Connect with us

Media

Information posted on Chinese social media platforms could be used for 'hostile activities,' Bill Blair warns – National Post

Published

 on


This is the first time a cabinet minister has so clearly spelt out concerns about all Chinese-owned social media platforms, which combined have millions of Canadian users

Article content

OTTAWA – Canadians should be wary of using Chinese social media platforms because information posted there may be used for “hostile activities” by foreign states, says the federal public safety minister.

If you regularly post on Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat, Weibo or even TikTok, the Canadian government has a stern warning for you: be careful, because hostile countries may be watching in an attempt to use that data against Canada’s interests.

During a meeting of the parliamentary committee on Canada-China relations Thursday evening, Liberal MP Jean Yip asked Public Safety Minister Bill Blair if Canadians should be concerned about using social media platforms that are owned by Chinese companies.

“There is a legitimate concern that sometimes the information that’s publicly available on those platforms can be used by the hostile activities of state actors,” Blair responded, adding that Canadians should exercise “caution” on those applications.

Article content

This is the first time a cabinet minister has so clearly spelt out concerns about all Chinese-owned social media platforms, which combined have millions of users in Canada.

Many data and privacy experts have warned over the years that these apps harvest large amounts of data from their users (not unlike North American companies like Facebook or Google). But there is an added concern with platforms like WeChat due to the sweeping powers the Chinese government has to seize data from companies based on its soil.

  1. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was concerned about what was happening with the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, but declined to outline what his government would do.

    Commons vote on genocide in China likely to draw rebuke from Beijing: expert

  2. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole:

    Liberals ‘open to’ Conservative proposal for special Commons committee on Canada-U.S. relations

Earlier in January, the Winnipeg Free Press revealed that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have resisted joining TikTok — an app that allows users to post short videos and “duet” those of others which has exploded in popularity among North American youth — because it considers the app to pose “huge security risks”.

This came months after the U.S. government announced it was banning TikTok and WeChat, originally a messaging and calling app that now offers a host of other services, due to national security concerns.

At the time, the Trump administration said it was concerned that Beijing was exploiting the apps and the troves of data they collect in order to gather information about users and spread Chinese propaganda.

The owners of both applications at the time, respectively ByteDance and Tencent Holdings, gave assurances that the Chinese government did not have access to its user data and that in TikTok’s case, it was never even hosted in China.

Article content

In his opening statement, Blair repeatedly warned of China’s increasing attempts of foreign interference in Canada, as well as its role in the current opioid crisis. But he dodged questions by opposition MPs on whether his government would ban Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from Canada’s 5G network.

“While foreign interference is top of mind for my portfolio, it is by no means the only issue on the plate. It’s no secret that China is one of the main source countries of fentanyl, as well as the precursor chemicals used to make this highly potent and deadly synthetic opioids,” Blair said.

“Over the past four years, the Canada Border Services Agency has made 335 seizures totalling over 42.2 kilograms, and of these seizures, 129 listed China as the source country of those drugs.”

Opposition MPs also grilled Blair about a report by the Globe & Mail that Canada had outsourced handling of its visa application centre in the Chinese capital to a company that is owned by Beijing police.

The minister was unable to say which government officials had awarded the original contract to VFS Global, which then dealt with Chinese police-owned Beijing Shuangxiong Foreign Service Co, because he said it was done in 2008, before his government came to power.

When pressed multiple times on if he had concerns about the contract, Blair repeated that he’d been assured no data had been taken from Canadian files.

“Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has an IT department that provided assurances that all our information is in fact secure. There has been no suggestion of espionage or any concern raised, only the fact that a Chinese official entity was involved in this company,” Blair said.

“So your government is totally satisfied with this arrangement and satisfied that it should continue in perpetuity?” NDP MP Jack Harris asked.

The minister responded without saying if the contract with the Beijing police-owned company would continue indefinitely.

“I’m satisfied that IRCC has not identified any concerns and they have provided strong assurances that Canadian data and Canadian interests are well protected in the system they have in place,” he said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Chinese stocks pare losses as state media try to stem panic – Al Jazeera English

Published

 on


The wobbly trade in Chinese markets came as state-owned securities newspaper urged calm on Wednesday and talked up markets.

Chinese shares fell on Wednesday but trimmed earlier losses amid volatile trade as state-run financial media called for calm following a wild rout triggered by investor concerns about tightening government regulation.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 2 percent before finishing the morning session down 0.59 percent. The blue-chip CSI300 index clawed back some of its losses to end the morning flat, but was still down more than 6.6 percent for the week.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index flitted between gains and losses to fall 0.24 percent at midday after plunging an eight-month closing low a day earlier. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was up 0.38 percent.

