Tencent Music’s revenues find their groove with more paying users

But stiff competition in the social entertainment sector led to a slower-than-expected increase in users. China’s Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the biggest music streaming and entertainment app in the country, reported better-than-expected third-quarter revenue on Monday, as the company added more paying users. However, the music streaming company – controlled by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd – recorded the slowest rise in a widely watched metric for its biggest business, social entertainment services, which executives attributed to growing competition. Tencent Music, whose Chinese parent company owns popular social networking app WeChat, saw…

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Single and shopping: Alibaba may break $13bn Singles’ Day record

Sales hit the $1bn mark in the first minute and eight seconds of the annual shopping fest. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Inc said on Monday that sales for its annual Singles’ Day shopping blitz hit 84 billion yuan ($12bn) within the first hour, up 22 percent from last year’s early haul of 69 billion yuan ($9.9bn). Akin to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States, Singles’ Day has been promoted as a shopping fest by Alibaba Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Zhang since 2009, growing rapidly…

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Google is gathering health data on millions of people

The data involved in the project reportedly includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalisation records. Alphabet Inc’s Google is teaming up with a healthcare company on a secret project to collect personal health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Google launched Project Nightingale last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the matter and internal documents. Google and Ascension did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The data involved in Project…

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Instagram to remove ‘like’ counts for some US users

Amid humane tech movement, company is testing out functionality to make the social media platform feel less competitive. Facebook Inc.’s Instagram plans to remove the number of “likes” visible on posts for some users in the U.S. to decrease competitive pressure among people on the photo-sharing service. Instagram has been hiding like counts in some markets since April, beginning in Canada, and later expanding to Japan and Brazil. The U.S. is one of Instagram’s largest markets with more than 106 million users, according to data analyst EMarketer. “What we’re hoping…

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Facebook staff lamented ‘unethical’ practices but were rebuffed

Facebook Inc. employees repeatedly chafed at what they viewed as anti-competitive or unethical practices by the company, internal chats show. But their concerns, voiced in 2012 and 2013, were overruled by senior managers including Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who argued that the survival of the social network was more important. The messages come from a roughly 7,000-page trove of leaked documents that were part of a years-old lawsuit in the Bay Area’s San Mateo County. The interactions are likely to be scrutinized further as Facebook faces ongoing antitrust investigations.…

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Saudi Arabia recruited Twitter employees charged with spying

Two Saudi citizens, one American, accused of working together to unmask ownership of dissident Twitter accounts. Saudi Arabia’s government, frustrated by growing criticism of its leaders and policies on social media, recruited two Twitter employees to gather confidential personal information on thousands of accounts that included prominent opponents, prosecutors alleged on Wednesday. The complaint unsealed in US District Court in San Francisco detailed a coordinated effort by Saudi government officials to recruit employees at the social media giant to look up the private data of Twitter accounts, including email addresses…

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California announces probe of Facebook privacy practices

The social network is under fire in the US state for giving third parties data access and not disclosing its practices. The attorney general of California – the most populous state in the United States – says he has been investigating Facebook privacy practices since 2018. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra offered few details about the probe and said he was disclosing it only because his office was making a public court filing to force Facebook to answer subpoenas, to which he said Facebook had thus far failed to respond…

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WeWork, Uber drag SoftBank into first quarterly loss in 14 years

Softbank’s founder Masayoshi Son admitted that his earlier judgement of WeWork was ‘not right’ in many ways. Japanese technology investment firm SoftBank Group suffered its first quarterly loss in 14 years between July and September, dragged down by falling valuations of its biggest tech bets such as WeWork and Uber. The group’s giant Vision Fund made a 970 billion yen ($8.9bn) loss, a humbling blow for founder, chairman and chief executive Masayoshi Son even as he tries to raise an enormous sum for a second investment fund. Son, 62, told…

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Software flaws found in Uber car that killed US woman

US transport safety agency’s findings could affect developments of autonomous vehicles across the auto sector. An Uber self-driving test vehicle that struck and killed an Arizona woman in 2018 had software flaws, the United States‘ National Transportation Safety Board said. The agency also revealed on Tuesday that the company’s autonomous test vehicles were involved in 37 crashes over the prior 18 months. NTSB may use the findings from the first fatal self-driving car accident to make recommendations that could affect how the entire industry addresses self-driving software issues or to…

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Apple pledges $2.5bn to address California housing crisis

As homelessness reaches chronic levels in California, Apple and other tech companies pledge funds to fix the problem. Technology giant Apple says it will set aside $2.5bn to provide affordable homes in California which has more homeless people in the state than anywhere else in the United States. Tech companies have been blamed for contributing to the state’s housing crisis as they set up shop there, pushing house prices up beyond the reach of many residents. Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports from Los Angeles.

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More losses for Uber after spending on discounts, new ventures

The ride-hailing firm expects to become profitable by the end of 2021, it told investors. Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc sank deeper into loss from July to September as it tried to outspend competitors with discounts and loss-making new business ventures, the company reported on Monday in the United States. Uber’s shares fell 5.5 percent in after-hours trading despite Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi saying that the company would become profitable by the end of 2021. Overall, the company’s net loss widened to $1.16bn in the three months ended September 30, from…

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Google to buy smartwatch maker Fitbit for $2.1bn in cash

The tech giant is under investigation for anti-competitive practices, so the deal may attract more regulatory scrutiny. Alphabet Inc.’s Google agreed to buy smartwatch maker Fitbit Inc. for $2.1 billion in cash, a move that could shore up the internet giant’s hardware business while also potentially increasing antitrust scrutiny. Fitbit shares jumped 16%. Google will pay $7.35 a share for San Francisco-based Fitbit, according to a statement Friday. That represents a 71% premium to Fitbit’s stock price before Reuters reported Google had made a bid on the company on Oct.…

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US allies’ government officials hacked via WhatsApp

Victims are spread across at least 20 countries on five continents, sources close to the investigation told Reuters. Senior government officials in multiple countries allied with the United States were hit earlier this year with hacking software that used Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp messaging system to take over users’ phones, according to people familiar with the company’s investigation. Sources familiar with WhatsApp’s internal investigation into the breach told the Reuters news agency that a “significant” portion of the known victims are high-profile government and military officials spread across at least 20 countries…

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Okay Google: Forget me!

The internet never forgets, but privacy concerns have more people pushing for that to change. In today’s digitally connected world, racist tweets, drunken Facebook photos or tactless emails can come back to haunt individuals years after the fact. With online search results affecting the outcome of job offers, relationships and even home loans, more people are pushing to have a say in shaping their digital narratives. This is already possible in the European Union, which grants  ordinary citizens (not public officials) the “right to be forgotten” on search engines in certain…

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Should political ads be banned on social media?

Twitter is banning all political advertising around the world from next month. Social media has transformed the way we debate politics. Donald Trump, the president of the United States, often uses Twitter to announce new policies, attack an opponent or even re-tweet what many consider to be misleading information. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been criticised for allowing political hate speech and misinformation to flourish on their platforms. Now, with just a year to go before the US presidential election, Twitter is banning all political advertising around the world from…

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