Facebook to Target Kids, Frowning Poop Emojis Out, and Of Course, CryptoKitties

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‘Tis the season to be merry.

Yes. I still haven’t gone Christmas shopping. And no, I don’t know when. But, I know one thing, technology news keeps on giving us gems to laugh and cry about. We talk about Facebook mining children for their data, virtual kittens, and frowning poop emojis on First News 570 with Mark Starling. Listen in LIVE.

WILL SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN: FACEBOOK ROLLS OUT MESSENGER FOR KIDS
“Well, if someone wasn’t going to make a messaging platform specifically for kids then we should,” at least that the answer Facebook is giving parents and media after rolling out their new Messaging app, Facebook Messenger for Kids. The app is specifically geared towards children who are between the ages of 6 and 12 years old skirting child privacy laws because kids need their parent’s permission to hop on the app. The app will work like any other messaging app, create a profile using your kids real name, and then build a social graph of contacts you can share messages, stickers, and funny internet memes with. It wasn’t as if we were sitting on mountains of data insisting that social networks cause real world depression amongst its users. First, let’s state, FM4K is ad free. But, it’s obvious to me that Facebook is treating children as a potential mine of data to sell to marketers and advertisers on its main platform. Facebook isn’t saying a whole lot, regarding how the intend to monetize this thing or how much data parents will have access to on their kids usage. Also, it’s obvious that once a kid turns 13, Facebook will probably have a single click button allowing said adolescent to grow up to a full on FB account. I’m not impressed.
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Death Knell for Net Neutrality, UBER Cheaps Out on Ransom, and Contractor Screw Ups

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Yeah, I know.

But, I’ve been busy. This morning on First News 570, we talk about pouring one out for Net Neutrality and how hard it is to leave your intelligence in wide open public view.

CONTRACTOR LEAVES TREASURE TROVE OF SOCIAL MEDIA DATA ON S3
Some people just give government contractors a bad name. In the latest incident of contractors messing up badly, a Pentagon contractor left a vast archive of social media intelligence publicly available on Amazon’s disk in the sky, S3. Simple Storage Service, S3, is Amazon’s cloud data storage solution and it’s not exactly easy to leave an S3 bucket, a storage location, open to the world. The bucket contained over 1.8 billion, with a ’B’, online posts scraped by the Pentagon over eight years.
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Russian Paid Pro Trolls Influenced Election, Apple Watches Can’t Keep It Up, and Electric Bus Sets Record

Technology news continues to amaze us week in and week out. This week we talk about new distance records, new watches, and more Amazon on First News 570 with Mark Starling. Make sure you are listening in.

IT WASN’T JUST PARANOIA RUSSIAN GROUPS INFLUENCED ELECTION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
I’m not one for conspiracy theories and choose to believe that people are smarter than we give them credit for, but mounting evidence is surfacing that it was Russian agents, Professional Trolls, who were creating Facebook groups to mobilize citizens in protest against Hillary Clinton during last year’s Presidential election. The latest evidence comes in the form of “Being Patriotic” a Facebook group that was created by Professional Trolls hired by associates closes to Vladimir Putin. Regardless of your side, you have to feel a little disturbed about how much Russia has engaged social media. Now, that’s not to say that we always played fair, the US has history of influencing elections. It just feels sucky when it’s done to us.
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Fruit Company Sells $1,000 Phone, Ford Hides Man in Car, and the New Arms Race

It was a huge week in tech, especially for the Cupertino faithful. We talk about the latest iPhone, driverless cars, and the futuristic arms race happening right now on First News 570 with Mark Starling this morning.

A little man in front of a small phone.

A little man in front of a small phone.

