Brazil Suspends WhatsApp Digital Payments

WhatsApp
(FILES) In this file photo a picture taken on December 28, 2016 in Paris shows the logo of WhatsApp mobile messaging service. Facebook on June 15, 2020 added a digital payments feature to its WhatsApp messaging service, starting in Brazil but with an eye to expanding around the world. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

Brazil’s central bank said Tuesday it had ordered Visa and Mastercard to suspend a joint project with WhatsApp to roll out digital payments within the popular messaging service, over fears it would be anti-competitive.

Brazil, which has the second-most WhatsApp users worldwide after India, was the pilot country for the platform’s new integrated payments feature, which it launched on June 15 with an eye to rolling it out worldwide.

But the central bank, which regulates payment systems in Brazil, put the new feature on hold indefinitely.

“The reason for the central bank’s decision is to preserve an adequate competitive environment, ensuring an interoperable, fast, secure, transparent, open and economical payment system,” it said in a statement.

It also cited data privacy concerns.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, is the most popular mobile messaging app in the world, with more than 1.5 billion monthly users globally, according to market tracker Statistica.

The in-app payment feature, which could be accessed directly within a conversation with a participating business, was free for users.

Businesses were to be charged a small fee similar to a typical credit card transaction.

 

German Court Orders Facebook To Stop Merging Data Collected On Whatsapp And Instagram

This handout image obtained November 4, 2019 courtesy of Facebook, shows the new company logo for Facebook.  Eric BARADAT / FACEBOOK / AFP

 

A top German court on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop merging data collected through its Whatsapp and Instagram subsidiaries or other websites unless users explicitly agree, in a legal victory for competition authorities.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) had told Facebook to rein in the data collecting in a landmark decision in 2019, but the social media giant appealed the order.

In a fast-track proceeding on Tuesday, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) sided with the FCO watchdog in finding that Facebook was abusing its dominant position to force users to consent to all their data being collected.

“Facebook does not allow for any choice,” presiding judge Peter Meier-Beck said in the Karlsruhe courtroom.

He said the Silicon Valley company must comply with the order while its appeal is pending in a lower court.

It is a major setback for the social media giant, which has long been under scrutiny in privacy-conscious Germany.

Facebook insisted however there would be “no immediate changes” for users in Germany and stressed that the main appeals proceedings were still ongoing.

“We will continue to defend our position that there is no anti-trust abuse,” a spokesman said.

The FCO criticised Facebook in February 2019 for making the “unrestricted” data harvesting part of the website’s terms of use. That meant people had to tick the box or opt out of being on Facebook altogether.

The personal data picked up through Facebook’s own platform, Whatsapp, Instagram and third-party websites serve to build up a user’s profile for the purposes of targeted advertising, a key income source for the group.

The Federal Cartel Office ordered the tech giant to stop combining information from Facebook and non-Facebook sources unless users gave “voluntary consent”.

It also said Facebook was not allowed to exclude people from its services if they chose to refuse permission.

Facebook said at the time it disagreed with the decision, arguing the German anti-trust body was setting rules that applied “to only one company” and that it underestimated the competition it faced from rivals.

‘Abuse of power’

The FCO however found that Facebook was by far the biggest social network in Germany, with over 23 million daily active users representing 95 percent of the market.

Rivals like Snapchat, YouTube or Twitter “only offer parts of the services of a social network” and are not directly comparable, the authority said.

Facebook lodged an appeal against the FCO ruling with the higher regional court in Duesseldorf that is ongoing.

But Tuesday’s fast-tracked decision at the BGH was aimed at settling a row about whether Facebook can keep combining data in the meantime.

FCO chief Andreas Mundt welcomed the preliminary outcome.

“When data is collected and used illegally, an anti-trust intervention must be possible to prevent an abuse of market power,” he said in a statement.

Professor Rupprecht Podszun, an expert in competition law at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, called Tuesday’s decision a “big win” for the FCO.

