Files from Jori Negin-Shecter
Social Media giants hold firm on Taliban content embargo, Big Tech is facing more challenges in the judicial system, and T-Mobile appears to have lied to the U.S. Government.
It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Wednesday August 18, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.
Facebook and Tik Tok both stated on Tuesday that they have no plans to lift bans on content promoting the Taliban after the group took control of Afghanistan earlier this week. Both platforms told CNBC that they consider the Taliban, which has used social media platforms in the past to spread their message, a terrorist organization. One spokesperson said on behalf of Facebook that the group was banned “under our Dangerous Organization policies.” Interestingly, while Facebook’s ban on the Taliban and pro-Taliban content extends to Instagram and Whatsapp, reports suggest that the Taliban continues to use WhatsApp to communicate. Given that the program is end-to-end encrypted, Facebook is unable to see what people are sharing on the messaging application. A Facebook spokesperson reassured CNBC saying that Whatsapp uses AI software to evaluate non-encrypted group information to meet legal obligations.
Scrutiny for Big Tech from lawmakers is ramping up amidst concerns of anti-competitive behaviour. Following a ruling last Friday against Apple requiring a $300m payout to Optis Wireless Technology, Business Insider is reporting that hundreds of millions of dollars in patent lawsuits have been lost across the Big Tech sector. Business Insider reported that, according to Lex Machina’s 2021 Patent Litigation Report, patent litigation is on the rise for the first time since 2015, with Google facing the highest number of cases with a total of 48. According to lawyer Laura Masurovsky, the surge in litigation isn’t quite a blip. Rather, Masurovsky says that the spike is part of a cycle that often tends to occur during periods of economic uncertainty, as has been the case over the past 18 months during the pandemic.
And finally, T-Mobile allegedly lied to government regulators last year in order to complete its merger with Sprint according to ARS Technica. A ruling from the State of California declared that T-Mobile needed to “show cause why it should not be sanctioned by the commission for violating” a California Public Utilities Commission rule with “false, misleading, or omitted statements.” Specifically, T-Mobile’s conduct was flagged after they backed out of their agreement to sell off parts of Sprint’s assets to competitor Dish and make their networks available to Dish customers during a transition period. Should the CPUC find T-Mobile to have violated the agreement, the commission can impose penalties of up to $100,000 for each offence.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Friday at 3 pm. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.