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Key Financial Partners Wary of Facebook’s Digital Currency: Report

The new digital wallet for ‘Libra’ currency is planned to be available in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and as a stand-alone app in 2020

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FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook that tied up with 27 organisations to start the non-profit Libra Association to launch its cryptocurrency next year appears to have hit a roadblock.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Visa, Mastercard and some other financial partners who signed on to support Libra are reconsidering their involvement in the network.

“The financial partners are reluctant to attract regulatory scrutiny following backlash from governments and banks and have declined Facebook’s requests to publicly support the project,” the report said on Tuesday.

The US lawmakers recently attacked Facebook, calling it “delusional” and “dangerous”, directing the social networking giant to clean up its house first before launching a new business model.

David Marcus, Head of Facebook subsidiary Calibra, was grilled at the Senate Banking Committee in July.

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Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also said he is “uncomfortable” with Libra. US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has also raised “serious concern” over the Facebook cryptocurrency.

The 27 organisations under Facebook umbrella include PayPal, Visa, Uber, Coinbase, Lyft, Mastercard, Vodafone, eBay and Spotify.

Facebook aims to have 100 members in the Libra Association by 2020.

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The new digital wallet for ‘Libra’ currency is planned to be available in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and as a stand-alone app in 2020.

Facebook currently generates 99 per cent of its revenue from advertisements and digital currency would help it reach billions of users across products — aiming to create another stable revenue stream and make cryptocurrecny-based payments mainstream. (IANS)

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Facebook Raises Questions Over EU Ruling on Removing Content

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a "very troubling precedent"

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has raised objections over the European Union (EU) ruling that the bloc’s member countries can not only order the removal of content in their own jurisdiction, but all over the world.

According to the social networking giant, the ruling opens the door for courts to order the removal of content that is similar to the illegal speech, “meaning that something you posted might be removed even if you knew nothing about the earlier post that a European country had deemed illegal”.

“Imagine something you wrote and shared on Facebook was taken down, not because it violated our rules, and not because it broke the law in your country, but because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed,” Monika Bickert, VP, Global Policy Management at Facebook, said in a statement on Monday.

“Imagine as well that your speech was deemed illegal not by a judge who carefully weighed the facts, but by automated tools and technology,” she added.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook can be forced to remove content internationally.

The ruling arose from a personal defamation case brought by an Austrian politician.

The post in question shared a news article in which the Austrian politician had outlined her and her party’s views on immigration, together with a comment from a Facebook user strongly critiquing the Austrian politician.

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

The court’s ruling raises critical questions for freedom of expression, in two key respects, said Bickert.

First, it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on another country.

“This is especially important with laws governing speech, because what is legally acceptable varies considerably in different parts of the world and even within the EU. The ruling also opens the door for other countries around the world, including non-democratic countries who severely limit speech, to demand the same power,” said Facebook.

Second, the ruling might lead to a situation in which private internet companies could be forced to rely on automated technologies to police and remove “equivalent” illegal speech.

Also Read: 5G Carries Potential to Contribute to India’s GDP Growth by the Year 2025

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a “very troubling precedent”.

“We have had precedents but we have successfully fought them. This is one where a lot of the details of exactly how this gets implemented are going to depend on national courts across Europe, and what they define as the same content versus roughly equivalent content.

“This is something we and other services will be litigating and getting clarity on what this means. I know we talk about free expression as a value and I thought this was a fairly troubling development,” Zuckerberg added. (IANS)