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Facebook will block new political ads in the week before Election Day

Facebook announced a number of new initiatives that it hopes will help protect the integrity of the U.S. elections in November.

Those initiatives include:

  • Not accepting new polticial ads in the week before the election.
  • Removing posts that claim that people will get COVID-19 if they take part in voting, and adding context to posts that appear to use COVID-19 to discourage voting.
  • Attaching information to content that "seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods."

Microsoft wants to replace artists with AI

Better Zoom calls, simpler email attachments, smart iPhone cases and other patents from Big Tech.

Turning your stories into images.

Image: USPTO/Microsoft

Hello and welcome to 2021! The Big Tech patent roundup is back, after a short vacation and … all the things … that happened between the start of the year and now. It seems the tradition of tech companies filing weird and wonderful patents has carried into the new year; there are some real gems from the last few weeks. Microsoft is trying to outsource all creative endeavors to AI; Apple wants to make seat belts less annoying; and Amazon wants to cut down on some of the recyclable waste that its own success has inevitably created.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

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