Amazon.com bans, then un-bans TikTok app from employee mobile devices By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration

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By Echo Wang and Krystal Hu

(Reuters) – In the span of a few hours on Friday, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) banned and then unbanned the TikTok video sharing app from employee mobile devices, calling the move a mistake.

The news generated widespread attention for the Chinese-owned social media platform coming the same week U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States is “certainly looking at” banning TikTok, suggesting it shared information with the Chinese government.

It was not immediately clear what led to the initial ban by Amazon. One person familiar with the matter said senior Amazon executives were unaware of the request to delete TikTok from employee devices. The ban was reversed after TikTok and Amazon representatives discussed the matter, according to an email sent to TikTok employees.

Earlier this week, Wells Fargo (NYSE:) sent a note to employees who had installed TikTok on company-owned mobile devices telling them to remove the app immediately.

“Due to concerns about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices,” Wells Fargo said in a statement.

“We have not been contacted by Wells Fargo, but as with any organization that has concerns, we are open to engaging with them constructively and letting them know about the actions we have taken to protect data security for our users,” a TikTok spokesman told Reuters in a statement.

The attention underscores the hotseat that TikTok’s owner, China-based ByteDance, has found itself in over recent days.

The Chinese ownership of TikTok, among the fastest growing digital platforms ever, has come under heavy scrutiny on issues including their handling of user data. India banned TikTok and other Chinese apps in June.

The company has said user data is stored in the United States with a backup copy in Singapore. One person familiar with the matter said TikTok’s user data is primarily stored in the Google (NASDAQ:) Cloud in its Virginia-based data center.

TikTok declined to comment. Google could not immediately be reached for comment.

That did not stop Pompeo from floating a possible ban of TikTok in the United States. Asked if Americans should download it, he told Fox News: “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

On Friday, the Republican National Committee asked its members via email not to download TikTok. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday also reiterated its guidance from December to stop downloading the app.

A person familiar with the matter said the DNC has been advising campaign staff for months not to use TikTok on their personal devices and to use a separate phone and account if they use the platform for campaign work because of the amount of data it tracks. A spokesman for the DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two Republican senators in March introduced a bill aimed at banning federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued phones, citing national security concerns around the collection and sharing of data on U.S. users with China’s government.

Last year the United States Navy banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, saying the app represented a “cybersecurity threat.”

Last November, the U.S. government launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly, Reuters first reported last year.

SECURITY CONCERNS

To address concerns over its Chinese ownership, ByteDance has taken steps to shift its center of power away from China, Reuters previously reported. It is also looking to make changes to TikTok’s corporate structure for the same reasons, a company spokesperson said this week.

But concerns persist. Last month, when Apple (NASDAQ:) released to developers a test version of its iOS operating system with new privacy features, developers showed images of TikTok’s app triggering notifications that it was copying data from users’ clipboards, where data is temporarily stored while copying and pasting from one app to another.

TikTok said the notifications were caused by an anti-spam feature but that it would end the practice.

Apple has not restricted TikTok use by employees, one of them said.

Some U.S. semiconductor companies have been reluctant to consider a ban on TikTok because ByteDance is a customer, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some firms providing security services to big companies have added TikTok to their lists of banned apps on managed devices.





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Reddit bans ‘The_Donald’ forum amid broad social media crackdown By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Reddit mascots are displayed at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco

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By Elizabeth Culliford and Katie Paul

(Reuters) – Social media site Reddit on Monday shut down r/The_Donald, a forum which long served as a popular online home base for fans of President Donald Trump, saying it violated the site’s hate speech rules.

Other sites also conducted high-profile sweeps: Amazon.com Inc’s (O:) live-streaming platform Twitch temporarily banned Trump’s official channel, saying it violated Twitch’s policy on hateful speech, while Google (NASDAQ:)’s YouTube suspended six leading white nationalist accounts.

Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman said in a post detailing changes to the company’s content policies that communities and users promoting hate would be barred. Reddit was banning about 2,000 subreddits, the majority of which were inactive, he said.

In response to the actions by Reddit and Twitch, a Trump campaign spokesman directed people to Trump’s campaign app “to hear directly from the president.” He did not directly address the sites’ actions.

Huffman said earlier this month that Reddit would strengthen its content policy, after Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the firm’s board and former CEO Ellen Pao criticized its handling of r/The_Donald.

Reddit had “quarantined” the forum last year, citing threats of violence.

The new list of banned subreddits also included the left-wing r/ChapoTrapHouse, which Huffman said consistently hosted rule-breaking content. It had an average of 42,949 daily active users, according to Reddit.

Reddit’s list showed r/The_Donald had an average of 7,780 daily active users, down from its heyday around the 2016 presidential election when it regularly drew hundreds of thousands of visitors each day.

Only about 200 of the banned forums listed by Reddit had more than 10 daily users.

“All communities on Reddit must abide by our content policy in good faith. We banned r/The_Donald because it has not done so, despite every opportunity,” Huffman said.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Social media companies’ content policies have been in the spotlight this month, as Facebook Inc (O:) faced an employee walkout and an ad boycott over its hands-off handling of inflammatory posts amid nationwide anti-racism protests and ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Earlier this month, Twitter Inc (N:) began placing some of Trump’s messages behind warning labels, while Snap Inc (N:) said it would no longer promote Trump’s account in its Discover section.

YouTube said Monday it was terminating six accounts widely credited with building support for far-right views online over hate speech violations, including channels run by Richard Spencer, Stefan Molyneux and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Molyneux tweeted in response that YouTube had suspended “the largest philosophy conversation the world has ever known.” Spencer said he would appeal the decision.

Twitch, a site primarily used for video game livestreaming which Trump joined in October, said it had identified two streams from Trump’s account that violated its policies.

One was a rebroadcast of a 2016 rally in which Trump said Mexico was sending rapists to the United States. The other was of his rally in Tulsa earlier this month, when he hypothesized about a “very tough hombre” breaking into a woman’s house.

A Twitch spokeswoman said the platform had told “the president’s team” last year that there were no exceptions on the site for political or newsworthy content that broke its rules.

In May, Twitch announced a new advisory council to improve safety, focusing on areas like harassment and protection of marginalized groups.

Last week, it said it would begin issuing permanent suspensions as part of investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and harassment involving Twitch streamers.[L1N2CW0LE]





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After two months, regulators remove short-selling bans


European stock-market regulators have shelved their short-selling bans after two months, citing the less-turbulent conditions.

The Austrian, Belgian, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish securities regulators have jointly decided to end their short-selling bans that had been in place since the middle of March. Other countries including Germany and the U.K. didn’t impose bans.

France’s stock-market regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, and Italy’s Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa said they had viewed “progressive normalization” in markets.

“Markets have partly reduced their losses, trading volumes and volatility have returned to levels that are still high compared to mid-February, however this reflects market participants’ uncertainties in the current context,” said the statement from the AMF. The regulators said they would stay in close contact with one another.

Last week a number of trade groups had protested the bans.

“Market data on securities subject to the restrictions in place in Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy and Spain are available and show that those securities are not collectively performing better than those in comparable jurisdictions that are not subject to restrictions; shares are more volatile than they were prior to the bans; and markets exhibit wider spreads since restrictions were put in place,” said the letter from the Alternative Investment Management Association, Managed Funds Association, FIA European Principal Traders Association and World Federation of Exchanges.

Volume traded in restricted shares made up 30% of the total volume traded in Europe. After the bans, this value dropped to 23%, the trade groups said.

Strategists at Barclays said the move to lift the ban shouldn’t reintroduce volatility. They looked at the short-selling bans during the global financial crisis and found that European stocks rallied after their removal. “It thus seems that as long as fundamentals improve, short selling should not be an impediment to further recovery in equity markets,” the strategists said.

