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    Daily Crunch: Facebook has a weak stance on political ads

    news.movim.eu / TechCrunch – 5 days ago - 16:56

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 should ban campaign ads. End the lies.

Facebook recently formalized its approach to political advertising, declaring, “We don’t believe, however, that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates.” In other words, it will allow politicians to say whatever they want in their ads, even if their claims are blatantly false.

Josh Constine proposes a different solution: If Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube don’t want to be the arbiters of truth in campaign ads, then they should stop selling them.

2. Fortnite is just a black hole right now

Fortnite just blew up its entire map and all that’s left is a black hole. Some are speculating that this is simply a teaser for a new Fortnite map, but it’s unclear when that map will arrive.

3. SoftBank reportedly preps a package to take control of WeWork parent company

SoftBank Group, the multibillion-dollar Japanese technology conglomerate and investment firm, has put together a bid that would save WeWork parent company The We Company, just weeks before the co-working real estate company’s imminent collapse, according to The Wall Street Journal .

4. Kik says it’s ‘here to stay,’ following shutdown reports

The once-mighty messaging service announced in late September that it would be shutting down its app and eliminating the vast majority of its team, following a protracted battle with the SEC. And yet the company tweeted over the weekend: “Great news: Kik is here to stay!!!!”

5. California’s Privacy Act: What you need to know now

The CCPA was signed into law in June 2018 — enshrining protections for a sub-set of U.S. citizens against their data being collected and sold without their knowledge. It will take effect on January 1, with a six-month grace period before enforcement begins. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Why each Libra member’s mutiny hurts Facebook

Visa, Stripe and eBay have all dropped out of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project. The companies have said they could still get involved later, but their exit clouds the project’s future and leaves Facebook to absorb more of the blowback.

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

Equity does something different this week, getting on the phone with an IPO expert to discuss the public market cycle, both domestically and abroad. And after taking a break for Disrupt, Original Content is back with a review of “The Politician” on Netflix.

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    Logo trop similaires : une banque en ligne attaque Facebook et sa future plateforme de crypto-monnaie

    news.movim.eu / Numerama – 5 days ago - 08:53

Lâché par plusieurs investisseurs, Facebook accuse un nouveau coup. Le réseau social est poursuivi en justice à cause du logo de la plateforme d'échange de monnaie virtuelle, Calibra. [Lire la suite]

Abonnez-vous à notre chaîne YouTube pour ne manquer aucune vidéo !

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    Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies.

    news.movim.eu / TechCrunch – 6 days ago - 23:59

Permitting falsehood in political advertising would work if we had a model democracy, but we don’t. Not only are candidates dishonest, but voters aren’t educated, and the media isn’t objective. And now, hyperlinks turn lies into donations and donations into louder lies. The checks don’t balance. What we face is a self-reinforcing disinformation dystopia.

That’s why if Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube don’t want to be the arbiters of truth in campaign ads, they should stop selling them. If they can’t be distributed safely, they shouldn’t be distributed at all.

No one wants historically untrustworthy social networks becoming the honesty police, deciding what’s factual enough to fly. But the alternative of allowing deception to run rampant is unacceptable. Until voter-elected officials can implement reasonable policies to preserve truth in campaign ads, the tech giants should go a step further and refuse to run them.

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This problem came to a head recently when Facebook formalized its policy of allowing politicians to lie in ads and refusing to send their claims to third-party fact-checkers. “We don’t believe, however, that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny” Facebook’s VP of policy Nick Clegg wrote.

The Trump campaign was already running ads with false claims about Democrats trying to repeal the Second Amendment and weeks-long scams about a “midnight deadline” for a contest to win the one-millionth MAGA hat.

Trump Ad

After the announcement, Trump’s campaign began running ads smearing potential opponent Joe Biden with widely debunked claims about his relationship with Ukraine. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter refused to remove the ad when asked by Biden.

In response to the policy, Elizabeth Warren is running ads claiming Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg endorses Trump because it’s allowing his campaign lies. She’s continued to press Facebook on the issue, asking “you can be in the disinformation-for-profit business, or you can hold yourself to some standards.”

It’s easy to imagine campaign ads escalating into an arms race of dishonesty.

Campaigns could advertise increasingly untrue and defamatory claims about each other tied to urgent calls for donations. Once all sides are complicit in the misinformation, lying loses its stigma, becomes the status quo, and ceases to have consequences. Otherwise, whichever campaign misleads more aggressively will have an edge.

“In open democracies, voters rightly believe that, as a general rule, they should be able to judge what politicians say themselves.” Facebook’s Clegg writes.

But as is emblematic of Facebook’s past mistakes, it’s putting too much idealistic faith in society. If all voters were well educated and we weren’t surrounded by hyperpartisan media from Fox News to far-left Facebook Pages, maybe this hands-off approach might work. But in reality, juicy lies spread further than boring truths, and plenty of “news” outlets are financially incentivized to share sensationalism and whatever keeps their team in power.

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Protecting the electorate should fall to legislators. But incumbents have few reasons to change the rules that got them their jobs. The FCC already has truth in advertising policies, but exempts campaign ads and a judge struck down a law mandating accuracy.

Granted, there have always been dishonest candidates, uninformed voters, and one-sided news outlets. But it’s all gotten worse. We’re in a post-truth era now where the spoils won through deceptive demagoguery are clear. Cable news and digitally native publications have turned distortion of facts into a huge business.

Most critically, targeted social network advertising combined with donation links create a perpetual misinformation machine. Politicians can target vulnerable demographics with frightening lies, then say only their financial contribution will let the candidate save them. A few clicks later and the candidate has the cash to buy more ads, amplifying more untruths and raising even more money. Without the friction of having to pick up the phone, mail a letter, or even type in a URL like TV ads request, the feedback loop is shorter and things spiral out of control.

This is why the social networks should halt sales of political campaign ads now. They’re the one set of stakeholders with flexibility and that could make a united decision. You’ll never get all the politicians and media to be honest, or the public to understand, but just a few companies could set a policy that would protect democracy from the world’s . And they could do it without having to pick sides or make questionable decisions on a case-by-case basis. Just block them all from all candidates.

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Facebook wrote in response to Biden’s request to block the Trump ads that “Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is.”

But banning campaign ads would still leave room for open political expression that’s subject to public scrutiny. Social networks should continue to let politicians say what they want to their own followers, barring calls for violence. Tech giants can offer a degree of freedom of speech, just not freedom of reach. Whoever wants to listen can, but they shouldn’t be able to jam misinformation into the feeds of the unsuspecting.

If the tech giants want to stop short of completely banning campaign ads, they could introduce a format designed to minimize misinformation. Politicians could be allowed to simply promote themselves with a set of stock messages, but without the option to make claims about themselves or their opponents.

Campaign ads aren’t a huge revenue driver for social apps, nor are they a high-margin business nowadays. The Trump and Clinton campaigns spent only a combined $81 million on 2016 election ads, a fraction of Facebook’s $27 billion in revenue that year. $284 million was spent in total on 2018 midterm election ads versus Facebook’s $55 billion in revenue last year, says Tech For Campaigns . Zuckerberg even said that Facebook will lose money selling political ads because of all the moderators it hires to weed out election interference by foreign parties.

Surely, there would be some unfortunate repercussions from blocking campaign ads. New candidates in local to national elections would lose a tool for reducing the lead of incumbents, some of which have already benefited from years of advertising. Some campaign ads might be pushed “underground” where they’re not properly labeled, though the major spenders could be kept under watch.

If the social apps can still offer free expression through candidates’ own accounts, aren’t reliant on politicians’ cash to survive, won’t police specific lies in their promos, and would rather let the government regulate the situation, then they should respectfully decline to sell campaign advertising. Following the law isn’t enough until the laws adapt. This will be an ongoing issue through the 2020 election, and leaving the floodgates open is irresponsible.

If a game is dangerous, you don’t eliminate the referee. You stop playing until you can play safe.

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    Why each Libra member’s mutiny hurts Facebook

    news.movim.eu / TechCrunch – 7 days ago - 23:07

There’s a strategic cost to the defection of Visa, Stripe, eBay, and more from the Facebook -led cryptocurrency Libra Association . They’re not just names dropping off a list. Each potentially made Libra more useful, ubiquitous, or reputable. Now they could become obstacles to the token’s launch or growth.

Fearing regulators’ inquiries not just into their Libra involvement but the rest of their businesses, these companies are pulling out at least for now. None had made precise commitments to integrating Libra into their products, and they’ve said they could still get involved later. But their exit clouds the project’s future and leaves Facebook to absorb more of the blowback.

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Here’s what each of the departing Libra Association members brought to the table and how they could spawn new challenges for the cryptocurrency:

Visa

With one of most widely-accepted payment methods, Visa could have helped make Libra universally spendable. It’s also one of the most prestigious names in finance, lending deep credibility to the project. Visa’s departure leaves Libra looking more like tech companies barging into payments, conjuring fears of their move fast, break things approach that could cause financial ruin if Libra runs into problems. It also could leave Libra with a much weaker presence in brick-and-mortar shops. No one will want to own a cryptocurrency that doesn’t appreciate in value and can’t be easily spent.

MasterCard

The involvement of MasterCard alongside Visa made Libra look like the incumbents adapting to modern technologies. This made it less threatening, and gave cryptocurrency an air of inevitability. MasterCard would have also brought an even wider network of locations where Libra could one day be used for payment. Now MasterCard and Visa might actively work against Libra to prevent their payment methods being made obsolete by Libra and its elimination of transaction fees through the blockchain. Two of Libras biggest allies could become its biggest foes.

