Archive for Allana Akhtar

Elon Musk said Tesla’s ‘Battery Day’ tech won’t reach large-scale production until 2022

elon musk
Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO.
  • Tesla’s “Battery Day” tech won’t reach large-scale production until 2022, Elon Musk tweeted on Monday.
  • The electric vehicle company will buy more battery cells but expects “significant shortages” in the future. Analysts expect Tesla to announce plans to produce its own battery cells at the event.
  • Premarket Tesla shares dropped following Musk's tweets.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The tech Tesla announces at its "Battery Day" on Tuesday won't reach large-scale production until 2022, the electric vehicle giant's CEO Elon Musk said on Monday.

Musk said that Tesla will buy more battery cells from Panasonic, LG, and Chinese battery manufacturer CATL, but it expects "significant shortages" in 2022 and beyond, and must "take action" to prevent them, he said. This suggests that the company may announce plans to produce its own battery cells at its Battery Day, as analysts have long-speculated.

Scaling up production of new battery technology comes with "extreme difficulty," Musk said on Twitter, just hours before the much-anticipated Battery Day.  

Announcements at Battery Day will relate to Tesla's long-term vehicle production, Musk said in his Tweets, in particular for three of its upcoming models: the long-haul truck Semi; its pick-up truck Cybertruck; and its updated sports car Roadster. When Tesla announced the redesigned Roadster in 2017, it said the car would be capable of 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds – faster than any other street-legal mass-produced car at the time.

Battery Day is taking place online on Tuesday, immediately after Tesla's annual stockholder meeting. The company originally scheduled Battery Day for April, but delayed the event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When Musk first announced the event during a conference call in July 2019, he described Battery Day as "a comprehensive review of cell chemistry, module and pack, architecture, and manufacturing plan that has a clear roadmap to a terawatt-hour per year." Though Musk has said little about the announcements, analysts expect new tech related to Tesla's energy storage and vehicle powertrain products.

This April, Musk said he expects Battery Day will be the "most exciting" in Tesla's history.

After Musk's Tweets, shares in Tesla dropped nearly 4% in the premarket. CATL shares rose by 1.3% in Shanghai.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tim Cook said parts of Apple’s home-working model will stay forever

Tim Cook
  • Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, says that the success of remote working during the pandemic means the tech giant will not "return to the way we were."
  • Some aspects of virtual working are here to stay, he said, without being specific.
  • But Cook also stressed the limitations of remote working, such as not having impromptu meetings with colleagues. He cannot wait to return to the office, he said.
  • He hopes most employees will be back in the office by the end of 2020, he added.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook said Monday that some of the tech giant's new working-from-home habits are here to stay forever.

During the pandemic, the company has found "there are some things that actually work really well virtually," he said in an interview at The Atlantic Festival on Monday. This means Apple will not "return to the way we were." 

He didn't specify what had worked well or how the company would change, but pointed out that it had unveiled the new Apple Watch Series 6 and new iPads while between 85% to 90% of its workforce were at home.

However, Cook said that remote working is "not like being together physically." Employees can't run into each other in the corridor, for example, which hampers creativity. He hopes that the majority of his employees can be back in their offices — including Apple's $5 billion "spaceship" headquarters in California — by next year, he added.

Cook's comments contrast with those of Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings, who told The Wall Street Journal on September 7 that remote working is a "pure negative." Hastings also said that employees will be able to return to the office once "a majority of people" have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Last week, Facebook announced that it is searching for a director of remote work. Google announced in July that it is asking employees to continue working remotely until summer 2021 — whereas Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey told employees in an email in May that they could work from home indefinitely, even after COVID-19 lockdowns end. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump and Beijing both hinted at blocking the Oracle-TikTok deal amid huge confusion about who will own the app

zhang yiming donald trump tiktok bytedance
Donald Trump, left, and ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming.
  • President Trump threatened to withdraw his initial, informal approval of Oracle and Walmart's deal with TikTok on Monday.
  • Beijing, via state-owned press, also hinted that it would block the deal.
  • Each party is attempting to publicly spin the deal to their advantage, causing huge confusion over the final shape of the deal or even whether it will take place.
  • ByteDance said in a statement Monday it would retain 80% control of the company, but Oracle later said "ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Trump and Beijing have both hinted they might block TikTok's financial tie-up with Oracle and Walmart, amid enormous confusion about the future ownership structure of the video app in the US.