Andy Maynard, head of equities at China Renaissance in Hong Kong, said the market mood on Wednesday was “nervous” rather than panicked.

“Is the downside over? No, it’s not. Do we think there’s going to be more? Yes, there probably is. Do I think there’s some relief here? Yes.”

The Hang Seng Tech index, which hit record lows a day earlier, was barely lower. Real estate firms in Hong Kong rose 1.5 percent even as a mainland index tracking the sector fell 0.45 percent.

A CSI index tracking education firms listed on mainland and Hong Kong markets fell 0.52 percent.

Talking up markets

Chinese state media talked up the market after a wave of selling that had seen nearly $1.5 trillion of market value wiped off Hong Kong and mainland shares in the three trading days through Tuesday, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. Investors have dumped stocks in the crosshairs of Beijing’s sweeping regulatory crackdowns, with selling also spreading to bond and currency markets.

In a front-page commentary on Wednesday, the state-owned Securities Times said systemic risks “do not exist in the A-share market overall”.

“The macroeconomy is still in a steady rebound stage, and short-term fluctuations do not change the long-term positive outlook for A-shares,” the commentary said.

“The recent market decline to some extent reflects misinterpretation of policies and a venting of emotion. Economic fundamentals have not changed and the market will stabilise at any moment,” it said.

Other major securities dailies echoed the commentary in market reports.

In a front-page story citing domestic fund managers, the official China Securities Journal said the sell-off was a “structural adjustment”, a sustained plunge is unlikely and the market does not face systemic risk.

A story in the state-run Shanghai Securities News quoted domestic analysts as saying the sell-off would not continue, and that the market will gradually stabilise.

“For institutions, the decline brings the opportunity for positioning in high-quality shares,” it said.

Fixed income and foreign exchange markets were relatively steady on Wednesday after succumbing to Tuesday’s sell-off. The most-traded 10-year Chinese government bond futures, for September delivery, were last down 0.09 percent, following a 0.35 percent drop a day earlier.

China’s yuan firmed from a more than three-month trough against the dollar hit a day earlier, as some investors expected leading state banks could step in soon to support the currency. The yuan’s late slump fed into the People’s Bank of China’s weakest daily fixing in three months on Wednesday.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Facebook eyes a future beyond social media – The Economist

Published

 on


FACEBOOK HAS always had two faces. One is the grimace of a company that many people, in particular politicians, love to hate. President Joe Biden recently accused the social-media giant of “killing people” by spreading misinformation about vaccines against covid-19. (He later rowed back a bit after Facebook pointed out it does quite a lot to stop the spread of such content and to promote legitimate vaccine tips.)

The other face is a happy one of a firm that users, advertisers and investors cannot live without. Analysts predict it will be grinning again on July 28th, when it presents second-quarter results. Revenues are expected to rise by nearly 60%, year on year, to around $28bn—despite Apple’s update in April to its iPhone operating system that allows users easily to opt out of being tracked around the web by apps like Facebook. That would put it on track to exceed $100bn in sales this financial year. Quarterly net profit could come in just shy of $10bn, double that of a year ago. No wonder Facebook looks poised to become a long-term member of the exclusive club of companies with a market value above $1trn, which it joined earlier this year (see chart).

How can a firm with such political baggage be so successful? The answer is two sides of the same coin. With more than 2.7bn daily global users, Facebook’s main offerings—its flagship social network (known internally as Blue), photo-sharing on Instagram and messaging on WhatsApp and Messenger—are a digital magnifying glass of human nature. This glass amplifies the good (neighbourly help amid the pandemic) as well as the bad (conspiracy theories and quack cures). It also serves as a remarkable lens for advertisers to focus in on the world’s consumers. And the two-facedness is likely to become more pronounced should Facebook succeed with its biggest project yet: creating a “metaverse” that would combine a 3D digital world with the 3D physical one.

At its core Facebook is a giant advertising machine. Adverts generate 98% of its revenue. Blue remains a dominant ad platform internationally, raking in perhaps $55bn last year, according to estimates by KeyBanc Capital Markets (Facebook does not break out revenues by service). Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012 for what seemed like a colossal $1bn, now chips in another $20bn or more, taking its share of overall ad revenues to nearly 30%, up from just over 10% in 2017.

Debra Aho Williamson of eMarketer, a data provider, praises Facebook’s ability to target ads as “incredibly precise”. Advertisers value this highly: Facebook earns more than $9 a year for every one of its users, about twice as much as Twitter does. The firm observes what its users do not only on its own services, but almost everywhere else online. This lets it pick what products to flog to a given user, identify others with similar interests and find out whether they bought something after seeing the ad.

