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06.06.16 | 1:40 pm

Facebook tests feature that lets you “notify” friends instead of tagging them

When you want a friend to see a funny/inspiring/rage-inducing post on Facebook, standard practice is to tag them in a comment below the post. There are two major problems with this method: One, it clogs up the comments sections of popular posts with tagged names instead of actual discussions; and two, the tagged user simply receives a notification that they have been "mentioned," which doesn't really explain whether the tag is part of a personal note or a simple "hey, look at this."'

Adweek blog SocialTimes reports that Facebook is testing a "notify" feature—so a user receives a notification about a post but isn't actually tagged in it. 

I think this is a good solution that offers users more privacy, but my colleague Rich Bellis thinks it plays to "the worst tendencies of the Internet": "Instead of one-on-one communication (like actually saying something to someone), all you need to do is mutely punt a piece of content over to them."

10.27.16 | an hour ago

Trump official says the campaign is working on “three major voter suppression operations”

Though Hillary Clinton has a clear edge in the polls as we head into the last two weeks of the campaign, Donald Trump's campaign is furiously working on some strategies to catch up, including "three major voter suppression operations under way," reports Bloomberg Businessweek. The Republican nominee's digital strategy team, dubbed "Project Alamo," is working on efforts to undermine three demographics that lean heavily toward Clinton: "idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans." The hope is that these voters will see the negative spin about Clinton from the Trump team and simply not vote. 

This anti-leadership strategy of trying to keep non-voters not voting may be Trump's only hope of winning some key swing states. You can read the whole story here

10.27.16 | an hour ago

Canadian tampon brand Easy launches graphic ad campaign to bust the period taboo

Canadian organic tampon subscription service Easy wants to build on the menstrual activism that has been growing over the last year with an ad campaign that depicts a world where women are not embarrassed about their periods. One image shows a woman going skinny-dipping with her friends with a tampon string hanging against her thigh, while another shows a couple unfazed by stripping a period-stained sheet from their bed. These posters will run in 100 men and women's washrooms in bars and restaurants throughout Canada for the next two months. 

This is part of a larger movement of brands taking the lead in busting taboos about period, a trend that I wrote about in a long-form story this summer called, "Bleeding On the Job: A Menstruation Investigation."

10.27.16 | 2 hours ago

Thinx founder Miki Agrawal expands product line in her bidet business

Agrawal, the founder of Thinx, has two other lesser known businesses. Icon Undies that produces underwear for women with incontinence and Tushy, which creates bidet attachments for your toilet. 

Tushy is designed to be eco-friendly by encouraging people to cut down on the massive amounts of toilet paper Americans use every year. (The website says that the average American uses 47 sheets a day, which translates into 15 million trees annually for the entire country.) 

This week, the brand launched a new product, a bamboo fiber towel that is naturally anti-bacterial, since customers had been asking how they should dry off their bottoms post bidet. 

10.27.16 | 2 hours ago

The Fine Line, digital magazine targeting women over 45, launches today

Sue Cowie felt there was glaring gap in the media landscape for women in their forties, fifties, and sixties. Magazines like Real Simple and Good Housekeeping, she felt, assumed middle-aged women spend their time tending to their house or gardening, rather than working out and killing it at their jobs. "Being 50 today is totally different from what it was during my mother's time or my grandmother's time," she says.

Today, she launches The Fine Line, a lifestyle magazine targeted at stylish, healthy, sexy women over 45. Articles tend to focus on fitness and beauty, but Cowie hopes to expand to many other topics over time. There is also a personal essay section called #RealTalk.

The site is cofounded by Allison Hatfield, the editor-in-chief, who formerly edited DailyCandy. This new publication is designed for the DailyCandy reader who is now in her forties and looking for her place on the internet. 

10.27.16 | 3 hours ago

Morning intel: Twitter’s Q3 earnings, Apple’s Mac event

• During its earnings call this morning, Twitter confirmed earlier reports about layoffs. Twitter will be cutting 9% of its workforce, which amounts to about 350 jobs. 

Samsung's overall operating profit fell 30% during Q3, while its net profit dipped by nearly 17%—expected fallout from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. Samsung has already revealed that the recall will likely set it back an additional $3 billion over the next two quarters.

• The M&A just doesn't quit: Verizon is acquiring the tech behind online video platform Vessel, which was founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. But this means Verizon will be shuttering the actual Vessel service. 

• Apple is expected to announce Mac updates during an event this afternoon. Analysts say Apple is likely to unveil a new 13-inch Macbook and two new Macbook Pros. 

