Meta Alerts ? 50,000 Users Saying Their Accounts Were Spied ?️‍♂️ on by Surveillance Companies

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Meta Alerts ? 50,000 Users Saying Their Accounts Were Spied ?️‍♂️ on by Surveillance Companies

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Meta (formerly Facebook) says it has notified about 50,000 users of Facebook and Instagram that their accounts may have been spied on by surveillance-for-hire entities around the world. The company has announced this after conducting a comprehensive investigation.

According to a post by Meta, users located in more than 100 countries were targeted by seven different entities.

The targets included individuals, politicians, human rights activists, journalists, critics of authoritarian regimes, dissidents, among others.

The surveillance-for-hire companies generally target people to collect intelligence, manipulate and compromise their devices and accounts across the internet.

The surveillance providers were based in China, India, Israel, and North Macedonia.

The seven entities include Cobwebs Technologies, Cognyte, Black Cube and Bluehawk CI (Israel), BellTroX (India), Cytrox (North Macedonia), and an unknown entity in China.

Meta is sending alerts to almost 50,000 users across more than 100 countries who it believes were targeted by one or more of these entities.

The social media giant also said that the surveillance was uncovered after a months-long investigation in which it identified spying groups and took action by removing them from the platform.

After a Successful IPO, EV Startup Rivian to Build $5 Billion Plant ? in Georgia

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EV startup Rivian has said that it will build a $5 billion plant in Georgia, United States. This will be Rivian’s second assembly plant in the country.

The Amazon-backed electric vehicle startup announced on December 16 alongside state representatives after months of speculation over where Rivian would look to expand its manufacturing footprint.

The company will start construction of its plant in the summer of 2022 and expects to start manufacturing vehicles in its plant by 2024.

Rivian’s new facility in Georgia will have the capacity to manufacture up to 400,000 vehicles a year.

The facility is also expected to employ about 7,500 people, while the expansion is supposed to add 800 to 1,000 jobs next year.

The EV startup can afford to invest in a new plant even before fully utilizing its Illinois plant because its investors believe that the company will be one of the few new automakers that will succeed in the electric vehicles market.

Russia ?? Looks to Impose Blanket Ban on Cryptocurrencies

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The central bank of Russia is seeking to ban cryptocurrency investments, citing risks of financial stability and the exploding volume of transactions.

If the ban is imposed, it would prevent future crypto transactions; however, it would not force the current crypto holders to divest their portfolios.

The move would also align with the remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, who stated that cryptocurrencies ‘bear high risks’ at an investment forum in Moscow. Currently, the central bank is preparing an advisory report on the issue

However, a conflicting report has emerged as Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the Duma [Russian Parliament] Committee on Financial Markets, has voiced his support for cryptocurrencies.

In addition, he supported cryptocurrencies mining regulation in the country, citing factors such as mining taxation and business electricity consumption.

The possible crackdown of the Russian central bank comes on the heels of China increasing its efforts to ban crypto mining earlier this year.

As Russia contemplates this larger ban, the central bank also issued new rules for mutual funds in the country earlier this week, noting funds were prohibited from investing in cryptocurrencies.

Tiger Global Invests in Pakistani Bookkeeping Startup ?

CreditBook, a Pakistan-based fintech startup providing digital bookkeeping services, has raised $11 million in a pre-series A funding round led by Tiger Global and Firstminute Capital.

The round also saw participation from Better Tomorrow Ventures, Banana Capital, VentureSouq, Ratio Ventures, and i2i Ventures, in addition to angel investors Sriram Krishnan and Julian Shapiro.

The funding also marks the first-ever investment from Tiger Global and Firstminute Capital in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem.

Founded in 2020 by Hasib Malik, Iman Jamall, and Hisham Adamjee, CreditBook is a fintech company serving Pakistan’s burgeoning yet underserved micro, small, and medium businesses.

The startup aims to tap the rising adoption of digital financial services in the country, especially after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fintech startup estimates that there is a $45 billion worth of unmet financing gap among small businesses in Pakistan.

CreditBook will use the latest proceedings to focus on value-added features for cash flow management and to strengthen its positioning among small business owners.

Around the Web ?

French Regulator Orders Clearview AI to Delete Facial Recognition Data: CNIL, the data privacy watchdog of France, has ordered facial recognition startup Clearview AI to delete all its data relating to French citizens. According to the regulator, the controversial AI startup is being used as a search engine for faces by various intelligence agencies and the company does not ask for any prior consent of those whose images it collected online.

Instagram to Allow Users to Embed Profile on Websites: Instagram is introducing a new feature that will allow users to embed a miniature version of their profiles on websites such as blogs and portfolios. The new feature is currently available only in the United States for now.


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