Even before the pandemic hit, this was hard to resist, especially for smaller firms with fewer resources to run sophisticated marketing operations, which make up the bulk of Facebook’s 10m advertisers, but also for most big global brands. Even Chinese sellers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Facebook, says Brian Wieser of GroupM, which places ads on behalf of brands. Although Facebook’s apps are banned in China, Chinese merchants can plug their wares to Western consumers thanks to firms such as Wish, an American online marketplace that helps arrange ads, payment and shipping.

No commercial brakes
Covid-19 has turbocharged Facebook’s machine. Confined to home, the average American user spent nearly 35 minutes per day on Blue and Instagram in 2020, according to eMarketer, two minutes more than the year before. That adds up to thousands of additional years of collective attention. While some firms went belly-up or cut advertising spending amid last year’s recession, others were created: 6.6m in America alone since the start of the pandemic. Many want a slice of that extra attention. These days it is unimaginable to run an online consumer business without targeted ads, notes Mark Shmulik of Bernstein, a broker, just as it was once unthinkable to run a business without a bricks-and-mortar shop. A bigger share of such firms’ budgets will be spent on Facebook and its fellow ad-tech giant Google, says Mr Shmulik. Some admen are calling it “the new rent”.

Facebook has added more than 2m renters since the start of the pandemic. It is almost certain to add more of them as economies reopen and digital ads, which already make up 60% of overall ad spending in America, keep chipping away at TV and other traditional media. The impact of Apple’s new tracking opt-out, which four in five iPhone users have already embraced, according to Flurry, a data firm, will not be clear until the next round of quarterly results in October, observes Mark Mahaney of Evercore ISI, an investment bank. But even if this makes Facebook’s targeting a bit less effective, it will still be at least as good as its competitors’, he predicts. And although on July 23rd American trustbusters got another three weeks to refile a lawsuit against Facebook, which had been thrown out last month for lack of evidence, they will struggle to prove that the company is a social-networking monopolist under current competition law. For all the anti-tech bluster in Washington, DC, this is unlikely to change as long as Congress remains polarised.

The bigger threat to Facebook’s continued success, which has long preoccupied Mark Zuckerberg, its co-founder and chief executive, is that virtual masses finally tire of its apps and move elsewhere, pulling advertisers with them. Over the past two years a new generation of social media has emerged that could do just that. Although Facebook’s share of American digital advertising has continued to grow in recent years, its global social-media advertising has been edging down since 2016. The challengers range from specialists such as Clubhouse and Discord, two audio-chat services, to Snapchat and TikTok, which take on Blue and especially Instagram more directly. TikTok fans in America now spend more than 21 hours a month on the video app, compared with less than 18 hours that users spend on Blue, according to App Annie, a market-research firm.

In the past, Facebook might have snapped up smaller rivals, as it did with Instagram. With trustbusters looking over its shoulder, it is instead placing a number of big bets. The first is on the “creator economy”, which lets people make money from digital works such as videos or newsletters. This is an extension of its ad business, but one where it has fallen behind new rivals. TikTok and YouTube, in particular, have been better at attracting creators who keep users glued to their smartphone screens. In April Facebook announced that it was developing new audio features, including Clubhouse-like chat rooms in which listeners can tip performers. In June it launched Bulletin, a newsletter-hosting service that is similar to Substack, which popularised the genre. The following month Mr Zuckerberg vowed to shower creators on Blue and Instagram with $1bn by the end of next year (without specifying what form these payments would take).

Facebook’s second wager looks beyond advertising to e-commerce. It already hosts 1.2m online shops on Blue and Instagram. That puts it in the same league as Shopify, a fast-growing rival to Amazon, which has 1.7m. A month ago Facebook launched a new way to lets buyers try on clothes virtually. It also plans to link its “Shops” offering with Marketplace, its existing peer-to-peer trading service, and WhatsApp, which Facebook wants to turn into a vehicle for chat-based “conversational commerce”, the latest trend in online shopping. Later this year it would like to phase in a version of Diem, its controversial cryptocurrency (formerly known as Libra), that would beef up its payments infrastructure.

For now Facebook has waived seller fees but they could add a few billion dollars to its turnover as soon as next year. Besides bringing in non-advertising revenues, an e-commerce business would also help the company with its tracking problem. If shoppers spend more time and leave more data on its platform the inability to follow them across the rest of the web becomes less important. Mr Shmulik expects the e-commerce landscape to fragment into such walled gardens, each combing shopping and advertising, and operated by a tech giant.

