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Author: Julia Carrie Wong

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Twitter’s Jack Dorsey faces more questions as Google snubs Congress – as it happened



Facebook chief Sheryl Sandberg among those called to testify, and Alex Jones makes an appearance – but Google bosses stay home

10.48pm BST

This four-hour House hearing was incredibly long, but not particularly illuminating, except insofar as revealing the personal preoccupations of various individual congresspeople.

To recap the events of the day:

10.25pm BST

Markwayne Mullin asks Dorey if he’s conservative, liberal, socialist or what.

Dorsey says he tries to focus on the issues. He’s a registered independent, he says.

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Google snubs Senate hearings on election meddling



Facebook and Twitter executives are testifying in attempt to assure lawmakers they will protect midterm elections from foreign interference

Executives from Facebook and Twitter testified before Congress on Wednesday in their latest attempt to assure lawmakers that they are capable of protecting November’s midterm elections from foreign interference – but the loudest message may have come from Google, which was represented by an empty chair.

“The era of the wild west in social media is coming to an end,” warned Senator Mark Warner, the vice-chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, in his opening remarks on Wednesday morning. “Where we go from here now is an open question.”

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Microsoft revenue exceeds $100bn boosted by cloud services



Strong results attributed to reorganizing the company’s priorities to cloud computing and artificial intelligence

Microsoft’s revenue exceeded $100bn for the first time in fiscal year 2018, the company reported Thursday, as the legacy software company’s efforts to reinvent itself as a major player in cloud computing continued to pay off.

Microsoft stock jumped more than 4% in after-hours trading as the company beat analyst expectations with earnings for the quarter of $8.8bn, or $1.14 per share.

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Campaign volunteers hit with obscene images after sending texts



As peer-to-peer messaging becomes a popular campaign tool, volunteers face a new danger – unwanted replies

Campaign volunteers have always faced certain hazards when they go out and engage in democracy. For phone bankers, there are hang ups; for canvassers, a door slammed in the face.

But as more campaigns turn to peer-to-peer texting as an efficient and effective form of contacting voters, a new danger has arisen: unsolicited dick pics.

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Twitter announces global change to algorithm in effort to tackle harassment



The system will use behavioral signals – how users react to a tweet – to assess if an account is adding to or detracting from conversations

Twitter is announcing a global change to its ranking algorithm this week, its first step toward improving the “health” of online conversations since it launched a renewed effort to address rampant trolling, harassment and abuse in March.

“It’s shaping up to be one of the highest-impact things that we’ve done,” the chief executive, Jack Dorsey ,said of the update, which will change how tweets appear in search results or conversations. “The spirit of the thing is that we want to take the burden off the person receiving abuse or mob-like behavior.”

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Zuckerberg testimony: Facebook CEO grilled by Congress over data misuse – as it happened



Mark Zuckerberg gives testimony to Senate committees in light of revelations that Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to influence US voters

12.28am BST

Thanks for following along with our live coverage of Zuckerberg’s trip to Congress. If today’s five hours of Zuck weren’t enough for you, tune in tomorrow morning for Round Two: The House of Representatives.

In the meantime, you can read my colleague David Smith’s full report on the day here.

12.24am BST

Thune is closing things up by again bringing up concerns about conservative bias, and asks Facebook to err on the side of allowing speech.

Grassley jumps in to say that he spoke with another CEO of another platform yesterday who admitted to him that he was a liberal. Grassley is kind of rambling about media bias and partisanship.

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Apple’s Tim Cook rebukes Zuckerberg over Facebook’s business model



  • CEO criticizes monetization of customers’ personal information
  • Cook says the time for self-regulation is past

Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, issued a harsh rebuke of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s business model on Wednesday, saying that detailed profiles of individuals compiled by internet platforms should not exist.

Related: Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you | Dylan Curran

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Birth control app reported to Swedish officials after 37 unwanted pregnancies



Users of Natural Cycles, first app certified as contraceptive method in Europe, identified among people seeking abortions at hospital

A much-hyped birth control app has been reported to Swedish authorities after a hospital found 37 cases of unwanted pregnancies among women relying on the app for contraception.

Natural Cycles, a smartphone application that marries high-tech algorithms with the old-fashioned rhythm method, last year became the first app to be certified as a contraceptive method in Europe. The app requires women to input their temperature every morning, then calculates the users’ menstrual cycle and informs them when they can have sex without protection.

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New Year’s resolutions for big tech: how Silicon Valley can be better in 2018



Tech is one of the richest and most powerful industries in America – and it gets an awful lot wrong. So here’s some seasonal advice for Silicon Valley’s biggest beasts

New Year’s resolutions are crap. The entire exercise is rife with failure and self-loathing, and you, dearest, have no need to make any. You are already reading the Guardian. You are perfect exactly the way you are.

Infinitely more fun than reflecting on one’s own shortcomings is diagnosing the problems of other, richer, more powerful entities. It is in that spirit that we have created a list of New Year’s resolutions for the tech industry. Our resolution will be to continue doing our best to hold them to account, which, like the most successful resolutions, is what we were already planning to do anyway.

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Ten genuinely great things the internet gave us in 2017, featuring baby hippos



In a year filled with depressing news alerts and Trump tweetstorms, moments of sheer joy online were hard to come by – but there were a few

Unless you’re a corporation hoarding billions of dollars in offshore tax shelters, 2017 has not been a good year.

From Trump’s Twitter tantrums to the constant stream of alerts about natural disasters, the news has offered little in the way of happy distraction.

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