FaceApp gets federal attention as Sen. Schumer raises alarm on data use


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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It’s been hard to get away from FaceApp over the last few days, whether it’s your friends posting weird selfies using the app’s aging and other filters, or the brief furore over its apparent (but not actual) circumvention of permissions on iPhones. Now even the Senate is getting in on the fun: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has asked the FBI and the FTC to look into the app’s data handling practices.

“I write today to express my concerns regarding FaceApp,” he writes in a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons. I’ve excerpted his main concerns below:

In order to operate the application, users must provide the company full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data. According to its privacy policy, users grant FaceApp license to use or publish content shared with the application, including their username or even their real name, without

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Netflix will roll out a lower-priced subscription plan in India


This post is by Manish Singh from TechCrunch


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Netflix said on Wednesday that it will roll out a cheaper subscription plan in India, one of the last great growth markets for global companies, as the streaming giant scrambles to find ways to accelerate its slowing growth worldwide.

The company added 2.7 million new subscribers in the quarter that ended in June this year, it said today, far fewer than the 5 million figure it had forecasted earlier this year.

The company said lowering its subscription plan, which starts at $9 in the U.S., would help it reach more users in India and expand its overall subscriber base. According to third-party research firms, Netflix has fewer than 2 million subscribers in India.

Netflix started to test a lower-priced subscription plan in India and some other markets in Asia late last year. The plan restricts the usage of the service to one mobile device and offers

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Facebook’s regulation dodge: Let us, or China will


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Facebook is leaning on fears of China exporting its authoritarian social values to counter arguments that it should be broken up or slowed down. Its top executives have each claimed that if the U.S. limits its size, blocks its acquisitions, or bans its cryptocurrency, Chinese company’s absent these restrictions will win abroad, bringing more power and data to their government. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and VP of communications Nick Clegg have all expressed this position.

The latest incarnation of this talking point came in today and yesterday’s congressional hearings over Libra, the Facebook-spearheaded digital currency it hopes to launch in the first half of 2020. Facebook’s head of its blockchain subsidiary Calibra David Marcus wrote in his prepared remarks to the House Financial Services Committee today that:

“I believe that if America does not lead innovation in the digital currency and payments area, others will. If we

Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing On Facebook's Proposed Crypto Currency
facebook logo down glitch

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Highlights from Facebook’s Libra Senate hearing


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Facebook will only build its own Calibra cryptocurrency wallet into Messenger and Whatsapp, and will refuse to embed competing wallets, the head of Calibra David Marcus told the Senate Banking Committee today.

Calibra will be interoperable so users can send money back and forth with other wallets, and Marcus committed to data portability so users can switch entirely to a competitor. But solely embedding Facebook’s own wallet into its leading messaging apps could give the company a sizable advantage over banks, PayPal, Coinbase, or any other potential wallet developer.

Other highlights from the “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations” hearing included Marcus saying:

Blackstone is acquiring mobile ad company Vungle


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Private equity firm Blackstone just announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire mobile advertising company Vungle.

The companies aren’t disclosing the financial terms, but as part of the transaction, Vungle has also reached a settlement with founder Zain Jaffer, who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company earlier this year.

“As a best-in-class performance marketing platform, Vungle represents a key growth engine for the mobile app ecosystem,” said Blackstone principal Sachin Bavishi in a statement. “Our investment will help deliver on the company’s tremendous growth potential and we look forward to partnering with management to extend Vungle’s strength across mobile gaming and other performance brands.”

Meanwhile, CEO Rick Tallman said the deal will allow the company to “further accelerate Vungle’s mission to be the trusted guide for growth and engagement, transforming how users discover and experience mobile apps.”

Vungle was founded back in 2011,

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Waze now shows road toll prices along your driving route


This post is by Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch


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Navigation app Waze is making getting to where you’re going even easier – or at least more transparent. A new feature rolling out today will show you any tolls along your route, including the actual amount you’re going to pay, across both the U.S. and Canada.

This is above and beyond what you’ll get in most navigation apps, where you might get a visual or text indicator that there is a toll on one of the roads in your path (and you can opt to avoid them if possible) but you won’t know what you’re actually paying. With Waze, you’ll get the amount – sourced from its community of user drivers, rather than direct from the official toll road operators, however, but Waze’s crowd-sourced navigation data often has a leg up on the official source in other cases.

Waze will show you the toll prices up front, too, before

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No technical reason to exclude Huawei as 5G supplier, says UK committee


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A UK parliamentary committee has concluded there are no technical grounds for excluding Chinese network kit vendor Huawei from the country’s 5G networks.

In a letter from the chair of the Science & Technology Committee to the UK’s digital minister Jeremy Wright, the committee says: “We have found no evidence from our work to suggest that the complete exclusion of Huawei from the UK’s telecommunications networks would, from a technical point of view, constitute a proportionate response to the potential security threat posed by foreign suppliers.”

Though the committee does go on to recommend the government mandate the exclusion of Huawei from the core of 5G networks, noting that UK mobile network operators have “mostly” done so already — but on a voluntary basis.

If it places a formal requirement on operators not to use Huawei for core supply the committee urges the government to provide “clear criteria” for

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Facebook answers how Libra taxes and anti-fraud will work


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Facebook provided TechCrunch with new information on how its cryptocurrency will stay legal amidst allegations from President Trump that Libra could facilitate “unlawful behavior”. Facebook and Libra Association executives tell me they expect Libra will incur sales tax and capital gains taxes. They confirmed that Facebook is also in talks with local convenience stores and money exchanges to ensure anti-laundering checks are applied when people cash-in or cash-out Libra for traditional currency, and to let you use a QR code to buy or sell Libra in person.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company wouldn’t respond directly to Trump’s tweets, but noted that the Libra association won’t interact with consumers or operate as a bank, and that Libra is meant to be a complement to the existing financial system.

Trump had tweeted that “Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity. Similarly, Facebook Libra’s

Facebook Calibra Libra Wallet
Facebook Calibra
Libra Mission Statement
Calibra Transactions 2

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Sage Plus for Experts gives travel experts a central place to share their content


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Sage is giving reviewers, chefs and other experts and publishers a central place to share all their content.

To do this, the startup has created a new product called Sage Plus for Experts, which isn’t open to the public yet, but is accepting signups from those aforementioned travel experts — the kinds of experts who can share content around things to do, food, drinks, experiences and shopping.

Founder and CEO Samir Arora (who previously led Mode Media/Glam Media) suggested that a Sage profile can serve as the center of a creator or publisher’s online presence. And eventually, it could become the foundation for them to build their own personal direct-to-consumer brand.

In the announcement, Arora said the product was designed to answer “a simple question”: “Why does the internet not offer a simple way to show recommendations by real experts or the authentic experiences and products by the brands

Sage Plus for Experts
Travel Featured curator on Sage Plus for Experts

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N26 launches its challenger bank in the U.S.


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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European fintech startup N26 is now accepting customers in the U.S. The company is launching a bank account with a debit card that should provide a better experience compared to traditional retail banks.

If you’re familiar with N26, the product that is going live today won’t surprise you much. Customers in the U.S. can download a mobile app and create a bank account from their phone in just a few minutes. It’s a true bank account with ACH payments, routing and account numbers.

A few days later, you receive a debit card that you can control from the mobile app. Every time you make a transaction, you instantly receive a push notification telling you how much money you just paid. You can set up your PIN code, customize limits, turn on and off online payments, ATM withdrawals or payments abroad.

And that’s about all there’s to know. But

N26 US 2
N26 Spaces ENUS

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Waymo has now driven 10 billion autonomous miles in simulation


This post is by Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch


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Alphabet’s Waymo autonomous driving company announced a new milestone at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility on Wednesday: 10 billion miles driving in simulation. This is a significant achievement for the company, because all those simulated miles on the road for its self-driving software add up to considerable training experience.

Waymo also probably has the most experience when it comes to actual, physical road miles driven – the company is always quick to point out that it’s been doing this far longer than just about anyone else working in autonomous driving, thanks to its head start as Google’s self-driving car moonshot project.

