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Facebook’s decision-review body to take ‘weeks’ longer over Trump ban call

Facebook’s self-styled and handpicked “Oversight Board” will make a decision on whether or not to overturn an indefinite suspension of the account of former president Donald Trump within “weeks”, it said in a brief update statement on the matter today. The high-profile case appears to have attracted major public interest, with the FOB tweeting that […]

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Facebook faces ‘mass action’ lawsuit in Europe over 2019 breach

Facebook is to be sued in Europe over the major leak of user data that dates back to 2019 but which only came to light recently after information on more than 533 million accounts was found posted for free download on a hacker forum. Today Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) announced it’s commencing a “mass action” […]

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Pakistan temporarily blocks social media

Pakistan has temporarily blocked several social media services in the South Asian nation, according to users and a government-issued notice reviewed by TechCrunch. In an order titled “Complete Blocking of Social Media Platforms,” the Pakistani government ordered Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Telegram from 11 a.m. […]

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Consumer groups and child development experts petition Facebook to drop ‘Instagram for kids’ plan

A coalition of 35 consumer advocacy groups along with 64 experts in child development have co-signed a letter to Facebook asking the company to reconsider its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13, which Facebook has confirmed to be in development. In the letter, the groups and experts argue […]

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Facebook brings software subscriptions to the Oculus Quest

Subscription pricing is landing on Facebook’s Oculus Store, giving VR developers another way to monetize content on Facebook’s Oculus Quest headset. Developers will be allowed to add premium subscriptions to paid or free apps, with Facebook assumedly dragging in their standard percentage fee at the same time. Oculus and the developers on its platform have […]

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Facebook to test new business discovery features in US News Feed

Facebook announced this morning it will begin testing a new experience for discovering businesses in its News Feed in the U.S. When live, users to tap on topics they’re interested in underneath posts and ads in their News Feed in order to explore related content from businesses. The change comes at a time when Facebook […]

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Instagram’s new test lets you choose if you want to hide ‘Likes,’ Facebook test to follow

Instagram today will begin a new test around hiding Like counts on users’ posts, following its experiments in this area which first began in 2019. This time, however, Instagram is not enabling or disabling the feature for more users. Instead, it will begin to explore a new option where users get to decide what works […]

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Ireland opens GDPR investigation into Facebook leak

Facebook’s lead data supervisor in the European Union has opened an investigation into whether the tech giant violated data protection rules vis-a-vis the leak of data reported earlier this month. Here’s the Irish Data Protection Commission’s statement: “The Data Protection Commission (DPC) today launched an own-volition inquiry pursuant to section 110 of the Data Protection […]

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EU plan for risk-based AI rules to set fines as high as 4% of global turnover, per leaked draft

European Union lawmakers who are drawing up rules for applying artificial intelligence are considering fines of up to 4% of global annual turnover (or €20M, if greater) for a set of prohibited use-cases, according to a leaked draft of the AI regulation — reported earlier by Politico — that’s expected to be officially unveiled next […]

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New Quest 2 software brings wireless PC streaming, updated ‘office’ mode

After a relatively quiet couple of months from Oculus on the software front, Facebook’s VR unit is sharing some details on new functionality coming to its Quest 2 standalone headset. The features, which include wireless Oculus Link support, “Infinite Office” functionality and upcoming 120hz support, will be rolling out in the Quest 2’s upcoming v28 […]

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Facebook tests video speed dating events with ‘Sparked’

Facebook confirmed it’s testing a video speed-dating app called Sparked, after the app’s website was spotted by The Verge. Unlike dating app giants such as Tinder, Sparked users don’t swipe on people they like or direct message others. Instead, they cycle through a series of short video dates during an event to make connections with […]

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Facebook, Instagram users can now ask ‘oversight’ panel to review decisions not to remove content

Facebook’s self-styled “Oversight Board” (FOB) has announced an operational change that looks intended to respond to criticism of the limits of the self-regulatory content-moderation decision review body: It says it’s started accepting requests from users to review decisions to leave content up on Facebook and Instagram. The move expands the FOB’s remit beyond reviewing (and […]

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Clim8 raises $8M from 7pc Ventures, launches climate-focused investing app for retail investors

Ethical investing remains something of a confusing maze, with a great deal of “greenwashing” going on. A new U.K. startup is hoping to fix that with the launch of its new app and platform for retail investors. Clim8 Invest has raised $8 million from 7pc Ventures (early backers of Oculus, acquired by Facebook),  British Business […]

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Facebook takes down 16,000 groups trading fake reviews after another poke by UK’s CMA

Facebook has removed 16,000 groups that were trading fake reviews on its platform after another intervention by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the regulator said today. The CMA has been leaning on tech giants to prevent their platforms being used as thriving marketplaces for selling fake reviews since it began investigating the issue […]

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Facebook ran ads for a fake ‘Clubhouse for PC’ app planted with malware

