Dec 1, 2020

Facebook and Google 'complicit' in Vietnam censorship

Vietnam has a reputation for restricting freedom of speech. "In the last decade, the right to freedom of expression flourished on Facebook and YouTube in Vietnam. More recently authorities began focusing on peaceful online expression as an existential threat to the regime," said Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International's deputy regional director for campaigns. Vietnam is one of the biggest markets in South East Asia for tech firms. In 2018, Facebook's income from Vietnam neared $1bn - almost one...

Nov 30, 2020

Microsoft files patent to record and score meetings on body language

Technology giant Microsoft has filed a patent for a system to monitor employees' body language and facial expressions during work meetings and give the events a "Quality score". A filing suggests it could be deployed in real-world meetings or online virtual get-togethers. The amount of time each participant spent contributing to the meeting. The patent also suggests the technology could be used to identify problems that can make meetings ineffectual. "Many organisations are plagued by overly...

Nov 30, 2020

Italy fines Apple €10m over iPhone water-resistance claims

Italy has fined Apple €10m for misleading claims about the iPhone's water resistance. Instead, the water resistance claims were valid only with pure water in laboratory conditions. AGCM also said Apple not covering water damage under warranty, despite claims of water resistance, was an "Aggressive" practice. The advertising at issue promised iPhones were water resistant at a depth of up to 4m for 30 minutes. The Italian authority also ruled the lack of warranty coverage for water damage broke...

Nov 30, 2020

Brazil's Amazon: Deforestation 'surges to 12-year high'

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has surged to its highest level since 2008, the country's space agency reports. Scientists say the Amazon has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019. Since taking office nearly two years ago, Mr Bolsonaro has encouraged the expansion of agricultural and mining activities in the world's largest rainforest. The figures released by Inpe are preliminary, with the official statistics set to be released early...

Nov 26, 2020

Why don't Facebook and Apple like each other?

For years, Apple's Tim Cook has said Facebook treats its users as a product - to make money from advertising - and plays fast and loose with their privacy. As far back as 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly warned Facebook about privacy. In 2018, Mr Cook, Apple's current boss, said he could have followed Facebook by using data to sell ads but "We elected not to do that". Although Apple's advertising business is comparatively small, Morgan Stanley predicts Apple's revenue from...

Nov 26, 2020

AWS: Amazon web outage breaks vacuums and doorbells

Amazon Web Services is a huge part of the company's business and the backbone of the internet's most popular sites and services. A widespread US outage late on Thursday disrupted many of those services. Connected services are used to keep it within a specific room and to remotely activate or schedule cleaning, which is how many owners use the robot. Owners of Amazon's own Ring smart doorbells also suddenly found the device no longer worked at all. "We are aware of a service interruption...

Nov 26, 2020

The stately home acting as The Crown's Sandringham

Behind the scenes on the hit Netflix drama as Somerleyton Hall in Suffolk becomes Sandringham.

Nov 24, 2020

The Queen's Gambit: Meet the real life women chess stars

Radio 1 Newsbeat speaks to two female chess players about the Netflix show and modern chess culture.

Nov 20, 2020

Trump Twitter ‘hack’: Dutch police question researcher

Reuters/White House/BBC. Dutch police have questioned a security researcher who said he successfully logged into the US president's Twitter account by guessing his password. Last month, well-known cyber investigator Victor Gevers said he had gained access to Donald Trump's Twitter account with the password 'MAGA2020!'. Mr Gevers says he was doing a semi-regular sweep of the Twitter accounts of high-profile US election candidates on 16 October when he guessed President Trump's password. At the...

Nov 19, 2020

Coronavirus: Facebook accused of forcing staff back to offices

More than 200 Facebook workers from around the world have accused the firm of forcing its content moderators back to the office despite the risks of contracting coronavirus. "After months of allowing content moderators to work from home, faced with intense pressure to keep Facebook free of hate and disinformation, you have forced us back to the office," they said. Facebook removed some of the content, however even though I flagged it to Facebook, some of it is still there - a week after I...

