Apple May Kick FB From Its App Store

Posted by Kirhat | Sunday, October 03, 2021 | | 0 comments »

Apple and FB
Apple is seriously threatening to kick Facebook off its App Store after it was revealed in the 2019 BBC report that human traffickers were using Facebook to sell victims.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the paper viewed company documents that show a Facebook investigation team was tracking down a human trafficking market in the Middle East whose organizers were using Facebook's services. What appeared to be employment agencies were advertising domestic workers that they could supply against their will, per the Journal.

The BBC published a sweeping undercover investigation of the practice, prompting Apple to threaten to remove Facebook from its store, the paper said.

An internal memo found that Facebook was aware of the practice even before then: A Facebook researcher wrote in a report dated 2019, "was this issue known to Facebook before BBC inquiry and Apple escalation?," per the Journal.

Underneath the question reads, "Yes. Throughout 2018 and H1 2019 we conducted the global Understanding Exercise in order to fully understand how domestic servitude manifests no our platform across its entire life cycle: recruitment, facilitation, and exploitation."

The Wall Street Journal on 16 September also reported how Facebook's AI content moderators cannot detect most languages used on the platform, a needed skill if the company is going to monitor content in foreign markets where it has expanded.

The paper found that human moderators don't know how to speak the languages used in those markets, leaving a blind spot in the company's efforts to crack down on harmful content.

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iOS 15 Should Have Been A Big Deal, But ...

Posted by Kirhat | Sunday, September 26, 2021 | | 0 comments »

iOS 15 Big Deal
According to Romain Dillet of TechCrunch, the release of iOS 15 should be a major event for mobile operating systems. And he is right. However, this year, there were no breakthrough feature or overarching theme that makes this release stand out. Apple has focused on quality-of-life updates as well as new features for its own apps.

The result is a solid update that is not going to be controversial. Some people are going to take advantage of the new Focus feature. They will spend a lot of time customizing their phone to make it as personal as possible. Other people are just going to miss or dismiss the new features.

It seems like a small change, but it actually says a lot about the current state of iOS. Apple considers iOS as a mature platform. Just like users don't have to update your Mac to the latest version of macOS if they don’t want to, they can now update at their own pace.

Also, iOS should be considered as a mature platform for app developers, so iOS 15 adoption will be slower than usual as people won’t necessarily update to iOS 15 right away. Apps should potentially work on older iOS versions for longer.

Of course, users will "update" to a new version of iOS when they buy a new iPhone and replace their old iPhone. But Apple has people who pre-ordered the iPhone 13 and will get iOS 15.

One of the biggest changes in iOS 15 is the ability to change your Focus from Control Center. It’s a surprisingly powerful feature with a lot of options and tweaks.

But it’s definitely one of the most interesting features of iOS 15. Chances are users spend a lot of time with their phone, and their device requires a lot of attention from them. With this new feature, it reverses the balance and puts them back in charge.

"Do Not Disturb" users are already quite familiar with the idea that they can silence notifications when they don’t want them. If users want to keep using "moon mode" with iOS 15, they don’t have to change anything.

But users can now create additional Focuses. By default, Apple suggests a few Focuses — Work, Sleep, Driving, Fitness, Gaming, Mindfulness, Personal and Reading. Each Focus is customizable to their needs and they can create new Focuses from scratch.

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Robinhood App Tests Its Crypto Wallet Features

Posted by Kirhat | Saturday, September 25, 2021 | | 0 comments »

Robinhood App
Bloomberg News reported a few days ago that Robinhood Markets is making a long-awaited move as it is testing a crypto wallet feature for its app which would allow its customers to send and receive digital currencies.

The company's team is very much at work as evidence appeared in the software beta version of its Apple-owned iPhone app in the form of a hidden image portraying a waitlist page for users to sign up for the feature, with the app having a code for cryptocurrency transfers as it's already possible for Robinhood customers to buy and sell popular cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and Dogecoin along with bitcoin.

However, this time, they will be able to manage all of their crypto holdings through a wallet in the app, without converting them into dollars. Its industry peers such as Coinbase Global already offer their own crypto wallets which offer a single place for customers to store all virtual currencies which are protected by a private key.

On the latest earnings call, CEO Vlad Tenev already mentioned that this feature is a priority for the company's developers. However, being able to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies on a large scale is complex the company wants to make sure the process is done correctly.

He didn't disclose any dates regarding the launch, but the support and testing in its app suggest a debut could be in the near future.

During the quarter that ended in June, revenue more than doubled to $565 million due to a massive surge in crypto trading. They surged more than 131 percent in the period from US$ 244 million a year ago.

Crypto trading alone brought US$ 233 million to the revenue table which is more than half of all the transaction-based revenue of US$ 451 million. Cryptocurrency's share of revenue jumped from the first quarter's 17 percent to more than 51 percent.

Unfortunately, the bottom line was a net loss of US$ 502 million, or US$ 2.16 per share. Costs that arose from the change in fair value of convertible notes and warrant liability took out US$ 528 million from equation whose end result was significantly different compared to a profit in the same quarter last year.

