Apple reactivates Facebook’s employee apps after punishment for Research spying

After TechCrunch caught Facebook violating Apple’s employee-only app distribution policy to pay people for all their phone data, Apple invalidated the social network’s Enterprise Certificate as punishment. That deactivated not only this Facebook Research app VPN, but also all of Facebook’s internal iOS apps for workplace collaboration, beta testing, and even getting the company lunch or bus schedule. That threw Facebook’s …

Kleiner Perkins gets back to early-stage with its $600M 18th fund

“KP used be a small team doing hands-on company building. We’re moving away from being this institution with multiple products and really just focusing on early stage venture capital” Kleiner Perkins partner Ilya Fushman tells me. 47 years after its founding, the storied venture fund is going “back to the future” with today’s announcement of a 18th fund — a …

Net neutrality appeal: Listen live to courtroom action

Listen to oral arguments in the Mozilla v. FCC case challenging the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, from the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC. Also read: FCC’s Ajit Pai says Congress was right not to restore net neutrality https://cnet.co/2WqJhbw Subscribe to CNET: https://www.youtube.com/user/CNETTV CNET playlists: https://www.youtube.com/user/CNETTV/playlists Download the new CNET app: https://cnet.app.link/GWuXq8ExzG Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cnet Follow …

Twitter cuts off API access to follow/unfollow spam dealers

Notification spam ruins social networks, diluting the real human interaction. Desperate to gain an audience, users pay services to rapidly follow and unfollow tons of people in hopes that some will follow them back. The services can either automate this process or provide tools for users to generate this spam themselves, Earlier this month, a TechCrunch investigation found over two …

Houzz resets user passwords after data breach

Houzz, a $4 billion-valued home improvement startup that recently laid off 10 percent of its staff, has admitted a data breach. A reader contacted TechCrunch on Thursday with a copy of an email sent by the company. It doesn’t say much — such as when the breach happened, or if a hacker to blame or if it was a data exposure …

Facebook just removed a new wave of suspicious activity linked to Iran

Facebook just announced its latest round of “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” this time out of Iran. The company took down 262 Pages, 356 accounts, three Facebook groups and 162 Instagram accounts that exhibited “malicious-looking indicators” and patterns that identify it as potentially state-sponsored or otherwise deceptive and coordinated activity. As Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher noted in a press …

We’ve figured out the best Nintendo console of all time | Nope, Sorry

Giant Bomb’s Abby Russell is in the judge’s seat this week on Nope, Sorry, making rulings on the best Nintendo console of all time and which movie franchise needs to shut up already. And just in time for the polar vortex, we’ll decide which winter alpine sport is better: skiing or snowboarding. Who won CES 2019: Alexa or Google? https://youtu.be/0E97uSh5XOg …

Facebook users who quit the social network for a month feel happier

New research out of Stanford and New York University took a look at what happens when people step back from Facebook for a month. Through Facebook, the research team recruited 2,488 people who averaged an hour of Facebook use each day. After assessing their “willingness to accept” the idea of deactivating their account for a month, the study assigned eligible …

Don’t worry, this rocket-launching Chinese robo-boat is strictly for science

It seems inevitable that the high seas will eventually play host to a sort of proxy war as automated vessels clash over territory for the algae farms we’ll soon need to feed the growing population. But this rocket-launching robo-boat is a peacetime vessel concerned only with global weather patterns. The craft is what’s called an unmanned semi-submersible vehicle, or USSV, …

Pandora-powered channels will come to SiriusXM’s app this year

SiriusXM this week offered a few more details on how it plans to leverage its newest asset, Pandora, following its $3.5 billion acquisition of the streaming music service last year, which officially closes on Friday. At the time of the deal, the company spoke about the potential for cross-promotion opportunities between the services and new subscription packages. Now, those efforts …

The 3:59, Ep. 513

Good morning from CNET NY Studios while we record the daily news-bite podcast: The 3:59. Hangout while we cover a multitude of stories from around the tech world and then the CNET staff will take your questions and comments in the chat. Watch more episodes of 3:59 on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Livestream: https://livestream.com/cnet/events/59… Periscope: https://www.pscp.tv/CNET/ Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/cnet Subscribe to the audio …

Google’s Cloud Firestore NoSQL database hits general availability

Google today announced that Cloud Firestore, its serverless NoSQL document database for mobile, web and IoT apps, is now generally available. In addition, Google is also introducing a few new features and bringing the service to ten new regions. With this launch, Google is giving developers the option to run their databases in a single region. During the beta, developers …

Step targets teens and parents with a no-fees mobile bank account and Visa card

A new mobile banking startup called Step wants to help bring teenagers and other young adults into the cashless era. Today, cash is used less often, as more consumers shop online and send money to one another through payment apps like Venmo. But teenagers in particular are still heavily burdened with cash — even though they, too, want to spend …

Leaked TikTok ad deck suggests it has 17M+ MAUs in Europe

An advertising pitch deck used by fast-growing short form video sharing app TikTok has leaked, providing a snapshot of usage in its biggest markets in Europe. The pitch deck was obtained by Digiday which says it was sent to a large (unnamed) European ad agency. Metrics and gender breakdowns for the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy are included in the deck. The …

