Facebook reportedly gets a $5 billion slap on the wrist from the FTC

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has reportedly agreed to end its latest probe into Facebook‘s privacy problems with a $5 billion payout.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the 3-2, party-line vote by FTC commissioners was carried by the Republican majority and will be moved to the Justice Department’s civil division to be finalized.

A $5 billion payout seems like a significant sum, but Facebook had already set aside $3 billion to cover the cost of the settlement and the company could likely make up the figure in less than a quarter of revenue (the company’s revenue for the last fiscal quarter was roughly $15 billion). Indeed, Facebook said in April that it expected to pay up to $5 billion to end the government’s probe.

The settlement will also include government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy, according to the Journal.

We have reached out to the FTC and Facebook for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

Ultimately, the partisan divide which [...]  read more

New Google Area 120 project Shoelace aims to connect people around shared interests

A new project from Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120, aims to help people find things to do and others who share your same interests. Through a new app called Shoelace — a name designed to make you think of tying things together — users can browse through a set of hand-picked activities, or add their own to a map. For example, someone who wanted to connect with fellow dog owners could start an activity for a doggie playdate at the park, then start a group chat to coordinate the details and make new friends.

The end result feels a bit like a mashup of Facebook Events with a WhatsApp group chat, perhaps. But it’s wrapped in a clean, modern design that appeals more to the millennial or Gen Z user.

Like Meetup and others in the space, Shoelace’s focus is not on building yet another social networking app, but rather on leveraging a social app to inspire real-world connections.

This is not a novel idea. In fact, startups [...]  read more

New Instagram features flag potentially offensive comments, allow you to quietly ‘restrict’ users

Instagram announced two new features today that it said are designed to combat online bullying.

In both cases, the Facebook-owned service seems to be trying to find ways to limit bad behavior without outright blocking posts or banning users.

“We can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves,” wrote Instagram head Adam Mosseri in the announcement. “Today we’re announcing one new feature in both areas. These tools are grounded in a deep understanding of how people bully each other and how they respond to bullying on Instagram, but they’re only two steps on a longer path.”

The first feature is supposed to use artificial intelligence to flag comments that “may be considered offensive.” In those cases, users are asked, “Are you sure you want to post this?” and then given the option button to “undo” their comment before it posts.

This might seem like a relatively tame response, [...]  read more

HQ Trivia lays off ~20% as it preps subscriptions

HQ Trivia is struggling after a mutiny failed to oust its CEO. Downloads per month are down 92% versus last June according to Sensor Tower. And now four sources confirm that HQ laid off staff members this week. One said about 20% of staff was let go, and another said six to seven employees were departing. That aligns with Digiday reporter Kerry Flynn’s tweet that 7 employees were let go bringing HQ to under 30 (shrinking from 35 to 28 staffers would be a 20% drop).

That will leave the company short-handed as it attempts to diversify revenue with the upcoming launch of monthly subscriptions. “HQ Words Everyday. Coming next month . . .  Bigger prizes . . . More ways to win. $9.99/mo. subscription” the company tweeted from the account for its second game, the Wheel Of Fortune-style HQ Words. The company has been trying to regain momentum with new hosts since the departure of Quiz Daddy aka Scott Rogowsky, HQ Trivia’s original host.

hq trivia app 1

The cuts hit HQ’s HR, marketing, and [...]  read more

Atlan raises $2.5M to stop enterprises from being so bad at managing data

Even as much of the world is digitizing its governance, in small towns and villages of India, data about its citizens is still being largely logged on long and thick notebooks. Have they received the subsidized cooking gas cylinders? How frequent are the power cuts in the village? If these data points exist at all, they are probably stored in big paperbacks stacked in a corner of some agency’s office.

Five years ago, two young entrepreneurs — Prukalpa Sankar and Varun Banka — set out to modernize this system. They founded SocialCops, a startup that builds tools that make it easier for government officials — and anyone else — to quickly conduct surveys and maintain digital records that could be accessed from anywhere.

