Amazon, Google face formal fake review inquiry in Britain

Google and Amazon said they would continue to assist the CMA with its enquiries. (File/AFP)
Google and Amazon said they would continue to assist the CMA with its enquiries. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 June 2021

Amazon, Google face formal fake review inquiry in Britain

Google and Amazon said they would continue to assist the CMA with its enquiries. (File/AFP)
  • The United Kingdom starts a formal investigation into Amazon and Google's efforts in preventing fake reviews.
  • The British competition regulator could take enforcement action if firms broke the law.

Britain’s competition regulator started a formal investigation on Friday into whether Amazon and Google may not have done enough to prevent or remove fake reviews.
Along with regulators in the United Sates and the European Union, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has stepped up its scrutiny of big tech firms in recent years.
The British regulator said it will gather more information to decide if the firms may have broken consumer law by taking insufficient action to protect shoppers. Both Google and Amazon said they were continuing to assist the CMA.
CMA action last year over the trading of fake reviews resulted in Facebook, Instagram and eBay removing groups and banning individuals for buying and selling fake reviews on their sites.
Google said on Thursday it would delay blocking tracking cookies on its Chrome browser following intervention by the CMA.
The CMA started its investigation into reviews in May 2020, focusing on the internal systems and processes of several platforms for identifying and dealing with fake reviews.
The regulator said it was also concerned that Amazon’s systems had failed adequately to prevent and deter some sellers from manipulating product listings, through for example co-opting positive reviews from other products.
“Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations,” the CMA’s Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said in a statement.
“Equally, it’s simply not fair if some businesses can fake 5-star reviews to give their products or services the most prominence, while law-abiding businesses lose out.”

ENFORCEMENT ACTION
The CMA said it has not reached a view on whether Amazon and Alphabet’s Google have broken the law.
However, if it concludes they have broken consumer protection law, it can take enforcement action ranging from securing formal commitments to change the way they deal with fake reviews or escalating to court action.
Amazon said it would continue to assist the CMA with its enquiries.
“We are relentless in protecting our store and will take action to stop fake reviews regardless of the size or location of those who attempt this abuse,” said a spokesperson.
Google too said it would continue to work with the regulator.
“Our strict policies clearly state reviews must be based on real experiences, and when we find policy violations, we take action — from removing abusive content to disabling user accounts,” a spokesperson for the company said.


Reality show ‘Say Yes to the Dress Arabia’ appeals for regional brides

Reality show ‘Say Yes to the Dress Arabia’ appeals for regional brides
Updated 1 min 54 sec ago

Reality show ‘Say Yes to the Dress Arabia’ appeals for regional brides

Reality show ‘Say Yes to the Dress Arabia’ appeals for regional brides
  • Regional edition of hit series set to air early next year on STARZPLA

DUBAI: An Arabian edition of the hit reality TV show “Say Yes to the Dress” is set to be launched early next year.

And producers are appealing for Middle Eastern brides-to-be to apply for participation in the show.

Discovery+ announced that the popular series will air in the region for the first time as part of an exclusive two-year deal with streaming platform STARZPLAY.

The move will see discovery+ building on the partnership it started with STARZPLAY earlier this year.

Danny Bates, co-founder and chief commercial officer of STARZPLAY, said: “Offering diverse content is our differentiating strength as we continue to deliver unforgettable experiences to our subscribers who enjoy unique entertainment genres.”

Since 2007, the show has helped hundreds of brides to find the perfect dress. And there have been multiple spin-offs, including one featuring US presenter and fashion designer Randy Fenoli in New York’s Kleinfeld Bridal, and regional and international versions in Atlanta, the UK, the northern county of Lancashire in England, Ireland, Canada, Asia, Benelux, and elsewhere.

Francesco Perta, senior business development and distribution director for Discovery in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, and northeastern Europe, said: “Brides across the Middle East are renowned for bringing an added flair to their wedding gowns.

“We know that ‘Say Yes to the Dress Arabia’ is going to be a hit, taking things one step further as it highlights the unique pizzazz that our regional brides will bring to the show.”

Producer, Different Productions, is looking for Middle Eastern brides to participate in the show and those based in the UAE wishing to take part should apply via [email protected]

“Say Yes to the Dress Arabia” is scheduled to air in the first quarter of next year exclusively on STARZPLAY.


Turkey seeks up to 15 years in jail for license holder of coup-related app

Turkey arrested thousands of people for using or possessing Bylock, while hundreds of thousands were sacked, suspended or arrested for alleged ties to Gulen. (Courtesy: AA Photo)
Turkey arrested thousands of people for using or possessing Bylock, while hundreds of thousands were sacked, suspended or arrested for alleged ties to Gulen. (Courtesy: AA Photo)
Updated 18 min 4 sec ago

Turkey seeks up to 15 years in jail for license holder of coup-related app

Turkey arrested thousands of people for using or possessing Bylock, while hundreds of thousands were sacked, suspended or arrested for alleged ties to Gulen. (Courtesy: AA Photo)
  • Ankara has cracked down on the network of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric, since the coup attempt in which some 250 people were killed
  • Ankara outlawed Bylock in the aftermath of the coup, saying Gulen’s followers had used it to communicate on the night of the putsch

ANKARA: Turkish authorities are seeking up to 15 years in prison for the license holder of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app Ankara says was used by the group it blames for an attempted military coup in 2016, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.
Ankara has cracked down on the network of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric, since the coup attempt in which some 250 people were killed. It arrested thousands of people for using or possessing Bylock, while hundreds of thousands were sacked, suspended or arrested for alleged ties to Gulen.
Ankara outlawed Bylock in the aftermath of the coup, saying Gulen’s followers had used it to communicate on the night of the putsch when a group of rogue soldiers attempted to overthrow the government.
Five years after the failed coup, arrests of suspected Gulen supporters are still routine. Gulen has always denied any involvement.
Anadolu said on Wednesday that Bylock’s license-holder David Keynes, a Turkish national previously known as Alpaslan Demir who took US citizenship, turned himself in on June 9.
Prosecutors are seeking up to 15 years in jail for “membership of the FETO armed terrorist organization,” using Ankara’s acronym for Gulen’s network, it said.
Turkish authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Keynes in December 2020, Anadolu said, adding that Keynes had asked to take advantage of “remorse laws” under which suspects who cooperate can receive lighter sentences.
Citing an indictment, Anadolu said Keynes had provided names of individuals, as well as details about Bylock.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced alarm over the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent. The government has said the security measures were necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces.


Twitter brings the Olympics to the platform with new features

Twitter brings the Olympics to the platform with new features
Updated 1 min 30 sec ago

Twitter brings the Olympics to the platform with new features

Twitter brings the Olympics to the platform with new features
  • First-ever official emoji and informational videos are part of the new features

DUBAI: Following a year of delays, the Olympics are underway in Tokyo and, as with many real-life events, viewers are turning to social media to watch, comment and follow the developments.

On the opening weekend, from July 23 to 25, daily tweet volumes went up by a massive 165 percent.

In response to the increased activity around the Olympics, Twitter has introduced new features and tweaks to the platform such as an official Olympics emoji, for the first time, in more than 30 languages including Arabic. It has also introduced emojis dedicated to sporting events such as archery, golf, fencing and tennis; gold, silver and bronze medal emojis; and country flag emojis when users tweet a three-character country hashtag such as #KSA, #EGY and #UAE.

Another hashtag-based feature is #ExpertEngine. When a user tweets the hashtag #ExpertEngine along with @Olympics and a sporting event hashtag such as #Wrestling, the user will automatically receive a video reply with information about that sport.

 

 

In another first, Twitter has created a dedicated tab in the Explore section called #TokyoOlympics, which will feature country-specific Event Pages including UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, as well as dedicated sports pages featuring top tweets from trusted accounts.

