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. 

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...

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...

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...

DeepNude Code Ban Spotlights the Dark Side of AI and Deepfakes

Things really do last forever on the Internet, especially the smut. The latest example is DeepNude. Code-sharing website Github recently removed the code, which used artificial intelligence to transform innocuous photos of women into porn, from its platform, according...

Deepfake Apps in Seconds — More Privacy Concerns From Video Rage

Digital Portrait:Side view
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...

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...

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...

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’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.

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...

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.

Frank Barbieri: “Ad buyers in general are dying to buy something other than Google and Facebook.”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. When Sizmek filed Chapter 11 in late March, concerns expressed privately for years by many investors in the ad tech space broke into the open: Sizmek was...

Philip Balboni: “There will never be advertising on DailyChatter. People hate it.”

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. As business models for news continue to evolve, the pursuit of a lasting and profitable model for digital content publishers continues to quicken. Philip Balboni has long been an innovator in quality...

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

Karma_News Analysis_Election technology startups
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...

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

Two liar politicians having a debate on background of a war battlefield
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...

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...

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...

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

Fake news against blue green background
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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Apple News+ Dilemma Stalking Big Media: Matt Lindsay

It’s been nearly two months since Apple launched its $9.99 a month Apple News+, but the debate over its offering to media companies and the public at large is far from over. In exchange for allowing Apple News+ to...

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,...

Pinterest Burnishes Clean Image With Tool to Curb Vaccine Misinformation

Hand holding syringe in plain pink background
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...

Bob Sullivan on Data Breaches: “Not every incident has to be so existentially threatening”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Marriott International – which revealed last year, just after it acquired the Starwood hotel chain, that some 500 million guests accounts created in its SPG membership database...

CyberRisk Alliance Invests in Cybersecurity Collaboration Forum

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Cybersecurity risks multiply by the day. Then it’s no surprise that companies combating those risks are racing to keep up. Enter CyberRisk Alliance. In its second acquisition in five weeks, CyberRisk Alliance, a B2B...

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...

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...

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...
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