Odds and Ends 

Microsoft Teams gets Yammer integration, secure private channels and more

You’re forgiven if you thought Yammer — Microsoft’s proto-Slack, not quite real-time chat application — was dead. It’s actually still alive (and well) — and still serves a purpose as a slower-moving social network-like channel for company and team-wide announcements. Today, Microsoft announced that, among other updates, it will offer a Yammer integration in Teams, its Slack competitor. Yammer in Teams will live in the left-hand sidebar. With this, Microsoft’s two main enterprise communications platforms are finally growing together and will give users the option to use Teams for fast-moving…

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Facebook Axed Pro-Vaccine Ads, Let Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracies Slip Through

Facebook promised to institute a stricter policy on anti-vaccination misinformation in ads back sitewide in March. That crackdown, however, appears to be penalizing some legitimate healthcare providers while letting some anti-vaccine conspiracies slide, even as the United States faces its largest outbreak of diseases preventable by vaccines in decades. This month, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the states official health department, bought 14 ads to promote a statewide program providing free pediatric vaccinations. Facebook placed more than 10 ads stoking unfounded fear about vaccines and other medical conspiracy…

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Monopolies cost Americans $300 a month. We’re no longer the land of free markets | Thomas Philippon

In a reversal from a few decades ago, American consumers are facing oligopolies while Europeans benefit from competition When I landed in Boston in 1999, the United States was the land of free markets. Many goods and services were cheaper here than in Europe. Twenty years later, American free markets are becoming a myth. Internet service, cellphone plans, and plane tickets are now cheaper in Europe and Asia than in the US. In 2018, the twice as much on cellphone services as households in France or the UK. This is…

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Headlines 

Facebook confirms bug grants access to iPhone users’ cameras

A worrying system bug has been allowing app to access cameras as users scroll through their feed A system bug has been allowing Facebook to access iPhone cameras as users scroll through their feed, the company confirmed on Tuesday. Twitter user Joshua Maddux also noticed the glitch earlier in the month, one calling it a little worrying. Facebook confirmed the bug in the latest version of the iOS app on Tuesday. A spokesman said the issue would cause the Facebook app to navigate to the camera screen adjacent to News…

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Sri Lankans sound alarm over Facebook fake news ahead of election

Facebooks decision to allow politicians to promote content already rated false by factcheckers has been widely condemned Sri Lankan civil society groups are sounding alarms about Facebooks policies in advance of the countrys 16 November presidential election, with warnings that the companys controversial decision to allow politicians to advertise misinformation is inappropriate and incendiary to boot. Sanjana Hattotuwa, a senior researcher for the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), on 7 November published Sunday Times of Sri Lanka. Desphapriya also said he was not satisfied with Facebooks record on removing questionable…

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New Facebook features fight election lies everywhere but ads

Heaven forbid a political candidate’s Facebook account gets hacked. They might spread disinformation…like they’re already allowed to do in Facebook ads… Today Facebook made a slew of announcements designed to stop 2020 election interference. “The bottom line here is that elections have changed significantly since 2016,” and so has Facebook in response, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a call with reporters. “We’ve gone from being on our back foot to proactively going after some of the biggest threats out there.” Combined, the efforts could protect both campaigns and constituents from…

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India moves closer to regulating internet services as it fears unimaginable disruption to democracy

India said on Monday that it is moving ahead with its plan to revise existing rules to regulate intermediaries — social media apps and others that rely on users to create their content — as they are causing “unimaginable disruption” to democracy. In a legal document filed with the country’s apex Supreme Court, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said it would formulate the rules to regulate intermediaries by January 15, 2020. In the legal filing, the government department said the internet had “emerged as a potent tool to…

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Headlines 

Facebook’s ‘free speech’ claims don’t work when democracy is crumbling | Julia Carrie Wong

What do Zuckerbergs bromides about American values mean to Facebook users in Kashmir or the Philippines? When Facebook wrote to Joe Bidens campaign to say it would not back down from its decision to exempt politicians from its ban on advertising false statements, it was not Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg who signed op-ed in USA Today this week. Fundamentally we believe that, in a democracy, its better to let voters make their own decisions, not companies like Facebook. Amid all this attention, Harbaths the goes, Harbath is a Trojan…

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Mark Zuckerberg Says He Wont Antagonize Warren Anymore

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broadcast a Thursday question-and-answer session with employees where he sought to downplay the controversy over leaks from a similar session earlier this week and promised to try not to antagonize Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) anymore. On Tuesday, the Verge published Facebook said it would not abandon plans to encrypt messages sent via Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct in response to a letter from Attorney General William Barr requesting law enforcement access to messages on the companys apps. The net worth is roughly $67 billion. No one…

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Elizabeth Warren Tears Into Facebook Over Leaked Mark Zuckerberg Audio

Sen. Warrens plan to break up big tech companies during an internal Q&A session and expressed concern about the prospect. According to the Facebook post, Zuckerberg confirmed the authenticity of the audio: Even though it was meant to be internal rather than public, now that its out there, you can check it out if you're interested in seeing an unfiltered version of what I'm thinking and telling employees on a bunch of topics. At issue is a plan from the Massachusetts Democrat entailed unwinding major mergers like Amazons ownership of…

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Palmer Luckeys Defense Company Is Making Attack Drones Now

Oculus founder and fallen Facebook exec Palmer Luckey is dipping his toes into military weaponry. Luckeys new venture, Anduril Industries, just revealed that it is not just making security surveillance systems for land borders and military basesits making attack drones too. In a pair of profiles, one in NBC, the company demonstrated its new technology, a drone that can autonomously identify a target and fly at up to 200 miles per hour to knock them out of the air. The drone fits into Anduril's existing perimeter defense hardware and software…

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Mark Zuckerberg Will Do a Reluctant Second Round With Congress

hearing is set for October 23 and will examine Facebook's potential influence on financial services and housing. But with Congressional cameos from major tech CEOs as rare as they arethey generally send product leads or lawyers to represent them in questioningZucks grilling is likely to cover a range of issues, from Facebook's bad habit of buying up competitors to its supposed anti-conservative bias, a favorite pet topic of House Republicans. A Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast that Mark looks forward to testifying before the House Financial Services Committee and…

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Facebook is making its own deepfakes and offering prizes for detecting them

Image and video manipulation powered by deep learning, or so-called “deepfakes,” represent a strange and horrifying facet of a promising new field. If we’re going to crack down on these creepy creations, we’ll need to fight fire with fire; Facebook, Microsoft, and many others are banding together to help make machine learning capable of detecting deepfakes — and they want you to help. Though the phenomenon is still new, we are nevertheless in an arms race where the methods of detection vie with the methods of creation. Ever more convincing…

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Daily Crunch: Facebook will pay $5B fine

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Facebook settles with FTC: $5 billion and new privacy guarantees Although in line with what was reported before the official announcement, the FTC notes this is the largest fine for any company violating consumer privacy. In addition to the payment, Facebook has agreed to new oversight, with a board committee on privacy covering WhatsApp and Instagram,…

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