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Instagram rolls out fan badges for live videos, expands IGTV ads test

Instagram is today introducing a new way for creators to make money. The company is now rolling out badges in Instagram Live to an initial group of over 50,000 creators, who will be able to offer their fans the ability to purchase badges during their live videos to stand out in the comments and show […]

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Gowalla is being resurrected as an augmented reality social app

Gowalla is coming back. The startup, which longtime TechCrunch readers will likely recall, was an ambitious consumer social app that excited Silicon Valley investors but ultimately floundered in its quest to take on Foursquare before an eventual $3 million acqui-hire in 2011 brought the company’s talent to Facebook. The story certainly seemed destined to end […]

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The Justice Department has filed its antitrust lawsuit against Google

After investigating Google for more than a year, the Justice Department has finally issued its antitrust lawsuit against the search giant, alleging that the company is “unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States.” The full suit is here. It cites Section […]

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Vectary, a design platform for 3D and AR, raises $7.3M from EQT and BlueYard

Vectary, a design platform for 3D and augmented reality (AR), has raised a $7.3 million round led by European fund EQT Ventures. Existing investor BlueYard (Berlin) also participated. Vectary makes high-quality 3D design more accessible for consumers, garnering over one million creators worldwide, and has more than a thousand digital agencies and creative studios as […]

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Daily Crunch: Pakistan un-bans TikTok

TikTok returns to Pakistan, Apple launches a music-focused streaming station and SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites. This is your Daily Crunch for October 19, 2020. The big story: Pakistan un-bans TikTok The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked the video app 11 days ago, over what it described as “immoral,” “obscene” and “vulgar” videos. The authority said […]

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Who regulates social media?

Social media platforms have repeatedly found themselves in the United States government’s crosshairs over the last few years, as it has been progressively revealed just how much power they really wield, and to what purposes they’ve chosen to wield it. But unlike, say, a firearm or drug manufacturer, there is no designated authority who says […]

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The OpenStack Foundation becomes the Open Infrastructure Foundation

This has been a long time coming, but the OpenStack Foundation today announced that it is changing its name to “Open Infrastructure Foundation,” starting in 2021. The announcement, which the foundation made at its virtual developer conference, doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. Over the course of the last few years, the organization started adding […]

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Facebook introduces a new Messenger API with support for Instagram

Following the updates to Instagram and Messenger that delivered cross-app communication and other features, Facebook today announced its Messenger API has also been updated to allow businesses to manage their communications across Instagram, in addition to Messenger . Before today, businesses could only respond to customer inquiries through the Instagram app and through Facebook’s unified […]

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Instagram’s handling of kids’ data is now being probed in the EU

Facebook’s lead data regulator in Europe has opened another two probes into its business empire — both focused on how the Instagram platform processes children’s information. The action by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), reported earlier by the Telegraph, comes more than a year after a U.S. data scientist reported concerns to Instagram that its […]

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We need universal digital ad transparency now

We propose a new standard for universal ad disclosure that should be met by every platform that publishes digital ads.

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Extend banks $40M to bring a new approach to the old game of extended warranties

Extended warranties — those offers to add an extra year or two to an existing product warranty to give you a little more peace of mind in case something goes wrong with something you’ve purchased — have long been a part of the sales process when you’re buying big-ticket items from large stores. Today, a […]

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With ‘absurd’ timing, FCC announces intention to revisit Section 230

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced his intention to pursue a reform of Section 230 of the Communications Act, which among other things limits the liability of internet platforms for content they host. Commissioner Rosenworcel described the timing — immediately after Conservative outrage at Twitter and Facebook limiting the reach of an article relating to […]

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Brazil’s Black Silicon Valley could be an epicenter of innovation in Latin America

There is no doubt that the new wave of innovation will come from the emerging markets, and the African Diaspora can play an important role.

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YouTube bans videos promoting conspiracy theories like QAnon that target individuals

YouTube today joined social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in taking more direct action to prohibit the distribution of conspiracy theories like QAnon. The company announced that it is expanding its hate and harassment policies to ban videos “that [target] an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence,” according to […]

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Messenger’s latest update brings new features, cross-app communication with Instagram

Facebook Messenger is getting a visual update and a number of new features, including support for chat themes, custom reactions and, soon, selfie stickers and vanish mode. The changes are a part of Facebook’s overhauled messaging platform, announced in late September, which introduced the ability for Instagram users to communicate with people on Facebook for […]

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Hands on with Telepath, the social network taking aim at abuse, fake news and, to some extent, ‘free speech’

There’s no doubt that modern social networks have let us down. Filled with hate speech and abuse, moderation and anti-abuse tools were an afterthought they’re now trying to cram in. Meanwhile, personalization engines deliver us only what will keep us engaged, even if it’s not the truth. Today, a number of new social networks are […]

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If data is labor, can collective bargaining limit big tech?