Social media should have ‘duty of care’ towards kids, UK MPs urge

Social media platforms are being urged to be far more transparent about how their services operate and to make “anonymised high-level data” available to researchers so the technology’s effects on users — and especially on children and teens — can be better understood. The calls have been made in a report by the UK parliament’s Science and Technology Committee which …

Poor smartphones sales drag LG to first quarterly loss in 2 years

We’ve written extensively about LG’s struggling mobile business, which has suffered at the hands of aggressive Chinese Android makers, and now that unit has dragged its parent company into posting its first quarterly loss for two years. The Korean electronics giant is generally in good health — it posted a $2.4 billion profit for 2018 — but its smartphone business’s …

Uber driven out of Barcelona again

Uber is suspending its professional taxi service in Barcelona from tomorrow almost a year after it re-entered the Catalan capital. The move follows the regional government agreeing new regulations for the vehicle for hire (VTC) sector aimed at making sure they do not compete directly with taxis. “The new restrictions approved by the Catalan Government leave us with no choice …

Sencrop is a data platform to help farmers manage their lands

Meet Sencrop a French startup that wants to empower farmers using sensors, a data platform and a service marketplace. The company recently raised a $10 million funding round. The Series A round was led by Bpifrance with NCI Waterstart, Nord Capital and The Yield Lab also participating. Existing investors Demeter and Breega Capital also reinvested. If you’re a farmer and …

Nintendo’s Mario Kart mobile game won’t launch until the summer

It’s been a long year for Nintendo fans waiting on Mario Kart Tour to come to mobile and, unfortunately, more patience is required after the game’s launch was moved back to this summer. Nintendo announced plans to bring the much-loved franchise to smartphones one year ago. It was originally slated to launch by the end of March 2019, but the Japanese …

Samsung posts fourth-quarter profit drop, warns of weak demand until the second half of 2019

Samsung Electronics reported its largest quarterly profit decline in two years during its earnings report today. As the Galaxy maker warned in its earnings guidance earlier this month, its results were hurt by slower-than-expected demand for semiconductors, which had bolstered its earnings in previous quarters even when smartphone sales were slow. Samsung’s forecast was also dour, at least for the …

Grab raises $200M from Thailand-based retail conglomerate Central Group

Grab’s fundraising push continues unabated after the Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm announced that it has raised $200 million from Central Group, a retail conglomerate based in Thailand. Central’s business covers restaurants, hotels and more than 30 malls in Thailand, while it has operations in markets that include Vietnam and Indonesia. Its public-listed holding companies alone are worth more than $15 billion. Singapore-based Grab …

Meet the 20 startups in this year’s GCT Startup-in-Residence program

At the end of last year, Grand Central Tech announced plans to work with the Milstein real estate family to transform a midtown Manhttan high-rise into a tech hub called Company. And startups remain an important part of the mix — in fact, Company is unveiling a list of 20 startups participating in this year’s GCT Startup-in-Residence program. What does …

Facebook plans new products as Instagram Stories hits 500M users/day

Roughly half of Instagram’s users 1 billion users now use Instagram Stories every day. That 500 million daily user count is up from 400 million in June 2018. 2 million advertiseres are now buying Stories ads across Facebook’s properties. CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Stories the last big game-changing feature from Facebook, but after concentrating on security last year, it plans …

Google+ for consumers will shut down on April 2nd

It’s no secret that Google planned to pull life support from the consumer version of Google+, its failure of a social network, in April. Until now, though, we didn’t know the exact date. That date, Google announced today, is April 2. On that date, Google will start deleting all content, including Google+ pages, photos and videos, and everything else on …

Facebook shares shoot up after strong Q4 earnings despite data breach

Facebook managed to beat Wall Street’s estimates in its Q4 earnings amidst a constant beat down in the press. Facebook hit 2.32 billion monthly users, up 2.2 perecent from 2.27 billion last quarter, speeding up its growth rate. Facebook climbed to 1.52 billion daily active users from 1.49 billion last quarter for a 2 percent growth rate that dwarfed last …

Senator Warner calls on Zuckerberg to support market research consent rules

In response to TechCrunch’s investigation of Facebook paying teens and adults to install a VPN that lets it analyze all their phone’s traffic, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) has sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg. It admonishes Facebook for not spelling out exactly what data the Facebook Research app was collecting or giving users adequate information necessary to determine if they …

The 3:59, Ep. 513

Good morning from CNET NY Studios while we record the daily news-bite podcast: The 3:59. Hangout while we cover a multitude of stories from around the tech world and then the CNET staff will take your questions and comments in the chat. Watch more episodes of 3:59 on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Livestream: https://livestream.com/cnet/events/59… Periscope: https://www.pscp.tv/CNET/ Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/cnet Subscribe to the audio …

Facebook’s VPN app puts spotlight on kids’ consent

Facebook could face fresh scrutiny in Europe following a TechCrunch report on its use of a VPN app to monitor people’s smartphone activity — including teenagers as young as 13. The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) told us it’s asked Facebook to provide more information on what data is collected via the market research program, codenamed ‘Project Atlas’, so that it can …

Rebooted startup program WeWork Labs celebrates its one-year anniversary

It’s been just about a year since the relaunch of WeWork Labs, an accelerator-type program operating under the WeWork umbrella. Since then, it’s grown to 37 locations in 22 cities. And it’s truly international, operating in 12 countries, including Brazil, China, Germany and India. These Labs offices are often — but not always — housed within a larger WeWork space, …