The German battle against Facebook is seen as a legal first and is being closely watched at home and abroad as concern mounts about the power held by tech behemoths.

The Californian firm led by Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly come under fire in recent years over data protection and privacy.

In one major scandal in 2018, it emerged that data belonging to tens of millions of Facebook users had been harvested by consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, and used in part to support Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

 

AFP

WhatsApp Launches First Digital Payments Option

WhatsApp
(FILES) In this file photo a picture taken on December 28, 2016 in Paris shows the logo of WhatsApp mobile messaging service. Facebook on June 15, 2020 added a digital payments feature to its WhatsApp messaging service, starting in Brazil but with an eye to expanding around the world. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

 

Facebook on Monday added a digital payments feature to its WhatsApp messaging service, starting in Brazil but with an eye to expanding around the world.

WhatsApp users in Brazil can use the encrypted mobile messaging service to send money or make purchases, Facebook said in a blog post.

It marked the first time the payments platform used at the leading social network was woven into WhatsApp.

People will be able to send money or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat, the company noted.

“Payments on WhatsApp are beginning to roll out to people across Brazil beginning today and we look forward to bringing it to everyone as we go forward,” the service said.

Sending money or making payments is a free option for WhatsApp users, but businesses will be charged a processing fee on par with those charged for typically credit card transactions, according to the messaging service.

Facebook sees long-term, money-making potential in making its social network and messaging apps venues for businesses to engage in online conversations and transactions with customers.

“The over 10 million small and micro businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil’s communities,” WhatsApp said.

“It’s become second nature to send a zap to a business to get questions answered.”

Digital payments on WhatsApp will be tied to credit or debit cards to start, and transactions will require special identification codes or fingerprint verification.

WhatsApp is encrypted end-to-end, and is the most popular mobile messaging app in the world with more than 1.5 billion monthly users around the world, according to market tracker Statistica.

AFP

COVID-19: WhatsApp Limits Message Forwarding To Curb Misinformation

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WhatsApp on Tuesday placed new limits on message forwarding as part of an effort to curb the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

The new policy limits users to forwarding certain messages to one “chat” at a time, aiming to limit the rapid propagation of content that is provocative but likely to be false.

The Facebook-owned messaging platform said it took the action to enable people to concentrate on personal and private communications during the health crisis.

In recent weeks, “we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.

“We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.”

Last year, WhatsApp set limits on forwarded messages to five chats at a time, “to constrain virality,” responding to events in India where the rapid proliferation of unverified information led to mob violence.

The new policy applies to messages forwarded “many times” and marked with a double-arrow, indicating that it did not originate from a close contact, according to WhatsApp.

“In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on WhatsApp,” the blog said.

“We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.”

Damian Collins, a British member of parliament and co-founder of the Infotagion fact-check blog, called the move “a timely intervention,” noting that WhatsApp was being used to spread recent hoaxes that 5G wireless networks were spreading the virus.

“The online conspiracy theories about #5G exposed last week, and their real-life consequences, are a clear call to fight disinformation about #COVID19,” Collins tweeted.

“A lot of the false content sent to us at @infotagion came from @WhatsApp.”

– Scrambling to stop hoaxes –

WhatsApp along with its parent Facebook have been scrambling to curb an explosion of rumors and hoaxes about the coronavirus and at the same time seeking to promote verified content.

With more than a billion users worldwide, WhatsApp has become a key source of information and communication during the pandemic.

Facebook said last month it has nearly doubled server capacity to power WhatsApp as people in isolation place more voice and video calls using the popular messaging service.

But WhatsApp has also been used to spread inaccurate information about the COVID-19 outbreak including about untested treatments.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar last month warned people against sharing unverified coronavirus information on the messaging platform.

“These messages are scaring and confusing people and causing real damage. Please get your info from official, trusted sources,” the leader tweeted.

One problem faced by the messaging service is that the encrypted information is seen only by the sender and recipient, making it harder for fact-checkers to debunk.

