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Facebook Has Removed 5.4 Billion Fake Accounts This Year

As much as 5% of its monthly user base of nearly 2.5 billion consists of fake accounts, the company said.

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SAN FRANCISCO (United States): Digital media giant Facebook says it has stopped 5.4 billion fake accounts so far this year, in a sign of a persistent battle on social media against manipulation and disinformation.

The company said it removed more than 3.2 billion fake accounts between April and September, compared with more than 1.5 billion during the same period last year. The company also said it removed 11.4 million pieces of hate speech, compared to 5.4 million in the same six-month period in 2018.

As much as 5% of its monthly user base of nearly 2.5 billion consists of fake accounts, the company said, despite advances in technology that have allowed Facebook to catch more fake accounts the moment they are created.


The disclosure highlights the scale of the challenge before Facebook as it prepares for a high-stakes election season in the United States, as well as the 2020 US census.

Analysts and watchdogs are bracing for a wave of fake and misleading content on social media following revelations about election meddling in 2016.

In its latest transparency report, the Internet firm said it has improved its ability to detect and block attempts to create fake and abusive accounts.



The detailed report also showed that government demands for user information hit a new high led by the US.

For the first time, Facebook included Instagram in the report. The company said it made progress in detecting child nudity and sexual exploitation, removing more than 1.2 million pieces of content between April and September.

Instagram spokesperson Stephanie Otway told VOA that Instagram previously had different ways of measuring enforcement on their community standards policies.

“We brought our methodology in line with Facebook and that alignment meant we were able to share metrics for the first time today,” Otway said.

Overall, requests by governments for Facebook user data rose 16 per cent to 128,617 in the first half of this year.


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AGENTS OF CHANGE

The Final Peak? Google CEO Sundar Pichai Named CEO Of Google’s Parent Company Alphabet

An alumnus of Wharton, Stanford and IIT Kharagpur, Pichai was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

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SAN FRANSISCO (United States): Google’s India-born Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai will assume the leadership role at its parent firm Alphabet after the internet giant’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from its active management, making him one of the most powerful corporate leaders of the world.

Page and Brin stepped down as CEO and president, respectively, of Alphabet, the company announced on Tuesday. Pichai, 47, the current CEO of Google and a longtime executive at the company, will take over as CEO of Alphabet in addition to his current role.

Considered as a significant shakeup in the Silicon Valley company, the shuffle comes at a time when Google is facing mounting scrutiny over its size, data privacy practices and potential impact on society.


With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and ‘Other Bets’ operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure, the two Google co-founders wrote in a public letter.

We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company,” they said. “And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets,” said Page and Brin.

The co-founders will continue to serve on Alphabet’s board of directors. “We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about!” they wrote.



Page and Brin, who founded the internet giant over two decades ago, took lesser roles in day-to-day operations in the company in 2015 when they turned Google into Alphabet.

In his statement, Pichai made it clear that the transition will not affect the Alphabet structure or the work they do day-to-day.

I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone,” he wrote. “At the same time, I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology,” he said in his email.

Pichai took over as CEO of Google in 2015 as part of the company’s broader corporate restructuring to create Alphabet.

Prior that, Pichai had held a variety of roles at the company, including overseeing Chrome, product chief of Google and head of the Android operating system. Endorsing the leadership role played by Pichai ever since he was made Google CEO, Page and Sergey said the Indian-American brings humility and a deep passion for technology to their users, partners, and employees every day. “He’s worked closely with us for 15 years, through the formation of Alphabet, as CEO of Google, and a member of the Alphabet Board of Directors.


He shares our confidence in the value of the Alphabet structure, and the ability it provides us to tackle big challenges through technology,” they wrote. “There is no one that we have relied on more since Alphabet was founded, and no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future,” they said.

Pichai was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He is an alumnus of Wharton business school, Stanford University and Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

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Digital and Technology

China Launches ‘One Of The World’s Largest’ 5G Networks; Focus Stays On Huawei

South Korea, the US and the UK have all rolled out their next-generation 5G networks this year.

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BEIJING (China): Amid the Washington-Beijing power struggle over trade and technology, the Communist nation’s state-owned carriers China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom unveiled their 5G data plans on Thursday.

The move means consumers can now pay to access superfast 5G speeds as more than 86,000 5G base stations have already entered service in China, covering 50 cities nationwide.

The move is also part of the latest push to accelerate the rollout of a sound digital infrastructure to fuel high-quality economic growth.


South Korea, the US and the UK have all rolled out their next-generation 5G networks this year.

China aims at becoming the world’s top leader in next-generation telecom technology leaving behind the US and other western countries.

5G is the fifth-generation of mobile internet connectivity. It promises much faster data download and upload speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections.



China’s 5G services have started in about 50 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen among others.

