ARCON Sues Meta N30bn Over Unapproved Adverts

A photo collage of Mark Zuckerberg and the Meta logo

 

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has instituted a suit against Meta Platforms Incorporated (owners of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms) and its agent AT3 Resources Limited at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

ARCON is seeking a declaration among others, that the continued publication and exposure of various advertisements directed at the Nigerian market through Facebook and Instagram platforms by Meta Platforms Incorporated without ensuring same is vetted and approved before exposure is illegal, unlawful, and a violation of the extant advertising laws in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: US Jury Orders Meta To Pay $174.5mn For Violating Patents

ARCON stated that Meta Platforms Incorporated’s continued exposure of unvetted adverts has also led to the loss of revenue to the Federal Government.

ARCON is seeking N30bn in sanction for the violation of the advertising laws and for loss of revenue as a result of Meta Incorporated’s continued exposure of unapproved adverts on its platforms.

ARCON reiterated that it would not permit unethical and irresponsible advertising in Nigeria’s advertising space.

ARCON further stated that it is not regulating the online media space but rather advertisement advertising and marketing communications on the online platforms in line with its establishment Act.

US Jury Orders Meta To Pay $174.5mn For Violating Patents

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 28, 2021 the META logo on a laptop screen in Moscow as Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced the parent company’s name is being changed to “Meta” to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

 

A US jury on Wednesday ordered Meta to pay $174.5 million for violating live-streaming patents developed by a US Army veteran seeking to fix shortcomings in battlefield communications.

A trial in Texas federal court ended with jurors deciding that “live” features at Facebook and Instagram used technology patented by Voxer, a company co-founded by Tom Katis, legal documents showed.

“We believe the evidence at trial demonstrated that Meta did not infringe Voxer’s patents,” a company spokesperson said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We intend to seek further relief, including filing an appeal.”

Katis had reenlisted in the army after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and served as a Special Forces communications sergeant in Afghanistan, court filings said.

When his combat unit was ambushed in Kunar province, he felt that the systems for coordinating reinforcements, medical evacuations and more “were ill-suited for time-sensitive communications with multiple groups in a highly disruptive environment,” the complaint said.

“Mr. Katis and his team began developing communications solutions in 2006 to remedy these shortcomings,” his lawyers said.

“The new technologies enabled transmission of voice and video communications with the immediacy of live communication and the reliability and convenience of messaging.”

Facebook approached San Francisco-based Voxer about potential collaboration after it launched a Walkie Talkie app in 2011, but no agreement was reached, according to legal documents.

Instead, the lawsuit argued, Facebook went on to launch Facebook Live and Instagram Live, incorporating Voxer technology into the features.

‘This Isn’t a Skit’: Popular Skit Maker, Lasisi Elenu, Is Engaged

Lasisi Elenu and his intended.

 

 

Popular Nigerian skit maker, Nosa Afolabi popularly known as Lasisi Elenu, has engaged his girlfriend.

Sharing the good news to his followers on his social media pages on Friday, he revealed how he started his beautiful love journey. He also described his fiancee, Nonso Adika, who’s an actress and movie producer as one who complements him in many ways.

Lasisi explained that he knew the day would eventually come but had always nurtured the fear that fans wouldn’t take him seriously.

In his lengthy Instagram post, he said, “I had a very big laugh before writing this, why because, I knew this day would come. A day where I’m faced with writing a beautiful and serious message about someone very special to me, a woman who I fell in love with and became my spark in the purest of ways words can’t describe, someone who I’m excited to share with you all even though na still ‘on code’ and it hit me, hope these my fans wey dey ment will not start saying, ‘Sinzu Money shey you wan dey whyne us ni’ and think this is one funny skit.”

“But guess what, I no dey whyne una papa oooo, Lasisi don go love up o. I have never been more serious. So let me start by saying, Ndi Igbo Kwenu, kwenu, Kwezo Nu!!!!! My brothers and sisters, my spirit is lifted up with joy in my heart as I share this part of me with you all. Being a creative, I’m constantly in deep thoughts, weird mood swings, and while at it, I found a partner that complements me in numerous and dynamic ways, and we grew in love and affection beyond explainable terms.”

