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. 

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.  

Bloomberg’s Secretive Digital Ad Firm May Fuel Concerns About Tech’s Influence on Elections

Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is using a previously unknown company he started for his campaign’s digital ads, adding another angle to concerns about the many ways tech and social media companies may be secretly influencing elections.The existence of the company, known as...

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.

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...

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...

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,...

Bloomberg Media Acquires CityLab As Frenzied Year of Media M&A Draws to a Close

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Bloomberg LP agreed to acquire digital publication CityLab from The Atlantic, the latest deal in the media industry’s parade of mergers and acquisitions this year. The financial data and news company owned by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is paying...

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...

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...

Hearst Magazines Staff Vote to Unionize, As Workers Band Together Amid Industry Upheaval

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Hearst Magazines’ writers, editors, art, design and video professionals voted to unionize, the latest media staff to come together in an effort to protect their rights as employers slash pay and benefits. Hearst Magazines Media Union, about 500 strong,...

California Privacy Act Spawns Startups Chasing $55 Billion Pot of Work

Another gold rush was unleashed in California this week with the passage of the state’s consumer privacy law, which has sent startups scurrying for a piece of the estimated $55 billion expected to be spent by companies to bring themselves into compliance...

Relax Everybody, TikTok’s Zhu Says He’ll Defy China’s Leader if the Country Tries to Meddle

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TikTok isn’t the threat that U.S. legislators and security experts are making it out to be, the Chinese video app’s chief said, adding that he’d defy President Xi Jinping if he demanded information. “The data of TikTok is only...

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...

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...

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...

The 2020s Will Be the Decade of Tech Reckoning

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There’s no shortage of media pundits this time of year gazing at their crystal balls to divine what the next decade will bring, but the reality is that nobody can predict what technology and innovation will look like at the end of...

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...

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...

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...

Facebook’s New Policy on Political Ads Sparks Criticism, Fails to Ease Blowback

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Facebook sparked fresh criticism over how much influence it may have on elections with a new policy that enables users to better control what ads they see but doesn’t limit how political ads are targeted.New features will enable people to see fewer...

Fake News Threat on the Rise as Sites Aim to Confuse Voters, Columbia Study Shows

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Less than two months before the Iowa caucuses, U.S. news is under increasing threat from people looking to disrupt the upcoming presidential election cycle with misinformation and confuse voters, an investigation by Columbia University researchers shows. The safety and...

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.

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. 

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...

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...

Instagram, Twitter Take Small Steps to Fight Cyberbullying

Amid rising concern over the flood of hateful content on social media, Instagram and Twitter are taking small steps to cut the bullying. Not everyone is cheering. Facebook-owned Instagram this week announced two features flagging offensive content and restricting...

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...

Investors Poured Record $18.5B Into AI Firms as Tech Transforms Society

Artificial intelligence’s potential to revolutionize our lives is attracting record amounts of cash.Last year, 1,356 AI-related startups in the U.S. raised a record $18.5 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association. That was more than the $16.8 billion raised by 1,281...

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...
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