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WhatsApp phone numbers of about 500 mn users leaked

Upon investigation, the researchers found that all of them were active WhatsApp users…reports Asian Lite News

WhatsApp phone numbers of 487 million users have been stolen and put on sale on a “well-known” hacking community forum, the media reported.

According to Cybernews, the dataset allegedly contains WhatsApp user data from 84 countries and phone numbers of over 32 million users from the US, 11 million from the UK, and 10 million from Russia.

The hacker claims to have a significant number of phone numbers belonging to the citizens of Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), and Turkey (20 million).

The hacker was selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK for $2,500, and Germany for $2,000, according to the report.

Cybernews researchers were able to get in touch with the hacker and also able to collect a sample of the data in which they found out that the shared sample contained 1,097 UK and 817 US user numbers.

Upon investigation, the researchers found that all of them were active WhatsApp users.

However, the hacker did not specify how they obtained the data, suggesting they “used their strategy,” and that all the numbers belong to WhatsApp users, said the report.

This database can be used by hackers for spamming, phishing attempts, identity theft, and other cybercriminal activities.

WhatsApp provides numerous privacy settings, such as hiding status and profile pictures, that users can enable to protect themselves from prying eyes.

ALSO READ-WhatsApp bans 26 lakh bad accounts in India

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Business Social Media

WhatsApp rolls out new feature to view profile photos  

The new feature will also be released on WhatsApp beta for Android soon…reports Asian Lite News

WhatsApp has rolled out a new feature to some beta testers that allows users to see profile photos within group chats on a desktop.

This feature will help users to identify group members for which they don’t have the phone number or when they have the same name, reports WABetaInfo.

If a group member does not set up a profile photo or if it is hidden due to privacy restrictions, the default profile icon appears and it is highlighted using the same colour as the contact name.

The new feature will also be released on WhatsApp beta for Android soon.

The messaging platform started to work on this new feature for WhatsApp Desktop beta in October.

The company plans to introduce the feature on desktop and iOS beta to help group members recognise other people in their groups better, the report said.

ALSO READ-Amazon CEO confirms more layoffs in 2023

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-Top News Social Media USA

Resignations hit Twitter, Musk closes offices

Several employees also bid farewell to Twitter in the company’s internal messaging platform Slack…reports Asian Lite News

In yet another mayhem at Twitter, hundreds of employees have resigned ahead of the deadline given to them by Elon Musk to either agree to his “extremely hardcore” way of work or quit the company.

Several employees took to Twitter to announce their resignations ahead of the 5 p.m. Thursday deadline (US time) to meet Musk’s new work criteria.

Twitter had around 3,000 employees left after the massive layoffs when Musk sacked about half of its workforce after taking over the company.

“And just like that, after 12 years, I have left Twitter. I have nothing but love for all my fellow tweeps, past and present. A thousand faces and a thousand scenes are flashing through my mind right now – I love you Twitter and I’ll forever bleed blue,” posted Satanjeev Banerjee from San Francisco.

Several employees also bid farewell to Twitter in the company’s internal messaging platform Slack.

“After the deadline hit, hundreds of employees quickly started posting farewell messages and saluting emojis in Twitter’s Slack, announcing that they had said no to Musk’s ultimatum,” reports The Verge.

“I have worked here at Twitter for over 11 years. Back in July, I was the 27th most tenured employee at the company. Now I’m the 15th,” posted one employee in Twitter’s Slack.

“I’m not pressing the (yes) button. My watch ends with Twitter 1.0. I do not wish to be part of Twitter 2.0,” another posted.

Musk, in his memo to employees, had written that “going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore”.

“Guess I just said goodbye to the ghost of my dream job forever?. Tweeps, you are world-class,” posted another employee who resigned.

Zoe Schiffer, Managing Editor at Platformer, tweeted that “Twitter has alerted employees that effective immediately, all office buildings are temporarily closed and badge access is suspended. No details given as to why”.

“We’re hearing this is because Elon Musk and his team are terrified employees are going to sabotage the company. Also, they’re still trying to figure out which Twitter workers they need to cut access for,” she tweeted.

Schiffer said that Twitter offices will reopen on November 21.

ALSO READ-Captain Sully leaves Twitter as Musk makes drastic changes

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Social Media

Musk to remove device label from tweets

Musk had earlier paused Blue service after several fake accounts came up on Twitter, impersonating brands and celebrities…reports Asian Lite News

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has announced that the social media platform will stop adding labels that identify the type of device used for tweeting.

He shared the information from his Twitter account to which he wrote, “And we’ll finally stop adding what device a tweet was written on (waste of screen space & compute) below every tweet. Literally, no one even knows why we did that.”