Meta-morphosis
Mr Zuckerberg’s grandest gamble concerns the metaverse. When he spent $2bn in 2014 to buy Oculus, a maker of virtual-reality (VR) gear, many thought he was buying himself a toy. But in recent years Facebook has made further VR-related acquisitions, most recently BigBox VR, the developer of “Population: One”, a shooter game similar to “Fortnite”. This gives Facebook control of a hardware platform for VR and its sibling, “augmented reality” (AR), which serves users digital information as they survey the real world through smart spectacles and the like.

And as with e-commerce, part of Facebook’s rationale could be to create strategic sovereignty, by lessening its dependence on the whims of hardware-makers such as Apple. The potential prize is large. Sales of Oculus headsets contributed around $1bn to Facebook’s revenues last year. If the technology keeps improving, VR and AR are the obvious next phase of video-gaming, which has grown into an industry with global revenues of $180bn.

Mr Zuckerberg’s ambitions do not stop there, however. He doesn’t see the metaverse, which now has its own division within the firm, merely as a place to enjoy games or other immersive entertainment. Instead, he envisages it as a virtual space where people live and work, in keeping with a dream that geeks have harboured since 1992, when the term metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson, a science-fiction author. In five years’ time, Mr Zuckerberg has said, he would like Facebook no longer to be seen primarily as a social-media company but as a metaverse company.

That would make Facebook cool again. It would no doubt also invite more scrutiny from critics worried about the firm’s power. Should users look on course to spend 35 hours a week immersed in its virtual world, rather than 35 minutes a day, this could invite regulation that actually bites. For now, the metaverse is encouraging something Mr Zuckerberg fears more: competition. Others sizing up the field include video-game firms like Roblox and Epic Games, as well as tech giants Apple, which is reportedly planning its own AR glasses, and Microsoft, which already sells AR goggles. If Facebook beats them to metaverse supremacy, it will have plenty to grin about. Otherwise, expect serious grimacing.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

KEY Difference Media Promotes Verizon Media's Campaign of School of Block – Financial Post

Published

 on


Miami, FL, July 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — (via Blockchain WireVerizon Media is now working with KEY Difference Media and they are proud to announce their joint effort to promote Ledger’s School of Block to a blockchain enthusiastic audience.

Logo Available: Verizon Media & KEY Difference Media

KEY Difference Media is a blockchain full suite marketing agency with an impressive 15 years track record within the content marketing space.It has been a prominent blockchain player since 2013. It has raised over $550M in token sales. KEY Difference Media has worked with the earliest of the gaming companies that incorporated Bitcoin as a payment option to the earliest of exchanges, NFTs and multiverses. With a 350+ experts team led by the CEO, Karnika E. Yashwant, KEY Difference Media offers advisory, content marketing, influencer marketing, and public relations, among many other services.

“Karnika is a very reliable and useful partner in terms of blockchain and crypto industry. If you need any assistance or help – just ask him!”, Sergey Maslennikov, Chief Communications Officer, 1inch Network. 

Verizon Media is an advertising and publicity outlet with a hallowed history working with the biggest names and brands across various industries. It is headed by a diverse team of experts with decades of experience between them at the highest level of their respective fields. They own brands that lead their respective sectors like Yahoo and AOL. Finally, it is a branch of Verizon Communications that focuses on media and online businesses. 

KEY Difference Media remains a pacesetter in blockchain marketing. The blockchain industry remains relatively young and extremely promising. However, there are as many opportunities as there are cautionary tales. KEY Difference Media has become synonymous with trustworthy, timely, and effective blockchain marketing within this growing industry. Since 2013, KEY Difference Media has worked with an enviable list of partners accompanied by glowing reputations.

Verizon Media’s latest venture is in collaboration with KEY Difference Media to promote School of Block by Ledger to a stratified audience that KEY Difference Media provides access to.

“Even before we set out on this journey, we always had a clear vision for KEY Difference Media. We understand the role of generating the right kind of noise and publicity around our clients’ endeavors. It is just as important as building a strong team with everyone pulling in the same direction. That is why we were thrilled to be associated with one of the biggest names in the publicity and brand marketing space, and there aren’t many bigger than Verizon Media. We are confident that associations like ours and Verizon Media – two heavyweights in our respective spaces – would attract the kind of crowd we envisaged for this project,” explained Karnika E. Yashwant, CEO, KEY Difference Media

To learn more about KEY Difference Media, their process and success click here

Contact:

Foivos Floros

KEY Difference Media

foivos@keyfoundation.xyz

https://keydifferencemedia.com

Primary Logo

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending