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By Usman Khan Lodhi
Twitter cracks down on QAnon conspiracy group, bans 7,000 accounts
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Twitter announced that it would permanently ban accounts that violate the platform's policies while tweeting about QAnon, the conspiracy theory movement that asserts "deep state" actors are plotting against Donald Trump. In the last several weeks, about 7,000 accounts, which violated the firm's rules against spam, platform manipulation, and ban evasion, have been banned. In a suspension later rolled out this week, the circulation of roughly 150,000 additional accounts will be limited, as they'll stop appearing in recommendations, trends, and search.
Per online conspiracies, the term "deep state" refers to a combination of elites from intelligence, political, business, and entertainment sectors, and QAnon's theories assert that the "deep state" is a secret war with Trump.
Twitter stated that QAnon-related links will be blocked from being shared on the platform, and accounts associated with the conspiracy movement will no longer be promoted in search, conversations, or trending topics. The firm didn't elaborate on which forums or sites might be impacted.
Last year, QAnon was designated as a potential domestic extremist threat by the FBI when it issued a warning about "conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists."
White House advisor says TikTok could operate as a U.S. firm
by Paul Hill
Larry Kudlow, a White House economic advisor, has told reporters that TikTok could become a separate entity from Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. and operate as a U.S. firm. Kudlow didn’t confirm how TikTok would operate, whether it would do it alone or be acquired by a U.S. company but did say that a final decision has not been made.
TikTok did not share any new information on the matter but, last week, ByteDance did confirm that it’s “evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its TikTok business”. ByteDance has also said previously that it’s committed to preserving its users' privacy and security despite its perceived closeness to the Chinese government.
With the U.S.-China trade war continuing, the U.S. is looking to tighten the screws on China where it can. Most recently, the U.S. managed to apply enough pressure to the UK government to get it to ban Huawei 5G equipment from its mobile networks.
With regards to TikTok, the Trump administration could use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, according to the New York Times, which could let the administration go after foreign firms like TikTok if they pose an unusual or extraordinary threat.
White House rubbishes the idea that the U.S. will take control of Nokia and Ericsson
by Paul Hill
It was reported yesterday that the U.S. could take controlling stakes in Nokia and Ericsson to make them more competitive against Huawei after Attorney General William Barr floated the idea at a conference discussing Chinese economic espionage. In a quick rebuttal of the idea, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has dismissed the suggestion that the White House will seek to take control of the two European firms.
When asked about Barr’s plan, Pence told reporters that the White House believes Ajit Pai’s plan is the way forward. Under the plan, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will free up more 5G spectrum to increase the amount of 5G which would allow firms to use other hardware such as Nokia’s and Ericsson’s. He went on to say that the U.S. can expand 5G to rural communities “by using the power of the free market and American companies.”
While the White House is coming out against Barr’s suggestion right now, things could still change in the future. Additionally, if the administration is not ready to disclose any plans it has, Pence could have just been side-stepping the question.
Together, Nokia and Ericsson have a combined market capitalization of over $50 billion. Barr offered up two solutions about how it could get a controlling stake in these firms; either the government could buy the needed shares outright or a consortium of private American and allied companies could be formed to buy a controlling share in the European firms. Only time will tell if Barr’s suggestion will come to anything.
By Rich Woods
Sprint's 5G is now live in New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.
by Rich Woods
At an event in New York City today, Sprint announced that it's expanding its 5G network to four new cities. Naturally, New York is one of them, along with Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. That makes the 5G service from Sprint available in nine cities, including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, and most recently, Chicago.
The carrier says that its average download speed on 5G is 203.8Mbps, six times faster than its average 4G speed, 35.2Mbps. Between all nine cities, 5G covers a spread of around 2,100 square miles with 11 million people in the coverage areas.
"We’re proud to give Sprint customers their first truly mobile 5G experience in some of the biggest cities in the U.S.," said Sprint CEO Michel Combes. "With our initial nine market launches complete, it is just the start of what we can achieve with T-Mobile, together building a better, faster, nationwide mobile 5G network that benefits all U.S. businesses and consumers."
As usual, it's not the whole cities that are lit up. In New York, it's various parts from Central Park to the southern tip of Manhattan. It works in Times Square, Chelsea Piers, Rockefeller Center, around the Jacob Javits Center, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. There are also parts of Queens where it works, such as by JFK and LaGuardia airports. In NYC, it should cover 1.7 million people.
The Los Angeles 5G network will cover 1.2 million people at launch, from Marina del Ray to downtown Los Angeles, along with West Hollywood to Culver City. Sprint says it will cover USC, UCLA, West L.A., midtown, and downtown Los Angeles.
Over in Phoenix, 5G is opening up to 740,000 people in the greater Phoenix metro area, along with parts of Tempe, Scottsdale, and Glendale. Finally, 520,000 people will get access to 5G in Washington, D.C., with service around the Capitol, White House, National Mall, and many more notable landmarks.
By Rich Woods
Verizon launches 5G in four more cities
by Rich Woods
Today, Verizon announced that it's launching its 5G Ultra Wideband network in four more cities, as it continues to expand. You'll now be able to use the service in parts of Washington D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, and Indianapolis. This adds on top of the five cities where Verizon's 5G is already available, including Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Providence, and St. Paul.
Verizon says that you can get 5G in public places where there tend to be a lot of people; in other words, it's in spots where 4G LTE networks can get congested. For example, you'll get 5G in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. None of this technology works indoors, since Verizon is using millimeter wave bands, rather than sub-6GHz bands.
Here are the details of where you'll get 5G in the four new cities:
Verizon currently has a wide selection of 5G devices to choose from as well, or at least as wide of a selection as it gets right now. The company is selling the LG V50 ThinQ, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and you can use a Moto Z3 or Moto Z4 with a 5G Moto Mod. There's also the Inseego MiFi M1000 if you want to pick up a hotspot.