Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Tuesday, June 30.
1. TikTok and 59 other Chinese apps banned in India
Yesterday the Indian government issued an official ban of 60 China-based apps, including some incredibly popular choices like TikTok, SHAREIt, and UC Browser.
- The official reason for the ban is that they engage in “activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.”
- It’s still unclear exactly how the ban will be enforced, but it’s expected that the apps will be removed from the Google Play Store and App Store soon.
- Check out the full list of banned apps here.
- The Indian government has also used ISP level bans in the past when banning online services like WeTransfer.
- TikTok is a worldwide sensation and in India alone the app has racked up 611 million downloads, representing 30% of all downloads around the world.
- TikTok was also banned last year for failing to properly screen questionable and pornographic content, although that was overturned a week later.
- Regardless of how you feel about the ban, the app is far from innocent. Check out this previous Dgit Daily newsletter if you missed it for more info.
These app bans are just the latest in a long history of antagonization between India and China.
- Despite listing national security as the official reason for the ban, politicking plays a big if not bigger role.
- India has several disputed borders with its neighbors, but in recent months tension has risen due to Chinese troop movement in the Galwan River Valley region.
- These tensions broke into fighting, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead on June 20.
- The Indian government has responded by hitting Chinese business interests in India, rather than dealing directly with the Chinese government.
- These app bans are just the latest in an ongoing battle between the two governments, so don’t expect it to end any time soon.
2. YouTube, Reddit, and others (finally) crack down on extremists
It’s no secret that platforms like YouTube and Reddit have long been breeding grounds for conspiracy theories and misinformation. Whether intentional or not, algorithms have led millions of ordinary people down the rabbit hole into these communities.
Now, YouTube and others are actively enforcing policies prohibiting hate speech and hateful conduct by banning several prominent channels.
- On YouTube, these bans include white supremacist channels belonging to Stefan Molyneux, David Duke, and Richard Spencer.
- On Reddit, the subreddits /r/The_Donald, /r/DarkHumorAndMemes, and roughly 2000 others have all been removed.
- Twitch also suspended Donald Trump’s account for hateful conduct.
- Although most bans targeted right wing conspiracy groups, some left-wing groups were also banned, like the subreddit /r/ChapoTrapHouse.
- Censorship is always controversial, especially in an election year, but it’s worth noting that many of these figures have been spewing hateful speech for years. David Duke is a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and an unabashed neo-Nazi.
- Ironically, these bans may trace back to Trump’s threat to remove certain protections currently enjoyed by social media platforms thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
- Section 230 ensures two things:
- Social media platforms cannot be sued for removing content that breaks their policies (sidestepping free speech).
- Social media platforms are not treated as publishers of user content and cannot be held legally responsible for it (unless explicitly illegal like child pornography).
- Without this protection, social media platforms will need to step up self-policing to stay out of legal trouble.
3. Think smartphone camera tech is just now finding its stride? Think again: Mobile camera tech was amazing even before iPhone and Android. (Android Authority)
4. “This is not just some Orwellian technology of the future—it’s being used by law enforcement agencies across the country right now, and doing harm to communities right now.” Congress Introduces Bill to Ban Federal Agencies From Using Facial Recognition. (Vice)
5. Sony’s PS5 got its official reveal earlier this month, but Xbox has been suspiciously quiet. Rumor has it a cheaper Xbox (dubbed Xbox Series S) was part of a canceled June event that’s now pushed to August. (Eurogamer)
6. Google Photos is a convenient way to save all of your photos in the cloud, but recent changes mean some photos are no longer backed up by default. To make sure you don’t lose them, here’s how to make sure your Instagram and Whatsapp photos are backed up. (Android Authority)
7. Apple has been all about charging customers exorbitant prices for accessories, but the next iPhone might take things to a new level by not even including a charger in the box. (MacRumors)
8. TikTok is doing more super shady stuff: Apple Suddenly Catches TikTok Secretly Spying On Millions Of iPhone Users. (Forbes)
9. Despite what the marketers say, 16MP DSLR cameras still look better than today’s 108MP smartphones, and it all comes down to a simple reason. Why camera sensor size is more important than more megapixels. (Android Authority)
10. Wipe away those tears with $100 bills: Zuckerberg Loses $7 Billion as Firms Boycott Facebook Ads. (Bloomberg)
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