Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
Facebook removed disinformation accounts it says were linked to Roger Stone, the longtime friend of President Trump. The accounts involved posted about “candidates in the 2016 primaries and general election, and the Roger Stone trial,” Facebook said.
President Trump has said he’s considering banning TikTok to punish China over the coronavirus. Trump implied a ban on TikTok would be a way of punishing China for the coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan.
The US government is investigating TikTok for failing to change how it collects children’s personal information following last year’s $5.7 million privacy fine. In 2019, the viral video-sharing app TikTok agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission to settle allegations it was illegally collecting personal information belonging to users who are children.
Google has abandoned plans for a cloud service in China after the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated political tensions with the US. The project, known as “Isolated Region,” would have allowed Google to strike up partnerships with local companies and government agencies in the country. It would also let countries control data inside their borders.
An EU court will rule next week on an appeal by Apple and Ireland against a ruling that would force the company to pay 13 billion euros ($16 billion) in back taxes. Europe’s competition watchdog said in 2016 that Apple would have to pay the money.
New records show Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have thousands of previously unreported military and law enforcement contracts. Microsoft has more than 5,000 previously unreported subcontracts with the Department of Defense and federal law enforcement while Amazon and Google each have hundreds of similar subcontracts, records show.
Websites that spread false information and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 could make millions in ad revenue this year, according to a new study. The bulk of the ad revenue comes from Google’s ad platform, along with other tech companies including Amazon and OpenX.
Facebook’s refusal to fact-check or moderate politicians like President Trump is its biggest civil rights issue, according to a new internal audit. The audit’s authors expressed “grave concerns that the combination of the company’s decision to exempt politicians from fact-checking and the precedents set by its recent decisions on President Trump’s posts, leaves the door open for the platform to be used by other politicians to interfere with voting.”
A ‘staggering’ failure to adopt basic security habits led to 70% of companies storing data with Amazon, Microsoft, or other big cloud vendors getting hacked or exposing data last year, researchers say. Seventy percent of companies using cloud computing vendors get hacked or leak data, Sophos found, often due to basic security lapses.
Kanye West has said Tesla CEO Elon Musk is advising him on his 2020 presidential bid and they’ve been talking about it for years. In an interview with Forbes, the singer said Musk is one of only two people currently advising him on his presidential bid — the other being his wife Kim Kardashian West.
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