download Facebook on their own.
Facebook's move is the latest fallout in the escalating U.S.-China tech feud.
The Commerce Department last month effectively barred U.S. companies from selling their technology to Huawei and other Chinese firms without government approval. China's Commerce Ministry responded this week by warning it would release its own list of "unreliable" foreign companies in the near future.
U.S. officials are pressing their global campaign to blacklist Huawei, the world's No. 1 network equipment provider and second-largest smartphone maker. They say Beijing could use the company's products for cyberespionage, though they haven't presented evidence of intentional spying.
"We are reviewing the Commerce Department's final rule and the more recently issued temporary general license and taking steps to ensure compliance," Facebook said, referring to a 90-day grace period allowing continued support of existing Huawei equipment.
Huawei declined to comment.
Google, which makes the Android operating system used by Huawei, has already said that while it would continue to support existing Huawei phones, future devices won't come with its flagship apps and services, including maps, Gmail and search. Only basic services would be available for future versions of Android.
San Francisco, June 6 (AP/UNB) — YouTube updated its hate speech policies Wednesday to prohibit videos with white supremacy and neo-Nazi viewpoints.
The video streaming company says it has already made it more difficult to find and promote such videos, but it's now removing them outright. YouTube will also prohibit videos that deny certain proven events have taken place, such as the Holocaust.
The changes come as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other online services face mounting concern that the services allow, and in some cases foster , extremism.
YouTube's new policies will take effect immediately. Specifically, the service is banning videos "alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion." The ban applies to a range of characteristics, including race, sexual orientation and veteran status.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it's removing thousands of channels that violate the new policies.
YouTube's changes follow moves from Facebook to prohibit not only white supremacy , but also white nationalism and white separatism.
The two services, which allow people to create and upload their own materials, have faced considerable backlash about offensive videos on their services — and for how long they allowed live video feeds to stay online, such as during the mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The companies have said they are walking the balance between creating safe spaces while also protecting freedom of expression.
With little government oversight on online material, internet companies have become the arbiters for what is and isn't allowed.
And the policies don't always fall into clean, delineated lines.
YouTube is facing controversy over its refusal to remove videos from conservative commentator Steven Crowder, in which he uses homophobic slurs to describe Vox reporter Carlos Maza. YouTube said Crowder hasn't told people to harass Maza, and the primary point of his video is to offer opinion, and thus it didn't violate YouTube's anti-harassment policies.
Criticism of the decision has poured out online. YouTube later said it had removed Crowder's ability to make money on YouTube.
Crowder did not immediately respond to a request for comment but posted a video on Twitter saying his channel is not going anywhere.
San Francisco, May 4 (AP/UNB) — The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook plans a cryptocurrency-based payment system that it could launch for billions of users worldwide.
The system would use a digital coin similar to bitcoin, but different in that Facebook would aim to keep the coin's value stable. Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies have been susceptible to wild fluctuations in value.
It could reportedly undermine credit cards by sidestepping the processing fees that generate much of their revenue.
The Journal report cited unidentified people familiar with the matter. It said Facebook is recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to launch the network. Facebook's plans may include ways to financially reward users who interact with ads or other features.
Facebook says only that it is exploring many different applications for cryptocurrency technology.
San Francisco, May 3 (AP/UNB) — After years of pressure to crack down on hate and bigotry, Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and other extremists, saying they violated its ban on "dangerous individuals."
The company also removed right-wing personalities Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Jones' site, Infowars, which often posts conspiracy theories. The latest bans apply to both Facebook's main service and to Instagram and extend to fan pages and other related accounts.
Decried as censorship by several of those who got the ax, the move signals a renewed effort by the social media giant to remove people and groups promoting objectionable material such as hate, racism and anti-Semitism.
Removing some of the best-known figures of the U.S. political extreme takes away an important virtual megaphone that Facebook has provided the likes of Jones, Yiannopoulos and others over the years. But it does not address what might be done with lesser known figures and those who stay on the margins of what Facebook's policies allow.
Critics praised the move but said there is more to be done on both Facebook and Instagram.
