More On "Technology"
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

With electric car sales soaring and regulations increasingly favouring zero-emission vehicles, a flurry of announcements on Monday showed how the global auto industry has kicked into a higher gear as it races to speed past the fossil-fuel car era.

As part of its own 30 billion euro ($34.7 billion) electrification plan Stellantis (STLA.MI) – born out of a merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler earlier this year – said it had entered a preliminary agreement with battery maker LG Energy Solution to produce battery cells and modules for North America, where the world’s No. 4 automaker expects more than 40 per cent of its U.S. sales will be electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030.

That follows a recent announcement that Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) will take a 33 per cent stake in battery cell manufacturer Automotive Cells Company (ACC), founded in 2020 by Stellantis and TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) in 2020.

Carmakers are racing to secure battery supplies as they switch to electric, with dozens of new battery plants planned across Europe and America.

Ford Motor Co’s (F.N) plans to go electric in Europe received a boost on Monday as the company said it would invest up to 230 million pounds ($316 million) to retool an engine factory in northern England to produce electric car power units instead of combustion-engine transmissions.

The No. 2 U.S. carmaker has said its car lineup in Europe will be all-electric by 2030.

Companies like Mercedes-Benz Daimler maker have warned that shifting to electric will cost jobs at combustion-engine plants, so Ford’s announcement is a boost for workers making fossil-fuel engines at its Halewood plant near Liverpool.

The shift to electric has also been accompanied by changes in the automotive landscape, with a large number of startups hoping to become the next Tesla Inc (TSLA.O).

That has attracted the attention of Taiwan’s Foxconn (2317.TW), which has ambitious plans to diversify away from its role of building consumer electronics for Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and other tech firms.

Indeed, Foxconn unveiled its first three EV prototypes on Monday – an SUV, a sedan and a bus – made by Foxtron, a venture between Foxconn and Taiwanese car maker Yulon Motor Co Ltd (2201.TW).

It first mentioned its EV ambitions less than two years ago and has moved relatively quickly, this year announcing deals to build cars with U.S. startup Fisker Inc (FSR.N) and Thailand’s energy group PTT Pcl (PTT.BK).

The need for speed was also a reason Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) had Tesla CEO Elon Musk address top executives at the German carmaker over the weekend.

Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess has made no secret of his ambitions to chase and overtake Tesla, the world’s leading electric carmaker.

But in a Linkedin post, Diess said he had invited Musk as a “surprise guest” to drive home the point that VW needs faster decisions and less bureaucracy for what he called the biggest transformation in the company’s history.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

An Apple employee who led fellow workers in publicly sharing instances of what they called harassment and discrimination at the company said on Thursday that she had been fired.

Janneke Parrish, an Apple program manager, said the iPhone maker informed her on Thursday that she had been terminated for deleting material on company equipment while she was under investigation over the leaking of a company town hall to media. She told Reuters she denies leaking.

Parrish said she deleted apps that contained details of her finances and other personal information before handing her devices in to Apple as part of the probe.

Parrish said she believes she was fired for her activism in the workplace.

“To me, this seems clearly retaliatory for the fact that I was speaking out about abuses that have happened at my employer, pay equity and, generally, about our workplace conditions,” she said.

Apple said Friday it does not discuss specific employee matters.

Apple has recently experienced other examples of employee unrest. Last month, two Apple employees told Reuters they had filed charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers accused Apple of retaliation and halting discussion of pay among employees, among other allegations.

Apple has said that it is “deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace” and that it takes “all concerns” from employees seriously.

US law protects the right of employees to openly discuss certain topics, including working conditions, discrimination and equal pay.

Over the summer, current and former Apple employees began detailing on social media what they said were experiences of harassment and discrimination. Parrish and some colleagues began publishing the stories on social media and a publishing platform in a weekly digest titled ‘#AppleToo.’

Parrish said she was careful to respect company rules and never shared information that she believed to be confidential. She said she continued to publish the ‘#AppleToo’ digest after coming under investigation at the end of September.

“If anything, it’s made the importance of that work clearer than ever, when Apple’s response to criticism is to start internal investigations into those that it wants to see gone,” she said. “It’s easier for them to terminate people than it is for them to actually listen.”

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

Investor Michael Burry of “The Big Short” fame said he was no longer betting against Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and that his position was just a trade, CNBC reported on Friday.

Burry’s Scion Asset Management said in a regulatory filing in mid-May it had put options on 800,100 Tesla shares as of the end of the first quarter. Details on the strike price of the puts, their value and whether they were part of a broader trade were not available.

Based on Tesla’s closing price of $667.93 at the end of the first quarter, the value of that many shares would have been about $534 million. The actual value of the options position was not known.

Put options give investors the right to sell shares at a certain price in the future.

Options analysts said at that time it was possible the puts disclosed in the filing might be part of a larger trade that would curb losses if the put position went against the fund.

“No, it was a trade,” Burry was quoted as saying in an email to CNBC on Friday, when asked whether he was still shorting Tesla.

