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Twitter bans Donald Trump for Life

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By TALI ARBEL

Twitter banned President Donald Trump’s account Friday, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” following the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Twitter has long given Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech and other behaviors. But in a detailed explanation posted on its blog Friday, the company said recent Trump tweets amounted to glorification of violence when read in the context of the Capitol riot and plans circulating online for future armed protests around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The social platform has been under growing pressure to take further action against Trump following the Wednesday violence. On Thursday, Facebook suspended Trump’s account through Jan. 20 and possibly indefinitely. Twitter merely suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after he posted a video that repeated false claims about election fraud and praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol.

Trump’s Twitter persona has long functioned as a mix of policy announcements, often out of the blue; complaints about the media; disparagement of women, minorities and his perceived enemies; and praise for his supporters, replete with exclamation marks, all-caps, and one-word declarations such as “Sad!”

He has fired numerous officials on Twitter and his posts, like his speeches at rallies, are a torrent of misinformation.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter declined to make CEO Jack Dorsey available and had no further comment.

The official account for the President of the United States, @POTUS, remains live. In fact, Trump, who issued a statement Friday evening that denounced Twitter as an enemy of free speech and floated the idea that he might build his own “platform,” also posted it on the @POTUS account, where it was quickly deleted.

Twitter says using another account to evade a suspension is against its rules, and that while it won’t ban government accounts like @POTUS or @WhiteHouse, it will “take action to limit their use.”

Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor of journalism and media at the University of North Carolina, said the move lets Twitter try to curry favor with the incoming Biden administration. Trump “only has two weeks left in power, and that certainly makes it easier to deplatform the president,” she said.

Others saw a more ominous portent in Twitter’s action. “Big Tech is not going to stop with the president of the United States,” Kay James, president of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, wrote in a tweet. “They can ban you next and everyone reading this.”

In the Trump tweets cited by Twitter, Trump stated that he will not be attending the inauguration and referred to his supporters as “American Patriots,” saying they will have “a GIANT VOICE long into the future.” Twitter said these statements “are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”

Twitter said its policy enables world leaders to speak to the public, but that these accounts “are not above our rules entirely” and can’t use Twitter to incite violence. Trump had roughly 89 million followers. Twitter shares fell roughly 4% in after-hours trading, reflecting concerns that the Trump ban might reduce usage and advertising sales.

Jonathan Greenblatt, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, said Friday that banning Trump was an “excellent step” and “a fitting end to a legacy of spewing hate and vitriol.” The ADL was part of a coalition of civil rights and advocacy groups on Friday calling for Twitter to ban Trump’s account.

Twitter, long accused of treating the president with kid gloves, began policing Trump more aggressively starting in the early days of the general presidential campaign, when the company began aggressively labeling his false tweets about supposedly widespread election fraud as disputed. An actual permanent suspension had been all but unimaginable — at least until he lost his bid for re-election.

In May, after Trump tweeted the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to protests in Minneapolis, Twitter added a warning label to his post for the first time. Tensions between Trump and Twitter only escalated from there.

Banning Trump entirely was a big step for the company — if one that it avoided taking until the president was a lame duck and its larger rival, Facebook, already banned him indefinitely.

Now that Trump has been knocked off one of his favorite pulpits, he may resort to other online channels such as Parler, a 2-year-old, more freewheeling alternative to Twitter that has become increasingly popular among the president’s most ardent supporters. Many have used the forum to spread falsehoods and hateful comments.

But Parler, which was already tiny compared to Twitter, has bigger problems that could threaten its future. Google suspended Parler from its app store on Friday over continued postings that seek “to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.” The company cited an “ongoing and urgent public safety threat” and said Parler won’t be reinstated until the issues are addressed.

Apple has issued Parler a similar warning and given it 24 hours to fix things. Parler CEO John Matze said in a post that the company “won’t cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech.”

While Trump could migrate to Parler, Gab or some other alternative site, doing so will greatly limit his influence, McGregor said. Trump has always craved legitimacy and standing in the mainstream media despite his complaints about normal reporting he has long referred to as “fake news.” He won’t get that on other platforms, she said.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security said in a statement Friday that Facebook and YouTube should also ban Trump.

On Friday, Twitter also permanently banned two Trump loyalists — former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell — as part of a broader purge of accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. Twitter said it will take action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm.

“Given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content,” Twitter said in an emailed statement. The company also said Trump attorney Lin Wood was permanently suspended Tuesday for violating its rules, but provided no additional details.

Dozens of QAnon social media accounts were hyping up Trump’s Jan. 6 rally in the heart of Washington, expressing hope that it could lead to the overturn of the election results.

Source: AP. technology writers Michael Liedtke, Barbara Ortutay and Frank Bajak contributed to this article.