PayPal

Facebook has repeatedly told regulators that its Calibra app plus integrations into Messenger and WhatsApp would not be the only Libra wallets, pointing to PayPal . Facebook’s head of Libra David Marcus told Congress when asked about the social network’s outsized power to exploit Libra through its own Calibra wallet that “you have companies like PayPal and others that will, of course, collaborate, but [also] compete with us”. Now Facebook won’t have a scaled payment method it doesn’t own to point to as a likely alternative for people who don’t want to trust Facebook’s Calibra, Messenger, or WhatsApp to be their Libra wallet. The Libra Association also loses PayPal’s enormous network of online merchants that accept it, plus the inroad to integration into its peer-to-peer payback app Venmo. PayPal convinced the mainstream public to trust online payments — the exact kind of trust Facebook desperately needs. The fact that Marcus was also the former president of PayPal but couldn’t keep it in the association raises concerns about the group’s coalition-building prowess.

Stripe

Stripe’s enormous popularity with ecommerce vendors made it a valuable Libra Association member. Together with PayPal, Stripe facilitates a huge portion of online transactions outside of China. Its ease of integration made it a top pick for developers Facebook surely hoped would build atop Libra. Stripe’s exit destroys a critical bridge to the fintech startup ecosystem that could have helped institutionalize Libra. Now the association will have to work on engineering payment widgets from scratch without Stripe’s assistance, which could slow adoption if it ever launches.

There’s a clear reason all these payment processors bailed. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote a letter to Visa, MasterCard, and Stripe’s CEOs this week explaining that “If you take this on, you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related activities, but on all payment activities.”

eBay

As one of the longest standing ecommerce companies, eBay bolstered beliefs that Libra could be used to power transactions between untrusted strangers without a costly middleman. It might have also put Libra into practice on one of the top western online marketplaces outside of Amazon. Without destinations like eBay onboard, average netizens will have fewer opportunities to be exposed to Libra’s potential to eliminate transaction fees.

Mercado Pago

One of the lesser-known Libra Association members, Mercado Pago helps merchants receive payments via email or in installments. The idea of connecting financially underserved populations has been core to Facebook’s pitch for why Libra should exist. The Libra Association has been light on the details of how exactly it serves this demographic, relying on the inclusion of partners like Mercado Pago to help it figure this out later. Mercado Pago’s departure leaves Libra looking more like a financial power grab rather than a tool to assist the disadvantaged.

Who’s Left?

On Monday, the remaining Libra Association members will meet to finalize the initial member list, elect a board, and create a charter to govern the project. This forced the hands of the companies above, who had their last chance to depart this week before being pulled deeper into Libra.

Facebook Currency Hearing

UNITED STATES – JULY 16: David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Calibra digital wallet service, prepares to testify during the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations” on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Who’s left includes venture capital firms, ride sharing companies, non-profits, and cryptocurrency companies. They are less tied up with the status quo of payment processing, and therefore had less to lose. The blockchain-specific companies were likely hoping to piggyback on financial giants like Visa to get Libra approved and create more legitimacy for their industry as a whole.

These partners could help fund an ecosystem of Libra developers, create daily use cases, spread the system in the developing world, and push for alliances between Libra and cryptocurrency players. Facebook will need to fight to keep them aboard if it wants to avoid Libra looking like a unilateral disruption of the economy.

For Libra to actually launch, Facebook needs to make serious concessions and divert from its initial vision. Otherwise if it continues to butt heads with regulators, more members could flee. One option floated by Libra Association member Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z Crypto partner Chris Dixon was for Libra to be denominated in US dollars instead of a basket of international currencies. That might lessen fears that Libra intends to compete directly with the dollar.

It’s become apparent that Facebook will not get its ideal cryptocurrency out the door. This is the brand tax of 100 scandals coming back to bite it. Now the best it can hope for is to get even a watered-down version launched, prove it can actually help the underbanked, and then hope to convince regulators it’s well-intentioned.

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    California’s Privacy Act: What you need to know now

    news.movim.eu / TechCrunch – 7 days ago - 17:00

This week California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, published draft guidance for enforcing the state’s landmark privacy legislation .

The draft text of the regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will undergo a public consultation period, including a number of public hearings, with submissions open until December 6 this year.

The CCPA itself will take effect in the state on January 1, with a further six months’ grace period before enforcement of the law begins.

“The proposed regulations are intended to operationalize the CCPA and provide practical guidance to consumers and businesses subject to the law,” writes the State of California’s Department of Justice in a press release announcing the draft text. “The regulations would address some of the open issues raised by the CCPA and would be subject to enforcement by the Department of Justice with remedies provided under the law.”