Nov 18, 2020

Backlash to Twitter's disappearing tweets feature

A new feature on Twitter designed to allow people to share "Their fleeting thoughts" has faced a backlash, with many saying it encouraged harassment. So-called "Fleets" vanish in 24 hours, and Twitter said they are meant to "Help people feel more comfortable joining the conversation". Users are not notified if someone else shares their tweet into a fleet. Does the fleets thing stress anyone else out? Like I use Twitter to get away from IG stories, not have it follow me around on every...

Nov 17, 2020

Amazon rainforest: 'Paying the price for disrespecting nature'

Coronavirus is ripping through indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest.

Nov 17, 2020

Zuckerberg and Dorsey to be quizzed by Senate following Biden vote victory

Senators are about to grill Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Howls of discontent from Republican voices greeted Twitter's repeated labelling of his tweets. You can complain to Twitter or leave the platform, but ultimately Twitter decides what action to take. Senator Chris Coons - also in the running for a top job - is one of several senators to put their name to a letter on Monday criticising the social network for its response to anti-Muslim content on the platform. It's...

Nov 17, 2020

Amazon launches online pharmacy service

Amazon has launched its own online pharmacy that will allow customers to buy prescription medicines. Amazon Pharmacy vice-president TJ Parker said it was hoping to transform an industry that "Can be inconvenient and confusing". Doctors can send prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy, currently available in the US only, or patients can request a transfer from their existing retailer. Amazon, which acquired online pharmacy Pillpack for $753m in 2018, said health data would remain separate...

Nov 17, 2020

Facebook and Twitter grilled over US election actions

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey both addressed the issue in their opening remarks. Mr Dorsey acknowledged that Twitter's decision to block links to the New York Post article about Hunter Biden had been "Wrong", and that its failure to subsequently restore the newspaper's own tweets about the story had required a further policy change. Ahead of the event, several Democratic senators sent a letter to Facebook demanding it take a tougher stand against anti-Muslim abuse on...

Nov 17, 2020

Facebook's Zuckerberg and Twitter's Dorsey answer addiction question

Facebook and Twitter chief executives are asked whether their social media platforms are addictive, as part of a cross-examination by US senators.

Nov 16, 2020

Kamala Harris: Facebook removes racist posts about US vice-president-elect

Facebook has taken down a string of racist and misogynistic posts, memes and comments about US Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris. Despite the pages being places where hate-speech is regularly directed towards the vice-president-elect, Facebook said it would not take action on the groups themselves. Facebook has been repeatedly criticised by advertisers and civil-rights groups for not doing enough to tackle hate speech. Rishad Robinson, from the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, told BBC News...

Nov 12, 2020

China Muslims: Volkswagen says 'no forced labour' at Xinjiang plant

In an interview with the BBC in Beijing, the company's CEO in China, Stephan Wollenstein, defended Volkswagen's presence in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, where it runs a factory with 600 workers, producing up to 20,000 vehicles a year. While China insists it has been providing de-extremification training for Xinjiang's traditionally Muslim minorities, and running large-scale job creation schemes, the real aim appears to be the forced assimilation of identities and cultures now viewed by the...

Nov 12, 2020

VW boss: 'We have no forced labour'

Volkswagen has defended its decision to continue operating a car plant in a Chinese region with alleged human-rights abuse.

Nov 11, 2020

Diversity: UPS relaxes rules on beards, braids and piercings

UPS says the new guidelines are part of an effort to "Celebrate diversity rather than corporate restrictions". Hairstyles such as Afros and braids will now be allowed as UPS tackles bias, diversity and inclusion. "These changes reflect our values and desire to have all UPS employees feel comfortable, genuine and authentic while providing service to our customers and interacting with the general public," a spokesman told the BBC. In May, UPS hired its first female chief executive, Carol Tomé....

Nov 11, 2020

Apple unveils first Mac computers powered by its own M1 chip

Apple has revealed its first Mac computers powered by chips of its own design. Apple said the advantages of using the M1 chip included better battery life, instant wake from sleep mode, and the ability to run iOS apps. "The move to Apple silicon allows Apple to get the same level of integration we have seen on iOS and iPadOS where the user gets the benefit of having an operating system and app ecosystem that are optimised to the silicon," explained Carolina Milanesi from the consultancy...

