Journalists Unveil The Markup to Investigate Tech Algorithms

ProPublica journalist Julia Angwin has worked with programmers and data scientists to uncover the algorithms used by big tech companies such as Facebook and how these tools can be used to promote scams, racial bias and extremist content. Now, with a $20 million gift from Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Angwin and data journalist Jeff Larson are starting The Markup, a new site focused on investigating technology and its impact on society. Wikimedia Foundation former head Sue Gardner will be executive director. Continue reading Journalists Unveil The Markup to Investigate Tech Algorithms

Instagram Eyes E-Commerce With Standalone Shopping App

Facebook’s photo- and video-sharing service Instagram is reportedly developing a standalone app designed specifically for shopping. The app, possibly to be named IG Shopping, is expected to help users browse products from merchants and businesses and then make purchases directly within the app. The Verge initially broke the news based on information from sources familiar with the matter, but Instagram has yet to confirm the app or a potential launch date. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, over 25 million businesses presently have Instagram accounts, 2 million of which are advertisers. Continue reading Instagram Eyes E-Commerce With Standalone Shopping App

DigitalOcean Provides Cloud Services for Smaller Businesses

Cloud computing startup DigitalOcean, based in New York City, is taking on industry leaders Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud by targeting smaller developers and startups. According to CEO and co-founder Ben Uretsky, DigitalOcean is offering simple and flexible solutions for smaller companies that may not necessarily need the same business-class services as larger companies. While it is not currently planning an IPO, DigitalOcean indicates it is on a $175 million annualized run rate (ARR) for this year. Continue reading DigitalOcean Provides Cloud Services for Smaller Businesses

Facebook Takes Additional Steps in Battle Against Fake News

Facebook has donated $14 million to the News Integrity Initiative, established by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark to combat fake news. The project, which will be headed by Jeff Jarvis, will run out of the City University of New York’s journalism school. The move is just one of Facebook’s recent efforts to combat fake news. The company has also hired former CNN anchor Campbell Brown to lead its new Facebook Journalism Project, partnered with fact-checking sites to tag fake news, and published tips on how to identify it. Continue reading Facebook Takes Additional Steps in Battle Against Fake News

Facebook Launches Marketplace, Battles Sale of Illegal Items

This last Monday, Facebook began gradually introducing a new feature, Marketplace, which, similar to Craigslist, lets users buy and sell items. The app will be first introduced to users in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, and will also be available on the desktop in the next few months. Because most Facebook users access the site via mobile phones, Marketplace will provide better location data for matching buyers and sellers than Craigslist. Since the launch, however, Facebook has been dealing with illegal items for sale. Continue reading Facebook Launches Marketplace, Battles Sale of Illegal Items

New Selling Feature on Facebook Groups Similar to Craigslist

Facebook is launching a new feature in Facebook Groups that may finally take a bite out of Craigslist. The feature will enable users to post listings, find posts about items for sale and set pickup locations. The popular social network previously attempted to unseat the 20-year-old Craigslist in the classifieds business, but the venture never took off. Despite its crude appearance, Craigslist still gets 50 billion page views monthly in the U.S. alone because it already has so many users. Continue reading New Selling Feature on Facebook Groups Similar to Craigslist

New Shyp Service Reimagines How We Package and Ship Items

San Francisco-based startup Shyp — “the easiest way to ship anything” — is aiming to simplify the shipping process. Rather than packaging an item and finding the cheapest company to ship with, the user simply takes a picture of the item to be shipped and adds the address. Within 20 minutes, a Shyp courier arrives to pick up the item and hands it off for another person to do the work. The app is meant to be a cheap and efficient way to ship items without doing any work. Continue reading New Shyp Service Reimagines How We Package and Ship Items

Social Media: What the Lengthy Terms of Service Really Mean

While most social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook give users the ability to choose how they share their posts, with options such as followers, friends, or public, most users do not realize that terms of service allows the sites to reproduce the content for marketing purposes. The terms of service that users are required to agree to in order to sign up for a social network are often lengthy and comprised of complex legal terms, resulting in many users agreeing to terms they do not fully understand. Continue reading Social Media: What the Lengthy Terms of Service Really Mean

Year-Long New York Sting Operation Snares Fake Reviewers

Nineteen companies charged with writing fake online reviews were uncovered as the result of a year-long sting operation by the New York Attorney General. Offenders who posted fake reviews on Yelp, Google Local and CitySearch will be forced to pay upwards of $350,000 in penalties. As part of Operation Clean Turf, the AG’s office established a yogurt shop in Brooklyn and sought assistance from companies that boost online search results to combat negative reviews. Continue reading Year-Long New York Sting Operation Snares Fake Reviewers