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.
Dhaka, Apr 28 (UNB)- The fishermen and commuters around the Bay of Bengal will be able to communicate with a wider range of mobile network as Grameenphone has recently improved its deep-sea network capacity.
Grameenphone is providing this deep-sea network coverage from the point of Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata, Char Kukrimukri in Bhola and Char Montaz in Patuakhali and up to 38 km from the Bangladesh coastline.
Deputy CEO and CMO Yasir Azman said “The coastal region and the Bay of Bengal is an essential contributor to the national economy. People who depend on the sea for their livelihood also play important role in providing food in our homes. Their safety is very important and we believe that the network development will play a significant role for their security.”
The network development is aimed to help the bread earners and commuters of sea and keep them safe with prompt communication.
Currently, mariners use high frequency radios to communicate with each other and the mainland.
New Delhi, Apr 25(AP/UNB) — An Indian court on Wednesday lifted its ban on Chinese social media video-sharing app TikTok on the condition that the platform popular with teenagers would not be used to host obscene videos.
Justices N. Kirubakaran and S.S. Sundar warned TikTok that any video on the app violating conditions would be considered contempt of court.
India is a major market for social media platforms given its population of 1.3 billion people.
In a statement, TikTok welcomed the court decision and said it is committed to enhancing its safety features.
The Madras High Court in southern India imposed the ban on the mobile app earlier this month, expressing concern over pornographic content being made available through such apps.
The ban was challenged by the Chinese company ByteDance, which owns the app. Bytedance approached the Supreme Court to remove the ban, but the case was referred back to the High Court in Tamil Nadu state.
Muthukumar, an Indian who filed a petition in the court, said that TikTok encouraged pedophiles because the contents were very disturbing. Muthukumar, who uses one name, said the children who used the mobile application were vulnerable and may get exposed to sexual predators.
Apple and Google are expected restore the app soon.
Bytedance has stated that it remains "very optimistic" about the Indian market and plans to invest $1 billion in the country over the next three years, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
In an interview with PTI, Helena Lersch, ByteDance's director of international public policy, said the company already has a content moderation team in India and that it is strengthening the team further.