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In a recent online exchange, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk targeted Meta-owned WhatsApp, alleging that the messaging app misuses user data by exporting it every night. Musk’s comments came in response to a post by an X (formerly Twitter) user who claimed that WhatsApp analyzes and uses this data for targeted advertising, effectively turning users into products rather than customers.

“WhatsApp exports your user data every night,” Musk stated, adding, “Some people still think it is secure.” His remarks have ignited a fresh wave of scrutiny and debate over the privacy practices of the popular messaging service.

As of now, Meta or WhatsApp have not responded to Musk’s allegations. However, John Carmack, a renowned computer programmer and video game developer, weighed in on the discussion. Carmack questioned the veracity of Musk’s claims, asking whether there is any evidence that the content of messages is scanned or transmitted. “I assume usage patterns and routing metadata are collected, and if you invoke a bot in a conversation, you are obviously opening it up, but I am still under the impression that the message contents are secure by default,” Carmack posted on X.

Musk’s criticisms of WhatsApp are part of a broader rivalry between him and Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The tension between the two tech moguls is well-documented, with Musk frequently taking jabs at Zuckerberg and his company’s business practices. Earlier this month, Musk accused Meta of being “super greedy” by taking undue credit for advertisers’ campaigns on its platform.

The ongoing feud between Musk and Zuckerberg has even led to talks of a physical showdown. The proposed “cage fight” between the two billionaires, dubbed the fight of the century, captured the public’s imagination but ultimately never materialized.

Musk’s latest salvo against WhatsApp highlights the persistent concerns about data privacy and security in the digital age. While WhatsApp has long touted its end-to-end encryption as a key feature ensuring message privacy, Musk’s comments suggest that users should be wary of how their data is handled behind the scenes. This incident underscores the need for greater transparency and accountability from tech giants regarding their data practices.

As users continue to grapple with the implications of their online privacy, the debate sparked by Musk’s allegations serves as a reminder of the complex and often opaque nature of data management by major tech companies. Whether Meta will address these claims remains to be seen, but the conversation around data security and user privacy is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon.

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WhatsApp, along with its parent company Meta (formerly Facebook Inc.), has taken legal action against India’s Information Technology Rules, enacted in 2021, which mandate social media intermediaries to trace chats and identify the initial source of information. Represented by legal counsel in the Delhi High Court, WhatsApp expressed concerns that compliance with the rules would necessitate breaking encryption, jeopardizing its ability to operate within India.

A bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan has slated the case for further deliberation on August 14.

In a pivotal moment during the hearing, WhatsApp’s lawyer asserted that adherence to the regulations would compel the messaging platform to cease operations in India. This stance underscores the gravity with which WhatsApp views the potential impact of compromising encryption on its service.

The crux of WhatsApp’s challenge lies in its objection to an amendment requiring social media intermediaries to disclose the originator of information, contending that such a mandate infringes upon user privacy and was introduced without adequate consultation.

Highlighting the global context, WhatsApp’s legal representation emphasized the absence of a similar regulation elsewhere, citing Brazil as an example.

Conversely, the Indian government has stood firm on the necessity of enabling authorities to trace the origin of messages, citing national security imperatives outlined in the 2021 IT Rules.

Responding to the ongoing legal dispute, a WhatsApp spokesperson affirmed the company’s commitment to user privacy and expressed a willingness to collaborate with the Indian government on solutions that ensure public safety while respecting privacy rights.

However, the encryption dilemma poses a formidable challenge for WhatsApp, given its reliance on end-to-end encryption, which is fundamental to user trust and privacy protection.

The debate surrounding encryption extends beyond India’s borders, with global legal authorities and law enforcement agencies advocating for access to encrypted data in certain circumstances to combat crimes such as deepfakes, child exploitation, and misinformation.

The legal battle over India’s IT Rules reflects broader tensions between regulatory imperatives and tech companies’ commitment to privacy and security. As the case unfolds, it carries significant implications for digital rights and the future of online privacy in India.

Moreover, the Supreme Court’s decision to consolidate various challenges to the IT Rules underscores the widespread legal scrutiny and underscores the complexity of navigating regulatory frameworks in the digital age.

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In the competitive world of job hunting, LinkedIn ‘s “Open To Work” banner has become a common feature for job seekers looking to signal their availability to potential employers. However, according to Nolan Church, a former Alphabet Inc recruiter and current CEO of FairComp, activating this banner might actually be detrimental to landing a job.

In an interview with CNBC, Church emphasized that in the realm of recruiting, there’s a common belief that the best candidates are not actively seeking jobs. By displaying an “open to work” banner, candidates inadvertently reveal that they are in need, potentially giving employers the upper hand in negotiations.

This sentiment is echoed by Lindsay Mustain, a former recruiter at Amazon.com Inc, who highlights the power dynamics at play in the hiring process. Mustain argues that recruiters prefer to court candidates rather than vice versa. Therefore, openly signaling availability could diminish a candidate’s bargaining power.

