The new Go Grocery store, in Seattle's Capitol Hill district, is four times the size of the first Go site, Reuters reports.
The new Go Grocery store, in Seattle's Capitol Hill district, is four times the size of the first Go site, Reuters reports.
Jamie Condliffe ( @jme_c) is the news editor at Protocol, based in London. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, he worked on the business desk at The New York Times, where he edited the DealBook newsletter and wrote Bits, the weekly tech newsletter. He has previously worked at MIT Technology Review, Gizmodo, and New Scientist, and has held lectureships at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. He also holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Oxford.
Expensify, which makes cloud software that helps businesses manage their expenses, filed for an initial public offering on Friday.
Expensify, which was founded in 2008, said it plans to list on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol "EXFY."
The Portland-based company reported a loss of $1.7 million, on revenue of $88 million in 2020, compared to a profit of $1.2 million on revenue of $80.5 million in 2019. Expensify reported sales of $65 million in the first six months of 2021, up from $40.6 million in the year-ago period.
Netflix fired the person who organized the upcoming walkout over Dave Chappelle's new comedy special, "The Closer," on suspicion of disclosing metrics to the press, according to The Verge. The worker, who is Black, was not named for fear of online harassment.
The metrics in question include how much money Netflix made off Chappelle's special and how many people it reached; those metrics ended up in a Bloomberg report. The employee, who leads the company's trans employee resource group, had been laying out plans to protest Netflix's decision to release the comedy special, which Netflix has defended.
Netflix and other tech companies have recently been embroiled in controversy all stemming from their own employees. While Facebook is a more recent and notable example, having been caught up with two whistleblowers in recent weeks, Apple has also had its fair shares of run-ins with employees. The company just fired an #AppleToo leader, Janneke Parrish, for deleting content off her work devices, and terminated another employee who spoke out against the company last month.
The streaming service also suspended Terra Field, a trans software engineer whose tweet about the controversy went viral, but later reinstated her. "This is not me, but I am furious about it," Field tweeted on Friday in response to the employee's firing.
A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the termination, saying the company let go an employee for "sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company." "We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company," the spokesperson said.
This post was updated with comment from Netflix.
This week Google began rolling out an infinite scroll feature "for most English searches on mobile in the U.S.," according to the company. Prior to the update, mobile users had to click a button to load a new page of results.
Google said in a press release announcing the decision: "While you can often find what you're looking for in the first few results, sometimes you want to keep looking. In fact, most people who want additional information tend to browse up to four pages of search results. With this update, people can now seamlessly do this, browsing through many different results, before needing to click the 'See more' button."
The company didn't provide an estimate for the full rollout of infinite scroll, or for when the feature might be offered outside the U.S.
Google users will likely be familiar with the infinite scroll experience from social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all implement infinite scroll within their social feeds.
Critics of infinite scroll say it manipulates users into spending more time online. The inventor of the feature, Aza Raskin, claims he feels guilty about having created it. "If you don't give your brain time to catch up with your impulses, you just keep scrolling," Raskin told the BBC.
Infinite scroll stands to benefit Google if users scroll through more search results and are therefore exposed to more ads. One interesting aspect of the design change is that it reorients the positioning of advertising within search results: Rather than coming at the top and bottom of each page, the ads are placed throughout the infinite stream of search results. This could benefit Google by making it more difficult for users to differentiate between paid and organic search results.
Alphabet generated $50.4 billion in advertising revenue for the three months ended June 30, 2021. That constituted nearly 82% of total revenue for the quarter.
The director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency tweeted Friday in praise of people "working to find and responsibly disclose vulnerabilities."
The tweet by Jen Easterly came a day after Missouri's Republican governor accused a reporter of illegal hacking for a story on a flaw in a state website that exposed teachers' sensitive personal information.
According to reports, the journalist used tools that come standard on most browsers to identify the issue in the public-facing code of the site, and the reporter waited until the problem had been corrected to publish.
The accusations by Gov. Mike Parson led to suggestions that he was threatening the reporter for responsibly exposing public lapses.
Cybersecurity researchers, including those working for the world's top companies, routinely probe software for security oversights and vulnerabilities to repair them before bad actors can find them, and such actions are considered a crucial part of protecting digital infrastructure.
Several people suggested that Easterly's reminder that CISA "greatly value[s] the partnerships and efforts of researchers, hackers, academics" and others whose work "makes us all more safe & more secure" was aimed at Parson.
