Tech Execs Address Concerns About Data Privacy Regulation

In a hearing on Wednesday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed on the need for legislating privacy for online users, but not everyone is on the same page as to what such laws should cover. Amazon and Google executives, whose companies depend on user data for revenue, warned that some kinds of regulation could have the unintended consequence of limiting the services they’re able to provide. What has become clearer is that hammering out the details of the legislation could take a long time. Continue reading Tech Execs Address Concerns About Data Privacy Regulation

Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

Oculus’ prototype wireless VR headset, codenamed Santa Cruz, is now a product. The new Quest headset is slated to debut this coming spring for $399. At its annual developer conference, the Facebook-owned company showed off the Quest headset, which joins the $199 Oculus Go and $400 Oculus Rift (that requires a dedicated PC). The standalone Quest offers 6DOF (six degrees of freedom). In his keynote address at the event, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reiterated his goal to have one billion people using VR. Continue reading Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

State Officials Consider a Joint Investigation of Tech Players

In a meeting of nine state officials and representatives of five other states led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the market dominance and privacy practices of large tech companies were discussed, as well as the possibility of a joint investigation of tech giants such as Google, Facebook and others. Attorney General Doug Peterson (R-Nebraska) said his state is examining just such a multi-state inquiry into antitrust and consumer protection issues. Potential political bias, a previously raised topic, was barely touched. Continue reading State Officials Consider a Joint Investigation of Tech Players

Gen Y and Gen Z Are Increasing Their Time on Social Apps

According to a recent survey by social video marketing agency VidMob, younger Internet users in the U.S. — especially those in the Gen Z demo (ages 16-24) — are spending more time on social apps. The study found that 59 percent of Gen Z turn to YouTube more than they did last year, 56 percent spend more time using Snapchat, and 55 percent have increased their time on Instagram. Meanwhile, millennials are also increasing their time on social apps; about 50 percent use Instagram more, 46 percent have increased YouTube viewing, and 40 percent are on Snapchat more than they were in 2017. Continue reading Gen Y and Gen Z Are Increasing Their Time on Social Apps

Apple’s Hollywood Strategy Focuses on Family-Friendly Fare

Last year Apple set aside $1 billion for Hollywood entertainment. But as the tech company pushes into entertainment, it faces issues related to its brand. Its first scripted drama, “Vital Signs,” a semi-biographical story about Dr. Dre, is a key example. After seeing its guns, cocaine and adult themes, Apple chief executive Tim Cook reportedly told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine that the content went too far, say sources, and nixed the series. Cook wants entertainment, but not the kind that could tarnish Apple’s brand. Continue reading Apple’s Hollywood Strategy Focuses on Family-Friendly Fare

Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who co-founded Instagram in 2010 and sold the app to Facebook two years later for $1 billion, announced in a blog post that they would be leaving the company. The two men were responsible for shaping the culture and products of Instagram — Systrom serving as CEO and product visionary, and CTO Krieger actively running the engineering team. They built the company to over a thousand employees and the user community to more than one billion. “We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” wrote Systrom. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.” Continue reading Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

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 Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Instagram plans to debut a standalone Shopping app, a move that could rival Pinterest and Wish. Ahead of the move, it is adding a shopping tab to the Explore page, which will allow users to look through a dedicated feed of merchandise from a wide range of vendors. Those sellers will be able to add stickers to their Stories for the first time, letting consumers shop from the Stories feed by tapping on the product. With this feature, shoppers will let people consider possible purchases before heading to the seller’s website. Continue reading Instagram Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Nielsen Updates its Social Ratings to Measure Owned Content

Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings service — which measures the impact of television programming across social platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — has been updated to include Owned Content Performance for helping television networks better understand social impact and optimize social strategies. During August, Nielsen examined more than 142,000 TV-related posts and tweets from accounts owned by or affiliated with networks, programs and talent handles, and discovered that images and video outperformed text in terms of engagement. Continue reading Nielsen Updates its Social Ratings to Measure Owned Content

Zuckerberg Details Facebook’s Steps Against Election Attacks

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg published a 3,300-word blog post listing steps the company has taken to make the platform safer from election interference. He said that, although the company wasn’t prepared in 2016, it has developed “sophisticated systems” and that it is “better prepared for these kinds of attacks” in worldwide elections. The company is facing its first test in Brazil’s upcoming presidential election. Zuckerberg said he will also publish in-depth reports on how the company is facing its challenges. Continue reading Zuckerberg Details Facebook’s Steps Against Election Attacks

Two Industry Trade Groups Issue Proposals for Data Privacy

As Congress considers how to regulate technology companies’ handling of personal data, the Internet Association, whose members include Google and Facebook, and BSA/The Software Alliance, which represents Microsoft and Oracle, issued their own proposals. Among the six principles that the Internet Association endorsed is data portability, which allows consumers to take their personal information from one service to another that provides a similar service. BSA/The Software Alliance issued a 10-point framework. Continue reading Two Industry Trade Groups Issue Proposals for Data Privacy

European Parliament Advances Copyright Bill Despite Critics

The European Parliament adopted a draft copyright bill to require tech platforms to pay more for music and news produced by media companies. If the law passes, EU countries will have two years to comply. Tech companies continue to fight against the bill’s final adoption; EDiMA, a trade group representing Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google among others, stated that the EU “decided to support the filtering of the Internet to the benefit of big businesses in the music and publishing industries despite huge public outcry.” Continue reading European Parliament Advances Copyright Bill Despite Critics

Inside The New Yorker Profile on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

The New Yorker posted a profile of Facebook founder/chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on its website, a week ahead of its September 17 print publication. The article, by New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos asks if Facebook will “break democracy.” The profile describes Zuckerberg as someone who makes a distinction between feeling an emotion and acting on it through his business. He also states his opposition to government regulations, stressing that breaking Facebook into smaller companies would be a huge mistake. Continue reading Inside The New Yorker Profile on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Adds 24 Languages to Rosetta Translation Feature

Facebook’s Rosetta is a machine learning system that extracts text in many languages from over one billion images in a real time. Facebook built its own optical character recognition system that can process such huge amount of content, day in and day out. In a recent blog post, Facebook explained how Rosetta works, using a convolutional neural network to recognize and transcribe text, even non-Latin alphabets and non-English words. The system was trained with a mix of human- and machine-annotated public images. Continue reading Facebook Adds 24 Languages to Rosetta Translation Feature

Facebook Boosts Instant Experience Ads, Updates Ad Metrics

Facebook is rebranded its mobile Canvas ads as full-screen, rich media Instant Experience ads, saying it will offer “new ways for businesses to understand their customer’s progression from seeing an Instant Experience to completing a purchase.” Instant Experience ads come with an Instant Form template making it easy for a visitor engaged with the ad to submit contact information. Other existing templates include Instant Storefront, Instant Lookbook, Instant Customer Acquisition and Instant Storytelling. Continue reading Facebook Boosts Instant Experience Ads, Updates Ad Metrics

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