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Twitter takes down ‘a large number’ of Chinese-language accounts ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary

Posted by on Jun 1, 2019 in China, Policy, Social, Twitter | 0 comments

Twitter has suspended a large number of Chinese-language user accounts, including those belonging to critics of China’s government. It seems like a particularly ill-timed move, occurring just days before thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4.

“A large number of Chinese @Twitter accounts are being suspended today,” wrote Yaxue Cao, founder and editor of the U.S.-based publication China Change. “They ‘happen’ to be accounts critical of China, both inside and outside China.”

Cao then went on to highlight a number of the suspended accounts in a Twitter thread.

The Chinese government reportedly began cracking down late last year on people who post criticism on Twitter. The author of that story, The New York Times’ Paul Mozur, has also been tweeting about the takedowns, noting that “suspensions seem not limited to accounts critical of China” and that it appears to be “an equal opportunity purge of Chinese language accounts.”

In response, Twitter’s Public Policy account said it suspended “a number of accounts this week” mostly for “engaging in mix of spamming, inauthentic behavior, & ban evasion.” It acknowledged, however, that some of the accounts “were involved in commentary about China.”

“These accounts were not mass reported by the Chinese authorities — this was a routine action on our part,” the company said. “Sometimes our routine actions catch false positives or we make errors. We apologize. We’re working today to ensure we overturn any errors but that we remain vigilant in enforcing our rules for those who violate them.”

By this point, the deletions had attracted broader political notice, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio declaring, “Twitter has become a Chinese govt censor.”

And while Cao acknowledged Twitter’s official explanation, as well as help she’s received from the company in the past, she said, “Per @Twitter’s explanation, it’s cleaning up CCP bots but accidentally suspended 1000s anti-CCP accts. That doesn’t make sense.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Original Content podcast: ‘Tuca & Bertie’ explores friendship and sex with anthropomorphic birds

Posted by on Jun 1, 2019 in Entertainment, Media, Netflix, original content podcast, Podcasts | 0 comments

There’s some obvious overlap between “Tuca & Bertie” and “BoJack Horseman” — they’re both talking animal cartoons on Netflix; they have a similar look, courtesy of Lisa Hanawalt (designer on “BoJack Horseman” and creator of “Tuca & Bertie”); and “BoJack” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg co-wrote the first episode of the new show.

Plus, their respective first seasons follow a similar arc, kicking off with rapid-fire humor, then increasingly shading the jokes with serious character exploration as you get further into the story.

But as guest host Brian Heater helps us explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, “Tuca & Bertie” is a distinct show, with a distinct sense of humor — it’s zanier and raunchier, with a refreshing frankness about sex, not to mention a talented, diverse cast of voice actors led by Tiffany Haddish (Tuca) and Ali Wong (Bertie).

And where “BoJack” went deep into an exploration of its protagonist’s depression, “Tuca & Bertie” is more interested in the complexities of female friendship, all while remaining a funny show about birds that talk, go on dates and have jobs at companies like “Conde Nest.”

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you want to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:

0:00 Intro and a Very Serious Discussion about laugh tracks
8:47 Spoiler-free review of Tuca & Bertie
24:43 Spoiler discussion


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Daily Crunch: Leap Motion waves goodbye

Posted by on May 31, 2019 in Daily Crunch, leap motion, TC | 0 comments

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Once poised to kill the mouse and keyboard, Leap Motion plays its final hand

Leap Motion raised nearly $94 million for its mind-bending demos of hand-tracking technology, but the company was ultimately unable to find a sizable customer base. Even as it pivoted into the niche VR industry, the startup remained a problem in search of a solution.

Now the nine-year-old company is being absorbed into the younger, enterprise-focused UltraHaptics.

2. Foursquare buys Placed from Snap Inc. on the heels of $150M in new funding

Foursquare just made its very first acquisition, with Placed founder and CEO David Shim becoming president of the location data company.