WhatsApp said that as part of its efforts to fight the spread of false information, it was working with the World Health Organization and some 20 national health ministries, “to help connect people with accurate information.”

The platform has been funding fact checking organizations and created a Coronavirus Information Hub within the app.

AFP

WhatsApp Hits Over Two Billion Users

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The Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp said Wednesday it now has more than two billion users around the world, as it reaffirmed its commitment to strong encryption to protect privacy.

WhatsApp, acquired by Facebook in 2014, has grown into one of the most-used services in the Facebook “family” of apps, offering free messaging along with voice and video calls.

“Private conversations that once were only possible face-to-face can now take place across great distances through instant chats and video calling,” a WhatsApp blog post said.

“There are so many significant and special moments that take place over WhatsApp and we are humbled and honoured to reach this milestone.”

The statement said WhatsApp remained committed to its “strong encryption” that enables users to connect privately even amid calls by law enforcement in the United States and elsewhere to provide more access.

“Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life. We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe,” WhatsApp said.

“For even more protection, we work with top security experts, employ industry-leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues — without sacrificing privacy.”

Last week, child protection organizations called on Facebook to halt plans for strong encryption of all its platforms, saying that would allow predators to operate freely.

WhatsApp employs “end to end encryption” which can in many cases prevent law enforcement from accessing user data even with a court order.

The social network is working to extend end-to-end encryption across its messaging applications, including Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

The child protection groups said they were concerned that stronger encryption of online exchanges would facilitate the sharing of child pornography.

Backers of strong encryption argue that any special access or “backdoors” allowed for law enforcement would weaken security and could be exploited by criminals, hackers and authoritarian governments.

WhatsApp is one member of the Facebook app “family” that includes its core social network, Instagram and Messenger.

Facebook said recently some 2.89 billion people globally are daily users of at least one of these services.

But the growth has also attracted the attention of regulators and activists concerned over the dominance of major tech platforms. Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has been among those calling for the breakup of the big technology firms.

AFP

WhatsApp Sues Israeli Firm NSO Over Cyber Spying

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WhatsApp on Tuesday sued Israeli technology firm NSO Group, accusing it of using the Facebook-owned messaging service to conduct cyberespionage on journalists, human rights activists and others.

The suit filed in a California federal court contended that NSO Group tried to infect approximately 1,400 “target devices” with malicious software to steal valuable information from those using the messaging app.

WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said the lawsuit was filed after an investigation showed the Israeli firm’s role the cyberattack, despite its denials.

“NSO Group claims they responsibly serve governments, but we found more than 100 human rights defenders and journalists targeted in an attack last May. This abuse must be stopped,” Cathcart said on Twitter.

The lawsuit said the software developed by NSO known as Pegasus was  designed to be remotely installed to hijack devices using the Android, iOS, and BlackBerry operating systems.

The complaint said the attackers “reverse-engineered the WhatsApp app and developed a program to enable them to emulate legitimate WhatsApp network traffic in order to transmit malicious code” to take over the devices.

“While their attack was highly sophisticated, their attempts to cover their tracks were not entirely successful,” Cathcart said in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, noting that the investigation found internet-hosting services and accounts associated with NSO.

The suit calls on court to order NSO Group to stop any such attacks and asks for unspecified damages.

WhatsApp in May called on users to upgrade the application to plug a security hole that allowed for the injection of sophisticated malware that could be used for spying at the messaging app used by 1.5 billion people around the world.

The malicious code was transmitted through WhatsApp servers from about April 29 to May 10, targeting devices of attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents, diplomats, and other senior foreign government officials, according to the complaint.

“A user would receive what appeared to be a video call, but this was not a normal call,” Cathcart said of the cyberattack.

“After the phone rang, the attacker secretly transmitted malicious code in an effort to infect the victim’s phone with spyware. The person did not even have to answer the call.”