On Monday, President Trump told Fox News that he won't approve the deal unless Oracle and Walmart have "total control" of the company.

He said: "They will have nothing to do with it, and if they do, we just won't make the deal ... It's going to be controlled, totally controlled by Oracle, and I guess they're going public and they're buying out the rest of it, they're buying out a lot, and if we find that they don't have total control then we're not going to approve the deal."

Confusingly, Trump then told reporters on Monday afternoon he'd given the deal a "preliminary okay" — but continued to cast doubt over whether the deal would pass.

Asked about a final decision, Trump said: "That's working its way through. I've given a preliminary okay. They will work — they're two great companies — Oracle and Walmart. Larry Ellison [Oracle's cofounder] is a — you know, a great genius at that kind of thing. The technology is incredible."

"And so if we can save it, we'll save it. And if we can't, we'll cut it off. But they have preliminary. We'll see what they can do," he added.

The president had also previously said on Saturday he had given the deal between TikTok and the two US giants his "blessing" and approved the deal "in concept." 

In their original statement about the deal issued on Saturday, Oracle and Walmart said that together they would acquire 20% of a new entity called TikTok Global, which they said would run TikTok in the US as well as most other countries where it operates.

ByteDance insists it will retain control of a newly formed TikTok entity after the Oracle deal

But TikTok's parent firm ByteDance put out its own contradictory statement.

The company put out a statement claiming to dispel "groundless rumors" about the deal, in which it said it would retain 80% control of the company after the Oracle-Walmart deal.

Separately it also denied a claim from Trump that a $5 billion fee from the deal would go to the US Treasury to help set up an education fund.

On Monday Oracle weighed in again, adding another layer of confusion.

"Upon creation of TikTok Global, Oracle/Walmart will make their investment and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global," said Oracle's Executive Vice President Ken Glueck in a statement.

Beijing has also weighed in, via the state-run press, and threatened to block the deal.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of state-run media outlet the Global Times, tweeted on Monday: "Based on what I know, Beijing won't approve current agreement between ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, and Oracle, Walmart, because the agreement would endanger China's national security, interests and dignity."

In an official op-ed the Global Times characterized the proposed deal as "unfair" but qualified that by saying it was was "relatively more reasonable to ByteDance."

China also announced on Saturday a new "unreliable entity list" which it will use to sanction companies it says pose a national security threat.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon was criticized for a racist ‘Black Lives Don’t Matter’ cap listing

Amazon racist hat
  • Amazon has removed a racist cap with the slogan “Black Lives Don’t Matter” from its website after multiple complaints.
  • The third-party seller described the hat as a “nice present.”
  • Attorney Alexandra Wilson, from Essex, England, described the listing as “honestly embarrassing” for Amazon in a social media post. The group Black and Asian Lawyers For Justice called the cap "blatant fascist ideological propaganda."
  • An Amazon spokesperson said that sellers who don’t follow its guidelines “will be subject to action including potential removal of their account.”
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Twitter users have slammed Amazon over a racist hat with the slogan "Black Lives Don't Matter" that was listed on its site.

The product was listed as "Black Lives Matter BLM Sport Baseball Hat," and its description did not quote the racist slogan — Twitter users suspect this may be how it bypassed Amazon's algorithms. 

The third-party seller, IMERIOi, said it would make a "nice present." They described the design as "unique and fashionable" and said the hat was "eye catching" and "elegant." The hat featured two crosses in place of the two letter T's in the word "matter."

Numerous people complained about the trucker hat, which was listed for £12.96 ($16.56), before Amazon removed it from the site.

Attorney Alexandra Wilson, from Essex, England, posted a screenshot of the hat on Twitter, saying that "THIS IS NOT OK." It was "embarrassing" that Amazon was selling it, she said.

Wilson posted the Tweet on Saturday, and by Monday the hat was no longer available on the site. The seller's page had also been taken down.

