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Hackers hold Cyberpunk 2077 maker to ransom - live updates

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 09/02/2021 Morgan Meaker
a man sitting on a leather chair: Cyberpunk 2077 © Provided by The Telegraph Cyberpunk 2077

The developer behind the blockbuster game CyberPunk 2077 said on Monday it's network had been breached by hackers who were now threatening to leak the information they had stolen online. 

CD Projekt published a ransom note the company said was left behind by hackers. The note threatened to leak the source codes of CD Projekt's games online, including an unreleased version of Witcher 3. 

They also threatened to send the company's internal documents to their "contacts in gaming journalism".  

The hackers gave the company 48 hours to get in contact and told CD Projekt any leaks would threaten their public image causing their stock to drop. The company believes no personal data was targeted in the attack. 

Poland's largest gaming company has already pledged not to pay. According to analysts, meeting cyber attackers demands does not necessarily mean a company's information won't be leaked or sold anyway. 

"We will not give in to the demands nor negotiate with the actor, being aware that this may eventually lead to the release of the compromised data," said the company. 

"We are taking the necessary steps to mitigate the consequences of such a. release, in particular by approaching any praties that may be affected due to the breach." 

In other news: Bitcoin appears to be finally running out of steam after electric car company Tesla said yesterday it had invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency, with the coin trading at around $46,000. We’re also expecting Twitter’s fourth quarter results at around 9pm.

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03:35 PM

One million Britons sue Facebook

Facebook has been sued for its alleged failure to protect the personal data of more than one million UK users. My colleague Michael Cogley reports:

The mass legal action has been filed with the High Court in London and claims the social media giant allowed a third-party app to access the information of users without their consent or knowledge between November 2013 and May 2015.

It is alleged that Facebook’s privacy settings at the time allowed the app, called This is Your Digital Life, to harvest not only the users’ information, but also that of their Facebook friends who may never have interacted with the program.

The case has been brought forward by journalist Peter Jukes on behalf of himself and one million other Facebook users in England and Wales. Jukes claims their information was open to mis-use by companies such as the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica which has been accused of harvesting Facebook to build voter profiles for use in elections.  

A Facebook spokesperson said: "The Information Commissioner's Office investigation into these issues, which included seizing and interrogating Cambridge Analytica's servers, found no evidence that any UK or EU users' data was transferred by Dr (Aleksandr) Kogan to Cambridge Analytica."

Read the full story here

03:05 PM

Gaming sector "juicy target" for hackers 

a young boy using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Visitors play video games in Moche XL Games World event 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal - Corbis News  © Corbis News Visitors play video games in Moche XL Games World event 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal - Corbis News 

“[The] gaming industry is a booming sector, one that’s been growing rapidly even through last year – that makes them a juicy target," said Candid Wuest, VP of Cyber Protection Research at cyber security firm Acronis, in the wake of the CD Projekt ransomware attack . 

"Extortion attacks can work particularly well if large release events or online tournaments are nearing, and gaming companies rely heavily on their brand image, their news and the buzz it generates."

He adds: "Gaming companies have been targeted for years – Capcom and Ubisoft among recent cases. Most of them have upgraded their cyber resilience, but there is still room for improvement. Especially since game makers routinely engage a complex network of suppliers and independent workers."

02:48 PM

UK’s reputation was “dented” by Autonomy fraud allegations, US government claims

The UK’s reputation as a financial hub was “dented” by the sale and subsequent writedown of the value of Autonomy, the US government’s lawyer in Mike Lynch’s extradition hearing has claimed.

“There was reputational harm wrought elsewhere as well most notably to the UK’s financial reputation for allowing this to have occurred,” said Mark Summers QC, who is representing the US government in its attempt to extradite Mr Lynch to the US.

“One would have hoped that the UK’s stock exchange’s checks, that UK auditors, that UK accountancy standards would have prevented this fraud from happening. Unfortunately the auditors fell asleep at the wheel. That’s what their regulator has decided,” he continued.

“The reputation and integrity of the UK as an international financial centre no doubt has been dented by what it allowed to occur,” he claimed.

The US government is seeking to extradite Mike Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the country stemming from HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. Mr Lynch is also the defendant in a $5bn High Court civil trial in the UK. He has denied all of the allegations made against him. Read more about the case here

02:43 PM

TrustPilot reviewer ordered to pay £25,000 for negative review

A man who wrote negative comments about a law firm on the review website TrustPilot has been ordered to pay £25,000 in libel damages. 