 Fighting ‘crime and terror’ 

The NSO Group came to prominence in 2016 when researchers accused it of helping spy on an activist in the United Arab Emirates.

Its best-known product is Pegasus, a highly invasive tool that can reportedly switch on a target’s phone camera and microphone, and access data on it.

The firm has been adamant that it only licenses its software to governments for “fighting crime and terror” and that it investigates credible allegations of misuse, but activists argue the technology has been instead used for human rights abuses.

Danna Ingleton of Amnesty International said the results of the WhatsApp investigation  “underscore that NSO Group continues to profit from its spyware products being used to intimidate, track, and punish scores of human rights defenders across the globe, including the Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico.”

Ingleton said Amesty and other groups are seeking in the Israeli courts to block NSO for exporting the technology.

“WhatsApp deserves credit for their tough stance against these malicious attacks, including their efforts to hold NSO to account in the courts,” she said.

AFP

WhatsApp, Instagram Affected As Outage Hits Facebook Services Worldwide

 

Facebook acknowledged Wednesday an outage affecting users in various parts of the world and said it was working on a fix.

Online monitoring service DownDetector reported earlier the outage began around 1200 GMT and affected Facebook as well as its Instagram and WhatsApp services.

#Facebookdown and #instagramdown were trending on Twitter as users around the world reported these apps were not functioning.

Facebook said in a tweet: “We’re aware that some people are having trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps. We’re sorry for the trouble and are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

According to DownDetector, thousands of users around the world were reporting outages with Europe and North America most impacted.

Earlier this year, an outage lasting as long as 24 hours that hit Facebook services was blamed on a “server configuration change.”

The March 13 outage was believed to be the worst ever for the internet giant, which reaches an estimated 2.7 billion people with its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications.

The company did not immediately respond to an AFP query on Wednesday’s outage.

WhatsApp Hack: Is Mobile Ecosystem Secure Anymore?

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s revelation of a security flaw allowing hackers to inject spyware on smartphones has raised fresh concerns by many, about the security of the mobile ecosystem.

Here are five key questions and answers:

What happened to WhatsApp?

The security hole in the WhatsApp messaging app could enable an attacker to inject malware to gain access to Android or Apple smartphones.

WhatsApp patched the flaw this week after being informed that the spyware was being used to track human rights activists and lawyers.

Security researchers believe the attackers used the powerful Pegasus spyware from Israel-based NSO Group. According to a recent analysis of the software by the security firm Lookout, Pegasus can “subvert” the device’s security and “steals the victim’s contact list and GPS location, as well as personal, Wi-Fi, and router passwords stored on the device.”

The infection could take root with a simple call through WhatsApp. To make matters worse, victims may not know their phones were infected because the malware allowed attackers to erase call histories.

This delivery was “particularly scary,” said security researcher John Dickson of the Denim Group, because it infected devices without any user action.

“Normally a user has to click on something or go to a site, but that wasn’t the case here,” Dickson said. “And once (the attacker) is in, they own the device, they can do anything.”

Who is to blame?

While the flaw was discovered in WhatsApp, security experts say any application could have been a “vehicle” for the spyware payload.

“We have not yet been able to write software that doesn’t have bugs or flaws,” said Joseph Hall, chief technologist for the Center for Democracy & Technology, a digital rights group.

Hall said the encryption in WhatsApp was not broken and that “Facebook’s response was exceedingly fast.”

Marc Lueck of the security firm Zscaler said that based on Facebook’s response, “You should give them kudos for discovering it in the first place, this was a very deep vulnerability.”

The intrusion at WhatsApp “wasn’t an attack on encryption, it was an attack on another element of the application” said Lueck.

Is encryption still worthwhile?

Encryption remains an important feature by establishing a secure “tunnel” between two parties that verifies their identities, Lueck noted.

“Encryption isn’t important just for privacy, it’s important for trust,” he said.

