Facebook is taking legal action against a cluster of Chinese websites that sell fake accounts, likes and followers both on Facebook itself and on Instagram. The company announced the legal action in a short blog post late Friday afternoon (a move unusual enough to pique our curiosity a little). Of course, the fact that Facebook isn’t allowed in China might be a complexifier, in Bezos-speak.
The lawsuit, filed with the Northern District of California, alleges that starting in 2017 four Chinese companies and three individuals based in China “operated a series of websites promoting the sale of fake accounts (e.g. using fake names or other false identifiers) and inauthentic accounts (e.g. used for inauthentic activity),” infringing on Facebook and Instagram’s trademarks and terms of service in the process.
The lawsuit names Xiu Network Science and Technology Company, Xiu Feishu Science and Technology Company, Xiufei Book Technology Co., Home Network (Fujian) Technology Co., Ltd. and three people affiliated with those operations. TechCrunch reached out to Facebook for clarification about the scope of the fraudulent activity and the reason behind its decision to escalate these concerns, though didn’t receive much clarification.
Trademark infringement is certainly nothing new for the biggest social network on the planet, so our guess is that the activity must have been on a fairly large scale to attract Facebook’s legal ire. The company is asking for $100,000 in damages each for six websites it lists in the complaint for trademark infringement, terms of service violations and cybersquatting domains using its name. At the time of writing, the domains in question mostly still appeared online and operational — another factor that may have contributed to Facebook’s choice to pursue legal action. Some of the websites also sell accounts for services from Google, Twitter other American tech companies.
As Facebook notes in the filing, “According to their websites, these Defendants… engage in the registration and sale of accounts, in bulk, for various social networking sites.” When we looked into one of the websites, 9xiufacebook.com, we found that most people discovered it through a Chinese web search for “Facebook account purchase.”
The court filing is embedded below.
Facebook Libra currency still a thing, could launch next year
Although it hasn’t disappeared, cryptocurrency and digital currencies seemed to have taken a backseat in recent months as far as news coverage is concerned. Given the global economy and health situation, however, interest in this new form of currency has apparently surged in the background. That may have given the group behind Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency the motivation to finally push it to the market as early as January, even if it isn’t the grand vision that Facebook and its remaining allies had for it last year.
It’s not that hard to imagine why Libra would be bogged down by controversy even before it had the chance to prove itself, despite the big names that were once behind it. Cryptocurrency itself is already a difficult concept to grasp by those outside Fintech circles, but the mere association with Facebook, who is credited with Libra’s creation, has instantly raised red flags among regulators. Those regulators still haven’t budged but now it seems that sentiments have changed according to sources.
The Financial Times reports that the Libra Association is looking towards January for the much-delayed launch of the cryptocurrency. It won’t be the same Libra that Facebook et al. flaunted last year and is pretty much a watered-down version of an already watered-down compromise the group had to make to satisfy regulators’ concerns. Getting approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, however, is just the tip of the iceberg of what the currency has to accomplish.
Having lost founding members such as PayPal. Mastercard, and eBay dealt a big blow to the fledgling association. Although it still has big names like Spotify or Uber, losing members from the financial or commerce sector tarnishes the Association’s image and puts its capability to handle a cryptocurrency into question. Some of those remaining members are even taking a wait and see approach, which could reduce the impact of Libra’s launch in January.
Libra’s biggest problem, however, will be Facebook. Although the group has done everything it could to distance itself from the social networking giant, Libra will remain forever associated with it, even through subsidiaries like Novi, formerly Calibra. Given Facebook’s reputation before lawmakers, regulators, and privacy advocates, the idea of putting the world’s money into its hands will always be an unsettling one.
Galaxy Note 21 might still happen next year with a catch
Reports of the Galaxy Note line’s demise might be exaggerated or premature. Those reports were mostly based on rumors that the Galaxy S21, particularly the Galaxy S21 Ultra, would gain the one feature that sets the two products apart. A report from South Korean media does seem to confirm that Samsung has gotten the ball rolling to give the Galaxy S21 Ultra its own S Pen. At the same time, however, it also gives Galaxy Note fans one last hope, at least until next year.
For years, the Galaxy Note’s doom has been spelled out by prophets and analysts but it never came to pass, at least not yet. The S Pen is pretty much the last thing that the Galaxy Note has over the Galaxy S series and rumors suggest that might no longer the case. But rather than scrap the stylus-toting phablet next year, Samsung is now reportedly winding it down first.
ETnews’ sources claim that Samsung has already placed orders for the digitizer that’s needed to give the top of the line Galaxy S21 this S Pen support. It would have been way too early for the Galaxy Note 21 or even the Galaxy Z Fold 3. This unofficially confirms the feature for Samsung’s early 2021 flagship coming in mid-January, or so leaks claim.
Those sources also say that there will still be a Galaxy Note next year but Samsung has reduced it to just one model. For two years, Samsung has put out two variants of this flagship and the reduction could suggest that Samsung is giving the line one last hoorah.
That would at least give the company enough time to prepare its true successor, the Galaxy Z Fold. Samsung has yet to figure out, much less prove, how it would allow using a stylus on the somewhat fragile flexible screen it uses for its foldable phones. Rumors that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 would have this feature might likewise be premature, especially if there will still be a Galaxy Note 21 after all.
Apple M1 Mac running Windows 10 ARM is embarrassing for Surface Pro X
It seems that Apple’s M1 Silicon isn’t yet done amazing people, even those from outside of Apple’s circles. The processor’s benchmarks have already been covered to death but nothing is probably more impressive than the M1’s performance outside of the common and officially supported use cases. Running Windows games via CrossOver, for example, is already quite a feat but running Windows itself on top of macOS Big Sur, just like what one developer accomplished, is even more dumbfounding. Especially when it clocks better than Windows 10 ARM’s “reference” Microsoft device.
Apple has removed the Boot Camp from macOS Big Sur on M1 Macs but not because Windows doesn’t run on ARM-based hardware. Apple is putting the ball in Microsoft’s court, explaining that it’s up to the Windows creator to make that happen by changing Windows 10 ARM’s licensing and making installers available. That said, it is technically possible to still run Windows on M1 Macs as developer Alexander Graf proved.
To be clear, he didn’t use the x86 version of Windows 10 as that would have added a layer of complexity to be emulated on an ARM-based Mac. Instead, he took an Insider Preview of Windows 10 ARM and ran it through a modified version of QEMU, a popular open source virtualization and machine emulation software, and utilizing Apple’s own Hypervisor.framework designed exactly for virtualization purposes.
According to Graf, the performance of this layer cake was quite snappy, though other testers who tried to replicate the setup did point out some issues. More interesting, however, The 8-bit reports the Geekbench scores for this Window ARM on ARM Mac outdid Windows ARM running on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro X.
That said, the current setup is hardly ideal and M1 Mac owners who need to run Windows software might want to wait for something like CodeWeavers’ CrossOver instead. It might also be a while before a full version of Windows will be able to run officially on these new Macs, via dual boot or virtualization, but this latest experiment still showcases the first Apple Silicon’s prowess.
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