Fake news worries ‘are growing’ suggests BBC poll

Fake News

There is growing concern among global net users about fake news online, according to a BBC World Service poll.

It also indicates mounting opposition to governments stepping in with regulation.

In the survey of 18 countries, 79% of respondents said they worried about what was fake and what was real on the internet.

But in only two countries, China and the UK, did a majority want their governments to regulate the internet.

The BBC carried out a similar survey in 2010.

Only 15 countries were covered by both polls. From this subset of respondents, 58% said the internet should never be regulated in the latest survey, up from 51% when the same question was asked seven years ago.

When it came to regulation, 67% of Chinese respondents now liked the idea, while opinion was more finely balanced in the UK, with 53% in favour.

The countries where people were most hostile to regulation were Greece with 84% and Nigeria, where 82% of people opposed the idea.

The survey of more than 16,000 adults was conducted by Globescan between January and April.

Hazy line

Concerns about what is real and what is not on the internet have mounted after a year in which the term fake news has become both commonplace and profitable, with false stories shared on Facebook earning their creators hefty sums through advertising.

Brazilians were most worried about the hazy line between the real and the fake, with 92% reporting some concern. In a number of other developing countries there was a high level of unease, with figures of 90% in Indonesia, 88% in Nigeria and 85% in Kenya.

Germany was the only nation surveyed where a narrow majority – 51% – said they were not worried about this issue. In the run-up to the country’s election there have been determined efforts in Germany to root out fake news.

Globescan’s chairman Doug Miller said: “These poll findings suggest that the era of ‘fake news’ may be as significant in reducing the credibility of on-line information as Edward Snowden’s 2013 National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance revelations were in reducing people’s comfort in expressing their opinions online.”

There is growing anxiety about expressing opinions online. In the 15 countries that have been regularly tracked in this poll, 53% felt unsafe doing this, compared to 49% in 2010.

But there was a marked difference between attitudes in the developed and developing world.

In Nigeria, Peru and China there were big majorities confident about expressing opinions, but in Europe and North America there was far more anxiety, with the French and the Greeks least likely to want to speak freely.

As global use of the internet grows, there also appears to be mounting enthusiasm for it to be seen as something to which everyone should be entitled. 53% of those questioned agreed that access to the internet should be a fundamental right, with much bigger majorities agreeing in Brazil, Greece and India.

The survey highlights some differences between men and women in attitudes to the internet. Men are still more likely to use it, with 78% saying they had been online in the last six months, compared to 71% of women.

And women were somewhat less likely than men to feel safe expressing their views online. That anxiety was most pronounced in developed countries. In France just 14% felt safe, whereas in the UK the figure was 36%, and in the USA 35%.

British women were also more concerned about fake content than men, and were more keen to see some regulation of the internet.

How the internet helped Labour at the general election

Co-founder of 'Who Targets Me', a browser plug-in that tracks how political parties target people with advertising on Facebook

The 2017 general election was the moment when the internet finally delivered on its long-awaited promise of having a big effect, both on how individual people voted and the overall outcome of the election.

A flood of young voters, many of whom had relatively low levels of political knowledge, used the internet to get news about the general election. This was crucial for boosting support for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, according to new research on the dynamics of the 2017 vote.

In recent years, there has been talk about the power of the internet to affect elections. Ahead of the 2017 general election, some pointed to a growth of pro-Labour websites and online forums as a potentially powerful weapon in Labour’s arsenal.

Our study is one of the first to document how this online activity really did help Jeremy Corbyn and his party.

We’ve found that those who used the internet to get news about the general election were far more likely to have voted Labour. And we observed that those who used the internet less often to gather political news and information were much more likely to vote Conservative.

This relationship is true for the entire electorate and across all age groups.

And it continues to have a strong and positive effect on how people voted, even after we take into account a whole range of factors including age, gender, social class, party identification, how people voted in the referendum and levels of education.

Overall, among all respondents, our research suggests that 16% used the internet “a great deal” to get information about the election, 23% used it “a fair amount”, 23% “not very much” and 38% “not at all” or said they did not know.