Encryption used by WhatsApp and other messaging applications prevents eavesdropping on messages and conversations but does not protect against an attack that gains access to the device itself, researchers note.

“End to end encryption does nothing to protect against attacks on your endpoint, true. And seatbelts and airbags do nothing to prevent your car from being hit by a meteorite,” tweeted Matt Blaze, a Georgetown University computer security expert.

“While neither protects against every possible harm, they both remain the most effective defenses against very common harm.”

Dickson said that while no encryption is foolproof, the only way to completely avoid hacking would be to avoid electronics entirely: “You could use guys on horseback.”

Should I worry about being attacked?

Citizen Lab, a research center at the University of Toronto, said in a 2018 report that it found Pegasus spyware infections in 45 countries, with 36 “probable government operators.”

NSO maintains it delivers its software for legitimate law enforcement and intelligence purposes. But the Toronto researchers said it had been obtained by countries with “dubious” human rights records and suggested it may have been used by Saudi Arabia to track and kill dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Citizen Lab researchers wrote in the Globe & Mail that they “unearthed at least 25 cases of abusive targeting of advocacy groups, lawyers, scientists and researchers, investigators into mass disappearances and media members.”

But Lueck said programs such as Pegasus are extremely costly and cannot easily be monetized by hackers for profit.

“Your average person is not the target of this specific piece of software, which is built to sell to governments to target individuals and doesn’t work on a large scale,” he said.

Still, Lueck said the flaw underscores the fact that “the mobile phone ecosystem has become as insecure and as vulnerable a platform as the computer.”

 

Do governments need better digital tools?

The revelations come as governments seek better tools to track criminals and extremists using encrypted messaging. An Australian law requires tech giants to remove electronic protections and help with access to devices or services.

Law enforcement agencies have complained of “going dark” in the face of encrypted electronic communications as they investigate serious crimes like terrorism and child sex offenses.

But Hall said that the news about Pegasus shows governments have tools to exploit software flaws for specific targeting without weakening encryption and privacy for all users.

“You can target the delivery at specific people rather than breaking into everyone’s phone at once,” he said.

AFP

WhatsApp Hack: A Latest Breach Of Personal Data Security

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The hacking of WhatsApp — in which spyware was sneaked into phones, compromising personal data — is one of the most spectacular of a series of such attacks in recent years.

The instant messaging service used by 1.5 billion people worldwide said Tuesday a security breach had allowed sophisticated attackers to install the malicious software into phones via its app.

Here are some previous cases of a similar kind.

Yahoo, billions hacked

In what is considered the biggest cyberattack in history, a 2013 hack affected all three billion accounts at Yahoo.

Another attack on Yahoo, blamed on Russian hackers, affected some 500 million accounts in 2014, with stolen data including usernames, email addresses and birthdates.

It was only revealed in September 2016 and resulted in fine of $35 million in 2018 for its then-financial arm, Altaba.

 

 Taking aim at Target

The US retail giant was hit by a computer attack in 2013 that affected 110 million clients.

Seventy million might have lost personal data including names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail accounts, while 40 million bank accounts and credit cards were also put at risk.

 

Password plunder

In 2014 online data protection firm Hold Security claimed that Russian hackers had accessed 1.2 billion passwords linked to 420,000 internet sites around the world, from corporate giants to individual accounts.

Hold Security pointed to a group of hackers called “CyberVor”, which it said had potentially gained access to 500 million e-mail accounts.

 

South Korea panic

In 2014 the personal data of at least 20 million bank and credit card users in South Korea was leaked in one of the country’s biggest ever breaches.

An employee from personal credit ratings firm Korea Credit Bureau (KCB) had stolen the data from customers of three credit card firms and sold it to phone marketing companies.

 

Hottest hack

In 2015 hackers calling themselves The Impact Team published nearly 30 gigabytes of files including the names and sexual orientation of people who had signed up with Ashley Madison, a website facilitating extra-marital affairs.

