1. GOOGLE -Alphabet Inc’s Google has sealed its first license agreements in Italy with several publishers to offer access to some of their content on the U.S. tech group’s Showcase news platform.
Google News Showcase is a global product to pay news publishers for their content online and a new service that allows partnering publishers to curate content and provide limited access to paywalled stories for users.
Showcase is expected to launch in Italy in the coming weeks, a media representative for Google in Italy told Reuters.
News publishers have long fought the world’s most popular internet search engine for compensation for using their content, with European media groups leading the charge.
Google said in October it planned to pay $1 billion to publishers globally for their news over the next three years via Showcase, which will launch first in Germany, then in Belgium, India, the Netherlands and other countries.
Google’s agreements were signed with a number of Italian publishers, including RCS Mediagroup, which publishes daily Corriere della Sera as well as popular sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport, the publisher of financial daily Il Sole 24 ore and Caltagirone editore, which owns Rome-based paper Il Messaggero.
The update announced in January, which will take effect in May, allows WhatsApp to share some user data with Facebook and its units, prompting a global backlash including in India, its biggest market with more than 500 million users.
The 21-page antitrust order came as WhatsApp is expanding its digital payment services to millions of Indians.
The Competition Commission of India said WhatsApp had violated competition laws “through its exploitative and exclusionary conduct … in the garb of policy update.”
It ordered its investigation unit to launch a probe and submit a report within 60 days. Such probes typically take several months.
WhatsApp’s sharing of data in a way that is “neither fully transparent nor based on voluntary and specific user consent,” appears unfair to users, the watchdog added.
The regulator said WhatsApp had told it that the policy update raised no competition law concerns.
WhatsApp responded in a statement it would engage with the commission, noting the company’s commitment to protecting encryption and providing transparency on how the new business features work.
WhatsApp has previously said that changes only involved users’ interactions with businesses.
In India, users concerned about privacy have downloaded rival apps such as Signal and Telegram, according to data from research firms.
3.BYTE DANCE :– TikTok owner ByteDance has hired Xiaomi executive Shou Zi Chew for a newly created role as chief finance officer, in a sign that the tech company is moving towards a much-anticipated initial public offering of one or some of its businesses.
ByteDance has been considering whether to go for a standalone public listing for Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, or list some of its Chinese operations, including Douyin and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, as a package in Hong Kong or Shanghai, Reuters has reported.
ByteDance has also been looking at a listing for its non-China business, which includes TikTok that is not available in China, in Europe or the United States.
The new CFO role will be ByteDance global operations’ only C-suite position besides Chief Executive Zhang Yiming.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi said earlier on Wednesday in a filing to the Hong Kong Exchange that Chew had resigned.
Chew posted on his personal social media account that he will be based in Singapore for the new job.
Chew got to know ByteDance when he was working for private equity company DST, an early investor at ByteDance, Liang Rubo, ByteDance human resource chief, said in an internal memo to staff which was seen by Reuters. Chew had also worked at Goldman Sachs.
“I believe Chew’s accession can help us further expand our global business,” Liang said in the memo.
Earlier this year, ByteDance closed a fundraising that valued it at $180 billion, the world’s most valuable financing round in the private market.
TikTok had come under scrutiny during former U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration, which alleged that the app posed national security concerns as personal data of U.S. users could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok has denied the allegation.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s new administration has paused a government lawsuit that could have resulted in a de facto ban on TikTok’s use in the United States.
4.Amazon:– A top Amazon. In official took a jab at U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for planning a Friday visit to meet the company’s workers in Alabama, who are voting on whether to form a union.
“I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace,” Dave Clark, the chief executive of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business tweeted on Wednesday.
In another tweet, Clark said, “if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”
Sanders is a big supporter of a $15 an hour minimum wage – a rate Amazon pays its workers. A spokesman for Sanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He is not the first politician to visit the facility. Earlier this month, a group of U.S. lawmakers visited the Alabama warehouse to lend their support to workers there.
Several labor leaders and lawmakers have said the union election is one of the most important ones in U.S. history.
5.NIKE- Anger with Nike Inc erupted on Chinese social media late on Wednesday after China’s netizens spotted a statement from the sporting goods giant saying it was “concerned” about reports of forced labour in Xinjiang and that it does not use cotton from the region.
Topics around the Nike statement were among the highest trending on China’s Twitter-like social media Weibo on Thursday, and the social media backlash had a wider fallout.
Popular Chinese actor Wang Yibo terminated his contract as a representative for Nike in response to social media criticism over the company’s Xinjiang statement, his agency said on Weibo on Thursday.
It was unclear when Nike had put out the statement, which did not have a date on it. Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR),” Nike said in the statement.