SRMG announces soft launch of IndependentTurkish.com

Muhammad Zahid Gul, the editor in chief of www.independentturkish.com.
Updated 15 April 2019

SRMG announces soft launch of IndependentTurkish.com

  • Muhammad Zahid Gul appointed editor in chief
  • Gul has extensive experience as a journalist, political analyst, researcher and TV producer

RIYADH: The Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) has announced the soft launch of www.independentturkish.com. 

The website is the second phase of the SRMG’s project to launch The Independent in Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Persian, under a licensing agreement that was signed and announced last year with the British publisher of The Independent. 

The SRMG also announced the appointment of Turkish journalist and political analyst Muhammad Zahid Gul as editor in chief of Independent Turkish. 

Well-known and experienced journalists have already joined the project, and are working in its offices in Istanbul.  

Gul has extensive experience as a journalist, political analyst, researcher and TV producer. He is very well versed in Arab and Turkish political relations. 

IndependentTurkish.com follows the SRMG’s launch of the Turkish website of its flagship Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.  

“The launch of IndependentTurkish.com stands as the second phase of our multi-lingual project with The Independent,” said SRMG Chairman Abdulrahman Alrowaita.

“We are so eager to have the new website … attract a wider readership of the Turkish language who are keen to read diversified but highly professional content,” he said.

“We hope that with such a project … the media industry and content creation will be enriched in our region.”


Amazon bans and unbans TikTok for employees in the same day

Updated 11 July 2020

Amazon bans and unbans TikTok for employees in the same day

  • One person familiar with the matter said that senior Amazon executives were unaware of the request to delete TikTok from employee devices
  • The ban was reversed after TikTok and Amazon representatives discussed the matter

DUBAI: In the span of a few hours on Friday, Amazon banned and then unbanned the TikTok video-sharing app from employee mobile devices, calling the move a mistake.
The news generated widespread attention for the Chinese-owned social media platform, coming in the same week that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US is “certainly looking at” banning TikTok, suggesting it shared information with the Chinese government.
It was not immediately clear what led to the initial ban by Amazon. One person familiar with the matter said that senior Amazon executives were unaware of the request to delete TikTok from employee devices. The ban was reversed after TikTok and Amazon representatives discussed the matter, according to an email sent to TikTok employees.
Earlier this week, Wells Fargo sent a note to employees who had installed TikTok on company-owned mobile devices telling them to remove the app immediately.
“Due to concerns about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices,” Wells Fargo said in a statement.
“We have not been contacted by Wells Fargo, but as with any organization that has concerns, we are open to engaging with them constructively and letting them know about the actions we have taken to protect data security for our users,” a TikTok spokesman told Reuters.
The attention underscores the hotseat that TikTok’s owner, China-based ByteDance, has found itself in over recent days.
The Chinese ownership of TikTok, among the fastest growing digital platforms ever, has come under heavy scrutiny on issues including their handling of user data. India banned TikTok and other Chinese apps in June.
The company has said that user data is stored in the US with a backup copy in Singapore. One person familiar with the matter said that TikTok’s user data is primarily stored in the Google Cloud in its Virginia-based data center.
TikTok declined to comment. Google could not immediately be reached for comment.
That did not stop Pompeo from floating a possible ban of TikTok in the US. Asked if Americans should download it, he told Fox News: “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
On Friday, the Republican National Committee in the US asked its members via email not to download TikTok. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday also reiterated its guidance from December to stop downloading the app.
A person familiar with the matter said that the DNC has been advising campaign staff for months not to use TikTok on their personal devices and to use a separate phone and account if they use the platform for campaign work because of the amount of data it tracks. A spokesman for the DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Two Republican senators in March introduced a bill aimed at banning federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued phones, citing national security concerns around the collection and sharing of data on US users with China’s government.
Last year the US Navy banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, saying that the app represented a “cybersecurity threat.”
Last November, the US government launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co’s $1 billion acquisition of US social media app Musical.ly, Reuters reported last year.
On July 7, TikTok said that it would stop operations in Hong Kong, joining other social media companies in warily eyeing ramifications of a sweeping national security law that took effect the previous week.
The social media companies say that they are assessing implications of the security law, which prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in the city’s internal affairs. In the communist-ruled mainland, the foreign social media platforms are blocked by China’s “Great Firewall.”
To address concerns over its Chinese ownership, ByteDance has taken steps to shift its center of power away from China, Reuters previously reported. It is also looking to make changes to TikTok’s corporate structure for the same reasons, a company spokesperson said this week.
However, the concerns still persist. Last month, when Apple released to developers a test version of its iOS operating system with new privacy features, developers showed images of TikTok’s app triggering notifications that it was copying data from users’ clipboards, where data is temporarily stored while copying and pasting from one app to another.
TikTok said that the notifications were caused by an anti-spam feature but that it would end the practice.
Apple has not restricted TikTok use by employees, one of them said.
Some US semiconductor companies have been reluctant to consider a ban on TikTok because ByteDance is a customer, according to people familiar with the matter.
Some firms providing security services to big companies have added TikTok to their lists of banned apps on managed devices.