This ride-hailing PR pitch shows platforms and digital campaign ‘dark arts’ want democracy to be pay to play

A UK PR firm pitching to run an account for Ola has proposed running a campaign to politicize ride-hailing as a tactic to shift regulations in its favor. The approach suggests that, despite the appearance of ride-hailing platforms taking a more conciliatory position with regulators that are now wise to earlier startup tactics in this…

Facebook quietly built “Popular Photos”, an in-app Instagram

Facebook is copying Instagram while simultaneously invading its acquisition with branding and links back to the mothership. TechCrunch has spotted Facebook testing a feature called Popular Photos, which affixes an endless scroll of algorithmically selected pics from friends beneath the full-screen view of a photo opened from the News Feed. The result is an experience…

The ONNX format becomes the newest Linux Foundation project

The Linux Foundation today announced that ONNX, the open format that makes machine learning models more portable, is now a graduate-level project inside of the organization’s AI Foundation. ONNX was originally developed and open-sourced by Microsoft and Facebook in 2017 and has since become somewhat of a standard, with companies ranging from AWS to AMD,…

Daily Crunch: John Carmack steps down at Oculus

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. John Carmack steps down at Oculus to pursue AI passion project ‘before I get too old’ Legendary coder John Carmack is…

Facebook says government demands for user data are at a record high

Facebook’s latest transparency report is out. The social media giant said the number of government demands for user data increased by 16% to 128,617 demands during the first-half of this year compared to the second-half of last year. That’s the highest number of government demands its received in any reporting period since it published its…

Google to offer checking accounts in partnership with banks starting next year

Google is the latest big tech company to make a move into banking and personal financial services: The company is gearing up to offer checking accounts to consumers, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, starting as early as next year. Google is calling the projected “Cache,” and it’ll partner with banks and credit…

Facebook pilloried over iPhone ‘secret camera access’ bug

Facebook has faced a barrage of concern over an apparent bug that resulted in the social media giant’s iPhone app exposing the camera as users scroll through their feed. A tweet over the weekend blew up after Joshua Maddux tweeted a screen recording of the Facebook app on his iPhone. He noticed that the camera…

Dutch court orders Facebook to ban celebrity crypto scam ads after another lawsuit

A Dutch court has ruled that Facebook can be required to use filter technologies to identify and pre-emptively take down fake ads linked to crypto currency scams that carry the image of a media personality, John de Mol. The Dutch celerity filed a lawsuit against Facebook in April over the misappropriation of his likeness to…

Facebook machine learning aims to modify faces, hands, and… outfits

The latest research out of Facebook sets machine learning models to tasks that, to us, seem rather ordinary — but for a computer are still monstrously difficult. These projects aim to anonymize faces, improvise hand movements, and — perhaps hardest of all — give credible fashion advice. The research here was presented recently at the…