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US giants top tech industry’s $100M+ a year lobbying blitz in EU

The scale of the tech industry’s spending to influence the European Union’s tech policy agenda has been laid out in a report published today by Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl — which found hundreds of companies, groups and business associations shelling out a total of €97 million (~$115 million) annually lobbying EU institutions. The level […]

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In growing battle with TikTok, Facebook to test ‘Facebook Reels’ in the US

Reels are coming to Facebook in the U.S. The company this morning announced it will begin testing a new feature, Facebook Reels, which will give Facebook users the ability to create and share short-form video content directly within the News Feed or within Facebook Groups. The addition is an expansion of tests launched earlier this […]

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Facebook officially launches Live Audio Rooms and podcasts in the US

In April, Facebook announced a series of planned investments in new audio products, including a Clubhouse live audio competitor as well as new support for podcasts. Today, Facebook is officially rolling out these products with the launch of Live Audio Rooms in the U.S. on iOS, starting with public figures and select Facebook Groups, and […]

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosts first test of Live Audio Rooms in US

In April, Facebook announced a slew of new audio products, including its Clubhouse clone, called Live Audio Rooms, which will be available across both Facebook and Messenger. Since May, Facebook has been publicly testing the audio rooms feature in Taiwan with public figures, but today the company hosted its first public test of Live Audio […]

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Messenger adds Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments in the US

This spring, Facebook confirmed it was testing Venmo-like QR codes for person-to-person payments inside its app in the U.S. Today, the company announced those codes are now launching publicly to all U.S. users, allowing anyone to send or request money through Facebook Pay — even if they’re not Facebook friends. The QR codes work similarly […]

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EU bodies’ use of US cloud services from AWS, Microsoft being probed by bloc’s privacy chief

Europe’s lead data protection regulator has opened two investigations into EU institutions’ use of cloud services from U.S. cloud giants, Amazon and Microsoft, under so called Cloud II contracts inked earlier between European bodies, institutions and agencies and AWS and Microsoft. A separate investigation has also been opened into the European Commission’s use of Microsoft […]

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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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US privacy, consumer, competition and civil rights groups urge ban on ‘surveillance advertising’

Ahead of another big tech versus Congress “grab your popcorn” grilling session, scheduled for March 25 — when U.S. lawmakers will once again question the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter on the unlovely topic of misinformation — a coalition of organizations across the privacy, antitrust, consumer protection and civil rights spaces has called for […]

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Facebook’s EU-US data transfers face their final countdown

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has agreed to swiftly finalize a long-standing complaint against Facebook’s international data transfers which could force the tech giant to suspend data flows from the European Union to the US within in a matter of months. The complaint, which was filed in 2013 by privacy campaigner Max Schrems, relates to […]

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Facebook will turn all US political advertising off again after Georgia runoffs

Georgia is the only state in the U.S. right now where Facebook allows political ads to run, but after Tuesday’s polls close that’s set to change. According to Facebook’s site detailing changes to its ad policies and a story from Axios, the company will no longer allow political and social issue ads anywhere in the […]

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From the US to China, Korea, India and Europe, antitrust action against tech is gaining serious momentum

After decades of global expansion and consolidation in the tech sector, antitrust is now a headline issue for the industry across the world. What has been a slow and sputtering series of disparate actions over the past decade has coalesced in just the past few weeks into a rapid and comprehensive series of actions against […]

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Facebook to move UK users out of EU’s privacy jurisdiction next year, post-brexit

Facebook is to follow Google’s lead and move millions of UK users out of the jurisdiction of EU privacy laws to the US (which has no such comprehensive data protection framework) next year under a looming Brexit-related change to its T&Cs, Reuters reported yesterday. Confirming the switch, Facebook told the news agency: “Like other companies, […]

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YouTube declares war on US election misinformation… a month late

As Twitter and Facebook scrambled to institute new policies for the 2020 election, YouTube was… mostly quiet. The platform didn’t make any flashy announcements about a crackdown on election-related misinformation, nor did it really fully grapple with its massive role in distributing information during what was widely regarded as an extremely volatile time for American […]

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Facebook and Instagram notifications warn US users there’s no winner yet in presidential election

Facebook and Instagram are running notifications in their respective apps informing U.S. users that the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election has not yet been determined. In large pop-ups appearing at the top of the Facebook and Instagram News Feeds, the notification states that “Votes Are Being Counted” and directs users to other in-app […]

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Facebook won’t accept ads that ‘delegitimize’ US election results

Following a particularly dark and vivid display of the threats to the 2020 U.S. election during Tuesday’s first presidential debate, Facebook has further clarified its new rules around election-related ads. Facebook is now expanding its political advertising rules to disallow any ads that “[seek] to delegitimize the outcome of an election” including “calling a method […]

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‘The Real Facebook Oversight Board’ launches to counter Facebook’s ‘Oversight Board’