“At Waymo, we’ve driven more than 10 million miles in the real world, and over 10 billion miles in simulation,” Waymo CTO Dmitri Dolgov told TechCrunch’s Kirsten Korosec on the Sessions: Mobility stage. “And the amount of driving you do in both of those is really a function of the maturity

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Snapchat announces new shows from Serena Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Snapchat just announced that it’s making shows with big names like Serena Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin Hart, as well as online stars like Emma Chamberlain, Loren Gray, Rickey Thompson, Baby Ariel and FaZe Banks.

Snapchat launched its original content efforts two years ago, and today it’s unveiling a new program called Creator Shows. As  initially announced in the Hollywood Reporter, these will be first-person shows designed around individual creators.

For example, Schwarzenegger will be providing motivational advice in a show called “Rules of Success,” while Thompson will weighs in on fashion and lifestyle trends on “Trend or End” and Gray offers beauty advice on “Glow Up.”

The shows will begin airing this month. They’re all exclusive to Snapchat, and many of them come from creators who’ve a substantial following on other platforms — Chamberlain, for example, was just described in The New York Times as

Rickey Thompson Premieres July 10

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Bunq lets you track and settle up group expenses


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Fintech startup Bunq is announcing a handful of new features today, such as a way to track group expenses without creating a joint account, a web app and better Siri integration.

If you usually track vacation expenses and group expenses from your phone, chances are you’ve been using two different products — a mobile app like Splitwise to track group expenses with your friends, and a peer-to-peer payment app to settle up balances.

Bunq is essentially bundling together these two features with Slice Groups for owners of the Bunq Travel Card. Given that the Bunq app already lists all your transactions, adding transactions to a group is easier than with your average group payment tracking app.

After adding other people to your Slice Group, each person can add expenses to the group. You get a list of your most recent Bunq transactions and you can add them to a group.

bunq update 11

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AppLovin acquires SafeDK to improve brand safety


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Mobile marketing company AppLovin is announcing that it has acquired SafeDK.

While AppLovin started out as a mobile ad business, it now bills itself as “a comprehensive mobile gaming platform,” offering tools for game developers around user acquisition, monetization, analytics and (through Lion Studios, launched last year) publishing. SafeDK, meanwhile, allows developers to manage all the different SDKs that their apps rely on.

Palo Alto-headquartered AppLovin says that by incorporating SafeDK technology, it will help its publishers ensure GDPR compliance and brand safety.

It also says SafeDK will continue to support existing customers, while its headquarters in Herzliya, Israel will become AppLovin’s first office in Israel. Co-founders Orly Shoavi and Ronnie Sternberg will remain on-board as the heads of SafeDK and general managers of AppLovin Israel.

The companies are not disclosing the financial terms of the deal, except to say that it was all-cash. According to Crunchbase,

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Dr. Mario World now available on iOS


This post is by Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch


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Nintendo’s latest mobile game is now available for iOS devices, a day before its official target launch date. The game is based on the Nintendo game created in 1990 for the NES and Game Boy, and re-released/re-made a bunch of times over the years for various Nintendo consoles.

Dr. Mario World, the iOS game available now, is, like its predecessors, a matching puzzle game in which you as Dr. Mario (or maybe you’re just a colleague of Dr. Mario? It’s somewhat unclear) cure ‘viruses’ by matching pill colors to the little jerks. This version has a number of additional gameplay features compared to the first, which was pretty Tetris-like in play. It also focuses on drag-and-drop mechanics, instead of manipulating pills like Tetris blocks as they fall.

For instance, you have other Doctors from the rich Mario fictional world to call upon for help, including Dr. Peach and

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If you’ll pay more, new Uber Comfort offers Quiet Rides


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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You can get access to Uber’s controversial Quiet Ride button that lets you ask your driver for silence if you’ll pay a 20% to 40% premium atop the UberX price. Today the Uber Comfort tier launches in 43 cities and smaller states in the US plus Ottawa, offering those willing to pay the premium access to newer mid-size cars with more legroom, higher rated drivers, and Rider Preferences for requesting specific climate control or no talking.

