NewsBytes Tech Briefing: TikTok considering HQ relocation; UAE's Mars mission
A lot has happened over the weekend! In light of the India ban and growing tensions in US and other parts of the world, video company TikTok is considering relocating its headquarters to distance itself from China. Reports have suggested that the company has been in talks with the UK for shifting there, but as of now, nothing is confirmed. Here are other developments.
UAE launches first mission to Mars
The United Arab Emirates has launched its first mission to Mars. A few hours ago, the nation's unmanned spacecraft - Al-Amal or Hope - successfully lifted off from Japan and is on its way to the Martian orbit. It will reach Mars by early-2021 and study its atmosphere to understand how the planet's weather has changed and will change in the future.
Disney stops ad spend on Facebook, Instagram
Entertainment giant Disney has slashed its advertising spend on Facebook and Instagram, joining the #StopHateForProfit campaign against the social network's lax policies around hate speech and misinformation. Other companies that have cut ad spend on Facebook to compel the company to change its policies are Coca-Cola, Lego, Starbucks, and Unilever. Even Microsoft has halted ad-spending, although it is not a part of the campaign.
Google bans coronavirus conspiracy ads; shocker from Microsoft
In other development, Google has confirmed the plan to ban new and existing ads promoting coronavirus conspiracy theories starting next month. Plus, Microsoft has taken the shocking step of stopping the sale of its 12-month Xbox Live Gold memberships, which allow access to most Xbox content online and provides free games. The 1 and 3-month subscriptions are still active.
Other major developments
Among other things, The Verge reported that KFC has started working with Moscow's 3D Bioprinting Solutions to make what will be the world's first lab-made Chicken nuggets. Then, OnePlus confirmed that its upcoming Nord smartphone will have Google-made Phone, Duo, and Messages apps, instead of its own products, while GM said Chevrolet will bring a full-size electric pick-up truck with a range of 643km.
Finally, some COVID-19-related developments
To fight COVID-19, India started the human trials of its COVAXIN and ZyCoV-D candidate vaccines, while Russia said it will make its experimental shot available for public use by next month. Additionally, Oxford is set to announce the results from its Phase 1 trial on Monday in the medical journal The Lancet, and the US FDA has allowed new pool-based testing for the disease.