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-Top News ASEAN News

Indonesia threatens to block social media giants

The digital giants are given time until Wednesday to complete the registration for licensing….reports Asian Lite News

The Indonesian authorities are set to block social media applications and online sites including Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp in several days if they fail to register with the country’s Ministry of Communications and Informatics.

The digital giants are given time until Wednesday to complete the registration for licensing. Otherwise, the ministry will name them illegal and unlawful in the country, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We have warned all local and foreign tech companies, including online services, sites, and application providers, many times that they have to register if they do not want to risk being blocked. We have given them time since six months ago,” the ministry’s Director General for Information Applications Semuel Abrijani told reporters on Tuesday.

The registration is part of the country’s new regulation starting from January 2022, saying all tech platforms must secure licenses to be able to operate. The regulation will allow the authorities to order the platforms to take down any contents considered unlawful, inappropriate and “disturb public order,” within four hours if deemed urgent, and 24 hours if not.

The Indonesian government is currently trying to reduce the spreading of misinformation and hoaxes, particularly ahead of the country’s general election in 2024.

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Business China Social Media

Minors banned from live streaming on social media in China

Most popular live-streaming platforms are TikTok’s app Douyin, Alibaba Group’s Taobao Live, and Kuaishou Technology’s short video platform…reports Asian Lite News

Chinese regulators have moved to ban minors from live-streaming on various social media platforms to protect their physical and mental health, the media reported on Monday.

The new rules completely prohibit those under 16 from live-streaming, while users aged between 16 and 18 must obtain permission from their parents or guardians before doing live streams, reports the South China Morning Post.

“Internet platforms should a strictly implement the real-name registration requirement, and prohibit offering minors’ tipping services such as cash top-up, gift purchase, and online payment,” according to a statement issued by the regulators.

Most popular live-streaming platforms are TikTok’s app Douyin, Alibaba Group’s Taobao Live, and Kuaishou Technology’s short video platform.

The new requirements have been issued by four regulators, including the National Radio and Television Administration and the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

“If platforms are found to violate the above requirements, measures including suspension of the tipping feature and shutting down of the live-streaming business could be put in place,” the regulators mentioned.

Regulators said they want Big Tech to upgrade their “youth mode” to protect teenagers from gaming addiction and inappropriate content.

Last year, the regulators took action to only allow teenagers to play online games for three hours per week.

The Chinese regulators have introduced a series of “clear and bright” campaigns, targeting what it sees as “online chaos”.

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India News Social Media

‘India’s social media norms won’t change with Musk’s takeover’

Under the new IT rules 2021, big digital and social media platforms — with more than 5 million users — have to publish monthly compliance reports…reports Asian Lite News

Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Wednesday that despite the Twitter board accepting Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover offer, the Indian guidelines for social media platforms will not change in order to protect users’ data privacy and safeguard them from any harm.

Speaking at the ‘Raisina Dialogue 2022’ here, the minister said the government’s guidelines on the social media intermediaries, including Twitter, will remain unchanged.

“Despite Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, IT guidelines governing the social media platforms remain the same. Social media needs to go beyond mere criminality and also expand focus on user harm when it comes to regulations,” Chandrasekhar told the audience.

The minister further said that algorithmic biases exist and therefore, “we need to create a mechanism to ensure accountability on algorithmic coding”.

In accordance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules), social media platforms are mandated to publish monthly transparency reports with details of complaints received from users in India and the actions taken, as well as removal actions taken as a result of automated detection.

Under the new IT rules 2021, big digital and social media platforms — with more than 5 million users — have to publish monthly compliance reports.

Earlier this week, the Twitter board accepted Musk’s $44 billion offer and the Tesla CEO made it clear that he will promote ‘free speech’ on his platform going forward, a move that has irked many.

Musk has said that free speech is the “bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”.

If Twitter softens its stand on content moderation, it could allow more bullying, violent speech, hate speech, misinformation and other abusive content to gain ground.

“This may make Twitter less palatable to newcomers who were already wary about posting in a ‘public square’.

“It could also disincentivise advertisers from investing their budgets with the platform,” according to reports.

