Sep 18, 2020

Twitter beefs up security for US election candidates

Twitter has automatically activated extra account protection for politicians and key figures in the forthcoming US election. A select group of election-related accounts will have to make immediate changes to improve their security. The June hack saw some of the world's most notable celebrities - such as Bill Gates, Joe Biden and Kanye West - have their accounts seized by the attacker to tweet an apparently simple Bitcoin scam. It later emerged that this was because the president's account had...

Sep 16, 2020

Uber's self-driving operator charged over fatal crash

The back-up driver of an Uber self-driving car that killed a pedestrian has been charged with negligent homicide. Investigators said the car's safety driver, Rafael Vasquez, had been streaming an episode of the television show The Voice at the time. Dash-cam footage released by police showed Ms Vasquez looking down, away from the road, for several seconds immediately before the crash, while the car was travelling at 39mph. As long as "Self-driving" cars still need a human safety driver behind...

Sep 15, 2020

Coronavirus: Bill Gates says rich countries must help make vaccine accessible...

The Microsoft co-founder says rich countries should do more and addresses conspiracy theories about himself.

Sep 15, 2020

Kim Kardashian West joins Facebook and Instagram boycott

Kim Kardashian West and dozens of other celebrities have announced they will freeze their social media accounts to protest against the spread of "Hate, propaganda and misinformation". "Misinformation shared on social media has a serious impact," Kardashian West wrote in a statement on Tuesday. The organisers of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, which was launched in June, accuse Facebook and Instagram of not doing enough to stop hate speech and disinformation. The group has focused on...

Sep 14, 2020

TikTok rejects Microsoft bid at eleventh hour

Microsoft has said that its offer to buy the US operations of hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok has been rejected, paving the way for Oracle to make a last-minute bid. The Trump administration claims TikTok and other Chinese apps are national security threats. Microsoft and Oracle led the race to buy TikTok from Chinese firm ByteDance. A TikTok spokesperson told the BBC the firm was "Not commenting on either the Microsoft development nor the Oracle speculation". On Sunday Microsoft...

Sep 11, 2020

Google and Twitter vow to block voting misinformation

Google and Twitter have said they are clamping down further on misinformation online ahead of the US elections. On Thursday, Google said that incorrect information about election results would not show up in searches. Twitter's changes could also affect tweets claiming victory before election results have been certified, along with misleading posts about ballot tampering. Social media firms have been under pressure to combat misinformation after US intelligence agencies determined Russia used...

Sep 11, 2020

Putin apology to Serbia over Russian spokeswoman Zakharova

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a rare apology to his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic for a senior Russian official's Facebook post which angered Mr Vucic. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted a photo of Mr Vucic sitting opposite President Donald Trump in the White House and below it a photo of actress Sharon Stone's legs. Ms Zakharova's post said Mr Vucic looked as if he was being interrogated by President Trump. On Thursday Mr Vucic told Serbian TV:...

Sep 10, 2020

Russian hackers 'target US election' again

Hackers with ties to Russia, China and Iran are attempting to spy on people and groups involved with the US 2020 presidential election, Microsoft says. The Russian group which hacked the 2016 Democratic campaign is again involved in cyber-attacks, said the tech firm. Microsoft said it was "Clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts" targeting the election. Both President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden's campaigns are being targeted. You can receive Breaking News on...

Sep 10, 2020

Amazon: Brazilian official killed by arrow near indigenous tribe

Witnesses said Mr Franciscato and his party came under fire as they approached an indigenous group. Indigenous groups in the Amazon and elsewhere in the world have been known to react violently to outsiders on their lands. The Kaninde Ethno-Environmental Defense Association, an NGO Mr Franciscato helped found in the 1980s, said the indigenous group had no ability to distinguish between a friend or a foe from the outside world. The Amazon, the world's largest rainforest, is home to about 100...

Sep 9, 2020

Amazon: In the cross-hairs of coronavirus and forest fires

At the same time, President Bolsonaro has declared the fires a lie. According to Brazil's space agency INPE, the number of fires in the Amazon jumped 28% in July from a year ago. As a result, it has also become a focal point for fires as often illegally-cleared land is then illegally burned too. The concern is that this year, yet more pressure will be heaped on some of the most scarcely resourced health centres in the country as they deal with both Covid-19 and the fires. The problems in the...

