Social media giant Meta has reportedly been warned by the European Union to quickly update its children’s data privacy settings on Instagram, or risk being fined.
The warning is coming after it was discovered that Instagram’s porous privacy settings for children, allow a network of accounts to be created on the app, which is set up to connect pedophiles to sellers of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the social networking platform.
Further research discovered that Meta-owned photo-sharing sites are the most important platform for sellers of self-generated child sexual abuse material, pointing to Instagram’s recommendation algorithms as a key reason for the platform’s effectiveness in advertising such appalling children materials.
Instagram is also reported to connect pedophiles and guide them to content sellers via recommendation systems that excel at linking those who share niche interests.
Speaking on the issue, European Union commissioner Thierry Breton via a tweet on Twitter called out Meta for its child protection policy which he describes as ineffective, noting that failure of the platform to beef up its privacy violations, will attract heavy sanctions.
The commissioner wrote, “Meta’s voluntary code on child protection seems not to work. Mark Zuckerberg must now explain and take immediate action. I will discuss him at Meta’s HQ in Menlo Park on 23 June. After 25 August, under DSA Meta has to demonstrate measures to us or face heavy sanctions”.
It is understood that fines for non-compliance with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which lays out rules for how platforms must tackle illegal content, can attract up to 6% global annual turnover.
Investors King understands that last month, to raise awareness of Instagram’s family tools, Meta launched a new youth and wellbeing ad campaign in the UK, France, and Belgium. The platform developed more than 30 tools to support families, including supervision tools that help parents and teens work together to manage teens’ time on its apps.
Announcing the awareness, Marketing Director for Europe at Meta Ciara Farren wrote,
“We want to help keep young people safer online, which includes supporting parents and guardians to be more involved in their teens’ experiences.”
Meta’s supervision tools are in addition to other features and protections it already has in place, including helping teens have safer and more private experiences.
Behind Closed Doors: Microsoft’s Bid to Make Bing Apple’s Default Search Engine
Insiders have disclosed that Microsoft Corp. engaged in discussions with Apple Inc. around 2020 about potentially selling its Bing search engine.
The proposed deal aimed to replace Google as the default search engine on Apple devices, particularly iPhones.
People familiar with the matter, who chose to remain anonymous, disclosed that high-level executives from Microsoft held exploratory talks with Eddy Cue, Apple’s services chief, responsible for the existing search engine partnership with Google.
Despite these discussions, the deal never progressed beyond preliminary stages. This revelation has gained renewed attention in light of the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice antitrust trial against Google, in which Apple and Microsoft are actively involved. The Justice Department is using Apple’s arrangement with Google as evidence of Google’s search market dominance.
Apple’s Eddy Cue defended the collaboration during his trial testimony, asserting that Google was the superior search option, emphasizing the quality of Google’s technology.
Apple’s partnership with Google, initiated in 2002, had grown to become highly lucrative, earning Apple between $4 billion to $7 billion annually by 2020.
This financial aspect, coupled with concerns about Bing’s competitiveness, played pivotal roles in Apple’s ultimate decision not to acquire Bing.
While Bing was briefly used as the default search engine in some Apple features between 2013 and 2017, including Siri and Spotlight, Google ultimately remained the preferred choice. In court, it was revealed that Microsoft had considered a multi-billion-dollar investment in its relationship with Apple in 2016, but this attempt was unsuccessful.
Eddy Cue’s testimony underscored Apple’s belief that Google’s search technology was unmatched, signaling that Apple had no plans to develop its own search tool.
This differs from Apple’s approach in other areas, where it competes directly with Google in mapping software, voice assistants, and operating systems.
In retrospect, Apple’s dalliance with Bing serves as a fascinating chapter in the tech giants’ intricate web of partnerships and rivalries.
TikTok Faces Regulatory Storm in Indonesia as Minister Calls for E-commerce Split
Teten Masduki, the Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, has emerged as a vocal critic of the Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok.
Masduki’s relentless complaints about TikTok’s dominance in the Indonesian e-commerce market have set the stage for a seismic regulatory shift that could have far-reaching consequences.
Masduki, a former activist who once took on government corruption, has been disrupting official meetings to raise concerns about TikTok’s impact on local players. This groundswell of criticism has culminated in sweeping regulations that force TikTok to split payments from shopping in Indonesia, a move seen as a significant blow to TikTok’s e-commerce aspirations.
Under these new rules, social media companies in Indonesia are barred from handling direct payments for online purchases, effectively requiring TikTok to either create a separate app for payments or risk being shuttered in Indonesia entirely.
The regulations, stricter than anticipated, have already had a chilling effect on the e-commerce market, benefiting local champions like GoTo and Sea.
While TikTok has pushed back, arguing that the separation of social media and e-commerce hampers innovation, the Indonesian government remains firm in its stance, aiming to protect smaller enterprises and voters as elections loom on the horizon.
This clash underscores the challenges TikTok faces in its pursuit of e-commerce dominance and sets a precedent for other countries in the region. As TikTok’s meteoric rise in regional e-commerce continues, governments are increasingly assessing whether the platform benefits or harms domestic merchants.
For TikTok, the challenge lies in finding a solution that appeases authorities while allowing it to continue its growth. The repercussions of this battle in Indonesia could reverberate throughout Southeast Asia and beyond, shaping the future of social media-driven e-commerce.
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Teten Masduki’s bold stance against TikTok may just be the opening salvo in a much larger struggle for control of the e-commerce arena.
Meta Announces Upcoming Business Verification and Innovative Features for WhatsApp
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, on Tuesday announced plans to commence verification of businesses on WhatsApp.
Nikila Srinivasan, Meta’s Vice President of Business Messaging, shared the exciting news.
Meta’s aim is to bolster user trust through platform-granted verifications, signify the legitimacy of businesses and assure users of their authenticity.
To attain this coveted Meta verification, businesses must substantiate their credibility to Meta, reaping rewards such as a verified badge, enhanced account support, and safeguarding against impersonation.
Srinivasan further elaborated on the forthcoming features, stating, “For businesses interested in signing up, Meta Verified will offer additional premium features. These include the ability to create a customized WhatsApp page that can be easily discovered through web searches, as well as multi-device support, enabling multiple employees to efficiently respond to customer inquiries. We plan to initiate testing of Meta Verified with small businesses using the WhatsApp Business app before extending it to businesses on the WhatsApp Business Platform in the near future.”
In addition to the verification system, Meta also unveiled another exciting feature called “Flows.” This innovation will empower businesses to provide a comprehensive range of services without requiring users to leave the chat.
Srinivasan explained, “With Flows, businesses will have the capability to offer rich menus and customizable forms to cater to diverse user needs. We aim to make Flows available to businesses worldwide through the WhatsApp Business Platform in the coming weeks.”
This strategic move by Meta not only bolsters the credibility of businesses on WhatsApp but also introduces user-friendly features that are expected to enhance the overall user experience.
As Meta continues to invest in evolving its platforms, business owners and users alike can look forward to an increasingly innovative and secure WhatsApp environment.
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