What if consumer platforms had to do business with large coalitions representing ordinary peoples to get the right to exploit their data?

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Facebook, in a reversal, will now ban Holocaust denial content under its hate-speech policy

Facebook this morning announced a significant change in how it approaches Holocaust denial content on its social network. For years, the company has been criticized for not taking down this extremely offensive form of content in favor of allowing free speech and distancing itself from taking on the responsibilities of a traditional publisher. Today, it’s […]

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Facebook EU-US data transfer complaint: Schrems gets a judicial review of the Irish DPC’s procedure

Another twist in a multi-year complaint saga related to the legality of Facebook’s data transfers: European privacy campaigner Max Schrems has today been granted a judicial review of the Irish regulator’s handling of his complaint. He’s expecting the hearing to take place before the end of the year — and is hoping the action will, […]

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How Roblox completely transformed its tech stack

Picture yourself in the role of CIO at Roblox in 2017. At that point, the gaming platform and publishing system that launched in 2005 was growing fast, but its underlying technology was aging, consisting of a single data center in Chicago and a bunch of third-party partners, including AWS, all running bare metal (nonvirtualized) servers. […]

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Facebook and Instagram will pin vote-by-mail explainers to top of feeds

Starting this weekend, everyone of voting age in the U.S. will begin seeing informational videos at the top of Instagram and Facebook, offering tips and state-specific guidance on how to vote through the mail. The videos will be offered in both English and Spanish. The vote-by-mail videos will run on Facebook for four straight days […]

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Militia tied to plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer was removed from Facebook in boogaloo purge

According to details from a shocking new affidavit, the FBI uncovered a group planning “violent action against multiple state governments,” including a detailed plot to capture or kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Individuals involved in the plot organized across Facebook groups, in-person events and at least two encrypted chat apps that the FBI did not […]

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Slack introduces new features to ease messaging between business partners

Slack is holding its Frontiers conference this week — virtually like everyone else in 2020 — and it’s introducing some new features to make it easier to message between partners. At the same time, it’s talking about some experimental features that could appear in the platform at some point (or not). Let’s start with some […]

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Consumers spent a record $28 billion in apps in Q3, aided by pandemic

Mobile usage continues to remain high amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted social distancing measures and lockdown policies, and has pushed consumers to connect online for work, school and socializing. This, in turn, has helped drive record spending in apps during the quarter, as well as a huge surge in time spent in apps. […]

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Daily Crunch: Big tech responds to antitrust report

The major tech platforms push back against the House antitrust report, Google Assistant gets a “guest” mode and we interview a freshly minted Nobel laureate. This is your Daily Crunch for October 7, 2020. The big story: Big tech responds to antitrust report The House Judiciary Committee released its tech antitrust report late yesterday, concluding […]

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Here’s the curtain raise on the Sight Tech Global agenda

The goal of Sight Tech Global, a virtual, global event on December 2-3, 2020, is to gather the world’s top experts who are applying advanced technologies, notably AI, to the future of accessibility and assistive tech for people who are blind or visually impaired. Today we’re excited to roll out most of the agenda. There […]

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Facebook: Trump can’t recruit ‘army’ of poll watchers under new voter intimidation rules

In a blog post Wednesday, Facebook said it will no longer allow content that encourages poll watching that uses “militarized” language or intends to “intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters.” Facebook credited the update to its platform rules to civil rights experts who it worked with to create the policy. […]

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Media roundup: Google to cut big checks for news publishers, Substack continues to draw top creators, more

Welcome back to Extra Crunch’s Media Roundup, where I round up the stories that entrepreneurs in the content and advertising business should be thinking about — trends, larger platform shifts, as well as noteworthy funding rounds. This time, we’ve got some bad news for movie theaters, the specter of antitrust regulation and a new career […]

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Decrypted: The major ransomware attack you probably didn’t hear about

Watching the news this past week was like drinking from a firehose. Speaking of which, you probably missed a busy week in cybersecurity, so here are the big stories from the past week. THE BIG PICTURE Blackbaud hack gets worse, as bank account data stolen Blackbaud, a cloud technology company used by colleges, universities, nonprofits […]

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Instagram’s Threads app now lets you message everyone, like its Direct app once did

Last year, Instagram announced it was ending support for its standalone mobile messaging app known as Direct, which had allowed users to quickly create and share messages with friends. Shortly thereafter, the company launched Threads, a new messaging app focused on status updates and communication with only those you identified in Instagram as your “Close […]