Today a group of academics, researchers and civil rights leaders go live on with ‘The Real Facebook Oversight Board’ which is designed to criticize and discuss the role of the platform in the upcoming US election. The group includes Facebook’s ex-head of election security, leaders of the #StopHateForProfit campaign and Roger McNamee, early Facebook investor. […]

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TikTok launches a US elections guide in its app

Though TikTok is in the middle of fighting off the Trump administration’s attempt to ban its app in the U.S. over data privacy concerns, the company today is launching a new feature focused on the 2020 U.S. elections. TikTok announced this morning it’s introducing an in-app guide to the elections, which offers its 100 million […]

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Facebook denies it will pull service in Europe over data transfer ban

Facebook’s head of global policy has denied the tech giant could close its service to Europeans if local regulators order it to suspend data transfers to the US following a landmark Court of Justice ruling in July that has cemented the schism between US surveillance laws and EU privacy rights. Press reports emerged this week […]

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Times Internet is growing despite influx of US tech firms in India

Times Internet said on Thursday it reaches more than 557 million active users in India each month and over 111 million users a day as several of its digital offerings demonstrated strong growth in the past year. The Indian conglomerate — which operates over three-dozen properties, including on-demand streaming services MX Player and Gaana, and […]

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Microsoft launches a deepfake detector tool ahead of US election

Microsoft has added to the slowly growing pile of technologies aimed at spotting synthetic media (aka deepfakes) with the launch of a tool for analyzing videos and still photos to generate a manipulation score. The tool, called Video Authenticator, provides what Microsoft calls “a percentage chance, or confidence score” that the media has been artificially […]

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Facebook trials expanding portability tools ahead of FTC hearing

Facebook is considering expanding the types of data its users are able to port directly to alternative platforms. In comments on portability sent to US regulators ahead of an FTC hearing on the topic next month, Facebook says it intends to expand the scope of its data portability offerings “in the coming months”. It also offers […]

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EU websites’ use of Google Analytics and Facebook Connect targeted by post-Schrems II privacy complaints

A month after Europe’s top court struck down a flagship data transfer arrangement between the EU and the US as unsafe, European privacy campaign group, noyb, has filed complaints against 101 websites with regional operators which it’s identified as still sending data to the US via Google Analytics and/or Facebook Connect integrations. Among the entities […]

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Bracing for election day, Facebook rolls out voting resources to US users

Eager to avoid a repeat of its disastrous role as a super-spreader of misinformation during the 2016 election cycle, Facebook is getting its ducks in a row. Following an announcement earlier this summer, the company is now launching a voting information hub that will centralize election resources for U.S. users and ideally inoculate at least […]

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Daily Crunch: Trump bans transactions with ByteDance and Tencent

Trump escalates his campaign against Chinese tech companies, Facebook extends work from home until the middle of 2021 and Netflix adds support for Hindi. Here’s your Daily Crunch for August 7, 2020. The big story: Trump signs orders banning US business with TikTok owner ByteDance and Tencent’s WeChat Both orders will take effect in 45 […]

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Instagram Reels launches globally in over 50 countries, including US

Instagram Reels, the company’s significant effort in challenging TikTok on short-form creative content, is launching globally, starting today. The feature is being made available across 50 countries, including the U.S., as TechCrunch had previously reported. The expansion means Reels will now be available in key international markets, such as India, Brazil, France, Germany, the U.K., […]

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Facebook will launch officially licensed music videos in the US starting this weekend

Facebook today confirmed it will begin rolling out official music videos across its platform in the U.S., as TechCrunch first reported, as well as introduce a new Music destination within Facebook Watch. The changes, which will go into effect starting this weekend, will allow Facebook users to discover, watch and share music videos from a […]

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Legal clouds gather over US cloud services, after CJEU ruling

In the wake of yesterday’s landmark ruling by Europe’s top court — striking down a flagship transatlantic data transfer framework called Privacy Shield, and cranking up the legal uncertainty around processing EU citizens’ data in the U.S. in the process — Europe’s lead data protection regulator has fired its own warning shot at the region’s […]

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Instagram confirms its TikTok rival, Reels, will launch in the US in early August

Instagram confirmed it’s preparing to soon launch its TikTok competitor, known as Reels, in the U.S. The company expects to bring the new video feature — which is designed specifically for short-form, creative content — to its platform in early August, according to a spokesperson. The U.S. launch comes shortly after Reels’ arrival in India […]

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Facebook to launch officially licensed music videos in the US next month

Facebook is preparing to launch officially licensed music videos on its social network in the U.S. next month, in a direct challenge to YouTube. In materials reviewed by TechCrunch, Facebook informed Page owners linked to artists they’ll need to toggle on a new setting to add their music videos to their page ahead of an […]

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Ban or no ban, Facebook wins in US threats against TikTok

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including the Chinese-owned company TikTok, comparing it to other Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE that have been deemed national security threats by the current administration. “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, […]