 

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A post shared by Lasisi Elenu (@lasisielenu)

Instagram Beefs Up Child Protection Measures

A photo taken on March 14, 2022, shows the US social network Instagram logo on a smartphone screen in Moscow.  AFP

 

 

Social media giant Meta said on Tuesday it was rolling out a slew of measures to boost the safety of young users on its Instagram platform, the latest firm to address the issue.

Campaigners have long criticised tech giants for failing to protect teenagers from harmful content, and the popularity of Instagram with young people has placed it firmly in the firing line.

Meta, which also owns Facebook and WhatsApp, said parents and guardians would be able to set time limits on children’s scrolling on Instagram.

And young users would now see nudges encouraging them to look at other subjects if they are spending too much time looking at content about a single topic.

“It is crucial for us to develop tools that respect the privacy and autonomy of young people while involving parents in the experience,” said Clotilde Briend of Meta during a media briefing.

Instagram was rocked last year by revelations from whistleblower Frances Haugen that suggested executives were aware the platform could harm the mental health of young users, particularly teenage girls.

Meta has consistently denied the claims but has since faced a series of grillings in US Congress and suggestions that regulation could be on the way.

Other apps, including video-sharing platform TikTok, have also been criticised over fears young people were finding it hard to tear themselves away from the content.

Last week, TikTok announced young people would get nudges to remind them to take a break from scrolling — similar to an Instagram feature that has already been rolled out.

On Tuesday, Meta also announced new measures for its virtual reality headsets.

Parents and guardians will be able to block apps, view what their child is looking at on another device and see how long their child is spending with their headset on.

Germany Boosts Monitoring Of Facebook’s Meta

Facebook’s new rebrand logo Meta is seen on smartpone in front of displayed logo of Facebook, Messenger, Intagram, Whatsapp and Oculus in this illustration picture taken October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

 

 

Germany’s anti-cartel watchdog said Wednesday it has placed Meta, the company which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, under close watch for any possible abuse.

The Federal Cartel Office said it has determined Meta to be a company of “paramount significance for competition”, a move paving the way for the authorities to clamp down “against potential competition infringements”.

Meta therefore joins Google in falling under reinforced monitoring made possible by the German Competition Act, which came into force in January 2021.

The act allows the authority to intervene earlier, particularly against huge digital companies.

“The digital ecosystem created by Meta has a very large user base and makes the company the key player in social media,” said Federal Cartel Office chief Andreas Mundt.

Having determined Meta’s significance, the office is “able to intervene against potential competition infringements more efficiently than with the toolkit available to us so far”.

Meta has also waived its right to appeal the German office’s decision, he said.

Big tech companies have been facing increasing scrutiny around the globe over their dominant positions as well as their tax practices.

The EU and Britain in March opened antitrust probes into a 2018 deal between Google and Meta allegedly aimed at cementing their dominance over the online advertising market.

Russia Bans Instagram And Facebook As ‘Extremist’

(FILES) this file photo taken on October 05, 2020 in Toulouse, southwestern France, shows logos of US social networks Facebook and Instagram on the screens of a tablet and a mobile phone. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

 

A Russian court on Monday banned Facebook and Instagram as “extremist”, part of sweeping efforts by Moscow to crack down on social media during the conflict in Ukraine.

The Russian authorities have accused US tech giant Meta — the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — of tolerating “Russophobia” since President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

Facebook and Twitter have been inaccessible in Russia since early March and Instagram was blocked in the country a week ago.

Moscow’s Tverskoi district court acceded to a request from prosecutors for the two social media platforms to be banned for “carrying out extremist activities”.

It ruled that Meta’s WhatsApp messenger service would not be prohibited because it is not used to post public statements.

There was no immediate comment from Meta.

Also on Monday, according to Russian press agencies, Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor blocked access to euronews.com, the website of the French channel Euronews, and its Russian version ru.euronews.com, at the request of the prosecutors office.

No reason was given for the action.

Earlier this month Roskomnadzor blocked access to the BBC’s main news website, with Moscow’s foreign ministry warning of more retaliatory measures against the media.

During Monday’s court hearing, Russia’s FSB security service accused Meta of working against the interests of Moscow and its army during the conflict.

“The activities of the Meta organisation are directed against Russia and its armed forces,” FSB representative Igor Kovalevsky told the court in a statement reported by Russian news agencies.

“We ask (the court) to ban Meta’s activities and oblige it to implement this ruling immediately,” he said.