However, those who use the internet more often were significantly more likely to vote Labour. Sixty-one per cent of those who used the internet “a great deal” to gather news about the general election opted for Labour, compared with only 21% who voted Conservative.

Conversely, 56% who said they used the internet “not at all” voted Conservative, while 30% opted for Labour.

How much people use the internet also correlates with voting patterns among older people. Again, those who said they use the internet a great deal were strongly pro-Labour and pro-Jeremy Corbyn.

These effects involve a combination of two factors: “mobilisation” (things that influence people to turn out and vote) and “persuasion” (things that influence their choice of party). Turnout among people aged 18-29 was up by an estimated 19% on the previous general election in 2015.

Our data shows that both the decision to vote and the choices these young people made at the polls were associated with the volume of news about the election that they consumed online.

Another effect that we find relates to how knowledgeable people are about politics. In our surveys, we tested people’s political knowledge by asking if eight randomly selected statements were true or false and then counted the number of correct answers.

The statements included assertions like: “The minimum voting age for UK general elections is now 16 years of age,” and “The chancellor of the Exchequer is responsible for setting interest rates in the UK.”

Though internet usage and political knowledge are only slightly linked, it is clear that, after rigorous statistical tests, how knowledgeable people are about politics had significant effects on how they voted.

If survey respondents were frequent internet users but did not know much about politics they tended to vote Labour. In contrast, if they weren’t internet savvy but knew a fair bit about politics, they tended to vote Conservative.

These effects held across all age groups for both Labour and the Conservatives, with the exception of pensioners in the case of the Tories. This means that those effects weren’t caused by the age of the respondent, which at first sight is the obvious explanation for differences in internet usage among the voters.

Put simply, political knowledge continues to have a strong effect on Labour and Conservative voting even after we take statistical account of all of “the usual suspects” that are used to explain voting – such as social class, age, gender income, people’s “left-right” placement and how they voted in the 2016 referendum.

The effects of internet usage and political knowledge work strongly through voters’ images of the party leaders. Even after we take account of a whole host of other things, like age and income, people with low political knowledge who used the internet to get their election news tended to like Jeremy Corbyn and dislike Theresa May.

For example, among those who said they used the internet “a great deal”, the average score for Jeremy Corbyn on a 0 (“really dislike”) to 10 (“really like”) scale is 6.4, whereas among those who said they did not use the internet at all, his average score is much lower, only 3.4.

The pattern for Theresa May is the opposite: her average score among those who used the internet a great deal is 2.9, whereas among those who did not use the net, her average is considerably higher, at 5.3.

For Jeremy Corbyn, political knowledge, the survey suggests, has a negative effect on feelings about the Labour leader while internet usage has a positive effect. For Theresa May, political knowledge has a positive effect on feelings about the Conservative Party leader while internet usage has a negative effect.

In contrast, people with high political knowledge who did not use the internet for general election news liked Mrs May and disliked Mr Corbyn.

About this piece

This analysis piece was commissioned by the BBC from experts working for outside organisations.

Here’s What You Can Do About That Equifax Data Breach

The Equifax security breach may have exposed private information belonging to almost half the U.S. population, so you should definitely pay attention.

Credit reporting agencies work differently from other data companies, so while you may never have dealt with Equifax, their servers were still likely to have your data.


Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from consumer protection expert Bob Sullivan, an NBC News contributor and man behind The Red Tape Chronicles. Sullivan has more tips on his site.

  • Equifax has set up an online registry you can check using your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number, but it doesn’t offer satisfying results (check back in later this month!). There are also questions about an arbitration clause and what you’re really getting from its offer of free ID theft protection. There’s no harm in waiting a week or two while all that shakes out.
  • Get a copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and mark your calendar to get another one in about three months.
  • Be on the lookout: Watch your mail for anything suspicious. Check your bank accounts at least weekly for signs of fraud. Listen closely when applying for a loan or a government benefit for signs that someone else might be using your Social Security number. Get your annual Social Security benefits statement online and look for anything unusual.
  • Consider putting a security freeze on all your accounts — the most serious but most proactive step you can take. But take this step with great care. If you plan to shop for a car loan or a home loan any time soon, you probably shouldn’t do this, because security freezes lock credit report files so no one — not even you — can open a new credit account in your name.

Freezes also generally cost money (the rules vary by state; Trans Union has a grid showing you the varying fee levels by state and consumer criteria), and they can be a hassle, because when it comes time to get a mortgage or an auto loan, consumers sometimes don’t remember the procedure to “thaw” their reports.

Facebook, Google Halt Potential Ads Targeting Anti-Semitic, Hateful Content

Facebook and Google are taking aim at advertisers by disabling their abilities to pinpoint users interested in anti-Semitic subjects and other hate-filled content.

Facebook’s restriction comes after news organization ProPublica said Thursdayit paid $30 to have its articles specifically promoted to users who expressed interest in the topics “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews” or “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.'”

It reportedly took Facebook no more than 15 minutes to approve all three of the targeted ads.

 Facebook enabled advertisers to reach people with anti-Semitic views 2:11

ProPublica said the anti-Semitic categories were created by an algorithm and they were removed by Facebook after the company was made aware. The media outlet added that its test exposed that such anti-Semitic targeting could happen, although it was not clear if it was actually occurring.

Facebook, as part of its review, noted in a post Thursday that it saw a “small percentage” of users entering “offensive responses” in their education or employer fields on their profiles. That allowed ProPublica to go after such users with anti-Semitic subjects — not through an algorithm.

“ProPublica surfaced that these offensive education and employer fields were showing up in our ads interface as targetable audiences for campaigns. We immediately removed them,” Facebook said. “Given that the number of people in these segments was incredibly low, an extremely small number of people were targeted in these campaigns.”

A Facebook executive reiterated in a statement that hate speech is not permitted on the platform and it bars advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes.

Related: Facebook Is Hiring 3,000 More People to Keep the Network in Check

“However, there are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards. In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question,” said Rob Leathern, Facebook’s product management director. “We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”

In a follow-up statement, Facebook added that it had removed self-reported targeting fields in user profiles “until we have the right processes in place to help prevent this issue.We want Facebook to be a safe place for people and businesses, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to keep hate off Facebook.”

ProPublica said it was able to direct its Facebook ads to almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in certain anti-Semitic categories, but also widened its audience to include those who mentioned the “Schutzstaffel,” a paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the “NaziParty.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


Julia Angwin @JuliaAngwin
Replying to @JuliaAngwin

This is what automated anti-semitism looks like:

Twitter Ads info and privacy

When the news outlet looked for analogous advertising categories for other religions, such as “Muslim haters,” it said “Facebook didn’t have them.”

In a similar move, Google announced Friday it had “turned off” potentially offensive wordings in its keyword suggestions tool, which is made available to advertisers who want to reach a certain audience.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads, said in a statement that it had previously rejected certain keywords, but “we didn’t catch all these offensive suggestions. That’s not good enough and we’re not making excuses.”

BuzzFeed News first reported Friday that Google’s ad platform — the world’s largest of its kind — had automatically provided keyword phrases such as “black people ruin neighborhoods,” “the evil jew” and “jewish control of banks.”

But just because a keyword is suggested to an advertiser doesn’t mean a targeted ad will be approved, and Google removes ads that violate its terms of service.

Related: Russian Operation Spent $100K on Issues Ads During 2016 Campaign

The search giant has previously changed its algorithm after people spoke out about how typing in certain racist and anti-Semitic phrases in the search bar resulted in autopopulated offensive terms.

Facebook ads were under scrutiny earlier this month as well after the company told Washington lawmakers investigating alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election it found a Russian firm had spent $100,000 on targeted ads.

While those ads didn’t prop up any specific candidate, they focused on polarizing social issues, including gay rights, immigration and race, Facebook’s chief security officer said in a post.