Dozens of other Twitter users expressed their shock, describing the cap as "racist garbage" and questioning how Amazon hadn't removed it sooner.

The group Black and Asian Lawyers For Justice called the hat "blatant fascist ideological propaganda."

Another Twitter user said that the sale of the hat "is causing deep upset and disgust to many people working towards racial justice and unity around the world."

Amazon needs 'better checks'

After Amazon removed the hat, Wilson told The Independent that Amazon needed "better checks in place for both their descriptions and photos because this isn't the first time something like this has happened."

In Amazon's "Offensive and Controversial Materials" policy, the e-commerce giant says it "does not allow products that promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual, or religious intolerance, or promote organizations with such views." Amazon says that when sellers violate this policy, it will take actions including immediate suspension, destroying inventory in its fulfillment centers without reimbursement, and terminating its business relationship with the seller.

An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider: "All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The product in question is no longer available."

In August, David Lammy, the UK shadow justice secretary, took to Twitter to question Amazon about a pair of boots that included racist language in the description.

Lammy said: "Just buying brown brogues tonight leads to this racist micro aggression. Is it 2020 or 1720? Please ⁦@amazon⁩ take it down."

Amazon removed the shoes within two hours but Lammy said that the item had been on sale since March, and questioned the e-commerce giant about its systems for blocking racist listings.

Last week, Amazon came under fire after a third-party seller listed T-shirts with the slogan "Let's Make Down Syndrome Extinct." Amazon removed the product after complaints and a petition that more than 25,000 people signed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

China is reportedly sending Tibetans to work in military-style labor training camps, echoing the persecution of Uighurs in Xinjiang

LHASA, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 19, 2020 - Visitors take photos of the White Tower in potala Palace Square. Lhasa, Tibet, China, September 19, 2020.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
The White Tower at Potala Palace Square in Lhasa, Tibet, in September 19, 2020.
  • China is rounding up Tibetan farmers, sending them to military-style camps, and putting them to work in industry, according to a Reuters report.
  • Workers are taught "discipline" and "gratitude" to reform "backward thinking," according to government documents seen by Reuters and a report from Adrian Zenz, a researcher at The Jamestown Foundation. 
  • The scheme started in 2016 but has accelerated in 2020, with 15% of the Tibetan population already passing through the facilities so far in 2020.
  • The program echoes that seen in Xinjiang, where Uighur Muslims are brainwashed and made to work on factory production lines.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

China is rounding up hundreds of thousands of rural Tibetans and sending them to harsh training centers similar to those used to detain Uighurs Muslims in Xinjiang, according to a Reuters investigation.

This year China accelerated a plan to train up and relocate Tibet's "rural surplus laborers" to parts of China or Tibet that need of increased manufacturing capacity. 

At the "military-style" training centers workers are taught "work discipline" and "gratitude" to reform "backward thinking," according to official Chinese and Tibetan government documents seen by Reuters and a report from Adrian Zenz, a researcher at The Jamestown Foundation. 

The first signs of the program appeared in 2005 and became a mainstay in 2016. Now, the scheme is racing ahead, with 15% of Tibet's population earmarked for the camps in 2020 alone, Reuters and Zenz found.

Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese state media has covered the program in detail, with Beijing framing it as a way to eradicate poverty.

Between January and July this year, 543,000 Tibetans were sent to the labor training camps, Zenz said, adding that this was already over 90% of the region's annual goal.

Around 50,000 of these people were then sent from the training camps to work on various projects in Tibet, and 3,000 to other places in China, Zenz said.

"This is now, in my opinion, the strongest, most clear and targeted attack on traditional Tibetan livelihoods that we have seen almost since the Cultural Revolution," Zenz told Reuters.

One such facility identified by Zenz is the "Chamdo Golden Sunshine Vocational Training School" in Eluo Town, Tibet.

The program has been compared to that imposed on Uighur Muslims in China's western province of Xinjiang since 2016.

Hong Kong Uighur protest masks.JPG
Protesters rally in support of Xinjiang Uighurs' human rights in Hong Kong on December 22, 2019.

Chen Quanguo, the man who led the project to surveil and detain Uighurs in Xinjiang in 2016, is also one of the masterminds of the scheme in Tibet, Reuters reported.