Beijing is considering elevating the Antimonopoly Bureau to a vice-ministerial level agency amid a widening regulatory crackdown on Big Tech, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The antitrust watchdog currently sits within the State Administration for Market Regulation, which has frequently made headlines as it imposed record-breaking fines on tech giants this year. The new plan is to make the bureau a vice-ministerial level agency and rename it to the National Antimonopoly Bureau, sources with knowledge of the plans told Reuters.
This is "the biggest news in Chinese antitrust history," antitrust expert Angela Zhang, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, wrote on Twitter. "This new regulatory restructuring will be a significant boost to Chinese antitrust enforcement."
Legal experts have long been skeptical whether the current, thinly staffed Antimonopoly Bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation would be able to tackle the mounting antitrust cases in the tech sector.
Once the central antitrust watchdog is granted higher authority, the agency could see its staff increase to at least 100 from 35, Zhang said. The reformed bureau will also oversee three separate agencies: one to oversee mergers and acquisitions, another to conduct investigations and a third to draft competition policies.
A top Google executive on Friday criticized a major forthcoming antitrust bill in the Senate, warning that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act could have "unintended consequences" that break "a range of popular products that people use everyday."
"We're not opposed to antitrust scrutiny or updated regulations and we encourage Congress to take up the challenge of acting on areas of widespread agreement, like protecting Americans' privacy and updating protections for children," Google's vice president of government affairs Mark Isakowitz said in a statement posted to Twitter. "But just like the controversial package in the House, this bill doesn't address the real issues - rather, it would break a wide range of helpful services from leading American companies, while making those services less safe, less private and less secure."
The bipartisan Senate bill, which is set to be introduced next week by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin, would prohibit large tech companies from self-preferencing their own goods and services on platforms they own. That includes "biasing search results in favor of the dominant firm."
"Our country faces a monopoly problem, and American consumers, workers, and businesses are paying the price," Klobuchar said in a statement this week. "We must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace."
The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to approve the first bitcoin futures ETF next week.
The two ETFs from ProShares and Invesco respectively are expected to start trading next week, and the SEC isn't expected to block them, Bloomberg reports.
The SEC had previously rejected numerous bitcoin ETFs. But these two new products are based on futures contracts and filed under mutual fund rules, which the SEC has indicated it is more likely to approve than previous ETF applications.
A prominent human rights activist and Saudi dissident is suing Twitter for allegedly hiring two men who acted as spies for the Saudi government. The suit accuses Twitter of negligence in its failure to detect the two spies inside the company — who are currently under indictment from U.S. federal prosecutors — and prevent them from stealing personal information for the Saudi government.
Ali Al-Ahmed, the leader of the human-rights investigation agency Institute for Gulf Affairs, is known as a prominent critic of the current Saudi regime and was granted asylum to remain in the United States in 1998. The suit filed Oct. 14 in the Northern District of California names both Twitter and the two alleged spies as defendants; Al-Ahmed already has a second suit underway against Twitter in the Southern District of New York, where he is claiming that the company's hiring of the two men eventually led to the imprisonment and death of activists in Saudi Arabia.
The two men named in the suit have both been indicted by U.S. federal prosecutors for working at Twitter and passing private information to the Saudi government from 2013 to 2015, one as a site reliability engineer and the other as a media partnerships manager.
The claim filed Thursday in California alleges that Al-Ahmed's personal information, including private conversations and connections with activists in Saudi Arabia, was stolen by these two individuals and sold to the Saudi government, and that Twitter should have known that these two men were unfit employees and should have done more to protect his personal information.
The suit also alleges that Al-Ahmed's Arabic-language Twitter account was suspended in 2018 and has not been reinstated despite multiple attempts at appeal, and accuses the company of keeping Al-Ahmed's account offline because of its interest in maintaining users in Saudi Arabia. "While Twitter may wish to play the victim of state-sponsored espionage, Twitter's conduct in punishing the victims of this intrigue, including Mr. Al-Ahmed, tells a far different story: one of ratification, complicity, and/or adoption tailored to appease a neigh beneficial owner and preserve access to a key market, the KSA," Randy Kleinman, the attorney for Al-Ahmed, wrote in the complaint.
Twitter declined to comment.