“Media really inflated the value of these things. I was never short tens or hundreds of millions of any of these things through options, as was reported. The options bets were extremely asymmetric, and the media was off by orders of magnitude,” Burry told CNBC.

One of the investors profiled in the book “The Big Short” and the film of the same name for betting more than $1 billion against the US housing bubble, Burry has previously been skeptical of Tesla’s sky-high valuations.

Tesla and Scion Asset Management did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Shares in Tesla rose marginally after the bell on Friday.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
A file photo shows the capsule with Nasa's Lucy spacecraft

Nasa launched a first-of-its kind mission on Saturday to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, two large clusters of space rocks that scientists believe are remnants of primordial material that formed the solar system’s outer planets.

The space probe, dubbed Lucy and packed inside a special cargo capsule, lifted off on schedule from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:34 a.m. EDT (0934 GMT), Nasa said. It was carried aloft by an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance (UAL), a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Lucy’s mission is a 12-year expedition to study a record number of asteroids. It will be the first to explore the Trojans, thousands of rocky objects orbiting the sun in two swarms – one ahead of the path of giant gas planet Jupiter and one behind it.

The largest known Trojan asteroids, named for the warriors of Greek mythology, are believed to measure as much as 225 kilometers (140 miles) in diameter.

Scientists hope Lucy’s close-up fly-by of seven Trojans will yield new clues to how the solar system’s planets came to be formed some 4.5 billion years ago and what shaped their present configuration.

Believed to be rich in carbon compounds, the asteroids may even provide new insights into the origin of organic materials and life on Earth, Nasa said.

“The Trojan asteroids are leftovers from the early days of our solar system, effectively the fossils of planet formation,” principal mission investigator Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, was quoted by Nasa as saying.

No other single science mission has been designed to visit as many different objects independently orbiting the sun in the history of space exploration, Nasa said.

As well as the Trojans, Lucy will do a fly-by of an asteroid in the solar system’s main asteroid belt, called DonaldJohanson in honor of the lead discoverer of the fossilized human ancestor known as Lucy, from which the Nasa mission takes its name. The Lucy fossil, unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974, was in turn named for the Beatles hit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Lucy the asteroid probe will make spaceflight history in another way. Following a route that circles back to Earth three times for gravitational assists, it will be the first spacecraft ever to return to Earth’s vicinity from the outer solar system, according to Nasa.

The probe will use rocket thrusters to maneuver in space and two rounded solar arrays, each the width of a school bus, to recharge batteries that will power the instruments contained in the much smaller central body of the spacecraft.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
The Long March-2F Y13 rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft and three astronauts in China's second crewed mission to build its own space station

China on Saturday launched a rocket carrying three astronauts, including one woman, to the core module of a future space station where they will live and work for six months, the longest-ever duration in orbit for Chinese astronauts.

A Long March-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft, which means “Divine Vessel” in Chinese, blasted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu at 12:23 a.m. Beijing time (1623 GMT on Friday).

China began construction of the space station in April with the launch of Tianhe – the first and largest of the station’s three modules. Slightly bigger than a city bus, Tianhe will be the living quarters of the completed space station.

Shenzhou-13 is the second of four crewed missions needed to complete the space station by the end of 2022. During the first crewed mission that concluded in September, three other astronauts stayed on Tianhe for 90 days.

In the latest mission, astronauts will carry out tests of the key technologies and robotics on Tianhe needed to assemble the space station, verify onboard life support systems and conduct a host of scientific experiments.

China, barred by U.S. law from working with NASA and by extension on the International Space Station (ISS), has spent the past decade developing technologies to build its own station.

With the ISS set to retire in a few years, China’s space station will become the only one in Earth’s orbit.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, headed by Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, and Republican Chuck Grassley, plan to introduce a bill that would bar Big Tech platforms, like Amazon (AMZN.O) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google, from favoring their products and services.

The bill is one of a slew introduced in this Congress aimed at reining in tech firms, including industry leaders Facebook (FB.O) and Apple (AAPL.O). Thus far none have become law although one, a broader measure to increase resources for antitrust enforcers, has passed the Senate.

This bill, which Klobuchar’s office said would be introduced early next week, would be a companion to a measure which has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It must pass both houses of Congress to become law.

Klobuchar and Grassley’s bill would specifically prohibit platforms from requiring companies operating on their sites to purchase the platform’s goods or services and ban them from biasing search results to favor the platform.

“As dominant digital platforms — some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen — increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

Klobuchar is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee while Grassley is the top Republican on the full committee. Co-sponsors include Democrats like Senator Dick Durbin, chair of the full Judiciary Committee, Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker, as well as Republicans Lindsey Graham, John Kennedy and Cynthia Lummis.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
"Star Trek" actor William Shatner is driven to the launch pad of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket before mission NS-18 for a suborbital flight

Actor William Shatner soared aboard a Blue Origin rocketship on a suborbital trip and landed in the Texas desert on Wednesday to become at age 90 the oldest person ever in space as U.S. billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos’s company carried out its second tourist flight.