Translation: Here’s the extra detail we think is needed to make the law work.

The CCPA was signed into law in June 2018 — enshrining protections for a sub-set of US citizens against their data being collected and sold without their knowledge.

The law requires businesses over a certain user and/or revenue threshold to disclose what personal data they collect; the purposes they intend to use the data for; and any third parties it will be shared with; as well as requiring that they provide a discrimination-free opt-out to personal data being sold or shared.

Businesses must also comply with consumer requests for their data to be deleted.

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    Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, and eBay all quit Facebook’s Libra in one day

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica – 7 days ago - 15:40

Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, and eBay all quit Facebook’s Libra in one day

Enlarge (credit: Getty / Aurich Lawson)

Facebook's embattled Libra project suffered a major blow on Friday as four payment processors—Stripe, Visa, Mastercard, and Mercado Pago—withdrew from participation in the Libra Association, the Geneva-based group Facebook created to develop the virtual currency. eBay also announced its resignation Friday. eBay's former subsidiary, PayPal, quit the group last week.

The timing is not a coincidence. The Libra Association is scheduled to hold its first official meeting on Monday. At that meeting, members will be asked to make binding commitments to the project. So for members who weren't prepared to commit to the project, Friday was a good day to get out.

But this is an awkward development for Facebook. When the company introduced Libra earlier this year, it said it hoped to grow Libra's membership from 27 companies to more than 100 by the time the Libra network launched in 2020. Instead, the association's membership has fallen to 22 companies.

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    Nouvelles défections parmi les membres fondateurs du Libra, la cryptomonnaie de Facebook

    news.movim.eu / JournalDuGeek – 7 days ago - 06:30

En annonçant le Libra en juin , Facebook avait une grande ambition : proposer un moyen de paiement alternatif aux devises internationales, disponible pour tout le monde. Un moyen de court-circuiter les circuits traditionnels bancaires et financiers, en quelque sorte. Mais le lancement au printemps prochain parait désormais quelque peu compromis.

Naissance compromise

Le Libra s’appuie sur une association basée à Genève qui compte (jusqu’à présent) 28 entreprises considérées comme des membres fondateurs de la cryptomonnaie. Mais plusieurs d’entre eux ont commencé à avoir des doutes au fur et à mesure que les banques centrales, les régulateurs financiers et les gouvernements s’inquiétaient des conséquences possibles de cette initiative.

Après PayPal qui a annoncé son retrait le 7 octobre , c’est au tour d’eBay, de Stripe, de Visa et de Mastercard de faire leurs valises. eBay explique respecter la « vision de l’association Libra », mais l’entreprise préfère se concentrer sa propre expérience de paiement pour ses clients. Le discours est de la même teneur chez Stripe, la société précisant toutefois qu’elle reste ouverte à l’idée de travailler avec l’association à l’avenir.

La réunion inaugurale de l’association doit avoir lieu dans les prochains jours pour annoncer officiellement les membres fondateurs de la cryptomonnaie. Il y en aura moins que prévu… Plusieurs pays ont proposé d’interdire purement et simplement le Libra, dont la France et l’Allemagne. La naissance de cette nouvelle monnaie, prévue pour le printemps 2020, semble bien mal en point.

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    Cryptocurrency’s bad day continues as the SEC blocks Telegram’s $1.7 billion planned token sale

    news.movim.eu / TechCrunch – Friday, 11 October - 21:39

Cryptocurrency’s bad news day continues to get worse as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has said it has filed an emergency action and received a restraining order for the $1.7 billion planned token offering of Telegram’s blockchain.

The move from the SEC follows the continued dissolution of the corporate alliance that was supporting Facebook’s planned Libra cryptocurrency .

Telegram’s ambitious founder Pavel Durov was hoping to launch the Telegram Open Network as a payment option that would exist apart from the global regulatory system in much the same way that Libra would have done, according to initial TechCrunch reporting .

While the Telegram offering had been in the works since January 2018, it had run into problems by the middle of last year and the future of the protocol was already in jeopardy.

According to the SEC complaint, Telegram Group and its TON Issuer subsidiary began raising capital in January 2018 to finance the company’s business, including the development of the TON blockchain and Messenger .

The defendants sold 2.9 billion tokens at discounted prices to 171 initial investors, including more than 1 billion of the company’s tokens to 39 U.S. buyers.

Telegram said it would deliver the tokens to the purchasers by no later than October 31, 209 and the purchasers would be able to sell them into the market. According to the SEC complaint Telgram failed to register their offers and sales of the tokens, which the SEC considers to be securities.

“Our emergency action today is intended to prevent Telegram from flooding the U.S. markets with digital tokens that we allege were unlawfully sold,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, in a statement. “We allege that the defendants have failed to provide investors with information regarding Grams and Telegram’s business operations, financial condition, risk factors, and management that the securities laws require.”