In Xinjiang, at least one million Uighurs and other ethnic groups are interned in as many as 500 camps where they are brainwashed, forced to work on production lines for little, and made to adopt Chinese culture.

China is also attempting to slash the Uighur birthrate, with former detainees and medical professionals in the region telling the media that forced sterilizations, abortions, and birth control treatments are commonplace.

Birth rates in Xinjiang plunged by nearly a third in 2018, but China claimed that it is not forcing sterilizations.

xinjiang camp
A perimeter fence around a detention camp in the Dabancheng district of Xinjiang, China.

Last week, the US banned the import of certain cotton products made in Xinjiang after accusations they were made using forced labor at the camps. In July 2019, the US blacklisted several Chinese companies based in Xinjiang over human-rights abuses. 

However, Zenz noted that the programs and facilities in Xinjiang and Tibet are not identical.

It appears that the scheme is Tibet is more voluntary, Zenz wrote, adding: "There is no evidence that the TAR's scheme is linked to extrajudicial internment," using an acronym for the Tibetan Autonomous Region, the area's official name.

"However, in a system where the transition between securitization and poverty alleviation is seamless, there is no telling where coercion stops and where genuinely voluntary local agency begins," he added.

"In the context of Beijing's increasingly assimilatory ethnic minority policy, it is likely that these policies will promote a long-term loss of linguistic, cultural and spiritual heritage."

What the camps have in common, Zenz wrote, is a "militarized training process that involves thought transformation, patriotic and legal education, and Chinese language teaching."

China invaded Tibet in 1949 and has since claimed ownership of the region. China's foreign ministry told Reuters that it denied claims of forced labor in Tibet.

"What these people with ulterior motives are calling 'forced labor' simply does not exist. We hope the international community will distinguish right from wrong, respect facts, and not be fooled by lies," the ministry said.

China has been on a crusade to homogenize its language and culture for years, and has imposed policies that would effectively eradicate the heritage of other ethnic groups, like the Uighurs and Tibetans.

Last month China imposed a policy in Inner Mongolia, a Chinese region, that cut down on the number of Mongolian-language education in favor of more Mandarin Chinese classes. Local parents have protested by keeping their children from attending school.

Read the original article on Business Insider

China is reportedly sending Tibetans to work in military-style labor training camps, echoing the persecution of Uighurs in Xinjiang

LHASA, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 19, 2020 - Visitors take photos of the White Tower in potala Palace Square. Lhasa, Tibet, China, September 19, 2020.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
The White Tower at Potala Palace Square in Lhasa, Tibet, in September 19, 2020.
  • China is rounding up Tibetan farmers, sending them to military-style camps, and putting them to work in industry, according to a Reuters report.
  • Workers are taught "discipline" and "gratitude" to reform "backward thinking," according to government documents seen by Reuters and a report from Adrian Zenz, a researcher at The Jamestown Foundation. 
  • The scheme started in 2016 but has accelerated in 2020, with 15% of the Tibetan population already passing through the facilities so far in 2020.
  • The program echoes that seen in Xinjiang, where Uighur Muslims are brainwashed and made to work on factory production lines.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

China is rounding up hundreds of thousands of rural Tibetans and sending them to harsh training centers similar to those used to detain Uighurs Muslims in Xinjiang, according to a Reuters investigation.

This year China accelerated a plan to train up and relocate Tibet's "rural surplus laborers" to parts of China or Tibet that need of increased manufacturing capacity. 

At the "military-style" training centers workers are taught "work discipline" and "gratitude" to reform "backward thinking," according to official Chinese and Tibetan government documents seen by Reuters and a report from Adrian Zenz, a researcher at The Jamestown Foundation. 

The first signs of the program appeared in 2005 and became a mainstay in 2016. Now, the scheme is racing ahead, with 15% of Tibet's population earmarked for the camps in 2020 alone, Reuters and Zenz found.

Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese state media has covered the program in detail, with Beijing framing it as a way to eradicate poverty.

Between January and July this year, 543,000 Tibetans were sent to the labor training camps, Zenz said, adding that this was already over 90% of the region's annual goal.

Around 50,000 of these people were then sent from the training camps to work on various projects in Tibet, and 3,000 to other places in China, Zenz said.

"This is now, in my opinion, the strongest, most clear and targeted attack on traditional Tibetan livelihoods that we have seen almost since the Cultural Revolution," Zenz told Reuters.

One such facility identified by Zenz is the "Chamdo Golden Sunshine Vocational Training School" in Eluo Town, Tibet.

The program has been compared to that imposed on Uighur Muslims in China's western province of Xinjiang since 2016.

Hong Kong Uighur protest masks.JPG
Protesters rally in support of Xinjiang Uighurs' human rights in Hong Kong on December 22, 2019.

Chen Quanguo, the man who led the project to surveil and detain Uighurs in Xinjiang in 2016, is also one of the masterminds of the scheme in Tibet, Reuters reported.

In Xinjiang, at least one million Uighurs and other ethnic groups are interned in as many as 500 camps where they are brainwashed, forced to work on production lines for little, and made to adopt Chinese culture.

China is also attempting to slash the Uighur birthrate, with former detainees and medical professionals in the region telling the media that forced sterilizations, abortions, and birth control treatments are commonplace.

Birth rates in Xinjiang plunged by nearly a third in 2018, but China claimed that it is not forcing sterilizations.

xinjiang camp
A perimeter fence around a detention camp in the Dabancheng district of Xinjiang, China.

Last week, the US banned the import of certain cotton products made in Xinjiang after accusations they were made using forced labor at the camps. In July 2019, the US blacklisted several Chinese companies based in Xinjiang over human-rights abuses. 

However, Zenz noted that the programs and facilities in Xinjiang and Tibet are not identical.

It appears that the scheme is Tibet is more voluntary, Zenz wrote, adding: "There is no evidence that the TAR's scheme is linked to extrajudicial internment," using an acronym for the Tibetan Autonomous Region, the area's official name.

"However, in a system where the transition between securitization and poverty alleviation is seamless, there is no telling where coercion stops and where genuinely voluntary local agency begins," he added.

"In the context of Beijing's increasingly assimilatory ethnic minority policy, it is likely that these policies will promote a long-term loss of linguistic, cultural and spiritual heritage."

What the camps have in common, Zenz wrote, is a "militarized training process that involves thought transformation, patriotic and legal education, and Chinese language teaching."

China invaded Tibet in 1949 and has since claimed ownership of the region. China's foreign ministry told Reuters that it denied claims of forced labor in Tibet.

"What these people with ulterior motives are calling 'forced labor' simply does not exist. We hope the international community will distinguish right from wrong, respect facts, and not be fooled by lies," the ministry said.

China has been on a crusade to homogenize its language and culture for years, and has imposed policies that would effectively eradicate the heritage of other ethnic groups, like the Uighurs and Tibetans.

Last month China imposed a policy in Inner Mongolia, a Chinese region, that cut down on the number of Mongolian-language education in favor of more Mandarin Chinese classes. Local parents have protested by keeping their children from attending school.

Read the original article on Business Insider

China will be the ‘most important marginal driver of global GDP,’ ex-Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill says

jim o'neill
Jim O'Neill
  • China's economy will erase all its 2020 losses next year and still record positive growth for this year, ex-Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill told CNBC. 
  • He said: "China is well on the way to recovery. It is the country that really matters globally within the BRIC group."
  • O'Neill said other BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia and India - are "considerably behind" in their economic recovery. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chinese GDP is set to end the year in positive territory and the economy will erase all its 2020 losses next year, ex-Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill told CNBC. 

The economist who is famous for coining the term "BRIC" in the early 2000s, in reference to Brazil, Russia, India and China, said he believes China's economy will be the "most important marginal driver of global GDP."

Read more: Tony Greer made 5 times his money with an early investment in Apple. The macro investor and ex-Goldman Sachs trader provides an inside look into his trading tactics and shares his top 3 ideas right now.

"I suspect Chinese GDP growth could actually end 2020 as net positive still," he said.  "By end [of] 2021, Chinese GDP growth will have possibly even made up for, not only the losses, but the loss in the trend also." 

