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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

In China, you can now stalk blacklisted debtors on WeChat – CNET

The country has been testing a mini program in the province of Hebei since last week.
Source: CNET

Xiaomi's double-bending foldable phone just stole Samsung's thunder – CNET

Commentary: We’ve never seen a foldable phone prototype like this.
Source: CNET

Robots Will Take Jobs From Men, the Young, and Minorities

Automation may create as many jobs as it destroys, a new study finds, but men, younger folks, and minorities hold positions that are particularly vulnerable.
Source: Wired

Japan's mission to asteroid Ryugu becomes its own fairytale – CNET

A Cinderella story for JAXA’s asteroid-sampling mission.
Source: CNET

Avant-garde fashion designers put internet memes on dresses – CNET

All of your dresses are belong to us.
Source: CNET

Microsoft's Bing search engine blocked in China – CNET

Search engine is inaccessible by government order, the Financial Times reports.
Source: CNET

Twitter testing ‘Original Tweeter’ tag to distinguish who started a thread

Twitter is testing a new tag that will make it easier to parse who started a thread. The new feature, which is starting to pop up for some users, makes it easier to find posts from the original tweeter within a thread, but may also help curb (some types of) abuse on the platform, making it easier to distinguish accounts that are masquerading as other tweeters, for instance.

Twitter confirmed the experiment to TechCrunch, noting that the tag has been rolled out to a “small percentage” of iOS and Android users across markets.

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. As part of this work, we’re exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies – like those from the original Tweeter,” Twitter’s Director of Product Management Sara Haider told TechCrunch in a statement.

In practice, this will probably be most helpful for situations like distinguishing Elon Musk from the Ethereum-hocking false copies popping up below him, ensuring that users don’t have to read every character of a user’s handle before they can tell if it’s trusted information.

This solution obviously only helps users distinguish the “owner” of the thread they are viewing, but it’s a worthwhile start. As the company verifies more accounts but still allows users to easily change their name or profile picture, this could avert some imitation issues.

One wonders if they could have more easily distinguished the “Original Tweeter” in a more pretty way than by spelling out “Original Tweeter” beneath their handle, but it’s a small rollout and I guess it leaves very little room for interpretation, so whatever.

It’s certainly a small change, but it all plays back into Twitter’s more drastic (beta) plans to introduce changes like color-coded replies that give users more prominent interface cues to gather insights about the threads that they’re surfing through. The same beta app also introduces features like algorithmically-sorted replies and a generally more toned-down UI.


Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft confirms Bing is down in China

Microsoft’s Bing is down in China, according to users who took to social media beginning Wednesday afternoon to complain and express concerns.

The Seattle-based behemoth has confirmed that its search engine is currently inaccessible in China and is “engaged to determine next steps,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch Thursday morning.

Citing sources, the Financial Times reported (paywalled) on Thursday that China Unicom, a major state-owned telecommunication company, confirmed the government had ordered a block on Bing.

The situation appears to be a DNS (domain name system) corruption, one method for China to block websites through its intricate censoring system called the Great Firewall. When a user enters a domain name associated with a banned IP address, the Firewall will corrupt the connection to stop the page from loading.

Several users told TechCrunch they are still able to access Bing by directly visiting its IP address as of Thursday morning.

Bing remained one of the few non-Chinese internet firms that still have their core products up and running in a country where Google and Facebook have long been unavailable. Another rare case is LinkedIn, which runs a filtered version of its social network for professionals and caught flack for bending to local censorship.

Bing also censors its search service for Chinese users, so it would be odd if its inaccessibility turned out to be a case of government clampdown. That said, China appears to be further tightening control over the cyberspace. Case in point, LinkedIn recently started to run strict identity checks on its China-based users.

Baidu remains the biggest search engine in China with smaller rival Sogou coming in second. Bing, which some users find is a more pleasant alternative to local options that are usually flooded with ads, is active on 320,000 unique devices monthly, according to third-party research firm iResearch. That’s dwarfed by Baidu’s 466 million and Sogou’s 43 million.