Device label used to show from which device the tweet has been tweeted, i.e. if a tweet is shared from an Android device then it shows “Tweeted from Android” and for iPhones, it shows “Tweeted from iPhone”.

Using these markers, Twitter claims, “helps you better understand how a Tweet was posted.”

Twitter’s help site states, “This additional information provides context about the Tweet and its author.”. It adds, “If you don’t recognise the source, you might want to find out more about the content.”.

In addition, this function has been used to expose Android brand advocates tweeting from competing for iOS devices.

Blue service back on Nov 29

Musk on Wednesday said that the microblogging platform will relaunch its $8 Blue subscription service with verification from November 29 – this time more “rock solid”.

He also said that with the new release, “changing your verified name will cause loss of checkmark until name is confirmed by Twitter to meet Terms of Service”.

Musk had earlier paused Blue service after several fake accounts came up on Twitter, impersonating brands and celebrities.

After facing a barrage of criticism, Twitter stopped the Blue service.

In some bad news for existing verified account holders on Twitter, Musk said that all unpaid legacy Blue checkmarks will be removed in a few months.

Earlier, reports said that legacy verified accounts will not be charged $8.

ALSO READ-Twitter Blue tick subscription for $8 coming to India soon, Musk confirms

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-Top News Social Media USA

Captain Sully leaves Twitter as Musk makes drastic changes

Reacting to his tweet, a Twitter user wrote, “We will miss you a lot! Is it because of Twitter’s new ownership? All the best to you!”…reports Asian Lite News

Sully Sullenberger aka ‘Captain Sully’, who is known for landing a airplane on the Hudson River in the US has announced to take a step back from the Elon Musk-owned Twitter.

“To my friends on Twitter, I will be taking a step back from the platform for now,” Sully tweeted.

In a 2013 CNBC video, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey called the 2009 US Airways Flight 1549 landing on the water in the Hudson River a moment that “changed everything.”

“Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram to stay informed and hear my latest personal and professional updates,” Sully further posted.

Reacting to his tweet, a Twitter user wrote, “We will miss you a lot! Is it because of Twitter’s new ownership? All the best to you!”.

Musk has implemented several changes to the micro-blogging platform since he acquired Twitter at a super fast pace, some of which have not gone well with people.

Supermodel Gigi Hadid recently announced that she has quit Twitter as it’s no longer a “safe place” for anyone after Musk bought the platform for $44 billion.

Celebrities like film producer Shonda Rhimes and musician Sara Bareilles quit the platform after Musk took over. Also, actor Tea Leoni and singer Toni Braxton have left Twitter.

Famous American author Stephen King has said he would leave if he was charged $20 for verification.

Musk recently said that any Twitter account engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” on the handle will be permanently suspended.

Actor and comic Kathy Griffin became the first casualty of Elon Musk’s new rule as Twitter suspended her account for “engaging in impersonation” after she changed her display name to “Elon Musk”.

ALSO READ-Twitter Blue tick subscription for $8 coming to India soon, Musk confirms

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Social Media

Meta offers immigration help to H-1B visa holders

H-1B visa holders can stay and work in the US for a period of three years, extended by another three years…reports Asian Lite News

As large-scale layoffs begin at Facebook’s parent company Meta, employees on work visas such as H-1Bs are now faced with uncertainty over their immigration status, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging “this is especially difficult if you’re here on a visa” and offering support to those impacted.

The US-based technology companies hire a large amount of H-1B workers, the majority of whom come from countries such as India.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

H-1B visa holders can stay and work in the US for a period of three years, extended by another three years.

They are then required to leave the country unless their employee sponsors them for permanent residency, known as the Green Card, the backlog for which runs into decades. If H-1B visa holders lose their jobs, they only have a “grace period” of 60 days to find an employee willing to sponsor their H-1B, failing which they will be required to leave the US.

A Washington-based reporter Patrick Thibodeau wrote on Twitter Monday that “Facebook layoffs may hit H-1B workers hard. Facebook is classified as H-1B “dependent,” meaning 15 per cent or more of its workforce is on the visa. When visa holders lose their job, they may have to leave the US if they don’t quickly find a new employer sponsor.” Other support measures announced by Meta include severance pay for 16 weeks of base pay plus two additional weeks for every year of service, with no cap; coverage of healthcare cost for people and their families for six months and three months of career support with an external vendor, including early access to unpublished job leads.

He said outside the US, support will be similar, and the company will follow up soon with separate processes that take into account local employment laws.

ALSO READ-Massive global Meta layoffs hit India teams

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-Top News Social Media USA

‘Unfortunately No Choice’: Musk Justifies Twitter Bloodbath

Defending his decision over layoff of Twitter employees, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the micro-blogging site was losing more than USD 4 million per day.

