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Nordic countries ask Facebook to stop ads

Norwegian consumer agency like its counterparts in the Nordic region, wants to put an end to the unsolicited advertisements that appear on users' news feeds on Facebook

Oslo: Facebook should stop unsolicited advertising to users in Nordic countries or face legal action, the Norwegian consumer agency said, reports PTI.

 

The agency, like its counterparts in the Nordic region, wants to put an end to the unsolicited advertisements that appear on users' news feeds.

 

It has sent a letter to the European Commission to determine whether Facebook is in line with the EU's directive on privacy and electronic communication -- and possibly to make amendments to rules drawn up before Facebook was founded.

 

"It is prohibited to send electronic advertisements to consumers who haven't given their consent, either by email or SMS," consumer mediator Gry Nergaard told AFP.

 

"We think that some of the advertising that Facebook calls 'sponsored stories' is beginning to look like unsolicited electronic messages," she said.

 

Depending on the response from European authorities and Facebook, Norwegian officials may undertake legal action to put an end to the practice.

 

"Sponsored stories" are advertisements that show up on a Facebook user's page informing him or her that one of his contacts, or "friends", whose name and or photo may also appear, "likes" a product, giving the false impression that the product or company is being endorsed by the friend.

 

"It has evolved even further," Nergaard said. "Now you can receive an advertisement without the mention that your friend 'liked' it," she said.

 

Facebook, which is hugely popular worldwide but is struggling to generate advertising revenue, claims it is abiding by European and Norwegian laws.

 

Its spokesman in northern Europe, Jan Fredriksson, said users could choose to block this type of advertising in their settings.

 

But Nergaard said it was not enough to provide an "opt out" option, the key issue was that Facebook did not have users' prior consent.

 

The European Commission was to examine the issue in the near future, she said.

 

Facebook in June settled a $10 million lawsuit from users in the US who claimed their names, images and other information were improperly used in "sponsored stories".

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ICICI Lombard rolls out overseas travel insurance plan

ICICI Lombard's new travel insurance covers a host of other risks like political ones, catastrophic evacuation, emergency financial assistance, and home insurance cover besides medical insurance

Mumbai: Private sector general insurer ICICI Lombard has launched 'International Travel Insurance Plan' which provides overseas medical insurance, reports PTI.

 

"We have launched this product keeping in view that number of international travellers from India is increasing. Apart from medical insurance, this policy covers a host of other risks like political ones, catastrophic evacuation, emergency financial assistance, and home insurance cover," its vice-president for underwriting and claims Amit Bhandari said.

 

He also said the company has tied up with US-based healthcare provider United Health Care (UHC) to take care of bill settlement directly, along with cashless hospitalisation across a wide network of hospitals.

 

Total premium collected in travel insurance segment in the country stood at only Rs400 crore in the last fiscal.

 

ICICI Lombard is the largest private sector insurer which had a gross written premium (GWP) of Rs5,358 crore last fiscal.

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SEBI allows Liquid Index ETFs trading in short selling market

SEBI said that an Index ETF would be considered 'liquid', if it has traded on at least 80% of the days over the past six months

Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed exchange traded funds (ETFs) that track indices to trade in the short selling market, as part of changes in the securities lending and borrowing framework, reports PTI.

 

SEBI said that "Liquid Index ETFs shall be eligible for trading in the Securities Lending and Borrowing (SLB) segment".

 

In its circular, SEBI said that an Index ETF would be considered 'liquid', if it has traded on at least 80% of the days over the past six months. Another criteria is that the particular Liquid Index ETF's impact cost over the past six months is less than or equal to one%.

 

"Positions limits for SLB in respect of ETFs shall be based on the assets under management of the respective ETF," it added.

 

Further, the regulator has introduced roll-over facility for lenders and borrowers in the SLB segment -- that pertains to short selling in the market.

 

Generally, short selling refers to selling of a stock that is not owned by the seller at the trading time. It can be done by retail and institutional investors.

 

According to SEBI circular, any lender or borrower who wants to extend an existing lent or borrow position shall be permitted to roll-over such positions.

 

With the latest move, a lender who is due to receive securities in the pay out of an SLB session can extend the period of lending. Similarly, a borrower can extend the period of borrowing.

 

"The roll-over shall be conducted as part of the SLB session," the circular noted.

 

However, SEBI has said that rollover would not be permitted for netting of counter positions -- netting between the borrowed and lent positions of a client.

 

"Roll-over shall be available for a period of three months i.e. the original contract plus two rollover contracts," it added.

 

SEBI has asked stock exchanges to take necessary steps for implementing the circular.

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