Nov 10, 2020

McDonald's to debut plant-based burgers and fast food

Fast food giant McDonald's has announced it will debut a line of plant-based meat alternatives called "McPlant" in 2021. Barclays Bank forecasts that consumption of meat alternatives might be worth $140bn by 2029. McDonald's has tested out a plant-based burger in Canada with Beyond Meat - a producer of plant-based meat. Shares of Beyond Meat plummeted after McDonalds' announcement as it was not clear who would supply the fast-food chain with the meat alternative. The move towards meat...

Nov 10, 2020

Black Friday on Amazon: How to spot fake reviews online

Amazon responded to the claims saying it has clear policies that reviewers and sellers must stick to. Fake reviews have been a problem on some of the biggest shopping sites including eBay, Facebook and TripAdvisor for years. There appears to have been a rise in the proportion of suspicious reviews on Amazon in the UK since March's coronavirus lockdown, according to analysis site ReviewMeta. Their data suggests a 30% rise in the proportion of unnatural reviews on Amazon between March and...

Nov 10, 2020

Amazon charged with abusing EU competition rules

Amazon rejected the charges, saying it offered consumers more not less choice. "Data on the activity of third party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers," she added. "With e-commerce booming, and Amazon being the leading e-commerce platform, a fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers." Amazon faces a potential fine as high as 10% of its global turnover if it is found guilty of breaching...

Nov 10, 2020

Facebook: Biden aide Bill Russo attacks post-election role

One of Joe Biden's senior aides has attacked Facebook over its handling of conspiracy theories, calls to violence and disinformation in the days following the US election. Mr Russo's comments point to Facebook facing further scrutiny over the months ahead. In December, Mr Biden told the New York Times: "I've never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know. I've never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he's a real problem." Mr Biden went on to suggest Facebook should lose legal protections...

Nov 8, 2020

Storm Eta hits Cuba after devastating Central America

Cuba is being battered by tropical Storm Eta bringing high winds and heavy rain. The US National Hurricane Center said the storm was passing over Cuba with sustained winds of 65mph. A dangerous storm surge will raise levels by as much as two to four feet above normal tide levels along the coast of Cuba, the NHC said. Storm Eta made landfall in Nicaragua on Tuesday as a Category Four hurricane with winds of 140mph and torrential rains. In Mexico, officials in the southern state of Chiapas said...

Nov 7, 2020

PS5 v Xbox Series X: Who will win the next-gen console race?

Gamers compare them all the time, and so does everyone in the industry. Game Pass is made up mainly of experiences that are available already. Mr Spencer said gamers would see "a real difference in the speed and feel of your games, and I'm looking forward for people to experience it". "Xbox Game Pass has become increasingly important to Microsoft's competitive positioning," said Piers Harding-Rolls from Ampere Analysis. "Sony does not currently have an adequate competitive response to Xbox...

Nov 6, 2020

Bentley reveals plan to go fully electric by 2030

"Within a decade, Bentley will transform from a 100-year-old luxury car company to a new, sustainable, wholly ethical role model for luxury," said Adrian Hallmark, Bentley's chief executive. Workers on internal combustion technology will be redeployed as it shifts to pure battery electric cars. Bentley, famous for its enormous 12-cylinder petrol engines, now wants to become one of the car industry's leaders in environmental sustainability. Bentley's German owners Volkswagen is investing of...

Nov 6, 2020

US election 2020: How a misleading post went from the fringes to Trump’s Twitter

How did a misleading post travel from the fringes of the internet to the president's Twitter account? In the early hours of Wednesday, a post erroneously alleging voter fraud was posted on a extreme message board. Decision Desk, the election data company which posted the map, said: "It was a simple error from a file created by the state that we ingested the state noticed the error and produced an updated count." Again, the post strongly hinted that some kind of fraud or trick was to blame...

Nov 5, 2020

Fortnite set to return to iPhones via Nvidia cloud gaming service

Apple is embroiled in a legal fight with Fortnite's developer Epic, which led the iPhone-maker to remove the game from its iOS App Store. Papers filed in the case indicate that Fortnite had 116 million users on iOS, 73 million of whom only played it via Apple's operating system. Unlike Android, Apple does not allow games or other apps to be loaded on to its phones or tablets via app stores other than its own. In theory, Apple mobile device owners will be able to play Fortnite via Nvidia's...