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Author: Julia Carrie Wong

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‘ZuckTalks’: Facebook founder’s 2019 personal challenge is to host public discussions



Last year he focused on ‘fixing’ Facebook. Now Mark Zuckerberg plans to host talks about technology’s future in society

He built one of the world’s most valuable companies, transformed the media and information landscape across the globe, upended elections, fueled ethnic violence, and helped your mom keep in touch with her high school classmates.

Now Mark Zuckerberg is taking on a new challenge: podcasting (basically).

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Facebook contractors faced Christmas ultimatum: accept wage offer or lose jobs



Dispute between subcontracting firm and workers demanding better conditions has prompted protest inside Facebook

After 20 Facebook subcontractors demanded better working conditions, they were told to accept a counter-offer from their company by Friday afternoon – or lose their jobs.

The labor dispute has prompted internal protest by some full-time Facebook employees (FTEs), who have been sharing updates on the situation on the company’s internal version of Facebook, known as Workplace, according to posts seen by the Guardian.

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Instagram: from Facebook’s ‘best hope’ to Russian propaganda campaign tool



The app was ‘perhaps the most effective platform’ for the Russian online propaganda campaign by the Internet Research Agency

This January, as Mark Zuckerberg was embarking on his quest to “fix” Facebook, one writer proposed a bold idea: make Facebook more like Instagram, “the Facebook-owned app that isn’t destabilizing society”. Instagram was no panacea, according to the New York Times tech columnist, but the downsides of the largely visual network – making “some of its users feel ugly and unpopular” – were insignificant compared to those of a highly politicized Facebook that could “undermine democracies and promote misinformation around the world”.

The idea that Instagram was a safe harbor for social media users in a sea of propaganda and political divisiveness caught on, both among users who didn’t realize the app was owned by scandal-ridden Facebook and with the tech press. An April Bloomberg Businessweek cover story framed Instagram as “Facebook’s best hope” and “Mark Zuckerberg’s way out of the latest data scandal”.

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‘Good for the world’? Facebook emails reveal what really drives the site



Analysis: documents show internal discussions focused on exploiting developers’ hunger for user data to increase revenue

The central mythos of Facebook is that what’s good for Facebook is good for the world. More sharing, more friends and more connection will “make the world more open and connected” and “bring the world closer together”, Mark Zuckerberg has argued, even as his company has been engulfed by scandal.

But confidential emails, released Wednesday by the British Parliament, reveal the hardheaded business calculations that lurked beneath the feel-good image projected by Zuckerberg and Facebook.

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What cities offered Amazon: helipads, zoo tickets, and a street named Alexa



Now that the home for its next headquarters has been chosen, losing cities are revealing how they tried to sweeten the deal

“Philadelphia is in the Goldilocks zone for Amazon – it possesses all of the key ingredients we looked for to support our long-term growth,” said Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon and richest man in the history of the world.

At least, that’s what the city of Philadelphia was hoping Bezos would say when officials included a draft press release announcing the city’s hypothetical victory in their bid to become the site of Amazon’s second headquarters.

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Lawsuit targets secrecy agreements surrounding Google’s new campus



Google’s plan to expand their campus into a new city has echoes of Amazon’s secretive year-long second headquarters process

Officials in San Jose, California, negotiating with Google over the tech company’s plan to build a massive new campus are improperly withholding documents, a lawsuit alleged on Tuesday.

The suit argues that non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) signed by San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo and as many as 18 city staffers at the request of Google were “illegal and invalid”. It seeks to force the city to turn over documents requested under California’s public records law.

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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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