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Apple Bans Fortnite Until All Options Are Exhausted

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, September 24, 2021 | | 0 comments »

Apple Holding Out
According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to keep Fortnite off of its shelf until appeals are exhausted in its legal fight with Epic Games, the maker of the popular battle-royale game.

Apple sent a letter to Epic last 22 September saying that it "will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and nonappealable." The letter, sent to Epic’s lawyers from a firm representing Apple, was published on Twitter by Epic Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney. That process could take five years, he said.

Epic sued Apple in August 2020 after the iPhone maker removed Fortnite from its App Store, citing a workaround that circumvented Apple’s commission on purchases. The battle came to a head this month, with U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers mostly siding with Apple -- though she said the company should allow app developers to point users to outside payment systems. The ruling doesn’t take effect until early December, and Epic has already said it will appeal.

On 16 September 2021, Sweeney asked Phil Schiller, Apple’s executive in charge of the App Store, to reinstate Epic’s developer account. That would allow the future resubmission of Fortnite and let the gaming company develop its Unreal Engine and other software for Apple devices. "Epic promises that it will adhere to Apple’s guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple’s platforms," Sweeney wrote in an email, which he published on Twitter.

Sweeney said that if Epic gets its developer account back, it plans to rerelease Fortnite for Mac computers "as soon as possible" and reincorporate Fortnite for iPhones and iPads into its Unreal Engine development process. He said, however, that the company would only rerelease Fortnite on Apple’s most popular products if Apple updates its review guidelines to match the "plain language" of the recent ruling.

While the judge's ruling clearly states that Apple can no longer ban developers from pointing users to the web to complete transactions -- bypassing the in-app-purchase system -- the ruling doesn’t state outright that Apple cannot collect its commissions. That has led some observers to believe that Apple could still take its cut of revenue via other means. In addition to Epic's appeal, Apple could choose to contest the ruling itself or seek a stay from the court to delay changes.

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Gaming Industry: Cat and Mouse Game in China Continues

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, September 23, 2021 | | 0 comments »

China Gaming
Chinese government recently dropped a bombshell on the country's young gamers. As of 1 September 2021, users under the age of 18 are limited to only one hour of online gaming time: on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 8-9 P.M.

The stringent rule adds to already tightening gaming policies for minors, as the government blames video games for causing myopia, as well as deteriorating mental and physical health. The joke going around is that working parents will have an even harder time keeping their kids occupied.

A few aspects of the new regulation are worth unpacking. For one, the new rule was instituted by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), the regulatory body that approves gaming titles in China and that in 2019 froze the approval process for nine months, which led to plunges in gaming stocks like Tencent.

It's curious that the directive on playtime came from the NPPA, which reviews gaming content and issues publishing licenses. Like other industries in China, video games are subject to regulations by multiple authorities: NPPA; the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country's top internet watchdog; and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which oversees the country's industrial standards and telecommunications infrastructure.

As analysts long observe, the mighty CAC, which sits under the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission chaired by President Xi Jinping, has run into "bureaucratic struggles" with other ministries unwilling to relinquish power. This may well be the case for regulating the lucrative gaming industry.

For Tencent and other major gaming companies, the impact of the new rule on their balance sheet may be trifling. Following the news, several listed Chinese gaming firms, including NetEase and 37 Games, hurried to announce that underage players made up less than 1 percent of their gaming revenues.

Tencent saw the change coming and disclosed in its Q2 earnings that "under-16-year-olds accounted for only 2.6 percent of its China-based grossing receipts for games and under-12-year-olds accounted for just 0.3 percent."

These numbers may not reflect the reality, as minors have long found ways around gaming restrictions, such as using an adult's ID for user registration (just as the previous generation borrowed IDs from adult friends to sneak into internet cafes). Tencent and other gaming firms have vowed to clamp down on these workarounds, forcing kids to seek even more sophisticated tricks, including using VPNs to access foreign versions of gaming titles. The cat and mouse game continues.

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Apple and Google Deleted Russian Opposition Election App

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, September 22, 2021 | | 0 comments »

Russian Election App
The Russian authority based at Kremlin welcomed a decision by Alphabet's Google and Apple to remove a banned anti-government tactical voting app from their stores on the first day of a Russian parliamentary election.

"This app is illegal in our country, both platforms were notified accordingly and seemingly made this decision in accordance with the letter of the law," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on 18 September.

The app, devised by allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, gives people detailed recommendations on who to vote for in an effort to thwart the electoral chances of the ruling United Russia party which supports President Vladimir Putin.

Peskov said the Kremlin viewed the app negatively.

"These are totally provocative efforts, which are actually harmful to voters," he said.

Mr. Navalny’s team reacted with outrage to the decision, suggesting the companies had made a damaging concession to the Russians.

"Removing the Navalny app from stores is a shameful act of political censorship," an aide to Mr. Navalny, Ivan Zhdanov, said on Twitter. "Russia’s authoritarian government and propaganda will be thrilled."

The Navalny team sought to get the names of their "smart-voting" picks out by other methods, such as automated responses in the messaging app Telegram.

However, Telegram — a Russian-founded service popular with opposition-minded users in authoritarian countries around the world — announced it was taking down the account providing those picks. It was not immediately clear if Telegram had come under government pressure, as well.

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