3. What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2019

The leaks of new iOS features have already started, and the big news so far is system-wide Dark Mode, following in the footsteps of MacOS.

The Lion King

4. ‘Lion King’ director Jon Favreau explains why he’s remaking an animated classic

After sitting on it for 18 months, I can finally share an interview with the director of the new “Lion King” about how he used game engines and VR to visualize his film.

5. Uber Eats, micromobility services are growing faster than Uber’s core ride-hailing business

In Uber’s Q1 2019 earnings, the company reported gross bookings growth of 230% for its other bets, while ridesharing grew just 22% year-over-year.

6. If you use women as decorative objects, then I will assume your tech is from the 1950s, too

Just a reminder that “booth babes” are a toxic and outdated marketing gimmick.

7. The Slack origin story

Find out how a whimsical online game became an enterprise software giant. (Extra Crunch membership required.)


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Daily Crunch: SF bans agencies from using facial recognition tech

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Daily Crunch, facial recognition, TC | 0 comments

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. San Francisco passes city government ban on facial recognition tech

The Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance, introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, is the first ban of its kind for a major American city.

The ban would not impact facial recognition tech deployed by private companies, but it would affect any companies selling tech to city agencies, including the police department.

2. Uber Black launches Quiet Driver Mode

The “Quiet Mode” feature is free and available to everyone in the United States, but only on Uber Black and Uber Black SUV premium rides. Users can select “Quiet preferred,” “happy to chat” or leave the setting at “No preference.”

3. New secret-spilling flaw affects almost every Intel chip since 2011

Security researchers have found a new class of vulnerabilities in Intel chips which, if exploited, can be used to steal sensitive information directly from the processor.

4. Facebook introduces ‘one strike’ policy to combat abuse of its live-streaming service

Facebook is cracking down on its live-streaming service after it was used to broadcast the shocking mass shootings that left 50 dead at two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand in March.

5. American Express is acquiring Resy

Resy launched back in 2014 as a platform that allowed users to buy reservations from restaurants in situations where they’d usually have to book months in advance. Over time, Resy realized the opportunity to provide software to restaurants.

6. Jeff Bezos personally dumps a truckload of dirt on FedEx’s future

Amazon broke ground yesterday on a three-million-square-foot Prime Air airport outside Cincinnati (in Kentucky).

7. CEO Howard Lerman on building a public company and the future of Yext

In our interview, Lerman passionately defended the idea that “a company is the ultimate vehicle in America to effect good in the world.” (Extra Crunch membership required.)


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Original Content podcast: We’re not impressed by Netflix’s ‘Extremely Wicked’ Ted Bundy movie

Posted by on May 11, 2019 in Entertainment, game of thrones, Media, Netflix, original content podcast, Podcasts | 0 comments

Despite its grandiose title, Netflix’s “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” turns out to be surprisingly forgettable.

In this week’s episode of the Original Content podcast, we’re joined by Brian Heater to review the film, which features Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy and Lily Collins as his initially unsuspecting girlfriend Liz Kendall.

The film is ostensibly about their relationship, but director Joe Berlinger and screenwriter Michael Werwie can’t quite seem to commit — they end up dramatizing the broader story of Bundy’s capture and trials, while only intermittently returning to Kendall in the film’s second half.

Bundy’s actual murders also get short shrift. While one might argue that we already know he’s a killer and don’t necessarily need to see grisly recreations of his work, by being so coy about Bundy’s murderous side, the film ends up feeling strangely unbalanced and empty.

We also continue our discussion of the final season of “Game of Thrones,” with a review of the often-frustrating episode “The Last of the Starks.” We’re particularly concerned about what’s being set up as the show’s endgame, and where it’s taking Daenerys.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you want to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:

0:00 Intro
1:29 “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” review (mild spoilers for the movie and for real-life events)
42:35 “Game of Thrones”/”Last of the Starks” discussion (spoilers ahoy!)


Source: The Tech Crunch

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