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Facebook Plans to Launch its Own Cryptocurrency

According to the tech website Cheddar, Facebook is "very serious about it"

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Facebook faces lawsuit for hiding job ads from women. Pixabay
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After reports surfaced that Facebook is creating a new Blockchain group, fresh media reports have claimed that the social networking giant is also exploring the creation of its own cryptocurrency.

According to the tech website Cheddar, Facebook is “very serious about it”.

However, “people familiar with the matter said the social network doesn’t have plans to hold a so-called initial coin offering (ICO) by offering a limited number of virtual tokens for the public to buy at a set price,” the report said late Friday.

Facebook has over two billion users globally and launching cryptocurrency will allow them make payments using a virtual currency like Bitcoin.

“I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch,” David Marcus, currently the executive in-charge of Facebook Messenger, said in a post.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

In a statement later, Facebook said: “Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of Blockchain technology. This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share”.

Global spending on Blockchain solutions is expected to reach $2.1 billion in 2018, more than double of the $945 million spent in 2017, market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) said earlier this year.

Recode had first reported that Facebook is building a new team dedicated to Blockchain technology and Marcus was leaving his post to run the Blockchain group.

Also Read: Report: Facebook Shuffles Top Management, eyes Blockchain

The Blockchain team would come under “New platforms and infra” run by Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Mike Schroepfer, who will also take care of Facebook’s AR, VR and Artificial Intelligence initiatives.

Mired in a massive data breach controversy, Facebook has rolled out biggest-ever shuffle at the senior management level since its inception — across platforms, including WhatsApp and Messenger.

According to Recode, the company has made long-time executive Chris Cox in-charge of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — now called a “family of apps”. (IANS)

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The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

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Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration. VOA

The European Union’s consumer protection chief said Thursday she’s growing impatient with Facebook’s efforts to improve transparency with users about their data, warning it could face sanctions for not complying.

EU Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova turned up the pressure on the social media giant, saying she wants the company to update its terms of service and expects to see its proposed changes by mid-October so they can take effect in December.

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European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova attends an interview with Reuters at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. VOA

“I will not hide that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years and I really want to see, not the progress — it’s not enough for me — but I want to see the results,” Jourova said.

The EU wants Facebook to give users more information about how their data is used and how it works with third party makers of apps, games and quizzes.

“If we do not see the progress the sanctions will have to come,” she said. She didn’t specify punishment, saying they would be applied by individual countries. “I was quite clear we cannot negotiate forever, we just want to see the result.”

The EU has been pressing the U.S. tech company to look at what changes it needs to make to better protect consumers and this year Facebook has had to adapt to new EU data protection rules. The concerns took on greater urgency after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal erupted, in which data on 87 million Facebook users was allegedly improperly harvested.

Jourova said she hopes Facebook will take more responsibility for its nearly 380 million European users.

“We want Facebook to be absolutely clear to its users about how their service operates and makes money,” she said.

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An advertisement in The New York Times is displayed on Sunday, March 25, 2018, in New York. Facebook’s CEO apologized for the Cambridge Analytica scandal with ads in multiple U.S. and British newspapers. VOA

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

The company said it “will continue our close cooperation to understand any further concerns and make appropriate updates.”

Jourova also said U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers.

Airbnb has promised to be fully transparent by either including extra fees in the total price for a booking quoted on its website or notifying users that they might apply, she said.

 

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U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers. Flickr

The company is complying with EU demands spurred by concerns that consumers could be confused by its complicated pricing structure, which could add unexpected costs such as cleaning charges at the end of a holiday.

Airbnb is also changing its terms of service to make it clear that travelers can sue their host if they suffer personal harm or other damages. That’s in response to complaints that its booking system can leave tourists stranded if the rental is canceled when all other arrangements have been already made.

Also Read: EU Regulators Question Online Retailer Amazon’s Data Usage

Airbnb said “guests have always been aware of all fees, including service charges and taxes, before booking listings,” and will work with authorities to make it even clearer. (VOA)