Judge Rules That FTC Can Proceed with Meta Antitrust Case

A federal judge has allowed a Federal Trade Commission antitrust lawsuit against Facebook to proceed, denying dismissal, a major victory for the agency as it gears up to take on Big Tech. The FTC claims the company, which since renamed itself Meta Platforms, accrued monopoly power and abused it by harming competition through an acquisitions strategy described as “buy or bury.” The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruling is seen as a warning to tech behemoths like Amazon, Apple and Google and the armies of lobbyists and lawyers employed to protect their interests. Continue reading Judge Rules That FTC Can Proceed with Meta Antitrust Case

CES: Qualcomm Targets 5G, Auto, Edge Computing, AR, VR

During CES 2022, Qualcomm president and chief executive officer Cristiano Amon announced that the company intends to focus on the connected intelligent edge, which he says is a $700 billion market. “We’re becoming the partner of choice for the edge,” he declared. “We continue to see momentum across key opportunities.” The company’s momentum encompasses next generation Arm PCs, virtual and augmented reality, including a continued partnership with Meta, wireless fiber and the automotive sector. The latter includes new deals inked with Volvo, Honda and the Renault Group. Continue reading CES: Qualcomm Targets 5G, Auto, Edge Computing, AR, VR

Big Tech Concerned About Crypto Startups Poaching Talent

There are reports of a migratory wave of executives and engineers moving from Big Tech firms such as Google, Amazon, Apple and others to chase what is being described as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” with startups whose business models rely on blockchain and involve everything from cryptocurrencies to non-fungible tokens. Google is said to be so worried about employee retention they’ve increased stock grants in categories vulnerable to poaching following the exit of Surojit Chatterjee to join Coinbase where he saw his stake in the company grow to more than $600 million in 14 months. Continue reading Big Tech Concerned About Crypto Startups Poaching Talent

Social Video App TikTok Makes Splash as E-Tailing Presence

TikTok made its shopping play this year, partnering with Shopify, then launching the TikTok World feature for creators and brands. The result has been items from clothes to cosmetics to tech accessories and household goods seeing sales boosts through exposure on the platform. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is said to have been viewed more than 7.4 billion times, and Amazon in May launched the category “Internet Famous: The Latest to Go Viral,” generously populated by products that “blew up” on the video-sharing service. Now brands are scrambling to leverage the social shopping made successful by TikTok influencers. Continue reading Social Video App TikTok Makes Splash as E-Tailing Presence

The Web3 Debate: Impending Revolution or Marketing Hype?

Nearly 37 percent of the world’s population has never used the Internet, according to the United Nations. That’s about 2.9 billion people yet to experience the technology most of the other 63 percent now take for granted. But many feel the Internet is ready for its third act, Web3 (also known as Web 3.0). Companies trying to figure out what Web3 means for their business models are not helped by the fact that there is dissent as to what it will be. Decentralized, relying on blockchain, connected to the metaverse are among the themes being discussed. Although there’s a lot being written, it’s all rather fuzzy at this time. Continue reading The Web3 Debate: Impending Revolution or Marketing Hype?

Policing the Metaverse Looms as a Challenge for Tech Firms

The metaverse is in its early days, but many are already concerned as they anticipate the content moderation problems that have bedeviled traditional social media increasing exponentially in virtual worlds. The confluence of realistic immersive environments, the anonymity of avatars and potential for deepfakes is enough to give anyone pause. Throw in machine learning that will make today’s ad targeting seem primitive and it’s an even more volatile mix. Experts agree, the very qualities that make the metaverse appealing — false facades and hyperreality — make it potentially more dangerous than the digital platforms of today. Continue reading Policing the Metaverse Looms as a Challenge for Tech Firms

Intel Says the Metaverse Needs 1,000x More Compute Power

Intel has raised a red flag regarding the metaverse, warning that more processing power is needed to support the vision. “Immersive computing, at scale and accessible by billions of humans in real time” will require a 1,000x increase in computational capability from today’s state of the art, says Intel senior vice president Raja Koduri, general manager of the company’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group. Intel remains enthusiastic about the metaverse, however, conceding in the company’s first official statement on the matter it “may be the next major platform in computing after the world wide web and mobile.” Continue reading Intel Says the Metaverse Needs 1,000x More Compute Power