Shatner was one of four passengers to journey to the edge of space aboard the white fully autonomous 60-foot-tall (18.3 meters-tall) New Shepard spacecraft, which took off from Blue Origin’s launch site about 20 miles (32 km) outside the rural west Texas town of Van Horn.

The four astronauts experienced about three to four minutes of weightlessness and travelled above the internationally recognized boundary of space known as the Karman Line, about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth. The crew capsule returned to the Texas desert under parachutes, raising a cloud of dust.

The four astronauts, all wearing blue flight suits with the company’s name in white letters on one sleeve, climbed into the crew capsule atop the spacecraft before the launch and strapped in after ascending a set of stairs accompanied by Bezos. Each rang a bell before entering the capsule, with Bezos then closing the hatch. Before that, they rode a vehicle with Bezos at the wheel to the launch pad.

Winds were light and skies were clear for the launch, which was conducted after two delays totalling roughly 45 minutes.

Joining Shatner – who embodied the promise of space travel in the classic 1960s TV series “Star Trek” and seven subsequent films – in the all-civilian crew were former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, clinical research entrepreneur Glen de Vries and Blue Origin vice president and engineer Audrey Powers.

It marked the second space tourism flight for Blue Origin, billionaire U.S. businessman Jeff Bezos’s company founded two decades ago.

Blue Origin’s rocket New Shepard blasts off carrying Star Trek actor William Shatner, 90,

The flight represents another important day for the nascent space tourism industry that, according to UBS, could reach an annual value of $3 billion in a decade. The flight, previously scheduled for Tuesday, was pushed back a day for wind-related reasons.

Blue Origin had a successful debut space tourism flight on July 20, with Bezos and three others aboard, flying to the edge of space and back on a trip lasting 10 minutes and 10 seconds. On that flight, pioneering female aviator Wally Funk at age 82 became the oldest person to reach space. The previous record was set in 1998 when pioneering astronaut John Glenn returned to space as a 77-year-old U.S. senator.

Bezos, the Amazon.com Inc founder and current executive chairman, formed Blue Origin two decades ago.

Shatner, who turned 90 in March, has been acting since the 1950s and remains busy with entertainment projects and fan conventions. He is best known for starring as Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise on the classic 1960s TV series “Star Trek” and seven subsequent films about fictional adventures in outer space.

As an actor, Shatner was synonymous with space voyages. During the opening credits of each episode of the series, he called space “the final frontier” and promised “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

“Beam me up,” Shatner’s character would tell the Enterprise’s chief engineer Scotty, played by James Doohan, in a memorable catchphrase when he needed to be transported to the starship.

Shatner said there is both irony and symmetry to his space trip, having played a space explorer for decades and now actually becoming one.

“Having played the role of Captain Kirk … assigns me the knowledge that a futuristic astronaut would have, but I’ve always been consumed with curiosity,” Shatner said in a Blue Origin video.

Shatner’s participation in the flight has helped generate publicity for Blue Origin as it competes against two billionaire-backed rivals – Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc – to attract customers willing to pay large sums to experience spaceflight.

Branson inaugurated his space tourism service on July 11, riding along on a suborbital flight with six others aboard his company’s VSS Unity rocket plane. SpaceX, which has launched numerous astronauts and cargo payloads to the International Space Station for NASA, debuted its space tourism business by flying the first all-civilian crew to reach Earth’s orbit in a three-day mission ending Sept. 18.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration two weeks ago said it will review safety concerns raised by former and current Blue Origin employees who have accused the company of prioritizing speed and cost savings over quality control and adequate staffing.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

Taiwan’s TSMC (2330.TW) and Japan’s Sony Group Corp (6758.T) are considering jointly building a chip factory in Japan, with the government ready to pay for some of the investment of about 800 billion yen ($7.15 billion), the Nikkei reported on Friday.

The plant in Kumamoto, southern Japan, is expected to produce semiconductors for automobiles, camera image sensors and other products which have been hit by a global chip shortage, and is likely to start operations by 2024, the report said.

Both Sony and TSMC declined to comment. But TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker and major Apple Inc (AAPL.O) supplier had said in July that it was reviewing a plan to set up production in Japan.

TSMC has been concerned about the the concentration of chipmaking capability in Taiwan, which produces the majority of the world’s most advanced chips.

China does not rule out the use of force to bring the democratic island under its control.

Japanese officials are also worried about the supply chain stability of its industries, with a global chip shortage forcing automakers to cut production.
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

Facebook Inc apologized to users for a two hour disruption to its services on Friday and blamed another faulty configuration change for its second global outage this week.

The company confirmed its social media platform, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace were impacted by the latest outage.

“Sincere apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to access our products in the last couple of hours,” the company said. “We fixed the issue, and everything should be back to normal now.”

During the latest outage, some users were unable to load their Instagram feeds, while others were not able to send messages on Facebook Messenger.

