While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 5

Public profiles were scraped by outsiders without Facebook users’ explicit permission.
Public profiles were scraped by outsiders without Facebook users’ explicit permission.PHOTO: REUTERS

Personal data of most of Facebook's 2 billion users was collected, shared with outsiders

Facebook said on Wednesday that most of its two billion users likely have had their public profiles scraped by outsiders without the users’ explicit permission, dramatically raising the stakes in a privacy controversy that has dogged the company for weeks, spurred investigations in the United States and Europe, and sent the company’s stock price tumbling.

The acknowledgment was part of a broader disclosure by Facebook on Wednesday about the ways in which various levels of user data have been taken by everyone from malicious actors to ordinary app developers.

“We’re an idealistic and optimistic company, and for the first decade, we were really focused on all the good that connecting people brings,” chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on a call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “But it’s clear now that we didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking about how people could use these tools for harm as well.”

As part of the disclosure, Facebook for the first time detailed the scale of the improper data collection for Cambridge Analytica, a political data consultancy hired by President Donald Trump and other Republican candidates in the last two federal election cycles. The political consultancy gained access to Facebook information on up to 87 million users, 71 million of whom are Americans, Facebook said.


Beijing envoy says US-China should avoid a trade war

The United States and China should avoid a trade war, China's Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said on Wednesday, stressing that Beijing's preference was to resolve the dispute through negotiations.

"Negotiation would still be our preference, but it takes two to tango," Cui told reporters after an hour-long meeting at the State Department with Acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan. "We will see what the US will do," he added.

Cui said the meeting covered all aspects of the US-China relationship, which he described as "comprehensive and complex."


Donald Trump orders National Guard to Mexican border

President Donald Trump has ordered National Guard personnel to the southern US border, his administration said on Wednesday, in a bid to clamp down on illegal immigration from Mexico.

We continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity, transnational criminal organisations and illegal immigration flow across our southern border,” secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters at the White House. “This threatens not only the safety of our communities and children but also our rule of law. It’s time to act.”

The US National Guard has previously been deployed to help patrol the southern border, in 2010 under former president Barack Obama, and from 2006-2008 under George W. Bush.


Transgender man gives birth in Finland first

A Finnish woman who underwent hormonal therapy has become the nation's first transgender man to give birth, local media said on Wednesday, triggering controversy as laws require infertility to change gender.

"The baby weighed nearly four kilogrammes and was 53 centimetres in length (at birth)," the transgender man, whose name was not revealed to protect the family's privacy, told Finnish news outlet Lannen Media a fortnight after the birth.

The man, who is in his 30s, legally changed his gender from a woman in 2015 after years of testosterone therapy.


Football: Liverpool stun Man City with 3-0 Champions League win at Anfield

Liverpool ripped apart Manchester City with three goals inside the opening 31 minutes as they won their Champions League quarter-final, first leg tie 3-0 on Wednesday.

Anfield has witnessed many memorable European nights over the years and this will take its place among the most spectacular as a simply devastating, first-half display was crowned with goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane.

The tie may not be over, with 90 minutes remaining at the Etihad on Tuesday, but Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp, who has enjoyed more wins over City counterpart Pep Guardiola than any other manager, will be delighted as his commitment to attacking football was amply rewarded.