Updates on social media platforms 2019
LATEST UPDATE: October 3, 2019 - 6:30pm
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October 3, 2019

Facebook receives a major blow in the EU's top court, which ruled that national courts in Europe can order online platforms to remove defamatory content worldwide.

In a closely watched judgment, the European Court of Justice said EU law "does not preclude" courts from ordering "the removal of information or to block access worldwide," a statement said.

The decision will be seen as a victory for EU regulators, who are ambitious to see US tech giants meet tightened European standards over hate speech and offencive content.

Last week, the same court decided that Google was not legally compelled to apply the EU's strict "right to be forgotten" rules globally, in a victory for the search giant. — AFP

September 27, 2019

Facebook says it began hiding the number of "likes" for posts in Australia, a trial designed to ease social pressure that could be rolled out worldwide. 

Account holders across the country will also be blocked from viewing the number of reactions and video views on other people's posts from Friday, but will still be able to see how people respond to their own. 

"We don't want Facebook to feel like a competition," the company says in a statement. — AFP

September 24, 2019

Facebook says it had made a deal to buy a startup working on ways to command computers or other devices using thought instead of taps, swipes, or keystrokes.

CTRL-labs will become part of Facebook Reality Labs with an aim at perfecting the technology and getting it into consumer products, according to Andrew Bosworth, vice president of augmented and virtual reality at the California-based social network.

"We know there are more natural, intuitive ways to interact with devices and technology," Bosworth says in a post at Facebook announcing the acquisition. — AFP

September 12, 2019

France warns it will block development of Facebook's planned Libra cryptocurrency in Europe because it threatens the "monetary sovereignty" of governments.

"I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil," Bruno Le Maire says at the opening of an OECD conference on virtual, cryptocurrencies.

Facebook unveiled in June its plans for Libra in an announcement greeted with concern by governments and critics of the social network behemoth whose reputation has been tarnished by its role in spreading fake information and extremist videos. — AFP

September 7, 2019

A coalition of US states unveils an antitrust investigation of Facebook, the first of what is expected to be a wave of action against dominant technology firms.

New York state Attorney General Letitia James announces the action on behalf of seven other states and the District of Columbia to probe "whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk."

The case may be the first in a series of antitrust actions against Big Tech firms and highlights growing "techlash," based on worries about platforms which control the flow of online information and dominate key economic sectors. — AFP

September 6, 2019

Facebook rolls out its online dating service for the United States, a move to take on rivals such as smartphone app Tinder, while focusing on connecting people in "real" long-term relationships.

The free "Facebook Dating" site which was announced last year and already available in 19 other countries will allow users to link their Facebook and Instagram posts to a separate dating profile. — AFP

August 2, 2019

Facebook and other sites block access to a rap video about race in multi-ethnic Singapore that is under police investigation after authorities asked for the footage to be removed.

The video shows an ethnic Indian comedian and YouTube star railing against an advert in which the skin of an actor of Chinese origin is darkened to make him look Indian.

The ad drew fierce criticism this week in Singapore, where race is highly sensitive -- the country has an ethnic Chinese majority and is also home to Muslim and ethnic Indian minorities, as well as many foreigners. — AFP

July 25, 2019

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reaffirms his commitment to the social network's quest to launch Libra cryptocurrency despite pushback from governments and critics.

Facebook last month unveiled plans for Libra in an announcement that sparked fears of the unintended consequences of a loosely supervised global currency. 

Switzerland's financial watchdog FINMA has already pledged to conduct oversight of the Geneva-based Libra Association that will watch over the digital money, which is expected to debut next year. — AFP

July 18, 2019

Facebook's planned global digital coin Libra has run into a wall of opposition in Washington that could prevent its launch as envisioned, but analysts say cryptocurrencies are likely to make gains around the world nonetheless.

The plan by Facebook and its partners has generated skepticism from US lawmakers and G7 finance ministers as well as from central banks and regulators globally.