Sep 9, 2020

Chinese embassy calls for Twitter inquiry after porn clip liked

China's UK embassy has asked Twitter to "Make thorough investigations" after its ambassador's official account liked a pornographic clip. Liu Xiaoming's account also liked posts that criticised the Chinese Communist Party and showed blindfolded Uighurs being detained. The activity first drew attention after the account liked a 10-second video posted by an adult-themed page containing clips with Chinese-language descriptions. Over the past year Chinese officials have become more active on the...

Sep 9, 2020

Frenchman Alain Cocq accepts palliative care after bid to livestream death

Alain Cocq, 57, started to refuse food, drink and medicine on Saturday. Mr Cocq has called for the law to be changed to allow terminally ill people to die as they wish. Mr Cocq suffers from a degenerative disease, which causes the walls of his arteries to stick together. In a post on Facebook on Saturday morning, Mr Cocq announced that he had finished his "Last meal", saying he would refuse food, drink and medicine until he died. Mr Cocq told AFP on Wednesday he would be allowed to return...

Sep 8, 2020

Uber pledges all-electric fleet by 2040

Uber has said that all taxis available through its app will be electric by 2040 - and by 2030 in US, Canadian and European cities. Uber on Tuesday said that battery electric vehicles accounted for roughly 0.15% of the miles logged on its platform in the US and Canada between 2017 and 2019. In London, where it has clashed with regulators, Uber had already pledged that all the firm's rides would happen in electric cars by 2025. On Tuesday, Uber said it was working with Renault and Nissan to...

Sep 7, 2020

Netflix boss: Remote working has negative effects

Founder Reed Hastings says working from home has no positive effects and makes debating ideas harder.

Sep 6, 2020

Creek Fire: Helicopters rescue dozens of trapped California campers

A major rescue operation is taking place in California after a wildfire trapped people at a popular reservoir. Helicopters have brought out dozens of people so far from around the Mammoth Pool Reservoir, about 40 miles north-west of Fresno. Rescuers are returning for others and say the number trapped is unknown. A tweet from the Fresno County Fire Protection District just before midnight local time said 63 people had been rescued by military helicopter and taken to Fresno Yosemite...

Sep 6, 2020

Mystery seeds: Amazon bans foreign plant sales in US

Amazon says it has banned foreign sales of seeds in the US after thousands of Americans received unsolicited packets of seeds in the mail, most from China. The online retail giant told the BBC that it will now only allow the sale of seeds by sellers based in the US. US officials said gardeners should not plant seeds of unknown origin. Amazon's new guidelines, in effect since 3 September, also prohibit the sale of seeds within America by non-US residents. In an update on 11 August, the US...

Sep 5, 2020

Alain Cocq: Facebook blocks incurably ill man from livestreaming death

Alain Cocq, 57, planned to broadcast his final days after starting to refuse food, drink and medicine on Saturday. Mr Cocq wants the law changed in France to allow terminally ill people to die as they wish. "The road to deliverance begins and believe me, I am happy," Mr Cocq posted on Facebook early on Saturday morning from his bed at home in Dijon, after announcing he had "Finished his last meal". Mr Cocq said Facebook was blocking his broadcasts until 8 September. In July, Mr Cocq penned a...

Sep 3, 2020

Indian Prime Minister Modi Twitter account hacked

Twitter has confirmed that the personal account of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been hacked. A series of tweets were sent from the account asking followers to donate to a relief fund through cryptocurrency. The platform said it was aware of the activity and has taken steps to secure the compromised account. It's the latest high-profile security breach following similar attacks in July on US presidential hopeful Joe Biden and Tesla founder Elon Musk. "We are actively investigating...

Sep 3, 2020

Facebook to freeze political ads before US presidential election

Facebook has announced that it will not take on any new political ads in the seven days prior to the US election on 3 November. Its chief Mark Zuckerberg revealed the measure in a Facebook post. The Mozilla Foundation has claimed that this makes it easier for politicians and their supporters to parade fiction as fact and avoid being called out on it until it is too late, particularly as Facebook has previously said ads placed by candidates would not be fact-checked. "With our nation so...

Sep 2, 2020

Facebook and Twitter 'dismantle Russian network'

Facebook says it has dismantled a small network of accounts and pages that were part of a Russian influence operation. Twitter also suspended five accounts from the same network. The operation had achieved "Very little reach", with around 14,000 accounts following one or more of the pages it had removed, Facebook said. The deleted accounts used fake names and profile pictures, Facebook said, but real and "Unwitting" freelance writers appeared to have written for the PeaceData website. Twitter...

