Nov 12, 2019
Tyler McIntyre (@tmcpro) is the founder & CTO of Novo, a small business challenger bank in the United States that is building technology to help small and medium-sized businesses better understand where and how they are spending their money. Tyler has a strong technology background and understanding of business through his previous startups. He has also consulted for Fortune 500 companies. Tyler has been working with building artificially intelligent assistants since 2011. He has a Bachelors in Management from the University of Miami and a Certificate in Business Management from the University of Pennsylvania. His company is based in Manhattan’s Flatiron district.
Microsoft is stepping up its fight to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on behalf of its 66 DACA employees, referred to as “Dreamers”. The Obama-era program grants relief to the children of undocumented migrants who have spent their entire childhood in the United States. Applicants to the program do need to meet several requirements in order to qualify for DACA. For example, they can’t have any felony convictions or more than 3 misdemeanors. They also have to have earned a high school diploma or GED. If they qualify, Dreamers get renewable, 2-year deferrals from being deported and can ultimately become eligible to obtain a work permit. President Trump has said he would end the program. So many, including Microsoft, have been pushing Congress to pass legislation to protect Dreamers, since the program was established under the Obama administration through an executive memo. The courts, including the Supreme Court which prevented its expansion, have held that the program is likely unconstitutional without action from Congress.
Big tech companies are investing billions to address California’s public housing shortage. It started with Apple announcing a $2.5 billion investment, followed by pledges from Google and Facebook who pledged to contribute $1 billion apiece. But local California officials have said that the investment will not be enough to address decades of rapid employment growth in the tech sector. This growth has pushed some 28,000 people out of their homes, according to the Hill. Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders also criticized the program, calling for tax hikes, saying that its disingenuous for tech company tax evaders, who he says created the problem, to attempt to distract from it with investments that won’t be enough.
Social media companies reconsider microtargeting in political ads
Facebook, Google and Twitter are reconsidering allowing politicians to microtarget their ads based on user location and other factors. Twitter, for one, has banned all political advertising. Google is reportedly reconsidering its political ad policy with an announcement expected this week. These developments come amid criticism from Mozilla as well as an International Committee composed of lawmakers from Australia, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Singapore, the UK and the United States, who have objected to microtargeting practices across social media.
Facebook and YouTube have said that they will remove content revealing the name of the potential whistleblower who disclosed President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to require Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for aid. The whistleblower’s complaint is at the heart of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into the president.=
Twitter however, will continue to allow users to post the name of the whistleblower, but will remove personally identifiable information such as his or her phone number and address.
Avaaz, a global advocacy organization that tracks misinformation online, issued a study of the most viral fake political news stories in 2019. It found the stories generated nearly 160 million views, compared to 140 million views of fake news stories posted during the 2016 election. Some 62 percent of the fake stories were anti-Democrat.
The New York Times reports that staffers of the New York City Police Department took kickbacks from health clinics, doctors, lawyers, and a fraud insurance ring in Queens, in exchange for data from car accident victims. Prosecutors have charged 27 individuals for their alleged involvement. Fifty-one year-old Anthony Rose allegedly directed the scheme in which 911 call operators sent car accident victims in low-income areas in New York City to fake call centers that directed them to partnering accident victim service providers. In exchange, the call centers allegedly paid kickbacks to Rose, a portion of which he then distributed to co-conspirators who worked for the NYPD.
The American Prospect reports that it has tied Kyrsten Sinema, the only Democrat in the Senate who opposes the pro-net neutrality Save the Internet Act, to a Super PAC that’s funded by telecom lobbyists. The report states that Sinema directed contributions to the Super PAC that ultimately funded her own campaign.
Finally, beginning this week, Instagram is expected to hide the number of ‘likes’ users generate from their posts. Users will reportedly continue to be able to see likes on their own posts, but not the likes of others’. But the new policy will only affect some of Instagram’s users. The Hill reports that YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are also considering hiding likes.