SCI TECH TECH_Social TECH_Technology

Facebook gave personal data to 60 companies: report

Facebook gave personal data to 60 companies including Apple, Amazon and Samsung, according to CNBC. On Sunday, the New York Times revealed that Facebook had formed at least 60 data-sharing partnerships over the last 10 years. They made these partnerships with companies such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung.

Facebook is already facing an intense backlash from lawmakers, regulators and users from many different countries over its handling of personal data. These deals were made without consent of the users, and granted the companies access to a Facebook user’s relationship status, political leaning, educational history, religion and upcoming events, according to the New York Times.

Facebook responded to the New York Times report with a blog post late Sunday. The blog post was meant to respond to the allegations, and to  to defend its practice of sharing user’s personal data with other companies. The blog post stated: “These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences.”  The comment has been attributed to Ime Archibong, vice president of product partnerships at Facebook.

CNNC has reached out to Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Samsung for comments on the matter, but each company has since not responded to the request.

SCI TECH_Technology

Evolve servers will shut down in September

2K Games announced that it will shut down Evolve on September 3, 2018, according to Green Man Gaming. 2K Games announced on their official website that “Evolve’s dedicated servers will be shutting down on September 3, 2018. This means several game features will no longer be available, such as Hunt (Ranked), leaderboards, and the in-game store.”

Stage 2 will no longer be available on PC, and players will have plenty of opportunity to spend their in-game and virtual currency before the store is removed. Peer-to-peer multiplayer will still be available in Legacy Evolve on PC and console, and we’d like to stress that all players will retain all purchased DLC content, such as Hunters, Monsters, and skins. If you purchased Evolve, you’ll be able to access Legacy Evolve after the dedicated servers are shut down.

The free-to-play PC version, Evolve Stage 2, will not be available. Players will keep all purchased Monsters, Hunters, and skins after the server shutdown on September 3, 2018. Be sure to spend your in-game currency as the store closes along with the servers on September 3. All content can be accessed through Legacy Evolve, which is the original retail version of Evolve.

Evolve launched in 2015, but despite the initial hype failed to perform to expectations. 2K Games launched a free version of the game in July 2016, but its player database declined anyway, and after they close their servers in September, only those who purchased the original version of the game will be able to continue playing it.



Facebook is shutting down its trending feature

Facebook is shutting down their controversial trending news feature, according to CNN. Earlier today, Facebook announced that they will be shutting down the feature next week. Facebook’s head of news products Alex Hardiman said that “it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average”. He continued by saying that: “from research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful.”

Facebook’s trending news feature was started in 2014, and came under fire in 2016 after an anonymous former Facebook employee accused the company of censoring Conservative news topics. This led to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meeting with Conservative commentators and leaders to try and defend Facebook from the allegations. Facebook then proceeded to remove human moderators for the feature in favor of algorithms.

Facebook however continued to receive criticism for a perceived Liberal bias, as well as condemnation for being “fake news”. Furthermore, Facebook was accused of meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election. It stands to reason then, that Facebook is wise to move away from the unpopular feature altogether. Facebook is currently working with 80 different publishers to work on a new “breaking news” feature that will replace the departing trending news one.

Business SCI TECH_Technology

Amazon’s Prime Pantry service will now require a monthly fee

Amazon is making big changes to their Prime Pantry service, according to AndroidCentral. Beginning on June 1, Prime Pantry will be a subscription service that will cost Amazon Prime subscribers an extra $4.99 a month. This will also include unlimited free shipping for orders over $40. Under the previous structure, Prime Pantry required a flat pre-order fee of $5.99, that applied to all customers regardless of whether they paid for the Amazon Prime service or not. The downside is that this fee is now rising to $7.99, making the monthly subscription version more appealing to customers.

Prime Pantry is Amazon’s answer to local grocery stores. The idea is that customers would prefer to order groceries from the comfort of their own home, while being able to compare prices and thus save money. This adds the appeal of saving time by not making the trip to the actual store. Amazon hopes that this will convince more people to subscribe to the service.

There is a major downside to Prime Pantry’s shipping system however. It does not work the same way as Prime, meaning that items can take up to four days to arrive, which might be a concern to customers used to Amazon’s next day shipping. In fact, this could be the deciding factor between going to the local grocery store or ordering from Amazon.

Business Mobile SCI

You can now order drinks ahead at concerts with Apple Pay

Apple is trying out a new feature: allowing Apple Pay users to order drinks at concerts and music festivals ahead of time, according to TechCrunch. The appeal is obvious, why wait in a long line when you could order the drink of your choice on your smartphone, and then simply pick it up when it’s ready? Users would simply be required to open the festival or concert’s app, pick the drink of their choice, and then pay through Apple Pay via their fingerprint or facial recognition.

Last week, the BottleRock Festival near San Francisco was the first to try this new method. BottleRock is an upscale establishment that is located only 100 miles from Apple’s headquarters. As a result, Apple has been using BottleRock as a test-site for some of their products. At last year’s festival, Apple has also installed an Apple Pay ready payment system. During that festival,  30% of all transactions were done through ApplePay, which led Apple to publicly call it evidence of a successful new payment system. This is very encouraging news for Apple, as such a system allows the tech giant to target a whole new demographic of concert goers.

Apple Pay has a very real chance of becoming yet another breakthrough service from Apple.


Teens say goodbye to Facebook

Facebook is drastically losing popularity among its teenage demographic (users that are 13-17 years old), according to Gizmodo. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Institute conducted a month-long study that involved surveying 750 American teenagers on their social media usage. The study found that only 51% of them are still using Facebook. This is a stunning 20% drop in the demographic from the last time that the Pew Research Institute did a similar study, back in 2015.

YouTube was the big winner, as 85% of teens reported using the platform. Instagram followed with 72% and Snapchat finished third with 69%. Less popular platforms were Twitter (32%) and Tumblr (14%). Interestingly, the study found that Snapchat was the platform most used by teens on a daily basis.

This isn’t the first time this year that Facebook received unwelcome news: for the first time in the platform’s history, Facebook saw a decline in users from the United States and Canada. While Facebook managed to bounce back from the decline, its global growth numbers are down.

Daniel Ives, the chief strategy officer and head of technology research at GBH Insights, has a different outlook on the results of the study. He said that “Instagram has captured that demographic better than anyone could have expected”. He added that the results reflect “why Instagram is one of the best tech acquisitions done in the past 15 years.” Instagram is owned by Facebook.

The study also found that lower-income teens “are more likely to gravitate toward Facebook than those from higher-income households.” It also found an increased smartphone usage among teens as compared to 2015 (from 75% to 95%).