People swiftly took to Twitter to share memes and jokes about the second service disruption this week. “Looks like Facebook went to a 3-day work week. Monday and Friday shutdowns?” a Twitter user said.

Instagram thanked users for their patience and “for all the memes this week”.

On Monday, the social media giant blamed a “faulty configuration change” for a nearly six-hour outage that prevented the company’s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The outage on Monday was the largest that web monitoring group Downdetector had ever seen and blocked access to the apps for billions of users, leading to a surge in usage of rival social media and messaging apps.

Moscow officials said Monday’s outage showed Russia was right to develop its own social media networks, while EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager highlighted the repercussions of relying on just a few big players, underscoring the need for more rivals.

Both the outages piled pressure on Facebook this week after a former employee turned whistleblower accused the company on Sunday of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
Elon Musk

With final approval for its German factory potentially just weeks away, Tesla’s (TSLA.O) Elon Musk will make an appearance in the tiny town of Gruenheide this Saturday to host a county fair.

Despite pandemic-related curbs limiting gatherings in Germany to under 5,000 people, Tesla applied for – and got – a permit to have 9,000 at the Oct. 9 ‘Giga-Fest’, after local authorities agreed the event would be COVID safe.

Coming on the heels of officials allowing the company to break ground on its new site before final approval had even been granted, environmental groups say this is just the latest example of Tesla being given too much leeway to act disruptively in Germany – a pattern they worry will continue.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

The pre-approvals Musk has received from local authorities to build without final permission are legal, but rarely used by German firms because of the associated risk: if final approval is not granted, Tesla must pay to tear everything down.

While some bemoan Musk’s approach as throwing German caution to the wind, others – who say German regulations governing planning, jobs and environmental concerns are unnecessarily restrictive – welcome the influence he could have on the country’s business culture.

“I am fully convinced Tesla can have a positive effect on Germany,” Brandenburg’s economy minister Joerg Steinbach, a prominent advocate of the factory, told Reuters.

“The fundamental idea of taking a close look at current legislation and checking whether it could perhaps be modernised – without risking a loss to legal clout – is in my opinion absolutely worth considering.”

The country’s powerful unions are already gearing up to fight for German-style contracts for Tesla workers, environmental groups are poised to oppose any further expansion plans, and locals wary of Musk’s ‘American’ ways are watching the firm’s every move.

“Tesla has to stick to environmental protection laws, building laws, and of course labour and unionisation laws,” Birgit Dietze, head of the Brandenburg region for union IG Metall and a former member of Volkswagen’s supervisory board, said.

Musk has made his irritation for German laws and processes known, saying in a letter to authorities in April that the country’s complex planning requirements were at odds with the urgency needed to fight climate change.

Once running, the factory will produce 500,000 electric cars a year and generate 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery capacity – more than any other plant in the country.

Conversations between the union and applicants indicate Tesla, whose CEO is known for his rocky relationship with organised labour, is offering pay 20 per cent below the collectively bargained wages offered at other German automakers, IG Metall said.

It is also shaking up conventional German contracts by offering packages with stock options and bonuses rather than predetermined holiday pay.

Driving a harder bargain with its workforce could create a competitive advantage for Tesla, whose choice to set up its first European gigafactory in the homeland of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and BMW (BMWG.DE) has raised the stakes in the global battle for EV dominance.

Musk has already experienced German union power. When Tesla bought German car parts supplier Grohmann Automation in 2017, it set wages 30 per cent below average, refusing to match collectively bargained pay.

After the firm offered one-off bonuses and stock options instead, unions dropped a threat to strike. Unions say stock options have also been mooted at the Brandenburg factory.

GERMAN CARMAKERS CAN’T DO IT - BUT TESLA CAN

Of the 12,000 positions to be created at the factory, 800-1,200 have been filled so far, according to IG Metall and Steinbach.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment or questions on how recruitment was progressing. But data from LinkedIn suggest applications are low, with fewer than 10 applicants for most of the factory positions advertised in the past month.

Gruenheide is a 45-minute drive from the Polish border, and Tesla is widely expected to recruit workers from there.

“20 per cent under German wages is still very good pay for Polish workers,” Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, an expert on the German auto industry, said.

“German automakers couldn’t do it; they’d get into big trouble with the unions. But Tesla can do it.”

Musk had planned on starting production in July in order to deliver the Model Y car to European customers from Berlin – but local opposition and the late addition of a battery plant requiring blueprints to be resubmitted to authorities held up the process.

The delay forced Tesla to deliver the Model Y from Shanghai, prolonging waiting times and increasing costs.

In a document published online in late September containing all 813 objections to the factory filed with local authorities and Tesla’s responses, the company repeatedly reminded its critics that it was creating jobs and bringing Germany closer to its electric mobility goals.

“I understand the concerns. But some of it is selfish. It’s always the same – people want things like wind farms and electric vehicles… just not in their backyard,” said 60-year-old Grunheide local Ralf-Thomas Petersohn, a member of Germany’s official Tesla fan club.

