Meta to pay $725m to settle user data case
Meta which is known to be Facebook’s corporate parent has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the world’s largest social media platform allowed millions of its users’ personal information to be fed to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that supported Donald Trump’s victorious presidential campaign in 2016.
Terms of the settlement reached by Meta Platforms, the holding company for Facebook and Instagram, were disclosed in court documents filed late Thursday (22 December). It will still need to be approved by a judge in a San Francisco federal court hearing set for March.
The case sprang from 2018 revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a firm with ties to Trump political strategist Steve Bannon, had paid a Facebook app developer for access to the personal information of about 87 million users of the platform. That data was then used to target U.S. voters during the 2016 campaign that culminated in Trump’s election as the 45th president.
Uproar over the revelations led to a contrite Zuckerberg being grilled by U.S. lawmakers during a high-profile congressional hearing and spurred calls for people to delete their Facebook accounts. Even though Facebook’s growth has stalled as more people connect and entertain themselves on rival services such as TikTok, the social network still boasts about 2 billion users worldwide, including nearly 200 million in the U.S. and Canada.
The lawsuit, which had been seeking to be certified as a class action representing Facebook users, had asserted the privacy breach proved Facebook is a “data broker and surveillance firm,” as well as a social network.
The two sides reached a temporary settlement agreement in August, just a few weeks before a September. 20 deadline for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his long-time chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, to submit to depositions.
The company based in Menlo Park, California, said in statement Friday it pursued a settlement because it was in the best interest of its community and shareholders.
“Over the last three years we revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” said spokesperson Dina El-Kassaby Luce. “We look forward to continuing to build services people love and trust with privacy at the forefront.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Optimistic About IMF Agreement this June
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed optimism about reaching a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month, according to an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu.
The release of pending bailout funds through the 9th IMF review is crucial for Pakistan to address its severe balance of payments crisis, as the country’s central bank reserves can only cover imports for a month. However, a staff-level agreement to release $1.1 billion out of a $6.5 billion package has been delayed since November, marking the longest delay in staff-level missions to Pakistan since at least 2008.
Sharif stated that Pakistan remains hopeful about the IMF program materializing and assured that the 9th review will fulfill all terms and conditions. He expressed anticipation for positive news this month, highlighting that Pakistan has completed all necessary prior actions to unlock funding. Notably, Pakistan is preparing to announce its Federal Budget on June 9, and last month, the finance minister mentioned that the IMF had requested details about the budget, which the government had planned to share.
Pakistan is currently grappling with an economic crisis, as May witnessed inflation skyrocketing to 37.97%, marking a record high for the second consecutive month and the highest in South Asia. In an attempt to secure IMF funding, the government has implemented measures such as removing exchange rate caps, imposing taxes, increasing energy tariffs, and reducing subsidies. Additionally, key interest rates have been raised to a record 21%.
PM Sheikh Hasina to partake World of Work Summit in Switzerland this June
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to embark on a visit to Switzerland in June to attend the “World of Work Summit: Social Justice for All” in Geneva on June 14-15. The summit serves as a significant platform for global leaders to address the pressing need for enhanced, coordinated, and coherent efforts in promoting social justice.
During the summit, discussions will revolve around the proposal to establish a Global Coalition for Social Justice, which received a positive response from the International Labour Office’s Governing Body at its 347th Session. Should the plans be finalized, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will undertake her visit to Geneva from June 13 to 16, as confirmed by a diplomatic source.
A distinguished lineup of attendees, including French President François Hollande, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and representatives from employers’ and workers’ organizations, will address the conference. Over the course of two days, the summit aims to emphasize the crucial role of social justice in fostering a more sustainable and equitable world. Additionally, strategies for enhanced collaboration and cohesive action to advance social justice and ensure policy coherence will be explored.
The summit will provide participants with a platform to share their vision and priorities concerning social justice, as well as showcase the actions they have taken and commit to taking to promote social justice. Furthermore, the outcomes of the summit are expected to inform discussions in other multilateral forums regarding the significance and strategies for achieving greater social justice. These forums include the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, the G20 Summit, and the summits of the BRICS countries, all scheduled to take place in 2023.
Prominent figures such as heads of state and government, the United Nations Secretary-General, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), and high-level representatives from employers’ and workers’ organizations will deliver addresses during the summit. Additionally, four panel discussions will bring together governmental representatives, employers’ and workers’ organizations, UN entities, and other international organizations to identify and amplify actions aimed at promoting social justice across the multilateral system. The objective is to commit to a joint, coherent, and coordinated engagement on this crucial issue.
Erdoğan Emerges Victorious in Turkish Presidential Election
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has extended his two-decade-long grip on power in Turkey, securing victory over his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a closely contested presidential runoff election.
With 99.43% of the votes counted, Turkey’s supreme election authority announced Erdoğan’s win with 52.14% of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu received 47.86%. The gap of over 2 million votes between the candidates was insurmountable, ensuring Erdogan’s victory. Even before the official result was announced, Erdoğan celebrated atop a bus in Istanbul, singing a campaign song and declaring his triumph.
Erdoğan hailed the election as a win for Turkey and its democracy, emphasizing the importance of the country remaining united and focused on its goals. The incumbent president has been a dominant figure in Turkish politics, centralizing power, suppressing opposition, and implementing unconventional economic policies. Surprisingly, he garnered support in areas severely affected by financial crises and devastating earthquakes. Erdogan’s victory affirms his populist style of politics and grants him another term as president.
In the aftermath of his win, Erdoğan addressed his supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace, boasting of Turkey’s economic independence despite ongoing financial challenges. Congratulations poured in from various world leaders, including President Joe Biden, President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President Emmanuel Macron, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and even Erdogan’s former rival, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt.
Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), consoled his supporters at the party’s headquarters in Ankara, acknowledging the people’s desire for change despite what he deemed an unfair election process. He expressed his commitment to continuing the struggle for real democracy in the country.
The opposition had managed to push Erdoğan into a runoff election, an unprecedented occurrence in the presidential system introduced by Erdoğan himself. However, they fell short of securing the majority needed for victory. Kilicdaroglu and his coalition campaigned on returning Turkey to parliamentary democracy, pledging to reverse the changes implemented by Erdoğan during his two decades in power.
Erdoğan dismissed claims of increasing authoritarian control, highlighting that a candidate entering a runoff election cannot be considered a dictator. His campaign focused on his ability to solve the country’s problems, particularly the worsening economic crisis. Despite holding mayorships in major cities, the opposition struggled to gain traction outside their traditional strongholds, while Erdoğan’s support remained strong in provinces that had experienced significant socioeconomic growth under his leadership.
In summary, Erdoğan’s victory in the presidential runoff election solidifies his hold on power in Turkey, offering him another term as president and reaffirming his populist political approach. The country remains deeply polarized, with the opposition vowing to continue the struggle for a more democratic system.
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