ALSO READ-Jaishankar raps Europe over silence in ‘Asia’

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-Top News Social Media

Obama: Disinformation is a threat to our democracy

Obama said that while we’re reaping what social media companies have sown, it may not be too late to make different choices, reports TechCrunch…reports Asian Lite News

Former US President Barack Obama has broken his silence after a long time, saying that social media platforms are well-designed to destroy democracies.

Speaking at a Stanford University event late on Thursday, Obama called the present “another tumultuous, dangerous moment in history”.

“Disinformation is a threat to our democracy, and will continue to be unless we work together to address it,” he said.

Obama, who served as the 44th US President from 2009 to 2017, raised concerns on Russia’s 2016 election interference and the invasion of Ukraine.

“People like Putin, and Steve Bannon (Donald Trump’s senior advisor) for that matter, understand it’s not necessary for people to believe (misinformation) in order to weaken democratic institutions,” Obama emphasised.

“You just have to flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage. You just have to raise enough questions, spread enough dirt, plan enough conspiracy theorising, that citizens no longer know what to believe,” he added.

Obama said that while we’re reaping what social media companies have sown, it may not be too late to make different choices, reports TechCrunch.

“Not all problems we are seeing now are an inevitable byproduct of this new technology. They’re also the result of very specific choices made by the companies that have come to dominate the internet, generally, and social media platforms in particular,” he noted.

In the competition between truth and falsehood, cooperation and conflict, “the very design of these platforms seems to be tilting us in the wrong direction. And we’re seeing the results,” Obama continued in his hour-long speech.

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News Social Media

Is TikTok affecting children’s focus?

Popular social media platform TikTok and other fast-paced video apps could be ruining the attention span of the youth and children with an “endless flow” of pleasure via short, 15 second, videos, warns an expert from Oxford University…reports Asian Lite News

According to James Williams, an ethicist at Oxford, Chinese short-video making app TikTok is like a “candy store” full of “immediate pleasure”, Wall Street Journal reported.

“It’s like we’ve made kids live in a candy store and then we tell them to ignore all that candy and eat a plate of vegetables,” Williams was quoted as saying.

“We have an endless flow of immediate pleasures that’s unprecedented in human history,” he added.

Williams noted this could leave children struggling to focus on everyday tasks.

Prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that helps humans control focus. While adults are able to fully use it, children cannot as the brain is still not fully developed until the age of 25.

Scientists warn that if the brain becomes accustomed to ‘constant changes’ – like those in the digital world – it finds it difficult to stay focused, Daily Mail reported.

The short-video platform was also an instant success in India soon after it launched in September 2016. Though it was banned in the country in June 2020, over national security issues, several homegrown short-form video platforms hurriedly filled the vacuum. They now collectively attract over 240 million active monthly users.

To take on TikTok, Meta, formerly Facebook, had also launched Reels on Instagram. With Reels, one can record and edit 15-30 second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and new creative tools.

ALSO READ: TikTok becomes top grossing non-game app in Q1 2022

TikTok and others draw users by monitoring which videos they spend the longest watching, and then showing them more videos similar to these.

Studies show that when users watch these it activates centres of the brain involved in addiction, further making it harder to put down the app.

TikTok is the second most popular social media platform among children in the US, after YouTube, with around 60 per cent of those aged 12 to 15 using it weekly.

A TikTok spokeswoman told WSJ that the app had recently made changes to curb extensive use of the app, including blocking users under-15 from receiving notifications beyond 9 p.m. and sending them regular reminders to take a break, the report said.

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India News Social Media Tech Lite

More than 600 govt social media accounts hacked since 2017

Thakur said the government has taken several measures to enhance the cyber security posture and prevent cyber-attacks…reports Asian Lite News

As many as 641 Twitter accounts, e-mails, websites pertaining to the government were hacked during the last five years, Centre said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

According to Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, they have tracked a total number of 175, 114, 61, 77, 186 and 28 websites, emails and social media accounts which were hacked during the year 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (upto February) respectively.

Responding to a query regarding the measures taken by the government, the minister said that whenever a compromise takes place, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) notifies the affected entities along with remedial actions to be taken.

“CERT-In coordinates incident response measures with affected entities, service providers, sectoral Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) as well as Law Enforcement Agencies,” the Minister told Lok Sabha in a written reply.

Thakur said the government has taken several measures to enhance the cyber security posture and prevent cyber-attacks.

