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Facebook Unfazed by $5B FTC Settlement
July 18, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission this week announced its approval of a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, ending a long-running investigation into the company's privacy practices. The commission's 3-2 vote was along party lines. The United States Department of Justice must finalize the settlement before the matter is closed. The DoJ's action will end the investigation that began early last year.
Twitter Tweaks Desktop Design
July 17, 2019
Twitter has unveiled a fresh new look for its desktop website that mimics the look and feel of its mobile platforms. The company has been testing a new version of its desktop website since the beginning of the year. The most noticeable change is the organization and layout of the Twitter home screen itself. The upgraded design simplifies navigation with a new and larger left-hand sidebar.
Mnuchin Sounds Alarm Over Facebook's Money-Minting Plan
July 17, 2019
The Treasury Department has "very serious concerns" about Facebook's new Libra cryptocurrency, according to Secretary Steve Mnuchin. "Libra could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity, like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking."
Social Media, Crafters, Gamers and the Online Censorship Debate
July 12, 2019
Ravelry, an online knitting community that has more than 8 million members, last month announced that it would ban forum posts, projects, patterns and even profiles from users who supported President Trump or his administration. "We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy," the administrators of Ravelry posted on the site.
The Router's Obstacle-Strewn Route to Home IoT Security
July 10, 2019
It is newly minted conventional wisdom that not a single information security conference goes by without a presentation about the abysmal state of IoT security. While this is a boon for researchers looking to make a name for themselves, this sorry state of affairs is definitely not beneficial for anyone who owns a connected device. IoT device owners aren't the only ones fed up, though.
The Growing Menace of Weaponized Deepfakes
June 27, 2019
The U.S. House Intelligence Committee recently heard expert testimony on the growing threat posed by "deepfakes" -- altered videos and other AI-generated false information -- and what it could mean for the 2020 general elections, as well as the country's national security overall. The technologies collectively known as "deepfakes" can be used to manipulate and falsify images and videos.
LinkedIn Tweaks Its Algorithms to Skew Feeds to User Interests
June 26, 2019
LinkedIn has disclosed algorithm changes designed to favor conversations catering to niche professional interests. The criteria for posts showing up in members' feeds can be summed up as "people you know, talking about things you care about," said LinkedIn Senior Director of Product Management Pete Davies. LinkedIn tested 100 variations of its feed models through online A/B testing last year.
Next-Gen Raspberry Pi 4 Packs Power Plus Potential
June 25, 2019
The next big Raspberry Pi thing is now here, with lots more computing power and more options. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the availability of Raspberry Pi 4, a comprehensive upgrade that touches nearly every element of the computing platform. Users have a choice of three memory capacities. The entry-level 1 GB RAM retains the signature $35 price; 2 GB costs $45; 4 GB sells for $55.
Proposed Law Would Force Big Tech to Reveal Value of Consumer Data
June 25, 2019
A Democrat and a Republican have filed a U.S. Senate bill to require companies to report to financial regulators and to the public what consumer data they collect and how they leverage it for profit. "When a big tech company says its product is free, consumers are the ones being sold," said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. "These 'free' products track everything we do."
What Shifting Data Use Means for Pay-TV and Video Services
June 21, 2019
For many, Netflix was the first wake-up call that a new-generation of online or technology companies could have a significant impact on pay-TV businesses. Over a 10-year period, Netflix grew from a U.S.-only DVD-by-mail service to a force in the international video entertainment industry. Netflix operates in 190-plus countries, and it has approximately 149 million subscribers.
Firefox Users Warned to Patch Critical Flaw
June 20, 2019
Firefox users should update their browsers immediately to fix a critical zero-day vulnerability. Anyone using Firefox on a Windows, macOS or Linux desktop is at risk. Mozilla issued a patch Tuesday, but the vulnerability was discovered by Samuel Groß of Google Project Zero on April 15. Mozilla's fix came after Coinbase reported exploitation of the vulnerability for targeted spearphishing attacks.
In Zuck We Trust: Facebook to Launch Own Cryptocurrency
June 19, 2019
Facebook's plans to mint its own digital coin will test the company's consumer credibility. After being savaged for months for its cavalier attitude toward users' privacy, the social network will be asking those same users to trust its new cryptocurrency. The currency, called "Libra," will be stashed in a digital wallet, the first product of new Facebook financial services subsidiary Calibra.
Instagram Targets Account Hijacking
June 18, 2019
Account hijacking has become a nettlesome problem at Instagram so it has decided to do something about it. The social media company has begun testing a simpler method for users to reclaim their compromised accounts. It allows users locked out of their hacked accounts to ask for a six-digit code to be sent to the email address or phone number originally used to open the account.
Winners, Losers and No Shows at E3 2019
June 13, 2019
E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, was in full swing in Los Angeles this week. The annual trade show for the video game industry was not without a few surprises, a few disappointments and as usual a few companies that opted to forego the whole thing. Sony was among the companies that chose to skip the event, while rival Microsoft was present only via its annual press conference.
Internet's Crowds Stunting Its Growth: Trends Report
June 13, 2019
More than half the world's population -- 3.8 billion people -- have access to the Internet and that may not be a good thing for business, according to digital savant Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2019 report. Global Internet user growth has slowed to 6 percent year over year, down from 7 percent, noted the Bond Capital general partner. The Asia-Pacific region leads in both users and potential.
