Smart News

We examine the emergence of fake news and its disruptive impact on traditional press, digital media outlets, and social media giants, as well as innovative solutions tackling misinformation and dissemination of data and news content. 

Algo-Shaming: Google, Facebook Expand Power With Crackdown on Creators Seeking Clicks

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As advertisers, influencers, and journalists feverishly maneuver for eyeballs and likes, employing an arsenal of tactics to boost their views, social media giants have taken to criticizing them for gaming the system. While it looks like moralizing on the...

Have, Have-Nots: News Group Examines Wealth Inequality Ahead of 2020 Elections

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The richest 1% have nearly doubled their share of U.S. wealth over the past five decades. Meanwhile, more than 43% of Americans are either poor or low income. In fact, the gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is...

Twitter, Facebook Clash over Political Ads, Cryptocurrency in Fight for Moral Supremacy

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The Dorsey-Zuckerberg battle for the future of social media ramped up this week, and both sides sought to claim the moral high ground. Jack Dorsey banned paid political and issue advertising from Twitter, saying taking money out of the...

TikTok Parent Denies Plans for Hong Kong IPO as U.S. Expresses Security Concerns

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ByteDance, the China-based parent of popular video music platform TikTok, has been in denial mode the past two days.  ByteDance last night denied a Financial Times story that it would launch its much-anticipated public offering on the Hong Kong...

Facebook Teams Up With Big News Organizations, Seeking to Blunt Fake News Criticism

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Key Takeaway: The Facebook News platform will give some media organizations a new revenue model and a way to grow audiences, but it also further establishes the social network as a content...

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Defends Company From Critics in Leaked Audio

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Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has had a tough couple of months.  Not only was the largest social network fined a record $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission but Facebook critic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is gaining ground in...

Vox Joins Forces With New York Media to Challenge Google, Facebook

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Combining the upstart Vox Media and New York Magazine’s owner may have been seen as an odd coupling once, but the merger may represent a new model for media companies seeking to succeed in a fast-evolving landscape. Eight-year old...

Elect-Tech: VC Funds on Left & Right Eye Political Startups as 2020 Nears

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Julie Menter used to struggle to convince voters of the growing link between technology and politics. But with a president known to tweet as many as 52 times a weekend, Menter’s job is easier.  “I would talk with donors...

Why Gen Z Doesn’t Click with Mainstream News

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Key Takeaway: Traditional news companies are failing to connect with Gen Z consumers, a report on journalism found. These organizations should look to social media platforms for successful approaches to engaging young viewers.

Instagram, Whatsapp May Be Big Fake News Threats in 2020 Election, Report Says

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The spread of fake news on U.S.-based social networks like Instagram and WhatsApp will be a bigger threat to the U.S. electoral process next year than foreign sources, an NYU report released this week predicts.  The findings of “Disinformation...

U.S. Military Aims at Fake News As Bad Guys Stay Steps Ahead

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Facebook, Google and a host of social networks are increasingly pressured to root out and stomp out fake news. Now, the U.S. military has joined the fight.   More specifically, DARPA, the Defense Department agency responsible for innovations from weather...

Deepfake Apps in Seconds — More Privacy Concerns From Video Rage

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Not long ago, digitally replacing a face in a video was possible only in a movie studio. Now, thanks to a wildly spreading new app -- and much to the alarm of privacy experts -- it can be done in seconds in...

Pinterest Burnishes Clean Image With Tool to Curb Vaccine Misinformation

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It seems impossible to go a week without another social network handling fallout from another fake news scandal. Digital pinboard Pinterest, however, is taking more steps to polish its clean image, including the launch this week of a search function to combat...

EU Antitrust Chief Promises Renewed Assault on Big Tech’s Data Use

The European Union’s competition chief has a warning for Big Tech: the heat is staying on. Margrethe Vestager said in an interview that “We are definitely not done yet” when it comes to looking at whether companies are abusing...

China’s Facial ID Leader Megvii Files for IPO Amid Hong Kong Unrest

A big player in China’s plan to dominate artificial intelligence filed to go public in Hong Kong against the backdrop of violent protests in the city, where protests are decrying encroaching Chinese control and companies have pulled or delayed IPO plans.