“CERT-In issues alerts and advisories regarding the latest cyber threats and countermeasures on a regular basis to ensure safe usage of digital technologies. It has issued 68 advisories for organisations and users for data security and mitigating fraudulent activities,” the Minister informed the House.

He said that all the government websites and applications are audited with respect to cyber security prior to their hosting. The auditing is also conducted on a regular basis post-hosting.

‘Deep Panda’ is back

 A Chinese hacker group known as ‘Deep Panda’ that went into hibernation after attacking global entities some years ago, including in India, is back in action.

Deep Panda has launched new attacks against finance, travel and cosmetic industries since last month, exploiting Log4Shell open source software vulnerability to deploy the new Fire Chili rootkit.

During the past month, FortiGuard Labs researchers detected a campaign by a Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) hacking group that has been active for at least a decade, targeting government, defence, healthcare, telecom, and financial organisations for data theft and surveillance.

Following exploitation, Deep Panda deployed a backdoor on the infected machines.

“Following forensic leads from the backdoor led us to discover a novel kernel rootkit signed with a stolen digital certificate. We found that the same certificate was also used by another Chinese APT group, named Winnti, to sign some of their tools,” the researchers said in a blog post.

The team attributed a series of opportunistic Log4Shell infections from the past month to Deep Panda.

“Though previous technical publications on Deep Panda were published more than half a decade ago, new findings relate to a more recent report about the Milestone backdoor, which shows that their operations have continued throughout all these years,” the researchers noted.

Amid heightened border tensions between India and China, cybersecurity researchers last year revealed a concerted campaign against India’s critical infrastructure, including the nation’s power grid, from Chinese state-sponsored groups.

The attacks, which coincided with the standoff between the two nations in May 2020, targeted a total of 12 firms, 10 of which were in the power generation and transmission sector.

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Categories
-Top News EU News Europe

EU all set to rein in giants

Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager also confirmed in a tweet that there was a deal on the law….reports Asian Lite News

The European Union (EU) countries and lawmakers have reached an agreement on an unprecedented law to curb the market dominance of the biggest tech companies such as Alphabet’s Google, Meta, Amazon and Apple.

The EU countries and lawmakers on Thursday agreed upon a law to curb dominance of big tech companies, Xinhua news agency reported.

The law called the Digital Markets Act (DMA) is aimed at stopping the largest tech platforms from using their interlocking services and considerable resources to box in users and squash emerging rivals, giving new entrants a better chance to survive against the world’s powerful tech juggernauts.

“DMA. 3 letters — and a lot of work done for fair & open digital markets,” European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said in a tweet.

“And with tonight’s agreement, soon a reality. Because no one should be ‘too big to care’.”

Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager also confirmed in a tweet that there was a deal on the law.

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India News Politics Social Media

Social media misused to hack democracy, says Sonia  

This is beyond parties and politics. We need to protect our democracy and social harmony regardless of who’s in power,” she said…reports Asian Lite News

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday raised the issue of misuse of social media platforms by political proxies in the Lok Sabha.

Taking up the issue during Zero Hour, she urged the government to put an end to systematic influence and interference of Facebook and other social media giants in electoral politics of the world’s largest democracy.

“Global companies like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly being used to shape political narratives by leaders, parties and their proxies.”

“This is beyond parties and politics. We need to protect our democracy and social harmony regardless of who’s in power,” she said.

She alleged that young and old minds are being filled with hate through emotionally charged disinformation, and proxy advertising companies like Facebook are aware of it and are profiting from it.

Reports in various media outlets show a growing nexus between big corporates, social media giants and ruling establishment, the Congress leader stated.

The Congress has raised the issue in the past with Facebook over use of spreading disinformation in the country, she added.

ALSO READ-Sonia Gandhi slams BJP for rewriting history

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-Top News Social Media World News

Ireland fines Meta over data breaches

Last year, Facebook was at the centre of a data leak that affected 533 million accounts and users from 106 countries….reports Asian Lite News

 Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has fined Meta, Facebook’s parent company, 17 million euros ($18.6 million) for several data breaches that affected up to 30 million users.

The decision followed an inquiry by the DPC into a series of 12 data breach notifications it received in the six-month period between June 7, 2018 and December 4, 2018.