JUST IN TIME FOR THE FAITHFUL, THE FRUIT COMPANY RELEASES $1,000 PHONE
The big news this week comes from our friends in Cupertino. This week is the annual Fall event for Apple and for haters they disappointed, for fans, they disappointed. Apple announced updates for the Apple TV, Apple Watch, and the iPhone. ATV got a performance boost with improved processor and graphics capabilities, the Apple Watch gets an improved processor and GPS. The big, big news is Apple’s new iPhone X. It’s the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and they released a phone with an edge-to-edge screen and uses advanced machine learning technology to facially unlock the device. This month, you’ll be able to pre-order then pickup a new iPhone 8 with a glass front and back with upgraded camera. But for me, the big ticket is the X. Honestly, it looks like a $1,000 phone and when you think about it, the damned thing has the performance of a low to midrange laptop that fits in your hand. I asked some people who were skeptical about the device, “what more would you want in a phone?” The response, “I don’t know.”

Have You Been Pwned, AMZN Slashes Arugula Prices, & Cortana and Alexa Team Up

I’m back from vacation and back on the air to share this week’s technology news on First News 570. Listen in LIVE and here Mark and I kick around the zany and unpredictable industry who’s mission is to save the world.

SPAMBOT SCOOPS UP 711 MILLION EMAIL ADDRESSES IN BIGGEST HEIST EVER
Parisian malware researcher, Benkow, has discovered a spamming operation that has lifted over 700 million email addresses. The size of the spam operation is the largest of its kind with many of the hijacked email addresses being used to spam others into getting their address lifted. People interested in knowing if their email address was caught in the breach can use Troy Hunt’s website, haveibeenpwned.com. I can safely report that my email address has only been found on one breached site. Which only means I use the internet for more research purposes than anything else and I don’t have a social media life to speak of. Still this number is staggering and eclipses anything we’ve seen from Yahoo’s massive breach, the ashleymadison hack, or Adult Friend Finder.
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Disney Takes Its Content Home, GrubHub Buys Eat24, and US Military Shoots Down Drones

The big news this week is Google’s diversity dirty laundry being let out to dry, but in the spirit of keeping things light, we talk about Disney pushing its own content and more with Mark Starling on First News 570. You can listen in using the iHeart Radio player.

THE MOUSE HOUSE STUNS ALL AND SAVES ITS BEST STUFF FOR ITSELF
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this deal, but we all know that content is King. Disney will stop delivering NEW content for Netflix’s streaming service in 2019. It’s not completely a deal killer for Netflix, they’ll continue having the license of streaming Disney’s other content including the most recent Star Wars films. This news comes after Disney has announced investing $1.8 billion with a ‘B’ in the streaming service company BAMtech. Netflix has made no secret about its ambition of becoming a major creative content developer as well as producer. And Disney currently has streaming rights to Major League baseball, and arguably owns the world’s most valuable content. It’s going to be a tough call because the cable companies can do what they do because the cable subscription, venture model works. There’s going to come an inflection point in which consumers will be sick of being nickled and dimed for every streaming service they want to watch. But in turn, moves like this get rid of the gatekeepers and democratizes content delivery.
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US MILITARY LETS SOLDIERS TAKE AIM: AT DRONES
The US military has given soldiers license to shoot down consumer drones that fly within 400ft of military bases. This comes after it became illegal to fly drones near bases this Spring. The law and policy were prompted by the military ordering its troops to stop flying drones made by popular manufacturer, DJI. DJI is a Chinese manufacturer and military is concerned that DJI drones may participate in cyber attacks. Drone warfare is quickly becoming a winning tactic, and the military is preparing itself. DJI is the best selling drone in America. If I could get on my high horse, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad if we made more high tech stuff in the US.
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GRUBHUB BUYS EAT24 DELIVERY SERVICE FOR BIG BUCKS
It must be a sign of the times when food delivery services are being bought and sold at high valuations. The lazy man’s food delivery service, GrubHub has positioned itself to buy Yelp’s Eat24 for $288 million. GrubHub is an app platform that home delivers food from 55,000 restaurants nationwide to their local patrons. The purchase gives GrubHub access to another 40,000 restaurants and hungry people who are too pooped after a day of hard work to pick up their take out on the way home. I work in technology, and I’m a businessman, but it still boggles me how some simplistic businesses are worth hundreds of millions.
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Facebook to Monetize Your Chats, USA Steals Chinese Jobs, and Nosy Roombas

Is there such a thing as privacy any more? Do any of us who use social media have a right to keep our data to ourselves? We point, laugh, and explore these questions and more on First News 570 with Mark Starling. Listen in.

