Self-driving cars and shipping containers

 The most wonderful and most terrible things about new technologies are their emergent properties. The latest example is, of course, Fake News On Facebook; who would have thought that connecting everyone via social media would lead to wildly divergent narratives of (so-called) reality? And yet here we are. But if you think social media is messy and weird … just wait until we get… Read More

Facebook’s ad targeting tools could be a valuable supplement to census data

 Official census forms are an invaluable source for demographic data throughout the country, but for trends that occur on the scale of weeks or months rather than years, they’re a bit lacking. But a new study shows that similar data used by Facebook to target ads could help fill in that blind spot. Read More

After Sandberg chat, House intel plans to release Russian-bought Facebook ads to the public

 After its Senate counterpart made clear that it had no intention of doing so, the House Intelligence Committee announced that it plans to publish the Russian-bought Facebook ads that the company provided as part of the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
The news comes on the heels of a meeting between Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and the… Read More

Facebook seriously needs its own Bitmoji

 Your Facebook profile used to be the online version of “you”. But over the past year, Bitmoji has usurped Facebook to become the preferred way to share your identity over the web. The Facebook profile assembles a collection of text and real-world photos into a fixed set of poses, making it more of a snapshot of the offline you ported into the digital realm rather than a vision of… Read More

Why Freada Kapor Klein thinks there’s a moral crisis in Silicon Valley

 Every week, it seems, brings new ethical questions about Silicon Valley. A seemingly endless rash of sexual scandals in the venture community. Twitter supposedly used by anonymous Russian trolls to rig the American election. A straight-faced Mark Zuckerberg denying Facebook has a problem with fake news. Uber banned in London and vilified everywhere else. Google guilty of… Read More

Facebook security chief rants about misguided “algorithm” backlash

 “I am seeing a ton of coverage of our recent issues driven by stereotypes of our employees and attacks against fantasy, strawman tech cos” wrote Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos on Saturday in a reeling tweetstorm. He claims journalists misunderstand the complexity of attacking fake news, deride Facebook for thinking algorithms are neutral when the company knows they… Read More

AOL Instant Messenger is shutting down after 20 years

 The pioneering chat app that taught us to text is pulling the plug. On December 15th, AOL Instant Messenger will shut down after running since 1997. AIM dominated online chat in North America at the turn of the century. But with SMS and social apps like Facebook and WhatsApp having conquered chat, AOL is giving up the fight with no planned replacement. Read More

Facebook quietly launches Mac and PC Workplace Chat apps with screen share

 TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook has stealthily launched official desktop PC and Mac chat apps with screen sharing — two features users have been begging for. Right now, they’re only available for Workplace, Facebook’s enterprise collaboration software that competes with Slack and other business apps. But users would surely enjoy if the consumer Messenger app got its… Read More