On the orders of the
Also in this letter:
- Karnataka bars ‘non-essentials’
ByteDancebets on video commerce
- Amazon’s fight against fake goods
Bengal police get 500 fake posts on post-poll violence removed
The West Bengal police have got more than 500 posts removed from social media platforms in the past four days that were allegedly spreading fake news related to the post-poll violence in Bengal and “Hindu genocide in Bengal”, reports The Times of India.
Details: Bengal’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) got Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to take down around 300 posts, while the Kolkata police claimed on Sunday that it had flagged and got the platforms to take down 200 others. Many posts that claimed to show the violence in Bengal included photos of violent clashes in Brazil, Venezuela and Bangladesh.
Last week, Twitter permanently suspended the account of Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut for repeatedly violating its rules on hateful and abusive behaviour after she called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to adopt his “virat roop” from “early 2000s” in Bengal.
- “We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behaviour that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Govt’s censorship of social media: Meanwhile, the government has been busy censoring its critics on social media. In April, the government directed Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others to block over 100 posts that criticised its handling of the pandemic.
Separately, Twitter also censored around 50 tweets allegedly criticising the government’s handling of the pandemic on MeitY’s instructions last month.
Facebook was recently found to be blocking posts with the hashtag “ResignModi” but restored them a few hours later and claimed they were blocked “by mistake”.
In February, the government ordered Twitter to block around 1,400 handles for allegedly fanning the farmer protests. Twitter suspended more than 500 of these accounts for violating its rules but said it would not take any action on accounts of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians as that would violate their “fundamental right to free expression under Indian law”.
Now, Karnataka bars ‘non-essential’ deliveries
A late Sunday evening policy flip-flop by the Karnataka government triggered confusion among e-tailers and disrupted the delivery of items to customers in Bengaluru on Monday.
What’s happening? The Karnataka government imposed a stricter lockdown from this morning (May 10) as Covid-19 cases spiked in the state. Through a revised notification, the government restricted e-commerce platforms from shipping non-essential goods.
An earlier notification dated May 7, issued by Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar, had permitted “delivery of all items through e-commerce and home delivery.” It is not clear what led to this flip-flop in the space of just 48 hours.
Essential vs non-essential: With this, Karnataka becomes the latest state to restrict the e-commerce sector to shipping only “essentials” amid the second wave of the pandemic. Maharashtra and Delhi had first announced such restrictions and have been followed by several other large states including Tamil Nadu in the past few weeks.
India’s e-commerce sector has been lobbying against the distinction of essential and non-essential items, calling it subjective. They say it leads to varied interpretations by field-level enforcement authorities, including the police, on what constitutes essential and non-essential goods.
- “We are following revised state guidelines and enabling deliveries of essential products in Karnataka. We have learnt from customers that urgent needs vary across individuals and households and it is challenging to define a static essentials list, especially during a pandemic-induced lockdown. Home delivery of all products is the best way to maintain social distancing norms. We request the government to allow home delivery of all products to safely fulfill customer needs,” said an
Tweet of the day
ByteDance’s next big bet: Video commerce
TikTok owner ByteDance has set its sights on video commerce as its next big target, taking on e-commerce giant Alibaba, reports Bloomberg.
While ByteDance is a late entrant to the segment, it sold about $26 billion worth of make-up, clothing and other merchandise in 2020, a feat that Alibaba’s Taobao took six years to achieve. TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin is expected to contribute more than half of the company’s $40 billion domestic ad sales this year.
More than 1 million creators have generated e-commerce sales on Douyin as of January. It has also roped in Xiaomi founder Lei Jun and Smartisan founder Luo Yonghao as a celebrity endorser.
Outside China, TikTok partnered with Shopify to test new social commerce features last October. It extended the partnership to 14 more countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia in February. TikTok also announced a video shopping pilot with US retail giant Walmart in December.
Amazon says it blocked 10 billion listings of fake goods in 2020
Amazon said it blocked more than 10 billion suspected counterfeit listings before they were published on its marketplaces last year, a 67% increase from the year before.
The online retail giant said it also seized more than 2 million such products sent to its fulfillment centers before they were sent to a customer. Fewer than 0.01% of all products sold on Amazon received a counterfeit complaint from customers, the company added.
That said, the number of counterfeiters attempting to sell on the site rose as more people started buying online during the pandemic.
Amazon said it spent more than $700 million last year on anti-counterfeiting efforts and has employed more than 10,000 people to work on these initiatives.
Over the past year, Amazon has been filing joint lawsuits with brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, KF Beauty against counterfeiters selling knock-off products of these brands on the platform.
China fines edtech firms for misleading consumers
China’s market regulator has fined two online education startups—Tencent-backed Yuanfudao and Alibaba-backed Zuoyebang—2.5 million yuan ($388,754) each for misleading consumers. This comes as the regulators step up efforts to rein in excessive advertising and false pricing by edtech firms.
What are the charges? Yuanfudao was found to be using misleading pricing while Zuoyebang was accused of false advertising. Chinese regulators have recently stepped up efforts to rein in edtech firms. Last month, four education agencies including GSX and Koolearn were fined 500,000 yuan ($77,313.21) on similar charges.
What are they saying? Yuanfudao said it has conducted a self-review on its products and has “rectified related misleading tags” while Zuoyebang said it “sincerely accepted the administrative penalty”.
Last month, China had launched an antitrust probe against food delivery giant Meituan over its practice of forcing vendors to use their platform exclusively, known as “choose one from two”. It also imposed a record $2.75 billion fine on e-commerce giant Alibaba over the same practice.