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Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world. Headlines this week include… Meta’s chatbot says the company ‘exploits people’, WhatsApp is adding new privacy options, Chinese technology in the ‘Internet of Things’ poses a new threat to the west and much more…

Meta’s chatbot says the company ‘exploits people’

BBC

Meta’s new prototype chatbot has told the BBC that Mark Zuckerberg exploits its users for money.

Meta says the chatbot uses artificial intelligence and can chat on “nearly any topic”.

Asked what the chatbot thought of the company’s CEO and founder, it replied “our country is divided and he didn’t help that at all”.

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WhatsApp is adding new privacy options, including screenshot blocking and a stealth mode

TechCrunch

WhatsApp is introducing a small flurry of privacy-minded tweaks into the messaging app, the company announced on Tuesday. The Meta-owned globally ubiquitous messaging service says the changes aim to give users more control over their experience while introducing “added layers” to protect their private communications.

WhatsApp will introduce an option for users to privately use the app without being visibly online, something it calls “online presence control.” The feature, which rolls out to everyone this month, will let WhatsApp users curate which contacts can see their online status while hiding it from others. The list of contacts who can view your online status doesn’t have a cap and you can swap people in and out at any time. The company says that the update will come to both its desktop and mobile app offerings.

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Consumer Privacy Has Evolved: How Digital-Forward Companies Should Adapt

Forbes

The rate of change in digital innovation has been brisk and fueled by advancements in software, flush capital and, most recently, a global pandemic. However, the implications of such growth go far beyond the next viral TikTok challenge or trendy mobile game. As our lives get ever more integrated with the digital services we enjoy and consume, it will be imperative that we’re conscientious of the digital flotsam we leave in our wake.

There are more opportunities than ever to track not only an individual but also their behavior across digital platforms. Over the last several decades, we’ve become accustomed to using websites to communicate, shop and be entertained.

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Chinese technology in the ‘Internet of Things’ poses a new threat to the west

Financial Times

The UK’s move to ban Huawei from its 5G telecoms networks has brought the debate about the security threat from Chinese equipment into the mainstream. There are increasing concerns about western exposure to potentially risky technology: only last month, British MPs and peers called on the government to crack down on the use of surveillance equipment from two Chinese companies, Hikvision and Dahua, which have already been blacklisted by Washington. However, there is one threat that has gone under the radar: the tiny components made by Chinese companies in devices connected by the Internet of Things.

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New Google site begs Apple for mercy in messaging war

Ars Technica

Google has been unable to field a stable, competitive messaging platform for years and has thoroughly lost the messaging war to products with a long-term strategy. At least some divisions inside the company are waking up to how damaging this is to Google as a company, and now Google’s latest strategy is to… beg its competition for mercy? Google—which has launched 13 different messaging apps since iMessage launched in 2011—now says, “It’s time for Apple to fix texting.”

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How will Apple balance privacy and personalization as it grows ad business?

PR Week

Industry experts predict how iPhone maker will construct its rumored DSP to appease privacy-conscious consumers, regulators and an ad industry disgruntled by its tracking restrictions.

Apple is building what industry observers expect to be a formidable ad business on the back of the data it collects from consumers, but it will face tricky choices as it seeks to protect its stance as an advocate of consumer privacy and avoid further antitrust probes.

Last week Digiday reported that the iPhone maker appears to be building a demand-side platform (DSP), according to a job posting from April seeking a product manager to design “the most privacy-forward, sophisticated demand-side platform possible.”

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Netflix Games: Will its mobile gaming strategy work out?

Android Police

Netflix reported its first loss of subscribers in 2022. Partly due to its withdrawal from the Russian market, Netflix has nevertheless reported that it isn’t growing at the same pace as before. The company has since introduced various measures to combat this decline, including unpopular changes to account sharing and subscription fees. However, in November 2021, to little fanfare, Netflix launched Netflix Games.

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Financial Inclusion in Africa with Blockchain Technology: The Truth

Medium

If you’re one of those who believe that the term ‘banking the unbanked’ is an over-flogged one, then we are surely on the same page. To clear the air, the term ‘banking the unbanked’ is used to describe financial inclusion. It is a popular goal for most African Fintech products. It is to be expected. According to World Bank data, by 2021 only 53% of people aged 15+ in Sub-Saharan Africa had accounts at a financial institution or a mobile money service provider. This means that almost half of the population in the region has no access to financial services. A lack creates a need. Startups find that there is a healthy market and a viable use case for their product if they choose to tow this path.

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Agave Games raises $7m amid boom in Turkish mobile gaming

Sifted

A new Istanbul-based puzzle game studio, Agave Games, has raised a $7m round led by Balderton Capital. It’s the London-based VC’s second bet on Turkish gaming.

Agave Games will use the money to develop casual puzzle games. This genre tends to be mostly played on mobile, with titles like Candy Crush and Angry Birds among the biggest success stories in the category. The studio was founded by four former school friends — Alper Öner, Burak Kar, Ali Baran Terzioğlu and Oğuzhan Merdivenli — who between them have previously worked on highly successful casual games like Zen Match, Wonder Blast and Words of Wonders.

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AppLovin offers to buy mobile gaming company Unity for $17.5bn

Silicon Republic

Unity has received an offer from AppLovin, but it would come at the cost of its own acquisition of IronSource.

Mobile gaming tech company AppLovin has made an offer to acquire Unity Technologies in a $17.54bn deal.

This comes only a month after Unity announced plans to snap up AppLovin competitor IronSource for $4.4bn. According to the terms of AppLovin’s acquisition proposal, the IronSource deal will have to be terminated.

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