The Verge: Google lets alleged spying app ToTok back into Play Store. “Google has made the popular chat app ToTok available again for download after the service was banned from the Play Store for reportedly functioning as an espionage tool of the United Arab Emirates.”
CNET: Popular messaging app ToTok reportedly an Emirati spy tool. “A popular messaging app billed as a secure way to chat with friends and family is actually a spying tool used by the United Arab Emirates to track the activities of those who download it, The New York Times reported Sunday. The app, which debuted only a few months ago, has been downloaded millions of times around the world.” Please note that ToTok is not TikTok.
Bloomberg: Facebook Asked by Al Jazeera to End Accounts Tied to U.A.E.. “The Al Jazeera Media Network is asking Facebook Inc. to remove accounts it says are part of a foreign-influence campaign run by by the United Arab Emirates. The accounts on Facebook and Instagram, using the handle ‘QatariLeaks,’ frequently attack Qatar-based Al Jazeera and its journalists.”
Reuters: Google blocks websites certified by DarkMatter, after Reuters reports. “Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google has blacklisted websites approved by a United Arab Emirates-based security company after Reuters reports tied the firm to a state hacking operation.”
The National: Nearly two thousand people granted social media influencer licences in UAE. “More than a thousand people have been granted licences to operate as social media influencers in the UAE since new laws regulating the industry were brought into force last year. Influencers must apply for a trade licence and an e-media licence at a cost of Dh15,000 to post content promoting brands on social media, under rules introduced by the National Media Council in March last year.”
Gulf News: Treasure trove of UAE: Free Gulf Archives now online. “When people think of the UAE, the images that frequently come to mind are the nation’s impressive feats of modern architecture, rapid modernisation and technological development. The Arabian Gulf Digital Archive — a major new digitisation project between the UAE and the UK — provides a fascinating insight into the early stages of this transformation. It provides details of specific projects undertaken, of the political interests that lay behind many of these plans, and of local reactions to the changes that were taking place.”
The National: Inside the secret cemetery where Abu Dhabi’s earliest expats rest. “The now-closed Sas Al Nakhl graveyard is also the final resting place for hundreds of Abu Dhabi residents including military commanders, Chinese labourers and Indian workers. Some of those buried there died in air accidents, others in industrial incidents. Old age, drowning, sickness and suicide claimed others. Mystery surrounds some…. To mark the Year of Tolerance, a team from Khalifa University is now trying to find out more. Led by Dr Athol Yates, an assistant professor, volunteers including Emirati students are aiming to create an online map where people can click on a grave and view details about that person.”