Shares in Europe higher…Facebook fights vaccine misinfo
BANGOK (AP) – Shares are higher in Europe following a mixed session in Asia. In early trading, Germany’s DAX climbed 0.3% and the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.5%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.4%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index closed 1% lower. Tokyo’s Nikkei edged 0.2% higher and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.3%. U.S. futures point to an upbeat start, with S&P futures up 0.3% and Dow futures 0.4% higher.
LONDON (AP) – Facebook is adding informational labels to posts about vaccines as it expands efforts to counter COVID-19-related misinformation flourishing on its platforms. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says in a blog post that labels will contain “credible information” about the vaccines from the World Health Organization. The social network is also adding a tool to help get users vaccinated by connecting them to information about where and when they can get their shot. Facebook and Instagram have been criticized for allowing anti-vaccination propaganda to spread and for being woefully slow in weeding out the misinformation, often with fact-checks, labels and other restrained measures.
GENEVA (AP) – Swiss authorities have confirmed a police raid at the home of a Swiss hacker who took credit for helping to break into a U.S. security-camera company’s online networks. The hacker called it an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of mass surveillance. The Federal Office of Justice says regional police in central Lucerne, acting on a legal assistance request from U.S. authorities, on Friday carried out a house search involving a group of activist hackers using the name Tillie Kottmann. The hacker said electronics devices were seized during the raid. The Swiss office declined to comment further, deferring to U.S. authorities.
STOCKHOLM (AP) – Low-cost fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz AB says its sales dropped 21% during the December through February period. It says an increase in online business could not make up for the temporary closure of 1,800 stores due to the pandemic. The Stockholm-based retailing group says the number of closed stores decreased to about 900 on March 13 this year as some countries including Germany – H&M group’s largest market — allowed some stores to reopen. It notes an improvement, with sales so far in March up by 10% compared with the same period in 2020, when the pandemic had started forcing restrictions on public life in many countries.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Oman’s telecommunications regulator has confirmed it severed access to the buzzy new audio chat app Clubhouse. The move set off fears authorities across the Persian Gulf may censor a rare open forum for discussion of sensitive topics in the region. An official in the regulator confirms the ban, blaming it on a licensing issue. It remains unclear whether the ban is a temporary suspension to smooth out the bureaucracy or the latest government attempt to suppress dissent in the sultanate. The invitation-only social media app Clubhouse has exploded in popularity, gaining traction in the Middle East where social media remains a highly contested and sometimes perilous space.