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08.26.16 | 5:51 am

Here’s how to stop WhatsApp from sharing your phone number with Facebook

The insanely popular messaging client won over a billion users in part because of its stance on how strictly it took your privacy. But now that WhatsApp has announced it will soon share your phone number with Facebook for advertising and marketing purposes, many users are understandably annoyed. Good news, however: There's a way you can stop WhatsApp from sharing your number with Facebook, notes Motherboard:

If you haven't accepted WhatsApp's new terms and conditions yet, do not click the Accept button. Instead, scroll to the bottom of the T&Cs and tap the note that states: "Read more about the key updates to our terms and privacy policy." Next, tap to uncheck the box that reads: "Share my account information with Facebook . . ."

If you have already accepted WhatsApp's new terms and conditions but have done so within the last 30 days, you can still opt out of sharing your info with Facebook. In the app go into Settings > Account, and tap to uncheck the "Share my account information with Facebook . . . " box.

[Photo: Flickr user Jan Persiel]

10.26.16 | 15 minutes ago

Lively snags $4 million to take on Victoria’s Secret

Earlier this year, I wrote an in-depth story about the online underwear market, documenting how brands like Lively are taking on the giants of the industry—Victoria's Secret and Hanes—with high-tech products and less sex-heavy marketing. 

This week, a direct-to-consumer brand started by a former Victoria's Secret exec, Michelle Grant, just landed $4 million in seed funding. One investor in this round was Leandra Medine, founder of the website Man Repeller

This brings Lively's total funding to date to $5.5 million, which is still small change in the $13 billion intimates industry. Victoria's Secret brings in upwards of $1 billion in revenues annually, although the brand's sales have slowed this year and it recently slashed 200 jobs. Lively is arming itself for the fight ahead.  

10.26.16 | 40 minutes ago

Morning intel: Snapchat Story views are down, Toyota recalls 5.8 million cars

• Facebook is reportedly looking into creating a product for broadcasters modeled after Instant Articles—an approach that could help assuage concerns about monetization. 

• Google Fiber, Alphabet's attempt to expand internet access, is downsizing. The division is laying off about 130 employees (9% of its staff) and pulling back from eight cities. 

Snapchat Story views have been on the decline ever since the company nixed its Autoplay feature, which would automatically play the next Story when one ended. According to Digiday, view counts have decreased by 15% since the change was made. 

• Delta's updated app allows you to track your bags as soon as you check them in, based on when the bag's RFID tag is scanned. 

• Toyota is recalling a total of 5.8 million cars across Japan, China, and Europe due to faulty Takata airbags. 

• Coming up today: Tesla and Samsung earnings. We're watching for updates on the SolarCity acquisition, Model 3 production, and Gigafactory operations.

10.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Report: Google Fiber to lay off 9% of its staff, pull back from 8 different cities

Google parent Alphabet is dramatically cutting back on its ambitious plans to expand its Fiber internet service nationwide and disrupt the entire broadband market. It is letting go about 9% of staff (or roughly 130 employees), and top exec Craig Barratt, who leads the Access unit that includes Google Fiber, is leaving, reports Bloomberg. In a blog post, Barratt wrote that it is pulling back from eight different cities, including Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. "I suspect the sheer economics of broad-scale access deployments finally became too much for them," Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research, told Bloomberg.

10.26.16 | 2 hours ago

This video shows Uber’s robot truck delivering 45,000 cans of Budweiser

In what's being called the first-ever autonomous delivery, Uber's self-driving truck startup Otto just delivered 45,000 cans of beer for Budweiser. The robot truck drove the precious cargo on I-25 from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, Colorado. "The driver was out of the driver's seat during the entire 120-mile stretch of highway," notes the video. Uber acquired Otto in August for $700 million, and the company is set to launch UberFreight, a service matching truck drivers and fleet managers with freight waiting to be shipped.

10.26.16 | 3 hours ago

Through a new partnership with IBM’s Watson, GM cars will now remind you of all the errands you still have to do

Through a new partnership, IBM Watson's will add some powerful artificial intelligence to GM's OnStar service, allowing drivers to "connect and interact with their favorite brands." Now drivers will get "personalized experiences" on iHeartRadio based on their listening history, will be guided to the nearest Exxon and Mobil gas stations as soon as their gas tank nears empty, and even be reminded to pick up diapers a few miles before arriving home via Watson Personality Insights APIs. The upgraded OnStar Go will be available in more than 2 million 4G LTE-connected vehicles by the end of 2017.  [Image: GM]

10.25.16 | 7:24 pm

Samsung Pay strikes deal with MasterCard to tackle online checkout 

Since its launch, Samsung Pay has kept its mobile payment method focused on physical checkout while competing wallets pushed their tap-to-pay technology inside apps. But this week Samsung (finally!) decided to make Pay e-commerce friendly. On Wednesday the company announced a partnership with MasterCard to make Samsung Pay a form of payment in digital shopping carts through MasterPass. 

