TikTok’s national security scrutiny tightens as U.S. Navy reportedly bans popular social app

TikTok may be the fastest-growing social network in the history of the internet, but it is also quickly becoming the fastest-growing security threat and thorn in the side of U.S. China hawks. The latest, according to a notice published by the U.S. Navy this past week and reported on by Reuters and the South China…

Facebook is building an operating system so it can ditch Android

Facebook doesn’t want its hardware like Oculus and Portal to be at the mercy of Google because they rely on its Android operating system. That’s why Facebook has tasked a co-author of Microsoft’s Windows NT named Mark Lucovsky with building the social network an operating system from scratch, according the The Information’s Alex Heath. “We…

Snackpass snags $21M to let you earn friends free takeout

“We were in the back washing blenders so they could keep taking Snackpass orders” recalls co-founder and CEO Kevin Tan. The team from order-ahead food startup Snackpass was willing to get their hands dirty to keep up with demand at one of their first restaurant partners, Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the Yale college campus. Why were…

Spotify prototypes Tastebuds to revive social music discovery

Spotify is prototyping a new way to see what friends have been listening to, called “Tastebuds”. Despite how discovering music is inherently social, Spotify has no features for directly interacting with friends within its mobile app after axing its own inbox in 2017 and keeping its Friend Activity ticker restricted to desktop. It seemed like…

UK’s competition regulator asks for views on breaking up Google

The UK’s competition regulator has raised concerns about the market power of digital ad platform giants Google and Facebook in an interim report published today, opening up a consultation on a range of potential inventions — from breaking up platform giants, to limiting their ability to set self-serving defaults, and enforcing data sharing and/or feature interoperability…

Instagram to now flag potentially offensive captions, in addition to comments

Earlier this year, Instagram launched a feature that would flag potentially offensive comments before they’re posted. Now, the social media platform is expanding this preemptive flagging system to Instagram’s captions, as well. The new feature will warn users after they’ve written a caption for a feed post that Instagram’s A.I. detects as being similar to…

Twitter is bringing back Election Labels to identify 2020 U.S. election candidates

With just under a year until U.S. Election Day, Twitter is bringing back its Election Labels, which provide information about political candidates — including what office they’re running for and their state and district number. The labels will also have a small ballot box icon to accompany this information. The feature was first launched during…

Facebook Messenger adds Star Wars-themed features and AR effects

Star Wars has come to Facebook’s Messenger app. Facebook today announced a new set of Star Wars-themed features for Messenger users, including a chat theme, reactions, stickers, and AR effects. The features were developed in partnership with Disney to help promote the upcoming film, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which premieres nationwide on December…

Wotch is building a creator-friendly video platform

The team at Wotch has created a new social video platform — but wait, don’t roll your eyes quite yet. “Obviously, we’re very used to someone creating a new internet video-sharing platform,” said co-CEO Scott Willson. “It must be very irritating for everyone to hear that.” And yet Willson and his co-founder/co-CEO James Sadler have…