Palmer Luckey backs development of VR tool that lets HTC Vive users play Oculus exclusives

 The rift between Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey and the company he left earlier this year appears to be growing wider. Luckey is putting some of the money he made from Facebook buying his VR company to ensure that users of a different VR headset can play the exclusive titles that Facebook is funding. Read More

Instagram implements an AI system to fight mean and harassing comments

 Instagram is flipping the switch on a system that will automatically detect mean, offensive and harassing comments and make sure that people never see them. The new system is based on work that Facebook and Instagram have done with DeepText, a text classification engine meant to help machines interpret words as used in context to fight spam. As Wired first reported, the Instagram system… Read More

LiveLike will now let you watch sports with your Facebook friends in VR

 LiveLike, the service that partners with sports broadcasters to create and host their VR viewing experiences, is going social. As a refresher, LiveLike’s VR experience is a “virtual suite” overlooking the field, where you can select different camera angles, look around the suite, view pre-produced content, etc. We’ve looked at the experience before, and think it’s… Read More

Facebook improves its AI Messenger assistant ‘M’ with new wits

 Facebook M, the company’s AI-powered assistant that lives inside Messenger, was launched widely back in April giving suggestions to users based on the context of their conversations. Today, M is getting a bit smarter and more socially capable. Perhaps most notable is that the AI assistant will now proactively remind users to save pieces of content like articles, videos or FB posts to… Read More

Relevnt launches a publisher-centric news app

Relevnt Florida startup Relevnt is experimenting with a new approach to online publishing.
Founder and CEO Winder Hughes said that it’s become unrealistic to expect readers to download an app for every publication that they follow, or even to type a bunch of URLs into their mobile browser. At the same time, when publishers rely on big platforms like Facebook and Google for… Read More

Sean Parker has left Spotify’s board; Padmasree Warrior, Thomas Staggs join in lead up to IPO

 As Spotify inches its way to a public listing, the streaming music company — which now has 140 million users — has made some significant changes to its board of directors. Sean Parker, the early supporter and investor who once founded digital music service Napster and helped usher Facebook into the world, has left Spotify’s board of directors, along with Klaus Hommels,… Read More

Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

 India-focused mobile messaging service Hike landed funding from Tencent last year, and today it took a major step to emulating the Chinese firm’s WeChat app with the introduction of mobile payments.
The launch of Hike Wallet not only shows an ambition to build a messaging platform, it also means Hike has beaten WhatsApp, the chat app that dominates India, to the punch. Facebook-owned… Read More

Now is the time to apply for Startup Battlefield Africa

 We’re looking for a few good startups based in sub-Saharan Africa to participate in our inaugural Startup Battlefield Africa, and all you startup folks out there in the region aren’t going to want to miss this. TechCrunch is excited to be partnering with Facebook to bring our illustrious startup competition, the Startup Battlefield, to Nairobi, Kenya, later this year. The… Read More

Facebook rolls out the GIF button for comments to all users

 Reply threads on Facebook are about to get a lot more animated. To mark the 30th anniversary of the GIF format, all users will get the new GIF comment button that Facebook began testing three months ago. Facebook also announced that almost 13 billion GIFs were sent on Messenger over the past year, with 400 million GIFs sent just on New Year’s Day 2017. Read More