Foxconn to Build $10 Billion Plant in Wisconsin

Foxconn to Build $10 Billion Plant in Wisconsin

BEWARE: ADS COMING TO AN I.M. NEAR YOU
During a long car ride coming back from a customer, one of my mentors lectured me on the four ways you can make money: subscriptions, fees, commerce, and of course advertising. Just as denizens of the Internet were getting used to seeing ads in their news, ads in their searches, and ads in their timelines, Facebook ups the ante and is beta testing delivering ads to your chat conversations in Messenger. Showing that there’s no screen real estate for eye balls to see, the Big Blue App company started testing ads beneath your previous chats this week. When you have 2.4 billion people wasting an hour a day on your platform, why not take advantage of their eye balls? And this coming off of news of FB hitting all new share price highs.
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Knightscope K5 Kills Self, Academics Paid for Science, Spotify Gets Caught, and Cyberbullying

Sometimes the only explanation I can muster for some of the zany news we’ve been reading lately is that we live in a simulation and the code governing this existence needs to be patched. This week proved to be another interesting news cycle in the world of technology. Here are this week’s stories discussed with Mark Starling and the First News 570 crew, listen in live.

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IT’S TIME FOR RAMPANCY TESTS: DEPRESSED BY HUMANITY ROBOT COMMITS SUICIDE
We’ve reported on the many wonders given to us by technology including machines who have bested humans in Chess, Go, and Ms. Pac-Man. We’ve even reported on AIs that discourage humans by spewing out depressing thoughts. This week, we report on the first reported, robot suicide in my backyard, Washington, DC. Again, this robot news involves, Knightscope, the robotic security patrol company who’s robots have run over a toddler, and was attacked by a drunken reveler. This Knightscope robot, contemplating its programming and wondering if there was more to life than being a security guard, decided to end his bitfilled life while patrolling the Washington Harbour complex in Georgetown. It’s uncertain if the robot shouted, “what a world, what a world,” as it plunged in a fountain inside the building. Many people took photos and posted them on Twitter including one with the comment, “we were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots.” I don’t think the 3 Laws included, “perform suicide if everything else fails”, but I do know it’s time for those rampancy tests.
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BEWARE ACADEMICS PAID FOR SCIENCE
The Campaign for Accountability, an advocacy group has released a list of academics who claim to have received funding from Google in some form or fashion and the Internet went a twitter. The controversy stems from the belief that academics who receive funding from Google aren’t performing pure research. Especially if their research spans consumer influence, information privacy, and Internet usage. The report is misleading because academics were listed on the report who received funding from Google before their research was published. Furthermore, the CfA is funded by, Oracle Corporation, one of those other big Internet companies who, fund academics who perform basic research. The moral of the story is, don’t just read the headlines.
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SPOTIFY GETS CAUGHT PROMOTING FAKE ARTISTS WHO MAKE MUZAK
Most of us know that the music industry can be a cut throat affair. The latest in music tech drama comes from the popular streaming service Spotify. The British press have been publishing stories stating that many of the instrumental tracks streamed from Spotify’s service aren’t produced by indy artists but mainstream producers from Universal Music Group and others on its own dime! Why is this problem, because Spotify earns money and pays out cash based upon the number of times a track is streamed for listening. Some instrumental tracks have earned more than 520 million streams, which means Spotify is paying for and earning money on its own music. Thereby gaming the system in its favor. Spotify got caught because some of the most frequently music has no listening audience outside of its own service.
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INSTAGRAM LEADS SOCIAL MEDIA IN CYBER BULLYING STUDY
Research from Ditch the Label, a UK cyber bullying institute has discovered that more teens report being bullied on Instagram than other social networks. 40% of teens said they felt bad if no one liked their selfies, and 35% said their confidence is directly linked to how many followers they had. 7% of teens reported being bullied on Instagram, compared to 6% on Facebook, 5% on Snapchat, and 2% on YouTube. One in three teens said that they live in fear of cyber bullying and 47% said they won’t discuss bad things in their lives on social platforms. Overall, cyberbullying is a rare event on social media, but how these networks affect a child’s happiness and well being is troublesome. For me, I’m keeping my kids off as long as I can.
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Kapersky Accused of Aiding FSB, PhotoBucket Reminds Us Hosting Costs, and Shut Downs

