Fyre Festival meets Mr. Bone Saw

Social media influencers have been known to promote events around the world for the right price — decisions that sometimes prove to be mistakes. Bella Hadid, who’d promoted the failed Fyre Festival with a gaggle of other models who’d vacationed in the Bahamas for a video designed to help sell tickets, later apologized for her involvement. Not everyone is apologizing …

Daily Crunch: Facebook acquires a cloud gaming startup

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Facebook acquires Madrid-based cloud gaming startup PlayGiga Facebook is building out its gaming business — earlier this year, the company added its Gaming hub to the …

Subscription-based social network MeWe launches premium features and a business product

MeWe, the subscription-based social network that emphasizes privacy and bills itself as the anti-Facebook, is launching a premium tier of its service and spinning up a business-focused product to take on enterprise networking and communication tools like Slack. Founded by Mark Weinstein, a gregarious serial entrepreneur who credits himself with being an early developer of the social media concept, MeWe …

Snackpass snags $21M to let you earn friends free takeout

“We were in the back washing blenders so they could keep taking Snackpass orders” recalls co-founder and CEO Kevin Tan. The team from order-ahead food startup Snackpass was willing to get their hands dirty to keep up with demand at one of their first restaurant partners, Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the Yale college campus. Why were people so eager to pay …

Instagram to now flag potentially offensive captions, in addition to comments

Earlier this year, Instagram launched a feature that would flag potentially offensive comments before they’re posted. Now, the social media platform is expanding this preemptive flagging system to Instagram’s captions, as well. The new feature will warn users after they’ve written a caption for a feed post that Instagram’s AI detects as being similar to those that have already been …

Twitter is bringing back Election Labels to identify 2020 US election candidates

With just under a year until U.S. Election Day, Twitter is bringing back its Election Labels, which provide information about political candidates — including what office they’re running for and their state and district number. The labels will also have a small ballot box icon to accompany this information. The feature was first launched during the 2018 U.S. midterms, where …

Facebook Messenger adds Star Wars-themed features and AR effects

Star Wars has come to Facebook’s Messenger app. Facebook today announced a new set of Star Wars-themed features for Messenger users, including a chat theme, reactions, stickers, and AR effects. The features were developed in partnership with Disney to help promote the upcoming film, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which premieres nationwide on December 20. Both the stickers and …

Wotch is building a creator-friendly video platform

The team at Wotch has created a new social video platform — but wait, don’t roll your eyes quite yet. “Obviously, we’re very used to someone creating a new internet video-sharing platform,” said co-CEO Scott Willson. “It must be very irritating for everyone to hear that.” And yet Willson and his co-founder/co-CEO James Sadler have attempted it anyway, and they’re …

Twitter will now preserve JPEG quality for photo uploads on the web

Twitter is changing the way it processes uploaded images, and the new way of doing things will be much-appreciated by any photographers sharing their work on the platform. Twitter engineer Nolan O’Brien shared that the platform will now preserve JPEG encoding when they’re uploaded via Twitter on the web, instead of transcoding them, which results in a degradation in quality …

How the founder of Pocketwatch sees the future of children’s entertainment

When Chris Williams founded entertainment platform Pocketwatch in 2017, he was certain that no one had yet found the right way to work with the generation of children’s talent finding its audience on platforms like YouTube. Convinced that packaging creators under one umbrella and leveraging the expanding reach of even more media platforms could reshape the way children’s content was …

Scammers peddling Islamophobic clickbait is business as usual at Facebook

A network of scammers used a ring of established right-wing Facebook pages to stoke Islamophobia and make a quick buck in the process, a new report from the Guardian reveals. But it’s less a vast international conspiracy and more simply that Facebook is unable to police its platform to prevent even the most elementary scams — with serious consequences. The …

New tweet generator mocks venture capitalists

“Airbnb’s unit economics are quite legendary — the S-1 is going to be MOST disrupted FASTEST in the next 3 YEARS? Caps for effect.” Who Tweeted that? Initialized Capital’s Garry Tan? Homebrew’s Hunter Walk? Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham? Or perhaps one of the dozens of other venture capitalists active on Twitter . No, it was Parrot.VC, a new Twitter …