Atlassian will reopen most of its U.S. offices next month, the company told employees Wednesday.
The $103 billion software maker shut down its offices in March 2020 and reopened them briefly in June 2021. In July, the company closed them again as the delta variant brought a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
Atlassian will reopen its San Francisco, Mountain View, New York, Boston and Virginia offices in November, according to an employee who spoke to Protocol on the condition of anonymity. The one U.S. location Atlassian isn't immediately reopening is Austin: That office's lease expires in January, and the company is building out a new Austin office that's set to open in June.
The company's Sydney headquarters is also reopening Nov. 8.
Atlassian isn't requiring employees to return to the office regularly. The company told its workforce last year that they could work remotely forever.
Atlassian didn't immediately comment on its office return plans.
Coinbase wants Congress to prevent the Securities and Exchange Commission from regulating crypto and turn the job over to a new body, according to a new report.
The crypto marketplace wants Congress to create a special regulator for digital assets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an internal Coinbase policy document.
Coinbase is planning to make its proposals for crypto regulation public, the report said. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.
Coinbase has been engaged in a public dispute with the SEC under Chair Gary Gensler, who has argued that some crypto currencies should be considered securities and should be covered by investor-protection laws.
Last month, Coinbase cancelled a planned lending feature, after the SEC threatened to sue the company to block the rollout.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos wrote an all-staff memo Wednesday night that once again defended the company's decision to stream Dave Chapelle's new comedy special, "The Closer," which has drawn widespread criticism from LGBTQ-plus activist groups.
Critics, including activists within the Netflix community, have called "The Closer" transphobic and argue that it could incite violence against trans people. Sarandos disagreed with that characterization in his memo and defended the company's efforts to stream a wide variety of content. "With 'The Closer', we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.)," he wrote in an email first reported by Variety. "While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn't directly translate to real-world harm." His memo compared the effects of content streamed on Netflix to the now generally-debunked theory that violent video games make people who play them more violent.
Several Netflix employees have spoken publicly about their anger and sense of betrayal at the company's decision to stream the show. Three workers, one of whom identifies as trans and has spoken publicly about her anger at the company, were temporarily suspended for trying to attend a Netflix director's meeting without an invitation. "It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so," a Netflix spokesperson wrote in a statement to Protocol. The trans employee resource group is reportedly planning a company-wide walkout Oct. 20th to protest Sarandos' statements, according to the Verge.
Netflix's LGBTQ+ storytelling Twitter account shared their frustrations Thursday: "This week fucking sucks. To be clear: As the queer and trans people who run this account, you can imagine that the last couple of weeks have been hard. We can't always control what goes on screen. What we can control is what we create here, and the POV we bring to internal conversations."
"Our hope is that you can be hugely inspired by entertaining the world, while also living with titles you strongly believe have no place on Netflix. This will not be the last title that causes some of you to wonder if you can still love Netflix. I sincerely hope that you can," Sarandos wrote in his memo. Netflix is not the first streaming company to face both public and internal backlash over content decisions; Spotify was embroiled in a similar controversy last year when employees asked for editorial control over content produced by Joe Rogan.
HTC unveiled its new Vive Flow consumer headset Thursday morning, positioning it as a device for meditation, downtime and mental well-being. The headset is priced $499, and can be preordered starting Thursday; it will begin shipping in November.
The Vive Flow is powered by a Qualcomm XR 1 processor, which is less powerful than the chip used by Facebook's $300 Oculus Quest 2. It ships without physical controllers, instead allowing people to use their phone to navigate VR experiences. The headset does offer 6 degrees of freedom, making it possible to "lean into" VR experiences, but there's no support for hand tracking.
The Vive Flow may be less powerful than the Quest 2, but HTC did add a few features missing from other VR headsets: The Flow's lenses can be adjusted for people who ordinarily need to wear glasses (although the Quest 2 offers an insert to help people who need glasses), and the integration of Miracast makes it possible to mirror phone-based media apps like Netflix and YouTube to the headset.
The Flow is also extremely light and portable, weighing just 189 grams. However, the latter comes with a significant trade-off: The integrated battery only provides enough power for a few minutes of use, after which the Flow has to be connected to an external battery pack.
Initial reactions among journalists who had been pre-briefed by HTC were mixed, with UploadVR praising the Flow as "by far the lightest and most comfortable VR headset" to date, while The Verge discounted it as "an experiment."