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was hiring about 3,000 people to combat the problem of harmful content on the popular site, including shutting down hate speech and child exploitation. The announcement came after users posted controversial

Celebrating Latinidad’: Google Creates Online Latino Culture Exhibit

Google has unveiled a massive online collection of U.S. Latino art, culture and history. The exhibit created by the Google Cultural Institute is titled Google Arts & Culture: Latino Cultures in the US, and it showcases collections such as “Celebrating our Latinidad”, “Freedom Tower, Tower of Hope” and “LGBTQ + Collections”. It was unveiled Thursday.

Image: Google Latino Culture in US
Pomona College Mural Courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute

Some of the collections explore Hispanic experiences in 20th Century America (La Experiencia Americana), the history of Franciscan missions that dominated the economic and spiritual fabric of Spanish and Mexican California from 1769 to 1835 (California’s Missions), and prominent people in Latino culture such as civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, baseball player and U.S Marine Roberto Clemente Walker, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Image: Google Latino Cultures US
National Museum of Mexican Art Courtesy of the Goolge Cultural Institute

This digital collection of stories, narratives, and exhibits come from 50 partner institutions, including museums such as the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Ballet Hispánico in New York, as well as libraries and archives from across the country.

The collection is a compilation of over 4,300 archives and artworks related to the Latino experience in the U.S., with over 90 multimedia exhibits in English and Spanish. It also includes virtual tours of historic sites and culturally significant locations such as the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago and the Calle Ocho Domino Park in Little Havana, Miami, Florida.

Image: Google Latino Cultures US 1
National Museum of Mexican Art Courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute

Google’s platform allows users around the world to have an immersive way to experience art, history and culture. “The Latino Cultures in the US” exhibit debuted just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month, sharing with the world stories of Latino history, art and culture in the U.S, a community and culture that has often been underrepresented. Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and continues through Oct. 15.

Amazon Is Hungry and It’s Coming for Your Cable Channels

Amazon already accounts for about a quarter of all online sales in the United States. Now the company is holding talks to supersize its video-channel business, not just in the U.S. but around the globe.

In the past few weeks, Amazon has started talks to buy scores of small television channels, several major program providers confirmed to NBC News. A representative for Amazon declined to comment, but hinted there will be much to say in the coming weeks about its efforts in online video.

Currently, subscribers to Amazon Prime get TV, movies and music, as well as free shipping on online purchases. They can also pay extra for premium channels such as HBO and Showtime, along with a host of niche-interest services on topics such as health or horror.

As traditional pay-TV providers scale down their offerings into cheaper so-called skinny bundles, Amazon is looking to scoop up smaller TV channels with minimal distribution in order to build itself into a video destination for every imaginable niche, with a particular focus on millennial audiences. Many networks have channels like these, including Turner Broadcasting’s Adult Swim and Boomerang, or Viacom’s VH1 and CMT.

“They are doubling down on the channels business,” said one industry programmer who asked not to be identified because they are involved in the talks. “They’re interested in doing deals with smaller indie networks where they can get rights to channels that are not handcuffed into [traditional distribution] bundles and they’re interested in offering them individually. Eventually they may bundle them together.”

Image: Jeff Bezos speaks during the 32nd Space Symposium
Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, speaking during the 32nd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado on April 12, 2016. Matthew Staver / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Customers can already buy scores of television services on Amazon, including Viacom’s Comedy Central Stand-up for $3.99, or Britbox, which offers British shows for $6.99. Amazon splits the revenue with channel owners.

Industry insiders say that Greg Hart, vice president of Amazon Video, is spearheading the current talks, aimed at creating a global platform for new online TV channels.

Tom Rogers, the former chief executive of TiVo and executive chairman of the sports app WinView, who is familiar with Amazon’s business, said Amazon may even want to offer the paid add-on channels as part of the Prime Video offering to boost their audience.

That possibility, he said, “could have more impact on the TV industry than any other development down the road.”