Taking to Twitter, Elon Musk said, “Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately, there is no choice when the company is losing over USD 4M/day. Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.”

“Again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged. In fact, we have actually seen hateful speech at times this week decline *below* our prior norms, contrary to what you may read in the press, he added.

On Friday, as per an unsigned internal memo seen by The Verge, Twitter employees were notified in an email that the layoffs were set to begin. Musk is expected to cut roughly half of Twitter’s roughly 7,500-person workforce.

The entrepreneur’s purchase of Twitter for USD 44 billion was completed last week and on that same day, he fired several of the company’s top leaders, including the chief executive Parag Agrawal.

Musk had already indicated that he would make job cuts at Twitter, telling employees at a town-hall meeting this summer that there needs to be “a rationalization of headcount” at the social network.

Meanwhile, talking about the new changes in the micro-blogging site, Musk said in a tweet, “Again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged. In fact, we have actually seen hateful speech at times this week decline *below* our prior norms, contrary to what you may read in the press.”

Earlier, Elon Musk, who closed the USD 44 billion twitter acquisition deal and took control of the micro-blogging platform, blamed “activist groups pressuring advertisers” for a “massive drop in revenue” as the company

“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” Musk said in a tweet.

The billionaire owner of Tesla tweeted that “activists” raising concerns about how Twitter is moderated are “trying to destroy free speech in America”. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Twitter sued over Musk’s mass layoffs

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-Top News Social Media

Twitter sued over Musk’s mass layoffs

The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that Twitter has violated the federal and California WARN Acts and “certify the case as a class action suit”…reports Asian Lite News

lon Musk-run Twitter has been sued in the US for mass lay offs without giving employees advanced written notice, the media reported on Friday.

The lawsuit has been filed in the US District Court in the Northern District of California, in violation of worker protection laws including the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act as well as the California WARN Act, both of which require 60 days of advance notice, reports TechCrunch.

The plaintiffs said they were “terminated on November 3 by being locked out of their accounts”.

“Twitter is also enacting widespread layoffs across its workforce today, on Nov. 4, 2022, it stated, adding that California’s Employment Development Department had not received a notice related to the event,” they said.

The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that Twitter has violated the federal and California WARN Acts and “certify the case as a class action suit”.

The lawsuit is seeking “a range of relief, including compensatory damages (including wages owed), as well as declaratory relief, pre- and post-judgment interest, plus other attorneys’ fees and costs”.

Under Twitter’s takeover deal terms, the laid-off employees should receive 60 days of salary and the cash value of the stock.

Musk has previously laid off employees without any proper notice at Tesla, and is facing a class-action lawsuit.

Musk admits ‘revenue drop’

Elon Musk on Friday said that Twitter has seen a massive drop in revenue as activist groups are putting undue pressure on its advertisers.

In a tweet, the new Twitter CEO who is firing at least half of its workforce globally, including in India, said these activist groups are destroying free speech.

“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk said in a tweet.

“Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” he added.

The company lost $270 million in the April-June period after revenue slipped 1 per cent to $1.18 billion, reflecting advertising industry headwinds.

The number of daily active users rose 16.6 per cent to 237.8 million compared with the same period a year before.

Advertising revenue was $1.08 billion while subscription and other revenue totalled $101 million, a decrease of 27 per cent year-over-year,

In 2021, the company made a revenue of $5.07 billion.

Meanwhile, Twitter notified employees that it will be “reducing its global workforce” on Friday, as its new CEO aims to cut roughly half of its 7,600-strong workforce.

ALSO READ-Musk’s Twitter begins layoffs

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India News Social Media

WhatsApp bans 26 lakh bad accounts in India

Under the upgraded IT Rules 2021, major digital and social media platforms, with in excess of five million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports…reports Asian Lite News

Meta-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday said it banned over 26 lakh accounts in India in the month of September in compliance with the new IT Rules, 2021, which are now being amended to put more responsibilities on social media platforms.

The messaging platform, which has nearly 500 million users (according to third-party data) in the country, received 666 complaint reports in September in India, and the records “actioned” were 23.

“In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we’ve published our report for the month of September 2022. This user-safety report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on our platform,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The platform banned over 23 lakh bad accounts in India in August.

Under the upgraded IT Rules 2021, major digital and social media platforms, with in excess of five million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports.

Meanwhile, in a major push towards an open, safe, trusted and accountable Internet, the Ministry of Electronics and IT has notified some amendments aimed at protecting the rights of “Digital Nagriks”.

Currently, social media intermediaries are only required to inform users about not uploading certain categories of harmful/unlawful content.

The amendments impose a legal obligation on intermediaries to take reasonable efforts to prevent users from uploading such content.