Meta had announced on March 10 that the platforms would allow statements like “death to Russian invaders” but not credible threats against civilians.

But in what appeared to be damage control, Meta’s global affairs president, Nick Clegg, later said the laxer rules would only apply to people posting from inside Ukraine.

– Is posting safe? –
In court, a Meta representative said that “following public debate” the company had now changed its policy and deemed that “Russophobia and calls for violence against Russian citizens are unacceptable”.

Experts said on Monday it remained unclear whether it was now illegal for ordinary Russians to post on Facebook and Instagram.

Net Freedoms Project said Russians could use Meta’s social media “carefully” — for now.

The rights project noted that the prosecution said Russians cannot be prosecuted for simply using the social media.

“This means that it can be safe to have accounts and post on Instagram and Facebook,” Net Freedoms Project said.

It pointed out however that those purchasing Facebook and Instagram advertising could be prosecuted for financing an extremist organisation.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, this month said it was launching a probe “due to illegal calls for the murder of Russian nationals by employees of the American company Meta”.

Meta boasts billions of users globally across its apps.

Facebook and Instagram were widely used in Russia and the latter was the most popular social media platform among young Russians.

For many small Russian businesses, Instagram was a key platform for advertising, processing sales and communicating with clients.

The United Nations had voiced alarm at Facebook’s decision to temporarily ease its policy on violent speech after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, warning it could spark “hate speech” against Russians.

Instagram No Longer Accessible In Russia

A photo taken on March 14, 2022, shows the US social network Instagram logo on a smartphone screen in Moscow. Instagram was inaccessible in Russia on March 14 after Moscow accused its parent company Meta of allowing calls for violence against Russians, including the military, on its platforms.
AFP

 

Instagram was inaccessible in Russia on Monday after Moscow accused its parent company Meta of allowing calls for violence against Russians, including the military, on its platforms.

The move comes after Facebook and Twitter were blocked in early March as part of sweeping efforts by Moscow to control information available to Russians about its military operation in Ukraine.

Instagram appeared Monday on a list of “restricted” online resources on a list published by Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor.

Instagram’s app was not refreshing without a VPN, AFP journalists said.

Facebook and Instagram are widely used in Russia, the latter being the most popular social media platform among young Russians.

For many small Russian businesses, Instagram was a key platform for advertising, processing sales and communicating with clients.

-AFP

Kylie Jenner Becomes First Woman To Gain 300 Million Instagram Followers

In this file photo taken on August 20, 2018, TV personality Kylie Jenner attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City. Jenner, influencer, businesswoman and member of the Kardashian clan, has become the most followed woman in the world on Instagram by reaching the staggering figure of 300 million followers, her account showed on January 12, 2022. ANGELA WEISS / AFP

 

 

Social media giant and business mogul Kylie Jenner, a member of the Kardashian clan, has become the world’s most followed woman on Instagram, topping 300 million followers, data on her account showed Thursday.

The 24-year-old reality star surpassed pop singer Ariana Grande to become the app’s most popular woman.

The person with the largest Instagram following worldwide remains football sensation Cristiano Ronaldo, with 389 million followers. Fellow footballer Lionel Messi has also surpassed 300 million.

Jenner rose to fame as part of the reality television show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” appearing alongside her famous sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian.

She went on to found the hugely successful make-up company Kylie Cosmetics, among lucrative forays into the business world.

Jenner announced on Instagram in September that she is pregnant with her second child. She has a daughter with her partner Travis Scott, a rapper who was performing at the Astroworld music festival in Houston on November 5 when a stampede by fans left 10 people dead.

Jenner laid low after the tragedy, only returning to Instagram on December 24 to post a photograph of her mother, followed by pictures this month that show off Jenner’s pregnant belly.

In 2018, after her daughter was born, Jenner broke records when her birth announcement received more than 18 million likes — a record that has been broken multiple times since, with a post of a photograph of an egg receiving the all-time most likes to date: 55.7 million.

Why Did Facebook, Instagram And WhatsApp Shut Down?

This file photo taken on October 5, 2020, shows logos of US social networks Facebook, Instagram and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP
This file photo taken on October 5, 2020, shows logos of US social networks Facebook, Instagram and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Hundreds of millions of people were unable to access Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp for more than six hours on Monday, underscoring the world’s reliance on platforms owned by the Silicon Valley giant.

But what actually caused the outage?