The world's second largest economy has been ahead of the game in containing the virus and bouncing back from it. It's economy expanded by 3.2% year-on-year in the second quarter of the year and by 11% compared to Q1, beating Reuters economists' predictions.

This came after a 6.8% drop in output in Q1, its first contraction since 1992. 

Chinese retail sales rose for the first time this year in August to 0.5% compared to July, while industrial production increased for a fifth straight month.

O'Neill said China is well "on its way to recovery". Even though China was the first to be hit by the pandemic through an outbreak in its Wuhan province, data from John Hopkins University shows it has suffered just over 90,000 infections and less than 5,000 deaths, compared with nearly 7 million infections and almost 200,000 deaths in the United States, the worst-affected country.

Read more: Morgan Stanley wealth management's head of market research told us a risk to longer-term assets that investors are most overlooking as the economy recovers — and recommends 3 portfolio shifts for sustained gains

"As I have said, China is well on the way to recovery. It is the country that really matters globally within the BRIC group," O'Neill said.

He told CNBC that Brazil, India and Russia, three most heavily hit countries after the US, are "considerably behind" in their road to economic recovery. 

India's GDP shrank by 23.9% in the April-June 2020 period.

"I suspect — with a lag — they [BRI countries] will share in the V-like immediate bounce back, partially in Q3, but especially in Q4 2020," he added. 

The OECD predicts all G20 countries apart from China will enter recession this year, but it expects global GDP to return to its pre-pandemic level by the third quarter of 2021. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

TikTok removed nearly 105 million videos for nudity and other policy violations in the first half of 2020

TikTok logo iphone app
  • TikTok has released its latest global transparency report, saying it removed almost 105 million videos in the first half of 2020 for policy violations.
  • These included videos depicting nudity, or that endangered minors, among other policy breaches.
  • Business Insider also learned that TikTok conducted an internal investigation following the spread of a video showing a man's death by suicide.
  • TikTok says it wants to work with other Big Tech firms on a 'hashbank' of graphic content to prevent it spreading across platforms.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

TikTok removed nearly 105 million videos for violating its rules in the first half of 2020, the company's latest transparency report reveals.

The number is double what the app removed in the final six months of 2019, but still accounts for less than one percent of the videos posted on the app — indicating the growth of the platform in the last year worldwide.

Like YouTube, which recently admitted its computer-driven video moderation system was producing too many false positives, TikTok "relied more heavily on technology" to monitor, flag and remove videos during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 97% of the videos were removed proactively by TikTok, with 90.32% of them removed before receiving any views. Three in 10 of the offending videos were removed for containing adult nudity or sexual activities — a higher proportion than the previous six months — while a further 22.3% endangered the safety of minors.

Not included in the latest transparency report was the video of a 33-year-old man, Ronnie McNutt, dying by suicide, which spread across the app earlier this month. TikTok users rushed to warn each other about the content of the video to try and prevent its spread.

Business Insider has exclusively learned the outcome of an internal investigation into how the video went viral on the platform.

The video was first posted to the app shortly after McNutt's death was livestreamed on Facebook at the end of August, with a small number of videos receiving a limited number of views.

On the night of September 6, TikTok saw a massive spike in the number of videos showing McNutt's death posted on the app — the result of an organized campaign believed to be planned on the dark web. The attackers are also believed to have launched similar attacks on other platforms.

"This is an industry-wide challenge, which is why we have proposed to peers across the industry that we work together on creating a 'hashbank' for such violent, graphic content and warn each other when such content is discovered so that we can all better protect our users, no matter the app they use," said Theo Bertram, TikTok's director of government relations and public policy for Europe, who prefaced his comments by offering his deepest sympathies to the family and friends of McNutt.

To respond to the issue, TikTok's US interim chief executive Vanessa Pappas,today sent a letter to the heads of nine tech giants proposing a memorandum of understanding "that will allow us to quickly notify one another of such content."

Business Insider understands more than 10,000 versions of the video were posted to TikTok in a short period of time — far fewer than the 1.5 million versions of a video depicting the mass murder of Muslims at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, that was spread widely on Facebook.

TikTok banned the accounts that posted versions of the video, many of which signed up specifically to upload it.

