Techmeme
December 17, 2019, 2:35 PM

Top News

Wall Street Journal:
Sources describe Peter Thiel's expanding influence at Facebook, where he advises Zuckerberg on White House dynamics and holding firm on the political ads policy  —  Billionaire investor thinks political-ad policy shouldn't change; some directors and executives disagree
Bret Kinsella / Voicebot.ai:
Report: Amazon had revenue of $1.4M from Alexa's in-skill purchases in the first ten months of 2019, which was well short of its target of $5.5M  —  The Information published (N.B. paywall) an article this morning saying that Amazon earned $1.4 million Alexa skill revenue through the first 10 months …
Paul Ziobro / Wall Street Journal:
Amazon blocks marketplace sellers from using FedEx Ground for Prime shipments indefinitely over FedEx's “delivery performance”  —  Amazon cites a decline in FedEx performance heading into the final holiday push  —  Amazon.com Inc. AMZN .47% is blocking its third-party sellers …
iFixit News:
Mac Pro needs little to no tooling for basic fixes and upgrades, scores a 9/10 on repairability; components are modular but some are proprietary, like SSD cards  —  Teardown of the reinvented 2019 Mac Pro, which returns to a properly repairable design that happens to not grate cheese very well.
Daniel Cooper / Engadget:
Googler says she was fired for sending pop-ups on labor rights via modified internal browser plugin; Google: she “abused privileged access” in altering the tool  —  Google stands accused of firing a fifth employee who was suspected of attempting to organize a labor union at the search giant.
The Information:
Sources: early last year, Alphabet and Google's leadership set a timeline for its cloud group to best its rivals by 2023, and considered leaving the market  —  Google's cloud unit, which sells computing services to big companies, is under pressure from top management to pass Microsoft or Amazon …
Danny Palmer / ZDNet:
WhatsApp fixes bug that allowed a rogue group member to render the app unusable, forcing a reinstall and loss of group chat content  —  Researchers detail security flaw that allowed hackers to crash WhatsApp and permanently delete contents of group chats - and urge users to update the app to protect against attacks.
Luke Jones / WinBuzzer:
Microsoft opens the Microsoft Edge Addons store for submissions ahead of Chromium-based Edge launch  —  Developers can now submit to the Microsoft Edge Addons Store, with existing Chromium extensions migrated automatically.  —  Microsoft has today announced the Microsoft Edge Addons store is now fully open.
Jon Porter / The Verge:
Lime launches LimePass, a $5/week subscription service that waves the scooter and bike unlock fees; users still pay the per-minute charge for rides  —  LimePass waves the unlock fee on your rentals  —  Lime just announced LimePass, a weekly subscription service that waves the unlock fee …
More: li.me and Engadget
Adithya Venkatraman / App Annie:
Facebook app, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram were the most downloaded apps of this decade  —  Mobile Has Been at the Heart of Major Changes in Consumer Behaviour This Decade Throughout the 2010s we have seen our world transform.  We can now rent other people's homes instead of booking a hotel …
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Instagram expands its fact checking efforts by hiding false content behind warnings, except for politicians, and removing it from Explore and hashtag pages  —  Instagram is giving politicians the same free reign to spread misinformation as its parent company Facebook.
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:

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Joe Flint / Wall Street Journal:
Karl Freund / Forbes: