Will the U.S. ban TikTok? Facebook faces another lawsuit and Apple may let its users download third-party apps on iOS.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday December 15 and I am your host, Ashee Pamma.
Democrats and Republicans have come together to unveil bipartisan legislation that would ban TikTok across the U.S. Representatives and Senate have voiced their concerns about the app, adding that they perceive it as a threat to national security.
The bill, unveiled by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, would block “any social media company in, or under the influence of” China and other hostile foreign countries, including Russia. This move could put TikTok in line for a complete ban. Under the measure, President Joe Biden could impose sanctions on TikTok and other social media companies to prevent commercial operations in the U.S., according to reports from Sky News.
A new lawsuit is accusing Facebook of playing a role in political violence in Africa and seeks to hold it accountable, demanding over $2 billion in restitution funds and major changes to the service’s content moderation efforts in the continent. The class-action lawsuit was filed in Nairobi, Kenya, and accuses the company of monetizing the viral potential of hate and violence in conflict-torn Ethiopia, in violation of over 10 articles of Kenya’s Constitution. It also alleges the company does not devote enough resources to content moderation on the continent in comparison to the U.S. NBC news reports that one of the plaintiffs, an Ethiopian professor seeking political asylum in the U.S., alleges his father was killed by militants last year during the ongoing civil conflict in Ethiopia, as a result of incitement that spread on Facebook.
According to reports from Bloomberg, Apple is planning to let users install alternative app stores on iOS. Up until this report, Apple has only allowed iPhone and iPad users to download apps from the App Store. The plans are reportedly being spurred on by the EU’s Digital Markets Act which is created to enact “rules for digital gatekeepers to ensure open markets” when its restrictions become a requirement in 2024. With this law, Apple will not only have to allow third-party app stores but sideloading as well—letting users install software downloaded from the web.
Denver-based startup Boom, the supersonic’s ultra-high-speed airliner, now has plans for an engine. This week it announced that its future Overture jet would be powered by Symphony, the new Boom-led propulsion system that will be “designed and optimized” for the plane. Insider reports reveal that it will partner with three entities to bring the engine to life, including Florida Turbine Technologies, StandardAero for maintenance, and General Electric subsidiary GE Additive. Boom says Overture will start production in 2024. Its first flight is set for 2027, with type certification expected by 2029.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Ashee Pamma.