Facebook bans all crypto-currency ads

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Facebook has said it will block any advertising promoting crypto-currency products and services. The company said it was open to emerging technologies but many companies were not acting in “good faith” when extolling the virtues buying into virtual currencies. Recently, a wave of new currencies have emerged, seeking to piggyback Bitcoin’s huge increase in value. Facebook urged users to report any ads the company’s security measures missed. It admitted it would not always catch every ad for a crypto-currency. “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new…

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You can now use Alexa to send SMS messages

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Amazon announced the launching a new messaging feature for Alexa devices in the U.S. that will allow you to send texts – yes, SMS messages – to your friends and other contacts using your voice. Customers can now ask Alexa to send a message to a specific contact, and Alexa will figure out how to route it appropriately – using either the previously launched Alexa messaging system, or by sending it out as an SMS instead, if the recipient doesn’t have an Alexa device of their own. There is one big…

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Appeals court rules that Tinder’s pricing for premium service Tinder plus violates age discrimination laws

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A California appeals court has sided with Allan Candelore, a man suing Tinder over the pricing for its premium service, Tinder Plus. Specifically, Candelore and his lawyers argued that by charging $9.99 per month if a user is under 30, versus $19.99 per month if you’re 30 or older, Tinder is discriminating based on age, in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Unfair Competition Law (those are both California laws). Tinder co-founder Sean Rad defended the pricing at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference back in 2015 by saying, “Our…

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Microsoft issues emergency Windows update in a move to disable Intel’s buggy Spectre fixes

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Microsoft has issued another out-of-band security update this month, to deal with the issues around Intel’s Spectre firmware updates. Intel warned last week that its own security updates have been buggy, causing some systems to spontaneously reboot. Intel then buried a warning in its latest financial results that its buggy firmware updates could lead to “data loss or corruption.” Intel has been advising PC makers and customers to simply stop updating their firmware right now, until properly tested updates are available. Microsoft has gone a step further, and is issuing…

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How publishers will survive Facebook’s news feed change

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Facebook announced on January 11 that it would change its News Feed algorithm to prioritize posts from friends and family over public content. Say goodbye to never-ending sponsored posts from Tasty, CNN, and other brands that have embraced the platform. Time to say hello to more personal posts featuring commenting and sharing from your friends. Sounds like the original version of Facebook, no? Facebook’s News Feed change pushes hard to create a better user experience for its users by focusing on meaningful interactions between people. This is critical for its…

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Fitness app Strava exposes the location of military bases

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Strava, the popular app for tracking running, cycling and swimming, is not the most obvious go-to for exposing national secrets, but a heatmap of activity from users has been found to unearth the locations of U.S. military bases worldwide. The company’s review of 2017 showed all routes taken by its users across the world. It was released back in November 2017, but it came to the fore this weekend when Australian student Nathan Ruser noticed that trails from Strava users in certain countries made it possible to identify military from the U.S. and…

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Bank-based blockchain projects will transform the financial services industry

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At the core of Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies is the cryptographically secure digital ledger known as the blockchain. It’s a digital ledger where cryptocurrency transactions are recorded chronologically and publicly. Indeed, as the popularity of cryptocurrencies has grown, so has the banking industry’s interest in blockchain for fintech, with an increased and focused push on bank-backed blockchain projects. Some of the largest projects underway include the IBM-backed Hyperledger Fabric project, the Utility Settlement Coin, and R3’s blockchain consortium, signifying a growing acceptance in institutional policy to support blockchain growth. Currently, banks transact with each…

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People Can Now Hide Pestering ads on Google

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Google will now let people mute advertisements that encourage them to buy products from websites they have previously visited. So-called reminder ads track which products people have looked at online and then promote them across the web. Google said reminder ads were “useful” but said it wanted to give people “more control” over what they see online. Individual reminder ads will be “mutable” on websites that use Google’s services to provide adverts. Muted promotions will be replaced with other adverts. There will not be a way to opt out of…

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Tesla responds to Model 3 production issues

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Well-known are Tesla’s Model 3 EV delays, including in the company’s own earnings report and quarterly delivery numbers. A fresh report from CNBC on Thursday claimed that Model 3 production was even more delayed than it appeared, with specific continued issues around battery manufacturing. CNBC also suggested that the company is “not close” to mass-production of the batteries required for its $35,000 trim level Model 3. Tesla initially responded to the news outlet pointing them to prior comments made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and CTO JB Straubel regarding its current…

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Former Employees Confirm that Lyft Staffers Spied on Passengers

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Just like Uber’s  scandal, Lyft staffers have been abusing customer insight software to view the personal contact info and ride history of the startup’s passengers. One source that formerly worked with Lyft says that widespread access to the company’s back end let staffers “see pretty much everything including feedback, and yes, pick up and drop off coordinates.” When asked if staffers, ranging from core team members to customer service reps, abused this privilege, the source said “Hell yes. I definitely looked at my friends’ rider history and looked at what…

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