What does Facebook say happened? 

In an apologetic blog post, Santosh Janardhan, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure, said that “configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication”.

Facebook explained Tuesday the outage was “caused not by malicious activity, but an error of our own making.”

Can you explain that in plain English? –

Cyber experts think the problem boils down to something called BGP, or Border Gateway Protocol — the system the internet uses to pick the quickest route to move packets of information around.

Sami Slim of data centre company Telehouse compared BGP to “the internet equivalent of air traffic control”.

In the same way that air traffic controllers sometimes make changes to flight schedules, “Facebook did an update of these routes,” Slim said.

But this update contained a crucial error.

It’s not yet clear how or why, but Facebook’s routers essentially sent a message to the internet announcing that the company’s servers no longer existed.

Why did it take so long to fix the problem? 

Experts say Facebook’s technical infrastructure is unusually reliant on its own systems — and that proved disastrous on Monday.

After Facebook sent the fateful routing update, its engineers got locked out of the system that would allow them to communicate that the update had, in fact, been an error. So they couldn’t fix the problem.

“Normally it’s good not to put all your eggs in one basket,” said Pierre Bonis of AFNIC, the association that manages domain names in France.

“For security reasons, Facebook has had to very strongly concentrate its infrastructure,” he said.

“That streamlines things on a daily basis — but because everything is in the same place, when that place has a problem, nothing works.”

The knock-on effects of the shutdown included some Facebook employees being unable to even enter their buildings because their security badges no longer worked, further slowing the response.

 Is this unprecedented? 

Social media outages are not uncommon: Instagram alone has experienced more than 80 in the past year in the United States, according to website builder ToolTester.

This week’s Facebook outage was rare in its length and scale, however.

There is also a precedent for BGP meddling being at the root of a social media shutdown.

In 2008, when a Pakistani internet service provider was attempting to block YouTube for domestic users, it inadvertently shut down the global website for several hours.

– And the outage’s impact? –
Between Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, “billions of users have been impacted by the services being entirely offline”, the Downdetector tracking service said.

Facebook, whose shares fell nearly five percent over the outage, has stressed there is “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime”.

But even though it lasted just a few hours, the impact of the shutdown ran deep.

Facebook’s services are crucial for many businesses around the world, and users complained of being cut off from their livelihoods.

Facebook accounts are also commonly used to log in to other websites, which faced additional problems due to the company’s technical meltdown.

Rival instant messaging services, meanwhile, reported that they had benefited from the fact that WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger were down.

Telegram went from the 56th-most downloaded free app in the United States to the fifth, according to monitoring firm SensorTower, while Signal tweeted that “millions” of new users had joined.

And among the more curious side-effects, several domain name registration companies listed Facebook.com as available for purchase.

“There was never any reason to believe Facebook.com would actually be sold as a result, but it’s fun to consider how many billions of dollars it could fetch on the open market,” said cyber security expert Brian Krebs.

AFP

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Hit By Massive Outage

This file photo taken on October 5, 2020, shows logos of US social networks Facebook, Instagram and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP
This file photo taken on October 5, 2020, shows logos of US social networks Facebook, Instagram and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Major social media services including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were hit by a massive outage on Monday, tracking sites showed, impacting potentially tens of millions of users.

Outage tracker Downdetector was showing outages in heavily populated areas like Washington and Paris, with problems being reported from around 1545 GMT.

Users trying to access Facebook in affected areas were greeted with the message: “Something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said on Twitter.

The outage comes a day after a whistleblower went on US television to reveal her identity after she leaked a trove of documents to authorities alleging the social media giant knew its products were fueling hate and harming children’s mental health.

READ ALSO: Russia Fines Facebook, Twitter Over Banned Content

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist from Iowa, has worked for companies including Google and Pinterest — but said in an interview with CBS news show “60 Minutes” that Facebook was “substantially worse” than anything she had seen before.

The world’s largest social media platform has been embroiled in a firestorm brought about by Haugen, with US lawmakers and The Wall Street Journal detailing how Facebook knew its products, including Instagram, were harming young girls, especially around body image.

Facebook did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the outage.

AFP

TikTok Ramps Up Privacy Protection For Teens

This photo, taken on July 2, 2021, shows the TikTok logo displayed on a mobile phone screen. Taiwo Adeshina/Channels Television.
This photo, taken on July 2, 2021, shows the TikTok logo displayed on a mobile phone screen. Taiwo Adeshina/Channels Television.