Uber ComfortBefore users hail an Uber Comfort car, they can request “quiet preferred”, “happy to chat” or leave the default of “no preference”, as well as warmer or colder temperature settings. These Rider Preferences launched in May as part of Uber’s pricier Black and SUV cars alongside a way to request help with luggage, but now they’re becoming more affordable.

The move allows Uber to charge more for slightly better vehicles and higher-rated drivers that

Uber Quiet Ride
Uber Comfort Quiet Ride Rider Preferences

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Facebook will start taking a cut of fan subscriptions in 2020


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Facebook will take a cut of up to 30% on fan subscriptions, beginning on January 1, 2020.

The social network is revealing its plans as part of a broader slate of monetization-related announcements this week at VidCon. The news confirms a TechCrunch report earlier this year that Facebook would be taking a 30% share of subscription revenue.

Facebook first started rolling out fan subscriptions in early 2018, allowing creators to charge their fans $4.99 per month in exchange for access to exclusive content and a fan badge. During this initial testing period, Facebook didn’t keep any of the subscription revenue for itself, allowing creators to take everything, minus the fee collected by Apple and Google on mobile subscriptions.

Director of Media Monetization Kate Orseth told journalists at a briefing last week that Facebook is committed to allowing creators to keep 70% of subscription revenue (minus “applicable taxes and fees”).

Facebook Fan Groups

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India’s NiYO ‘neo-bank’ raises $35 million to digitize payroll and employee benefits


This post is by Manish Singh from TechCrunch


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NiYo Solutions, a Bangalore-based ‘neo-bank’ that helps salaried employees access company benefits and other financial services, has raised $35 million in a new round to expand its business in the nation and explore international markets for some of its products.

The four-year-old startup, which serves small and medium businesses and other salaried employees across India, raised its Series B from Horizons Ventures, Tencent and existing investor JS Capital. It has raised $49.2 million to date, with its $13.2 million Series A closing in January last year.

NiYO Solutions serves as a ‘neo-bank’ that relies on traditional financial institutions (Yes Bank and DCB banks, in its case) and offers additional features such as lending and insurance to customers. Blue collared salaried employees in India continue to struggle to avail many crucial financial services that have been typically reserved for privileged segment by the banks. With Bharat Payroll Solution and

Continue reading “India’s NiYO ‘neo-bank’ raises $35 million to digitize payroll and employee benefits”

India’s NiYO ‘neo-bank’ raises $35 million to digitize payroll and employee benefits


This post is by Manish Singh from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




NiYo Solutions, a Bangalore-based ‘neo-bank’ that helps salaried employees access company benefits and other financial services, has raised $35 million in a new round to expand its business in the nation and explore international markets for some of its products.

The four-year-old startup, which serves small and medium businesses and other salaried employees across India, raised its Series B from Horizons Ventures, Tencent and existing investor JS Capital. It has raised $49.2 million to date, with its $13.2 million Series A closing in January last year.

NiYO Solutions serves as a ‘neo-bank’ that relies on traditional financial institutions (Yes Bank and DCB banks, in its case) and offers additional features such as lending and insurance to customers. Blue collared salaried employees in India continue to struggle to avail many crucial financial services that have been typically reserved for privileged segment by the banks. With Bharat Payroll Solution and

Continue reading “India’s NiYO ‘neo-bank’ raises $35 million to digitize payroll and employee benefits”

India’s Android antitrust case against Google may have some holes


This post is by Manish Singh from TechCrunch


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India ordered an investigation into Google’s alleged abuse of Android’s dominance in the country to hurt local rivals in April. A document made public by the local antitrust watchdog has now further revealed the nature of the allegations and identified the people who filed the complaint.

Umar Javeed, Sukarma Thapar, two associates at Competition Commission of India — and Aaqib Javeed, brother of Umar who interned at the watchdog last year, filed the complaint, the document revealed. The revelation puts an end to months-long interest from industry executives, many of whom wondered if a major corporation was behind it.

The allegations

The case, filed against Google’s global unit and Indian arm on April 16 this year, makes several allegations including the possibility that Google used Android’s dominant position in India to hurt local companies. The accusation is that Google requires handset and tablet vendors to pre-install its own applications or services if

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