Techmeme
December 6, 2021, 3:45 PM

Top News

The Markup:
Sources: Life360, a family safety app with 33M users, has sold users' precise location since 2016 and is one of the location data broker industry's top sources  —  The app is a major source of raw location data for a multibillion-dollar industry that buys, packages, and sells people's movements
Jon Porter / The Verge:
WhatsApp now lets users set all one-to-one chats to disappear by default after 24 hours, seven days, or 90 days  —  Its disappearing messages feature is getting an upgrade  —  WhatsApp is adding new functionality to its disappearing messages feature, which lets users set messages in a chat …
Ben Smith / New York Times:
A document from TikTok's engineering team in Beijing details the app's addictive algorithm, which pursues DAUs by optimizing for “retention” and “time spent”  —  It's the most successful video app in the world.  Our columnist has obtained an internal company document …
Emma Roth / The Verge:
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all have programs that collect additional customer data, like app usage, location, and web history, and they are generally opt-out  —  Verizon says it's to better “understand your interests”  —  The My Verizon app might be collecting information about your browsing history …
Bloomberg:
Investigation: Swiss company Mitto, which offers text message services to companies in 100+ countries, helped governments surveil phones; Mitto denies the claim  —  Mitto AG's network used to track people via mobile phones, former employees say.  —  The co-founder of a company that has been trusted …
Andrew E. Kramer / New York Times:
US investigators traced ransomware payments back to companies in the Moscow skyscraper Federation Tower East, suggesting Russia tolerates ransomware operators  —  Cybersecurity experts tracing money paid by American businesses to Russian ransomware gangs found it led to one of Moscow's most prestigious addresses.
Julian E. Barnes / New York Times:
Mark Gurman / Bloomberg:
Many customers complain that T-Mobile and Verizon are denying promised rebates for promoted Apple products  —  Some customers are finding that wireless carriers are denying rebates used to promote Apple Inc.'s newest iPhones, iPads and watches.  Plus, omicron's impact on Apple and the company loses yet another car executive.
Financial Times:
Researchers detail Meta's roadblocks, including pre-publication review and restrictive contracts, and how it stifles what might cast it in a negative light  —  Last March, Orestis Papakyriakopoulos, a researcher at Princeton University, applied to use a special data access tool that allows academics to do research on Facebook.
Ben Thompson / Stratechery:
Amazon's extensive supply chain investments, mostly focused on domestic US logistics, make it increasingly attractive to third-party merchants and customers  —  It seems like a Christmas miracle.  From CNBC: … The intended takeaway of this article — which originated as a digital special report …
Reuters:
Alibaba appoints a new CFO and will reorganize its e-commerce businesses under two new divisions, one domestic and one international  —  Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (9988.HK) said Toby Xu, will succeed Maggie Wu as the company's chief financial officer from April, a move it described as part of the company's leadership succession plan.
Benedict Evans:
Overview of macro tech trends, with a focus on Web3, the metaverse, and cloud adoption, which is just beginning as on-prem IT spend still dwarfs cloud spend  —  The most exciting themes in technology today are transformative visions for 2025 or 2030: crypto, web3, VR, metaverse... and then everything else.
Alistair Gray / Financial Times:
GroupM: global ad revenue will reach $763B in 2021, up 18.7% from 2019; Alphabet, Meta, and Amazon control 80-90% of the digital ad market outside of China  —  Alphabet, Meta and Amazon have doubled their share of ad revenues in past 5 years, industry estimates

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RT:
Emma Roth / The Verge:
Tim Copeland / The Block: