Facebook: Backlash Threatens World’s Biggest Platform

Facebook: Backlash Threatens World's Biggest Platform

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, faces a growing backlash over privacy and data protection, with revelations this week about sharing data with business partners adding to pressure.

Here is a summary of the main issues in the Facebook controversy:

What are the latest revelations?
A New York Times report said some 150 business partners had access to personal data from Facebook users and in some cases, their friends, including private messages. Facebook said these were well-known and previously disclosed partnerships allowing “integration” of Facebook with other services, but some analysts said people were not fully aware of the arrangements.

“It wasn’t clear to the public that these relationships were embedded within Facebook,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University professor specialising in social media.

What are the other issues for Facebook?
Facebook has been hammered for failing to stop information manipulation and misinformation, including from Russian organisations in the 2016 US election. The company has acknowledged that Cambridge Analytica – working on the Donald Trump campaign – obtained profile data on tens of millions of Facebook users, but claimed that the political consultancy violated Facebook’s terms of service.

Facebook and other social media networks have struggled to deal with hate speech, bullying and foreign influence campaigns. These issues have sparked investigations in Washington and worldwide.

“It has become problematic to society and democratic institutions,” Grygiel said. “We need to look at these platforms in a very broad sense to make sure all of their business practices are not a harm to society.”

What is Facebook doing?
Facebook leaders have promised more transparency in hearings in the US Congress and elsewhere, and has stepped up efforts to find and root out fake accounts and foreign influence campaigns. But critics complain the wave of revelations suggest a disturbing pattern of disregard for data protection and privacy.

“It seems every few months there is a different revelation about how Facebook mismanaged something that deals with our data and privacy,” said Adam Chiara, a professor of communication at the University of Hartford.

“We’re all just waiting to find out which straw it is that will eventually break the camel’s back.”

What are the consequences for Facebook?
Facebook’s shares skidded more than seven percent Wednesday following the Times report and a lawsuit by the District of Columbia alleging violations of user privacy. The stock has lost more than 35 percent from its 2018 highs, wiping out tens of billion in market value.

So far, however its user base and revenues have seen little impact despite a number of high-profile calls to quit or delete Facebook. The number of active users rose to more than 2.2 billion in the third quarter and revenues rose 33 percent year-over-year for the company, which also operates Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and sells Oculus virtual reality hardware.

What can Facebook do to restore trust?
Facebook critics say the company’s problems have been exacerbated by a governance structure that gives co-founder Mark Zuckerberg virtual control through super-voting shares.

“Facebook is becoming a classic example of how poor corporate governance ensures that when things go wrong, they go wrong for longer and things get much worse than if shareholders could oust the management,” Richard Windsor, a technology analyst who authors the Radio Free Mobile blog, wrote earlier this month.

Carolina Milanesi, analyst at the Creative Strategies consultancy, said “A normal company would have got rid of somebody, they would have sacrificed somebody to try and show a change.”

Grygiel said Facebook needs to do more than public relations, with more substantive changes.

“Mark Zuckerberg needs to relinquish some power,” Grygiel said. “Facebook  needs oversight from its own board.”

What about regulation?
Lawmakers have stepped up calls for tighter regulation of privacy and data use, and the calls became louder this week.

US Senator Ron Wyden said he is calling for “a tough new consumer privacy bill to punish companies — and even put CEOs in jail — if they lie about protecting your privacy.”

Some US activists want to follow the European model for data protection that requires better notice and consent for how personal data is used.

“Americans deserve a clear law that protects their personal data and privacy. We don’t have that right now, and until we do, we’ll continue to see examples of companies using personal data in ways that surprise users,” said Michelle Richardson of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a digital rights group which has drafted a template legislation.

But Grygiel said she sees little “political will” in Congress tighten data protection rules.

“I was quite shocked nothing moved forward in the wake of the tech hearings (earlier this year),” she said.

“Maybe it’s because these are American companies and they don’t want to push them out of the country.”

[“source=ndtv”]

Siemens Partners With Amazon as It Ramps Up Industrial Software Platform

Siemens Partners With Amazon as It Ramps Up Industrial Software Platform

Siemens is partnering with Amazon as it accelerates the rollout of its MindSphere industrial software platform, the core of its bid to dominate the market in digital factory automation.

The German group’s next version of MindSphere, to be launched in January, will run on Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the most popular cloud system with industrial software developers.

“Many customers appreciate it very much,” Siemens Chief Technology Officer Roland Busch told reporters and analysts at a company presentation in Munich on Friday. “You have to really scale up in order to justify your money.”

So far, MindSphere has run on the SAP cloud, and from April it will also run on Microsoft’s Azure.

MindSphere gathers data from devices, analyses the information and uses it to help customers optimise processes. Attracting a critical mass of developers to work on the platform is crucial to improving the quality of software applications.

MindSphere is one of a number of so-called Internet-of-Things platforms being developed by industrial companies racing to help their manufacturing customers improve productivity, where growth has been slowing in developed countries.

The technology was thrown into sharp focus in August by Emerson Electric’s failed $29 billion (roughly Rs. 1,85,767 crores) bid to buy Rockwell Automation.

The area is still in its infancy, with companies pursuing different strategies, although Siemens is generally considered to be leading the pack, helped by more than $5 billion (roughly Rs. 32,030 crores) of acquisitions in the past two years and by arch-rival General Electric’s partial retreat as it narrows focus.

Siemens said it was targeting 1.25 million connected devices and systems by the end of its fiscal year in September, up from 1 million currently, as it expands its offering – previously focused on autos and aerospace – to cover all sectors.

It is increasing research and development spending to over EUR 5.6 billion ($6.6 billion) this fiscal year from 5.2 billion last year, the lion’s share of which will go to its Digital Factory division.

Siemens says it made EUR 5.2 billion in digital revenues in the year to September. It has 23,000 in-house software developers, rivalling some of the world’s biggest pure-play software companies.

General Electric is reducing investment in its Predix industrial software platform by about $400 million (roughly Rs. 2,562 crores) this coming year to $1.2 billion (roughly Rs. 7,687 crores), and focusing solely on its own installed base of customers for the rollout.

Under new Chief Executive John Flannery, GE as a whole is narrowing its focus and shedding businesses with around $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,28,121 crores) in revenue.

GE aims to double Predix revenues to $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,406 crores) in 2018.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Amazon India Officially Launches ‘Local Finds’ Buying, Selling Platform in Four Cities

Amazon India Officially Launches 'Local Finds' Buying, Selling Platform in Four Cities

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amazon customers can buy and sell new and used goods
  • The company facilities delivery and payments
  • Local Finds was first piloted in Bengaluru earlier this year

Amazon India has officially launched its Local Finds service in India, a platform for customers to find and sell used and new goods to others in their city. Piloted in Bengaluru since earlier this year and spotted in action last month, the service is now live in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai in addition. Amazon facilitates delivery and payments for Local Finds transactions, something that’s rare to see in the online pre-owned and online classifieds space – a USP of the service with the company picking, packing, and shipping the product.

Through Local Finds, Amazon India customers in the same city can other buy and sell products amongst each other. Product categories include books, fashion, home decor, music, movies, mobiles, laptops, accessories, tablets, and video games. The company boasts that customers are adding “hand crafted and rare products” daily. The Bengaluru pilot saw roughly 600 sellers, and up to launch, it has seen 30,000 customers use the service across all four cities.

To launch Local Finds, Amazon India has an introductory offer with free delivery along with cashback (up to Rs. 100) as Amazon Pay Balance for purchases of certain items, and as an incentive for sellers, it is offering additional earnings of Rs. 500 upon selling five items.

Talking about Local Finds, Mahendra Nerurkar, Director – New Initiatives, Amazon India said, “Through our pilot, we realized that in every city we have customers who have a few products to sell – some want to get value for their used products, others are hobbyists, creators and home entrepreneurs who need to find the right customers for what they collect or create and there are customers who are interested in buying such products. Existing solutions available to such sellers and buyers had gaps – people needed to commute in traffic and meet strangers, this lead to privacy and safety concerns along with precious time and money lost. With Local Finds, we aim to seamlessly connect sellers and buyers, help them quickly list and discover each other’s products and transact tension free with delivery, payments and customer service facilitated by Amazon. We are humbled to see over 30,000 customers sell their products on Local Finds in such a short period of time.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Media giants partner to develop ‘Blockchain Insights Platform’ for video advertising efficiency

Image result for Media giants partner to develop ‘Blockchain Insights Platform’ for video advertising efficiencyComcast’s Advanced Advertising Group, announced that it is developing a new ‘Blockchain Insights Platform’ that it aimed to improve the efficiency of premium video advertising.

The blockchain platform will enhance planning, targeting, execution and measurement across screens. Comcast has partnered with media giants NBCUniversal, Disney, Altice USA, Channel 4 (UK), Cox Communications, Mediaset Italia and TF1 Group (France) for the blockchain initiative.

The announcement was made at the Cannes Lions in Cannes, France and the Blockchain Insights Platform intends to formally launch in 2018. The company is also in discussions with other programmers, distributors, device makers and marketers from the U.S. and Europe.

“Television advertising is an efficient and effective way for marketers and their agencies to reach a large audience, yet today the way advertisers use insights to plan, buy and deliver advertising is limited,” Marcien Jenckes, President, Advertising, Comcast Cable, said. “This new technological approach would make data-driven video advertising more efficient and consumer data more secure. We’ll work with the participants in this initiative to improve ad planning, addressable targeting, execution and measurement, to ultimately create even more value for the television advertising industry.”

Blockchain Insights Platform characteristics include consumer privacy, where each blockchain participant’s data would stay in their own systems and they would continue to manage the protection and privacy of their users. The technology includes a series of encryption and rights management layers that would result in a system that lets blockchain participants in the platform ask questions of each other’s data without having to access or take possession of anyone else’s data to get their marketing questions answered.

Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group has developed platforms and technologies in order to create simplified solutions that benefits Comcast Cable, distributors, programmers, agencies and advertisers from the U.S. and Europe. The company will collaborate with other media giants to develop the Blockchain Insights Platform.
[“Source-ndtv”]