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Bangladesh lifts boycott on social media

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Bangladesh has lifted a ban on all social networking platforms, the media reported on Monday.

Bangladeshi State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim confirmed the government’s decision to Xinhua news agency.

The decision to lift ban on all social media platforms came hours after the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) new instruction to block three more online voice and messaging services — Twitter, Skype, imo.

The BTRC on Sunday night asked all of the country’s cell phone operators and telecom service providers to suspend the three popular services — Twitter, Skype, imo — immediately.

“All social media have been opened. They are now available across Bangladesh,” Halim said.

“Directives have already been sent to the relevant authorities for taking necessary steps to unblock all social media platforms including Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp and Viber,” he said.

BTRC on November 18 blocked Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber for security reasons shortly after the country’s apex court delivered verdicts upholding the death penalties of two influential opposition leaders — criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed — for war crimes.

For the first time in its history, the Bangladeshi government reportedly on that day also temporarily shut down the internet in the country for over an hour.

The shutdown affected businesses and services heavily dependent on the digital networks.

Ban on the social media have been imposed on security grounds, Halim said, adding, “We’ve decided to open all social media platforms as there are no more security concerns now.”

Halim earlier said facebook and other social networking platforms will be opened after directives come from the home affairs ministry once ensuring the security concerns of the country and its people.

Earlier on Monday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said there are no existing threats to Bangladesh.

 

wefornews bureau

Politics

Twitter targets Republicans, allows China to spread lies: Trump

“Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,” Trump said.

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San Francisco, May 29 : After issuing an executive order on social media, US President Donald Trump on Friday again accused Twitter of engaging in selective censorship, saying that the platform is “doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China.”

“Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,” Trump said.

“They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated,” he added.

In his executive order on Thursday, Trump said that “online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse.”

The order seeks to blunt Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which generally protects internet companies from legal liability for user comments.

“Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike,” said the order.

Trump’s offensive came on the back of fact checks by Twitter which took the form of a hyperlink that tagged onto exactly two of Trump’s tweets and said “Get the facts about mail-in ballots”.

Even after the executive order was issued, Twitter flagged a fresh tweet from Trump about the Minneapolis violence, saying that the tweet violated Twitter policies about glorifying violence.

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Twitter gets pat on back, warnings after hiding Trump tweet

Although Twitter did not remove the tweet, it kept the message hidden. Users need to click on “View” to see the tweet.

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San Francisco, May 29 : After Twitter flagged a tweet by US President Donald Trump for violating its rules on glorification of violence, some users on Friday commended the microblogging site for finally taking the action against Trump while others warned this could be the beginning of the end for the platform.

The call for suspending Trump’s Twitter account also grew louder following Twitetr’s action.

“Suspend him. You should have done it years ago,” said a user in response to Twitter’s message that it had taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts.

Twitter placed a public interest notice on a tweet from Trump that read: “….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

Although Twitter did not remove the tweet, it kept the message hidden. Users need to click on “View” to see the tweet.

“People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet” this particular Trump tweet in question.

Trump’s message was in reaction to the protests that erupted across the US on Thursday following the death of a 46-year-old African-American man named George Floyd on Monday allegedly due to police brutality.

A white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to the back of his neck while he was handcuffed and other officers stood by.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to restore order after protests over Floyd’s death turned violent, with widespread damage and looting in Minneapolis city.

Trump’s tweet in reaction to these developments did go down well with many users. Some even commended Twitter for hiding his tweet.

“It’s a start. Thank you. That said, he’s tearing this country apart and using Twitter as his primary vehicle for doing so. Historians will use this relationship as a case study. Suspend him,” wrote one user.

“Thank you for taking this action. I do disagree, however, that the tweet should remain. It’s not in the public interest to incite violence. But taking this action is at least an improvement, IMO,” wrote another.

Others, however, warned Twitter.

“This is the beginning of the end of @twitter as we know it. After the upcoming lawsuits it will either be under entirely new leadership or simply replaced by other superior platforms,” wrote one user.

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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala in talks on $1 billion stake in Reliance’s Jio Platforms: sources

Reliance is looking to sell roughly 20% of Jio Platforms through all the private placement deals, the source added.

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NEW DELHI/DUBAI/HONG KONG : Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala is in talks with Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) about investing around $1 billion in the Indian conglomerate’s Jio platforms, three sources told Reuters.

Twitter (TWTR.N) is separately also in talks with Mumbai-based Reliance to invest more than $1 billion in the digital start-up, which houses music and movie apps as well its telecoms venture Jio Infocomm, another source added on Thursday.

“Clearly Jio’s platform is attracting a wide range of world-class investors, given its enormous potential to serve one of the world’s largest marketplaces,” Mubadala said in an email, without confirming whether or not talks were taking place.

Due diligence on a potential transaction with Reliance was already underway, one of the sources said.

If it goes ahead, the Jio Platforms investment would be the largest in an Indian firm by Mubadala, which is the second-biggest state investor in Abu Dhabi after Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), managing about $240 billion in assets.

Reliance and Twitter did not respond.

Jio Platforms has so far already agreed to sell a combined stake of just over 17% through five separate deals with Facebook (FB.O), which spent $5.7 billion on 9.99%, the first to announce its investment in April.

While talks may be taking place with multiple parties, deals may not necessarily materialize and any terms may change, a fourth source, who is familiar with Reliance’s strategy, said.

All four sources declined to be identified because the talks are private.

Reliance plans to wrap up a bulk of the private fundraising by the third quarter of 2020 and then explore a potential public listing in the United States in 2021, one of the sources said.

Both Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) are in talks with Reliance about a possible Jio Platforms IPO mandate, the source added.

Reliance executives visited the United States in February to meet potential investors and bankers and it was looking for a valuation of $90 billion to $95 billion, the source said.

However, the source familiar with Reliance’s strategy said that an overseas listing could still be a long way off and that the company had no immediate need for funds after the recent investments in Jio Platforms.

Before making any decision Reliance would also need to have clarity on rules governing direct overseas listings for Indian companies, which are still being formulated by the government.

Global tech firms prefer listing in the U.S. as it provides companies with greater liquidity and wider access to capital.

Such a deal would help boost Jio Platform’s credentials and provide an exit for some of the big investors that have agreed to invest in it, including private equity firms KKR (KKR.N), General Atlantic, Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners.

India’s Mint newspaper reported on Thursday that Microsoft is also in talks to buy 2.5% of Jio Platforms for $2 billion.

Talks between Reliance and Microsoft had been on since the two companies announced a cloud computing tie-up last year, a fifth source told Reuters.

Reliance is looking to sell roughly 20% of Jio Platforms through all the private placement deals, the source added.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment, while Microsoft, Goldman Sachs did not respond to requests for comment.

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