A public hearing scheduled for Sept. 23 for citizens to discuss objections to the factory was moved online due to concerns that it could become a “super-spreader event”, authorities said, a decision which some viewed as hypocritical considering the likely approval of Tesla’s request for a 9,000-person party.

“This isn’t about Tesla. It’s about whether you take citizen participation seriously,” Michael Ganschow of environmental organisation Gruene Liga said. “We can’t just say, ‘You’re making electric cars, so you can do whatever you want’.”

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

Amazon.com Inc’s live streaming e-sports platform Twitch said on Wednesday it was hit by a data breach, without providing further details.

An anonymous hacker claimed to have leaked Twitch data, including information related to the company’s source code, clients and unreleased games, according to Video Games Chronicle, which first reported the news of the hack.

Twitch confirmed the breach and said its “teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this”.

The company declined to comment further and said it would “update the community as soon as additional information is available”. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The hacker’s motive was to “foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space”, according to the Video Games Chronicle report.

About 125GB of data was leaked, including information on Twitch’s highest paid video game streamers since 2019, such as a $9.6 million payout to the voice actors of popular game “Dungeons & Dragons” and $8.4 million to Canadian streamer xQcOW, the report said.

“Twitch leak is real. Includes significant amount of personal data,” cyber security expert Kevin Beaumont tweeted.

Twitch, an online e-sports platform with more than 30 million average daily visitors, has become increasingly popular with musicians and video gamers where they interact with users while live streaming content.

The platform, which was boycotted earlier this year by users for not doing enough to block harassment, previously made a move to ban users for offenses such as hate-group membership and credible threats of mass violence.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen

Facebook took another pounding in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday and a senator called on federal regulators to investigate accusations by a whistleblower that the company pushed for higher profits while being cavalier about user safety.

In an opening statement to a Senate Commerce subcommittee, chair Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said that Facebook knew that its products were addictive, like cigarettes. “Tech now faces that big tobacco jawdropping moment of truth,” he said.

He called for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the committee, and for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the social media company.

“Our children are the ones who are victims. Teens today looking in the mirror feel doubt and insecurity. Mark Zuckerberg ought to be looking at himself in the mirror,” Blumenthal said, adding that Zuckerberg instead was going sailing.

In an era when bipartisanship is rare on Capitol Hill, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed on the need for big changes at Facebook.

The top Republican on the subcommittee, Marsha Blackburn, said that Facebook turned a blind eye to children below age 13 on its sites. “It is clear that Facebook prioritizes profit over the well-being of children and all users.”

Facebook spokesman Kevin McAlister said in an email ahead of the hearing that the company sees protecting its community as more important than maximizing profits and said it was not accurate that leaked internal research demonstrated that Instagram was “toxic” for teenage girls.

Frances Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, said the company keeps its algorithms and operations a secret.

“The core of the issue is that no one can understand Facebook’s destructive choices better than Facebook, because only Facebook gets to look under the hood,” she said in written testimony prepared for the hearing.

“A critical starting point for effective regulation is transparency,” she said in testimony to be delivered to the subcommittee. “On this foundation, we can build sensible rules and standards to address consumer harms, illegal content, data protection, anticompetitive practices, algorithmic systems and more.”

Haugen revealed she was the one who provided documents used in a Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate hearing on Instagram’s harm to teenage girls.

The Journal’s stories showed the company contributed to increased polarization online when it made changes to its content algorithm; failed to take steps to reduce vaccine hesitancy; and was aware that Instagram harmed the mental health of teenage girls.

Haugen said Facebook had also done too little to prevent its site from being used by people planning violence.

Facebook was used by people planning mass killings in Myanmar and the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump who were determined to toss out the 2020 election results.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
Spurs star Loucas Moura, posting on Twitter, said: "With the fall of WhatsApp and Instagram I was able to talk a little with my wife"

Tottenham Hotspur’s Lucas Moura joked that Monday’s near six-hour social media outage meant he finally had a chance to connect with his wife, while Everton’s Richarlison saw a fresh opening for carrier pigeons, as soccer players saw the funny side of the blackout.

Facebook Inc blamed a “faulty configuration change” for the interruption that prevented the company’s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Players have increasingly harnessed the reach of social media to engage with fans and build their brands, so the outage left many of them twiddling their thumbs.

Posting on the unaffected Twitter, Moura said: “With the fall of WhatsApp and Instagram I was able to talk a little with my wife.”

Richarlison, who has more than 660,000 followers on Twitter, posted images of carrier pigeons with the caption: “Now you guys want my services right?”

Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger tweeted a short video of himself celebrating with the caption: “When you realize your SMS flat-rate finally makes sense again #whatsappdown.”

When normal service was resumed Preston North End forward Connor Wickham was delighted.

“Buzzin’ my WhatsApp is back,” he told his more than 108,000 Twitter followers.
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

Facebook Inc blamed a “faulty configuration change” for a nearly six-hour outage on Monday that prevented the company’s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The company in a late Monday blog post did not specify who executed the configuration change and whether it was planned.