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Microfinance.AI raises a pre-seed round of Rs 1.5 crore led by We Founder Circle

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NEW DELHI: We Founder Circle (WFC) – a founder backing founder based early-stage start-up investor has led the $200,000 (Rs 1.5 crore) worth pre-seed investment round raised by Microfinance.ai, a digital mobile platform for local-language preferred users to avail micro-financial services. The round also witnessed participation by an array of esteemed investors including – FAAD Network, Gujarat University Start-up and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), Saurabh Aggarwal, Co-founder Fitso, Ankit Prasad Founder & CEO Bobble AI, and 10+ angel investors.

Microfinance.AI operates under Uthaan Technologies Pvt Ltd, and promotes a digital mobile platform that allows users to avail micro-financial services digitally through trusted partners. Additionally, the platform offers convenience by allowing users to access the information in their own regional language. Currently, the start-up has two institutional partnerships to offer financial services for micro-credit borrowers. Over the period the platform has witnessed that the majority of borrowers availing services on Microfinance.AI are women, experiencing digital financial services for the first time, availing micro-loans through mobile phones.

On the Investment Neeraj Tyagi- Co-Founder and CEO, We Founder Circle said “All the financial platforms in some of the other formwork as extended arms of the Indian traditional banking system. With a huge population, the ultimate aim of 100% financial inclusion invites aggressive participation from innovators like Microfinance.AI. In addition to this, the size of the market, the low penetration rate, and the high rate of growth make this industry an attractive investment area. The finer technology used by players like Microfinance.AI, just makes it a more lucrative creation that is going to create a bigger difference in the overall growth of the nation.”

“Consumer behaviour is rapidly changing with the advancement of the internet. One size doesn’t fit all, and the same applies to technology. Microfinance.AI primarily focuses on providing a digital platform for availing micro-financial services and empowering local-language preferred users with customised knowledge delivered in bit-size content. We’re building a platform where 500M+ local language people can avail financial services through their mobile and delivered through trusted partners,” said Mr. Kapil Patil – Co-Founder, Microfinance.AI

Swati Sinha- Co-Founder, Microfinance.AI affirmed “While working across geographies I have realised that the financial system of the country is not adequate to meet the demands of all the sections of the society. With the fast-growing economy, the financial need is also increasing and the only way to meet this huge scale is by adopting technology. We have been working with the vision to build a tech platform which will promote financial inclusion for all.”

“Coming from a tier 2 & tier 3 city myself & with my personal vast experience in financial services & angel investing, I have realised that those start-ups who are creating a mass product for digital inclusion of Bharat, are going to be sure winners in the long run. Microfinance.AI founders have the unique advantage of the best global education pedigree from premier institutes like LSE and hands-on experience of working with low-income category consumers on the lending side. And so they are well poised to create a large impact company,” Mr. Gaurav VK Singhvi, Co-Founder We Founder Circle

The brand plans to exhaust a part of the fund in the backend technology development in order to further strengthen the platform. In addition to this, the startup also aims at utilising the fund infusion on quality talent acquisition which will enable the brand to achieve the target of 1 lakh users.

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Mobile Services

Mobile data traffic increased almost 300-fold over 10 years

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NEW DELHI: Ericsson global insights reveal an almost 300-fold increase in mobile data traffic since 2011 – the year in which Ericsson Mobility Report was first published. The findings, based on current and historical network data, are included in the special ten-year edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report November 2021.

The report looks back at some of the key trends and events that have shaped the last decade, as well as revealing the latest forecasts toward 2027.

The premise that 5G will become the fastest deployed mobile generation to date has been enhanced with an updated estimate of close to 660 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year. The increase is due to stronger than expected demand in China and North America, driven partly by decreasing prices of 5G devices. There was also a net addition of 98 million 5G subscriptions globally in Q3 2021, compared to 48 million new 4G subscriptions. At the end of 2021, it is estimated that 5G networks will cover more than two billion people.

According to the latest forecasts, 5G is on track to become the dominant mobile access technology, by subscriptions globally, by 2027. 5G is also expected to account for around 50 percent of all mobile subscriptions worldwide – covering 75 percent of the world’s population and carrying 62 percent of the global smartphone traffic by 2027.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “Mobile communication has had an incredible impact on society and business over the last ten years. When we look ahead to 2027, mobile networks will be more integral than ever to how we interact, live and work. Our latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that the pace of change is accelerating, with technology playing a crucial role.”

Since 2011, the deployment of 4G LTE networks has been pivotal in generating 5.5 billion new smartphone connections worldwide, contributing to the market availability of more than 20,000 different 4G device models. This report indicates a much earlier technology lifecycle of 5G devices, with 5G handsets today accounting for 23 percent of global volumes, compared to 8 percent of 4G handsets at the corresponding point in its lifecycle.

This is helping to fuel an exponential growth of mobile data traffic. Mobile network data traffic was up 42 percent, year-on-year, in Q3 2021 accounting for approximately 78 exabytes (EB), including traffic generated by Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services. In Q3 alone, mobile data traffic was more than all mobile traffic ever generated up until the end of 2016. New forecasts reveal that total mobile network data traffic is likely to reach 370EB by the end of 2027.

The report also reveals that the nature of mobile connections is changing rapidly, contributing to the ongoing rise in mobile data traffic.