We’re back on this week with Mark Starling and the First News 570 crew. A lot has happened in the past week including a report on much of the world’s favorite anti-virus scanner. Listen in on our palaver using the iHeartMedia player.

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IN A CLUTCHES PEARLS MOMENT, US GOVERNMENT ACCESS KAPERSKY OF COLLUDING WITH SPIES
If there’s anyone you should trust in the world, it’s the guy who sells you anti-virus software. Bloomberg has reported that Russian, that’s right, Russian with an ‘R’, anti-virus software company, Kapersky Labs had developed ‘tools’ for Russia’s intelligence agency. And in a prompt move, the US General Services Administration removed Kapersky from its approved list of anti-virus tools. Bloomberg reports that it has seen emails between KL CEO, Eugene Kapersky and his staff and the Russian FSB. Kapersky is obviously running defense stating that the emails were misinterpreted and that is has never aided any inteligence agency in spying. Yeah, right.
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THE INTERNET’S NOT FREE, IT’S A BUCK ‘O FIVE
After JavaScript packages serving ads, images and video make up the second largest content group websites deliver to their users. Last month, one of the Internet’s earliest content host providers ended the free lunch, and attempted to extort users of its service to the tune of $400. Photobucket is a third party host of images and video helping site creators save on storage and bandwidth costs. For 14 years, PB hosted images at no charge, and then in a, no-one-really-reads-terms-of-service moment, changed their policies and began charging for the service. Thousands of site creators rely on the service (I don’t) and right now, the only thing users are seeing is a not so nice bill asking their site owners to pay up. It is true, consumers need to understand that pushing these precious bits and bytes comes at a cost, but PhotoBucket has no chill and could have notified its users in a better and more in your face way.
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IN THE LAND OF INGENUITY, STARTUPS ARE DYING WHILE BIG CITIES BOOM
Some serious people stateside have been keeping their eye on America’s startup culture and we are witnessing a disturbing trend. Business closures are outpacing business creation in the United States. The slide has been going on for more than two decades, but the Great Recession had kicked the slide into higher gear as uncertainty, a wageless rebound, globalization, and a crack down immigration are causing fewer businesses to be started nationwide. The strange thing though, is that America’s big cities (I live in a big but small one) are actually benefiting and outpacing business creation more than the rest of the country combined. I don’t want to pile on here, but I am. I think many of our problems are political right now, and if we don’t get our act together we could see this slide continue.
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FACEBOOK SHUTS DOWN LEGAL POT SHOPS
Social media has become one of the most frequently used marketing tools of the 21st century. Unfortunately, not all businesses can make the qualification. Facebook has shutdown the business pages for companies selling marijuana in Alaska. Alaska is one of the states citizens can legally purchase marijuana. The National Cannabis Industry Association is asking Facebook to set clearly guidelines for businesses wanting to setup a Facebook page. Right now, FB says it won’t allow any business to use its platform to sell marijuana legally or not, in the US or the World. The weed market is having a tough time. No banks want to process their electronic sales, the moral majority wants to shut them down, and now social media won’t let them build communities.
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Still Riding the High from Blerdcon

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It’s Monday morning and I’m still riding high from the Inaugural weekend of Blerdcon, a first of its kind, exclusively inclusive convention for the Blerd in all of us. Even though Blerdcon is a convention produced by and for people of color, everyone of all walks of life, ethnicities, persuasions, and characters were there for three fun filled and action packed days of nerdom.