False reviews + other news

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False reviews

Amazon Prime
Fake reviews on products including Amazon Prime items (image via quote catalog

Shenzhen to support Amazon merchants | Trivium China – 50,000 merchants were banned from Amazon for astroturfing false reviews. The ban was worth up to 100 billion yuan in sales to these merchants. Half of the merchants affected are based in Shenzhen. Now the Chinese government is looking at what it can do to help the merchants practicing false reviews. Yet it wouldn’t tolerate false reviews if it was exposed in in the domestic market. One of the options being looked at is a platform to rival Amazon Marketplace, that would allow fake reviews

Business

Private school owners forced to hand institutions over to Chinese state | Financial Times – investors need to view this in the context of other things going on

Beauty

UK could allow animal tests for cosmetic ingredients for first time since 1998 | Animal experimentation | The Guardian 

Social media & covert sales behind Kenya’s skin lightening growth — Quartz Africa – It’s not bleaching, it’s brightening. I personally like using serums because they ‘brighten’ your complexion.

Consumer behaviour

Study: Companies Aren’t Living Up To Chinese Consumers’ ExpectationsThree in four (75%) informed Chinese consumers (defined as consumers interested or involved in one of 20 industries studied in the research) said CEOs should speak up on issues that “may not have a significant impact on the business but have a significant impact on society,” with particular focus on diversity and diverse representation within a workforce and its leadership. Yet just 35% of respondents in China feel companies in China can do more to make the workplace better. Similarly, 80% agree that CEOs should have a voice on the environmental policy debate, and three quarters (75%) say business leaders should have a role shaping health policy, the research found. Respondents ranked value and innovation as the top two drivers of brand perceptions in China. Only 35% of companies, however, are meeting expectations in those areas – the key term is ‘informed consumers’, I am sure that the Chinese government might not view things in quite the same way

How China’s Elderly Built an Internet of Their Own – their network topography is different, the internet augments life for them. Younger people build their life online

China considers legal changes to curb noise pollution from the country’s notorious dancing grannies | South China Morning Post 

Culture

How Chinese factory-workers express their views on life | The Economist

Design

The lost tablet and the secret documents | BBC – really nice bit of design on this investigation by the BBC Arabic Service

UK to launch EV charger design as ‘iconic’ as a telephone box | EE News – so much to unpack here. If you have to call it iconic it probably isn’t

Economics

Why software hasn’t done more to improve productivity – Marginal REVOLUTION – well worth a read

Ethics

China’s Data Ambitions: Strategy, Emerging Technologies, and Implications for Democracies – The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) – TL;DR its really, really bad

Ideas

A dog’s inner life: what a robot pet taught me about consciousness | Consciousness | The Guardian – surely the golden rule would apply to way we interact with things like the Aibo. I found story of the couple who abused the Amazon Echo?

Japan

Rice, rice baby: Japanese parents send relatives rice to hug in lieu of newborns | Japan | The Guardian – really nice way of getting over the tactile nature of a newborn when the parents can’t visit relatives due to COVID. Also you have the life giving nature of rice in Japanese culture as well

Legal

The Hong Kong National Security Law: The Shifted Grundnorm of Hong Kong’s Legal Order and Its Implications by Han Zhu :: SSRNthe application of mainland laws in Hong Kong, the interpretation of the NSL, cross-border criminal jurisdiction, national security institutional infrastructure, and the legal language. To some extent, the enactment of the NSL is like a silent constitutional reform that has reshaped, and will continue to reshape, a wide range of aspects of Hong Kong law as well as the Basic Law. Due to the dualistic nature of the NSL as a national law which applies to both the mainland and Hong Kong, it has also expanded and deepened the interaction and conflict between legal systems in the two regions, highlighting the inherent tension of maintaining the unity of a heterogeneous legal order under one country, two systems

Marketing

What happens when brands stop advertising? | Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science

Influencers want to be paid more than ever. Blame the pandemic | Marketing | Campaign Asia – no one is asking the question in this article, are influencers overpriced, or even worth it compared to other “Industry can also factor in, with some influencer niches starting at a higher price point than others,” says Heather Rottner, director of social media at Coyne PR. For instance, she says the firm generally sees higher rates in high-end fashion and beauty, food and DIY. While there is no shortage of influencers looking for brand partnerships in these categories, “many influencers pride themselves on being selective and authentic which means they don’t jump on every partnership offer they receive or use just any product.”

Media

‘Spreading like a virus’: inside the EU’s struggle to debunk Covid lies | World news | The GuardianUntil the pandemic, there was no monitoring of fake stories originating from within EU countries or linked to countries other than Russia. While China Global Television Network (CGTN), an English-language cable news channel controlled by the Chinese Communist party, is considering a Brussels expansion StratCom until recently had just two people working on Chinese disinformation. Several former EU analysts said multiple state-backed disinformation campaigns, not just Russian, had taken advantage of Covid and Richter believed the EU’s limited focus on Russia “affected the legitimacy of the project.”

Security

The threat of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” is a red herring — Quartzthe damage of cyberattacks comes from a series of piecemeal hacks that are often hidden from public view and don’t always lead to immediate, tangible harm. The actual threat looks less like a barrage of bombs and more like a spy slipping a gloved hand into a filing cabinet or a mobster strolling into a shop to collect a “protection” payment

In first massive cyberattack, China targets Israel – Tech News – Haaretz.com – not surprising given the amount of valuable IP that israel has

Who is being monitored? Tutanota – interesting data points, I would imagine that other western countries would have a similar split in use of monitoring

Huawei Accused in Suit of Installing Data ‘Back Door’ in Pakistan Project – WSJ – Another day, another dodgy security story involving Huawei – BES, says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in California district court that Huawei required it to set up a system in China that gives Huawei access to sensitive information about citizens and government officials from a safe-cities surveillance project in Pakistan’s second-largest city of Lahore. Muhammad Kamran Khan, chief operating officer of the Punjab Safe Cities Authority, which oversees the Lahore project, said the authority has begun looking into BES’s allegations.

Technology

Discovery of carbon-based strongest and hardest amorphous material | National Science Review | Oxford Academic – it looks as if they were looking for semiconductor substrate materials

Open sourcing a more precise time appliance – Facebook Engineering – interesting, previously businesses would have relied on time services like Datum Corporation (now Microchip Technology Inc.) network time appliances

Imec Spinoff Wants to Turn Every Phone into a Spectrometer – EE Times Europe

Microbatteries can be energy density | EENews 

Roll-to-roll printing for flexible silicon electronics | EE News 

Driverless minibus service rolls out in Hamburg traffic | EE News 

Web of no web

Using Reebok’s AR tool, basketball courts can be mapped out anywhere 

Niantic CEO: The metaverse could be a ‘dystopian nightmare’