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Daily Crunch: Facebook’s profits disappoint

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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. Facebook hits 2.5B users in Q4 but shares sink from slow profits

In its latest quarterly earnings report, Facebook said it now reaches 2.5 billion monthly users, up 2% from Q3 2019. And it brought in $21.08 billion in revenue, up 25% year-over-year.

But profits aren’t growing as quickly as Wall Street would like. One big source of those expenses? Headcount grew 26% year-over-year to 44,942, and Facebook now has over 1,000 engineers working on privacy.

2. Avast shuts down marketing analytics subsidiary Jumpshot amid controversy over selling user data

It was recently revealed that the Czech-based cybersecurity specialist was cultivating another controversial revenue stream: harvesting and selling user data, some of it amassed by way of its security tools.

3. Study of YouTube comments finds evidence of radicalization effect

The study, carried out by researchers at Switzerland’s Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, found evidence that users who engaged with “Alt-lite”/”Intellectual Dark Web” right-wing content migrated to commenting on the most fringe far-right content.

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4. Microsoft shares rise after it beats revenue, profit expectations, Azure posts 62% growth

Microsoft reported its fiscal 2020 second quarter (calendar Q4 2019) results yesterday, including revenue of $36.9 billion (up 14%), net income of $11.6 billion (up 38%) and diluted earnings per share of $1.51.

See also  Microsoft Introduces New Ways to Target Audiences With Search Ads

5. Snapchat launches Bitmoji TV: zany 4-min cartoons of your avatar

Snapchat is betting that narcissism will drive viewership for its new weekly videos that put you and your friends’ customizable Bitmoji avatars into a flurry of silly animated situations. Bitmoji TV will premiere on Saturday morning.

6. Practice Fusion, once backed by top VCs, pushed doctors to prescribe opioids in kickback scheme

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Practice Fusion solicited and received pay from an (unnamed for now) major opioid company in exchange for using its EHR software to influence doctors in the act of prescribing opioid pain medications.

7. Where top VCs are investing in travel, tourism and hospitality tech

To get a temperature check on the state of the travel market, the outlook for fundraising and which sub-sectors might present the most attractive opportunities for startups today, we asked five leading VCs at firms spanning early to growth stages to share what’s exciting them most and where they see opportunity in travel, tourism and hospitality tech. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Facebook fighting against disinformation: Launch new options

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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.

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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.

See also  TikTok joins the EU’s Code of Practice on disinformation

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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