Several Facebook employees who declined to be named had told Reuters earlier that they believed that the outage was caused by an internal mistake in how internet traffic is routed to its systems.

The failures of internal communication tools and other resources that depend on that same network in order to work compounded the error, the employees said. Security experts have said an inadvertent mistake or sabotage by an insider were both plausible.

“We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change,” Facebook said in the blog.

The Facebook outage is the largest ever tracked by web monitoring group Downdetector.

The outage was the second blow to the social media giant in as many days after a whistleblower on Sunday accused the company of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.

As the world flocked to competing apps such as Twitter and TikTok, shares of Facebook fell 4.9%, their biggest daily drop since last November, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks on Monday. Shares rose about half a percent in after-hours trade following resumption of service.

“To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I’m sorry,” Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer tweeted, adding that it “may take some time to get to 100%.”

“Facebook basically locked its keys in its car,” tweeted Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Twitter on Monday reported higher-than-normal usage, which led to some issues in people accessing posts and direct messages.

In one of the day’s most popular tweets, video streaming company Netflix shared a meme from its new hit show “Squid Game” captioned “When Instagram & Facebook are down,” that showed a person labeled “Twitter” holding up a character on the verge of falling labeled “everyone.”

Inside a Facebook group for ad buyers, one member wisecracked after service returned that “lots of people searched today ‘how to run google ads for clients.'”

Facebook, which is the world’s largest seller of online ads after Google, was losing about $545,000 in U.S. ad revenue per hour during the outage, according to estimates from ad measurement firm Standard Media Index.

Past downtime at internet companies has had little long-term affect on their revenue growth, however.

Facebook‘s services, including consumer apps such as Instagram, workplace tools it sells to businesses and internal programs, went dark noon Eastern time (1600 GMT). Access started to return around 5:45 pm ET.

Soon after the outage started, Facebook acknowledged users were having trouble accessing its apps but did not provide any specifics about the nature of the problem or say how many users were affected.

The error message on Facebook‘s webpage suggested an error in the Domain Name System (DNS), which allows web addresses to take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies Inc took down multiple websites in July.

On Sunday, Frances Haugen, who worked as a product manager on the civic misinformation team at Facebook, revealed that she was the whistleblower who provided documents underpinning a recent Wall Street Journal investigation and a U.S. Senate hearing last week on Instagram’s harm to teen girls.

Haugen was due to urge the same Senate subcommittee on Tuesday to regulate the company, which she plans to liken to tobacco companies that for decades denied that smoking damaged health, according to prepared testimony seen by Reuters.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

A Facebook Inc whistleblower on Sunday accused the social media giant of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation, and said her lawyers have filed at least eight complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Frances Haugen, who worked as a product manager on the civic misinformation team at Facebook, appeared on Sunday on the CBS television program “60 Minutes,” revealing her identity as the whistleblower who provided the documents that underpinned a Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate hearing on Instagram’s harm to teen girls.

Facebook has been under fire after the Journal published a series of stories based on Facebook internal presentations and emails that showed the social media company contributed to increased polarization online when it made changes to its content algorithm, failed to take steps to reduce vaccine hesitancy and was aware that Instagram harmed the mental health of teenage girls.

Haugen will testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday in a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online,” about the company’s research into Instagram’s effect on young users.

“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” she said during the interview. “And Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests like making more money.”

Haugen, who previously worked at Google and Pinterest, said Facebook has lied to the public about the progress it made to clamp down on hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

She added that Facebook was used to help organize the Capitol riot on January 6, after the company turned off safety systems following the U.S. presidential elections.

While she believed no one at Facebook was “malevolent,” she said the company had misaligned incentives.

Facebook published a statement disputing the points that Haugen made after the televised interview.

“We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content,” said Facebook spokesperson Lena Pietsch. “To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.”

Ahead of the 60 Minutes interview, Facebook Vice President of global affairs Nick Clegg said on CNN it was “ludicrous” to assert that Jan. 6 occurred because of social media.

INTERNATIONAL TALKS

On Sunday, Haugen’s attorney John Tye, founder of legal nonprofit Whistleblower Aid confirmed a New York Times report that some of the internal documents have been shared with attorneys general from several states including California, Vermont and Tennessee.

Tye said the complaints were filed to the SEC on the basis that as a publicly-traded company, Facebook is required to not lie to its investors, or even withhold material information.

The complaints compare Facebook’s internal research with its public statements on the issues it researched, according to the 60 Minutes interview.

Tye said Haugen has also spoken with lawmakers in Europe and is scheduled to appear before the British parliament later this month, in hopes of spurring regulatory action.

He and Haugen are also interested in speaking with lawmakers from countries in Asia, since many of the issues that motivated Haugen stem from the region, including the ethnic violence in Myanmar, he added.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

A slump in Zoom Video Communications Inc’s (ZM.O) share price likely limited its ability to sweeten a nearly $15 billion all-stock offer for call center software firm Five9 (FIVN.O) and led to the deal’s collapse, Wall Street analysts said on Friday.