Broadband IoT has now surpassed 2G/3G as the segment that connects the largest share of IoT applications. It is expected to account for 47 percent of all cellular IoT connections by the end of 2021, compared to 37 percent for 2G/3G and 16 percent for Massive IoT technologies (NB-IoT and Cat-M).

New forecasts reaffirm the rapid acceleration of massive IoT deployments in coming years, spanning use cases such as e-health wearables, logistical asset tracking, environmental monitoring and smart meters, and smart manufacturing tracking and monitoring devices. Massive IoT deployments are forecast to account for 51 percent of all cellular IoT connections by 2027.

In the same forecast period, FWA connections are forecast to grow almost threefold – from 88 million by the end of 2021, to around 230 million in 2027. Almost half of these connections are expected to be carried over 5G networks.

 

India Outlook

5G will represent around 39 percent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2027, estimated at about 500 million subscriptions. The number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to be 810 million at the end of 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2027. Smartphone subscriptions accounted for 70 percent of total mobile subscriptions in 2021 and are projected to constitute around 94 percent in 2027, driven by rapid smartphone adoption in the country.

 

4G is expected to remain the dominant technology in India in 2027, however the 4G subscriptions are forecast to drop from 790 million in 2021 to 710 million in 2027, showing an annual average decline of 2 percent. Thus, 4G subscriptions are expected to reduce from 68 percent of mobile subscriptions in 2021 to 55 percent in 2027 as subscribers migrate to 5G.

 

The reliance on mobile networks to stay connected and work from home has contributed to the average traffic per smartphone increasing to 18.4GB per month in 2021, up from 16.1GB per month in 2020. The average traffic per smartphone in the India region is the second-highest globally and is projected to grow to around 50GB per month in 2027. Total mobile data traffic in India has grown from 9.4EB per month in 2020 to 12EB per month in 2021 and is projected to increase by more than 4 times to reach 49EB per month in 2027.

States Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India and Head of Network Solutions for South east Asia, Oceania and India, Ericsson ”5G will serve as a socio-economic multiplier for the country and we are preparing the communication service providers for a seamless introduction of 5G in the country based on our global deployment experience , our innovative and competitive 5G portfolio as well as the 5G trials we are doing with Indian operators to showcase the possibilities with 5G.”

 

Ericsson recently carried out 5G trials with Airtel and Vi where it demonstrated enhanced mobile broadband and FWA use cases with 5G. Ericsson demonstrated blazing speeds of > 4Gbps with 5G during the trial with Vi in Pune . The Company also showcased the potential of 5G to revolutionize healthcare sector by enabling remote diagnostics. The highlight of the trial with Bharti Airtel was the demonstration of over 200 Mbps throughput on 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA device at distance of over 10 Km from the site. This translated into an inter-site (between two 5G sites) coverage of approximately 20 kms, thus offering the ability to provide high-speed broadband coverage even in the remotest of geographies.

 

Ericsson continues to introduce innovative 5G solutions that fuel the global uptake of 5G. Ericsson’s Time-Critical Communication is a software toolbox for resolving lags and interruptions in mobile networks. Ericsson also recently announced the launch of its ultra-lightweight antenna-integrated radio AIR 3268 – its latest addition to its Massive MIMO portfolio –– for easier and efficient 5G mid-

band deployments in dense urban and suburban areas. At 12 kg, AIR 3268 is the lightest and smallest Massive MIMO radio in the industry. With 200W output power, the radio weighs about 40 percent less than the earlier generation, making installations easy not only on towers and rooftops, but also on poles and walls. Ericsson’s latest radio is 10 percent more energy-efficient than the earlier generation, lowering the total added power consumption when introducing 5G on mid-band.

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Appointments

IITian Parag Agrawal becomes Twitter CEO

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NEW YORK: Indian-origin technology executive Parag Agrawal has been appointed as the new CEO of Twitter after the social media giant’s co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down on Monday.

In a message posted on Twitter, Dorsey said: “After almost 16 years of having a role at our company… from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO… I decided it’s finally time for me to leave. Why?

“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being “founder-led”.

“Ultimately, I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders,” he said.

Agrawal, an IIT Bombay and Stanford alumnus, said in a note posted on Twitter that he is “honored and humbled” on his appointment and expressed gratitude to Dorsey’s “continued mentorship and your friendship.”

Dorsey said that there are three reasons he believes now is the right time.

“The first is Parag becoming our CEO. The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs,” he said.

Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware and humble, Dorsey said.

“He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep,” Dorsey added.

Agrawal joined Twitter 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees.

Agrawal said: “While it was a decade ago, those days feel like yesterday to me. I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes.

“But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter’s incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us,” he said.

“Our purpose has never been more important. Our people and our culture are unlike anything in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together.

“We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right. But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results – that’s how we’ll make Twitter the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you,” Agrawal noted.

The world is watching right now, even more than they have before, he said.

“Lots of people are going to have lots of different views and opinions about today’s news. It is because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters,” Agrawal added.

Source: Press Trust of India+

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