Despite this skepticism from hiring experts, LinkedIn itself promotes the “Open To Work” feature as a way to attract job opportunities. According to LinkedIn data, users with this banner are twice as likely to receive messages from recruiters and 20% more likely to receive messages from the broader LinkedIn community.

However, the effectiveness of the banner remains ambiguous. While it may increase visibility, particularly for smaller companies that may not utilize LinkedIn’s recruiter tools, its impact ultimately depends on individual company and hiring manager preferences.

Career coach Phoebe Gavin emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive LinkedIn profile beyond just the “Open To Work” banner. Gavin suggests including detailed information about titles, achievements, keywords, and featured links that demonstrate industry involvement.

In conclusion, while the “Open To Work” banner may serve as a useful tool for some job seekers, others caution against its potential drawbacks. As with any aspect of the job search process, it’s essential for candidates to consider their individual circumstances and tailor their approach accordingly.

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Meta, the parent company of popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has quietly introduced its AI-powered chatbot on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger in India and several parts of Africa. This feature is gradually rolling out for both iOS and Android users, potentially powered by Llama 2 or the upcoming Llama 3 AI models.

Users can access the chatbot through the top search bar in the WhatsApp user interface. Interestingly, the design of the chatbot closely resembles that of Perplexity AI, as noted by Aravind Srinivas, the CEO of Perplexity AI, in a post on X. Despite the similarity in appearance, the integration operates independently, ensuring the privacy of private conversations on WhatsApp. User interactions with the search bar remain confidential and are not shared with Meta AI unless explicitly directed to the chatbot.

Meta AI suggests topics through the search bar or conversation, utilizing randomly generated suggestions that do not rely on user-specific information. The search bar retains its primary function, enabling users to search for chats, messages, media, and contacts within the app. Users can continue to search their conversations for specific content without engaging with Meta AI, preserving ease of use and privacy.

Moreover, personal messages and calls on WhatsApp remain end-to-end encrypted, ensuring that neither WhatsApp nor Meta can access them, even with the integration of Meta AI.

Meta’s expansion of AI initiatives follows the advancements made by prominent tech companies like OpenAI. After piloting its AI chatbot in markets such as the U.S., Meta is now extending testing to India, its largest market with over 500 million Facebook and WhatsApp users.

In addition, Meta has confirmed plans to release its next AI model, Llama 3, within the current month, indicating the company’s commitment to advancing AI technology and improving user experiences across its platforms.

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In a decisive move aimed at curbing the dissemination of “obscene,” “vulgar,” and “explicit” content, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) has taken action to block 18 OTT platforms in India. This initiative, undertaken in coordination with various intermediaries, marks a significant step towards upholding moral standards and protecting societal values.

A total of 19 websites, 10 apps (7 on the Google Play Store and 3 on the Apple App Store), and 57 associated social media accounts have been disabled for public access in India, as announced in an official statement from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday.

Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur reiterated the responsibility of these platforms to refrain from propagating obscenity and vulgarity under the guise of ‘creative expression’. Emphasizing the importance of upholding moral standards, Mr. Thakur disclosed that action had been taken against 18 OTT platforms publishing objectionable content.

The decision to block these platforms was made under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, in consultation with other ministries of the Government of India, and domain experts specializing in media and entertainment, women’s rights, and child rights.

According to the statement, a significant portion of the content hosted on these platforms was found to be derogatory towards women, depicting nudity and sexual acts in inappropriate contexts such as relationships between teachers and students, incestuous family relationships, among others. This content was deemed to be in violation of Sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act, Section 292 of the IPC, and Section 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.

Highlighting the widespread dissemination of objectionable content, the statement revealed that one of the OTT apps had amassed over 1 crore downloads, with two others exceeding 50 lakh downloads on the Google Play Store. Additionally, these platforms heavily utilize social media to attract audiences, with the cumulative followership of the concerned OTT platforms’ social media accounts exceeding 32 lakh users.

While the Ministry of I&B continues its efforts to sensitize OTT platforms through various means, including meetings, webinars, and workshops, the Government of India remains committed to fostering the growth of the OTT industry. Several measures have been undertaken in this regard, including collaboration with OTT platforms in the media and entertainment sector and the establishment of a light-touch regulatory framework under the IT Rules, 2021.

This proactive approach reaffirms the government’s commitment to preserving societal values and ensuring the responsible dissemination of content in the digital space.

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Global outage affecting users globally, Meta Platforms, the parent company of social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and messaging app WhatsApp, experienced service disruptions. The incident left millions of users unable to access their accounts, triggering concerns about potential cyber attacks and hacking.

Service Disruptions:
The outage, which began around 8:30 PM on Tuesday, impacted users in various parts of the world, including India. Users reported issues such as being logged out of their accounts, inability to refresh feeds, and prompts to change passwords. Meta’s status dashboard indicated problems with the WhatsApp Business API as well, with around 200 reported outages for WhatsApp.

