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Facebook, Instagram EU-US Data Flow May Face Ban Soon as Irish Regulators Submit Final Report

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Ireland’s data privacy regulator moved a step closer to a ruling that could halt EU-U.S. data transfers by Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram when it shared an updated draft order with other EU regulators on Thursday, a spokesperson said.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) issued a provisional order in 2020 to block the mechanism Meta uses to transfer data on EU users to the United States, after Europe’s highest court deemed the agreement allowing it invalid due to surveillance concerns.

After the block was issued the European Union and US announced a preliminary data transfer deal to end the limbo, and data flows have continued pending a final agreement.

However, the DPC’s probe has continued in parallel, and it informed its EU counterparts of a draft of its final decision on Thursday, the spokesperson. The spokesperson declined to comment on the specific content of the decision.

The DPC is the EU’s lead regulator of Meta and many other of the world’s largest technology companies, due to the location of their EU headquarters in Ireland.

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Under EU privacy rules introduced in 2018, regulators around the bloc have one month to give their input before a final decision is reached. Any objections, which have regularly been lodged in such cases, could add months to the timeline.

Meta has warned a stoppage will likely leave it unable to offer significant services such as Facebook and Instagram in Europe without a new transatlantic data transfer framework.

DPC head Helen Dixon told Reuters in February that a halt to Meta’s data flows would not immediately hit other big tech companies, but that there would potentially be “hundreds of thousands of entities” that would have to be looked at.

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The final Irish order would not apply to Meta’s WhatsApp subsidiary, as it has a different data controller within the group.

“This draft decision, which is subject to review by European Data Protection Authorities, relates to a conflict of EU and U.S. law which is in the process of being resolved,” a Meta spokesperson said on Thursday.

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“We welcome the EU-U.S. agreement for a new legal framework that will allow the continued transfer of data across borders, and we expect this framework will allow us to keep families, communities and economies connected.”

When the provisional agreement was struck in March, EU officials said it would likely take months to turn it into a final legal deal.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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Instagram Story Time Limit Increased to 60 Seconds: Report

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Instagram is reportedly increasing the time limit for Instagram Stories to 60 seconds, from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, Instagram Stories that were longer than 15 seconds would be broken up into separate segments. The social media company is said to have begun testing the change with select users towards the end of last year. Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. Meta had announced the parental supervision tools and the Family Center tool back in March. The company was recently slapped with EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules.

According to a recent report by TechCrunch, Instagram confirmed that it is increasing the time limit of Instagram stories to 60 seconds from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, if a user had posted a video longer than 15 seconds, it used to get broken up into smaller segments. This made the process of uploading videos to Instagram Stories more challenging, including tagging and mentioning other users.

As mentioned earlier, Instagram is said to have begun testing the new change with select users towards the end of last year.

Earlier this month, Instagram also rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. The Family Center is a place for parents and guardians to access supervision tools and resources from leading experts. These tools will let them see the screen time spent by their kids on Instagram and impose time limits. The new parental controls are part of Meta’s attempts to protect children who actively use its social media apps.

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Instagram was recently slapped with a EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules. The Meta-owned social media platform was found mishandling the personal information of teenagers. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission’s investigation revealed that Instagram displayed the personal information of users between the age of 13 and 17 years. Instagram’s parent Meta said it disagrees with the way the fine was calculated and has expressed its desire to appeal the fine imposed by the regulator.

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Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Said to Postpone Depositions Ahead of Upcoming Trial

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk won a reprieve from questioning by Twitter lawyers Monday, according to several press reports. The billionaire had been scheduled to give a deposition in his high-stakes court fight with Twitter over whether he has to follow through with his agreement to buy the social platform for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,37,465 crore).

Instead, Musk’s questioning was postponed to a future date. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who was also scheduled to face Musk lawyers on Monday, likewise postponed his deposition, according to a person who was briefed on the matter.

The Musk postponement was reported by Bloomberg, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, all of which attributed the information to anonymous sources.

News of the postponements fueled a brief rally in Twitter shares, which jumped 5.4 percent to $43.03 (roughly Rs. 3,500), apparently on hopes of a settlement in the case. That enthusiasm waned later in the day. Twitter shares closed Monday at $41.58 (roughly Rs. 3,300), eight cents higher than they opened.

Court watchers said that such postponements are not unusual ahead of major pretrial hearings. A hearing on several significant pretrial motions is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Both men were expected to answer questions posed by opposing lawyers ahead of an October trial that will determine who is at fault for the seeming collapse of Musk’s Twitter bid, not to mention who owes whom large sums of money as a result. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, where it’s scheduled to last just five days.

Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 (roughly Rs. 4,180) a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. In July, he attempted to back out of the deal, leveling a number of charges at Twitter as justification for his action.

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Twitter subsequently sued Musk to force him to complete the acquisition.


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WhatsApp Call Links Support Rolling Out, 32-Member Group Video Call Testing Also Begins

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WhatsApp on Monday announced that it will roll out Call Links later this week.

By Gadgets 360 Staff | Updated: 26 September 2022 18:33 IST

WhatsApp Call Links Support Rolling Out, 32-Member Group Video Call Testing Also Begins

WhatsApp on Monday announced that it will roll out Call Links to allow users to start a new call or join one with a single tap. The Meta-owned messaging service will make it easier for users to share call links when the feature rolls out later this week. WhatsApp will also begin testing group video calls for up to 32 people.

This is a breaking news story. Details will be added soon. Please refresh the page for latest version.

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