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Facebook removes 265 ‘fake accounts’ targeting Nigeria, linked to Israeli firm

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Facebook says removes 265 ‘fake accounts’ linked to Israeli firm

Accounts

The move is part of wider efforts by Facebook to address concerns over privacy lapses and hate speech in social media.

Facebook said the “inauthentic” activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia as well as in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

“The people behind this network used fake accounts to run pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement,” Nathaniel , head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook said in a statement.

He identified Israel’s Archimedes Group as the source of some of the activity.

“This organisation and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter,” said Gleicher.

Archimedes was not immediately available for comment

Gleicher said Archimedes had 65 Facebook accounts, 161 pages, 12 events and four Instagram accounts. Some 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of these pages.

He said that the individuals involved also represented themselves as locals, including local news organisations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians.

“The page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents,” Gleicher said.

“We’re taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted.”

He added that around 812,000 dollars was spent for advertisements on Facebook paid for in Brazilian reals, Israeli shekels and U.S. dollars with the first ad running in 2012 and the most recent last month, Gleicher said.

“We have shared information about our analysis with industry partners and policymakers,” he said.

Similarly, Amnesty International on Thursday called for Israel’s government to ensure that an Israeli company, whose spyware has been linked to a WhatsApp breach that may have targeted human rights groups, be held accountable for the way its software is used.

Amnesty on Tuesday filed a petition in Israel seeking the revocation of NSO Group’s export licence and said that it was up to the government to take a firmer stance against export licenses that have “resulted in human rights abuses.”

Israel’s Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

WhatsApp, a unit of Facebook, said on Tuesday that a security breach on its messaging app may have targeted human rights groups.

According to Eva Galperin, Director of cybersecurity at San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, WhatsApp told human rights groups it believed the spyware used was developed by Israel’s NSO.

A second person familiar with the matter also identified spyware from NSO.

Amnesty said in an emailed statement that NSO has “again and again demonstrated their intent to avoid responsibility for the way their software is used,” and that only government intervention would change that.

NSO has not commented on any specific attacks, but following the WhatsApp breach it said it would investigate any “credible allegations of misuse” of its technology which “is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies”.

NSO’s biggest shareholder, Novalpina Capital, said in a statement that it intends to bring NSO’s governance into alignment with UN principles and will seek insights from Amnesty and other groups “into how best to achieve this important goal.”

WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular messaging tools which are used by 1.5 billion people monthly, said it had notified the U.S. Department of Justice to help with an investigation into the breach.

And it encouraged its users to update to the latest version of the app, where the breach had been fixed.

One target of the new WhatsApp exploit was a United Kingdom-based human rights lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The United Kingdom-based human rights lawyer is helping a Saudi dissident and several Mexican journalists mount civil cases against NSO for its alleged role in selling hacking tools to the Saudi and Mexican governments, which they alleged were used to hack into their phones.

NSO says it sells only to law enforcement and intelligence agencies pursuing legitimate targets, such as terrorists and criminals.

Novalpina, in a May 15 letter to Amnesty signed by founding partner Stephen Peel, said Novalpina was “determined to do whatever is necessary to ensure that NSO technology is used for the purpose for which it is intended.

Foreign

U.S. officials criticise Macron for putting pressure on Trump ahead of G7 Summit – Reports

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Pressure

According to the publication, a flurry of criticism hit Macron after he had invited Trump to an impromptu lunch, during which the parties discussed a number of issues, including Iran and Amazon wildfires.

 Such a one-on-one lunch was not planned in advance, the newspaper stressed.

Members of the U.S. presidential administration accused the French president of focusing on such “niche” issues as climate change and the development of Africa, which meet his own political interests, the publication said.

According to a senior French official, the French president used lunch to explain his position on controversial issues, in particular, tensions in world trade.

The Group of Seven (G7) Summit officially opened in the city of Biarritz in southwestern France.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Foreign

Trump notes progress on opening day of G7 Summit

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Progress

“France and President @EmmanuelMacron have done a really great job thus far with a very important G-7.

Lunch with Emmanuel was the best meeting we have yet had.

Likewise, evening meeting with World Leaders went very well. Progress being made!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Before the summit, the French leader invited Trump to an impromptu lunch, during which the parties discussed a number of issues, including trade, tensions in the Persian Gulf, the situation in Libya and Iran.

The Group of Seven (G7) Summit officially opened in the city of Biarritz in southwestern France.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Police hose G7 protesters in south France as summit begins

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Protesters

A few hundred people, many of whom have covered their faces with masks and scarves, have been marching though the city, screaming anti-police slogans.

The march is occurring in the part of the city surrounded by rivers from both sides, with bridges blocked by the police.

At one of the bridges protesters began provoking the police, who hosed them four times in response and then fired teargas at the crowd.

The procession is currently repeating its previous route.

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Star chef serves G7 leaders endangered bluefin tuna for dinner 

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Dinner

Star chef Cedric Bechade’s first course was a piperade, a typical dish of peppers, onions and tomatoes, and then a “marmitako,” a traditional fish stew made with fresh bluefin tuna that was caught by fishermen in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, south of Biarritz.

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is an increasingly endangered species due to overfishing and is on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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35,000 join rally against racism in eastern German city rally

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Rally

The demonstration is organised by the group Unteilbar (Indivisible), which staged a similar protest in the capital, Berlin, last year, drawing 250,000 people.

”Tens of thousands of people from Dresden … as well as from many parts of Germany have shown their unmistakeable support for solidarity instead of exclusion,” said Ana-Cara Methmann, a spokeswoman for the organisers.

Among the attendees were Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and the leaders of the far-left Die Linke party, Bernd Riexinger and Katja Kipping.

“Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, and neither do cuts to social services or the restriction of fundamental rights,” organiser Ario Mirzaie said.

The Unteilbar demonstration was taking place one week before state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg, in which the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is expected to make significant gains.

The AfD is campaigning on an anti-immigration platform.

“Unteilbar … stands against any form of group-based misanthropy and anti-feminism, against limiting basic free rights, against social decline and poverty – for a society in which all people can live free from fear,” the organizers said a day before the rally.

YEE

(Exited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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