Five9 shareholders on Thursday voted down the sale to Zoom, denting the company’s efforts to diversify its offerings as growth slows in its virtual conferencing business after a boom during the pandemic.

While some analysts expected Zoom to raise its offer to address Five9 shareholder worries about the price, others said an almost 30 per cent drop in Zoom shares since July on the back of slowing growth only dampened the prospects.

Under the deal terms, Five9 shareholders would have received 0.5533 Zoom share for each share held. The terms then implied a 12.8 per cent premium over Five9’s market price.

“The deal was negatively perceived from the beginning given the small premium and all-stock structure,” Jefferies analyst Samad Samana said in a note to clients. “ZM’s stock declining 28 per cent since the announcement only compounded the issues and likely made revising the terms difficult as well.”

The deal – which would have been Zoom’s biggest-ever purchase if completed – was also opposed by shareholder proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis. The firms had recommended that Five9 shareholders vote against the deal, citing growth concerns and dual-class shares.

“While we think the deal made strategic sense for both companies over the long term, the variable deal tied to volatile (Zoom) shares was not an economically attractive deal for (Five9) shareholders at this time,” Piper Sandler analysts said.

Analysts at Barclays blamed the fall in Zoom’s share price and possible regulatory scrutiny for the deal falling through.

A U.S. Justice Department panel had been reviewing the deal over possible national security concerns, though analysts had said it was unlikely the deal would be scrapped as a result.

“(Our) conversations, especially with event-driven investors, suggest that they believe Five9 was important enough to Zoom that they would ultimately bump/sweeten the offer for Five9,” J.P. Morgan analysts said.

“Obviously, the recent pullback in stock prices for premium valuation software stocks makes the current situation all the more complicated.”

Zoom’s shares gained 1.6 per cent to $265.79 in premarket trading, while Five9’s stock was down about 3 per cent at $155.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News

YouTube will block all anti-vaccine content, moving beyond its ban on false information about the COVID vaccines to include content that contains misinformation about other approved vaccines, it said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Examples of content that won’t be allowed on YouTube include claims that the flu vaccine causes infertility and that the MMR shot, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, can cause autism, according to YouTube’s policies.

The online video company owned by Alphabet Inc is also banning channels associated with several prominent anti-vaccine activists including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola, a YouTube spokesperson said.

A press email for Mercola’s website said in a statement: “We are united across the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and restore our freedoms.”

Kennedy said in a statement: “There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy has advanced either democracy or public health.”

The moves come as YouTube and other tech giants like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have been criticized for not doing enough to stop the spread of false health information on their sites.

But even as YouTube takes a tougher stance on misinformation, it faces backlash around the world. On Tuesday, Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels were deleted from YouTube, as the company said the channels had breached its COVID-19 misinformation policy.

Russia on Wednesday called the move “unprecedented information aggression,” and threatened to block YouTube.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
The iconic 'Spirit of Ecstasy' bonnet ornament of a Rolls-Royce car

Rolls-Royce will produce only electric cars by 2030, the luxury carmaker said on Wednesday, joining other premium brands making the switch such as Volkswagen’s Bentley and Jaguar’s Land Rover.

The BMW-owned brand said in a statement that its first fully electric powered car, named ‘Spectre’, will be on the market in the fourth quarter of 2023, with testing to begin soon.

“With this new product we set out our credentials for the full electrification of our entire product portfolio by 2030, said Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce, which is based in the south of England.

“By then, Rolls-Royce will no longer be in the business of producing or selling any internal combustion engine products,” Muller-Otvos added.

BMW has not set an end date for producing fossil fuel burning cars, instead setting a goal of 50% electric vehicle production by 2030, but its subsidiary Mini said in March it would go all-electric by the end of the decade.

The Jaguar brand of Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover will go all-electric by 2025, Volkswagen AG’ luxury unit Bentley Motors by 2030, and Mercedes Benz maker Daimler by the same year, if market conditions allow.
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
A woman wearing a face mask walks past an image of an iPhone 13 Pro at an Apple Store

Apple Inc’s customers will have to wait for a few more weeks to lay their hands on the new iPhone 13 as supply chain delays and strong demand lead to one of the longest waiting times for the phone in recent years, analysts said.

The delivery time for Apple’s iPhones after a new launch is watched by analysts as one of the measures to gauge demand for the flagship phone’s newest model. But this year, it is also shining a light on supply chain issues plaguing technology companies ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Analysts at J.P.Morgan and Credit Suisse said customers across the world who had pre-ordered the new models online would have to wait more than four weeks for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max and about 2 weeks for the base iPhone 13.

In the United States, which accounts for over a third of iPhone shipments, the delivery time for the iPhone 13 series was 19 to 34 days in the second week, compared with 7 to 20 days in the first week, both greater than the lead times for the iPhone 12 Series.

