10 things in tech you need to know today

Julian AssangePA ImagesWikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is in hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK.

Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Monday.

1. Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the US election, obtained a warrant for Russian-linked ads that ran on Facebook during the campaign. Facebook handed over information about the ads, which were linked to a Russian troll farm, and how they were targeted at US users.

2. A Republican lawmaker, Dana Rohrabacher, tried to make a deal with the White House on behalf of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Assange, currently in hiding in the UK, would theoretically offer detailed evidence that Russia had not meddled in the US election, in exchange for “something like” a pardon.

3. The first major task facing Uber’s new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi is to find a new chief financial officer, plus several senior legal hires. Uber has lacked a CFO for more than two years, and reports suggested the firm was waiting until it was closer to going public.

4. The Finnish maker of “Angry Birds”, Rovio, has set a maximum valuation of $US1.1 billion (£808 million) for its upcoming public offering. Rovio has had a tough few years financially, and that valuation is lower than expected.

5. Facebook, Google, and Twitter all allowed advertisers to target users with racist and anti-Semitic terms, according to numerous media reports. Facebook allowed marketers to target “Jew haters”, Twitter let people target users who used the “N” word, and Google allowed the phrase “black people ruin everything” — all three firms subsequently updated the categories on their ad platforms.

6. Facebook is to open a fourth AI research centre, and has chosen Montreal, Canada as the location. The firm praised the country’s startup culture and favourable government policies.

7. Filesharing site The Pirate Bay is testing a bitcoin miner on its site as a new way to generate revenue instead of ads. Users spotted that a cryptocurrency miner appeared on The Pirate Bay’s site, using their CPU resources to mine the digital currency Monero.

8. Google’s Chrome will crack down on autoplay video ads, and will only play them if the user has shown interest in the clip, or if they don’t play with sound. There’ll also be the option to mute entire sites.

9. Workplace chat service Slack has been valued at $US5.1 billion (£3.7 billion) after closing a $US250 million (£184 million) funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. Slack said the money was for “operational flexibility” rather than any particular use, according to Bloomberg.

10. New York City has spoken up in the multi-city fight to be Amazon’s new headquarters. City deputy mayor Alicia Glen said people wanted to work in NYC, not “a suburban office park.”

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