Moor Insights Principal Analyst Anshel Sag also expressed some doubts. "It's a headset with a very clear purpose, but not a great value prop when you see that more-capable headsets are selling for considerably less to consumers," he told Protocol Thursday morning. "The $499 price makes it very hard to justify to most consumers."
Sag mused that the Flow could be a success if it were a lot cheaper. However, HTC may simply not have the resources necessary to sell hardware at cost in the same way as Facebook — something that is reflected in the company's go-to-market strategy for the Flow, he argued. "The fact that HTC is only selling it directly to consumers indicates that the company needs to capture every percent of margin it can get from each headset," Sag said.
Top House Democrats unveiled a bill Thursday that would force big online companies like Facebook and Twitter to face liability if the algorithms that shape their sites push content that drives harm in the real world.
Rep. Frank Pallone, who chairs the House Energy & Commerce Committee, is spearheading this proposal to change Sec. 230. Online services value the legal provision, which protects them from facing legal liability over the content of user posts, and say it protects free speech while allowing them to clean up the worst content. Yet Democratic lawmakers increasingly say the law gives social media companies and other websites too little incentive to police harmful posts.
The bill from Pallone and the chairs of three of his panel's subcommittees would allow services to face liability "when an online platform knowingly or recklessly uses an algorithm or other technology to recommend content that materially contributes to physical or severe emotional injury," according to a news release accompanying the bill.
The proposal follows Senate testimony by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who alleged the site's algorithms focused on presenting the most engaging content, but in the process resulted in harms ranging from fostering political extremism to worsening the mental health of some at-risk young users. Haugen recommended making companies face more legal responsibility for their algorithms, which are at the core of their business, as one solution.
Bills to amend Sec. 230 have become a common way for lawmakers who are fed up with Big Tech to propose changes to the industry, and tech's lobbying operations in Washington are increasingly focused on defending the provision. The companies argue that any change that zeroes in on their knowledge would simply force them to look away from the most violent and abusive content, making the online environment worse rather than better.
Lawmakers have previously passed one change to Sec. 230 into law, which was designed to curb online sex trafficking, but more recent efforts have often split along partisan lines, with Republicans hoping to use changes to force social media companies to keep up more conservative content and Democrats hoping to tackle issues such as health misinformation.
Many proposals for addressing the challenges of social media are politically driven. Bills like Pallone's, which comes from those with subject matter expertise and authority over tech policy, represent a more rare and more potent threat to the companies.
Pallone's office said the bill would "not apply to search features or algorithms that do not rely on personalization," wouldn't touch on web hosting or data storage and would only affect larger companies with five million or more unique monthly visitors.
The introduction came on the same day that a bipartisan group of senators said they would put forward a proposed change to antitrust law for Big Tech, which also signaled high-level determination to curb the platforms.
Americans overwhelmingly believe that social media makes it easier to spread misinformation and fake news, a new survey found, but they're divided along stark partisan lines when it comes to how heavily they weigh that concern against other issues, like censorship.
The survey by Gallup and The Knight Foundation included responses from 9,000 adults, who were asked about their views on social media's positive and negative effects, as well as whether they view fake news or censorship as a more serious problem. Some 90% of respondents agreed that misinformation spreads more easily on social media. Another 89% said it makes it easier to spread extreme points of view.
But the agreement between parties ended there, with 80% of Democrats saying fake news is a bigger problem than censorship, compared to 37% of Republicans. Some 46% of Republicans, meanwhile, ranked censorship as a more serious problem, compared to just 8% of Democrats.
The split mirrors the division that exists in Washington, where lawmakers continue to argue collectively that tech platforms need fixing, but often for strikingly different reasons. The study suggests that their constituencies may feel the same.
Still, despite these partisan differences, the survey did find that among all respondents, more people are concerned about the threat of fake news than censorship, with 61% of respondents overall citing fake news as a bigger concern. Only about a quarter of respondents overall said the same about censorship.
Evan Sharp is leaving Pinterest and heading to LoveFrom, Jony Ive's new company.
Sharp founded Pinterest alongside Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra. Silbermann is still the company's CEO, while Sciarra left Pinterest a couple years after its founding. He worked with the company as chief design and creative officer, and said he'll remain on the company's board and stick around as an adviser.
