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UN says 2.7 billion people — 40 percent of the world’s population — will be online by year’s end

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Around 2.7 billion people — 40 percent of the world’s population — will be connected to the Internet by the end of 2013, the United Nations said Monday.

Another 250 million people came online in 2012, but 4.4 billion people remain unconnected, said the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Ninety percent of those not online live in developing countries.

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The ITU also said there would be 6.8 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions -– almost as many as there are people on the planet — by the end of the year.

South Korea leads the world in information and communication technology (ICT) development for the third consecutive year, followed closely by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway, the ITU said in its annual report.

The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong (China) also rank high, while Britain nudged into the top 10 from 11th position last year, the report said.

The ITU’s annual ICT Development Index ranks 157 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills.

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The report also noted that “mobile broadband is now more affordable than fixed broadband”.


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Facebook suspends ‘tens of thousands’ of apps in privacy review

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Facebook said Friday it suspended "tens of thousands" of apps on its platform as a result of a privacy practices review launched following a scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

The review started in 2018 after revelations that the political consultancy hijacked personal data on millions of Facebook users, and it included attorneys, external investigators, data scientists, engineers, policy specialists and others, according to a Facebook statement.

The suspensions are "not necessarily an indication that these apps were posing a threat to people," said vice president of partnerships Ime Archibong, adding that some developers "did not respond to our request for information."

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Twitter closes thousands of fake news accounts worldwide

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Twitter said Friday it has closed down thousands of accounts across the world for spreading fake news as well as pro-government propaganda, including in places like the United Arab Emirates, China and Spain.

Accounts coming from China seeking to sow discord among protesters in Hong Kong were closed down, as were accounts amplifying a pro-Saudi message coming from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates directed at Qatar and Yemen, Twitter said.

Fake news accounts were also suspended in Spain and Ecuador

The information release is part of the company's push to improve understanding of how its platform is used by state actors to manipulate public opinion.

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Is a strange Twitter glitch censoring the left?

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The Working Families Party, a New York-based progressive political party, has a reputation befitting its name as a left-populist political organization. So when the organization endorsed the center-left Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — who was once a hardcore Republican and has emphasized her capitalist credentials — over the explicitly democratic socialist candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sanders (I-Vt.) supporters were understandably disappointed. After all, the party overwhelmingly endorsed Sanders in the previous presidential election. What had changed?

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