Spirable refuels with $7.4M to serve more personalized video ads in the US

London based adtech startup Spirable has closed a £6M Series A. The round was led by Smedvig Capital, with existing backers Frontline Ventures, Downing Ventures and 24 Haymarket also participating. The startup is one of several playing in the customized video ads space — offering a platform that simplifies and scales video ad creation by […]

Facebook Dating launches in the US, adds Instagram integration

Are Americans ready to trust Facebook with their dating life? Barely more than a month has passed since the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook a record $5 billion over its privacy lapses, and imposed a modified corporate structure to hold the company more accountable for its decisions over user privacy. In the wake of […]

Facebook rolls out new business tools for Messenger, kills the ‘Discover’ tab

Facebook today is formally rolling out a new suite of tools for its 40 million active businesses on Messenger, including appointment booking, lead generation and others announced earlier this year at its F8 developer conference. As a part of these changes, Facebook will also begin to phase out the Discover tab in Messenger — a […]

The 11 best startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 1

tY Combinator, the genesis for many of the companies that have shaped Silicon Valley including Airbnb, PagerDuty and Stripe, has minted another 200 some graduates. Half of those companies made their pitch to investors today during Day 1 of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 Demo Day event and we’re here to tell you which startups are […]

Microsoft tweaks privacy policy to admit humans can listen to Skype Translator and Cortana audio

Microsoft is the latest tech giant to amend its privacy policy after media reports revealed it uses human contractors to review audio recordings of Skype and Cortana users. A section in the policy on how the company uses personal data now reads (emphasis ours): Our processing of personal data for these purposes includes both automated […]

Facebook’s human-AI blend for audio transcription is now facing privacy scrutiny in Europe

Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe is now asking the company for detailed information about the operation of a voice-to-text feature in Facebook’s Messenger app and how it complies with EU law. Yesterday Bloomberg reported that Facebook uses human contractors to transcribe app users’ audio messages — yet its privacy policy makes no clear mention […]

Facebook to admit ownership of Instagram, WhatsApp in hard-to-read small-print

For the first time in more than half a decade, Facebook wants to inform you that it owns Instagram, the hyper-popular rival social networking app it acquired for a $1BN steal back in 2012. Ditto messaging platform WhatsApp — which Mark Zuckerberg splurged $19BN on a couple of years later to keep feeding eyeballs into […]

Week in Review: Regulation boogaloo

Hello, weekenders. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure. Last week, I talked about how services like Instagram had moved beyond letting […]

Facebook fails to keep Messenger Kids’ safety promise

Facebook’s messaging app for under 13s, Messenger Kids — which launched two years ago pledging a “private” chat space for kids to talk with contacts specifically approved by their parents — has run into an embarrassing safety issue. The Verge obtained messages sent by Facebook to an unknown number of parents of users of the […]

Calibra wallet won’t launch in Facebook’s biggest market

Facebook unveiled its audacious Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra digital wallet on Tuesday, through which it plans to transform financial services across the globe. The social juggernaut made clear its ambitions when it said that it wishes to empower more than 1.7 billion people around the world who currently do not have a bank account. But […]