Lyu Tingjie, a communications professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said although the monthly prices for basic 5G data plans are far higher than 4G equivalents, the price per gigabyte for 5G is lower. With 5G networks extending to more regions, 5G data bundles will become more affordable.

China granted licenses to telecom carriers for commercial 5G service in June. It is not the first country to commercialize the superfast wireless technology, which can enable downloading of 8GB movies in seconds and make self-driving vehicles and remote surgeries a reality. South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries rolled out 5G networks months ago.

But China leads the world in the scale and diversity of 5G services, with individual consumers and enterprises showing mounting enthusiasm for the new technology, said Wang Zhiqin, deputy director of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank.

In September alone, about 497,000 China-made 5G smartphones were purchased by retailers, the think tank said, beating expectations.


The three telecom operators have also pushed 5G preregistration with generous discounts and free 5G data allowances. These promotional strategies managed to attract interest from more than 10 million subscribers after the National Day holiday last month.

“China will embark on large-scale 5G network construction next year. This will further the use of the cutting-edge technology in more traditional sectors and lay a sound digital infrastructure for manufacturing upgrades,” Wang said.

Ding Yun, president of Huawei Technologies Co’s carrier business group, said the company in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, is ready to help China build the best 5G network possible by fully tapping into its technological prowess.

Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China, said the US chip giant is pleased to join hands with industry partners to unveil the 5G era in China.

“Currently, we have worked with partners to launch multiple 5G smartphones and bring the 5G experience within reach. Moving forward, we will continue to join forces to bring diverse 5G-powered, innovative applications to more consumers and industries,” Meng added.

China is set to become the world’s largest 5G market by 2025, with 460 million 5G users, according to a forecast by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association, a global telecom association.

International Focus Remains On Huawei:

Huawei remains one of the most controversial companies in the world and a central combatant in the trade war between China and the US. The world’s two biggest economies are battling for technological supremacy, and 5G is a key tactical weapon — it will provide 10 to 20 times faster download speed than 4G.

There is a growing concern among cybersecurity experts that countries like Germany will make decisions to adopt Huawei 5G technology based on economic incentives and trade deals, rather than national security implications.


After losing the race to introduce 4G technology, which is a major loss in competitive advantage, China started to invest billions of dollars in Huawei by way of subsidies and grants. These have included direct aid, cheap loans from state banks like China Development Bank, subsidized land from the local government as well as export credit.

Issues Related to Huawei:

Despite a massive publicity campaign, Huawei has yet to really explain who exactly owns the company, how it is run and if it is independent of the ruling Communist Party.

When Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and the company’s CFO, was arrested last year in Vancouver, Beijing swiftly imprisoned Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in apparent retaliation.

Huawei has been collaborating on security technology in the Xinjiang region, where over 1 million mostly Muslim people are being held in forced education camps.

Huawei has been sued by Cisco and Motorola over intellectual property theft.

Earlier this year, it was indicted by the US over allegations it tried to steal information about the design of a T-Mobile robot called Tappy. Plus Huawei was linked to espionage at the failed North American telecoms company Nortel.

5G Features:

  • 5G mobile phones are the fifth generation of wireless service. Its speed is quite good compared to the previous generation.
  • Internet users will start getting higher data capacity, better coverage and battery of mobile devices will also cost less.
  • Internet works 100 times faster than 4G. Users will be able to download the 1.7 GB movie in just two seconds.

5G in China:

  • China gave the green signal for the commercial use of 5G in June this year.
  • China government-owned companies China Unicom, China Telecom and China Mobile have launched 5G data services across the country.
  • China has launched 5G with proper preparations as it had activated 11,859 5G based stations by October end this year. These stations are able to support 5G network across the country.
  • These three companies have a user base of 10 million people across the country.
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Digital and Technology

Fitbit Snapped Up By Google In $2.1 Billion Deal

Google is buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion in cash. Both companies pledged health data won’t be used to sell ads.

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SAN FRANCISCO (United States): Search engine giant Google has announced that it has acquired leading wearable brand Fitbit for $2.1 billion.

Today, we’re announcing that Google has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Fitbit, a leading wearables brand,” said Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices & Services, Google.

By working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together the best AI, software and hardware, we can help spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world,” he added.


Over the years, Google has made progress with partners in this space with Wear OS and Google Fit.

Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created engaging products, experiences and a vibrant community of users.

Google aspires to create tools that help people enhance their knowledge, success, health and happiness.



“This goal is closely aligned with Fitbit’s long-time focus on wellness and helping people live healthier, more active lives,” said Google.

Similar to its other products, Google said: “with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect“.

We will never sell personal information to anyone. Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads. And we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data,” the company said.

Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park called Google “an ideal partner” to advance Fitbit’s mission.

With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead,” Park said in a statement.


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