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US judge blocks Montana’s TikTok ban

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A US judge has issued an injunction blocking Montana’s attempt to ban TikTok, citing concerns related to free speech.

The decision comes after Montana’s state government had imposed a ban on the popular social media platform, alleging security and privacy risks associated with its Chinese parent company, ByteDance. However, the judge’s ruling emphasizes the importance of safeguarding free expression in the digital age.

The judge’s decision to halt Montana’s TikTok ban was made in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of TikTok users and content creators who argued that the ban infringed upon their First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs contended that TikTok provided a platform for them to share their creative work and engage with their audience, and that the ban was an unjustified restriction on their freedom of speech.

This case raises important questions about the balance between national security concerns and the protection of free speech in the context of social media platforms. It also highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the regulation of tech companies with ties to foreign governments. Additionally, it underscores the influence of social media in modern society, where platforms like TikTok have become integral tools for self-expression and communication.

In light of this ruling, it remains to be seen how other states may approach similar bans on TikTok or other social media platforms, and whether the issue will continue to be litigated in courts across the United States.

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Tech

X panic as viral hoax claims Gmail is shutting down

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A hoax statement purportedly issued by Google claimed that the search giant was shutting down its ubiquitous Gmail service — sending the internet into a panic.

The fake news release, which appeared to be addressed to the 1.8 billion users of the service worldwide and was posted on X, stated: “Google is sunsetting Gmail. After years of connecting millions worldwide, enabling seamless communication, and fostering countless connections, the journey of Gmail is coming to a close.”

The notice, featuring the company’s logo, emerged shortly after Google announced it was pausing the release of its text-to-image AI tool Gemini following outcry over the software rendering factually and historically inaccurate images.

The statement even provided a specific date — Aug. 1, 2024 — as the deadline until which Gmail users would “be able to access and download all your emails.”

It ominously added, “After this date, Gmail accounts will become inaccessible.”

Spread quickly

The hoax swiftly spread across social media platforms, although many users were quick to identify it as false.

However, speculation arose that the hoax may have originated from Chris Bakke, a self-described tech entrepreneur known for internet pranks.

Bakke has a history of internet pranks, including using a photoshopped news article about McDonald’s Hamburglar to mock a New York Times profile of convicted Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, as reported by Business Insider.

Email platform

Gmail, with a user base of 1.8 billion people representing one-fifth of the world’s population, remains the most popular email platform globally.

Despite criticisms of Google’s privacy policies, including accusations of scanning user messages for targeted advertising, the company has affirmed its commitment to Gmail.

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Tech

U.S. lands on Moon after last-minute glitch

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A last-minute communications glitch caused tension at NASA as the fate of the lunar lander hung in the balance.

However, cheers erupted at mission control as NASA confirmed the successful landing of the space lander, Odysseus, on the moon’s surface.

After a nail-biting delay of about ten minutes, NASA announced that Odysseus had touched down at 10:23 AEST, marking a historic moment in space exploration.

“We are on the surface,” declared Tim Crain, the chief technology officer leading mission control. “Odysseus has a new home,” he added, eliciting jubilation from NASA staff.

Successful landing

This successful landing not only marks a significant achievement for NASA but also for American firm Intuitive Machines, which becomes the first private company to accomplish a lunar landing.

It is also the first successful US landing on the moon since the Apollo missions half a century ago.

The spacecraft, aptly named Odysseus, initiated its powered descent to the moon’s surface earlier in the morning.

This milestone achievement comes after fellow US company Astrobotic was forced to abandon its own moon landing attempt in January due to a fuel leak.

Odysseus, the private lunar lander, had been in orbit around the moon as it aimed for a precise touchdown on Friday.

Its journey began six days ago from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, culminating in a historic moment for space exploration and the burgeoning private space industry.

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Will doctors turn to AI to help fix professional burnout?

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Doctors across the United States are grappling with burnout, staffing shortages, and excessive administrative burdens, according to a recent survey.

However, amidst these challenges, many physicians express optimism about the potential of artificial intelligence to alleviate these issues, the survey found.

Commissioned by Athenahealth, a provider of cloud-based healthcare tools, the survey unveiled that more than 90% of physicians experience burnout regularly.

The primary driver behind this burnout is cited as excessive administrative tasks, with 64% of doctors feeling overwhelmed by paperwork requirements.

Read more – social media dubbed the least trusted industry

Over 60% of respondents admitted to considering leaving the medical field due to these challenges.

Manage workloads

Physicians are resorting to spending an average of 15 hours per week working beyond their regular hours to manage their workloads, a phenomenon often referred to as “pajama time.”

Additionally, nearly 60% of doctors expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of in-person time they have with patients, while over 75% reported feeling burdened by patients’ excessive communication demands outside scheduled visits.

The survey also shed light on the challenges faced by healthcare organizations, with 78% of physicians acknowledging the impact of poor staff retention and shortages within their workplaces. Furthermore, less than 40% of doctors expressed confidence in their employers’ financial stability.

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