Ex-Facebook Scientist Reveals Slow Action on Fake Accounts

A recently fired Facebook data scientist, Sophie Zhang, sent a 6,600-word memo giving specific examples of how the social media company ignored or was slow to act on solid information on fake accounts undermining global politics and elections. That included her proof that, in Azerbaijan and Honduras, government leaders and political parties used fake accounts to shift public opinion. She found similar evidence of coordinated campaigns to impact candidates or elections in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Spain and Ukraine. Continue reading Ex-Facebook Scientist Reveals Slow Action on Fake Accounts

Verizon Adds More Wireless Subscribers via Disney+ Offer

Verizon Communications added 790,000 prepaid phone connections during Q4 2019, compared with 653,000 during the same period a year earlier, surpassing the expectations of JPMorgan Chase analysts who predicted 750,000 such connections. A free one-year Disney+ subscription for Verizon wireless customers may have helped lure new customers. AT&T added 229,000 postpaid connections and T-Mobile US added 1,000,000. Postpaid customers typically pay monthly under longer-term contracts and are less likely to change providers. Continue reading Verizon Adds More Wireless Subscribers via Disney+ Offer

Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress Owner Automattic Inc.

Verizon announced that it is selling New York-based Tumblr to WordPress parent company Automattic Inc. Terms of the deal have not been formally announced, although some reports suggest that Automattic paid less than $3 million. Verizon purchased Tumblr in 2017 following its Yahoo acquisition; Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for the blogging platform four years earlier. Today, Tumblr is an active social networking hub and home to 475 million blogs. While it has a dedicated community, it does not share the same cultural impact as platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Continue reading Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress Owner Automattic Inc.

EU Parliament Passes Laws That Impact Online Companies

The European Parliament voted to fine Internet platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter up to 4 percent of their annual global turnover if they do not remove extremist content within one hour of authorities’ request to do so. The vote was 308 to 204, with 70 abstentions. The European Parliament also approved a platform-to-business (P2B) law proposed by the European Commission in April 2018. The P2B law forces Amazon and Google to reveal how they rank products and Facebook and others to be more transparent. Continue reading EU Parliament Passes Laws That Impact Online Companies

Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Verizon Media (formerly Oath) now has production studios located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Sunnyvale and Taiwan. In addition, it built a 5G Los Angeles studio with plans to help pioneer new formats and production tech enabled by advanced 5G wireless connectivity. The worldwide facilities are being used by Verizon Media brands such as AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch and Yahoo. The L.A. space — led by Verizon Media’s immersive media arm RYOT — is outfitted with full motion capture and volumetric capture stages. Continue reading Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Japan’s Recruit Aims to Compete With Top Global Websites

In Japan, Recruit Holdings, the center of a corporate scandal that ended with the ousting of the prime minister, is being put back together by a group of employees. Whereas the former Recruit was a magazine publisher and job-placement firm, the new version is an Internet behemoth that combines the capabilities of LinkedIn, Zillow, Yelp, eHarmony, Booking.com, Square and many other apps. Recruit chief executive Masumi Minegishi is betting the company has the experience and resources to dominate consumer spending by 2030. Continue reading Japan’s Recruit Aims to Compete With Top Global Websites

Super Bowl Expands to More Apps, Sets Streaming Records

While Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams experienced a drop in television viewership (Nielsen indicates the game generated an average audience of 98.2 million viewers), CBS revealed that streaming the event reached new popularity this year. According to the network, the Super Bowl was viewed by 100.7 million viewers across all platforms, including digital and streaming. CBS notes that the game was streamed on 7.5 million unique devices, marking a 20 percent jump over the previous year and a new streaming record for the Super Bowl. It was available across an array of online and mobile properties. Continue reading Super Bowl Expands to More Apps, Sets Streaming Records

Have You Been Hacked? Very Likely In Light of Mega-Breach

Security researcher Troy Hunt, who offers a way to search if your email addresses or passwords have been breached, maintains Collection #1, the largest breach ever, which holds 772,904,991 unique emails and 21 million unique passwords, all of which have been recently posted to a hacking forum. Those numbers represent a “cleaned-up” version of the raw data, which comprise 2.7 billion rows of email addresses and passwords, including over one billion unique combinations of hacked emails and passwords. Continue reading Have You Been Hacked? Very Likely In Light of Mega-Breach

