News digest 07.09.2020

Apple delays new anti-tracking privacy measures


Apple has delayed the implementation of new privacy measures designed to stop apps and websites tracking people online without their consent. The changes also mean the app will have to ask a user's permission to access the ad-tracking ID on an iPhone or iPad. The measures were due to arrive in the latest iOS 14 update in the autumn. But Apple said the changes were being delayed until the start of 2021 to give app developers and websites more time to adapt their services.

Facebook has warned that Apple's privacy plan could make one of its advertising tools "so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14". The social network says it will no longer collect users' ad-tracking IDs on iOS 14, and that Apple's plan had forced it to make that decision.

U.S. Justice Department's Google lawsuit expected in weeks ahead


The Justice Department, which has been conducting an antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google, plans to bring a lawsuit against Google as soon as this month, according to two sources familiar with the probe, who said the focus remains on search and advertising.

A complaint, which had been expected around Labor Day, is now expected this month but potentially as late as mid-October, and is likely to focus on two sets of allegations.

Facebook says will remove content to mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impact


Facebook will remove or restrict users’ access to content if it becomes necessary to reduce adverse legal or regulatory impact on itself.

Its updated Terms of Service, effective from October 1, has however raised alarm bells among internet and free speech advocates, who called it troubling, vague, and against the Supreme Court’s judgment on online speech and intermediary liability.

A Facebook source said update is not related to content moderation and it has made this change to enable it to stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news content on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is currently entangled in a regulatory battle in Australia regarding a proposed law to pay news publishers.

However, technology lawyers were worried. They said the update gives Facebook censorship rights and curtails free speech of users. This change is applicable globally to Facebook. Instagram’s terms will reflect similar changes.

Google adds fees In U.K., Turkey and Austria


Marketers using Google Ads to reach consumers in the United Kingdom, Austria and Turkey will begin to see country-specific fees on their monthly advertising invoice beginning November 1.

Google said in an email on Tuesday that it will add the fees to advertisers’ Google Ads costs once at the end of every month.

The fees are in addition to the account budget. For example, when advertisers have a budget of €100 and accrue €5 in Austria DST Fees for ads served in Austria, marketers will be billed €105, plus taxes, such as VAT, that may apply in the specific country. 

Regulatory Operating Costs at Google are being added as a result of significant increases in complexity and cost of complying with regulations in Turkey. In Austria and the United Kingdom, the DST fee is driven by the new digital services tax in these countries, according to the email.

India bans PUBG, Baidu and more than 100 apps linked to China


A further 118 Chinese mobile apps have been banned by the Indian government, as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.

Those on the list include several of Tencent's products including the hit video game PUBG Mobile and WeChat Work. Previously the government had banned 59 of the most popular apps including TikTok over national security concerns. 

The US has also recently taken action against Chinese apps, threatening to ban TikTok and ordering US firms to stop doing business with Tencent's WeChat platform. White House trade advisor Peter Navarro has said that the administration also has other Chinese apps within its sights.

Walmart+ launches Sept 15


Walmart officially unveiled its new membership service and Amazon Prime rival, which it’s calling “Walmart+.”

The $98 per year service will combine free, unlimited same-day delivery on groceries and thousands of other items, with additional benefits, like fuel discounts and access to a new Scan & Go service, similar to Walmart-owned Sam’s Club, that will allow members to check out at Walmart stores without having to wait in line.

The service will be available starting on September 15, 2020 nationwide, reaching over 4,700 Walmart stores, including 2,700 stores that offer delivery. Members can choose to pay the $98 per year after a 15-day free-trial period, or they can pay $12.95 on a month-to-month basis.

SoftBank is said to consider bid for TikTok in India


SoftBank Group Corp. is exploring assembling a group of bidders for TikTok’s India assets and has been actively looking for local partners, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Over the past month, the Japanese conglomerate, which owns a stake in TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd., has held talks with the heads of India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd., the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. While discussions have fizzled since, SoftBank is still exploring options, according to the people.

Representatives for SoftBank, ByteDance, Reliance and Bharti Airtel declined to comment.