Extent of Outage:
Outage tracking website Downdetector.com recorded over 300,000 outage reports for Facebook and more than 20,000 for Instagram. The disruptions raised alarm among users, many of whom took to social media platforms to express their frustration and speculate about potential cyber attacks.

Meta’s Response:
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone acknowledged the issues in a post on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “We’re aware people are having trouble accessing our services. We are working on this now.” The company actively worked to address the disruptions and restore normal service.

Elon Musk’s Jest:
Notorious for his wit on social media, X owner Elon Musk took a humorous jab at Meta during the outage, posting, “If you’re reading this post, it’s because our servers are working.” Musk’s comment added a touch of humor to the situation, drawing attention from netizens.

User Concerns and Reactions:
As users grappled with the service disruptions, concerns about hacking and cyber attacks circulated. Many users on X expressed their worries about potential security breaches, with some changing passwords multiple times in an attempt to secure their accounts.

Global Impact and Memes:
The outage prompted a flurry of memes and comments on social media platforms, with some users poking fun at Meta owner Mark Zuckerberg. Memes related to Zuckerberg’s recent visit to India for a pre-wedding event hosted by Mukesh Ambani’s family added a humorous dimension to the situation.

Resolution and Service Restoration:
Meta took prompt actions to resolve the issues, and services were gradually restored around 10 PM on Tuesday. The company assured users that it was actively addressing the problems, emphasizing its commitment to providing a reliable and secure online experience.

The outage highlighted the widespread reliance on Meta’s platforms for communication and connectivity, underscoring the need for robust measures to prevent and address such disruptions in the future.

#instagramdown #facebookdown #metadown #socialmedia

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Instagram, owned by Meta, is currently in the testing phase for a new feature called “Flipside.” This feature aims to address concerns around ‘finstas’ while providing users with a more private avenue to share content exclusively with close friends and family.

Meta Executive Adam Mosseri responded to inquiries about Flipside potentially coming to Threads, stating, “We’re not even sure we’ll launch it on Instagram. On one hand, it feels good to create a clear space that feels more private. On the other, it’s yet another way to reach a smaller audience on top of secondary accounts and Close Friends. We’ll see how people respond in the test, and iterate forward.”

While the Instagram Head expressed uncertainty, a Meta Executive confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is indeed testing this feature. According to the spokesperson, Meta is continuously exploring new ways for people to connect with friends on Instagram. The decision to test Flipside stems from user feedback expressing a desire for more options for sharing in private spaces.

Understanding Flipside:

The concept of Flipside surfaced when reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi shared development screenshots in December. These screenshots suggest that Instagram may position Flipside as “a new space just for you and your friends,” emphasizing that “only the people you choose can see this side of your profile and what you share here.”

A recent video shared by social media consultant Matt Navara demonstrates how Flipside functions. The feature serves as an alternative profile, allowing users to share reels or posts visible exclusively to a select group of people.

The ‘Finsta’ Connection:

Flipside appears to be a response to the challenge of ‘finstas’—fake Instagram accounts often created by individuals, including celebrities, to engage with close friends. The term gained prominence in 2021, leading to questions during a congressional hearing about Meta’s commitment to addressing the finsta issue.

As Instagram navigates the testing phase of Flipside, it remains to be seen how users respond to this new feature designed to enhance privacy and cater to the demand for more selective content sharing on the platform.

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Meta Cleanup Mission

Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, recently shared that they got rid of about 4,800 fake accounts. These accounts were part of a plan coming from China to mess with what people think about US politics, especially the 2024 presidential election.

China’s Double-Sided Game

In this game, the fake accounts didn’t pick sides. They criticized both the Democrats and Republicans using words copied from other sources. It’s like they were trying to stir up trouble without taking a specific side.

Meta’s Confusion and Response

Meta, the Big tech boss admitted they weren’t sure why this was happening. The fake accounts shared stuff from both sides of the political fence, making it tricky to figure out their real goal. Meta doesn’t know if they wanted to make people fight more, gain followers for certain politicians, or just look more real by sharing actual stuff.

China and Russia in the Spotlight

This year Meta has stopped five such tricky campaigns from China, more than any other country. They also shut down a group from Russia. This Russian gang spread stories about Russia invading Ukraine and made up fake media brands.

2024 Elections and Tech Trouble

As the 2024 elections get closer, people worry that tech platforms, like Facebook and others, could be used to cause problems. The US Department of Homeland Security warned that other countries might use fancy tech, like artificial intelligence, to mess with how much people trust the government and make things confusing.

Learning from the Past

This isn’t the first time. In the 2016 presidential election, Russia played with social media to make people fight. So, Meta is trying hard to stop this from happening again as the 2024 elections roll in. It’s a big job to make sure what you see online is real and not just someone trying to trick you.

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