Facebook develops a new way to interact with AR, Uber’s facial recognition policy faces scrutiny and SpaceX’s Starship rocket booster hits a major milestone. This is your Daily Crunch for March 19, 2021.
The big story: Facebook shows off wrist-based interface
This project comes out of Facebook Reality Labs and is supposed to present an alternative computer interface on your wrist, with electromyography sensors to interpret motor nerve signals.
In a blog post, Facebook said a wrist-based device “could reasonably fit into everyday life and social contexts,” while allowing the company to “bring the rich control capabilities of your hands into AR, enabling intuitive, powerful and satisfying interaction.”
Facebook identifies this as a research prototype, so don’t expect it to turn into a commercial product anytime soon. But it’s still suggestive, particularly given the company’s sometimes-surprising hardware strategy and rumors that it might be working on an Apple Watch competitor.
The tech giants
India asks court to block WhatsApp’s policy update, says new change violates laws — The Indian government alleged on Friday that WhatsApp’s planned privacy update violates local laws on several counts.
Uber under pressure over facial recognition checks for drivers — Uber’s use of facial recognition technology for a driver identity system is being challenged in the U.K.
Instagram and WhatsApp hit by outage — The outage began around 1:40 p.m. ET and lasted for more than half an hour.
Startups, funding and venture capital
SpaceX nears final assembly of its first massive testing rocket booster for Starship — SpaceX has completed what’s known as the “stacking” of its first Super Heavy prototype.
Brazilian startup Tractian gets the Y Combinator seal of approval for its equipment monitoring tech — Throughout their lives, the founders had heard their parents complain about the sorry state of maintenance and heavy equipment in their factories.
Superpedestrian positions itself as the go-to partner for cities with new e-scooter safety upgrades — Superpedestrian is considered an up-and-coming player in the micromobility world because of how it handles safety issues.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
It’s time to abandon business intelligence tools — Organizations spend ungodly amounts of money on business intelligence tools, but adoption rates are still below 30%.
The lightning-fast Series A (that was 3 years in the making) — Sounding Board’s Christine Tao discusses raising her Series A on the How I Raised It podcast.
Survey: Share feedback on Extra Crunch — Tell us what you think about Extra Crunch!
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Cloud infrastructure spending passed on-prem data centers in 2020 — That’s according to new research from Sydney Research Group.
Five trends in the boardrooms of high-growth private companies — Just as countless aspects of corporate life have been reshaped over the course of the last year, boards of directors are undergoing significant and lasting transformation.
Attend Disrupt 2021 for less than $100 — If three jam-packed days of TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 wasn’t enough to get your startup motor running, listen up.
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 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
Facebook fighting against disinformation: Launch new options
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has dismantled new malicious networks that used vaccine debates to harass professionals or sow division in some countries, a sign that disinformation about the pandemic, spread for political ends, is on the wane not.
“They insulted doctors, journalists and elected officials, calling them supporters of the Nazis because they were promoting vaccines against the Covid, ensuring that compulsory vaccination would lead to a dictatorship of health,” explained Mike Dvilyanski, director investigations into emerging threats, at a press conference on Wednesday.
He was referring to a network linked to an anti-vaccination movement called “V_V”, which the Californian group accuses of having carried out a campaign of intimidation and mass harassment in Italy and France, against health figures, media and politics.
The authors of this operation coordinated in particular via the Telegram messaging system, where the volunteers had access to lists of people to target and to “training” to avoid automatic detection by Facebook.
Their tactics included leaving comments under victims’ messages rather than posting content, and using slightly changed spellings like “vaxcinati” instead of “vaccinati”, meaning “people vaccinated” in Italian.
The social media giant said it was difficult to assess the reach and impact of the campaign, which took place across different platforms.
This is a “psychological war” against people in favor of vaccines, according to Graphika, a company specializing in the analysis of social networks, which published Wednesday a report on the movement “V_V”, whose name comes from the Italian verb “vivere” (“to live”).
“We have observed what appears to be a sprawling populist movement that combines existing conspiratorial theories with anti-authoritarian narratives, and a torrent of health disinformation,” experts detail.
They estimate that “V_V” brings together some 20,000 supporters, some of whom have taken part in acts of vandalism against hospitals and operations to interfere with vaccinations, by making medical appointments without honoring them, for example.
Change on Facebook
Facebook announces news that will facilitate your sales and purchases on the social network.
Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of Facebook, announced that the parent company would now be called Meta, to better represent all of its activities, from social networks to virtual reality, but the names of the different services will remain unchanged. A month later, Meta is already announcing news for the social network.
The first is the launch of online stores in Facebook groups. A “Shop” tab will appear and will allow members to buy products directly through the group in question.
Other features have been communicated with the aim of facilitating e-commerce within the social network, such as the display of recommendations and a better mention of products or even Live Shopping. At this time, no date has been announced regarding the launch of these new options.
In the light of recent features, the company wants to know the feedback from its users through the survey same like what Tesco doing to get its customers feedback via Tesco Views Survey. However, the company is still about this feedback will announce sooner than later in this regard.
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