Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a radical change to the way the social network will work, with the firm moving towards auto-encryption and deletion for messages by default. Facebook will also refuse to store user data in countries with records of human rights abuses, even if it means Facebook’s services are banned as a result.
- Sceptics including journalists and former Facebook workers were quick to point out the difficulties of Zuckerberg’s mission. Many asked how Facebook would continue making vast amounts of advertising money from the free flow of information, if it becomes a privacy-focused platform.
- At least three female Snap employees were reportedly given bumper severance deals last year after staff complained that a round of layoffs disproportionately affected women. Employees raised their concerns in a letter and Snap agreed to compensate the three women over and above their severance deals.
- Amazon is closing all 87 of its pop-up stores, and reportedly laying off all employees. The retailer will instead expand its Amazon 4-star and books concepts.
- A new study has found that self-driving vehicles may have a harder time detecting people with dark skin. On average, the image-detection systems were 5% less accurate at detecting dark-skinned pedestrians.
- Samsung is said to be working to address a flaw in the Galaxy Fold’s screen that results in a crease after the phone has been folded about 10,000 times. The company is reportedly considering offering free screen replacements to Galaxy Fold buyers after the device launches.
- Steam, the most popular platform for PC gaming, will no longer release “Rape Day,” a controversial video game from the indie developer Desk Plant centered around committing sexual violence against women.While the game was viewable in the Steam store for weeks and was scheduled for an April 2019 release, Steam now says “Rape Day” presents “unknown costs and risks” to its business.
- Google will roll out its AI appointment booking assistant, Duplex, to 43 states in the US today for Pixel 3 owners. CEO Sundar Pichai famously demoed Duplex making a very human-like call to book a hair appointment at Google’s annual developer conference.
- British cloud OS startup Hadean has created a simulation engine which it says can handle a 10,000-player space dogfight. The firm has raised $US9.1 million to build out a cloud OS to help developers scale applications quickly.
- US president Donald Trump referred to Apple CEO Tim Cook as “Tim Apple.” The slip-up happened as Trump met with Cook and other members of his American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.
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