Twitch to Reduce Revenue Sharing with Premium Streamers

Popular game streaming service Twitch — owned by parent company Amazon — plans to shrink the amount of subscription revenue it shares with top creators. After earnings surpass $100,000 in a 12-month period, the split with these premium streamers will reduce from 70/50 to 50/50, the same subscription share Twitch makes available to all streamers. The change goes into effect in June 2023, but Twitch stars are already rebelling. Having already lost a number of top creators to YouTube Gaming, Twitch potentially finds itself in a precarious position. Continue reading Twitch to Reduce Revenue Sharing with Premium Streamers

California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

California attorney general Rob Bonta has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the e-tailer has managed to bend competition and pricing to its will. Only about 25 million of Amazon’s 147 million U.S. customers are domiciled in California, but if the measure succeeds it could impact regulations across the country and across the globe. “For years, California consumers have paid more for their online purchases because of Amazon’s anticompetitive contracting practices,” Bonta said Wednesday. “Amazon’s market dominance, allowing the company to make increasingly untenable demands on its merchants,” resulted in “higher prices and more control.” Continue reading California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Google’s Project Loon, a plan to use balloons to beam broadband Internet to unserved areas, was shut down in 2021 after eight years, but Loon’s core technologies have propelled a spinout, Aalyria, which is developing advanced networking and laser communications that far exceed anything available today, extending connectivity where there is no infrastructure “at an exponentially greater scale and speed,” according to the company. Aalyria’s first commercial client is the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a division of the U.S. Department of Defense that awarded an $8 million contract to develop high-speed Internet in space. Continue reading Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Tencent Revenue Drops 3 Percent in First Decline Since 2004

Tencent’s nearly two-decade growth trajectory came to a halt Wednesday with a 3 percent revenue drop over the same period in 2021. The contraction marked the Chinese video game and social media giant’s first quarterly revenue decline since going public in 2004. Tencent’s April-June revenue fell by about $20 billion, the result of China’s slowing economy and sagging digital advertising revenue, as well as tighter government video game regulations and diminished consumer user spending. Prior to Q4 2021, Tencent had consistently posted double-digit — and sometimes triple-digit — growth since its IPO. Continue reading Tencent Revenue Drops 3 Percent in First Decline Since 2004

Australia’s Highest Court Rules Google Links Not Defamatory

In a major reversal, Australia’s highest court found Google not liable for defamatory content linked through search results, ruling that the Alphabet subsidiary “was not a publisher” of the objectionable content. Google was sued for defamation for a 2004 article appearing in its search engine results, and both the trial court and a circuit court of appeals held Google responsible as a “publisher” because it was instrumental in circulating the contents of the offending article. The lower courts rejected Google’s reliance on the statutory and common law defenses of innocent dissemination and qualified privilege. Continue reading Australia’s Highest Court Rules Google Links Not Defamatory

Google Delays Alternative to Cookies for Its Chrome Browser

Google is delaying plans to phase out third-party ad tracking cookies on its Chrome browser until late 2024. The move will have broad ramifications as to how ads are targeted on websites. The Alphabet unit has been working under its Privacy Sandbox initiative since 2019 to find less intrusive alternatives to cookie-tracking technology. Google has been working with developers, publishers, marketers, regulators and advertisers to test its cookie alternative, and says feedback indicates more time is needed to test and evaluate the Privacy Sandbox before it’s phased-in to Chrome worldwide. Continue reading Google Delays Alternative to Cookies for Its Chrome Browser

Google’s Ad Growth Slows While Search Exceeds Projections

Alphabet had a rocky second quarter with revenue of $69.69 billion, up 13 percent from the same period in 2021, though net income was down 14.6 percent to $16 billion. It was Alphabet’s slowest growth rate since Q2 2020, when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the economy. In a contracting 2022 advertising market, Alphabet posted 12 percent ad growth, totaling $56.3 billion for the quarter ended June 30 versus the same period the previous year. Ad growth was down substantially over the 69 percent increase of Q2 2022, but increased nonetheless where others are declining. Continue reading Google’s Ad Growth Slows While Search Exceeds Projections

Proposed Legislation Drafted to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