The company’s boss stepped down as several suicides in the United States and Canada were linked to the revelations.

Ashley Madison had earlier offered to delete users’ personal data for a modest fee but did not.

 

Uber off the road

The ride-sharing giant was vilified after the hacking in 2016 of data on 57 million of its riders and drivers, unveiled only in November 2017.

It was also criticised for paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy their booty.

Uber was fined $148 million for covering up the fraud, and was also prosecuted in The Netherlands and Britain.

 

 Equifax loses credit

A breach by major American credit agency Equifax in 2017 might have affected more than 147 million US clients, plus others from Canada and Britain.

The company was sued for having identified but not corrected the breach, having insufficient security systems and delaying reporting the problem.

 

Facebook under fire

In 2018 hackers exploited a trio of software flaws to access the personal data of 29 million Facebook users, getting hold of names, phone numbers and email addresses.

The breach sparked renewed criticisms of Facebook after it acknowledged that tens of millions of users had their personal data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, a political firm working for Donald Trump in 2016.

 

Intrusion at Marriott

Global hotel giant Marriott International said in November 2018 up to 383 million guests may have been victims of a hack, involving five million passport numbers and less than 2,000 credit card numbers.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed China.

AFP

Hackers Exploit WhatsApp Flaw To Install Spyware

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A security flaw in WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, allowed sophisticated attackers to install spyware on phones, the company said on Tuesday, in the latest trouble for its parent Facebook.

The vulnerability — first reported by the Financial Times, and fixed in the latest WhatsApp update — allowed hackers to insert malicious software on phones by calling the target using the app, which is used by 1.5 billion people around the world.

The FT cited a spyware dealer as saying the tool was developed by a shadowy Israel-based firm called the NSO Group, which has been accused of helping governments from the Middle East to Mexico snoop on activists and journalists. Security researchers said the malicious code bore similarities to other tech developed by the firm, according to The New York Times.

The latest exploit — which impacts Android devices and Apple’s iPhones, among others — was discovered earlier this month and WhatsApp scrambled to fix it, rolling out an update in less than 10 days.

“WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices,” a spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

The firm did not comment on the number of users affected or who targeted them, and said it had reported the matter to US authorities.

The breach is the latest in a series of issues troubling WhatsApp’s parent Facebook, which has faced intense criticism for allowing its users’ data to be harvested by research companies and over its slow response to Russia using the platform as a means to spread disinformation during the 2016 US election campaign.

Highly invasive software

The WhatsApp spyware is sophisticated and “would be available to only advanced and highly motivated actors”, the company said, adding that a “select number of users were targeted”.

“This attack has all the hallmarks of a private company that works with a number of governments around the world” according to initial investigations, it added, but did not name the firm.

WhatsApp has briefed human rights organizations on the matter, but did not identify them.

The Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto, said in a tweet it believed an attacker tried to target a human rights lawyer as recently as Sunday using this flaw, but was blocked by WhatsApp.

The NSO Group came to prominence in 2016 when researchers accused it of helping spy on an activist in the United Arab Emirates. Its best-known product is Pegasus, a highly invasive tool that can reportedly switch on a target’s phone camera and microphone, and access data on it.

The firm said Tuesday that it only licenses its software to governments for “fighting crime and terror”.

The NSO Group “does not operate the system, and after a rigorous licensing and vetting process, intelligence and law enforcement determine how to use the technology to support their public safety missions”, it said in a statement to AFP.

“We investigate any credible allegations of misuse and if necessary, we take action, including shutting down the system.”

AFP

‘Think Before You Tweet’, Obama Warns Leaders

Trump's Repeal Of Migrant Amnesty 'Cruel' – Obama
 Former US President Barack Obama. Photo: SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFPObama

Former US president Barack Obama said Friday that social media powers like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are leading to “snap judgements to complex issues” and warned leaders to think before tweeting.

Obama was repeatedly asked about his successor, President Donald Trump, at a New Delhi symposium but stuck to a general warning to all high-profile figures to take care.

