Dhaka, Jul 6 (UNB) - Chinese police have arrested a man in connection with an incident that left the boss of tech giant Baidu drenched with water, reports the BBC.
Chief executive Robin Li was giving a speech when a man climbed on stage, grabbed him and upended a bottle of water over him.
The incident happened at the Baidu Create 2019 conference in Beijing.
The annual conference showcases the technology firm's work on artificial intelligence and other innovations.
Beijing police said a man had been placed in administrative detention on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble". The detention can last for up to five days.
After wiping away the water, Mr Li continued with his talk.
Baidu is China's top search provider and has regularly faced criticism from the public over the quality of the search results it provides.
In a similar incident in early July, an animal rights activist got within 3ft (1m) of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos during a presentation he was making at a conference in Las Vegas.
Priya Sawhney, of the Direct Action Everywhere group, was protesting about the treatment of animals at a farm that suppliers Amazon and others with meat.
Paris, July 4 (AP/UNB) — France’s lower house of parliament approved Thursday a small, pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook — and the French government hopes other countries will follow suit.
The bill aims to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up headquarters in low-tax EU countries. Currently, the companies pay nearly no tax in countries where they have large sales like France.
The bill foresees a 3% tax on the French revenues of digital companies with global revenue of more than 750 million euros ($847 million), and French revenue over 25 million euros.
The bill adopted by the National Assembly goes to the Senate next week, where it is expected to win final approval.
The tech industry warns it could lead to higher costs for consumers.
It could affect U.S. companies including Airbnb and Uber as well as those from China and Europe. It primarily targets those that use consumers’ data to sell online advertising.
The French Finance Ministry has estimated the tax will raise about 500 million euros ($566 million) a year this year but that should increase “quickly.”
France failed to persuade EU partners to impose a Europe-wide tax on online giants, but is now pushing for an international deal with the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Dhaka, July 3 (UNB) Some Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users cannot upload photos, videos and files.
A spokesman for Facebook, which owns all three apps, told BBC News: "We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible."
Together, the social networks have billions of users worldwide, reports BBC.
In March, Facebook and Instagram suffered their longest period of disruption ever. Problems also struck both apps as well as WhatsApp in April.
The Facebook Messenger app, which is often installed separately, is also affected.
San Diego, Jul 3 (AP/UNB) — Before the rise of social media, Border Patrol agents gathered in parking lots at the end of their shifts for what was known as "choir practice" — a chance to share what they saw that day and anything else on their minds.
T.J. Bonner, who led the National Border Patrol Council during much of his 32-year career as an agent, recalled the defunct tradition while trying to explain a secret Facebook group for agents that included sexually explicit posts about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and questioned the authenticity of a recent photo of a father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande.
"That outlet faded away and was replaced by social media, where people thought they had a safe place they could vent and process," said Bonner, whose career ended in 2010 and who does not belong to the group. "That would explain some of the callous comments. The vile stuff? There's no excuse. I'm certainly not going to try to defend it."
Billed as "fun, serious and just work related," the group boasts about 9,500 members. "We are family, first and foremost," it states, according to ProPublica, which reported its existence on Monday, igniting a fierce outcry.
A former agent who belongs to the group said Tuesday that members had to provide the administrator with their graduating class number from the Border Patrol Academy and have a current member vouch for their credentials. The agent, who retired last year in San Diego, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he feared a public backlash.
The agent likened the forum to a bar where agents would gather after work and swap stories. He said any agent active on Facebook would have likely received an invitation to join.
Some posts were graphic, doctored images of Ocasio-Cortez, including one that shows a smiling President Donald Trump forcing her head toward his crotch, according to screenshots obtained by ProPublica. Other comments refer to Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas as "hoes," and one member encouraged agents to throw a "burrito at these bitches."
A news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in Border Patrol custody in May elicited a response from one member, "If he dies, he dies." Another member posted a GIF of the "Sesame Street" character Elmo with the quote "Oh well."
