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Facebook made special data-sharing deals with some firms: Report

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Washington, June 9: In yet another bad day for Facebook, a Wall Street Journal report has claimed that the social networking giant provided select companies “customised data-sharing deals” that let them gain “special access to user records”.

According to the report citing court documents and unnamed sources, Facebook gave data access to some companies while “others were cut off”.

“Facebook Inc. struck customized data-sharing deals that gave select companies special access to user records well after the point in 2015 that the social network has said it walled off that information,” the report said on Friday.

These arrangements were known as “whitelists”, and allowed “certain companies to access additional information about a user’s Facebook friends”.

Companies like the Royal Bank of Canada and Nissan Motor reportedly made such deals with Facebook.

According to Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Partnerships, the company allowed some firms to have “short-term extensions” to this user data.

“But other than that, things were shut down,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

In another privacy goof-up, Facebook on Thursday admitted that 14 million users were affected by a bug in May that automatically suggested posting publicly when the users were writing posts meant only for friends.

The bug made sure that the posts could be viewed by anyone, including people not logged on to Facebook. It was not yet known users in which country were affected the most.

The bug, according to Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook, occurred as the Facebook developers were building a new way to share featured items on users’ profile, like a photo.

“The problem has been fixed, and for anyone affected, we changed the audience back to what they had been using before,” Egan said in a blog post late Thursday.

The revelation came after a New York Times report exposed how the social network allowed about 60 device makers, including Chinese smartphone players, to access personal information of users and their friends.

Facebook admitted sharing users’ data with Chinese company Huawei — facing the heat in the US over data privacy concerns — along with three other China-based smartphone makers Lenovo, OPPO and TCL.

Facebook is facing intense scrutiny for misuse of millions of its users’ data after the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal became public.

IANS

Cities

Will Urge Neighbouring States To Use Indigenous Technology To Manage Stubble, Says Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to address the issue of stubble burning.

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Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said he would meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and request him to direct neighbouring states to implement a low-cost technology developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute to manage crop residue.

The technology, called Pusa Decomposer, involves a liquid formulation prepared using Pusa decomposer capsules, fermenting it over 8-10 days and then spraying the mixture on crop residue to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble. Capsules worth Rs. 20 can effectively deal with 4-5 tonnes of raw straw per acre.

“I will meet the Union environment minister in a day or two and request him to direct neighbouring states to implement this technology,” he told reporters during a visit to the institute.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh set their fields on fire to quickly clear off the crop residue before cultivating wheat and potato every paddy harvesting season between October 15 and November 15. This practice is attributed to the alarming spike in pollution levels in Delhi-NCR during winters.

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SC directs no coercive action be taken against Facebook VP till October 15

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Supreme Court issued notice on Facebook India’s VP and MD, Ajit Mohan and directed that no coercive action will be taken against him till 15 October, when it will take up the matter for further hearing in the case.

The Apex court was hearing the petition filed by Mohan against the notice issued by Delhi Legislative Assembly for deposing before it.

A 3-judge bench was headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

Moreover, the top court issued notice to Delhi Assembly, Centre on plea by Facebook VP on summons asking him to depose on Delhi riots. SC recorded that Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee will not hold a meeting, till further orders.

Earlier, Mohan moved Supreme Court against the summons of the Delhi Assembly Committee, a notice issued by Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee to appear before it for its alleged role in the Delhi violence in February.

Facebook, Mohan, and others had filed the plea in the top court against the Delhi Assembly panel. Since Facebook had refused to come on first summon, the assembly panel had to sent second summon.

The petitioners had moved the apex court challenging the two summons issued by the respondent, Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them — on September 10 and 18 — on the grounds that they violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21, guaranteed under part III of the Indian Constitution, the petition claimed.

The petitioners had approached the top court to quash these two summons issued by the Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them.

The petitioners said that the first summon and second summon issued by the Peace and Harmony Committee of Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others directed one of the petitioners, the Vice President and Managing Director to appear before the Committee on September 23, 2020.

Facebook provides a safe place for expression. Notably, the petitioners also provide easy-to-use tools that allow users to report objectionable content. The petitioners provide users with options to report content that violates its publicly available community standards, the petitioners claimed.

The Committee’s insistence on compelling Ajit Mohan, to speak, and its categorical threat to his non-appearance as a “breach of privilege of the Committee and [to take] necessary action as deemed fit”, gives rise to a clear and present danger to the fundamental rights and liberties of petitioners in the ultra vires proceedings before the Committee, they claimed.

Accordingly, the petitioners are compelled to approach this court to avoid imminent irreparable harm to themselves, they added.

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Bharti Airtel, VIL shares plunge after Jio unleashes postpaid tariff war

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Jio Bharti Voda

Mumbai, Sep 23 : Shares of telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) were under pressure on Wednesday after Reliance Jio announced a range of postpaid plans with several benefits, to take on both Airtel and Vodafone Idea in the postpaid segment.

Brokerages retained their bullish stance on Bharti Airtel NSE -7.64 % even after billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio on Tuesday unveiled postpaid plans, bundling up to 500 GB of data and subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney + Hotstar.

Shares of Bharti Airtel, however, traded 5.78 per cent lower at Rs 443.80 at around 11:30 am (IST), while Vodafone Idea traded 5.56 per cent down at Rs 9.68 at around the same time. On the other hand, the benchmark BSE Sensex was up 0.62 per cent at 37,966.

JioPostPaid Plus for mobile customers will have a monthly tariff varying from Rs 399 to Rs 1,499 with different benefits, the company said in a statement.

According to ICICIdirect, the move creates a new layer of tariff-based competition in the segment that was so far unchallenged and lucrative.

“Both Airtel, Vodafone Idea (VIL) are exposed to this risk of churn, the pressure on VIL will be more. The theme of prepaid tariff hike in near term also remains questionable. We await incumbent’s move before incorporating any impact in our financials and valuations. We retain ‘Buy’ on Airtel with an unchanged target price of Rs 700 given comfortable leverage and superior customer quality. However, we maintain ‘Sell’ on VIL with an unchanged target price of Rs 6 per share, given the difficult path ahead to assure survival.”

Reliance Jio added that the main objective of the newly-launched JioPostpaid Plus service is to provide superior services across connectivity, entertainment, and experience.

“There can’t be a more opportune time to introduce JioPostpaid Plus. After having earned the trust of close to 400 million satisfied customers in the prepaid smartphone category, we want to extend our customer obsession to the postpaid category,” Akash Ambani, Director, Jio, said in a statement.

Axis Capital sees this as an attempt by Reliance NSE 1.21 % Jio to add high-Arpu customers and shift some of its customers from prepaid to postpaid.

“There will be no impact on incumbents as only 5 per cent and 8 per cent of Bharti Airtel and VIL customers are on postpaid plans. Most postpaid are enterprise customers who are sticky and incumbents also have comparable plans which can match Jio with some tweaking. Incumbents provide additional features like handset protection. We see it as a positive for the sector as it will attract a new generation of OTT aficionado subscribers which will expand the postpaid market,” Axis said while maintaining a positive stance on Airtel and Reliance Industries.

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