Analysts believe Prime has some 66 million subscribers, who pay $99 a year for the service.

Big tech companies are getting increasingly competitive in the online video market. Just last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook intends to spend $1 billion on content to increase its online video audience. In late August, reports revealed Apple had similarly earmarked $1 billion for content.

Amazon already spends around $4 billion a year to fuel its On-Demand subscription video offering. Its chief rival in that endeavor is Netflix, which spends more than $6 billion. But to put those numbers in context, Disney spent $12.4 billion on programming last year.

“It’s illustrative of the fact that Amazon, Apple and everyone who wants to be a player in video is going to spending very large numbers on rights,” said Brian Wieser, a senior analyst covering advertising at Pivotal Research in New York. The arms race for top-tier talent is intensifying, as is the demand for hits.

This month, Amazon’s global video chief, Roy Price, told Variety that the company’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, wants him to find the next “Game of Thrones,” one of the biggest shows in HBO’s history. The series garnered 16.7 million viewers for its season finale last month.

Price told Variety that the company was ending its development of certain smaller series in pursuit of big-event TV.

Amazon has hired Robert Kirkman, one of the creators of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” with the aim of bringing fans of the horror genre to the service. The show is one of the biggest entertainment series on TV.

Even with all the Academy Award buzz surrounding Amazon’s distribution of “Manchester by the Sea,” a multiple Oscar winner, the company has had some trouble replicating its critically acclaimed series “Transparent,” which began in 2014. Amazon has a few Oscar hopefuls being released later this year, including a new Woody Allen project called “Wonder Wheel,” out in December.

Of course, Netflix has been signing up big names, too, including ABC drama producer Shonda Rhimes, much to the chagrin of Disney.

“They want to find new things they can offer,” said Mark Mahaney, an internet sector analyst at RBC Capital, “because the more services you have, the more you engender loyalty and the more you can monetize the user base.”

Amazon isn’t first to the party in terms of offering online TV channels. Dish, the satellite service, has one called Sling, as does Sony PlayStation. Hulu (owned by Comcast — owner of NBCUniversal — Disney, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner) just launched a digital channel bundle, and AT&T’s DirecTV and Google’s YouTube also have rival packages. Their hope is to win audience data and sell digital advertising.

Each aim to challenge conventional pay-TV packages, which incidentally offer free-of-charge digital versions to subscribers of what they can get on TV.

While there are plenty of Silicon Valley pretenders to the video crown, Amazon is unique, largely because of its vast trove of purchasing data. Amazon could potentially track the ads viewed on its TV channels, and then link them to online purchases. Earlier this year, Amazon partnered with the drinks company Diageo to offer 20 minute “shoppable films.”

Amazon’s own advertising business is still relatively tiny, worth around $2 billion, according to estimates, but around 55 percent of product searches start on Amazon, according to a 2016 survey by Bloomreach, a software company.

Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook like the idea of owning the online video experience of consumers — and stealing some of the $70 billion of ad revenue that is spent on TV annually.

It’s not clear that they can amass the same audiences as the TV networks, but Amazon’s attempts at building its audience are already evident. On Sept. 28, Amazon will begin its first major sports deal, streaming an NFL game — the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears — to its Prime subscribers. Amazon has a 10-game NFL package that it shares with other broadcasters, including NBC and CBS, having paid $50 million to steal away the digital football package from Twitter.

Amazon will also use its Alexa voice recognition machine to promote its football streaming, and in turn the NFL games will be used to promote its own online video shows.

Google Said to Offer to Display Rival Sites via Auction

Google Said to Offer to Display Rival Sites via Auction

Alphabet unit Google has offered to display rival comparison shopping sites via an auction as part of an EU compliance order following a landmark fine for favouring its own service, four people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The proposal, submitted to the European Commission on August 29 following a record 2.4-billion-euro ($2.87 billion) penalty, would allow competitors to bid for any spot in its shopping section known as Product Listing Ads, the people said.

