Techmeme
November 6, 2019, 6:10 PM

Top News

Washington Post:
DOJ charges two ex-Twitter employees, arresting one, with spying for Saudi Arabia by snooping on kingdom critics; one allegedly accessed 6,000 accounts in 2015  —  The Justice Department has charged two former Twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia in a case that raises concerns …
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:
Following the deaths of five people at a “party house”, Airbnb unveils new safety policies: verifying 100% of listings, a 24/7 “neighbor hotline”, and more  —  Airbnb CEO: We intend to verify 100% of listings  —  Airbnb is pushing out several new safety features …
Ben Dooley / New York Times:
Following SoftBank's first loss in 14 years, CEO Masayoshi Son says his WeWork bet was a mistake, describing it as a “harsh lesson”, and vows to move forward  —  Masayoshi Son defended the Japanese company's investment, while admitting he misjudged the American firm's founder, Adam Neumann.
Pavel Alpeyev / Bloomberg:
SoftBank reports a loss of $6.5B, its first quarterly operating loss in 14 years, and a loss of $8.9B in the Vision Fund, including a charge of $4.6B for WeWork  —  SoftBank Group Corp. reported its first quarterly operating loss in 14 years after writing down the value of some of its marquee investments …
Adi Robertson / The Verge:
Facebook says ~100 app developers might have had improper access to Groups member data even after the company announced restrictions to Groups API last year  —  At least 11 accessed data in the last two months  —  Facebook says that even after it locked down its Groups system last year …
Reuters:
Court docs: Facebook execs discussed a plan in 2012 to cut off access to user data for developers seen as future rivals while pushing a user privacy narrative  —  SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) began cutting off access to user data for app developers from 2012 to squash potential rivals …
Reuters:
Court filing demanding subpoenaed docs reveals California has been probing Facebook's disclosure of user data to Cambridge Analytica and others for 18 months  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - California is investigating Facebook Inc's disclosure of user data to Cambridge Analytica and other partners …
Lily Hay Newman / Wired:
Google debuts App Defense Alliance, a partnership with ESET, Lookout, Zimperium to catch Android malware early by streamlining and boosting data sharing efforts  —  The newly formed App Defense Alliance will try to solve a malware problem that has bedeviled the Play Store since inception.
Casey Newton / The Verge:
Twitter announces Topics, which lets users follow 300+ subjects in their timeline, rolling out from Thursday; topics include sports and gaming but not politics  —  Starting with more than 300 subjects across sports, gaming, and entertainment  —  Recently, a friend told me he wanted to spend …
Christina Farr / CNBC:
Apple and the US Department of Veterans announce that veterans can now access their health records on their iPhone via Apple's Health app  —  - The goal is to make it a lot easier for vets to access their medical information, even if they seek care from multiple providers.
Cara Lombardo / Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Xerox is considering making a cash-and-stock offer for HP, which has a market value of ~$27B and is more than three times the size of Xerox  —  Bid for HP would be at a premium to company's market value of $27 billion  —  Xerox Holdings Corp. XRX 2.05% has set its sights on a takeover …
Dan Seifert / The Verge:
Amazon Echo Studio review: loud, spacious sound with support for a wide array of streaming services, but 3D music is more of a demo and the unit is large  —  The Studio is a great-sounding smart speaker that has some silly gimmicks you can thankfully ignore
Conor Dougherty / New York Times:
Apple, Facebook, and Google have pledged a combined $4.5B to end California's housing crisis, but the money will do little to solve systemic issues  —  Efforts by Apple, Facebook and Google to address the California housing crunch must contend with the forces that created it.
Dave Gershgorn / OneZero:
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
WhatsApp begins rolling out an update that lets users block specific individuals from adding them to Groups  —  WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook, has faced a lot of controversy over the role that Groups plays on the platform — both for Groups' role in spreading spam …
Bloomberg:
NTSB: the Uber self-driving test car that killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona last year wasn't programmed to recognize and react to jaywalkers  —  - U.S. safety board releases documents on fatal 2018 accident  — Pedestrian hit, killed by experimental self-driving Uber car
Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch:
Apple has updated its privacy pages for the fourth year in a row, now includes several technical whitepapers detailing some of its technologies  —  For the fourth year in a row, Apple has updated its privacy pages.  —  Every year the tech giant's refreshes the privacy portion of its website …
Joshua Brustein / Bloomberg:
Walmart and other companies are testing a monitoring device for workplace safety made by StrongArm in warehouses, raising concerns about workplace surveillance  —  Every morning when he goes to work in the freezer room of a warehouse in eastern Pennsylvania, Jack Westley throws on a hooded sweatshirt …
Judd Legum / Popular Information:
Avaaz: false stories on Facebook had 158M views in 2019, greater than before the 2016 election, with 86M views in the last 3 months, up 3x over the prior 3  —  An explosive new study reveals that political misinformation is running rampant on Facebook as the 2020 election approaches.
Mark Seal / Vanity Fair:
Inside the Big Bitcoin Heist, in which thieves stole 550 Bitcoin mining computers, worth $500K for hardware alone, from a cryptocurrency data center in Iceland  —  With its cheap geothermal energy and low crime rate, Iceland has become the world's leading miner of digital currency.
Mike Minotti / VentureBeat:
Fans at Blizzard's BlizzCon had seemingly moved on from the Hong Kong controversy, with few acknowledging the Blitzchung ban save for a dozen protestors outside  —  Earlier in October, it seemed like this year's BlizzCon could be a disaster.  Blizzard Entertainment's annual fan event took place …

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