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Google, Facebook, Twitter resist China’s attempt to censor Hong Kong

China is trying to curb free speech

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Google, Facebook, and Twitter have temporarily stopped processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong. A new security law went into effect on July 1 and Google immediately paused processing requests.

Even WhatsApp has stopped processing further requests. The controversial law is seen as an attempt by China to curb free speech in the former British colony.

Pro-democracy protestors are worried the new law will be used to censor the internet. Twitter cited “grave concerns” about the law”s implications.

This is seen as China’s broader plan to establish its supremacy and expand its ideology. The new law includes the ability to ask publishers to remove information deemed as a threat to national security. Refusal to enact the request could result in a fine or jail time.

Tech companies work in tandem with local law enforcement agencies to moderate content on their platforms. With the new law, processing Hong Kong government’s request would indirectly mean handing over user data and endangering pro-democracy protestors.

In simpler terms, you could be jailed for a social media post that says anything against the administration.

Citizens are actively switching to messaging apps like Signal that provide end-to-end encryption. This helps in masking your identity to a great extent.

Previously, when the internet was shut down to curb protests, citizens used offline messaging apps like Bridgefy and FireChat to spread the world and coordinate protest efforts.

Mainland China has a firewalled internet that is highly censored and constantly surveilled. The irony is, ByteDance’s TikTok isn’t available in China while the rest of the world can freely use it.

TikTok has also officially announced it will be exiting Hong Kong within a few days. But this move is seen as a smokescreen to avoid its Chinese origin.

SEE ALSO: 6 tips to make your phone more private and secure

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WhatsApp will turn-off features until you accept the new T&C

Facebook wants your submission before May 15

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WhatsApp Pay

WhatsApp will continue the roll-out of its controversial terms of service, which has received a lot of criticism in the last few months for being too intrusive. Well, Facebook has made it clear that users can either accept the new terms or lose access to features.

The instant messenger has always shied away from advertisements since its inception. But its acquisition by Facebook confirmed one thing — the private, silent life of WhatsApp would change radically. The new terms and conditions are from Facebook, ensuring that all its products like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, are ready for monetization.

“After a few weeks of limited functionality, you won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications, and WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone,” the company said. At that point, users will have to choose: either accept the new terms, or they slowly forget WhatsApp.

The moment WhatsApp starts sending “persistent reminders,” users will encounter limited functionality on WhatsApp until they accept the updates. Although, it won’t happen to all users simultaneously and will change in a phased manner.

Additionally, if you don’t use the messaging app, your account will get deleted as WhatsApp generally deletes those accounts that remain untouched for about 120 days.

The rollout isn’t going smoothly for WhatsApp, though. Germany’s data regulator has asked the instant messenger to stop processing users’ data from the country. The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) issued a three-month emergency ban on Tuesday, which is permitted under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Right now, it’s hard to gauge if Facebook will continue with its blitzkrieg or buy some time for itself and rethink the strategy. If one country has clamped down on the app, it won’t take much time for others to follow as well. Facebook is already in boiling water with American lawmakers and cannot afford to spoil relationships with any more governments.

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YouTube enters the TikTok party, announces $100 million fund for creators

Short videos are the latest hype

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TikTok has created a global phenomenon, and every platform is scrambling to have a share of the pie. After Instagram’s Reels, YouTube has debuted its own short-video-making feature called Shorts. Now, the Google-backed company intends to attract content creators.

YouTube Shorts Fund contains US$ 100 million, which will be distributed to creators over the course of 2021 and 2022. YouTube will actually reach out to “thousands” of creators whose Shorts receive the most engagement and views. You don’t have to be a part of the YouTube Partner Program, which is used to monetize standard videos.

Shorts must be original and follow community guidelines to be considered for the fund. Google is holding onto additional details about the fund as the feature is only available in the US and India at the moment. Instagram followed a similar strategy to lure TikTok users.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said on the company’s earnings call that Shorts is garnering 6.5 billion daily views globally. The company declined to provide more recent statistics for global and U.S. user bases.

“YouTube has helped an entire generation of creators and artists turn their creativity into businesses, paying more than US$ 30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years,” Singer wrote. “The Shorts Fund is just the first step in our journey to build a long-term monetization model for Shorts on YouTube.”

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Scarlet Nexus opening sequence, pre-order details

So hyped!

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Scarlet Nexus

The game Scarlet Nexus, in collaboration with SUNRISE and ORAL CIGARETTES, have come out with a gripping new opening sequence you don’t want to miss out on.

The game mechanics and origins stick close to home with the title itself: Scarlet Nexus. It’s based on the concept of scarlet red strings and connections through fast-paced rock rhythms. And, if there’s anything that’ll pique your interest with this game, it’s the mechanics.

Scarlet Nexus lets you play around with Psychokinesis attacks mechanics, psychic ability, and collaborative connections to further in the game. You get to pick who to play: Kasane Randall or Yuito Sumeragi and venture to uncover the mysteries of a Brain Punk future. You’ll get to fight enemies, uncover the truth about yourself, and explore the obscure world of technology and psychic abilities!

The game will be available on June 24, 2021 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One. While, available the next day, June 25, on Steam in Southeast Asia. The Scarlet Nexus anime series, produced by SUNRISE, will also be released this upcoming summer.

Pre-order details

Scarlet Nexus

These are the pre-order bonuses:

  • Special Battle Attire Set -Audio-
  • Additional Attachment “Dream Catcher”
  • Additional Attachment “Face Vision: Seal”
  • Attachment Set “Shoulder Baki (11)”

The Deluxe Edition includes the full game and the following content:

  • Brain Punk Bundle (includes Battle Attire Set -Red-, Digital Artbook, Digital Soundtrack)
  • Additional Attachment “The Other” (Deluxe Edition Bonus)
  • SAS Plug-In Variations (3) (Deluxe Edition Bonus)

Pre-order here now.

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