Three years ago, the world’s most popular internet search engine made a similar offer in an attempt to settle a long-running investigation by the European Commission and stave off a fine. The offer was ultimately rejected following negative feedback from rivals and discord within the EU executive.

Under this earlier proposal, Google had reserved the first two places for its own ads. The new offer would also see Google set a floor price with its own bids minus operating costs. The company has sought feedback from competitors.

The offer does not address the issues set out by EU competition regulators, the people said. The Commission had ordered Google to treat rivals and its own service equally.

“This is worse than the commitments,” one of the people said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Commission was not immediately available for comment. Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Google has until September 28 to stop its anti-competitive practices or its parent company Alphabet could be fined up to 5 percent of its average daily worldwide turnover.

Zomato Now a Profitable Company, Introduces Zero Commission for Food Ordering in India

Zomato Now a Profitable Company, Introduces Zero Commission for Food Ordering in India

Restaurant search and review website Zomato is now a profitable company in all of the 24 markets it operates in, founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said on Monday. The company says it will now work to give back to the community, starting with India, where it has waived off the commission it charges restaurants on orders.

Zomato’s core advertising business in its three key regions – India, Southeast Asia, and Middle East – is generating “enough cash” to cover for the millions of dollars of investments it has made in other regions as it expanded its presence worldwide, the Haryana-headquartered company said. It also noted that is profitable across all of its businesses.

Not all the restaurants will be able to avail the zero commission offering from Zomato, the company said, adding that it has a set of predefined criteria such as the number of orders a restaurant processes with Zomato on a weekly basis, and customer feedback. Zomato didn’t share how many orders were required to quality for the program, but citing its own data, it said 70 percent of its partnered restaurants should quality for it.

The announcement comes on the heels of its acquisition of logistics and food delivery startup Runnr, which was announced last week. “With the combination of Zomato and Runnr, we have everything in the stack of building a delightful food delivery service – end to end – listings, discovery, reviews, ordering, and now, logistics,” Goyal said at the time.

Zomato had achieved an operation break-even for its business in six markets – India, Indonesia, the UAE, Lebanon, Qatar, and the Philippines – in February this year.

Apple iPhone X: The internet reacts

New iPhones

When Apple chief Tim Cook declared the iPhone X “the biggest leap forward since the first iPhone” at his latest launch extravaganza, you couldn’t help but wonder if he was referring to its features or its price.

With the top-end model costing £1,149, customers are paying a premium to swap their fingerprint sensor for a facial scanner and the ability to make an animated monkey or poo emoji copy their bemused looks.

In opting to refer to the model as “ten” rather than “x”, the firm has also thrown its naming convention into a bit of confusion – will there ever be an iPhone 9 – or indeed IX?

Of course, that’s a problem for another day. And the internet has had plenty else to chew over in the meantime…


The two biggest questions for me focus on the iPhone X’s most daring design change, ditching the home button. Will it actually make the phone more convenient to use? And will using your face to unlock the phone benefit you, or is it just a workaround?

The Verge

The iPhone X may be the most powerful iPhone ever, but compared to almost any other Android flagships, it’s hard to pick out a category where it leads the pack – at least on paper when comparing raw specifications. But if Apple has shown one thing time and again with every iPhone generation, it’s that optimisation of hardware and software matter just as much – if not more.

Wall Street Journal

The iPhone X’s new design – a 5.8in, edge-to-edge display -has raised hopes that it can reverse Apple’s fortunes in China, where sales have fallen six straight quarters. Chinese consumers are more influenced by a phone’s appearance than consumers in other markets, and Apple had kept the same appearance for three years.


A $1,000 iPhone could add as much as 6% to Apple’s 2018 earnings per share… but that depends on the iPhone X being a hit, and there’s more competition from lower-cost Chinese competitors such as Huawei and Xiaomi, which timed the introduction of their new phones around Apple’s launch to attract customers who may be deterred by the iPhone X’s price.