Philip James Waymouth accused the London law firm Summerfield Browne of being "another scam solicitor" after he was unhappy with the £200 service he received. 

Summerfield Browne said his comments were unture, defamatory and caused the number of business enquiries they received to drop dramatically. 

Judge Master David Cook said:  "It is beyond any dispute that the words complained of had a clear tendency to put people off dealing with the Claimant firm. It is difficult to conclude that the Defendant had any other purpose in mind when posting his review." 

In response to the case, the law firm has today been inundated with more negative reviews on TrustPilot.

"Taking legal actions against your customers will do far more to 'defame' your company than a single negative review," wrote one 

02:23 PM

Companies attacked by ransomware "every 10 seconds"

In the aftermath of the CD Projekt cyber attack, leading cyber security company Check Point says "double extortion" ransomware attacks - where hackers both encrypt a company's servers are encrypted and steal its documents - are becoming increasingly common. 

"Our research shows that on average, every 10 seconds an organisation becomes a victim of ransomware worldwide," said Jon Niccolls, Check Point's EMEA Incident Response Lead. 

"CD Projekt Red is doing the right thing by refusing to give in to the hacker’s demands,” he added. 

However, many companies do cave under pressure when in a similar position. 

Research by cyber security firm, Proofpoint, found that half of companies that had suffered a cyber attack paid the ransom, hoping they would quickly regaining access to data.  Of those who paid, 40pc were asked for another ransom following the initial payment.

timeline: High-profile hacks © Provided by The Telegraph High-profile hacks

02:01 PM

US government attacks “utter legal irrelevance” of Mike Lynch’s extradition battle

A lawyer representing the US government has claimed that an opening argument by Mike Lynch’s lawyers in his extradition hearing “laid entirely bare the utter legal irrelevance” of their argument.

It is “misconceived and preposterous” for the judge presiding over the hearing to become involved in legal questions about US law, Mark Summers QC who is representing the US government told Westminster Magistrates Court.

“These issues are squarely prohibited territory for these proceedings,” he continued.

The US government is seeking to extradite Mike Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the country stemming from HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. Mr Lynch is also the defendant in a $5bn High Court civil trial in the UK. He has denied all of the allegations made against him. Read more about the case here

01:57 PM

Mike Lynch would suffer “degrading” treatment inside US prison

a man wearing a suit and tie: Mike Lynch, former chief executive officer of Autonomy Corp., arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg © Hollie Adams/Bloomberg Mike Lynch, former chief executive officer of Autonomy Corp., arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Mike Lynch would suffer “degrading” treatment inside a US prison if convicted of fraud, his lawyers have claimed.

Alex Bailin QC, representing Mr Lynch, told his extradition hearing in Westminster that experts have suggested that Mr Lynch would likely be sent to the low-security FCI Butner Low prison in North Carolina if convicted.

“Mr Lynch would face a degrading experience in FCI Butner Low,” he said. “He would not have access to private toilet or washing facilities. He would share with one or two others."

The US government is seeking to extradite Mike Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the country stemming from HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. Mr Lynch is also the defendant in a $5bn High Court civil trial in the UK. He has denied all of the allegations made against him. Read more about the case here

01:49 PM

CD Projekt stock slides after attack

The trouble-prone developer, CD Projekt, has seen its stock slide after it disclosed the company had been targeted by hackers who had entered their systems and were not threatening to release the source codes for its games online. 

The company, which is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, lost up to 6.3pc before parring losses to trade 4.3pc lower. 

This is not the first time Poland's largest games company has fallen victim to a cyber attack. In 2014, the gameplan for Witcher 3 was released online. In 2017, Cyberpunk files were stolen in another ransomware attack. 

Earlier today, CD Projekt published a screenshot of what they said was the ransom note left by hackers. The company has pledged not to pay any ransom. 

12:32 PM

Mike Lynch’s links to the UK are “exceptionally strong and longstanding”

a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: MP David Davis arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday. The former Brexit secretary has spoken out against the extradition of Mike Lynch.  - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg © Hollie Adams/Bloomberg MP David Davis arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday. The former Brexit secretary has spoken out against the extradition of Mike Lynch.  - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Mike Lynch should not be extradited to the US because his roots in the UK are “exceptionally strong and longstanding,” a Westminster court has heard.

“He was born here, he was educated here … he has lived here his entire life,” Alex Bailin QC, representing Mr Lynch, told an extradition hearing on Tuesday morning.