The Stoxx Europe 600
SXXP,
+1.98%

rallied on Monday, with similarly strong gains both for markets that removed the bans, such as the France CAC 40
PX1,
+2.27%
,
and ones that never imposed them, such as the German DAX
DAX,
+2.78%



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India Bans Flights Indefinitely in Extreme Step to Contain Virus By Bloomberg


© Bloomberg. An Air India Ltd. aircraft prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, on Monday, July 10, 2017. Air India’s local market share has shrunk to about 13 percent from 35 percent just a decade ago. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — India ordered airlines not to sell tickets unless they are notified otherwise, stripping them of a key source of cash flow as Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes bolder steps to contain the coronavirus crisis.

With India in nationwide lockdown until May 3, no decision has been made on allowing flights after the restrictions of movement are lifted, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a notification posted on Twitter. Airlines shouldn’t sell tickets for after the lockdown, and they will be given “sufficient notice and time” to resume flights, the DGCA said.

The move is another blow to cash-strapped airlines in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets, as they use funds from advance ticket sales to cover day-to-day expenses. The DGCA order, which applies to local and foreign airlines, means carriers will likely have to take more steps to reduce costs having already put some staff on leave without pay and reducing salaries.

Shares of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., which operates the nation’s biggest airline IndiGo, fell as much as 5.5% Monday morning in Mumbai. Smaller rival SpiceJet Ltd. slid nearly 3%.

India initially announced a 21-day lockdown until April 14, and airlines had started selling tickets before the extension to May 3 was announced last Tuesday. Most carriers have been offering credit instead of refunds if flights are canceled, a practice that other airlines around the world are also using.

The travel restrictions mean the three months ending June 30 will be “virtual washout” for the Indian aviation industry, CAPA Centre for Aviation said earlier this month. Local airlines, some of the world’s biggest customers for Airbus SE and Boeing (NYSE:) Co., are likely to defer taking delivery of 200 new planes by as long as two years, according to CAPA.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Elon Musk’s SpaceX bans Zoom over privacy concerns: memo By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Zoom Video Communications logo is pictured at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York

By Munsif Vengattil and Joey Roulette

(Reuters) – Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX has banned its employees from using video conferencing app Zoom, citing “significant privacy and security concerns,” according to a memo seen by Reuters, days after U.S. law enforcement warned users about the security of the popular app.

Use of Zoom and other digital communications has soared as many Americans have been ordered to stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus.

SpaceX’s ban on Zoom Video Communications Inc illustrates the mounting challenges facing aerospace manufacturers as they develop technology deemed vital to national security while also trying to keep employees safe from the fast-spreading respiratory illness.

In an email dated March 28, SpaceX told employees that all access to Zoom had been disabled with immediate effect.

“We understand that many of us were using this tool for conferences and meeting support,” SpaceX said in the message. “Please use email, text or phone as alternate means of communication.”

Two people familiar with the matter confirmed the contents of the mail.

A representative for SpaceX, which has more than 6,000 employees, did not respond to a request for comment. Chief Executive Musk also heads electric car maker Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc .

NASA, one of SpaceX’s biggest customers, also prohibits its employees from using Zoom, said Stephanie Schierholz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. space agency.

The FBI’s Boston office on Monday issued a warning about Zoom, telling users not to make meetings on the site public or share links widely after it received two reports of unidentified individuals invading school sessions, a phenomenon known as “zoombombing.”

Investigative news site The Intercept on Tuesday reported that Zoom video is not end-to-end encrypted between meeting participants, and that the company could view sessions.

Zoom did not immediately respond to requests for comment on SpaceX’s decision, but it has been advising users to use all the privacy functions on its platform.

As a defense contractor, California-based SpaceX has been classified as an essential business, allowing it to stay open through shutdowns that are in effect in California and Texas, the development and testing hub for its Starship rocket that could be used to get to the moon and Mars and send national security satellites to space.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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