Techmeme
February 23, 2021, 10:50 PM

Top News

Selena Deckelmann / The Mozilla Blog:
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Google announces new features for Android, including a way to schedule texts and a Password Checkup tool to notify users of compromised credentials  —  Google today announced the next set of features coming to Android, including a new password checkup tool, a way to schedule your texts …
Joshua Benton / Nieman Lab:
Facebook's Australia news ban shows tech giants don't mind giving up money to appease regulators and business, but will not give up control over platforms  —  [Warning: Violent and gruesome metaphor ahead.]  —  In The Usual Suspects (1995), there's a scene in which the true extent …
Georgia Hitch / ABC:
Australia says Facebook agreed to reinstate news content in Australia in the coming days after the government promised amendments to its proposed media bill  —  Facebook will walk back its block on Australian users sharing news on its site after the government agreed to make amendments …
Stephen Warwick / iMore:
Some M1 Mac owners report a worryingly large number of writes to their Macs' SSDs, though in some cases it could be explained by faulty monitoring tools  —  “If this is accurate, some of these machines aren't going to last half a year”  —  What you need to know
Tim Copeland / Decrypt:
Bitfinex and Tether agree to an $18.5M settlement with the New York AG and will stop operating in the state following a two-year probe  —  Bitfinex and Tether have agreed to stop all trading activity in the state of New York as part of a settlement announced today by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Josh Sisco / The Information:
Sources: the DOJ is investigating if Apple's use of its “Sign in with Apple” button makes it more difficult for users to switch to a rival device maker  —  More and more iPhone apps are offering people the option of signing up by using information stored with Apple …
Sean Hollister / The Verge:
California's 2018 net neutrality law, SB 822, can go into effect after a California judge declined to grant the telecom industry a preliminary injunction  —  It survived challenges from Trump's DOJ, and now one from telecom industry too  —  Net neutrality died a horrible death in 2017 …
Emily Bary / MarketWatch:
Nikkei Asia:
Draft executive order from Biden admin orders development of a US supply chain strategy less reliant on China, focused on chips, batteries, rare-earth metals  —  Exclusive: Biden to sign presidential order to bolster chip, battery and rare-earth industries  —  WASHINGTON/TAIPEI …
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Q&A with Spotify's Daniel Ek on growing the number of creators on the service and engaging with them, podcast success metrics, Clubhouse, and more  —  Spotify hosted an event on Monday to discuss its ambitions in audio, and one message came through loud and clear: the company wants to play …
Todd Bishop / GeekWire:
Internal memo: Amazon SVP Jeff Blackburn, a close lieutenant to Jeff Bezos for more than 22 years, says he is leaving the company, after a year-long sabbatical  —  Another Jeff is moving on from his longtime Amazon executive role, filling out the picture of what has become a massive leadership transition at the tech giant.
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:
Quill, a messaging app that raised its Index Ventures-led $12.5M Series A in 2019, quietly comes out of stealth to take on Slack  —  Slack took the workplace communications landscape by storm after it launched its integration-friendly, GIF-tastic chat platform in 2013.
More: 9to5Mac
Gene Park / Washington Post:
Sony says it's developing a VR headset for the PlayStation 5 that will be much less cumbersome than its current PS VR setup, but the device won't launch in 2021  —  The PlayStation 5 will have its own virtual reality headset, however, consumers may face ongoing difficulties obtaining a PS5 console given a supply chain shortfall.
Cecilia Kang / New York Times:
FCC proposes using $3.2B in emergency funds to subsidize broadband services for low-income families with discounts worth $50/month, or $75/month on tribal lands  —  A proposal released by the acting chairwoman of the commission is an attempt to close the digital divide.
Hirsh Chitkara / Protocol:
Inside Chess.com's streaming success, with Twitch users watching 18.3M hours of chess content in January, nearly as much as they consumed throughout all of 2019  —  There's something inherently perverse in calling chess “open source.”  It's a bit like saying France “pivoted” …
Sarah E. Needleman / Wall Street Journal:
After delaying its plans, Roblox says it will go public via direct listing on March 10; in January, the company was valued at $29.5B after raising $500M+  —  Direct listing comes after videogame company delayed IPO late last year and recast financial reports in response to SEC
Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
Akamai finds a botnet using bitcoin transactions to put its control server's IP address on the blockchain, making it basically impossible to fully take down  —  Wallet transactions camouflage the IP address of the botnet's control server.  —  When hackers corral infected computers into a botnet …
More: The Akamai BlogTweets: @stillinbeta
The Information:
Source: ~40%, or 40M, of Disney+ subscribers are in the US, and Disney has said 30% are in India, so Europe and LatAm seem to make up less than a third of subs  —  Disney's flagship video-streaming service, Disney+, has quickly emerged as the only true competitor to Netflix …
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Snap says it expects 50%+ revenue growth YoY over the next several years and that Snapchat Stories has become its largest revenue stream; stock up 11%  —  On the upbeat forecast, Snap shares popped 11% for the day Tuesday, with the stock closing at an all-time high of $70.45 per share.

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Maggie Miller / The Hill:

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