Google has announced it will ban advertisements that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) starting from June. Google announced the move as part of an update to its policy, which will also ban other risky financial products. The policy states that ads for aggregators and affiliates will no longer be able to display “cryptocurrencies and related content.”
Currently, typing in a search query of “Bitcoin” serves an ad to buy the cryptocurrency at the top of the search results page, though that will change once the new policies take hold. Google’s move mirrors one made by Facebook in January, which also banned all ads for cryptocurrency on the social network. But, Bloomberg has previously noted that Facebook…
It looks like Apple is running another “Lose Your Wallet” shopping event, encouraging users to use the company’s Apple Pay mobile payment service by offering discounts at select stores. The event previously ran in June of 2017, in San Fransisco. This time, it’s being held in Los Angeles.
Facebook has started promoting the Onavo VPN client it acquired back in 2013 directly within the Facebook app for iOS devices. A link to the Onavo VPN client is available in the Facebook app in the United States under a new “Protect” section of the Facebook navigation menu.
To get to it, tap on the hamburger menu in the right hand side of the app, and then scroll down. “Protect” features a blue icon with a shield, and when you tap on it, it links to the Onavo VPN app in the iOS App Store.
As TechCrunch points out, while Onavo offers to “keep your data safe while you browse” and let you know when you “visit potentially malicious or harmful websites,” Facebook’s real aim with Onavo is tracking user activity across multiple different apps to learn insights about how its customer base uses third-party apps.
But Facebook didn’t buy Onavo for its security protections.
Instead, Onavo’s VPN allow Facebook to monitor user activity across apps, giving Facebook a big advantage in terms of spotting new trends across the larger mobile ecosystem. For example, Facebook gets an early heads up about apps that are becoming breakout hits; it can tell which are seeing slowing user growth; it sees which apps’ new features appear to be resonating with their users, and much more.
In August of last year, The Wall Street Journal took a look at how Facebook uses Onavo to track what people do on their smartphones outside of the Facebook ecosystem. Using Onavo data, for example, Facebook was able to determine that the Instagram Stories feature was impacting Snapchat’s business well ahead of when Snap disclosed slowing user growth.
As The Wall Street Journal explains, whenever a person using Onavo opens an app or website, Onavo redirects the traffic to Facebook’s servers and logs the action in a database, allowing Facebook to draw conclusions about app usage from aggregated data.
Onavo for iOS and Android has been installed on more than 33 million devices, according to Sensor Tower, with 62 percent of those installs on Android. TechCrunch speculates that Facebook may be promoting Onavo in the iOS app to encourage more iOS users to download the app.
Facebook is clear about Onavo’s purpose, with a disclosure available on the App Store: “Onavo collects your mobile data traffic. This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps, and data. Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.”
Google’s new Home Max speaker is pretty great. It can become deafeningly loud, and includes Google Assistant. The only downside is the price – $ 400 is quite a lot for a speaker. It looks like Google is trying to sell more of them, because the company has placed a small ad for the Home Max on Chrome’s New Tab Page.
Web browsers usually get plenty of angry users when advertising shows up on the New Tab Page, and both Chrome and Firefox have tried it in the past (in Firefox’s defense, Mozilla doesn’t make billions of dollars in advertising revenue to support the browser).
Most of Facebook's recent advertising changes have tried to curb the danger of, you know, a foreign government using the social network to influence elections. But Facebook believes other kinds of harmful ads prey on less-than-savvy users with get-ri… Engadget RSS Feed
It’s an “intentionally broad” policy aimed at stopping scammers.
Facebook is banning all ads that promote cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, in an effort to prevent people from advertising what the company is calling “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”
That means no advertiser — even those that operate legal, legitimate businesses — will be able to promote things like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings — ICOs for short — or binary options, according to a Facebook blog post.
That also means that “crypto-genius” James Altucher, whose ads have appeared all over the internet and have become a meme of sorts for the entire crypto industry, won’t be able to advertise on Facebook.
Ads that violate the company’s new policy will be banned on Facebook’s core app, but also in other places where Facebook sells ads, including Instagram and its ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party apps.
“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices,” wrote Rob Leathern, one of Facebook’s ad tech directors. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”
The cryptocurrency boom/bubble has led to scams and wild price fluctuations that have cost a lot of people — including unsophisticated investors — a lot of money. Scams are illegal, but gambling on investments you don’t understand is not.
Look for blowback from entrepreneurs and investors who argue that the move unfairly punishes legitimate cryptocurrency companies and related crypto products. Facebook’s board of directors includes two investors — Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel — whose firms have been prominent crypto backers.
The Washington Post and New York Times reported on Friday that the president grew heated in immigration discussions with lawmakers when they proposed a bill that would protect immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” the news outlets reported Trump as saying.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” they also reported Trump as saying. “Take them out.”
Trump denied making the comments about Haitians.
Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!
Posters for Good People + Good Things are being passed around internally.
Morale at Uber has been at an all-time low over the past few months, with its myriad public scandals. While many employees are hopeful that the company will have a fresh start now that new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has started, a group of six staffers have taken matters into their own hands.
In an effort to spread positivity throughout the company, this handful of unnamed employees created a website called Good People + Good Things, and put up posters promoting positivity throughout the Uber’s San Francisco headquarters this morning, sources said.
According to the site, they expect to have more “fun stuff” planned throughout the year, but for now they are trying to spread the word.
The site reads:
Let’s be real, it’s been a pretty rough nine months (plus). Negativity became the rule, instead of the exception to it. And morale fell to the floor.
So, we’re trying to pick it back up. Together, we can lift each other’s spirits and make a difference in our everyday. We may be starting with a small group of six employees, but we’re mighty hopeful that the positivity of Good People + Good Things (GPGT) will spread through the company like news of new snacks.
This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking development, but it does shed a light on the need for a morale boost internally. The group also appears to be cutting at the company’s original cultural values, which included “always be hustlin’” and have created a poster with “true” values that include equality and happiness.
Last valued at $ 69 billion, the ride-hail company has seen the limits of its aggressive culture play out in public over the last few months. That started with former Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s account of the sexual harassment and sexism she encountered while working at the company. Her essay prompted an internal investigation into the company’s workplace issues that included, in part, overhauling the company’s values and increasing diversity.
Technology company IBM is leading a consortium to explore how blockchain can benefit the global food supply chain.
IBM will be joined by food companies Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, all of whom are looking to improve the safety of food via blockchain.
Tackling food safety at source
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in 10 people fall ill and 400,000 people die every year from eating contaminated food. This is, in part, due to difficulties in tracing the exact point in the supply chain at which a food became contaminated.
For example, in May of this year it took the Center for Disease Control and Prevention more than two months to identify the farm source of contamination in a recent incident of salmonella in several brands of papayas. As many as 173 people were found with symptoms across 21 states in America, and one person died.
The consortium believes that blockchain is well-suited to address these problems with traceability because it would establish a trusted environment for all transactions, whereby each participant in the global food supply chain could view the origin and state of food ingredients. Thus, contaminated foods can be spotted and prevented from traveling further, much more quickly than at present.
Using IBM’s own blockchain platform during trials in China and the US, IBM and retailer Walmart claim to have proved that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds, instead of days or weeks.
“Blockchain technology enables a new era of end-to-end transparency in the global food system – equivalent to shining a light on food ecosystem participants that will further promote responsible actions and behaviors,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety at Walmart.
“It also allows all participants to share information rapidly and with confidence across a strong trusted network. This is critical to ensuring that the global food system remains safe for all.”
Full details of IBM’s partnership will Walmart can be viewed here:
Now, the consortium hopes to find new areas where blockchain can benefit the food supply chain, all of which will feed into new technology developments at IBM.