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that protection of constitutional rights of the Indian citizens is a must.

The amendments were notified after the Ministry followed an exhaustive public consultation process involving all stakeholders.

The new provisions will ensure that the intermediary’s obligation is not a mere formality.

Snapchat AR creator community grows 60% in India

Snapchat on Tuesday said that its augmented reality (AR) creator community in India grew by 60 per cent this year, riding on its successful localisation strategy piloted in the country.

Since its launch in India, time spent on Spotlight by the Indian Snapchatter community has increased by 175 per cent (YOY).

Discover, Snap’s content platform featuring selected partners, had over 140 million Indian Snapchatters watching a show in 2022, while local channels publishing premium content on Discover increased by 150 per cent (YOY), said the company.

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, said in a statement that the localisation strategy has been the key in expanding cultural moments by adding more regional festivals, upskilling the Indian youth in AR to develop highly active and creative local creator communities, and has gone on to become a roadmap adopted by other global Snap markets.

“This year, to celebrate the diversity and festive spirit in India, Snap collaborated with Indian lens creators to introduce AR Lenses for over 75 local festivals and rolled out over 500 hyperlocal geofilters across cities to help Snapchatters engage with their communities at a hyper-local level,” said the company.

These creators are now active users of Lens Studio, Snap’s free, desktop application designed to help artists, designers, and developers build AR experiences

To drive AR skilling among the Indian youth, Snap partnered with Atal Innovation Mission and NITI Aayog to help reach more than 8,000 government schools in India and train over 12,000 teachers educating millions of students across the country with AR, over a two-year time frame, said the company.

ALSO READ-Indian cyber agency warns WhatsApp users of critical bugs

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Health Social Media UK News

Influencers Support Self Care Sundays

Self Care Sundays encouraged to tackle anxiety as new research reveals 6 in 10 South Asians worry about the week ahead South Asian influencers and mental health advocates back new better health – every mind matters campaign calling on the community to be kind to their minds

Despite Sunday being the traditional day of rest and recreation for most, as the weekend draws to a close, many begin to worry about the week ahead with lack of sleep (57%), juggling family life (57%) and a looming to-do list (54%) reported as the top causes. New research released this week reveals almost 6 in 10 South Asians regularly experience anxiety (57%).

For many people around the country, a typical weekend ends with worry as thoughts turn to the week ahead; with Google searches around sadness spiking on a Sunday as people turn to the internet for help. Searches for ‘trouble sleeping’ also peak on a Monday, reflecting the nation’s struggle to unwind as the weekend draws to a close. In fact, searches for anxiety have increased 170% in the last 10 years.

Leading South Asian influencers and mental health advocates, including Parle Patel, Dr Tina Mistry and Ummar Sadique are supporting the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign, calling on the South Asian community to adopt Self Care Sundays to help deal with feelings of anxiety by doing small things that can make a big difference.

Despite a significant number of South Asians regularly experiencing anxiety (57%), 1 in 3 (35%) rarely or never prioritise self-care on a Sunday. Those that do like to unwind go for a walk (41%), clean their home (39%) and spend time with friends or family (37%).

To address this, Dr Tina Mistry, Ummar Sadique and Parle Patel, who are long-standing advocates for the importance of good mental health, are sharing their tips for alleviating anxiety and preparing for the week ahead.

Parle Patel, Influencer and Comedian, said: “Sundays are a particularly good day to be kind to yourself and get into the right frame of mind for the week ahead. Try adopting a Self Care Sunday routine that works for you – whether that’s mindful breathing exercises in your room or going for a run outdoors. Take time to think about the good things in your life and list the things you’re thankful for. It’s important to speak to someone if you’re struggling.”

Dr Tina Mistry, Clinical Psychologist, said: “Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It’s very common and can affect our mood, our body, and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. Try keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you are feeling at different times of the day to help identify what’s causing you anxiety – this will help you create simple steps to better manage it.”

Ummar Sadique, Senior Psychological Well-being Practitioner, said: “Trying to relax and enjoy the last few moments of the weekend on a Sunday can quickly become stressful, especially when you can’t help but worry about the week ahead! For me, reviewing my to-do list and breaking down my biggest tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage chunks really helps. Making a plan for managing upcoming stressful days or events can really help.”

  • Self Care Sundays encouraged as new research reveals almost 6 in 10 South Asians  regularly experience anxiety about the week ahead
  • Top 3 causes identified as lack of sleep, juggling family life and a looming to-do list
  • Leading South Asian influencers and mental health advocates Parle Patel, Dr Tina Mistry and Ummar Sadique are supporting Better Health – Every Mind Matters, which offers NHS-approved tips and advice to improve mental health
Influencers Support Self Care Sundays