The Indian government was so impressed with SocialCops’ offering that it partnered with the startup on National Data Platform, a project to connect and bring more transparency within many of the state-run initiatives; and Ujjwala Yojana, a project to deliver subsidized [...]  read more

Facebook SDK bug crashes apps like Timehop

A malfunction in Facebook’s Software Development Kit that lets apps add Login With Facebook, sharing, and other features is causing apps that integrate it like Timehop to repeatedly crash. TechCrunch received a tip that developers were getting tons of user complaints and crash reports starting around noon pacific today due to a problem with the Facebook for iOS SDK. TechCrunch’s testing verified that products like TimeHop, Joytunes’ Simply Piano, Momento GIFs, and more keep breaking when users access Facebook features or in some cases just open the app.

This is a big issue for Facebook because it relies on these apps to drive user lock-in. If people use Facebook to log into or share from other apps, they’re less likely to delete their account. But if the Facebook developer platform screws up like this morning, developers could instead highlight sharing via Twitter or SMS, and divert ad buys to other platforms. Most problematically, the bug could push developers to other login [...]  read more

How startups can make influencer marketing work on a budget

Ishveen is the CEO+Founder of OpenSponsorship.com, a marketplace she founded after her experiences being a successful sports agent, to bring transparency and affordability to the sports marketing industry, namely between brands and athletes.

Influencer Marketing has ballooned into a $25 billion industry, yet many marketing managers are left confused by this, because for them, it’s really not delivering the results to justify the hype.

Here’s the thing. Influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy such as Facebook or Adwords advertising. Each company needs to take a closer look at what influencer marketing can achieve, where it falls down, and how you can do a better job with this latest form of marketing that delivers, on average, $6.50 of value for every $1 spent.

The analysis below relies on clients and case studies from our experience at OpenSponsorship.com (my company) which is the largest marketplace connecting brands with over 5500 professional athletes for marketing campaigns.

With over 3500 deals to date across clients as big as Vitamin Shoppe and Anheuser Busch, established players like  [...]  read more

Facebook’s content oversight board plan is raising more questions than it answers

Facebook has produced a report summarizing feedback it’s taken in on its idea of establishing a content oversight board to help arbitrate on moderation decisions.

Aka the ‘supreme court of Facebook’ concept first discussed by founder Mark Zuckerberg last year, when he told Vox:

[O]ver the long term, what I’d really like to get to is an independent appeal. So maybe folks at Facebook make the first decision based on the community standards that are outlined, and then people can get a second opinion. You can imagine some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.

Facebook has since suggested the oversight board will be up and running later this [...]  read more

Daily Crunch: Reddit quarantines Trump-focused community

It’s NEWSLETTER TIME get pumped! I know I am – it’s my first Daily Crunch in over a year. That’s right, your friendly neighborhood Anthony Ha is otherwise occupied today so I’m back to deliver this baby to you, devoted readers. And there’s news: Plenty o’ News.

1. Reddit puts r/The_Donald in a corner

Reddit has long had an uncomfortable relationship with one of its communities, a subreddit called r/The_Donald which focuses on all things related to the current U.S. President (still seems like a totally crazy thing to say).

quarantined

The so-called ‘front page of the Internet’ has finally had enough – or at least, the stage before truly ‘enough.’ It’s quarantined r/The_Donald, meaning that its content won’t ooze beyond the community into the rest of Reddit’s multi-community surfaces. So you have to choose to wallow in that filth, going in eyes wide open.

2. Apple makes a key chip talent hire

Apple loves using its own chips in its products, and keeps adding more chips [...]  read more

Twitter’s underrated Lists feature finally gets some attention

Twitter Lists have never gotten the attention they deserve. A feature largely adopted by Twitter power users, lists allow you to create custom timelines by adding only those users whose tweets you want to track. And this can be done without having to also follow those Twitter accounts, which keeps your main timeline clutter-free. But the Twitter Lists feature has always been somewhat buried in Twitter’s interface — at least until now. The company today announced it’s testing a way to make lists easier to access, by relocating them only a swipe away from your home screen.

According to a tweet shared today, Twitter has been thinking about how to make lists easier to get to.

“One idea we had is for you to be able to swipe to your lists from home,” the company explained, followed by a request for feedback.

Customizable timelines that are easy to access? We’re thinking about ways to do this! One idea we had is for you to be able to swipe to your lists from home. [...]  read more