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06.02.16 | 2:02 pm

Facebook heard your criticisms of Safety Check

This means you'll be seeing a lot more of the feature going forward: Facebook will now automatically turn on Safety Check if a certain number of users have posted about an incident and a trusted third party has confirmed it. 

Better yet, once Facebook asks people in affected areas to mark their safety status, those users can then invite friends to do the same. Let's hope Facebook does a good job of monitoring this new iteration of Safety Check. 

09.28.16 | an hour ago

The author of Airbnb’s anti-discrimination report says it misunderstood how to address the issue

Airbnb hired Laura Murphy, the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington, D.C. legislative office, to review its anti-discrimination policies after a study found that hosts with black-sounding names had a more difficult time booking a stay. According to Politico, Murphy discussed Airbnb's efforts during a roundtable discussion that included representatives from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "This problem had been percolating for the last two years," she said, referring to property owners discriminating against non-white guests. "The company thought it was addressing this issue by having a team of white engineers look at the algorithms they were using to address discrimination."

09.28.16 | 2 hours ago

VW unveils electric concept car it hopes will make up for its emissions scandal

It's still fresh in lots of people's minds–the giant 2015 scandal that resulted in Volkswagen having to pay nearly $15 billion as a result of its having gamed emissions standards.

Today, the company made one of its biggest steps toward trying to get people to forget: It unveiled its new concept car, an all-electric vehicle said to be capable of a range of more than 300 miles, potentially as much as 372 miles, on a charge. That would make it one of the industry's leaders.

According to Business Insider, VW says the new car is more than a concept and in fact will hit roads in 2020, and could be followed with a fully automated version by 2025.

[Image: Volkswagen] 

09.28.16 | 3 hours ago

Melinda Gates is on a new mission: to fix the gender balance in tech

Big-time philanthropist and Bill Gates's wife Melinda Gates is turning her focus to connecting female STEM graduates to tech jobs. The reason she's forming a new office dedicated to the effort, according to her conversation with Backchannel, is because she realized how far behind the U.S. is in terms of gender equality.

"I look at the representation of women in Congress — less than 20 percent. Some countries I go to in Africa have [representation as high as] 47 percent," Gates said during the interview. While she acknowledges that increasing the visibility of women in tech is crucial to keeping them in the field, she thinks the real key to fixing the problem, like so many of her other philanthropic efforts, is putting raw numbers in front of governments and organizations: "Data. Data, data, data."

 [Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter]

09.28.16 | 3 hours ago

Serena Williams on police brutality: “I won’t be silent”

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Serena Williams spoke out against the police shootings that have claimed so many black lives. 

She wrote that while her nephew—a black man—was driving her yesterday, she spotted a police car that had pulled over on the side of the road and she had a terrible thought. "I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend," Williams wrote. "I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew."

She continued: 

Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives? But I realized we must stride on- for it's not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go . . . As Dr. Martin Luther King said, 'There comes a time when silence is betrayal.' I won't be silent.

Read the full post below: 

09.28.16 | 3 hours ago

Google: Spanish-language searches for voter registration jumped 2,200%  in the last week

All those online efforts to promote voter registration seem to be paying off. According to Google Trends, Spanish-language searches for ways to register to vote leaped 2,200% and English-language searches jumped 430% in just the last week.

09.28.16 | 4 hours ago

LIVE: White House shows off how Americans are using government open data

Right now, the White House is hosting an event that features "cutting-edge uses of government open data to promote government efficiency and effectiveness, drive innovation, economic opportunity, and improve the health and welfare of the American public." Sounds pretty grandiloquent, but there are some interesting speakers telling their stories, including Tim Yoon, the winner of the Food and Security Challenge, Beth Beck talking about NASA's Space Apps Challenge, Black Girls Code's Roxann Stafford, and U.S. chief data scientist DJ Patil.

09.28.16 | 9:46 am

The inevitable finally happened: BlackBerry stopped making BlackBerries

It's truly the end of an era, along with convicted swindler Bernie Madoff and the idea that Bing might actually serve as a legitimate alternative to Google. BlackBerry, whose once-ubiquitous smartphone had a 20% global market share in 2009, is going to outsource the development and design of its device to focus on software and services. The announcement boosted BlackBerry shares by 3% in premarket trading, reports Reuters.

09.28.16 | 8:57 am

Report: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer rejected email security step because she thought it would drive away users

In the wake of a major hack two years ago, security experts at Yahoo recommended a fairly standard security measure: an automatic reset of all passwords. But the move was rejected by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and other executives because they thought it would "drive Yahoo's shrinking email users to other services," reports the New York Times.

09.28.16 | 8:39 am

Hopper’s new filters make it easier to book the cheapest, most optimal flight 

Since its launch last year, the Hopper app has prided itself on being able to predict future flight prices with 95% accuracy. The app looks at billions of flight prices daily, informing users when prices are at their lowest or expected to rise. 

A new update enhances the app's functionality—reportedly without compromising its accuracy—allowing users to find not only the cheapest flight, but the most fitting flight. Hopper will now let users filter out undesirable options and find the most optimal flight—say, nonstop flights or flights without long layovers. 

09.28.16 | 7:54 am

Morning intel: Walmart considers $1 billion investment in Flipkart, Facebook at Work is coming

• A shooting in El Cajon, California took the life of yet another black man yesterday, who was killed by a police officer after being reported as acting "erratically." 

• Facebook at Work, the company's enterprise competitor to Slack, will reportedly launch next month, following its announcement two years ago.

• Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf will be giving up his base salary of $2.8 million, along with bonuses and $41 million in stock awards, as Wells Fargo weathers an investigation into its illegal banking practices. 

• The FBI is investigating reports that the phones of DNC officials were breached by Russian hackers, according to Reuters

Bloomberg reports that—on the heels of its Jet acquisition—Walmart is considering investing $1 billion into Indian e-commerce company Flipkart, likely to stave off Amazon's advances in India. 

09.28.16 | 7:19 am

How much more convenient can Amazon deliveries get? Now they’re experimenting with in-house deliveries

Amazon is reportedly working with two smart lock makers, August and Garageio, to test a new package delivery system that would enable the delivery man to enter your home and leave your package inside when you aren't there, reports the Information. The system would work by giving the delivery person one-time access to your home via your smart lock. It would also allow Amazon to do away with external shipping packaging, saving the company tens of millions of dollars a year.

[Photo: Flickr user Mike Seyfang]

09.28.16 | 7:08 am

Twitter has an awesome new feature that helps people register to vote

The social network has just launched a new DM feature that allows users to send a direct message to the official @Gov Twitter account, which provides updates from Twitter's government and elections team, and receive a reply where and when by that user needs to register to vote, reports TechCrunch. Twitter tailors the information to the user by asking for them to DM their ZIP code. It will then DM you back with your state's deadline and a link to where you can register.