Apple has crafted a stunning new flagship. In a time when existing iPhones were starting to look a little – dare I say – pedestrian in comparison to what Samsung, LG, and others were doing in hardware, the iPhone X has accelerated through and can spar with the best of them.


What did bother me a little more than expected were the bezels that run around the screen… Given that Apple’s competition has done an incredible job trimming the cruft from around their displays, I can’t help but feel that the iPhone X’s design doesn’t have the same kind of impact as, say, the Essential or Samsung’s recent Galaxys.


The very notion of using your face as the key to your digital secrets presents some fundamental problems… It’s very hard to hide your face from someone who wants to coerce you to unlock your phone, like a mugger, a customs agent, or a policeman who has just arrested you. In some cases, criminal suspects in the US can invoke the Fifth Amendment protections from self-incrimination to refuse to give up their phone’s passcode. That same protection doesn’t apply to your face.

Financial Times

All the focus today was on the innovations in the X.But it all made the new 8 look like a rather boring, “plain old” iPhone – and the price for that has just gone up $50 as well.


The X is the best iPhone, no questions, and it’s quickly jumped to the top of the best phones, period. Yeah, it’s going to cost you, but you already knew that.

Amazon wants a second HQ, and it’s got $5 billion to spend

Amazon's Spheres structures in Seattle
At its Seattle campus, Amazon is building these “Spheres” as a nature complex and workspace.

Amazon is now so big it wants a second headquarters.

The world’s largest online retailer said Thursday it plans to build a corporate basein a major North American city that will be an equal to its existing Seattle headquarters. It expects to spend over $5 billion on the project, called Amazon HQ2, and hire as many as 50,000 people for high-paying jobs over the next 15 to 17 years.

“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “We’re excited to find a second home.”

Amazon said it has over 40,000 employees working at its Seattle headquarters, where it has 33 buildings. It spent $3.7 billion on buildings and infrastructure to create the urban campus there.

The company is seeking requests for proposals from cities, to be sent in by Oct. 19. The final site selection is expected to be announced sometime next year.

With the company expanding so quickly, it may now realize it’s outgrown the Seattle market and needs to go somewhere else to draw in more talent. In the process of getting that talent, Amazon is likely making this announcement to generate excitement from multiple cities and states in hopes of sparking a bidding war. It could find itself with millions or billions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives for agreeing to come to any given location.

It’s likely many cities will be falling over themselves to bring home a major tech company to bolster their monikers as a “Silicon Something” (Silicon Alley, Silicon Slopes, Silicon Prairie, the list goes on). Other locales may be more hesitant since Amazon has already taken over large chunks of downtown Seattle, helping drive up housing costs in the area.

“They need to go where they can sustain longer-term growth, because there’s going to be more,” Larry Chiagouris, professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, said Thursday.

He added that Amazon will probably head where it can plan expansions into future industries, plot for additional acquisitions and find ways to connect its vast sets of businesses, from books to clothing to food to web services.

There is precedent in the business world to developing additional headquarters. Several major companies have done so, especially after merging with another big firm and agreeing to maintain both companies’ headquarters.

Amazon said Thursday it’s looking for a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people and urban or suburban locations with potential to hire tech talent. Amazon is considering a layout similar to its Seattle location, which is in an urban core.

Amazon’s new headquarters could help it tap into a new pool of engineering talent, after it’s fought to retain and snag candidates from Microsoft in the Seattle area. While Silicon Valley includes plenty of that talent — and lots of competition for it — Amazon could also look to the New York City, Boston, Chicago or Denver as potential spots.

This announcement is part of Amazon’s continued heavy spending as it looks to keep growing. The company in January said it will spend $1.49 billion to build a new air cargo hub in Kentucky, and it’s already in the process of expanding its Seattle headquarters. It also just closed a deal to buy grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

Amazon has more than 380,000 employees worldwide and said in January it would hire 100,000 people in the US over the next 18 months, though most of these jobs were expected to be lower-paying positions in warehouses. The 50,000 employees for the new headquarters are separate from that goal for 100,000 new hires.