Author: Josh Constine

Thoughts on Facebook’s 9 plans to curb election interference

TECHCRUNCH Election meddling is Facebook’s next adversary, and it’s got a plan to attack it just like it did with fake news. Solutions to both these scourges come too late to prevent tampering that may have aided Donald Trump winning the presidency. But at least Facebook is owning up to the problem, working with the government, and starting to self-regulate. Here’s the 9-point plan Zuckerberg has devised to combat election interference, plus our commentary on each strategy’s potential. Providing Russian-bought ads to congress – “We are actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference....

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Polly’s teen polling app piggybacks on Snapchat

TECHCRUNCH Snapchat doesn’t technically have a developer platform, but that hasn’t stopped other startups from taking advantage of its new feature for attaching links to your Snaps and Stories. Sarahah was the first, allowing people to ask fellow Snappers for open-ended anonymous feedback. But the problem is that those requests could be met with cyberbullying. Polly is a new teen sensation that’s similarly spread through Snapchat. But the lightweight polling apps for iOS and Android protect users by allowing them to create multiple choice questions where they define the answers. It’s quick and easy enough to hold the attention...

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Facebook vows to manually review ad targeting after ‘Jew-Haters’ scandal

TECHCRUNCH Facebook failed to foresee how turning user-written interests and employer information from profiles into ad targeting options could turn offensive. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has apologized for the situation, and announced that Facebook will now manually review all ad targeting options. “We never intended or anticipated this functionality being used this way – and that is on us” Sandberg wrote. Facebook quickly suspended the use of all user-submitted info for ad targeting after ProPublica surfaced how people could target “jew-hater” or “How to burn jews” with Facebook ads last week. Sandberg says Facebook has since vetted and approved...

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Pymetrics attacks discrimination in hiring with AI and recruiting games

TECHCRUNCH Identify the traits of your top performing employees and hire people like them, but without the discrimanatory bias of traditional recruiting. That’s the promise of Pymetrics, an artificial intelligence startup that today announced $8 million in new funding on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. Pymetrics’ goal is “making the world a fairer place” by dismantling hiring discrimination like sexism, racism, agees, and classism. Anyone can play the Pymetrics test games and get scored on different hireable traits, plus see suggestions for job types they’d be great at. Here’s how it works. A company’s all-star employees play Pymetrics’ set...

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Snapchat’s new partners attach instant apps and games to ads

TECHCRUNCH Snap wants its ads to open to something interesting rather than a boring mobile website. Today Snap announced 14 new ad Creative Partners that will help build custom games, interactive videos, gyroscope-powered epxeriences, lead generation campaigns, and pre-loaded Instant Apps as destinations for Snapchat ads. They’ll also help connect advertisers to influencers, despite Snapchat historically distancing itself from social stars. Snapchat launched the Creative Partner program last year in lieu of an open developer platform. But now instead of focusing on building the visuals for Snap ads people see between Stories or Discover content, these new Creative Partners enhance...

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See what Facebook ads you actually clicked in ‘Recent Ad Activity’

TECHCRUNCH You might think you’re impervious to Facebook’s ads, but you probably do get seduced every once in a while. But because ads aren’t always permanently available anywhere, it can be impossible to find a Facebook ad that led somewhere you want to revisit. Now Facebook has a solution called Recent Ad Activity for when (if) you click an ad and want to see it again. TechCrunch inquired with Facebook about the feature after Matt Navarra shared a screenshot, and now the company admits that Recent Ad Activity has been fully rolled out in the US. Facebook tells us it’s considering what other countries to test the feature in. You can find Recent Ad Activity in the bookmarks sidebar of Facebook’s mobile apps and desktop site. Recent Ad Activity appears to show the past three months or so of ads you clicked, liked, commented on or shared. There’s also a tab for ads you purposefully saved. Unfortunately, the three-month window means no one will be able to dredge up the political ads bought by Russian agents seeking to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Facebook has repeatedly refused to disclose the content of these ads publicly, citing that ads and their targeting are proprietary business secrets of its customers. It’s also bound by U.S. privacy laws that could penalize it for these disclosures. But...

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Subscription art crowdfunder Patreon confirms $60M fundraise

TECHCRUNCH Patreon upgrades content creation from a passion to a profession by paying artists 95% of subscription payments from fans instead of 55% of skimpy ad revenue like Facebook and YouTube. Now Patreon itself is getting paid with today’s official announcement of the big series C funding round TechCrunch broke news of last week. Patreon has raised $60 million led by Chris Paik at Thrive Capital which also led its Series B. As we reported, Index participated in the round that two sources told us value the startup at around $450 million. The Series C also includes existing investors...

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Facebook nabs Change.org COO Jennifer Dulski to lead Groups

TECHCRUNCH Facebook is serious about using Groups to propel its new mission to “bring the world closer together”. That’s why it’s made a big-name hire for the product leader for the Facebook Groups team. Former Change.org COO and President Jennifer Dulski will take the role. In a Facebook post, Facebook’s CPO Chris Cox wrote “This is a big day for us because we’ve been trying to recruit Jen for a long time. Many of you already know she’s a product star who’s focused on social impact.” We’ve reached out to Facebook and Dulski for further comment. Dulski wrote on...

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