Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Monday.
- Mark Zuckerberg has tasked Facebook employees with reconfiguring its messaging services WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram so users can communicate across the platforms, The New York Times reported. The apps will continue to operate as three standalone platforms but would be unified by an “underlying messaging infrastructure” that includes end-to-end encryption for the entire “family” of Facebook-owned apps.
- Some lawmakers are already raising concerns about Facebook’s plans to merge its messaging apps. California Democratic congressman Ro Khanna was one of the first to comment, suggesting on Twitter that the move raised anti-trust concerns about Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
- YouTube says it will recommend less “borderline” content, or videos that are untruthful in potentially harmful ways. Examples of videos YouTube hopes to promote less often include ones that claim that the Earth is flat or promote phony cures for serious illnesses.
- Mysterious, non-existent artists racked up thousands of listens on hijacked Spotify playlists. BBC journalist Jonathan Griffin found reports of mysterious unknown bands showing up unexpectedly on people’s Spotify playlists.
- One of the biggest problems facing the internet is coming from smart, connected devices, said Vint Cerf, Google’s chief internet evangelist and a co-creator of the internet. Many of these “internet of things” gadgets, which range from security cameras to self-driving cars to connected thermostats and toasters, have already been shown to have serious software bugs or security flaws.
- Palm, the brand behind popular PDA-style phones in the early 2000s, has relaunched with a credit-card sized phone. The phone is supposed to act as a companion device to your regular cell that you can more easily use for nights out, workouts, or periods away from your full-fledged smartphone – but our reviewer found it probably makes more sense to buy a smartwatch.
- Electric scooters like Lime’s and Bird’s sent more people to two Los Angeles emergency rooms than regular bikes, according to a new study. The most common injuries were fractures, sprains, and head injuries.
- A YouTube scam reported this week sees scammers pretending to be top YouTube stars and offering gifts. The scam appears to be a fairly typical online phishing scheme, which target individuals to divulge personal information, like credit card and social security numbers.
- An MIT researcher’s startup claims it has technology that will revolutionise e-scooters and save mobility companies money. A startup called Superpedestrian thinks it can fix the problem of abandoned and broken scooters with onboard diagnostic computers and a more rugged design.
- A Verge reporter used Europe’s GDPR privacy rules to download 138GB of his own data from tech giants including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple – and found much it messy and incomprehensible. The reporter found Google’s location data particularly difficult to understand without context.
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