Chirp debuts a faster, feature-filled Twitter app for Apple Watch

Chirp, a Twitter client preferred by hundreds of thousands of Apple Watch users, is getting its biggest upgrade since its arrival last year. Now redesigned for watchOS 6, the new version of Chirp includes a rebuilt timeline feature that allows you to endlessly scroll through tweets much more quickly than before, along with other enhancements like support for iOS 13’s …

300M-user Imgur launches Melee, a gaming meme app

10 years after debut, 300 million monthly user Imgur is one of the last massively popular yet unpersonalized home pages on the internet. Since everyone sees the same upvoted posts when they open Imgur, it creates a shared experience full of inside jokes and running gags. But while you can switch to a feed of topics and creators your follow, …

Instagram finally launches 13+ age checkups

Instagram is done playing dumb about users’ ages. After 9 years, Instagram is finally embracing more responsibility to protect underage kids from the problems with social media. It will now ask new users to input their birthdate and bar users under 13 from joining. However, it won’t be asking existing users their age, so Instagram will turn a blind eye …

Reddit’s monthly active user base grew 30% to reach 430M in 2019

In a year-end retrospective released this morning, Reddit says its user base grew 30% this year to reach 430 million monthly active users, as of the end of October. Its users also contributed 199 million posts, 1.7 billion comments and 32 billion upvotes, the company says. Last year, Reddit reported 330 million monthly active users — bigger than Twitter. Monthly …

This browser extension unhides Instagram Likes

Instagram is hiding Like counts to make people feel better. But what if you’re curious, competitive, or just petty? Now you can re-embrace the popularity contest by installing the Socialinsider Chrome extension that reveals Instagram Like and comment counts. “The Return Of The Likes” extension overlays the numbers of Likes and comments on the top right corner of posts on …

Facebook expands its efforts against ad discrimination

Under the terms of a settlement with the ACLU and other civil rights groups earlier this year, Facebook has been taking steps to prevent discriminatory ad targeting. Specifically, the company says ads in the United States that involve housing, employment or credit can no longer be targeted based on age, gender, ZIP code or multicultural affinity. Nor can the ads use …

Facebook updates crisis response tools, adds WhatsApp integration

Facebook is expanding Crisis Response, its disaster-reporting and communications feature that’s been used in 300 crises in over 80 countries. The company today is announcing several new features, including WhatsApp integration, support for first-hand information sharing, and an expansion of its “Data for Good” tools for things like better disaster and displacement maps. Crisis Response originally grew out of a …

Daily Crunch: Facebook announces photo transfer tool

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Facebook launches a photo portability tool, starting in Ireland Facebook says it will make it easier for users to get their photos off the social network …

Twitter launches a Privacy Center to centralize its data protection efforts

Twitter today is launching a new resource that aims to serve as the central place for everything related to the company’s efforts around privacy and data protection, the Twitter Privacy Center. The new site will host information about Twitter’s initiatives, announcements, new privacy products, and other communication about security incidents. The company says it wanted to create a centralized resource …

European parliament’s NationBuilder contract under investigation by data regulator

Europe’s lead data regulator has issued its first ever sanction of an EU institution — taking enforcement action against the European parliament over its use of US-based digital campaign company, NationBuilder, to process citizens’ voter data ahead of the spring elections. NationBuilder is a veteran of the digital campaign space — indeed, we first covered the company back in 2011— …

Twitter tests new conversation features from twttr prototype, rollout planned for 2020

Twttr, the prototype app Twitter launched earlier this year, has been testing new ways to display conversations, including through the use of threaded replies and other visual cues. Now, those features have been spotted on Twitter.com, giving the service a message board-like feel where replies are connected to original tweeter and others in a thread by way of thin, gray …

Instagram founders join $30M raise for Loom work video messenger

Why are we all trapped in enterprise chat apps if we talk 6X faster than we type, and our brain processes visual info 60,000X faster than text? Thanks to Instagram, we’re not as camera-shy anymore. And everyone’s trying to remain in flow instead of being distracted by multi-tasking. That’s why now is the time for Loom. It’s an enterprise collaboration …

Inside the Instagram AI that fills Explore with fresh, juicy content

Instagram has posted an article describing the behind-the-scenes machinery that fills the Explore tab in Instagram with new, interesting stuff every time you open it. It’s a bit technical, so here are five takeaways. Even Instagram and Facebook have limited resources Unlike the feed, which some still would prefer was simply chronological, the Explore tab needs to be algorithmically driven. …