Google told the U.S. Congress in December it had no immediate plans to relaunch its search engine in China but felt “reaching out and giving users more information has a very positive impact.” The Mountain View-based firm shut down its search engine in mainland China back in 2010 under pressure over censorship but also cited cyber attacks as a factor in its decision to leave.


Source: TechCrunch

Twitter's ? emoji record belongs to the Patriots' Tom Brady – CNET

The social media giant says Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T., no ifs, ands or baas about it.
Source: CNET

Buzzfeed will cut its staff by 15% in major round of layoffs

It’s a dark day to work in media. On the heels of news that TechCrunch parent company Verizon Media Group (formerly Oath) would lay off roughly 800 workers, BuzzFeed has announced its own substantial staffing cuts. And though they were anticipated, Gannett also made substantial cuts to newsrooms around the US on Wednesday.

In a memo to employees, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti explained that the layoffs would hit next week, reducing its workforce by 15% or about 250 positions.

“Over the past few months, we’ve done extensive work examining the trends in our business and the evolving economics of the digital platforms,” Peretti said in the memo. “We’ve developed a good understanding of where we can consolidate our teams, focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure to support our multi-revenue model.”

Peretti added that he is “confident” that the layoffs would chart a sustainable course of growth for the new media giant — likely one that aims to turn the maturing media company’s revenues into a profit. According to the memo, that means a future in which BuzzFeed could sustain operations without seeking additional rounds of funding.

Between its smaller investments and two huge rounds from NBCUniversal, BuzzFeed has raised $500 million over the last decade. The company last raised $200 million in late 2016 from NBCUniversal, which invested a total of $400 million in the media company. BuzzFeed’s other investors include Andreessen Horowitz, RRE Ventures, Hearst Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.

Though the company cut 100 jobs in 2017, 2019’s layoffs are BuzzFeed’s most substantial to date. The news comes at an uncomfortable time for the website’s employees who will have to wait in limbo until early next week for the axe to come down.

“This will be a tough week for all of us and I realize it will be much worse for the people losing their jobs,” Peretti said. “To them, I want to say thank you, I’m sorry our work together is ending this way, and I hope we get to work together again in the future.

The full memo from Peretti to staff is embedded below.

Hello BuzzFeeders,

I’m writing with sad news: we are doing layoffs at BuzzFeed next week. We will be making a 15% overall reduction in headcount across the company. I’m sending this tonight because I wanted you to hear it from me directly instead of from the press.

Over the past few months, we’ve done extensive work examining the trends in our business and the evolving economics of the digital platforms. We’ve developed a good understanding of where we can consolidate our teams, focus in on the content that is working, and achieve the right cost structure to support our multi-revenue model. We are confident the changes we are making will put us on a firm foundation and allow us to invest and grow sustainably for years to come.

I’m so proud of what our team accomplished over the last year, including diversifying our revenue, and growing our business double digits. Unfortunately, revenue growth by itself isn’t enough to be successful in the long run. The restructuring we are undertaking will reduce our costs and improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again. These changes will allow us to be the clear winner in the market as the economics of digital media continue to improve.

I’ll share more about our future structure in a few days, but today I want to focus on what will be a difficult week, especially for the people who are leaving the company. These are talented people, friends, and valued colleagues, who’ve made huge contributions to our success, and who’ve done nothing wrong. Even though I’m confident this is the right business decision, it is upsetting and disappointing.

On a personal note, I’ve never thought about my job as “just business.” I care about the people at BuzzFeed more than anything other than my family. This will be a tough week for all of us and I realize it will be much worse for the people losing their jobs. To them, I want to say thank you, I’m sorry our work together is ending this way, and I hope we get to work together again in the future. Our loss will be to the benefit of other organizations where I know you will go on to make formidable contributions.

We will be back to you with specifics on the process by Monday at the latest. Thank you all in advance for your compassion and kindness as we go through this process.

Jonah


Source: TechCrunch

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