The posts threaten to tarnish the Border Patrol's image at one of the most challenging times in its 95-year history. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost called the posts "completely inappropriate" and "offensive" and vowed to hold employees accountable.
"Most importantly, the words of these few individuals directly undermine public trust in the Border Patrol and the dedication and compassion with which the rest of you undertake your duties each and every day," Provost wrote to staff.
George Allen, who retired in 2017 after a 31-year career, most recently as an assistant chief of the Border Patrol's Tucson, Arizona, sector, said he had heard of the group, which is named "I'm a 10-15," a reference to the agency's internal code for "aliens in custody." Although he was not a member, he belongs to another Facebook forum where the group has occasionally been mentioned.
"I've heard other agents talk about it," Allen said. "The ones that talk about it talk about it in a negative manner. Some of the posts really bash the older agents."
The political fallout revived criticism of the agency's culture, which was a subject of extensive news coverage after a string of migrant deaths in Barack Obama's presidency but faded from public view after Trump took office.
The National Border Patrol Council, an early supporter of Trump's presidential bid whose leader, Brandon Judd, advises the White House on immigration, said Monday that it "strongly condemns" the posts and that they do a "great disservice to all Border Patrol agents, the overwhelming majority of whom perform their duties honorably."
The union produces a radio show, "The Green Line," that mixes discussions about border security with shoptalk and freewheeling news commentary. The hosts alternate between workplace gripes like radios that don't work in remote areas and topics in the news. They have called the Black Lives Matter activists "domestic terrorists" and Mexico "a corrupt country."
Gil Kerlikowske, who was commissioner of parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection from 2014 to 2017, riled the union by recruiting Mark Morgan from the FBI to be the first outsider to run the Border Patrol. Morgan was ousted during Trump's first week in office but impressed Trump as a television commentator and was recently named acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, with union support this time.
"Changing culture is pretty difficult," Kerlikowske said. "You can change the behavior to some extent. You can punish, suspend people. You can terminate people."
Dhaka, Jul 3 (UNB) - Video-sharing app TikTok says it is "sorry" that some children and other young people have felt pressured into sending money to their favourite influencers on the app, reports the BBC.
TikTok lets fans send their favourite videomakers "digital gifts", which can cost up to £48.99.
A BBC investigation found influencers promising to share their phone numbers with fans in exchange for the gifts.
TikTok said it would strengthen its policies and guidelines but did not explain exactly how.
Claire (not her real name) told BBC News she regretted spending £100 to obtain her favourite TikTok star's phone number - and he had never answered his phone.
Claire, 12, who lives in the north-west of England, sent TikTok star Sebastian Moy a £48.99 "drama queen" gift to show her appreciation for his videos.
And when he had asked for another one in exchange for his personal phone number, she said she was swept up in the moment.
The US-based video-maker has 3.8 million fans on TikTok and has not broken any of the app's rules.
He has not responded to the BBC's requests for comment.
Taking a cut
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media app, with about 500 million regular users, although the company doesn't disclose its userbase. It's estimated to have been downloaded more than a billion times on app stores.
The app lets people post 15-second videos. It is known for clips of teenagers lip-syncing and dancing to the latest trending music.
The company says it is most popular with 16- to 24-year-olds but there is evidence that many users are under 13, which is against the app's rules.
The firm has already been fined $5.7m (£4.5m) by a US regulator after being accused of collecting under-13s' personal details without their parents' consent. And on Tuesday, the UK's Information Commissioner revealed she had also launched an inquiry into whether the app was doing enough to safeguard its youngest users.
"We do have an active investigation into TikTok right now, so you can watch that space," said Elizabeth Denham.
Videomakers with more than 1,000 followers are allowed to broadcast live on the platform. It is during these live streams that fans can send digital gifts to show their appreciation.
Gifts appear as on-screen animations and cost between 5p and £48.99. The app's biggest stars can earn thousands of pounds in one live stream.