• Also coming up today: more Q3 earnings! Here's what we're expecting to hear from Alphabet and Amazon

10.27.16 | 3 hours ago

Airbnb’s female employee representation declined this year, though it doubled the number of women in leadership roles

Airbnb's latest diversity report is a mixed picture: Though ethnic diversity increased in 2016 (to 57% white, from 63% white last year), its gender diversity declined (to 43% female, from 46% female last year). But the company highlighted that the number of women working in senior leadership roles has doubled, and it aims to increase its overall diversity next year (currently the workforce is 6.5% Hispanic and 2.9% black). It adopted a new policy that mandates that candidate pools for all senior positions include women and people of color. 

10.27.16 | 3 hours ago

Twitter will lay off 9% of its workforce

Twitter reported its third-quarter 2016 financial results on Thursday. Amid continued sluggish user growth (just a 3% increase over last year), Twitter announced it would lay off 9% of its total workforce, or about 350 people, in order to cut costs.

Twitter's total monthly active users grew slightly to 317 million, with 67 million of those users in the U.S. The vast majority (83%) of total users were mobile. 

Twitter reported slight increases in the amount of time users spent on the service daily and in the total number of tweet impressions. The company attributed these gains to product improvements, including updates to the timeline to show relevant tweets first and improved push notifications.

In a shareholder letter, the company teased more product changes to come:

And finally, we will make Tweeting easier and more meaningful by providing more context and letting people not only broadcast to the world but also have deeper, open conversations about the topics they care about. Expect to see more experimentation in this area soon. 

CEO Jack Dorsey began a morning call with investors by noting that he would not comment on recent reports that Twitter would soon be sold. 

10.27.16 | 3 hours ago

Apple’s MacBook launch: live stream, start time, and more

Today, we'll all be watching Apple's big "Hello Again" keynote presentation, where the company is expected to reveal the new MacBook Pro, an updated 13-inch MacBook Air, as well as a performance update for the iMac. The keynote kicks off this morning at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, and Fast Company will keep you updated with all the latest news. Here are the details:

• Start time: 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. Pacific)

• Watch the live stream here. 

10.27.16 | 4 hours ago

Qualcomm to buy NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion

Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of chips for cell phones, will buy NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion in cash. The huge deal enables Qualcomm to expand into other areas, such as electronics in cars, just as growth starts to slow in the smartphone market, reports Bloomberg. Investors seem happy with the move: "As a long-term investor, I would much rather have a more diverse company that has the potential to participate in new markets and probably grow significantly more than it would in a mobile-only world," Sid Parakh, a fund manager at Becker Capital Management, tells Bloomberg.

10.27.16 | 6:00 am

Obamacare 2017 by the numbers: higher rates, fewer choices, and growing frustration

Open enrollment for and state-run Obamacare exchanges begins on Tuesday, and for many customers who had been fearing the worst, the news won't be good. Premiums are set to rise in the double digits in many parts of the country, while the number of insurance providers participating in the program will decline in many markets. In five states—Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming—consumers will have only one insurance company to choose from for 2017 plans. That's up from just one state this year.

The Obama administration stresses that the vast majority of customers who sign up for the plans will qualify for a tax subsidy to lower their premiums. 

Below are some key facts for 2017. Enrollment begins November 1 and continues through January 31.  


10.26.16 | 6:50 pm

Evening intel: Tesla’s profitable, Snapchat’s going to IPO, Groupon acquires its struggling competitor

• On a third-quarter earnings call, Elon Musk said he expects Tesla to remain profitable in Q4—even accounting for non-stock-based compensation. 

• Snapchat wants to raise $4 billion in a 2017 IPO. Bloomberg estimates a public offering could yield a valuation of anywhere from $25 billion to $40 billion for the social platform.

Groupon announced it is acquiring its competitor LivingSocial. The company's stock dropped 11.2% in after-hours trading.   

• It looks like Apple's AirPods are behind schedule. The wireless headphones were scheduled for late October, but haven't arrived. No word on when they'll come out.

Tom Hanks or Bill Murray? The yawning subject of a viral photograph circling the web has people confused over whether it's Tom Hanks or Bill Murray. We'll let you decide

10.26.16 | 5:13 pm

This is where U.S. freelancers freelance

If your mental archetype for the word "freelancers" is a clutch of twentysomethings hunched over glowing screens in a tiny urban coffee shop, you wouldn't exactly be wrong. According to the latest survey by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, 35% of American freelancers do live and work cities, and they tend to skew young. But it turns out the distribution of freelancers in urban, suburban, and rural areas just about mirrors that of the overall working population.

In fact, some independent workers deliberately choose to leave big metropolises for remote locales. These are some of their main reasons why.