News Industry Ad Study Knocked as 'Tripe'
June 12, 2019
A study that estimates Google last year raked in $4.7 billion from news content has drawn widespread criticism. That $4.7 billion is a conservative estimate, according to the News Media Alliance, the trade group that released the study. That's because the estimate doesn't take into account Google's advertising revenue from publishers and data collected from news content.
Fraud Siphons Billions of Ad Cash Into Digital Hole
June 11, 2019
Fraudsters have been stealing online advertisers blind -- to the tune of $23 billion, based on a report from Cheq. Indirect economic and social costs might increase the total to $30 billion. Marketers have been wasting billions of dollars on digital ads that never reach buyers' eyes. Up to 30 percent of ads are impacted by fraud that affects 21 trillion online ads each year.
For Brands the Future Is Facebook
June 7, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg recently said that the future of Facebook is private. Interestingly, connecting the dots between all the announcements made at Facebook's 2019 developers conference draws a bright picture of what the future looks like for brands, small e-commerce stores, and new businesses using the Facebook family of apps. It includes a whole new world of opportunities.
Dodging Facebook's 'Like' Trap for Small Businesses
June 7, 2019
Despite complaints about user privacy and the sharing of personal data, Facebook remains the de facto social media powerhouse. It may have started out as a place to connect with friends, but with 2.23 billion users worldwide it isn't hard to see why it matters to marketers. For the past decade Facebook has been a proven way for small businesses to connect with customers -- at least in theory.
YouTube Punishes Homophobic, Racist Pundit Following Internet Furor
June 6, 2019
YouTube on Wednesday demonetized the account of right-wing commentator Steven Crowder following widespread indignation over its initial response to his attacks on Vox host Carlos Maza. Crowder for years has attacked Maza, host of Vox's Strikethrough series. Crowder's homophobic and racist comments often spurred mass social media attacks and other abuse against Maza.
New Antitrust Probe Tightens Screws on Big Tech
June 5, 2019
The U.S. House of Representatives Antitrust Subcommittee has opened an investigation into competition in digital markets, increasing the pressure on big tech companies over antitrust issues. The subcommittee is part of the House Judiciary Committee. The bipartisan investigation will include a series of hearings on antitrust, commercial and administrative law about the rise of market power online.
Apple Highlights User Experience in New OS Lineup
June 5, 2019
Apple dangled the next versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS before developers' eyes during the keynote event at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. In this round of operating system upgrades, Apple seems focused on improvements. "They're polishing a number of aspects of the operating systems, " said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
The Importance of Strong Domain Security to Brand Value
June 3, 2019
Building and sustaining a brand has gotten more challenging. The global marketplace, empowered by the Internet, has delivered a raft of opportunities to businesses, but it also has opened the door for challenges. These challenges include increased competition as the result of a wider market, and increased possibilities for brand abuse. Added to that mix is the ever-present cyberthreat.
Leveraging Live Video Streaming, the Great Democratizer
June 1, 2019
When live streaming first started to roll out across multiple social media platforms, it remained pretty unclear how this new technology would interface with Internet users. More often a source for friends to include one another on events they're missing out on, frequent uses of live video streaming felt experimental in nature. What was it all about?
EU's Counterattack on Junk News May Help Protect Elections
May 22, 2019
Government efforts to minimize the effects of junk and fake news circulating on social media ahead of this week's EU parliamentary elections may have succeeded, suggest results of a study conducted by Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Project. The European Commission undertook targeted actions to counter junk news last year.
Budgeting Software Options to Keep Linux Users From Seeing Red
May 17, 2019
Budget apps for Linux are part of a software category that has been all but abandoned. But take heart. A number of Web-based solutions will more than meet your budget-tracking needs. However, do not mix the concept of open source with free. If you want an actual free budget program that works well with your flavor of Linux OS, a Web-based offering may your only option.
Spring Cleaning Your Network Security
May 7, 2019
Spring may be my favorite time of year. The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and the air smells just a little bit fresher. It's as though the world is setting an example for the rest of us, letting us know that it's time to start fresh. It's time for spring cleaning -- and in the security world, spring cleaning means more than just wiping down countertops and lighting a few scented candles.
No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services
May 3, 2019
Many consumers in recent years have opted to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch cable or satellite TV and instead rely on OTT streaming services for their viewing pleasure. Price has been one factor, but changing viewing habits has been another. As a reporter who covers pay-TV services of all varieties, I actually went the opposite direction and for some time have had both cable and satellite.
AI Raises the Bar for Home Network Security
May 2, 2019
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the hacking of their devices and data as they hear about more data breaches and have their own experiences with issues such as ransomware, identity theft and botnet attacks. Concerns about data security also have been shown to increase with ownership of more connected devices. Currently, U.S. broadband households own an average of 10.4 connected devices.
Facebook's Ad Library API Draws Fire
May 1, 2019
Facebook has come under fire for its Ad Library API, which lets users perform customized keyword searches of all active and inactive ads related to politics or issues of national importance stored there. Released in beta last summer, the archive became available to everyone in March, following pressure from Mozilla ahead of the EU's upcoming parliamentary elections.
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Which type of online advertising is most likely to attract your favorable attention?
Straightforward display ads
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Video ads
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