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19-year-old Boy shot dead while taking TikTok video

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Abhiramy R

TikTok is facing a lot of troubles. Its existence is being questioned. A 19-year-old man was allegedly shot dead by his friend in Delhi as they posed with a pistol to make a video on mobile app TikTok, police said Sunday.

Last night, Salman along with his friends Sohail and Amir went out for a drive to India Gate.

While returning, Sohail seated next Salman, who was driving the car, pulled out a country-made pistol.

He aimed it at Salman while trying to make the video but the pistol went off shooting him on his left cheek, police said.

Amir was in the rear seat of the car, a Creta, when the incident happened near Ranjit Singh Flyover, adjacent to Barakhamba Road in central Delhi, police said.

After the incident, the two friends panicked and drove to Sohail’s relatives’ home in Daryaganj, where he changed his blood-stained clothes. Then, along with the relative, they took Salman to nearby LNJP Hospital, where doctors declared him dead, police said.

They left the hospital soon after admitting Salman. Around 11.15 pm, the hospital authorities informed police, officials said.

A murder case and a case under Arms Act have been registered at Barakhamba Police Station and Amir, Sohail and another man, Sharif, have been arrested, they said.

Sohail was arrested as he fired the bullet, while Amir was arrested for disposing of the weapon. Sharif, who was not present at the spot when the incident happened, was arrested for disposing the blood-stained clothes, the officer said.

Salman’s body has been kept at the hospital and post-mortem will be done on Monday.

Police said they are investigating whether the bullet was fired accidentally or with an intent to kill.

A relative of Salman said, “Two of his friends came last night and asked him to go to Indian Gate along with them following which Salman took his car and left.”

“We received the information about the incident from police and reached the hospital,” he said.

Salman, who was an under-graduate student, was the youngest member of his family and has an elder brother and a sister. They live in New Jafrabad area.

His father has a business in the area and he used to help him, the relative said.

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YouTube becomes India’s fastest growing market

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Abhiramy R

India is one of the fasting growing markets for the digital industry. In India, Google is synonyms for searching. Acknowledging this immense market, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai said, “India offers great potential for Google-owned YouTube’s growth and the latest in the journey is YouTube Music that has been downloaded more than 15 million times in the country”. Recent changes in YouTube set yet another milestone with top-line growth.

Addressing this growth, Pichai said, “YouTube Music and YouTube Premium are now available in 43 countries up from five markets at the start of 2018. In mid-March, we launched YouTube Music in India, one of YouTube’s fastest growing markets”.

Further, he added, “Since launch, the YouTube Music app has been downloaded more than 15 million times in the country. YouTube’s ad business, for both brand and direct response campaigns, continues to grow and support our creators”.

Addressing the issue about content, Sundar Pichai expressed, “Maybe I will start with the YouTube comments. I talked about in the area of content responsibility, we are definitely focused on making sure we are constantly improving how we are handling both in terms of reducing the content and shouldn’t be there on the platform”. He stated that, More importantly, making sure when we recommend content that we are recommending high-quality content as well as reducing harmful content or low-quality content is recommended.

Earlier this year, YouTube declared changes that decrease recommendations of content that comes close to violating its guidelines or that misinforms in harmful ways. “There are a lot more improvements, which we will be rolling out in the next few weeks and our work is ongoing,” Pichai said.

On Cloud, Pichai said that nine of the world’s 10 largest media companies, seven of the 10 largest retailers and more than half of the 10 largest companies and manufacturing, financial services, communications, and software use Google Cloud.

“Thomas (Kurian) is really building upon a strong foundation, but we are really accelerating and scaling up go-to-market both internally and through our channel partners has been a huge focus,” Pichai noted.

Thomas Kurian, former Oracle President of product development, joined Google Cloud early this year. Pichai also said, “I think we are building a strong business across all our verticals, and we are definitely seeing strong momentum, and look forward to being able to share more at the appropriate time”.