Apple was not immediately available to comment on the delays in delivery times.

“While admittedly part of the expansion in the lead times is on account of the supply chain constraints, we still find the material increase in the lead time in Week 2 relative to Week 1 as an indicator of the robust demand for upgrades, likely exceeding low investor expectations into the launch,” J.P.Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee said.

Apple’s partners Verizon, Vodafone UK and Best Buy cited high demand and product supply issues in replies to customers on Twitter. Many users on social media also flagged the delays.

“With a delay on the delivery for iPhone 13 pro max I might as well cancel! They talking (about until) October 30th,” one user said on Twitter https://twitter.com/Chico_DeBarge_/status/1440044634244206593.

On Sunday, several Apple and Tesla Inc suppliers suspended production at some Chinese factories for a number of days to comply with tighter energy consumption policies, putting supply chains at risk in the peak season for electronics goods.

The iPhone 13, priced between $699 and $1,599, comes with a sharper camera, a new bionic chip and improved connectivity. It has been available for pre-booking since Sept. 17.

REUTERS
Your source for latest breaking Nigerian News, Entertainment, Sports and World News
Mr Goxx's trading desk, made of fine hand-crafted furniture

Like many people, Mr Goxx is dabbling in cryptocurrency, hoping to strike it rich.

He's notable for two reasons: first, he is making money, with his lifetime career performance up about 20% - beating many professional traders and funds.

Second, Mr Goxx is a hamster.

The business-minded rodent has a trading office attached to his regular cage. Every day, when he enters the office, a livestream starts on Twitch, and his Twitter account lets followers know: Mr Goxx has started a trading session.

By running in his "intention wheel", he selects which cryptocurrency he'd like to trade, as the wheel spins through the different options. His office floor has two tunnels nearby: one for buy, one for sell.

Every time he runs through a tunnel, the electronics wired to his office complete a trade according to Mr Goxx's desires.

The minds behind the furry financier are two men in their 30s, from Germany.

"We felt that everything keeps getting more expensive these days and building savings is super-hard to achieve with high rents to pay," they said.

"It seems like most people from our generation see no other chance than throwing a lot of their savings on the crypto market, without having a clue what's going on there.

"We were joking about whether my hamster would be able to make smarter investment decisions than we humans do."

Mr Goxx's name is itself a nod to the potential disasters of the crypto market. A company called Mt Gox was once the biggest crypto exchange on the planet - until it was compromised and hundreds of thousands of bitcoin stolen, making the company file for bankruptcy.

Goxx Capital

The first month was rough. Mr Goxx started on 12 June with €326 (£278), placing an order for Stellar (XLM). One month and 95 orders later, Goxx Capital was down 7.3%.

But as of 27 September, the intrepid trader's career performance is up 19.41%.

That beats not only the return on major stock markets such as the FTSE 100 or the Dow Jones but also the performance of investing supremo Warren Buffet's company, Berkshire Hathaway, according to calculations by crypto news site Protos.

And even in the crypto market itself, Mr Goxx has at times come out slightly ahead of Bitcoin, the biggest of the currencies.

To be clear, Goxx Capital is not a real investment firm - and Mr Goxx's human partners are keen to stress with every tweet it should not be taken as investment advice.

But the duo behind Mr Goxx prefer to stay anonymous.

Cryptocurrencies were "very controversial topics" and "as with almost any topic discussed on the internet these day, it feels as though discussions can become heated and uncivil quite quickly", they told BBC News.

And they prefer Mr Goxx to be the face of their "light-hearted side project".

It started as a hobby project during the "corona madness that hit our lives".

Mr Goxx's owner, a lecturer and prototyping specialist, says he likes to spark people's interest in new technologies, sometimes with humour.

The other human involved, a programmer, has been his best friend since university.

And the pair, who live hundreds of kilometres away from each other, "kind of reunited" working remotely on Goxx Capital.

The rodent's random trades are receiving a lot of interest from people, both online and in real life.

"Since my hamster took on his business, I got everyone around me asking for more information about this whole crypto thing," Mr Goxx's owner told BBC News, "mainly people that will normally run away if they'd hear the word 'blockchain'."

Goxx Box

Almost everything on Mr Goxx's trading floor is homemade, except for a few code snippets (libraries) the friends have made use of.

The office is fully automated, using a wide range of technology including software scripting, microcontrollers, single-board computers, computer-aided design, 3D printing, laser-cutting, and more.

All of which made for "a rather complex setup", the human creators said.

The surprisingly complex Goxx Box connects to Mr Goxx's normal cage

But there are plans to expand.

"We have many features in mind that would make the whole thing much more fun to watch and would mean even more space for Mr Goxx to play around in," they said.

But Mr Goxx, like a true successful executive, keeps his own hours. The portal between his regular cage remains open except when he needs to stay put for cleaning, so he can clock off at any time.

And avid watchers must wait for the next livestream notification: "Mr Goxx is in the office."

BBC