Sep 2, 2020

Ugandan gorillas in Bwindi park have 'baby boom'

Five new babies have been born in six weeks to one gorilla family, leading the Ugandan Wildlife Service to declare a baby boom. Announcing the latest birth, the UWS said: "The Rushegura gorilla family welcomes another bouncing cute baby gorilla". Mountain gorillas are endangered with just over 1,000 in existence. Around 400 gorillas live in Bwindi, in 10 family groups. The mountain gorilla species is restricted to protected areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

Sep 1, 2020

Facebook threatens news sharing ban in Australia

Facebook has threatened to stop users from sharing news content in Australia as it prepares for a new law forcing it to pay publishers for their articles. Regulators want tech giants like Facebook and Google to pay for the content reposted from news outlets. The social media network said that if the proposed legislation becomes law it will stop Australians from sharing news on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram. In a blog post, Facebook's managing Director for Australia and New Zealand...

Aug 29, 2020

Apple removes Fortnite developer Epic from App Store

Apple has terminated Epic Games's account from its App Store amid a legal battle over in-app payments on the Fortnite game. Apple had already removed Fortnite from the store after the game offered a discount on its virtual currency for purchases made outside of the app, from which Apple receives a 30% cut. The company sued Apple earlier this year after it took down the hugely popular Fortnite from its App Store. "We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and...

Aug 29, 2020

Amazon fires: Are they worse this year than before?

Preserving the Amazon rainforest is of global importance in the fight against climate change, but it is under threat from forest fires, mostly started to clear land for agriculture. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil recently said that claims the Amazon "Is going up in flames" were not true, despite statistics published by his own government showing the spread of fires. "If we consider the average number of fires in July over the period from 2010-2019, then the number of fires in July 2020...

Aug 29, 2020

Tito Mboweni: South Africa's finance minster known for a Twitter roast...

Far from the cliché of a grey-suited quiet man of numbers, South Africa's Finance Minister Tito Mboweni appears to relish stirring up trouble on Twitter both at home and abroad. His most recent tweets to his more than 870,000 followers criticising the president of neighbouring Zambia earned him the wrath of many in that country, and a chastisement from his own President, Cyril Ramaphosa. South Africans took the opportunity to mock him over the culinary disaster with rugby captain Siya Kolisi...

Aug 27, 2020

Apple Fortnite players left behind in new update

People who play Fortnite on Apple Macs, iPhones and iPads are to be excluded from the game's latest update. "Apple has said they will revoke all of Epic's Apple SDK access for game development on Friday," he said. Apple had attempted to revoke Epic's access to its developer tools for the entire company but was prevented by a court ruling because Epic also makes Unreal Engine, a game development tool used by lots of creators. The row began when Epic issued an update for Fortnite that allowed...

Aug 26, 2020

Hurricane Laura: Storm approaching US 'potentially catastrophic'

EPA Hurricane Laura is expected to cause a catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash floods as it hits the US, the National Hurricane Center says. Laura is currently a Category 3 storm and is due to strengthen to Category 4 before reaching Texas and Louisiana later on Wednesday. Laura and another storm Marco earlier hit the Caribbean killing 24. Early on Wednesday the NHC said satellite images had shown that Laura had undergone a remarkable intensification to become a "Formidable...

Aug 25, 2020

Republican National Convention: Trump warns of 'rigged election'

"They're using Covid to defraud the American people," Mr Trump told delegates on the first day of the party convention in North Carolina. Democrats have accused Mr Trump of starving the US Postal Service of funds to "Sabotage" the election. As a formality, Mr Trump was officially nominated to be the Republican nominee earlier on Monday at the convention in the city of Charlotte. Supporters at the convention cheered Mr Trump's remarks, and as they began to chant "Four more years" Mr Trump...

Aug 25, 2020

Facebook blocks Thai access to group critical of monarchy

Facebook has blocked access in Thailand to a million-member group discussing the monarchy, after the government threatened legal action. Access from within Thailand to the "Royalist Marketplace" group was blocked on Monday evening. The group has more than one million members, "Pointing to its massive popularity," group admin Pavin Chachavalpongpun told the BBC. A new group set up on Monday evening gained more than 400,000 followers over night. Mr Chachavalpongpun said the group "Provides a...

Aug 25, 2020

KFC drops Finger Lickin' Good slogan amid coronavirus

KFC Global fast-food giant KFC says it is dropping its "Finger Lickin' Good" slogan amid the coronavirus pandemic. It has prepared new packaging with the phrase obscured, albeit lightly. "We find ourselves in a unique situation - having an iconic slogan that doesn't quite fit in the current environment," the company said. KFC said the phrase would return when the time was right. The firm closed its sites temporarily in March amid the pandemic, but most have now reopened.