The reason Samsung seems to have waited so long to introduce this functionality into its wallet is because it made a bet that the first wallet to be accepted in the most physical locations would be in stores (hence its acquisition of LoopPay). But because paying with a phone is not yet second nature, shopping inside of mobile devices may prove a better gateway for mobile wallet adoption. "Online payments accounted for more than 25% of the 2 trillion won in processed transactions, demonstrating that consumers may be actively looking for solutions to make their online experiences faster, simpler, and secure," said Thomas Ko, VP and global GM of Samsung Pay, in a statement.

10.25.16 | 6:29 pm

Evening intel: Colin Powell’s with her, and Chipotle needs a miracle

Colin Powell, the secretary of state under George W. Bush and a die-hard Republican, said he will vote for Hillary Clinton on November 8. Recall that leaked email in which Powell allegedly said he'd "rather not" have to. 

Chipotle reported another double-digit decline in same-store sales, a key metric for restaurant health, in a sign that it has not recovered from its food-safety crisis.

Apple Inc. beat sales estimates for the iPhone in its fourth-quarter earnings, but sales of the device are still down from last year. Apple shares are down, too. 

Facebook execs fielded tough questions at an event today about how Facebook handles controversial content. What stays and what goes?  

Bernie Sanders has weighed in on the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner Inc., saying he will press Hillary Clinton (should she become president, which she probably will) to mount a "vigorous antitrust effort." 

• And finally, as Disney-owned ESPN struggles with cord-cutting and a general decline in linear TV viewing, Twitter decides to launch weekly streaming talking-heads shows for NBA fans. Nothing fishy there. 

10.25.16 | 6:15 pm

”Peak iPhone” is real

Apple's Q4 earnings report left us with more questions than answers. iPhone sales look to be in a slump, but the newly released iPhone 7 was only available for two weeks during the quarter, so the future remains unclear. Add to the mix the recent developments with Google's well-reviewed Pixel and Samsung's exploding Note 7, the mobile market could be due for a shake-up.

10.25.16 | 5:22 pm

Pandora is losing listeners as it gears up to take on Spotify

Lurking inside Pandora's latest quarterly earnings report is one of its biggest challenges: Fleeing listeners. The streaming music company–which saw its revenue grow 13% year over year–nonetheless reported a slight dip in active users from 78.1 million last year to 77.9 million. 

Pandora hopes to reverse this trend by launching its own on-demand Spotify competitor later this year. While there's no guarantee that Pandora will be able to convert lots of listeners into paying subscribers, providing the option may discourage people from closing the Pandora app whenever they want to save songs or dig deeper into an artist's catalog. 

10.25.16 | 5:20 pm

How Facebook is coming to terms with controversial content

At the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D conference, the Journal's Christina Passariello interviewed Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and chief product officer Chris Cox—and her first salvo of questions involved how the company is figuring out how to deal with controversial content such as Nick Ut's famous photo of a naked girl suffering suffering from napalm burns during the Vietnamese War, which the company initially suppressed before concluding that it was acceptable, and even important, to show.

It's a challenge that the company is continuously in the process of figuring out, especially since it isn't a traditional content site. "A media company is about the stories it tells," said Cox. "A technology company is about the tools that it builds." Facebook remains a tech company, but, as Sandberg said, "We're proud of the role we play in witnessing."

"The really important question," she added, is, 'how do we make sure that people have free expression on Facebook?'" As part of that effort, the company is working with experts on different types of problematic content—bullying, hate speech, nudity—to set the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable.

10.25.16 | 4:50 pm

Apple beats iPhone sales expectations, but profits, revenues down for third straight quarter

"Peak iPhone" is real. iPhone sales, in general, are on a downward arc, and Apple is looking for ways to fill the gap. Apple's fiscal Q4 is characterized by soft iPhone sales running up to the release of the new iPhone 7, which was available only for a couple of weeks during that quarter. Here are the highlights:

• Earnings of $9 billion on $46.9 billion in revenue, down from $11.1 billion in earnings on $51.5 billion in revenues in the same quarter last year. Last quarter, Apple earned $7.8 billion on $42.4 billion in revenues. 

• Apple beat analyst estimates for unit sales of iPhone, selling 45.5 million devices in the quarter. But that's down from the 48 million it sold last year. Morgan Stanley analysts thought Apple would ship 44 million iPhones in the quarter.*

•Apple also sold sold 9.3 million iPads (down from 9.8 million last year), 4.9 million Macs (up from 4.7 million last year). Services revenue was $6.3 billion.

•Gross margin was 38% compared to 39.9% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62% of the quarter's revenue.

*Since the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were available for only two weeks of the quarter, we still don't have a clear picture of the device's impact. We'll be listening for Tim Cook's guidance on that during the earnings call today. Stay tuned.

10.25.16 | 4:46 pm

Tired of quarterly earnings? So is the CEO of Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman thinks we should rethink the practice of quarterly earnings reports for U.S. companies. Gorman says that the once-per-quarter filings, legally required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, are an "asinine" practice that distracts from long-term planning.

He's not alone. Other Wall Street executives have criticized the practice. The law firm Wachtell Lipton recently said the schedule encourages short-term thinking and even Hillary Clinton has hinted at the possibility of reforms that would let executives and shareholders "focus on the next decade rather than just the next day," according to the Wall Street Journal