 

TikTok became the latest tech company Thursday to announce tighter protections for teenagers as social media platforms come under increased scrutiny over their privacy safeguards.

The short video-sharing app will roll out a number of features in the coming months, including a default curb for 16 and 17-year-olds on in-app messaging unless it is switched to a different setting.

Under 16s will see a pop-up message when they publish their first video, asking them to choose who can watch.

And users aged 16 and 17 will be able to receive a pop-up asking them to confirm who can download their videos. Downloads are already disabled on content posted by under 16s.

The Chinese-owned platform will also stop sending push notifications to users aged 13 to 16 from 9pm — and an hour later for 16 to 17-year-olds — with the aim of reducing their screen time at night.

The moves announced by head of child safety public policy Alexandra Evans and global head of privacy Aruna Sharma build on previous measures to protect young users from predators, bullies and other online dangers.

“It’s important to ensure even stronger proactive protections to help keep teens safe, and we’ve continually introduced changes to support age-appropriate experiences on our platform,” Evans and Sharma said.

“We want to help our younger teens in particular develop positive digital habits early on.”


READ ALSOInside The World Of Nigeria’s ‘Teenage’ TikTok Stars

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READ ALSO: [#TwitterBan] We Are Monitoring Closely Repression In Nigeria, Says Commonwealth


In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

Google, YouTube and Facebook-Instagram have all recently bolstered defenses for teen users, while critics have been urging Facebook to abandon plans for a children’s version of Instagram.

TikTok was the world’s most downloaded app last year, overtaking Facebook and its messaging platforms, according to market tracker App Annie.

The video app surged in popularity, according to market tracker App Annie, despite efforts by former president Donald Trump to ban it or force a sale to US-based investors.

AFP

‘I Quit!’ Says Britney Spears In New, Furious Instagram Post

File Photo

 

Britney Spears, in a furious Instagram post, said she has “quit” doing live performances and slammed her father’s control over her affairs.

For weeks the pop superstar has been pleading with a judge in Los Angeles to free her from the years-long conservatorship largely governed by her father, Jamie, ramping up worldwide interest in her case.

Late Saturday she took to Instagram in a new, public demonstration of her anger.

“I’m not gonna be performing on any stages anytime soon with my dad handling what I wear, say, do, or think,” she wrote.

Instead, she said, she will share her own dance videos “from my living room” instead of from a stage in Las Vegas.

“I quit !!!!” she wrote.

Spears, who rocketed to fame in her teens, suffered a highly public 2007 breakdown — when the shaven-headed star attacked a paparazzo’s car at a gas station.

The following year, a California court placed her under a unique legal guardianship largely governed by her father.

Spears swiftly returned to performing after that, released three albums, appeared on various television shows and even took up the Las Vegas residency she referenced in the Instagram post.

But in January 2019, she abruptly announced she was suspending her performances until further notice.

READ ALSO: Germany Questions Warning System After Deadly Floods

And then last month, the singer made an impassioned plea for her situation to change, alleging that she had been prevented from having a contraceptive IUD removed, despite wanting more children, and forcefully put on medication that made her feel “drunk.”

Spears said she had been made to perform shows under threat of lawsuit, and that she was not even allowed to get changed in privacy or drive her own car.

“My so-called support system hurt me deeply !!!! This conservatorship killed my dreams … so all I have is hope and hope is the only thing in this world that is very hard to kill … yet people still try !!!!” she wrote Saturday.

Spears also referenced recent documentaries about her plight that have helped fuel a reckoning about the entertainment industry’s treatment of young, female pop stars.

“I didn’t like the way the documentaries bring up humiliating moments from the past … I’m way past all that and have been for a long time!” she wrote.

On Wednesday Spears scored a major victory in her legal battle after a judge ruled she could appoint her own lawyer.

The lawyer appointed by a court following her breakdown had asked to step down from his role, as had the financial management company that was set to assume joint control of her estate with her father.

Spears’s longtime manager Larry Rudolph has also quit.

Her father, however, has signalled that he will not step down voluntarily.

Spears has lots of public support, from fans chanting outside the courtroom to her musical peers Christina Aguilera and Madonna to the massive #FreeBritney movement on social media.

AFP