CES Returns to Las Vegas This Week with Expanded Exhibits

CES 2019, which calls itself the largest and most influential tech event in the world — “where the entire technology ecosystem gathers to conduct business, launch products, build brands and partner to solve some of today’s most pressing societal challenges” — gets underway today with a full day of conference sessions and media briefings before the millions of square feet of exhibit space opens on Tuesday, January 8. CTA, owner of the show, highlighted a number of key sessions and exhibit marketplaces that visitors to CES may want not want to miss and our team will cover this week. Continue reading CES Returns to Las Vegas This Week with Expanded Exhibits

Roku Channel Adds Entertainment and Sports to Free Lineup

Roku is adding more sports and entertainment content to its ad-supported free streaming channel that already offers free-to-stream movies and news. The Roku Channel introduced live news earlier this year from ABC News, Cheddar, Newsmax, Newsy, People TV, The Young Turks and Yahoo. New entertainment content will now come from partners including AFV, FailArmy, People Are Awesome, The Pet Collective and TMZ, while live sports will be available from Adventure Sports Network, Combat GO, EDGEsport, Stadium, WHAM Network and others. Continue reading Roku Channel Adds Entertainment and Sports to Free Lineup

Verizon Announces 5G Wireless Deals With Apple and Google

Apple and Google will be the first video providers for Verizon’s superfast 5G wireless service, slated to launch later this year in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento, California. According to those familiar with Verizon’s plan, customers of the home broadband service will have the option to access live television via a free Apple TV box or a free subscription to the YouTube TV app. Verizon plans to introduce online services using 5G technology that matches or exceeds the speeds of landline offerings. Continue reading Verizon Announces 5G Wireless Deals With Apple and Google

Vestberg Named Next Verizon Chief Exec, McAdam to Retire

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam announced he plans to step down from his position on August 1, at which point Hans Vestberg will take over as chief exec. Vestberg joined Verizon last year as the company’s chief technology officer and EVP and president of Global Networks, after serving for seven years as CEO of Swedish telecom and networking company Ericsson. McAdam has been Verizon’s CEO since August 2011 and its chairman since January 2012. He will remain executive chairman until the end of the year and serve as non-executive chairman thereafter. Continue reading Vestberg Named Next Verizon Chief Exec, McAdam to Retire

EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

On May 25, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect. Although the law bans companies from forcing its users to give up personal data as a condition of service, it allows for exceptions, such as when the information is necessary to fulfill a contract. Those exceptions are the new battlefield over privacy issues, including what “freely given” consent means. At the crux is “behavioral advertising,” worth billions of dollars annually, that targets users based on their Internet activity. Continue reading EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

SmugMug Acquires Photo Service Flickr From Verizon’s Oath

Pioneering online photo-sharing community Flickr, created in 2004 and sold to Yahoo in 2005, has now been sold again. As first reported by USA Today, Verizon’s Oath, Flickr’s owner since 2017, just sold the company to SmugMug, a Silicon Valley photo-sharing and image-hosting service. Chief executive Don MacAskill, who founded the company with Chris MacAskill in 2002, has vowed to “move heaven and earth to thrill … photographers everywhere.” Flickr reportedly has more than 100 million unique users. Continue reading SmugMug Acquires Photo Service Flickr From Verizon’s Oath

Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

The recently developed Playa Vista neighborhood on Los Angeles’ Westside near Marina del Rey is now home to numerous technology companies including Electronic Arts, Facebook, IMAX, Microsoft, Yahoo and YouTube. In fall 2018, Alphabet’s Google will move into a 319,000-square foot office space, adjacent to 12 acres of land the company bought in 2014. Playa Vista is also adjacent to the 600-acre Ballona Wetlands, home to hundreds of bird species, and against the Westchester Bluffs. Currently 5,000 to 6,000 people work there. Continue reading Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

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