Hashtag Trending Dec. 22 – Amazon censors bad reviews; Facebook struggles to keep employees; Mental health app security breach

Files from Samira Balsara

Amazon agrees to remove bad reviews from the Chinese president’s book, Facebook’s reputation has taken a hit this year and it’s now affecting the hiring process, and mental health apps face “emotional data” security breaches.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Wednesday, Dec. 22, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

One way to avoid critique is to pretend it doesn’t exist. And Amazon has done just that, agreeing to take down criticism of Chinese President Xi’s books by scrubbing bad reviews, ratings and comments from its site. According to Reuters, the company has omitted any review below five stars for Xi’s book titled The Governance of China. The move is the latest example of western tech companies willing to work with Chinese censors in order to access the country’s massive consumer market. The government edict was delivered two years ago but had never before been disclosed. As of now, on Amazon sites accessed within China, there are no reviews or star ratings for the book.

This year has been especially tough on Facebook, or Meta. A series of scandals and missteps has damaged the companies reputation so much that it is being forced to pay larger compensation to hire and keep workers, according to a Business Insider article. As the company’s image worsens, Facebook now has to outbid another big tech such as Google. The company has around 4,300 jobs available but has seen decreasing rates of job acceptances. Facebook has also seen dozens of executives leave this year, and recruiters say employees are now more open to considering jobs elsewhere.

At the height of the pandemic when mental health concerns were at an all-time high, many people turned to support through mental health apps. According to an article from The Economist, the American Psychological Association reveals that 10,000 to 20,000 mental health apps are available for download. However, evidence is mounting that their privacy and security risks are being ignored. And now hackers are taking advantage of this lack of security. Just recently, hackers breached the data of a Finnish psychotherapy company, ​​Vastaamo, and began to blackmail some of its users. The hackers threatened to share extremely personal information found in patients’ online notes, demanding bitcoin ransoms from about 30,000 patients. This hacking scheme could continue as there is no concept or procedure for protecting “emotional data.”

And now for something a little bit different. Have you ever wanted to desperately escape a Zoom meeting or look more busy while on the call? If so, this application might be for you. Busysimulator provides users with several app notification noises which make them look busier on Zoom calls. Users can choose sound notifications for numerous apps such as Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, Slack, Google Calendar as well as Outlook and iMessage. All you have to do is click on the app noise you want and you can choose how fast you want the notifications to sound as well as how many,

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. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected]

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