Lawmakers have also raised concerns over Facebook's spotty record on privacy and data protection. — AFP

July 16, 2019

Facebook must meet "a very high standard" before it moves ahead with its planned digital currency Libra, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says.

Mnuchin says US regulators have already expressed concerns to Facebook about the plan for a global cryptocurrency, noting that these kinds of virtual coins have in the past been associated with money laundering and illicit activities. — AFP

July 4, 2019

Facebook says it was "back at 100 percent" after an outage on all of its services affected users in various parts of the world.

Online monitoring service DownDetector reported earlier the outage began around 1200 GMT and affected Facebook as well as its Instagram and WhatsApp services.

"The issue has since been resolved and we should be back at 100% for everyone," the company tweets, adding they were sorry for "any inconvenience." — AFP

June 27, 2019

US President Donald Trump accuses Twitter of censoring him, alleging the social media platform was making it hard for him to get his message out.

"They are trying to rig the election," Trump says in an interview on Fox Business News.

Accusing the tech company of bias toward Democrats and "hatred" of Republicans, he says lawsuits or legislation were needed to check its power.

Twitter and other social media firms have been facing pressure to curb hate speech and extremist propaganda, blocking accounts of many conspiracy theorists. But Trump and his allies contend that the purge has also silenced conservative voices.

Trump has 61 million Twitter followers and has used the platform as a powerful political instrument, but he complained bitterly that his message was being blocked. — AFP

June 13, 2019

CEO of encrypted messaging service Telegram says it suffered a major cyber-attack that appeared to originate from China, linking it to the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong.

Many protesters in the city have used Telegram to evade electronic surveillance and coordinate their demonstrations against a controversial Beijing-backed plan that would allow extraditions from the semi-autonomous territory to the mainland.

Demonstrations descended into violence as police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to storm the city's parliament -- the worst political crisis Hong Kong has seen since its 1997 handover from Britain to China.

Telegram announced late that it was suffering a "powerful" Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which involves a hacker overwhelming a target's servers by making a massive number of junk requests. 

It warned users in many regions may face connection issues. — AFP

June 4, 2019

Popular dating app Tinder is now required to share users' data with Russian security services after being placed on an official register, the country's telecoms watchdog says.

Tinder has over 50 million users swiping right to select dating profiles and find a match. It is part of the US-based Match Group of social apps whose parent firm is InterActiveCorp. 

The Roskomnadzor watchdog says that Tinder has been added to its register "after it presented the necessary information". — AFP

April 26, 2019

Facebook has filed a lawsuit in US federal court to bar a New Zealand company from selling fake "likes," views and followers to Instagram users.

The company and three people targeted in the lawsuit operated a service to raise the profile of Instagram accounts by bolstering them with bogus followers, views and "likes," Facebook director of platform enforcement and litigation Jessica Romero says in a blog post. — AFP

April 14, 2019

Social networking site Facebook is having issues since 6:28 p.m., according to http://downdetector.com.

Users worldwide also report that social media platform Instagram and messaging application, WhatsApp are also down. 

According to these users, the social media sites and application won't load on desktop and mobile devices.

April 9, 2019

The Canadian government hails Facebook's decision to ban prominent far-right activists after the platform came under renewed scrutiny for allowing hate groups to flourish in the aftermath of the New Zealand attacks.

"We've seen hate speech fuel the attack against Pittsburgh, at the synagogue, we've seen more recently in Christchurch, worshipers gunned down. This is real and it has consequences. And we're very glad that Facebook has taken the actions that it has," Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says.

The social media giant has banned prominent nationalists including Faith Goldy, Kevin Goudreau, whose positions have been described as white supremacist, and several other groups. — AFP

Twitter trims the number of accounts that a user can follow in a single day in an effort to fight spam at the micro-blogging platform.

The total number of accounts that can be added to a user's list was cut to 400 from 1,000, the San Francisco-based internet firm says. — AFP

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