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. 

Comcast Champions Media Accessibility with New Eye Control TV Feature

Comcast launched an eye control feature for its Xfinity X1 cable service that it says makes television more accessible for people with disabilities. According to Quartz, Comcast is the first American entertainment company to offer full eye control capabilities to customers.

Sale of AMI’s Tabloids Will Test National Enquirer’s Political Relevance

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. American Media Inc. (AMI), owner of the scandal-ridden National Enquirer, Globe, and the National Examiner, has put the controversial tabloids up for sale. A handful of potential buyers have been mentioned,...

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...

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...

Cailu Raises $10M to Attack Fake News Problem, Shape Future Media

Singapore’s GBCI Ventures led a $10 million investment in Cailu, a Chinese news platform that seeks to use Blockchain and token payments to promote accurate news and ferret out fake stories. GBCI, which bills itself as a smart-city venture fund, led the...

Streamroot’s Tech Aims to Improve “Viewing Experience”, Reach Wider Audiences

Delays and interruptions in the delivery of content  mean the loss of viewers, which can deeply hurt the financial performance of media companies. But Streamroot believes that its video-delivery systems can eliminate these problems and improve streaming quality...

Sarah Brandt: NewsGuard “had the idea that the best way to solve a journalistic problem was by using journalism”

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. The manipulation of personal data and proliferation of ‘fake news’ during the 2016 U.S. election cycle have led to serious damage to the reputations of some of technology’s biggest names, particularly...

Big 4 Networks Sue AT&T-Backed Nonprofit Locast Over Free Web TV

A nonprofit backed by AT&T and Dish that claims to “Free Your TV” by offering free streams of broadcast networks’ local programs, was hit with a lawsuit this week in what may be a test of its ability to bypass networks’ traditional...

Trevor Butterworth: “People have become increasingly aware that the entire technology world is problematic.”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. The tech industry has long maintained that the protection of personal data should be self-regulated and that a macro regulatory approach like the European Union’s General Data...

Zuck Getting Schooled by Deepfake Video Shows New Social Media Concerns

Facebook’s response to fake videos has been tested again, this time with a 20-second AI-generated video of Mark Zuckerberg published on Instagram over the weekend. The social network has again decided to leave it up for the public while flagging as doctored.

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. 

Great Hill Swallows The Onion and Gizmodo as Univision Returns to Roots

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Univision Communications Inc., America’s largest provider of Spanish-language content, has abandoned its plans to expand into English-language markets. On Monday, the New York-based firm sold the Gizmodo Media Group and satirical website The...

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...

Onfido Raises $50 Million in Latest Funding Round

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Identity verification provider Onfido raised $50 million in late-stage funding from several high-profile venture capital firms, underscoring the strong demand for cybersecurity products and services, including new ways to conduct background...

Sizmek, Once an Ad Tech High Flier, Bellyflops into Chapter 11

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. In a twist of that old saying, “You can’t fight City Hall,” ad tech pioneer Sizmek announced that its efforts to compete with Google’s DoubleClick platform have drained it of cash...

Intel Backs AI Startup SambaNova in $150M Funding Round

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Intel Capital led a $150 million Series B funding round for SambaNova Systems, adding its name to the list of big-league backers of the startup building a systems platform for the...

Medium Still Searching To Fix the Internet — and Itself

When Billionaire Ev Williams founded Medium.com in 2012, he thought it would help him fulfill his self-appointed mission to “fix” the Internet that, as a founder of Twitter, he helped break.  That goal appears as elusive as ever.  

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,...

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...

From Automating Arabic News to U.S. Financial Industry: How Narrativa Is Disrupting Natural Language Generation

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. David Llorente wasn’t happy. Day in and out his writers were grinding out repetitive online gaming news in their Tallinn, Estonia, office and no time...

Investors Look to Niche Dating Apps as Singles Narrow Searches for Love

The online dating market is projected to be worth $12 billion by 2020, with 310 million active users worldwide. Despite those vast numbers, user growth at mainstream dating apps including Tinder and Bumble is expected to peak this year and then plateau...

Stifling Fake News with Modern ID Management

KEY TAKEAWAYS User-created content has revolutionized how we create and view content, but control and monetization of that content remains centralized in the hands of a very few platforms. Total global media deal volumes were slightly down to $19.6B compared to to the $20.23B...

Preaching to the Choir: Fake News Fact-Checkers Have Limited Impact, Study Says

Efforts to combat fake news rarely reach the people most exposed to the falsehoods, resulting in a “preaching to the choir” effect that has limited impact.That’s the conclusion of a new study from big data firm Alto Data Analytics that focused on...

Finimize App Seeks to Build Community Among Newsletter Readers

Finimize, a newsletter offering financial advice for millennials, has launched a new app on Thursday, making a shift from a financial content distributor and venturing deeper into the crowded financial literacy space. The mobile app will teach...

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...

YouTube Removes Kardashian Deepfake For Copyright Violations, Not Fake News

As A.I. enables the creation of more fake content, social media platforms risk a loss of credibility with their users who will find other websites to visit, or disconnect entirely, if they can’t trust what they are viewing. Days...

Qutoutiao Lands $117M Loan From Alibaba

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Qutoutiao Inc., a Chinese mobile content aggregator, landed a $117 million loan, fully convertible, from the international conglomerate Alibaba on March 29. The loan will net Alibaba some 4% ownership in Qutoutiao. Details...

Socially Responsible No More: S&P Drops Facebook From Its ESG List

After a series of privacy concerns and data scandals, it’s official: Facebook has been removed from the S&P 500’s socially responsible companies list. S&P 500 Environmental & Socially Responsible Index, launched at the end of April, tracks companies on...

Frank Barbieri: “The future of customer service is one AI negotiating with another AI…”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Frank Barbieri, an investor and co-founder of the San Francisco startup consultancy Ecolese, has worked in senior positions at Microsoft, InfoSpace and other technology firms and guided...

Consumers Wary Internet Companies Are Spying On Them

Like most consumers, “CBS Morning News” Host Gayle King finds it creepy when ads appear in her social media feed for products and services she discussed in private online conversations or which she might have looked at while casually surfing the web.
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