The Autonomy founder has “devoted his life to the UK and its institutions,” his lawyer said. 

“His achievements in science, technology and industry are legitimately part of his service to the UK,” he continued. “It’s no overstatement to say his connections to the UK are exceptionally strong and longstanding.”

Mr Lynch’s legal team is attempting to block a request by the US government to extradite him to face criminal fraud charges in the country.

In its filings, the US government claimed that Mr Lynch’s regular business trips to the US reduced his links to the UK.

“The idea that a middle-aged man spending a month per year holidaying or on business trips abroad diminishes his links to the UK when he’s a lifelong UK citizen is completely farfetched,” Mr Bailin said. “A reality check is required.”

The US government is seeking to extradite Mike Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the country stemming from HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. Mr Lynch is also the defendant in a $5bn High Court civil trial in the UK. He has denied all of the allegations made against him. Read more about the case here

12:23 PM

Bitcoin value overtakes Russian ruble at $860bn 

a store shelf filled with books: A bitcoin ATM is seen inside the Big Apple Tobacco Shop on February 08, 2021 in New York City. - Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America © Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America A bitcoin ATM is seen inside the Big Apple Tobacco Shop on February 08, 2021 in New York City. - Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America

The value of Bitcoin has surpassed the market cap of Russia’s ruble, as the cryptocurrency breaks records for the second day running after a $1.5bn investment by electric car company Tesla. 

My colleague Matthew Field reports how the total price of all Bitcoin in circulation is now $860bn, more than the value of all 58.6 trillion Russian rubles, which are worth approximately $792bn. It is also worth more than the value of Mexico's peso, which stands at £530bn. 

Read his full story here

11:53 AM

US government wanted to “flip” Mike Lynch’s finance chief to give evidence against him  

The US government hoped to ‘flip” Mike Lynch’s finance head Sushovan Hussain to testify against him, the Autonomy founder’s lawyers have claimed.

“There was a desire to convict Mr Hussain first and try to get him to cooperate and get him to testify against Mr Lynch,” said Alex Bailin QC who is representing Mr Lynch, “‘flipping the witness’ as it’s called in the vernacular, I believe.”

He accused the US government of intentionally delaying its proceedings against Mr Lynch in order to first “flip” Mr Hussein, who was sentenced to 60 months in prison by a US court after being found guilty on 16 counts of fraud. 

Mr Lynch and Mr Hussain have both denied wrongdoing.

The US government is seeking to extradite Mike Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the country stemming from HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. Mr Lynch is also the defendant in a $5bn High Court civil trial in the UK. He has denied all of the allegations made against him. Read more about the case here

text: Mike Lynch v HP | The key players © Provided by The Telegraph Mike Lynch v HP | The key players

11:43 AM

Ocado losses narrow, as online grocer plans to plough money into tech

After a year when British grocery delivery services have boomed, Ocado today posted results that showed narrowing full-year losses after a "rapid acceleration" in online orders. 

My colleague Simon Foy reports:

The company reported a £44m pre-tax loss compared to a £215m loss last year, while total revenues soared by a third to £2.33bn.

The strong retail performance was offset by increased investment in global growth, including hiring more staff, and improving its technology to help grow and improve the platform.

The online grocer pledged to invest an extra £30m in technology to meet surging demand for online shopping during the pandemic. It also plans to pour a further £700m into capital expenditure this year as it rolls out another three automated fulfilment centres. 

Read his full report here

11:00 AM

Staying in the UK would not be a ‘get out of jail free’ card for Mike Lynch  

a man wearing a suit and tie walking on a city street: Mike Lynch, former chief executive officer of Autonomy Corp., arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg © Hollie Adams/Bloomberg Mike Lynch, former chief executive officer of Autonomy Corp., arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

A decision by a British judge to block Mike Lynch’s extradition to the US would not hand the entrepreneur a “get out of jail free” card, his lawyer told Westminster Magistrates Court today.

Instead, Mr Lynch may still face fraud charges brought against him by British authorities.

“If Mr Lynch is successful in resisting extradition, the Serious Fraud Office has filed evidence expressly reversing its right to prosecute him in the UK,” the Autonomy founder’s lawyer said.

“A decision in this court would not be an automatic ‘get out of jail free’ card. The SFO might decide to prosecute him. And of course he would vigorously contest that trial on British soil,” he continued.

