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This Week In Technology: WhatsApp, Google, and More


WhatsApp Restricts Message Sharing

In an effort to curb the spread of fake news, Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp restricted the amount of times a user can forward a message. This new restriction limits users to five forwards. Previously, users could forward a message up to 20 times. WhatsApp said the reason for the change was to keep the app focused on private messaging.

The new restriction also comes at a time when WhatsApp owner Facebook is under scrutiny for the spread of false information. It is one in a number of attempts to restrict the false information. Only last week, Facebook removed 500 user profiles linked to fake news in Eastern Europe.

France Fines Google For Privacy Breach

France fined Alphabet Inc’s Google for breaching European Union laws. The suit is for $57M, the biggest levied against a tech giant. France’s regulator claimed that  Google lacked transparency in the way it informs users about its handling of personal data. They also said that Google failed to obtain consent for personalized ads.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation came into fruition in May. It allows users to better control over their personal data as well as allows regulators to impose fines for violations

Daily Bitcoin Transactions Doubled In 2018

Use of Bitcoin as a form of payment on darknet sites doubled in 2018. The darknet, usually used for illegal transactions, saw Bitcoin transactions rise to almost $2M daily, almost double from the beginning of the year.

Currently, Bitcoin is the currency of choice on the darknet because it allows users to remain anonymous. The use of the currency on the darknet didn’t fall as the price fluctuated.

AT&T Ads To Return To YouTube

After two years, AT&T announced that they will buy advertising space on Youtube. After discovering that their ads may have played next to offensive content, many brands pulled their ads. While some returned, AT&T held out.

As reviews of videos increased, AT&T decided to return to YouTube. And after working with Google closely for months, they said they were confident “that there is a near-zero possibility” their ads could end up appearing next to inappropriate or unapproved content on YouTube.

EU Copyright Laws Hit Roadblock

Efforts by the EU to reform copyright laws stalled after they called off Monday’s meeting. After the debate launched two years ago, the EU passed laws seen by many as censorship. The meeting was cancelled after Friday’s meeting made no headway.