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Author: Julia Carrie Wong

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WhatsApp urges users to update app after discovering spyware vulnerability



The spyware, developed by Israeli cyber intelligence company, used infected phone calls to take over the functions of operating systemsWhatsApp is encouraging users to update to the latest version of the app after discovering a vulnerability that allow…

My data security is better than yours: tech CEOs throw shade in privacy wars



Apple, Google and Facebook are racing to embrace the latest buzzword, and taking swipes at each other in the process

“Privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services,” declared Sundar Pichai, the chief executive officer of Google, in a New York Times op-ed this week. “Privacy must be equally available to everyone in the world.”

Pichai’s column, published in conjunction with Google’s annual developer conference, was a two-pronged public relations offensive: an attempt by the company that has been one of the chief architects and primary beneficiaries of digital surveillance to wrap itself in the mantle of privacy, while simultaneously taking a swipe at one of its competitors.

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Google worker activists accuse company of retaliation at ‘town hall’



The group published a new set of demands, which include an investigation and a public response from co-founder Larry Page

Worker activists at Google held a “town hall” on Friday where they alleged that the company regularly retaliates against employees who speak out about workplace problems and announced plans for a “company-wide day of action” on 1 May.

The meeting, livestreamed for Google employees in offices around the world, was announced after two of the organizers of the November 2018 global walkout circulated a letter internally alleging they were being punished for their activism.

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Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors



Company issues warnings over workplace environment in public disclosures filed to the SEC

When Uber filed the paperwork for its initial public offering on Thursday, the quintessential bad boy startup signaled to the world that it was ready to grow up. In a letter to potential investors, the CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, acknowledged the “greater responsibilities” the company will take on once it goes public, and promised to act with “passion, humility, and integrity”.

But references to the company’s checkered past are littered throughout the more than 300 pages of public disclosures filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest “risk factors” from Uber’s past that may come back to haunt its $100bn future:

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Facebook finally responds to New Zealand on Christchurch attack



After two weeks of criticism, Sheryl Sandberg published a letter saying the company is exploring live stream video restrictions

Two weeks after a terrorist used Facebook to broadcast live video while he massacred 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, the company has broken its silence in the country by publishing a letter from Sheryl Sandberg in the New Zealand Herald.

Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said the company is “exploring” placing restrictions on who can live stream video on Facebook, but did not announce any actual policy changes.

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‘Americans have a fascination with fraudsters’: Alex Gibney on the fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes



The Oscar-winning director presents a sympathetic portrait of the Silicon Valley CEO who fooled the world into believing she had built a better blood test

We can’t get enough of Elizabeth Holmes. The founder and CEO of Theranos once captivated the imaginations of venture capitalists and magazine profile writers with her too-good-to-be-true tale of a revolutionary blood testing technology. Three years, numerous federal investigations, and eleven felony counts later, our appetite has shifted to devouring the tale of how Holmes fooled the world. The Silicon Valley morality tale – a true crime saga with a dash of Fyre Fest-schadenfreude and the added bonus of an icy blonde with a mysteriously deep voice – has thus far inspired a best-selling book, a popular podcast, and two documentaries, with a feature film and real-life criminal trial still to come.

One of the documentaries, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, debuts Monday on HBO. The film, by Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney, presents a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of Holmes as a modern-day Thomas Edison-gone-wrong. The Wizard of Menlo Park, Gibney reminds us, was a master of “faking it until you make it” who raised money off a promise long before he figured out how to make the incandescent light bulb work. Of course, Edison eventually came through, while Holmes is facing up to 20 years in prison, and her company was forced to void tens of thousands of blood tests for patients in Arizona.

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Revealed: Facebook enables ads to target users interested in ‘vaccine controversies’



Social media platforms under pressure by US congressman to crack down on anti-vaccine propaganda, citing Guardian investigations

Facebook enables advertisers to promote content to nearly 900,000 people interested in “vaccine controversies”, the Guardian has found.

Other groups of people that advertisers can pay to reach on Facebook include those interested in “Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines”, which refers to anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny, and “informed consent”, which is language that anti-vaccine propagandists have adopted to fight vaccination laws.

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‘Overreacting to failure’: Facebook’s new Myanmar strategy baffles local activists



As Facebook tries to address its role in spreading hate speech, human rights experts criticize fresh ban of ethnic armed groups

Facebook banned four ethnic armed Myanmar-based groups from its site this week, in its latest effort to reckon with its role in the violence in that nation. But the tech giant’s decision is drawing criticism from local civil society and human rights groups who warn that the move appears ill-considered and inconsistent with international law.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced in a blogpost that it had designated four separatist groups – the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Kachin Independence Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army – as “dangerous organizations”.

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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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