The US government is seeking to extradite Mike Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the country stemming from HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. Mr Lynch is also the defendant in a $5bn High Court civil trial in the UK. He has denied all of the allegations made against him. Read more about the case here

10:45 AM

Mike Lynch feared arrest over US criminal charges  

Autonomy founder Mike Lynch feared arrest while giving evidence in his High Court civil trial, his lawyer told an extradition hearing today.

Criminal charges filed by the US government on the eve of Mr Lynch’s $5bn High Court trial in 2019 meant that the British entrepreneur “walked into the Rolls Building every day fearful of being arrested at any point, including the days on which he was testifying on his own defence.”

Mr Lynch’s legal team began its opening argument in Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday and are resisting the extradition of Mr Lynch to the US to face criminal fraud charges in the country.

His lawyer confirmed Mr Lynch will seek to use the “forum bar” provision to resist extradition.

“The United States is not the global marshal of the corporate world,” Mr Lynch’s lawyer said. “We say this case belongs here in Britain. It concerns events, the overwhelming majority of which occurred in the United Kingdom.”

The US government is seeking to extradite Mike Lynch to face criminal fraud charges in the country stemming from HP’s acquisition of Autonomy. Mr Lynch is also the defendant in a $5bn High Court civil trial in the UK. He has denied all of the allegations made against him. Read more about the case here

Mike Lynch vs HP © Provided by The Telegraph Mike Lynch vs HP

10:41 AM

British tech tycoon fighting US extradition attempt

Michael Richard Lynch wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Mike Lynch, former chief executive officer of Autonomy Corp., arrives for a court hearing at The Rolls Building in London, U.K., on Monday, March 25, 2019 - Simon Dawson/Bloomberg © Simon Dawson/Bloomberg Mike Lynch, former chief executive officer of Autonomy Corp., arrives for a court hearing at The Rolls Building in London, U.K., on Monday, March 25, 2019 - Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

British tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch is in court today, fighting US extradition over allegations he defrauded Hewlett Packard when the company agreed to buy the FTSE 100 software firm, Autonomy, in 2011. 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, created by a 2015 split of HP’s business, claims Lynch and Autonomy finance director, Sushovan Hussain under-reported costs and overstated profits to make the company look more appealing. 

The American multinational wrote down the value of Autonomy by $8.8bn a year after the deal valued it at $11.7bn, lodging criminal complaints in both the US and UK.

Hussain went to the US voluntarily and is already serving five years after losing an appeal last year. 

But Lynch’s lawyers are arguing the UK should not comply with a US Department of Justice extradition request, which could result in up to 25 years in prison.

My colleague James Cook is following the case and we will report any significant developments here. 

10:34 AM

UK space company raises £28 million

A British space tech firm that is developing ground antennas that improve the speed and quality that data travels to and from satellites has raised $40m (£28.58m).

Reading-based Isotropic Systems raised the funds from the Government’s Future Fund as well as a host of big name private investors, including SES, Orbital Ventures, and Boeing’s HorizonX Global Ventures.

Isotropic, which bills itself as a developer of “transformational” broadband tech, said demand for its fundraise was “oversubscribed” and that it had accelerated the development and roll out of its phase one terminal to early next year.

The company uses radio frequencies to allow its antennae to simultaneously link with multiple satellites in multiple orbits “without any compromise in performance”. Isotropic described its tech as an “industry first” and said that it opens up satellites to unprecedented connectivity.

John Finney, Isotropic chief executive, said the company was “extremely well-positioned” to take advantage of a new era of high powered satellites.

“As one satellite constellation after another is announced for launch in future years, our technology is unique in that it allows service providers and end users to take the best of the many thousands of satellites going into orbit using a single integrated terminal,” he said. 

10:21 AM

UK Covid app prevented 600,000 infections, says new research 

a cellphone on a wooden surface: The NHS track and trace app on a mobile phone - Steve Parsons/PA © Steve Parsons/PA The NHS track and trace app on a mobile phone - Steve Parsons/PA

The Government has kept quiet about the effectiveness of its contact-tracing app, leaving us guessing as to whether it was impacting the spread of coronavirus at all, Matthew Field writes. Until now.

Data from the Alan Turing institute and Oxford University estimates that as many as 600,000 cases have been prevented by the app since September, with 56pc of the UK's population having downloaded it in total.

The study also found a correlation between high app usage and lower case numbers in England and Wales. 

The app notifies users within 15 minutes of someone alerting it that they have had a positive test. 825,000 positive test results have been entered into the app in total and the app has sent 1.7 million notifications warning people to self-isolate.

Using Bluetooth, the app anonymously scans for nearby devices. If two phones with the app come into close contact, it creates a digital link between the two. 

