In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 20th May 2018
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India had the highest internet shutdowns in South Asia last year: UNESCO
A report by UNESCO has revealed the threat to basic rights of a citizen in India, with increasing internet shutdowns in the country. The Clampdowns and Courage-South Asia Press Freedom Report 2017-18 counts at least 97 instances of internet shutdowns in South Asia, and a whopping 82 of these happened in India. Read it here
Paytm adds recurring payments feature, targets sharp growth in transactions
Paytm has launched automatic recurring payments, a new feature that lets users configure the payments service to periodically pay for recurring expenses automatically. The feature which is branded as ‘My Payments’ is similar to standing instructions one can add to their bank accounts. Paytm expects ‘My Payments’ will be used to make high-value payments in a variety of cases. Read it here
Smriti Irani loses I&B Ministry role; what happens to online regulation committee?
The Modi government has removed Smriti Irani as Information & Broadcasting Minister, handing over the portfolio to her deputy in a cabinet reshuffle announced on Tuesday night. The Wire quoted sources saying that one of the reasons for her ouster was the circular announcing that fake news would be regulated. While that circular was swiftly withdrawn following pushback from journalists, the Ministry later formed a committee to regulate online media as a whole; that includes entertainment as well as news websites. Read it here
Cambridge Analytica fallout: Facebook suspends around 200 apps in ongoing audit
Facebook has suspended around 200 apps from its platform following an initial review of apps that had access to large amounts of user data. The action is part of an ongoing audit of third-party applications running on the social media platform following the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal, where data gathered from a third party app was used to access profiles of over 87 million users and serve them targeted election ads. Read it here
New I&B Minister takes softer tone on online content regulation, says online news should self-regulate
The new Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore, took a softer tone to online regulation while interacting with the media on Tuesday. Invoking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that news organizations will have to self-regulate, and won’t be regulated by the government. On the subject of online content regulation overall, he simply said that “I think you misunderstood that.” Read it here
Facebook shut down 1.2 billion fake accounts in the last two quarters
Facebook has disabled over 1.2 billion “fake” accounts in the past two quarters, many of them created using “scripts or bots, with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams,” the company revealed in its first ever Community Standards Enforcement report. 583 million such accounts were taken down in the first quarter of 2018, and 694 million accounts were culled out in the previous quarter. The company attributes the decrease in takedowns in the most recent quarter to “variability of our detection technology’s ability to find and flag them.” Read it here
Shemaroo’s digital revenues up 40.2% YoY to Rs 34.7 crore in Q4 FY18
Shemaroo’s digital media revenues stood Rs 34.7 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 (Q4 FY18), up 40.2% from Rs 24.7 crore in Q4FY17. In the preceding quarter, the company reported digital media revenues of Rs 33.1 crore, so this is a marginal increase of 4.8% on QoQ basis. Read it here
With BrainBaazi-Airtel partnership, live quiz apps approach mainstream
Times Internet’s live quiz app BrainBaazi is partnering with Airtel to launch a live cricket quiz for Airtel users. The HQ Trivia-inspired quiz app claims to have around half a million concurrent viewers on most nights. With this partnership, the Airtel TV app will host a daily cricket quiz for as long as the Indian Premier League is running. Loco, another quiz app that runs on the same format, has had a similar cricket quiz since the IPL began. The quizzes will run at 7:30pm (BrainBaazi) and 7:50pm (Loco), which is just a few minutes before most primetime IPL matches start airing. Read it here
Supreme Court to hear all cases against RBI’s order on virtual currencies
The Supreme Court has decided to hear all matters relating to the RBI’s directive that prevents banking entities from dealing with virtual currencies. The Economic Times reported that the apex court has directed the transfer of pending petitions which include, two in Delhi High Court and one in Calcutta High Court. Read it here
DoT allows use of embedded SIMs; M2M numbers must follow KYC norms
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has released guidelines allowing the use of embedded SIM cards in-built in devices. e-SIM uses a software to provide the services that a SIM card does, making it a virtual variant of the physical card.
How this will work
The e-SIM will come preinstalled when a device is purchased. Details of the telecom service provider can simply be updated while purchasing a new connection. Read it here