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New WhatsApp policy to share user data with Facebook draws backlash

WhatsApp alerted users to the controversial change to its privacy policy via an in-app notification which asks them to agree to share personal data, including their phone number and IP address, with Facebook.

“By tapping Agree, you accept the new terms, which take effect on February 8, 2021,” the notification states, adding “After this date, you’ll need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp. You can also visit the Help Center if you would prefer to delete your account."

Users who do not accept the new policy by February 8 will lose access to their accounts.

EU reveals plan to regulate Big Tech

Fresh restrictions are also planned to govern their use of customers' data, and to prevent the firms ranking their own services above competitors' in search results and app stores.

The measures are intended to overhaul how the EU regulates digital markets.

Large fines and break-ups are threatened for non-compliance.

It is proposed that if companies refuse to obey, they could be forced to hand over up to 10% of their European turnover.

Facebook Oversight Board reveals its first cases

All involve decisions originally made by the platform to remove user content.

They include images of female breasts in a post about breast cancer, and an image of a dead child alongside text about whether retaliation was justified against China for its treatment of Uighur Muslims.

The board said Facebook users had submitted 20,000 suggested incidents for review since October 2020.

The arbitration body is inviting the public to comment on the cases - which have all been anonymised - over the next seven days.

Facebook and Twitter grilled over US election actions

Democrats questioned whether steps taken to flag that President Trump's claims of election fraud were "disputed" had gone far enough.

Republican members of the Judiciary Committee asked whether the tech firms should be taking such action at all.

This was the second time the CEOs had been cross-examined in three weeks.

They were previously questioned by the Senate Commerce Committee last month in what was a more rowdy event.

Once again, the issue of a law known as Section 230 loomed large.

Facebook, Twitter and Google face questions from US senators

At present, the companies cannot be sued over what their users post online, or the decisions they make over what to leave up and take down.

Some politicians have raised concerns this "sweeping immunity" encourages bad behaviour.

But the chief executives say they need the law to be able to moderate content.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Google's Sundar Pichai were summoned before the Senate after both Democrats and Republicans agreed to call them in for questioning.

'A loophole'

Facebook avoids Apple with cloud-gaming launch

Initially, only five titles already available as standalone smartphone apps will be accessible - via the main Facebook and Facebook Gaming apps on Android and Facebook's website on PCs.

Later, it may add "all types of games".

But it is not offering the product on Apple's iOS mobile operating system because "we don't know if launching on the App Store is a viable path".

Amazon, Facebook and Apple thriving in lockdown

Amazon sales soared 40% in the three months ending June, while Apple saw a surge in purchases of its iPhones and other hardware.

At Facebook, the number of people on its platforms, which include WhatsApp and Instagram, jumped by 15%.

The gains come as the firms face scrutiny over their size and power.

At a hearing in Washington on Wednesday, lawmakers grilled the companies about whether they were abusing their dominance to quash rivals, noting the sharp contrast between their fortunes and many other firms.

Facebook and WhatsApp 'pause' Hong Kong police help

Several countries, including the UK, have criticised China for imposing new security laws, which they say threaten the territory's long-standing autonomy.

Facebook said it would stop considering the requests, "pending further assessment" of the human rights issues.

No personal information about users in the region was held at or disclosed from its Hong Kong office, it added.

"We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions," Facebook said.

Facebook's Giphy deal investigated by competition authority

Giphy's vast library of looping short video animations is hugely popular in Facebook's apps.

But it also provides animations to competitors like TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter.

Now, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether the purchase is a problem.

It has sent an enforcement order to Facebook, effectively putting a hold on any merging of the companies until its investigation is over.

Announcing the acquisition in May this year, Facebook said that half of Giphy's traffic comes from Facebook apps, including Whatsapp and Instagram.

Grandmother ordered to delete Facebook photos under GDPR

It ended up in court after a falling-out between the woman and her daughter.

The judge ruled the matter was within the scope of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

One expert said the ruling reflected the "position that the European Court has taken over many years".

The case went to court after the woman refused to delete photographs of her grandchildren which she had posted on social media.

The mother of the children had asked several times for the pictures to be deleted.