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WhatsApp adds voice and video calling to desktop app

WhatsApp is rolling out support for voice and video calling to its desktop app, the Facebook-owned messaging service said Thursday, providing relief to countless people sitting in front of computers who have had to reach for their phone every time their WhatsApp rang. For now, WhatsApp said its nearly five-year-old desktop app for Mac and […]

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Bank of America is bringing VR instruction to its banks

As consumer VR begins to have a moment following years of heavy investment from Facebook and other tech giants, corporate America is similarly beginning to find more utility in the technology, as well. Bank of America announced today that they’ll be working with Bay Area-based VR startup Strivr to bring more of their workplace training […]

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Facebook’s Oversight Board already ‘a bit frustrated’ — and it hasn’t made a call on Trump ban yet

The Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) is already feeling frustrated by the binary choices it’s expected to make as it reviews Facebook’s content moderation decisions, according to one of its members who was giving evidence to a UK House of Lords committee today which is running an enquiry into freedom of expression online.  The FOB is […]

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Facebook can save itself by becoming a B Corporation

In changing Facebook into a for-benefit corporation, Mark Zuckerberg could insulate himself against presidential rage while rehabilitating his reputation — and his company’s.

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Microsoft Azure expands its NoSQL portfolio with Managed Instances for Apache Cassandra

At its Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced the launch of Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra, its latest NoSQL database offering and a competitor to Cassandra-centric companies like Datastax. Microsoft describes the new service as a ‘semi-managed offering that will help companies bring more of their Cassandra-based workloads into its cloud. “Customers can easily take […]

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Facebook will pay $650 million to settle class action suit centered on Illinois privacy law

Facebook was ordered to pay $650 million Friday for running afoul of an Illinois law designed to protect the state’s residents from invasive privacy practices. That law, the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), is a powerful state measure that’s tripped up tech companies in recent years. The suit against Facebook was first filed in 2015, alleging […]

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Instagram launches ‘Live Rooms’ for live broadcasts with up to four creators

Instagram today announced it’s adding a much-requested feature to its app with the launch of “Live Rooms,” which allow up to four people to broadcast live together at the same time. Previously, the app only allowed users to live stream with one other person, similar to Facebook Live. The company says it hopes Live Rooms […]

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Daily Crunch: Facebook launches rap app

Facebook unveils another experimental app, Atlassian acquires a data visualization startup and Newsela becomes a unicorn. This is your Daily Crunch for February 26, 2021. The big story: Facebook launches rap app The new BARS app was created by NPE Team (Facebook’s internal R&D group), allowing rappers to select from professionally created beats, and then […]

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Facebook launches BARS, a TikTok-like app for creating and sharing raps

Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, is today launching its next experimental app, called BARS. The app makes it possible for rappers to create and share their raps using professionally created beats, and is the NPE Team’s second launch in the music space following its recent public debut of music video app Collab. While Collab […]

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Twitter’s ‘Super Follow’ creator subscription takes shots at Substack and Patreon

It’s been an all-around more ambitious year for Twitter. Following activist shareholder action last year that aimed to oust CEO Jack Dorsey, the company has been making long overdue product moves, buying up companies and aiming to push the envelope on how it can tap its network and drive new revenue streams. Things seem to […]

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New Facebook ad campaign extols the benefits of personalized ads

Online advertising can be a “pretty dry topic,” as Facebook’s head of brand marketing Andrew Stirk acknowledged, but with a new campaign of its own, the social networking giant is looking to “bring to life how personalized ads level the playing field” for small businesses. The Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found campaign will include […]

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After Facebook’s news flex, Australia passes bargaining code for platforms and publishers

A week after Facebook grabbed eyeballs globally by blocking news publishers and turning off news-sharing on its platform in Australia, the country’s parliament has approved legislation that makes it mandatory for platform giants like Facebook and Google to negotiate to remunerate local news publishers for their content, to take account of how journalism is shared […]

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Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp face tougher rules in India

India announced sweeping rules to regulate social media firms, streaming services and digital news outlets on Thursday, posing new challenges for giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Netflix that count Asia’s third-largest economy as their key overseas market. Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s IT, Law and Justice minister, said in a press conference that social […]

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Daily Crunch: Facebook brings news sharing back to Australia

The Facebook-Australia news battle seems to have reached an end, Android gets an update and Lucid Motors is going public via SPAC. This is your Daily Crunch for February 23, 2021. The big story: Facebook brings news sharing back to Australia Last week, Facebook responded to the Australian government’s proposed law requiring internet platforms to […]

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Facebook to restore news sharing in Australia after government amends proposed law

Facebook said it will begin restoring news sharing to Australian users’ feeds in “the coming days” after reaching an agreement with the country’s government. The social media giant made the drastic move of restricting news content in Australia last Wednesday after a dispute over a proposed media bargaining code that is expected to be voted […]

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Twitter explored buying India’s ShareChat and turning Moj into a global TikTok rival

Twitter recently held talks to acquire Indian social media startup ShareChat as the company explored ways to expand its presence in the world’s second-largest internet market and build a global rival to TikTok, three sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The American firm, which is already an investor in Bangalore-based ShareChat, offered to buy […]

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WhatsApp details what will happen to users who don’t agree to privacy changes

WhatsApp said earlier this week that it will allow users to review its planned privacy update at “their own pace” and will display a banner to better explain the changes in its terms. But what happens to its users who do not accept the terms by the May 15 deadline? In an email to one […]

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Will the Texas winter disaster deter further tech migration?