Investors Plan Changes for Vote at Meta Shareholder Meeting

Meta Platforms shareholders are pressing for changes that address allegations of harm caused by its social platforms, which include Facebook and Instagram, as well as overall governance reforms. An investor group that includes the New York State Common Retirement Fund and Illinois State Treasurer filed eight resolutions to be considered at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, which is expected to be held in May. The proposals include board oversight in reducing harmful content, analysis of the company’s metaverse investment and a review of audit and risk committee, according to public reports. Continue reading Investors Plan Changes for Vote at Meta Shareholder Meeting

Senate Wants Social Firms to Pay for Holding Back Research

The U.S. Senate has introduced the bipartisan Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA), which if passed into law would allow independent researchers to sue Big Tech for failing to provide requested data. The move follows last week’s Instagram hearing, where leaked internal research suggested the platform’s negative effects on the mental health of teens. On December 6, an international coalition of more than 300 scientists sent an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg — CEO of Meta Platforms, the company that owns Instagram and Facebook — requesting the social behemoth voluntarily share research. Continue reading Senate Wants Social Firms to Pay for Holding Back Research

Companies Join Forces to Minimize Algorithmic Bias in Hiring

Top corporations have agreed to improve their AI-driven hiring programs. As artificial intelligence has been applied to assist in the often arduous process of screening candidates, it is reported that the software may be adversely affecting the potential of diversity in the workforce. A group of companies is designing algorithmic safeguards to improve AI screening software as part of an initiative to solve this issue. The companies hope that system upgrades will ultimately help improve decisions involving areas such as hiring, promotion, compensation and a more diverse workforce. Continue reading Companies Join Forces to Minimize Algorithmic Bias in Hiring

Meta Bumps ‘Horizon Worlds’ Out of Beta in U.S. and Canada

Meta Platforms last week threw open the doors to its “Horizon Worlds” virtual reality, online video platform. The collaborative environment has been in private beta since 2019 and had required an invitation to join. Now adults in the U.S. and Canada can download the free “Horizon Worlds” app and experience CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse, as long as they have a Meta Quest 2 and a Facebook account. The playground lets users build things and virtually hang out with as many as 20 people in an environment that feels like being dropped into the OASIS of “Ready Player One.” Continue reading Meta Bumps ‘Horizon Worlds’ Out of Beta in U.S. and Canada

Senate Tells Instagram CEO the ‘Time for Self-Policing is Over’

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri spent more than two hours in the Senate hot seat last week, answering questions about the platform’s safety policies and impact on teens’ mental health. A bipartisan phalanx grilled the executive on topics ranging from algorithms to eating disorders. Mosseri, who was appearing in Congress for the first time, defended his social platform, a division of Meta Platforms, which also owns Facebook. He resisted pressure to throw in the towel on launching an Instagram for kids, telling lawmakers only that no child would have access to such a platform “without their explicit parental consent.” Continue reading Senate Tells Instagram CEO the ‘Time for Self-Policing is Over’

Meta Reorganizes Research Team and Deploys ‘Few-Shot’ AI

Meta Platforms is restructuring its internal research department, drawing on employees from individual divisions like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to staff a centralized unit that will provide services to the entire company. The research will span everything from societal topics of politics, equity, health and climate to credibility topics like misinformation and account safety. The new division will be managed by Meta head of research Pratiti Raychoudhury. Additionally, Meta is deploying the new Few-Shot Learner artificial intelligence system to help moderate content, identify trends, monitor data and implement rules. Continue reading Meta Reorganizes Research Team and Deploys ‘Few-Shot’ AI

Facebook Adds a Professional Mode to Expand Creator Base

Select Facebook creators in the U.S. will have access to more data and revenue opportunities through the social platform’s new “Professional” mode. Previously exclusive to Facebook Pages, creators can now access audience analytics and, by invite-only for now, earn up to $35,000 per month with qualifying video content through a Reels Play bonus program. For creators who are already using Pages, Facebook is adding a Professional Dashboard to access more insights and productivity tools. The goal is to help creators track shares, reactions and comments to their posts in order to make more informed decisions and grow their audiences. Continue reading Facebook Adds a Professional Mode to Expand Creator Base

Apple’s Next Major Product Could Involve Augmented Reality

Next year, Apple is expected to unveil a glasses-like wearable that will be its big follow-up to the iPhone. This headset is expected to offer layers of information, objects and data spread to augment reality. Although Apple has remained mum on its plans for smart glasses, CEO Tim Cook is not shy about referencing AR and its “critically important” role in the company’s future, in September describing himself to a YouTube influencer as “AR fan #1,” and in a separate interview calling augmented reality one of the “very few profound technologies.” Continue reading Apple’s Next Major Product Could Involve Augmented Reality