He wrote in a memo to Pinterest staff that he's joining LoveFrom to "grow as a designer and product builder." The new company has scooped a few other designers from Apple in recent weeks, including Chris Wilson and Eugene Whang, according to the Financial Times. "This chance for me to learn alongside the very best at their craft is a tremendous opportunity," Sharp wrote in a note to Pinterest staff.
Sharp also leaves Pinterest at a complicated time in the company's history, as it continues to reckon with an internal culture that some employees said included racism and discrimination. Ifeoma Ozoma, one of those former Pinterest employees, has been a force for culture change across tech, including with the Silenced No More Act. More recently, Christine Martinez filed a lawsuit against Silbermann and Sciarra (but not Sharp) saying that she helped create the company and wasn't fairly compensated. And from a business perspective, Pinterest is continuing to embrace creators and new kinds of content, evolving beyond the original pinning concept.
"I'm very excited about our vision and strategy here at Pinterest over the next few years," Sharp said in the note. "It's going to be the most ambitious, challenging and rewarding few years in our history."
Reddit has launched a new feature that will allow users to predict the outcomes of real-world events and place virtual "tokens" as bets on the likelihood of their predictions.
The new feature can only be run by moderators and approved users in subreddits, every person who participates is given 1,000 free tokens for each predication "tournament," and people win more tokens if their prediction is accurate. The amount someone can win is based on the amount of tokens they bet, exactly like a traditional betting structure, except no actual money is exchanged.
The predictions rules prohibit trying to predict the outcomes of elections or discuss elections in any way, according to the FAQ.
A bipartisan group of senators will introduce a bill prohibiting Big Tech platforms from giving preference to their own offerings, according to a release from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the Democrat leading the group.
The measure, which currently has six co-sponsors, means that the growing bipartisan frustration with the competitive practices of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google has now produced proposals with sign-on from top legislators in both chambers of Congress.
"Our country faces a monopoly problem, and American consumers, workers, and businesses are paying the price," Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate panel on competition, said in a statement. "We must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace."
The bill will prohibit "dominant platforms from abusing their gatekeeper power by favoring their own products or services, disadvantaging rivals, or discriminating among businesses that use their platforms in a manner that would materially harm competition on the platform."
It will also prevent the platforms from "misusing" a company's information to compete against it, "biasing search results in favor of the dominant firm" and requiring other businesses to buy the platform's offerings as a condition of good placement.
The bill echoes criticism of the tech giants, including allegations that Amazon uses proprietary data on the small merchants on its site to boost its own brands or that Google limits the visibility of rivals like Yelp in its results.
The bill has similarities to a bipartisan measure from Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the House subcommittee on antitrust and led a months-long investigation of the companies that outlined several concerns. Alongside a package of reform proposals, Cicilline's bill moved out of committee in June, although opposition has grown to the bills and there's been little movement since then.
Procedural rules in the Senate make it easy to block legislation that only has backing from a slim majority, however, a bill with broad bipartisan support can signal that priorities are getting closer to becoming law. In addition to Klobuchar, Sens. Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley have signed on to the measure. They are respectively the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would oversee the bill.
A spokeswoman for Klobuchar said that additional co-sponsors may also join, and the group will introduce a full text next week. Klobuchar also introduced a package of major antitrust reform proposals in February, but that bill only counts Democrats among its co-sponsors.
Square is getting into the business of funding artists through its new Cash App Studios.
The project is designed to fund musicians and those in fashion or filmmaking, in what are apparently more like grants than advances. Artists like Victoria Monét, who has songwriting credits for Ariana Grande, have already been signed up.
Cash App has long been popular to mention in hip hop lyrics. And Square acquired Jay-Z's Tidal this past spring, though its connections to the rest of Square are still not entirely clear.
Correction: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Ariana Grande's name. This update was made Oct. 14, 2021.
WeChat and Tencent's other popular messaging app QQ has blocked searches of Coinbase, along with names of other crypto exchanges, Protocol has learned.
By Wednesday, searches of "Coinbase" returned with empty results on WeChat. The same happens to searches of both the Chinese and English names of Huobi and Binance, two other major crypto exchanges in China. It doesn't mean the articles and posts on WeChat that mention Coinbase have been taken down, just that they are now hidden from search results.