TikTok declined to say how much of that money it kept - but several influencers told the BBC they took home 50% of all gift revenue earned.
Over 10 weeks, the BBC monitored dozens of live streams in which the app's stars asked fans for gifts.
In exchange, they promised shoutouts on their live streams, said they would follow back fans on social media or offered to make "duets", which allow users to collaborate with TikTok stars in a split-screen video.
One creator promised to talk to a fan on Instagram "for a week" and was given three gifts worth a total of £147.
Some creators routinely offered personal messaging details and phone numbers in exchange for gifts.
The BBC also found a group who scoured the app for people giving gifts and then contacted them directly asking for money in exchange for "likes" and "follows".
Stephanie Barbour, from Toronto, found her 11-year-old daughter had run up a bill for $400 (£240).
"I was shocked when I found out what the money was spent on," she said.
"I said to my daughter, 'So you don't actually get anything for it?' and she said, 'No.'
"Adults should know better. And even other teenagers should know better - that you do not ask children for money."
Another TikTok fan, Kelly, told the BBC she had spent £500-£600 of her own money on digital gifts. She no longer sends them because she feels she was exploited.
"I understand people need to make money these days off social media but I just think it's force-fed down young people's throats that they need to pay money to get attention or feel appreciated," Kelly said.
Rhys, 20 said he had spent more than £1,000 without realising it.
"Gifting on TikTok is a little bit like gambling," he said "It gets addictive. I really didn't see anything wrong with it at the time but now I don't think it's worth it.
"I have nothing to show for it. It was my personal choice but I do think there should be some sort of age restriction or timeout function."
The BBC contacted several of the TikTok stars seen using such techniques but most of them did not reply.
The Neffati brothers have amassed 2.5 million followers in just six months on the platform.
The 25-year-old Polish twins who live in Blackburn, Lancashire, are famous for their dancing and comedy sketches.
They offer to follow back fans in exchange for a "drama queen" gift, worth £49 and promise to write fans' names on their heads if they send multiple gifts.
They told the BBC that they had only started offering perks in exchange for gifts because they had been receiving them regularly.
They said they were simply following the lead of other creators on the platform and that most of the fans that sent gifts were about 30 years old.
But they said they did feel guilty when they received gifts from young fans.
"We don't like it when our gifters are young, so basically we ask them if their parents know about it," they said.
"But we can't stop them. We can't stop it. We are going live not only for the money but we are going on the live to get more audience."
Rhia, from south Wales, and has 2.5 million fans thanks to her creative video-editing skills.
She said her average fan was about 10 to 14 years old and they were always happy with the perks she offered in exchange for gifts.
But she also feels uncomfortable when she receives several gifts from very young followers.
And she would like to see stricter age limits on gifting.
"It would give us peace of mind as creators," she told the BBC.
"It would make you feel more ethical because taking money from children is not a good way to earn a living really."
Livestream gifting originated in China, where the practice is far more popular. Professional "cam girls" earn huge amounts from their audiences.
In the West, tipping has become more common especially on gaming platform such as Twitch.
However, the rapid rise of TikTok is testing the business model like never before.
Bytedance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, declined to answer specific questions but told the BBC it was investigating digital gifting.
In a statement, it said: "We do not tolerate behaviours that are deceptive in nature and we are sorry to hear some of the users' experiences.
"We recognise there is always room for improvements in terms of making guidelines and information more accessible, clear and easy-to-understand for all users.
"We value your feedback and will further strengthen our policies and product features."
The company gave no details on what policies or community guidelines it would change.
Alessandro Bogliari, from the Influencer Marketing Factory, said there was wider pressure on TikTok to make changes.
"These sorts of stories are not good for a social network that is becoming popular with brands and marketers," he said.
"The app has major potential but there is clearly work to do to improve things.
"I think more parental-control features would be a good idea and some sort of cap on the amount users can gift per day or per livestream.
"They could also make the guidelines more clear and ban the use of certain terms that 'hard sell' to users."