According to researchers, the overall effect of the app has been to reduce coronavirus case numbers by 2.3pc for every 1pc of additional downloads

Coming to this figure relies on modelling and statistical analysis, since it is difficult to measure exactly how the app has performed. The app's technology, built by Apple and Google, is decentralised, meaning the developers cannot track how it is working from phone-to-phone. However, they can use other data reported by the app. 

text, timeline: NHS track and trace app timeline © Provided by The Telegraph NHS track and trace app timeline

09:52 AM

Twitter removes over 8,000 posts under Covid misinformation policy

Twitter has removed thousands of posts and challenged millions of accounts under its Covid-19 misleading information policy, the platform said on Tuesday. 

In a blog post, the social media network said human moderators had removed 8,493 Tweets while "automated systems" had challenged 11.5 million accounts which were discussing Covid-19 using behaviour judged to be "spammy" or "manipulative". 

09:40 AM

Micro Focus reinstates dividend after turnaround gathers pace

a sign in front of a brick building: Signs outside the offices of British IT company Micro Focus International in Newbury in 2016. - Eddie Keogh/Reuters © Eddie Keogh/Reuters Signs outside the offices of British IT company Micro Focus International in Newbury in 2016. - Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Micro Focus said it has reinstated its dividend after having made "solid progress" on its turnaround.

The British software provider said it would be paying shareholders 15.5 cents per share for the year ended October 31.

Last March it had pulled investor payouts, citing the "current increased macro-uncertainty which has been uniquely impacted by the global spread of COVID-19".

Boss Stephen Murdoch said: "We are now 12 months into our three-year turnaround plan and whilst there remains a great deal to do, we have made solid progress in delivery of our key strategic objectives and improvements in operational effectiveness."

Revenue at the company slipped 10pc to $3bn over the financial year, although had fallen more sharply in the first half than the second half of the year. 

09:19 AM

Cyberpunk developer hit by ransomware attack

CD Projekt, the Polish video game development company behind recent hit game Cyberpunk 2077, has been hit with a ransomware attack.

The business announced on Twitter this morning that it had discovered that hackers had broken into its network yesterday. The company had backups of its data and has begun restoring it, CD Project said.

The company has publicly pledged not to pay the ransom demanded, warning that some data might be released in an attempt by the hacker to intimidate it.

“The compromised systems did not contain any personal data of our players,” CD Projekt said.

It also released the contents of a digital ransom note left behind by hackers in which they threaten to leak confidential documents to the press within 48 hours if a ransom isn’t paid.

09:08 AM

Hacker attempts to poison Florida town water supply

A hacker was able to enter computer networks at a water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida, boosting the amount of sodium hydroxide by over 100 fold to "potentially dangerous" levels. 

At a press conferences on Monday, Bob Gualtieri, the sheriff of the local Pinellas County, shared details of the breach which took place at 8am local time on February 5. 

The attack was witnessed by a water plant worker who could see the attacker remotely controlling his computer, moving the moving the mouse and opening software functions that control the water on his screen systems. 

As soon as the hacker left the system, the worker was able to immediately change the water chemicals back to normal.  

"The attack against Oldsmar's water supply is precisely the kind of assault on critical national infrastructure (CNI) that cybersecurity experts have been fearing for years," said Stuart Reed, UK Director of cybersecurity company Orange Cyberdefense. 

"It is frightening to think what might have happened if it was not for the vigilance of one of the plant's operators."  

08:52 AM

Facebook to remove more anti-vaccine content 

a man and a woman taking a selfie: Richard Moss, 73, receives an injection of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in Leeds on February 8, 2021. - Danny Lawson/PA © Danny Lawson/PA Richard Moss, 73, receives an injection of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in Leeds on February 8, 2021. - Danny Lawson/PA

Facebook said it will take a harder line on social media posts spreading misinformation about coronavirus vaccines. 

The company already banned adverts that said vaccines are dangerous or Covid-19 is man-made, however posts making these claims were easy to find on both Facebook and Instagram. 

Guy Rosen, Facebook's VP of Integrity, said in a blog post on Monday: "We will begin enforcing this policy immediately, with a particular focus on Pages, groups and accounts that violate these rules." 

Read more about how fake news on social media is affecting the vaccine roll-out here: How Croydon became a hotbed for vaccine misinformation 

08:32 AM

Oxford University renames professorship after Chinese tech giant 

One of the UK's most prestigious universities is to name a physic professorship after a Chinese tech giant. 