The idea that this was a "shallow but broad" attack, where many videos with a low number of views are posted to try and gain maximum exposure without tipping off the app's monitoring system, chimes with the thinking of a source with knowledge of ByteDance's moderation policies. They spoke in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

"If multiple accounts upload different edited versions of the video, it's hard to deal with," the person explained in early September. "A large number of videos with a small number of views accumulate a larger number of views."

Those trying to repost the video used a number of tools, including TikTok's filters and splicing tools, to bypass the app's algorithmic detection of the video.

Business Insider understands from the same person that videos are added to a deduplication library, which cross-checks videos posted to the app, removing matches.

At the same time, Business Insider understands many of the videos were viewed after users actively sought out the footage through the app's search tool and by clicking on specific profiles, rather than being served the video through TikTok's For You page.

This was an indication that some users actively wanted to find the footage after hearing about it, or that those wanting to disseminate the video knew that engagement with the video was more likely to surface the app to a wider number of users.

"Following an internal review, we found evidence of a coordinated effort by bad actors to spread this video across the internet and platforms, including TikTok," said Bertram.

"We detected and removed these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide. We also took swift action including by banning accounts that were uploading this content."

In response to the spread of the suicide video, Business Insider understands TikTok has changed the triggers for its machine learning moderation algorithm, as well as changing processes.

According to TikTok's transparency report, more than 37 million videos were removed in India, from which the app is currently banned after a late June decision by the government to bar access to apps of Chinese origin.

India also had far and away the most requests for removals of content due to legal reasons, with 79% of the 1,206 requests acceded to.

In the US, where TikTok has faced a month of legal and political wrangling over the app's future, 9.8 million videos were removed for violating the app's terms. There, 290 legal requests to remove content were received, of which 85% were deemed legitimate.

TikTok does not operate in China. Rather, its parent firm ByteDance operates a similar app called Douyin, so TikTok did not receive any requests for removal of content from China.

The app also received requests from governments across the globe to remove content in accordance with local laws. Here, Russia dominated, with 296 pieces of content removed or receiving restricted access across 259 separate accounts.

TikTok has recently been criticised for moderating its content to local norms, with the result that some LGBTQ+ friendly hashtags in languages like Russian were effectively shadowbanned on the app.

More than 10,600 pieces of copyrighted content were flagged for removal, and nine in 10 were taken down by TikTok – nearly 10 times the number of notices received in the second half of 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Isolation and closed borders: Here’s how ten Pacific Island nations are COVID-19-free, and the costs that come with it

Ruth Nafow (R) cooks corn to sell at a local farmer's market on December 06, 2019 in Tanna, Vanuatu. Asked about climate change, she said, 'It's a really big concern. This will affect our crops in one way or another.'
Ruth Nafow (R) cooks corn to sell at a local farmer's market on December 06, 2019 in Tanna, Vanuatu. Asked about climate change, she said, 'It's a really big concern. This will affect our crops in one way or another.'
  • Globally, there are now more than 31,200,000 COVID-19 cases, but there’s no COVID-19 in Samoa, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Vanuatu, Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands.
  • The reason for this is these small island nations promptly closed their borders early this year, after realizing their health systems were under-equipped to deal with an outbreak, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Australia Pacific Security College public health epidemiologist told the Herald the small island nations’ decision to close their borders was the right one.
  • But there have been drawbacks to the closed borders. A number of these nations rely on tourism and it’s no longer happening.
  • Even so, Vanuatu’s director of public health Dr. Len Tarivonda told the BBC despite the tourism losses many people still didn’t want borders to open.
  • “If you talk to them the majority say keep the border closed for as long as possible. They say: ‘We don’t want the sickness — otherwise we’re doomed, basically,’” he said.
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Along with paradisical warm waters and golden sand, 10 Pacific Island nations are still completely COVID-19 free due to closed border and geographical isolation, but it has come at a cost.

Samoa, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Vanuatu, Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands, are all COVID-19 free, according to the Sydney Morning Herald

These small island nations — that are also dealing with the daily impacts of climate change — managed to keep the coronavirus out by promptly closing their borders after conceding early on this year that their health systems were under-equipped to deal with an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Australia Pacific Security College public health epidemiologist told the Herald six months on the small island nation's decision to close their borders was the right one.