Cybercriminals have taken out a number of Facebook ads masquerading as a Clubhouse app for PC users in order to target unsuspecting victims with malware, TechCrunch has learned. TechCrunch was alerted Wednesday to Facebook ads tied to several Facebook pages impersonating Clubhouse, the drop-in audio chat app only available on iPhones. Clicking on the ad would […]

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Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are super broken right now (Update: but starting to work again)

Are Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp down for you right now? Us too! And lots and lots of other people too, it seems. We’re getting reports left and right of outages across the three Facebook properties, with no indication so far as to the cause. It’s all down so hard that Facebook’s own server status page […]

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Formation raises $4M led by Andreessen Horowitz to train truly ‘exceptional’ software engineers

Sophie Zhou Novati worked as a senior engineer at Facebook and then Nextdoor, where she struggled to hire great engineers for her team. Frustrated, she decided to try training engineers to meet her team’s hiring standards by mentoring at a local coding bootcamp. After two and a half years of mentoring on nights and weekends, […]

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Facebook tests Hotline, a Q&A product that’s a mashup of Clubhouse and Instagram Live

Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, has today launched its latest experiment, Hotline, into public beta testing. The web-based application could be described as a mashup of Instagram Live and Clubhouse, as it allows creators to speak to an audience who can then ask questions through either text or audio. However, unlike Clubhouse, creators can […]

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Facebook’s tardy disclosure of breach timing raises GDPR compliance questions

The question of whether Facebook will face any regulatory sanction over the latest massive historical platform privacy fail to come to light remains unclear. But the timeline of the incident looks increasingly awkward for the tech giant. While it initially sought to play down the data breach revelations published by Business Insider at the weekend by […]

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UK’s Digital Markets Unit starts work on pro-competition reforms

A new UK public body that will be tasked with helping regulate the most powerful companies in the digital sector to ensure competition thrives online and consumers of digital services have more choice and control over their data has launched today. The Digital Markets Unit (DMU), which was announced in November last year — following […]

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Daily Crunch: Facebook faces questions over data breach

European regulators have questions about a Facebook data breach, Clubhouse adds payments and a robotics company has SPAC plans. This is your Daily Crunch for April 6, 2021. The big story: Facebook faces questions over data breach A data breach involving personal data (such as email addresses and phone numbers) of more than 500 million […]

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Lawmakers press Instagram for details on its plans for kids

A group of Democratic lawmakers wrote to Mark Zuckerberg this week to press the CEO on his plans to curate a version of Instagram for children. In a hearing last month, Zuckerberg confirmed reporting by BuzzFeed that the company was exploring an age-gated version of its app designed for young users. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), […]

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Facebook confirms ‘test’ of Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments in US

Facebook confirms it’s testing a new QR code feature and payment links for use with Facebook Pay to make it easier for people in the U.S. to send or request money from one another. The QR code feature, similar to Venmo’s QR codes and others, will allow a user to scan a friend’s code with […]

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Answers being sought from Facebook over latest data breach

Facebook’s lead data protection regulator in the European Union is seeking answers from the tech giant over a major data breach reported over the weekend. The breach was reported by Business Insider on Saturday, which said personal data (including email addresses and mobile phone numbers) of more than 500 million Facebook accounts had been posted […]

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Facebook’s Kustomer buy could face EU probe after merger referral

The European Union may investigate Facebook’s $1BN acquisition of customer service platform Kustomer after concerns were referred to it under EU merger rules. A spokeswoman for the Commission confirmed it received a request to refer the proposed acquisition from Austria under Article 22 of the EU’s Merger Regulation — a mechanism which allows Member States […]

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Clarence Thomas plays a poor devil’s advocate in floating First Amendment limits for tech companies

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas flaunted a dangerous ignorance regarding matters digital in an opinion published today. In attempting to explain the legal difficulties of social media platforms, particularly those arising from Twitter’s ban of Trump, he makes an ill-informed, bordering on bizarre, argument as to why such companies may need their First Amendment rights […]

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Equity Monday: Edtech consolidation, and Amazon continues to make you like it less

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You […]

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Indian social commerce Meesho valued at $2.1 billion in new $300 million fundraise

Meesho said on Monday it has raised $300 million in a new financing round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 as the Indian social commerce startup works to become the “single ecosystem that will enable all small businesses to succeed online.” The new round — a Series E — gives the five-year-old startup a valuation […]

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UK’s antitrust watchdog takes a closer look at Facebook-Giphy

Potential threats to the free flow of GIFs continue to trouble the U.K.’s competition watchdog. Facebook’s $400 million purchase of Giphy, announced last year, is now facing an in-depth probe by the CMA after the regulator found the acquisition raises competition concerns related to digital advertising. It now has until September 15 to investigate and […]

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Facebook launches profile frames that help you encourage friends to get the COVID-19 vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more readily available to larger groups of the U.S. population, Facebook has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch new Facebook profile frames that allow users to share their support for getting vaccinated with their […]