Techmeme
January 19, 2018, 12:30 AM

Top News

Alex Heath / Cheddar:
Sources: Snap laid off about 24 people across 8 teams, mostly in the content unit that curates users' videos; some staff were asked to relocate to Los Angeles  —  Snapchat parent Snap Inc. laid off roughly two dozen people across 8 different teams on Thursday, people familiar with the matter told Cheddar.
Valentina Palladino / Ars Technica:
Twitch debuts Video Producer that lets creators pre-record, post-produce, rerun videos; brings in four of YouTube's popular gamers to create exclusive content  —  Four of YouTube's most popular gamers will produce “exclusive” Twitch content.  —  The Amazon-owned video site Twitch announced it's introducing …
Colin Lecher / The Verge:
US Senate votes 65 to 34 to reauthorize Section 702 FISA surveillance program through 2023; bill now goes to Trump to sign  —  The Senate has voted to reauthorize a controversial legal authority that enables vast government surveillance programs, including spying operations used by the NSA.
Ina Fried / Axios:
Interview with Microsoft's Brad Smith and Harry Shum on company's new book, The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its Role in Society  —  When it comes to the ethics and impact of artificial intelligence, Microsoft is literally trying to write the book.
Leslie Hook / Financial Times:
Uber's $8.8B deal with SoftBank closes; new board member Rajeev Misra says Uber should return focus to US, Europe, Latin America, Australia to become profitable  —  Uber's largest shareholder has called for the car-booking company to focus on recovering market share in the US and growing …
Bloomberg:
A behind-the-scenes look at Travis Kalanick's fall at Uber: from Susan Fowler's blog post and Waymo's lawsuit to the fight with Benchmark Capital's Bill Gurley  —  Silicon Valley CEOs are supposed to be sacrosanct.  So how did it all go wrong at Uber?  —  A year ago, before the investor lawsuits …
Michael Moritz / Financial Times:
Western tech companies will increasingly need to compete with Chinese counterparts where employees work very long hours and enjoy few perks  —  The declaration by Didi, the Chinese ride-hailing company, that delivery business Meituan's decision to launch a rival service would spark …
Lucas Shaw / Bloomberg:
Spotify partners with eight firms, including Buzzfeed, to launch Spotlight, an initiative offering news and political programming, as it vies for radio revenue  —  Eight companies will supply coverage of news, sports, culture  —  Studio head wants ‘content that can be seen and listened to’
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
WhatsApp officially launches its free Android app for businesses in the US, UK, Mexico, Italy, and Indonesia, rolling out globally in the coming weeks  —  WhatsApp today officially launched its new WhatsApp Business app in select markets, including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., ahead of its planned worldwide rollout.
Raphael Satter / Associated Press:
Researchers find hundreds of gigabytes of files online outlining Lebanon-linked effort to gain passwords and eavesdrop via bogus websites and malicious apps  —  LONDON (AP) — A major hacking operation tied to Lebanon's main intelligence agency has been exposed after careless spies left hundreds …
Juli Clover / MacRumors:
Apple says it will fix a flaw that crashes Messages app on iOS upon receipt of a malicious link in an update next week  —  A software update coming next week will fix an issue that allows a malicious link to freeze the Messages app on the iPhone and iPad, Apple confirmed to MacRumors this morning.

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Todd Bishop / GeekWire:
Mariella Moon / Engadget: