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This Week in Technology: Facebook, WhatsApp, and More


Facebook To Remove Coronavirus Misinformation

Facebook announced plans to take down all posts spreading misinformation about the recent coronavirus outbreak in China. Usually, Facebook stays neutral when it concerns health content. However, since the WHO declared an international state of emergency, Facebook decided to step in. In a blog post, the company said that it would remove content about the virus that spread false claims and conspiracy theories.

However, this move has come under the scrutiny of critics, who say that Facebook’s previous stance on health concerns failed to stop the spread of other issues. Usually, Facebook limits the spread of health misinformation by restricting search results and advertising. However, it leaves the original post up.

WhatsApp To End Support For Some Phones

WhatsApp said that it planned to end support for millions of smartphones starting February 1st. Both Android and iPhone users with phones running outdated software won’t be able to use the app. The update ends support for any smartphones using Android 2.3.7 and older, and iPhone iOS 8 or older.

WhatsApp said that the move is necessary to protect the security of its users. “WhatsApp clearly had no option but to ensure its service remains secure, however, it faces the difficult side-effect that the app is no longer compatible with older smartphones,” said CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood. “This is likely to disproportionally impact the long-tail of its users, particularly in growth markets where there is a high proportion of older devices.”

Oracle Adds Cloud Data Centers

Oracle announced that it had created new cloud data centers in five different countries on Monday. In addition, it said that it plans to have more in 36 different locations by the end of the year. Oracle’s goal is to have two regions in each country they operate in so that customers can have one main region and a backup. “Overall, the strategy is to put lots of regions around the world to give customers data sovereignty,” Oracle vice president Clay Magouyrk.

Blackberry Ends Partnership With TCL

Blackberry announced that Chinese electronics giant TCL will stop producing its phones. Back in 2016, after Blackberry stated that it will no longer make its own phones, it signed a deal with TCL to produced Blackberry Android phones. However, the said deal ends in August 2020. Instead, Blackberry focuses more on software and cybersecurity.

China Turns To Tracker Apps To Avoid Infected Neighborhoods

Chinese citizens are now using mapping programs and travel trackers in a bid to avoid neighborhoods. “Shenzhen might have a major outbreak in the next few days, and government data comes out slowly,” said April, a Shenzhen-based manager who declined to give her full name. “Seeing the map is a psychological comfort. You can’t guarantee there won’t be fresh cases, but you can avoid an area that’s already hit.”