With efforts to fill the vacant FCC seat and tilt the commission back to a Democratic majority, the Senate is poised to try an alternate path to realizing the party’s longtime goal of restoring net neutrality rules. Championed by Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act proposes to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would open up companies including AT&T and Verizon to stricter FCC oversight. Internet service providers would be prevented from blocking or throttling content, while pricing and privacy would also receive scrutiny. Continue reading Proposed Legislation Drafted to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

Amazon is rolling out a redesigned Prime Video app for Android and connected living room devices, including Fire TV for customers worldwide, with iOS and web to follow. The company says the new interface will make discovery and navigation much easier. Among the visual enhancements are a Top 10 Chart showcasing trending Prime Video content and “Super Carousel” displays with “poster-style artwork” for Amazon Originals. Also emphasized is graphical distinction between content included with Prime memberships versus that which is available for general purchase. Continue reading Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

Google Is the First Paying Customer of Wikimedia Enterprise

Wikimedia Enterprise has announced Google and the Internet Archive as its first customers. The Wikimedia Foundation launched the enterprise unit last year as a paid service for clients that source and reuse Wikipedia data at high volume. Google has been using Wikipedia content to fuel its search engine results. Wikimedia Enterprise clients have access to custom APIs that allow it to scrape and utilize data more efficiently and at greater scale. The service also provides guaranteed uptime and real-time content updates, minimizing outdated or inaccurate information. Continue reading Google Is the First Paying Customer of Wikimedia Enterprise

Mozilla’s Firefox Browser Defaults to Total Cookie Protection

Mozilla has made Total Cookie Protection the default setting for Firefox worldwide, turning it into what the company calls “the most private and secure major browser available across Windows, Mac and Linux.” Total Cookie Protection works by “confining cookies to the sites where they were created, thus preventing tracking companies from using these cookies to track your browsing from site to site.” The feature — which Mozilla promises won’t negatively affect the browsing experience — creates a separate “cookie jar” for each website visited, limiting behavioral insights to that one site rather than letting trackers link behavior across multiple sites. Continue reading Mozilla’s Firefox Browser Defaults to Total Cookie Protection

Amazon Plans to Continue Diversifying Despite Tough Times

Despite slowing e-commerce sales growth and signs of a global recession, Amazon plans to continue diversifying through investments like building a brick-and-mortar grocery chain, launching a satellite network for Internet delivery, expanding Alexa services, and developing self-driving cars — including through Zoox, an autonomous taxi subsidiary. That was the message from company CEO Andy Jassy at the Bloomberg Technology Summit in San Francisco. The remarks come after Amazon posted its first quarterly loss in seven years in Q1, which also marked the company’s slowest revenue growth since 2001. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Continue Diversifying Despite Tough Times

Supreme Court Blocks Texas Law Moderating Social Speech

The Supreme Court has blocked a Texas law banning major social media platforms from exercising editorial discretion to remove posts that violate community guidelines. Voting on the unsigned Supreme Court order was 5 to 4. Big Tech lobbying groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association requested the emergency halt. Their application was filed after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in May issued a stay that effectively reinstated the law. In December, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman hit pause on the legislation, HB 20, on First Amendment grounds. Continue reading Supreme Court Blocks Texas Law Moderating Social Speech

Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Facial recognition software company Clearview AI has agreed to limit U.S. sales of its identity database to businesses and other private actors as part of a lawsuit settlement. The case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups, was filed in state court in Illinois, where the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is considered the nation’s strongest data privacy law. The lawsuit alleged that Clearview routinely scraped images of state residents from the Internet without obtaining their permission or making them aware of the practice. Continue reading Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Site Blocking Gaining Steam Globally as Anti-Piracy Measure

A U.S. district judge in New York has established a new front in the anti-piracy war, ruling that a long list of domestic ISPs must block three Israeli websites found to be in violation of copyright law. Judge Katherine Polk Failla ordered the ISPs to block the sites Israeli-TV.com, Israel.tv and Sdarot.tv, and also any domains known to be “used in the future … by any technological means available.” Also affected are web hosting service providers, web designers, domain registrars and advertising companies, now banned from doing business with the sites. Continue reading Site Blocking Gaining Steam Globally as Anti-Piracy Measure