Facebook News Push Takes New Turn, Highlighting Importance of News, Advertising

Social networks encroaching on news organizations’ turf took another turn this week when Facebook announced its latest effort -- hiring a squad of editors to select stories.  Whether this helps the largest social network redeem itself after past gaffes...

Immigrant Social Network Homeis Raises $12M to Expand to U.S.’s Latino Communities

Moving to a new country is scary, complicated, and fraught, and immersing oneself in a strange culture adds layers of dissonance and complexity.  Homeis, a social network for immigrants, is aiming to tame that beast. On Tuesday, Homeis announced...

Twitter Backs ShareChat, Looks to Compete with Facebook in India

Twitter led the latest $100 million round in an Indian social media app ShareChat, according to a TechCrunch report over the weekend, as the social media giant looks to compete with Facebook’s WhatsApp in the Indian market. Twitter faces...

Instagram, Snopes Roll Out New Fact-Checking Features to Address Memes, Satire

Two popular platforms are increasing their efforts to combat online misinformation. Social media giant Instagram and Snopes, a 25-year-old fact-checking site, are launching additional fact-checking features. Their initiatives come as the 2020 campaign election heats up...

Racial Flaws in Facial Recognition Tools Show Up Again in ACLU Study

Another study is saying facial recognition software is proving unreliable when dealing with people of color.The American Civil Liberties Union of California recently released their study of Amazon’s Rekognition software marketed to law enforcement authorities. The software mistakenly matched the faces of...

Verizon Unloads Once-Hot Tumblr For A Song as Media Transition Falters

Verizon dumped the blogging site Tumblr this week for a massive loss, an admission by the wireless company that its ambitious media expansion plans haven’t yet met expectations. The sale to WordPress.com’s parent Automattic was reported to be for...

Move Over Facebook — Twitter Also Fumbles in Safeguarding User Privacy

Facebook isn’t the only social network to have blundered with users’ privacy.  Twitter is the latest member of the club, acknowledging a pair of gaffs this week, a few months after Facebook's $5 billion FTC fine for failing to...

Pew Study: Tech Companies See Plummeting Public Allure

Power, politics and privacy concerns appear to be eroding American’s view of big tech. Half of Americans view technology companies positively, falling steeply from the 71% who gave them a thumbs up four years ago, a Pew Research survey...

Autistic Workers Sought by Tech Giants to Meet Surging A.I. Job Demand

Microsoft, SAP, and Dell are among tech giants hiring workers with autism, as demand for those jobs is forecast to surge over the coming years. Companies have found autistic workers perform Artificial Intelligence tasks well and the employment opportunities...

Blockchain Company Will Test Word-of-Mouth Marketing Channel For Gen Z

WOM Protocol, maker of a Blockchain-based marketing technology, is employing Gen Z shopping platform Yeay to test young consumers’ preference for viral, word-of-mouth marketing over watching ads. WOM Protocol, based in Berlin, enables content makers to earn tokens through...

60+ News Orgs Commit to New Effort to Boost Coverage of Climate Crisis

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an unsettling report last year detailing a dystopic future of hunger, population displacements and extreme weather as soon as 2040, brought on by hotter planet.  Among the 50 biggest U.S. newspapers,...

Cheddar CEO, Founder Collective Invest in GDPR Compliance Startup Ethyca

Ethyca, a startup that helps companies manage customer information and comply with European privacy regulations, raised $4.2 million on Thursday, a day after the U.S. levied a historic fine on Facebook for violating consumers’ data security rights. The seed...

China Censorship Crushes Small Developers; Some Smell Opportunity

Chinese government meddling on the Web, including censorship on the mammoth WeChat social network, is boosting anxiety among game developers and smaller companies about their chances of survival. At the same time, companies in the West are sniffing opportunities to help China develop...

Expanding Voice Recognition Market Sees Influx of Apps on Alexa Growth

Startup ID R&D is unveiling the latest version of its voice biometric product, joining a host of rivals creating new apps and seeking funding as voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Voice increasingly show up in homes and offices worldwide. 

Local Papers Beware: Newspaper Giant Gannett in Merger Talks with GateHouse

Just months after Warren Buffett, once an avid investor in newspapers, dismissed the newspaper industry as “toast,” the two largest U.S. players are said to be negotiating to combine in an effort to survive. Gannett and GateHouse Media are in advanced...
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