“I think it’s important to be mindful of both the power of these tools but also its limits,” Obama said when asked about the dangers of Twitter, a platform on which Trump has caused repeat controversies.

“What I would say is Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, all these various platforms are extraordinarily powerful tools, and those tools can be used for good and they tools can be used for ill,” he said.

Highlighting how he has 100 million Twitter followers — “more than other people who use it more often” — Obama said: “I think it’s important to be mindful of both the power of these tools but also its limits.”

Obama’s wife Michelle recently took what was seen as a subtle swipe at Trump, asking the audience at an event to spellcheck and not tweet everything that comes into their mind.

“I think she was just giving a general advice, the same advice that you used to hear from your mother generally … don’t say the first thing that pops in your head,” the two-term leader told the conference, which was organised by the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“Your mother and father knew better. Listen to them. Don’t do things like that. Think before you speak, think before you tweet.”

– ‘Destructive populism’ –

Obama was more direct in criticising Trump’s threat to leave the 2015 Paris climate accord on slashing global carbon emissions.

“It is an agreement that — even though we have a little bit of a pause in American leadership — is giving our children a fighting chance,” he said.

Trump has threatened several times to withdraw from the Paris accord saying it is crippling US business. He has called for the agreement to be renegotiated.

Obama would not be drawn into other questions about the US administration at the appearance where he called “destructive populism” a threat to modern democracy.

“The thing I love about America and I suspect the thing you love about India is just this cacophony of life and it throws up all kinds of variety,” Obama said in response to one attempt to force a comment on Trump.

“There are political trends in American that I don’t agree with and abide by but I recognise as part of a running thread in American life.”

Obama said he has become “obsessed” with the way news is handled and consumed, particularly by the young.

“We are more connected than ever before but … more and more we are fitting facts to suit our opinions rather than formulating our opinions based on facts,” said Obama, who was in China before visiting India, and next goes to Paris.

Read Also: Trump Retweets Anti-Muslim Videos  

AFP

Ogun State Police Arrest Suspect For Impersonating Ooni Of Ife

Man Arrested For Raping 13-year Old GirlThe Ogun State Police Command have arrested Abiodun Joseph, 26, for opening WhatsApp and Facebook accounts using the picture of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi Adeyeye, to dupe unsuspecting members of the public.

Parading the suspect alongside other suspects, the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, said the suspect was arrested while perfecting his plan to dupe another individual after defrauding two persons of N600,000.

“On Wednesday, an information was received about a man impersonating the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi Adeyeye, on Facebook and WhatsApp platforms to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

“Upon information, Policemen attached to Ijebu Ode Area Command swung into action and subsequently arrested one Abiodun Joseph, 26,” the commissioner said.

The suspect confessed to the crime while being paraded.

“I opened a WhatsApp and Facebook accounts using the Ooni’s picture and I have duped two people to the tune of N600,000, though I am regretting my action.

“When I left secondary school, I had no sponsor to allow me further my education, so I learned how to repair phones and computers. That is what I have been doing before I was arrested by the Police for impersonation,” he said.

The command also paraded two other suspects for armed robbery and kidnapping, while another was allegedly killed after a gun duel with the police.

“Today, April 24, some hoodlums numbering about eight came to Obalende at Ijebu Ode with the intent to attack and kidnap expatriate of 6×6 quarry, they came in a truck with some of them dressed in full military uniform.

“But they were accosted by our anti robbery team from Obalende who engaged them in a gun duel, at the end of the encounter, one of them was fatally injured, one arrested and others fled,” the commissioner of Police stated.

Items recovered from the suspects were two pump action guns, four locally made single barrel gun, 75 live cartridges and sum of 87,600 naira.

While assuring members of the general public of their safety, the Commissioner of Police, however, sought the cooperation and understanding of residents on intelligence sharing and information that could lead to the arrest of criminals in the state.