Americans are spending less time tapping and scrolling within social media apps, at least on Android phones, according to a recent report from SimilarWeb. From the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, the average time Americans spent per day in the Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram apps actually declined. See our chart for the breakdown:
People are spending less time in social media apps, study finds
Report: Secret CIA assessment concluded that Russia intervened in U.S. election to help elect Trump
In a stunning revelation, the Washington Post is reporting that a secret CIA assessment concluded that Russia interfered in the U.S. election with the goal of helping Donald Trump win the White House. "It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected," one senior official told the Post. "Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman," officials told the Post.
Congressional leaders were briefed in September about evidence of Russian cyber intrusions in at least two states and the DNC hacks. And the White House urged them to release a bipartisan statement pushing for state and local officials to accept federal assistance at protecting voter registration and balloting machines from cyber-intrusions, but several Republican lawmakers balked at the request. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed doubts about the intelligence and "made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics," reports the Post. Earlier today, it was reported that the Obama administration plans to release intelligence about Russian hacking of the election just before Trump takes the oath of office.
Evening intel: Facebook memories, TheBlaze controversy, FCC drama
• A foreign affairs correspondent for Glenn Beck's TheBlaze was suspended and recalled back to the United States after posting a picture of himself pointing a gun and claiming to fire at members of ISIS, Politico reports.
• A number of Facebook users complained on Friday that their old photos were being shared on their timelines without their permission. As Mashable noted, the apparent glitch may have been related to an iOS update.
• In an effort to learn more about patterns of police bias, officers in California will soon be required to collect the race of people they pull over for traffic stops, the L.A. Times reports.
• With the Senate ready to adjourn, the reconfirmation of FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is looking less and less likely. As our Mark Sullivan wrote this week, a new term for Rosenworcel could have tipped the scale of the five-member commission in favor of the Democrats, who will need all the help they can get next year. CZ
If you don’t want to be stuck on an airplane next to a chatty cellphone user, now’s your chance to act
Sure, we live in a country where someone can lose the popular vote and still win an election, but that doesn't mean Washington doesn't want to hear what we have to say when it comes to air travel. The Department of Transportation is currently seeking public comments on whether it should adopt a rule to restrict wireless voice communications on flights. The FCC is pushing to allow in-flight calls, but not everyone is on board with the idea, so now the DOT wants us to weigh in. Without DOT restrictions, it will eventually be up to individual airlines to come up with their own policies.
It's not a decision to take lightly: Airplanes are one of the last safe spaces for lovers of peace and quiet (not counting fights to Orlando), and while the majority of passengers would probably be respectful enough not to yak in someone's ear, it only takes one loud person to disrupt the entire cabin. (We're looking at you, jerk in seat 22D.)
What do you think? Do you want to keep flights phone-call free, or should we be free to yak and fly? Let your voice be heard.
Is Coach poised to become America’s LVMH?
Coach's star was fading for a while. Its products had become over-distributed, popping up at bargain basement stores and outlet malls. But over the last few years, it has been making a turnaround, with new creative director, Stuart Vevers, giving the brand a new look and new cachet in the fashion world.
It has recently acquired the upscale shoe brand Stuart Weitzman and there have been rumors of it buying Burberry. Top executives at Coach say that more acquisitions are in the works. This means it could soon become a high-end fashion conglomerate, much like LVMH and Kering.
Virtual reality gets more real with Facebook’s prototype VR hot/cold sensitivity
Facebook-owned Oculus has only just shipped its terrific Touch Controllers, but it already has its eyes on what could be the next hot, or cool–depending on which adjective you want to use–feature for VR: the ability to physically feel heat and cold during virtual reality experiences.
Noticed by Upload VR, Facebook shared the experiment during a live broadcast (about a minute into the above video) of projects coming out of its latest hackathon. The idea for the early-stage project is that the controllers can actually convey warmth or cold depending on what's happening inside VR–making the user's experience more real. It's a long way off from reality, but Facebook's brain trust was seemingly quite impressed with the prototype.