The platform has also created specific lists featuring curated tweets, such as Arab athletes at Tokyo, Latest news on Tokyo in Arabic, Team UAE at Tokyo, Team KSA at Tokyo, and Team Egypt at Tokyo among others.

“Make no mistake, Twitter will be the roar of the crowd in the coming weeks and where sports fans everywhere will be coming for the latest content and conversation,” said Jay Bavishi, sports partnerships, Twitter, in a blog post.


Egyptian star Sherihan makes screen comeback as Coco Chanel

Egyptian star Sherihan makes screen comeback as Coco Chanel
Updated 1 min 6 sec ago

Egyptian star Sherihan makes screen comeback as Coco Chanel

Egyptian star Sherihan makes screen comeback as Coco Chanel
  • Based on life of French fashion designer, play is streaming on Shahid VIP

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Sherihan is returning to the screen after a three-decade hiatus to play the late fashion designer Coco Chanel.

Sherihan, 56, began life in the arts when aged just four, appearing in her first movie “Cat on Fire” at 12 years old.

She has led an illustrious career as an actor, singer, and dancer and gained huge popularity as the longtime host of TV show “Fawazeer Ramadan.”

She has performed as a stage actress in plays such as “Sakk Ala Banatak,” and “Mohamed Ali Street” as well as starring in films including “El Towk Wa El-Eswera,” and “Al-Mar’aw Al-Qanoon,” and showcased her musical talent in the TV series “One Thousand and One Nights.”

She was forced into retirement after developing a rare type of cancer but is now making her comeback as the famous French designer and businesswoman in “Coco Chanel,” which premiered on MBC’s premium streaming platform Shahid VIP on July 20.

The play, a mix between a musical and a drama, has been written and composed by Medhat Al-Adl and directed by Hadi El-Bagoury.

Although filmed last year, its release was postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Shot as a stage production and streamed online, “Coco Chanel” features five musical performances by Sherihan and is available to stream on Shahid VIP.


Facebook restores user’s account suspended over shared letter by grieving jailed Palestinian activist

Omar Nazzal posted the letter on his personal Facebook page but his account was suspended for two months for “violating Facebook’s community standards.” (Twitter)
Omar Nazzal posted the letter on his personal Facebook page but his account was suspended for two months for “violating Facebook’s community standards.” (Twitter)
Updated 27 July 2021

Facebook restores user’s account suspended over shared letter by grieving jailed Palestinian activist

Omar Nazzal posted the letter on his personal Facebook page but his account was suspended for two months for “violating Facebook’s community standards.” (Twitter)
  • Facebook restores the account of a Palestinian user who was temporarily blocked over the posting of a letter written by a jailed activist
  • The activist has been arrested and imprisoned several times by Israel, often being held without charge under administrative detention

LONDON: Facebook has restored the account of a Palestinian user the social networking company had temporarily blocked over the posting of a letter written by a jailed activist.

Omar Nazzal had shared online a poignant letter penned by Palestinian politician Khalida Jarrar after she was barred by Israel from attending her daughter Suha’s funeral.

Written from her cell in Damon Prison, Haifa, on July 13, Jarrar’s message had reportedly been read out at the funeral of her daughter who had died of heart failure.

It said: “Suha came into the world while her father was in jail, and she is leaving the world while her mother is in jail. Suha, my precious. They have stripped me from bidding you a final goodbye kiss, so I bid you farewell with a flower.”

 

 

Jarrar, 58, has been arrested and imprisoned several times by Israel, often being held without charge in what the Israelis call administrative detention. She is currently serving a two-year administrative detention sentence.

Her letter was widely shared on social media but when Nazzal, a close friend of the Jarrar family, posted it on his personal Facebook page his account was suspended for two months for “violating Facebook’s community standards.”

The company restored Nazzal’s account five days later.

 

 

 

Facebook’s move was the latest in a line of incidents involving the tech giant censoring Palestinian-related content on its platforms. In May alone, more than 700 cases of digital rights violations took place against Palestinians on social media including the deletion of personal accounts, removal of posts, and suspension of the accounts of journalists and news agencies.