Austin is known for its usually mild winters. But on February 12, a winter storm hit the state — leading to over a week of freezing temperatures. This has resulted in a statewide disaster with millions of Texas residents losing power or water, or both. It’s too early to tell the exact toll this has […]

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Daily Crunch: Facebook’s Australian news ban is pretty broad

We explore the fallout of Facebook’s news ban, WhatsApp addresses privacy concerns and Perseverance lands on Mars. This is your Daily Crunch for February 18, 2021. The big story: Facebook’s Australian news ban is pretty broad Yes, this was the lead story in yesterday’s newsletter, but 24 hours later, we have a better sense of […]

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Following backlash, WhatsApp to roll out in-app banner to better explain its privacy update

Last month, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced it would delay enforcement of its new privacy terms, following a backlash from confused users which later led to a legal challenge in India and various regulatory investigations. WhatsApp users had misinterpreted the privacy updates as an indication that the app would begin sharing more data — including their private […]

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Facebook applies overly broad content block in flex against Australia’s planned news reuse law

Outrage fast-followed Facebook’s announcement yesterday that it was making good on its threat to block Australian users’ ability to share news on its platform. The tech giant’s intentionally broad-brush — call it antisocial — implementation of content restrictions took down a swathe of non-news publishers’ Facebook pages, as well as silencing news outlets’, illustrating its planned […]

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Facebook knew for years ad reach estimates were based on ‘wrong data’ but blocked fixes over revenue impact, per court filing

Some more internal emails Facebook really doesn’t want you to see: Turns out in 2017 COO Sheryl Sandberg had already known for years there were problems with a free ad planning tool the company offers to marketeers to display estimates of how many people campaigns running on its platform may reach, per newly unsealed court […]

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Daily Crunch: Facebook cuts off news-sharing in Australia

Facebook plays hardball in Australia, Epic Games expands its fight against Apple and New York’s attorney general sues Amazon. This is your Daily Crunch for February 17, 2021. The big story: Facebook cuts off news-sharing in Australia In response to a proposed law forcing internet platforms to pay news publishers directly, Facebook announced today that […]

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Facebook restricts users in Australia from sharing or viewing news links

Australian Facebook users will be forced to go elsewhere to read news after the company announced Wednesday that they will be restricting users in the country from sharing or viewing news links on the platform. The drastic move follows debate on proposed legislation from the Australian government that seeks to push internet platforms — with […]

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Reducing the spread of misinformation on social media: What would a do-over look like?

If we could teleport back in time to relaunch social media platforms with the goal of minimizing the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories from the outset … what would they look like?

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Facebook fined again in Italy for misleading users over what it does with their data

Facebook has been fined again by Italy’s competition authority — this time the penalty is €7 million (~$8.4M) — for failing to comply with an earlier order related to how it informs users about the commercial uses it makes of their data. The AGCM began investigating certain commercial practices by Facebook back in 2018, including […]

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Dixa acquires Elevio, the ‘knowledge management’ platform helping brands improve customer support

Dixa, the Danish customer support platform promising more personalised customer support, has acquired Melbourne-based “knowledge management” SaaS Elevio to bolster its product and technology offerings. The deal is said to be worth around $15 million, in a combination of cash and Dixa shares. This sees Elevio’s own VC investors exit, and Elevio’s founders and employees […]

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Imagine a better future for social media at TechCrunch Sessions: Justice

Toxic culture, deadly conspiracies and organized hate have exploded online in recent years. We’ll discuss how much responsibility social networks have in the rise of these phenomena and how to build healthy online communities that make society better, not worse at TechCrunch Sessions: Justice on March 3. Join us for a wide-ranging discussion with Rashad Robinson, […]

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LA-based Metropolis raises $41 million to upgrade parking infrastructure

Metropolis is a new Los Angeles-based startup that’s looking to compete with BMW-owned ParkMobile for a slice of the automated parking lot management market. Upgrading parking with a computer vision-based system that recognizes cars as they enter and leave garages has been Metropolis’ mission since founder and chief executive Alex Israel first formed the business […]

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Facebook Oversight Board says other social networks ‘welcome to join’ if project succeeds

The Facebook Oversight Board has only been operational for a short time, but the nascent project is already looking ahead. In a conversation hosted by the Carnegie Endowment Thursday, Oversight Board co-chair and former Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt painted a more expansive vision for the group that could go beyond making policy decisions […]