"There is no doubt that the border closures have been critical in preventing COVID-19 taking hold in the Pacific," he said.

"The key now is balancing when and how to open up, and ensuring that agencies working on the front line of borders, such as customs and immigration officials, are as well prepared as possible."

Kids play at Eton Beach on November 30, 2019 in Efate, Vanuatu.
Kids play at Eton Beach on November 30, 2019 in Efate, Vanuatu. Satellite data show sea level has risen about 6mm per year around Vanuatu since 1993, a rate nearly twice the global average, while temperatures have been increasing since 1950. 25 percent of Vanuatu’s 276,000 citizens lost their homes in 2015 when Cyclone Pam, a category 5 storm, devastated the South Pacific archipelago of 83 islands while wiping out two-thirds of its GDP. Scientists have forecast that the strength of South Pacific cyclones will increase because of global warming. Vanuatu’s government is considering suing the world’s major pollution emitters in a radical effort to confront global warming challenges and curb global emissions, to which it is a very small contributor.

There have been drawbacks to the closed borders — a number of these nations rely on tourism that's no longer happening.

For instance, Palau, a nation of less than 20,000, relies on tourism for 40% of its GDP, according to the BBC.

The Marshall Islands are expected to lose more than 700 jobs, according to the BBC, its biggest loss since 1997, with 258 of them being hotel and restaurant jobs.

But some of the Pacific nations are wary of opening up too soon after French Polynesia opened in July to help its ailing tourism sector, which resulted in swift outbreaks of COVID-19, according to The Guardian.  

Vanuatu's director of public health Dr. Len Tarivonda told the BBC many people didn't want borders to reopen despite the drawbacks.

"If you talk to them the majority say keep the border closed for as long as possible. They say: 'We don't want the sickness – otherwise we're doomed, basically,'" he said.

Tarivonda said Vanuatu at least wouldn't rush to reopen after watching cases rise in Papua New Guinea, many of those traced back to the US military presence on the island, according to The Guardian. 

"If the virus comes, it will probably be like wildfire – and what we are seeing in Papua New Guinea is a reflection of why we are worried," he said.

"Given our [health care] limitations, the context we have in the Pacific, the best bet is to keep the virus out for as long as possible."

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Trump falsely claims that for young people COVID-19 ‘affects virtually nobody,’ though in March he told Bob Woodward ‘plenty of young people’ are impacted by the virus

Trump
  • President Donald Trump again falsely claimed that for the young the coronavirus "affects virtually nobody."
  • The president made the misleading claim at a campaign rally in Swanton, Ohio, on Monday.
  • "[The coronavirus] affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems, if they have other problems that's what it really affects, that's it," Trump said at the rally.
  • "In some states, thousands of people, nobody young, below the age of 18," Trump continued. "They have a strong immune system. Who knows? Take your hat off to the young because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing."
  • While the coronavirus is more likely to be fatal to older individuals and those with underlying conditions, the virus has still taken a toll on younger people who were infected — and some even died from COVID-19.
  • Additionally, according to the World Health Organization, even if they are not as impacted, young people are emerging a the primary spreaders of the disease, making it more likely that it can be transmitted to those who are more at risk.
  • The coronavirus has infected nearly 7 million people in the US, and nearly 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 as of Monday.
  • The number of global coronavirus cases surpassed 30 million, and the death toll surpassed 938,000.
  • Trump's non-alarmist attitude toward the coronavirus largely contradicts his private views of the virus in February, when he told journalist Bob Woodward earlier this year that the virus is a "killer" and said it was "more deadly than even your strenuous flus."
  • On March 7, Trump told Woodward that "Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too — plenty of young people.”
  • A week after declaring a national emergency in March in light of the COVID-19 outbreaks, Trump told Woodward that he "wanted to always" downplay the pandemic, the veteran journalist wrote in his book.
  • "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," Trump said on March 19.
  • However, Trump's downplaying of the coronavirus has prompted some anti-science backlash, as some Americans refuse to adhere to health safety guidelines from infectious disease experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

 

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