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Whatsapp to deny screenshots of Private chat?

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Abhiramy R

Facebook-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp is testing an ‘Authentication’ feature which would bar users from taking screenshots of their private conversations.

The new feature comes as part of a plethora of security changes that the app has been working on and introducing, keeping in line with the app’s commitment to user-privacy, web portal Independent reported on Tuesday.

The screenshot-blocking feature would be made available to users whenever WhatsApp plans to release the ‘Authentication’ feature, which is currently under development. Before accessing into the app, the ‘Authentication’ feature would ask users to confirm their identities via their fingerprints, WABetaInfo reported.

On enabling the feature, even after confirming their identities, users would not be able to take a screenshot of their chats.

“Fingerprint Security: When enabled, fingerprint is required to open WhatsApp and conversation screenshots are blocked. You can still reply to messages from notifications and answer calls if WhatsApp is locked,” a screenshot of the beta version of the ‘Authentication’ feature reads. Information surfacing about this upcoming feature has left users in a state of confusion.

“I don’t get it. What’s the point. How’s this useful. You’ve authenticated fingerprint security, that means your chat is secured. Why blocking screenshot, after all its your own chat, its your own WhatsApp, you should be able to do what you want,” a user replied on WABeta’s tweet informing users about the feature. Details about the roll-out of the feature remains unknown.

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Is TikTok ban in India causing $500,000 daily loss?

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Abhiramy R

Ban of an app can cause these much? We have heard news like, TikTok App is banned, then it got revamped.. etc. But some other factors which we should have a look is this. India’s ban on popular Chinese video app TikTok is resulting in “financial losses” of up to $500,000 a day for its developer, Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, and has put more than 250 jobs at risk, the company said in a court filing seen by Reuters.

TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects and is one of the world’s most popular apps. It has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users so far in India, out of more than 1 billion downloads globally, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Earlier this month, an Indian state court ordered the federal government to prohibit its downloads, saying the app was encouraging pornography. Acting upon instructions from the federal IT ministry, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google last week removed TikTok from their India app stores.

The developments have dealt a blow to the India growth plans of Bytedance, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and by private equity. Bytedance, one of the world’s most valuable startups potentially worth around $75 billion, was considering a public listing in Hong Kong this year, sources told Reuters in August. The ban has also worried the social media industry in India as it sees legal worries mounting if courts increasingly regulate content on their platforms.

In the filing made to India’s Supreme Court on Saturday, Bytedance urged the court to quash the ban and direct the federal IT ministry to tell companies such as Google and Apple to make the app available again on their platforms. The court filing is not publicly available and its contents have not been previously reported.

Bytedance pegged financial losses at $500,000 each day, which it said includes destruction in the value of its investments and loss of commercial revenue. It added the ban would result in its reputation and goodwill taking a hit with both advertisers and investors.

“Banning has had adverse impact on the user base of this app, losing close to 1 million new users per day … It is estimated that approximately six million requests for downloads could not be effected since the ban came into effect,” the company said in the filing.

A spokesman for TikTok and the federal IT ministry did not respond to requests for comment. The Supreme Court has so far not provided any interim relief on repeated pleas by Bytedance and referred the case back to the court in southern Tamil Nadu state, where the case will next be heard on Wednesday.

Memes and music videos thrive on TikTok, although some clips show youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-syncing and dancing to popular tunes. Its growing popularity has drawn criticism from some Indian politicians and parents who say its content is inappropriate. The Tamil Nadu court, which ruled against TikTok after individual filed public interest litigation, has said the app could also expose children to sexual predators.

The Supreme Court filing included a table in which Bytedance compared TikTok to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by listing 13 of its implemented safety features, including parental controls.

A “very minuscule” proportion of TikTok’s videos were considered inappropriate or obscene, the company has said.

“The constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of free speech and expression … of numerous Indian citizens have been severely impacted,” the company said in its latest filing.

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