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Facebook suffers biggest drop of stocks amid alleged data leak crisis

Gorkha Post

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SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, has suffered the biggest one-day drop of its stocks by seven percent on Wall Street on Monday in four years after reported data leakage of its 50 million users for alleged political purposes, the Associated Press AP reported.

The Facebook loss came after US and British media reported that the data of more than 50 million Facebook users were inappropriately used by a British data analysis company, Cambridge Analytica, in activities allegedly connected with US President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.

Trump’s campaign reportedly used the firm’s data during the primaries but not during the general election, and Federal Election Commission numbers showed the firm collected 5.9 million US dollars in 2016 from Trump’s campaign, California-based The Mercury News daily reported Monday.

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The AP quoted Facebook as saying last week that Cambridge Analytica received user data from a Facebook app years ago that purported to be a psychological research tool, though the firm wasn’t authorized to have that information.

Facebook admitted that an estimated 270,000 people had downloaded the app and shared their personal details with it.

Last Friday, Facebook said in an official post that it had suspended “Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica,” from its website.

It said the two companies had failed to delete user data acquired in 2015 in violation of Facebook rules.

Last Saturday, Facebook said that claim that this is a data breach is completely false, arguing that people knowingly provided their information.

Mercury News said Monday that a US senator is demanding that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the abuse of user data for US campaign activities.

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China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline

Thompson Reuters

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BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.

Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.

Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.

State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.

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The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.

China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.

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