On Tencent's other massively popular messaging app QQ, users can't find any user or chat group that has Coinbase, or the other crypto exchanges, in its name. But online articles that mention the crypto exchanges are still searchable.In June, China's search engine Baidu and social media platform Weibo both censored searches of some crypto exchanges like Huobi and Binance, but Coinbase was and remains exempted on those platforms.
Microsoft has hired a law firm to conduct an independent review of the human rights and surveillance impacts of its contracts with law enforcement, including federal immigration agencies and the New York Police Department, following pressure from activist shareholder group Open Mic.
Law firm Foley Hoag will design the report and will retain full editorial control, and the report should be published online in late 2022, according to an emailed statement from the activist investors involved in pressing for the commitment.
Open Mic has coordinated a range of activist shareholder proposals at large tech companies that try to force the companies to address questions about the ethical use of technology and how workers are treated internally. The original Microsoft shareholder proposal from Open Mic aimed to force the company to hire an independent third-party to evaluate whether Microsoft's contracts with government agencies comply with the company's stated commitment to human rights principles. The proposal alleged that the company's contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement helped perpetuate discriminatory policing against immigrants, and that Microsoft's partnerships with the NYPD helped further warrantless surveillance through a program known as the Domain Awareness System.
Open Mic is pushing for two additional shareholder votes at Microsoft, one that would end the sale of facial recognition technology to government agencies and another that would force Microsoft to explain whether its lobbying activities align with the company's professed values around racial justice, artificial intelligence and public policy.
"In response to shareholder requests, Microsoft Corp. will commission an independent, third-party assessment to 'identify, understand, assess, and address actual or potential adverse human rights impacts' of the company's products and services and business relationships with regard to law enforcement, immigration enforcement, and other government contracts," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a statement to Protocol. "The report will be made public. This report will identify broad considerations to help inform our ongoing work with government agencies, it is not a review of specific contracts."
Amazon engaged in "a formal, clandestine strategy" of copying other sellers' goods with its own brands in India and then ensured its offerings appeared near the top of searches on the ecommerce platform, according to a Reuters investigation.
The report, which was based on "thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents," detailed how Amazon would often take a popular offering by a seller on Amazon and treat it as a "reference brand." The ecommerce giant would then develop its own products to match the reference as closely as possible, in one case using the same measurements as another brand's shirt, down to fractions of an inch.
Although Amazon says its search rankings do not give preference to its own offerings and only reward measures like low prices, the company used techniques to give itself a leg up in results, the report concluded. The measures included ones usually reserved for raising of the profile of mostly new products "whose sales are so low that there's insufficient data for the company's technology to rank them" as well as banners above typical rankings.
Amazon told Reuters it believes the "claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated" without saying how.
Snapchat went down for some users Wednesday morning. The platform tweeted around 7:45 a.m. ET that it was looking into the issue and tweeted again around 10:30 a.m. ET that the problem had been resolved.
Down Detected first logged issues with Snapchat around 6:30 a.m. ET.
"We're aware that some Snapchatters are having issues using the app right now – hang tight, we're looking into it!" the company wrote in the initial tweet.
It didn't appear to be a Facebook-level outage, as some users were still able to send and receive Snapchats. It could have still caused some users to end their precious snap streaks — and go without a form of communication popular among teens.
Stripe is building a crypto team, three years after the fintech powerhouse shut down support for bitcoin.
"I'm hiring engineers and designers to build the future of Web3 payments," Guillaume Poncin, Stripe's head of engineering for crypto, said in a tweet. Poncin had been the company's engineering head for banking and financial products before taking on his new role in September.
Poncin linked to Stripe's jobs page, which listed four crypto engineer openings.
Stripe became the first major payments company to support payments in bitcoin in 2014. The company hoped bitcoin "could become a universal, decentralized substrate for online transactions and help our customers enable buyers in places that had less credit card penetration or use cases where credit card fees were prohibitive," a former product manager, Tom Karlo, said in a blog post in 2018.
But bitcoin "evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange," and became "less useful for payments," Karlo added, citing rising transaction confirmation times, failure rates and fees.
Stripe continued to pay attention to crypto even after ending support for bitcoin following that blog post, a company source told Protocol. The company is ramping up its crypto efforts at a time when the crypto market, which now includes new crypto currencies, is growing rapidly.
"In 2018, we said that Stripe would 'look for opportunities to help our customers by adding support for crypto in the future'" Edwin Wee, a member of Stripe's user relations team, said in a tweet. "That time has come."