Next week, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hear testimony from Twitter head Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, TechCrunch reports. “Larry Page, chief executive of Google parent company Alphabet, was also invited but has not confirmed his attendance,” TC writes. “It will be the second time the Senate Intelligence Committee … will have called the companies to testify.”
Google just gave Wear OS a facelift, including various new features. “This update focuses in primarily on making it easier to access the Assistant, fitness data, and your notifications,” 9To5Google reports. “Assistant now includes proactive information, Google Fit is just a single swipe away from the watchface, and notifications now appear in a ‘stream.’”
Some top NGOs and human rights groups are asking Google to stop supporting a censored search engine project in China. As BuzzFeed News reports: “Organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access Now and others released the letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday, saying the tech giant’s plans to release a censored version of its search engine app to users in China represent an ‘alarming capitulation by Google on human rights.’”
Targeting the estimated 48 million consumers who already use its Fire TV devices, Amazon.com is reportedly readying a free, ad-supported video service. “The new service, which is being developed by Amazon’s IMDB subsidiary, will join a growing collection of efforts by Amazon to tap into the $70 billion TV ad market,” The Intercept reports.
Instagram is rolling out a three-part plan to improve safety across its platform. “The first two prongs of the plan hover around providing a lot more crucial information up front to users,” Fortune reports. “Finally, the heavy security comes in the form of more two-factor authentication support with more options for third-party authenticator apps.”
Facebook’s Oculus is launching educational pilot programs in Taiwan, Japan and Seattle, Engadget reports. “The company is working with local organizations, schools and educators to distribute Rift and Go headsets to libraries, museums and schools,” it writes. “It's up to each recipient to think of ways to use the headsets in an educational setting.”
Hoping to boost its bottom line, BuzzFeed News plans to begin asking readers to consider making donations between $5 and $100. “The donation feature asks readers to 'help us report to you' and calls upon them to join a community that will shape the future of BuzzFeed News,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Contributors will get timely updates on big investigations and new programming from BuzzFeed News.”
CNet reports on the women -- including Campbell Brown and Alex Hardiman -- leading Facebook’s fight against low quality and fake news. “They’re trying to wipe aside fake news from Facebook's massive social network, a critical source of information to 2.23 billion people, while also fostering a support system for more legitimate reporting,” it writes. “Their success or failure will affect the health of the news industry and the well-being of democracy worldwide.”
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is giving $1 million to Mother Jones to support its investigation of “fake news” and digital spreading of disinformation. “The unrestricted gift follows Newmark donations to ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity, the Columbia Journalism Review and the university’s Tow Center, Wikimedia and The Ground Truth Project, among others,” Poynter reports.
Bolstering YouTube’s “digital wellbeing” tools, Google added the option to track how much time one spends watching videos. “Google is following Apple and Facebook in addressing the wellbeing of their consumers, especially since social networking tools were created to exploit human vulnerabilities,” Fortune notes.