"We know that there are still white supremacists and other extremist figures who are actively using both platforms to spread their hatred and bigotry," said Keegan Hankes, senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the U.S.
Dipayan Ghosh, a former Facebook executive and an internet policy expert at Harvard, said the ban isn't as big a step as Facebook appears to be painting it — it's just enforcing its existing policy.
"There will always be more purveyors of hate speech that try to come on these platforms," he said. "Will advocates have to push year after year just to get (a handful of) individuals off? At this rate it seems likely. And this doesn't address the problem of what happens at the margins."
Facebook has previously suspended Jones from its flagship service temporarily; this suspension is permanent and includes Instagram. Twitter has also banned Loomer, Jones and Yiannopoulos, though Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam long known for provocative comments widely considered anti-Semitic, still had an account Thursday. So did Watson, who rose to popularity as editor-at-large at Infowars and has nearly a million followers on the site.
Facebook said the newly banned accounts violated its policy against dangerous individuals and organizations. The company says it has always banned people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.
It added that when it bans someone under this policy, the company said it also prohibits anyone else from praising or supporting them.
For years, social media companies have been under pressure from civil rights groups and other activists to clamp down on hate speech on their services. Following the deadly white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Google, Facebook and PayPal began banishing extremist groups and individuals who identified as or supported white supremacists.
A year later, widespread bans of Jones and Infowars reflected a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech. But Facebook instituted only a 30-day suspension (though Twitter banned him permanently).
It is not clear what events led to Thursday's announcement. In a statement, Facebook merely said, "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."
Last month, it extended its ban on hate speech to prohibit the promotion and support of white nationalism and white separatism. It had previously allowed such material even though it has long banned white supremacists.
Asked to comment on the bans, Yiannopoulos emailed only "You're next."
Jones reacted angrily Thursday during a live stream of his show on his Infowars website.
"They didn't just ban me. They just defamed us. Why did Zuckerberg even do this?" Jones said, referring to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Jones called himself a victim of "racketeering" by "cartels."
"There's a new world now, man, where they're banning everybody and then they tell Congress nobody is getting banned," he said.
Watson, meanwhile, tweeted that he was not given a reason and that he "broke none of their rules."
"Hopefully, other prominent conservatives will speak out about me being banned, knowing that they are next if we don't pressure the Trump administration to take action," he wrote.
Farrakhan, Nehlen and Loomer did not immediately return messages for comment.
Harvard's Ghosh said kicking off individuals with big followings, such as Jones, goes against Facebook's commercial interest.
"As soon as they kick Alex Jones or Laura Loomer off their platform, it immediately ticks of a huge number of people," he said.
Dhaka, Apr 29 (UNB)- The telecom regulator on Monday said that it will consider all legal options to realise about Tk 13,000 crore in overdue arrears from private mobile operator Grameenphone.
“We’ll block its NOC and calls, if necessary,” said Jahurul Haque, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). “It must pay the arrears.”
A BTRC-appointed audit firm said GP owes the regulator Tk 13,000 crore, including Tk 4,085.94 crore to the National Board of Revenue.
GP dubbed the audit "unfounded and without any legal basis".
“A daily late fee is being added to the overdue payment,” Jahurul told a views exchange meeting with Telecom Reporters Network’s Bangladesh (TRNB) at BTRC office in Dhaka.
He said the audit company had given enough time to GP but the mobile operator was delaying the payment by taking time from court.
“We’ll do everything legally possible to get the money,” he said, adding that all mobile operators will be audited gradually and that the BTRC treated everyone equally.
On April 2, BTRC asked GP to pay Tk 12579.95 crore. Of the amount, the regulator said the operator owed it Tk 8,494.01 crore and NBR Tk 4,085.94 crore.
GP was asked to make the payment within 10-15 days.
The claim originated from an Information and Systems Audit, conducted by the JVCA of Toha Khan Zaman & Co, on GP's operations from its inception in 1997 till December 2014.
TRNB president Muzib Masud, General Secretary Mazharul Anuwar Khan Shipu and BTRC commissioner, among others, were present at the programme.