Category Archives: Tech

YouTube Bans Dangerous Prank Videos

(AP) — YouTube is trying to prevent otherwise bright people from doing dangerous things. The video-sharing network owned by Google is cracking down on harmful or dangerous pranks. Updated policies no longer allow challenges that present “an apparent risk of death” and ban content featuring children “participating in dangerous challenges that pose an imminent risk of injury or bodily harm.” YouTube also said it is drawing the line on content that “intends to incite violence or encourage dangerous or illegal activities” that have a risk of serious harm or death. They include bomb making or pranks that put people in physical danger. A recent “Bird Box challenge” featured videos of people engaging in activities while blindfolded. People also were sickened in a challenge that involved eating Tide detergent pods. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

YouTube Bans Dangerous Prank Videos Following ‘Bird Box Challenge’

SAN BRUNO (CBS SF / AP) — San Bruno-based video giant YouTube is trying to prevent otherwise bright people from doing dangerous things. The video-sharing network owned by Google is cracking down on harmful or dangerous pranks. Updated policies no longer allow challenges that present “an apparent risk of death” and ban content featuring children “participating in dangerous challenges that pose an imminent risk of injury or bodily harm.” YouTube also says it is drawing the line on content that “intends to incite violence or encourage dangerous or illegal activities” that have a risk of serious harm or death. They include bomb making or pranks that put people in physical danger. A recent “Bird Box challenge” stemming from the hit movie distributed by Los Gatos-based Netflix featured videos of people engaging in activities while blindfolded. People also were sickened in a challenge that involved eating Tide detergent pods. © Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Facebook To Invest $300 Million In News, Focusing On Local

(AP) — Facebook says it is investing $300 million over the next three years in news initiatives, with a focus on local news partnerships and other programs. The money will go toward reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding Facebook’s program to help local newsrooms with subscription business models and investing in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news. It will also be used for Facebook’s other, broad news initiatives such as news literacy programs and third-party fact-checking. The move comes at a difficult time for the news industry, which is facing falling profits and print readership. Facebook, like Google, has also been partly blamed for the ongoing decline in newspapers’ share of advertising dollars as people and advertisers have moved online. Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, acknowledges the company “can’t uninvent the internet,” but says it wants to work with publishers to help them succeed on and off the social network. “The industry is going through a massive transition that has been underway for a long time,” she said. “None of us have quite figured out ultimately what the future of journalism is going to look like but we want to be part of helping find a solution.” Facebook has increased its focus on local news in the past year after starting off 2018 with the announcement that it was generally de-emphasizing news stories and videos in people’s feeds on the social network in favor of posts from their friends.

At the same time, though, the company has been cautiously testing out ways to boost local news stories users are interested in and initiatives to support the broader industry. It launched a feature called “Today In” that shows people local news and information , including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements, expanding it to hundreds of cities around the U.S. and a few in Australia. The push to support local news comes as Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling. The company says users have been asking to see more local content that is relevant to them, including news stories as well as community information such as road closings during a snowstorm. The $300 million investment includes a $5 million grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a fund that will provide local U.S. newsrooms with reporting grants to support coverage of local issues. There’s also a $2 million investment in Report for America as part of a partnership aiming to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across the country over the next five years. The company is not disclosing how all of the money is being distributed. The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model. Facebook can’t be the only answer, the only solution — we don’t want the publisher to be dependent on Facebook.” Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, which is receiving $1 million together with the Local Media Association to help their member newsrooms develop new revenue streams, said she is optimistic the investment will help. “I think they are recognizing that trusted, credible content is of benefit not only to local publishers but to them,” she said. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Facebook To Invest $300 Million In News, Focusing On Local

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it is investing $300 million over the next three years in news initiatives, with a focus on local news partnerships and other programs. The money will go toward reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding Facebook’s program to help local newsrooms with subscription business models and investing in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news. It will also be used for Facebook’s other, broad news initiatives such as news literacy programs and third-party fact-checking. The move comes at a difficult time for the news industry, which is facing falling profits and print readership. Facebook, like Google, has also been partly blamed for the ongoing decline in newspapers’ share of advertising dollars as people and advertisers have moved online. Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, acknowledges the company “can’t uninvent the internet,” but says it wants to work with publishers to help them succeed on and off the social network. “The industry is going through a massive transition that has been underway for a long time,” she said. “None of us have quite figured out ultimately what the future of journalism is going to look like but we want to be part of helping find a solution.” Facebook has increased its focus on local news in the past year after starting off 2018 with the announcement that it was generally de-emphasizing news stories and videos in people’s feeds on the social network in favor of posts from their friends. At the same time, though, the company has been cautiously testing out ways to boost local news stories users are interested in and initiatives to support the broader industry. It launched a feature called “Today In” that shows people local news and information , including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements, expanding it to hundreds of cities around the U.S. and a few in Australia. According to Facebook, the feature is currently only available in a handful of cities in the greater Bay Area, including Berkeley, Oakland, Sonoma, Napa, Fairfield, Foster City and Santa Cruz. The push to support local news comes as Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling. The company says users have been asking to see more local content that is relevant to them, including news stories as well as community information such as road closings during a snowstorm. The $300 million investment includes a $5 million grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a fund that will provide local U.S. newsrooms with reporting grants to support coverage of local issues. There’s also a $2 million investment in Report for America as part of a partnership aiming to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across the country over the next five years. The company is not disclosing how all of the money is being distributed. The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model. Facebook can’t be the only answer, the only solution — we don’t want the publisher to be dependent on Facebook.” Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, which is receiving $1 million together with the Local Media Association to help their member newsrooms develop new revenue streams, said she is optimistic the investment will help. “I think they are recognizing that trusted, credible content is of benefit not only to local publishers but to them,” she said. © Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Chariot E-Shuttle Service To Cease All Operations

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Chariot, the San Francisco-based commuter e-shuttle service owned by Ford, will cease all operations in the U.S. and the U.K., the company announced Sunday evening. The last day for U.S. shuttle service will be Feb. 1 and the last day the company will operate in the U.K. is Jan. 25; the company plans to completely cease operations by the end of March. Chariot’s defining trait is its use of 14-passenger vans that traveled along specific routes, dictated by the accommodating mobile app. Riders purchased Chariot credits and used the app’s map to find a pickup spot. Chariot was also known for its charter services and enterprise commuter services. The large seating capacity was popular for “vanpool” commuting. In a statement released on Sunday, Chariot CEO Dan Grossman cited the “rapidly changing” wants and needs of commuters in today’s mobility landscape. “We are truly grateful to our commuters, enterprise customers, and partners for your support over the past five years,” said Grossman. “Chariot was built on a commitment to help reduce congestion, ease the commute and improve quality of life in cities, and since our start, we have provided our customers with more than 3 million rides. In addition, we helped Ford build their mobility business, and their experience with Chariot continues to inform their mobility efforts and design decisions for the future.” The company said it will make “a good faith effort” to refund customers’ remaining commuter credit balances after services end. The company’s headquarters is in San Francisco, and it operates in cities such as New York, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver, as well as the Greater London area in the U.K. The company was acquired by Ford in 2016.

San Jose’s Alviso Neighborhood Braces For Google Development

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Tech giant Google announced plans to move its hardware division which includes the popular security camera Nest into three massive warehouses it recently purchased in North San Jose’s Alviso community. Google’s development as well as investment by other tech companies is poised to redefine Alviso, a proud, blue-collar community at the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay. “More business, more people. That’s the way I see it. It’s not going to do no harm,” said longtime Alviso resident Teresa Gamsch. San Jose has been promoting the benefits of Alviso to developers and tech businesses. The city’s general plan calls for the construction of 27 million square feet of new office space and 32,000 new homes in North San Jose. “It shows you San Jose still has room to grow. And San Jose has beautiful areas. That area is near a creek and open space,” said Economic Development Director Nanci Klein. But others worry in the influx of tech cash may end up elbowing out some of the longtime residents. “I just feel like a lot of these people are going to be pushed out because of the development over here. I guess only time will tell,” resident Vincent Mora said. A spokesperson for Google said it will likely be the end of the year or early next year before employees start moving into the buildings.

Software Company Aims To End Password Sharing For Streaming Services

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While it is not uncommon for people to share their user names and passwords for streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, a software company is aiming to stop that practice. UK-based software company Synamedia says it can track down user who are letting others use their account. The company analyzes location data using artificial intelligence to determine who is sharing credentials, and from what location. 26 percent of millennials use someone else’s passwords for video streaming services. One media research firm estimates if four million U.S. households stopped sharing passwords, Netflix could make $390 million more per year from new accounts.

SpaceX Launches 10 Communications Satellites From Vandenberg AFB

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY (CBS SF / AP) — Ten new satellites for Iridium Communications’ global network have been successfully deployed in orbit after launch from California’s Central Coast. The satellites were individually released from the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket that blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday morning.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the final Iridium mission this year, launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA on Jan. 11, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Wear/Released)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the final Iridium mission this year, launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA on Jan. 11, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Wear/Released)

Iridium now has 75 new satellites in orbit, including nine spares. The McLean, Virginia-based company’s $3 billion Iridium NEXT project replaces its entire original fleet. The Falcon’s first stage successfully landed on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean, marking its second launch and recovery. © Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.