As a result of its inquiry, the DPC found that Meta Platforms infringed Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“The DPC found that Meta Platforms failed to have in place appropriate technical and organisational measures which would enable it to readily demonstrate the security measures that it implemented in practice to protect EU users’ data, in the context of the 12 personal data breaches,” it said in a statement.

In a statement to TechCrunch late on Wednesday, a Meta spokesperson said: “This fine is about record keeping practices from 2018 that we have since updated, not a failure to protect people’s information. We take our obligations under the GDPR seriously, and will carefully consider this decision as our processes continue to evolve.”

Ireland’s initial draft decision was objected to by two authorities.

While objections to the DPC’s draft decision were raised by two of the European supervisory authorities, consensus was achieved through further engagement between the DPC and the supervisory authorities concerned.

“Accordingly, the DPC’s decision represents the collective views of both the DPC and its counterpart supervisory authorities throughout the EU,” said the Irish consumer watchdog.

Last year, Facebook was at the centre of a data leak that affected 533 million accounts and users from 106 countries.

ALSO READ: EU, UK open probe into Google-Meta ad deal

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Lifestyle Lite Blogs

Top beauty influencers on social media

Unlike many other beauty influencers, Gutierrez, also known as Manny Mua on social media, began his influencer career on Instagram and only later expanded to YouTube…reports Olivia Sarkar

Beauty influencers are gaining ground in the social media world. Fans enjoy seeing their posts and videos to learn new make-up, hairstyle, and product tips. Many influencers have launched beauty brands as a result of their online success.

Huda Kattan (Followers: 50M)

Kattan is an Iraqi-American entrepreneur and make-up artist best known for her brand Huda Beauty, which she co-founded with her sisters Mona and Alya. She shares beauty tips and product information on her Instagram page. These products, according to her bio, have not been tested on animals.

Nikkie de Jager (Followers: 15.4M)


The Dutch make-up artist, who announced her transgender identity in January 2020, is one of the most well-known beauty influencers. Her make-up tutorials on YouTube, where she first started posting tutorials, are among the most popular. Her Instagram feed features videos and posts of her experimenting with various looks, make-up tips, and shout-outs to celebrities with whom she has collaborated.

Zoë Sugg (Followers: 9.3M)

Sugg has been an influencer for a little more than a decade, during which time she also launched her own brand, Zoella. The brand’s Instagram account, which has approximately 1.1 million followers, features a variety of posts about make-up, women’s issues, food, and fashion. Sugg’s personal Instagram account is like a diary in which she chronicles her life.

Manny Gutierrez (Followers: 4M)


Unlike many other beauty influencers, Gutierrez, also known as Manny Mua on social media, began his influencer career on Instagram and only later expanded to YouTube. He is one of the most popular male influencers on social media. Gutierrez’s influence in the beauty industry led to him becoming Maybelline’s first male ambassador. On his feed, he shares make-up tips, beauty challenges, and product reviews, but his fans also appreciate his sense of humour. Follow him for his glamorous eye looks and amusing video mash-ups.

Shayla Mitchell (Followers: 2.8M)

Mitchell, a trailblazer for people of colour in the world of beauty influencers, uses her Instagram account to share everything she knows and does in the worlds of beauty, fashion, and make-up. Every beauty post she shares exudes an undeniable sense of glitz. Her longer make-up tutorials are available on YouTube.

Nabela Noor (Followers: 2.2M)

Noor is a Bangladeshi-American who is leading a revolutionary shift in preconceived notions of beauty. Noor’s Instagram account contains both beauty secrets and important messages about her advocacy.

Thuy Le (Followers: 1.8M)

Thuy Le began her career as a beauty influencer on Instagram while working part-time at M.A.C. Cosmetics and freelancing as a make-up artist. As her following grew, the London-based influencer began producing YouTube content.

Kiitan Akinniranye (Followers: 785k)

Kiitan, who was born in Nigeria, is now a beauty, travel, and fashion blogger based in Los Angeles. Her blog was where she first gained recognition as an influencer. Her candid discussions about her hair, skin, and personal fears drew readers in. Kittan quickly established herself as a major figure among beauty influencers. Kiitan’s Instagram account features posts about her make-up routine, hair styling tips, and fashion advice.

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