And don't worry, no Mark Zuckerbergs were harmed in this experiment. DT
NASA has released a treasure trove of space GIFs
Verizon refuses to release Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 software update
Verizon said today that it will not release a Galaxy Note 7 software update that would prevent all recalled devices from charging. The software update was just announced by Samsung in an attempt to make all recalled smartphones inoperable. In a company statement, Verizon defended its decision, saying it has concerns about the safety of Note 7 users who might not have another phone to use once the update is rolled out and the phones no longer work.
Samsung plans to release the update on December 19. It will be distributed to all major carriers within 30 days, but it hasn't been confirmed whether all carriers will release the update. Sprint announced it would wait until after the holiday season, says The Verge. AM
Report: FCC’s Wheeler ready to step down to make way for Rosenworcel reappointment
Politico late yesterday reported that Democratic FCC chairman Tom Wheeler told Senate minority leader Harry Reid that he'll (finally) step down from his post—but on the condition that Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel be reappointed for her second term on the commission. Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica heard the same story from an FCC spokesperson last night.
After Donald Trump's surprise win in the election, Wheeler found himself in a position to influence the political bent of the commission in 2017. It's customary for the FCC chair to step down so that the new incoming president can nominate a replacement, but Wheeler technically has another year in his term as a commissioner and has so far refused. Hence the 11th hour drama before Congress departs for break next week.
If Wheeler steps down and Rosenworcel is reappointed, and Trump appoints (and Congress approves) a Republican chairman, the GOP would hold a 3-2 majority on the commission. This would come in handy when the GOP-controlled FCC tries to roll back Wheeler's landmark network neutrality ruling of 2015, which dictated that the internet be regulated like a public utility. MS
Obama demands complete assessment of hackers’ impact on election
President Obama's days in the White House are dwindling rapidly, and he's surely got a long list of things he'd like to accomplish before he departs. One of them is as full an assessment as possible of exactly how hackers impacted the election.
It's not about overturning the results, as some people are sure to conclude. It's about helping us understand what was done, by whom, and why. Check out Fast Company's full story on this.
[Photo: DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith]
Here are the five ways you can get banned from Uber
They may seem pretty obvious, but the offensive behaviors that can get you banned from Uber are finally being officially posted by the ride-sharing service. "If we are made aware of these kinds of problematic behavior, we will contact you so we can investigate them," emphasizes Uber, noting that the company can put a hold on your account while it investigates your misdeed.
• Damaging drivers' or other passengers' property. That includes spilling food or drink, smoking, and vomiting (due to excessive alcohol consumption).
• Physical contact with the driver or fellow riders. No touching, flirting, or having sex with other people in the car.
• Use of inappropriate and abusive language or gestures. That includes "overly personal questions," verbal threats, and comments deemed "aggressive, sexual, discriminatory, or disrespectful."
• Unwanted contact with the driver or fellow passenger after the trip is over. No texting, calling, or visiting your new "friends" if they're not into it.
• Breaking the local law while using Uber. That could include bringing open containers of alcohol or drugs, asking a driver to break the speed limit, and using Uber to commit a crime like human trafficking. MB
As a test, Google is including movie and TV ratings within search results
Now maybe you'll think twice about seeing Office Christmas Party after searching for movie theaters in your neighborhood. Google is testing a new feature that includes movie and TV ratings—from Rotten Tomatoes (which gave the aforementioned comedy a 43% rating) and IMDb within search results, reports Search Engine Land. It's a little crude, so don't expect those types of numerical ratings. With Google, you can expect just two choices: like or dislike. MB
Morning intel: Tinder CEO is out again, researchers find preserved dino tail
• Sean Rad, the founder of dating app Tinder, is stepping down as CEO for the second time since 2015. Rad will stay on as chairman while Gregg Blatt, currently head of Match Group (which owns Tinder), will become Tinder's CEO.
• Researchers discovered a feathered dinosaur tail preserved in 99-million-year-old amber. The tail likely belonged to a flightless, sparrow-size dinosaur.
• For the first time since 1993, the average U.S. life expectancy has fallen—to age 78.8 from age 78.9. The decline is due to various factors, including a rise in death rates from suicide, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease.
• A damning new report by the World Anti-Doping Agency reveals the details of a massive athlete doping program in Russia. The evidence implicates more than 1,000 athletes, including Olympic medalists. RP