Oxford Unviersity's Wykeham chair of physics will be known as Tencent-Wykeham in return for a £700,000 donation, according to a Daily Mail report. 

Tencent is often described as the Chinese equivalent to Facebook. The company developed a social media app called WeChat in 2011 which allows users to send messages to each other but also to play games, book taxis, pay for the subway and read news.

The Oxford University link is controversial due to allegations the company has ties to the Chinese military. 

Lord Patten, Oxford Chancellor and the last British governor of Hong Kong, did not comment on the donation. 

However he told the Daily Mail: 

"I'm strongly in favour of the proposal to do a comprehensive survey of relationships between China and all our universities. 

Given that China has become a surveillance state, is probably guilty of genocide against the Uighurs in Xinjiang, and is snuffing out freedom in Hong Kong, we should be looking at these relationships very beadily."

08:06 AM

Reddit value doubles after funding round, hitting $6 billion

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in 2019 in Washington, DC - Zach Gibson/Getty Images North America © Zach Gibson/Getty Images North America Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in 2019 in Washington, DC - Zach Gibson/Getty Images North America

Online forum Reddit said on Monday it had raised $250 million in late-stage funding, doubling the company's valuation to $6 billion.

The social media company, which was last valued at $3 billion in early 2019, said it would use the money to invest in video, advertising, consumer products and to help the company expand into international markets.

In a blog post, the company also said one motivation behind raising more funding was to attract talent. Reddit plans to double its number of employees this year to 1,400. 

The funding arrives in the aftermath of the Gamestop trading frenzy that was coordinated on the "subreddit" Wall Street Bets. 

Although the drama attracted the attention of regulators, it also bought a flood of new users to the platform, with Wall Street Bets membership quadrupling to to 8.7 million this year alone. 

Reddit, an online forum with an irreverent user base, has long been considered ground zero for online memes and jokes that spread across the internet. People can comment or "upvote" posts or talk with other users in groups called "subreddits".

A raft of politicians and celebrities, including Barack Obama, have used the platform to host AMAs, Q&A sessions called "ask me anythings", to converse with its user-base. 

The company's attitude to content moderation has been criticised for being too laissez-faire. Former CEO, Ellen Pao, criticised the site for not acting faster in response to the controversial pro-Trump subreddit, called "The_Donald" which was banned in July. Reddit did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

However there are signs Reddit is cleaning up as it attempts to broaden its appeal to advertisers. In June, the company banned around 2,000 subreddits, including groups which were inactive and also those violating its content policy.  

But making Reddit more advertising-friendly could be challenging with a user base that values free expression and the platform's un-sanitised edge, compared to social media rivals.

During Pao's two-year tenure as CEO at the platform, she faced backlash for what was perceived to be a heavy-handed attempt to crack down on unsavoury content. Her departure after only a year lead to the platform's founder, Steve Huffman, being reinstated.   

07:34 AM

Bitcoin tops $48,000 for first time after Elon Musk bet

Bitcoin continued to soar overnight, topping its previous record and reaching new heights of $48,000 after Tesla revealed yesterday the company had invested $1.5 billion in the coin. 

The investment was interpreted as a bold vote of confidence in the cryptocurrency from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has used his Twitter account to rally support for Bitcoin, as well as another coin Dogecoin. 

However some analysts were skeptical about the timing.

David Trainer, boss of investment research firm New Constructs, said yesterday: "Elon Musk is trying to turn bitcoin into a meme stock.

"Tesla accepting bitcoin as payment for cars is a distraction from the issues Tesla faces right now, which include falling market share and declining quality of cars."

 

07:59 AM

Good morning. Five things to start your day

1) UK space industry dragged into Whitehall turf war: Industry and MPs have warned "confused" and "languishing" agenda risks setting Britain's space industry back years

2) Why Bitcoin fans hope Tesla's $1.5bn bet will unlock a cryptocurrency revolution: Elon Musk's company has become the biggest major corporation to put its assets into Bitcoin

3) MPs call on Government to bid to build Apple cars in Britain: There is intense speculation about where the tech giant will build its electric vehicles

4) China blocks Clubhouse social media app as it becomes forum for political dissent: The Clubhouse app had been used inside China to debate issues such as the treatment of Uighur people

5) Japan's Renesas in £4bn deal to acquire UK chip designer Dialog Semiconductor: It comes as the latest in a flurry of takeovers of British chip designers

Coming up 

Results expected from online grocer Ocado as well as US rideshare app Lyft.

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