Chrissy Teigen joins other celebrities in Snapchat ‘boycott’

Chrissy Teigen has had it with Snapchat.

The model and cookbook author announced over Twitter on Saturday that she had stopped using the social media platform because of several factors– including the controversial advertisement Snapchat ran earlier this month, that alluded to the 2009 domestic violence incident between Rihanna and Chris Brown.

The advertisement was for a game of “Would You Rather,” which in turn asked users if they would rather slap Rihanna or punch Brown.

“I stopped using snap,” Teigen, 32, tweeted. “The update, the constant complaints of people not being able to find me, plus the Rihanna poll…no bueno.”

The Lip Sync Battle host’s complaints come two weeks after Rihanna took to Instagram to give a heated statement about the incident.

“Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there!” She posted to her Instagram story,”But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!”

CNN reports that the platform lost $800 million in stock market value after the pop star’s statement.

“This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause I don’t have much of them…but all the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet…you let us down!” Rihanna, 30, continued.
“Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”

This all comes less than a month after Kylie Jenner criticized the app’s new design, tweeting, “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” Jenner’s tweet resulted in a reported $1.3 billion loss in market value for the company.

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#OscarsSoWhite creator speaks out on latest Academy invitee class

April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite, is not satisfied with attempts by the Academy to diversify.

Reign began using the hashtag in the wake of the announcement of 2015 nominees from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

The Oscars 2015 did not contain any “person of color” in major acting categories, precipitating the hashtag. Following the Twitter campaign by Reign, notable African American entertainers such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the 2015 ceremony.

A major problem, as pointed out by Reign and others, was the fact that most of the people voting for the Academy Awards are older white males.

As a reaction to the public outcry, the Academy announced that it had committed to diversifying its voters, attempting to double its number of women and people of color by 2020.

The Academy released its newest voter invitee list on Wednesday.

“It seems impressive on first glance. I am encouraged by the inclusion of additional women and people of color and those from marginalized communities,” said Reign in an interview with the L.A. Times.

“As I read the list, there are definitely some names that were shocking to me from the standpoint of why some of these people aren’t already members of the academy,” continued Reign. “The academy is righting a wrong here.”

“Yes, a lot of work still must be done. For women, if the academy is supposed to be representative of the population, it should be a lot closer to 50%. And the 11% [people of color]… is not representative of all people of color in this country,” concluded Reign.



Rolling Stone settles lawsuit with university fraternity over debunked rape story

After three years, a fraternity associated with the University of Virginia has agreed to accept $1.65 million from Rolling Stone magazine in settlement of a defamation suit arising from the publication of a since-retracted story about an alleged gang-rape on campus, a report by ABC News said.

“The Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity has agreed to settle and dismiss its defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Sabrina Erdely arising from the magazine’s publication of the November, 2014 article A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” the fraternity said in a statement, as reported by ABC News. “It has been nearly three years since we and the entire University of Virginia community were shocked by the now infamous article, and we are pleased to be able to close the book on that trying ordeal and its aftermath.”

The retracted story, written by Sabrina Erdely, involved a young woman called “Jackie” who claimed to have been gang-raped UV’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity during her first year at school.

The fraternity has pledged that a substantial part of the settlement amount will go to organizations involved in preventing and treating sexual assault.

“The chapter looks forward to donating a significant portion of its settlement proceeds to organizations that provide sexual assault awareness education, prevention training and victim counseling services on college campuses,” the statement said.

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Alec Baldwin disapproves of daughter’s racy Instagram photo

Comedian Alec Baldwin weighed in on the racy snapshot his daughter posted on Instagram on Saturday, voicing his disapproval in the comments section, Fox News reported.

In the image, the 22-year-old model struck a risqué pose while straddling a motorcycle in a black bikini. “Stay extra,” she captioned the eye-catching photo. In no time, her father noticed the photo and was quick to weigh in, writing, “No. Just…no.”

As fans know, the 60-year-old actor and his daughter have not always been on the best of terms. In 2007, he came under fire when a voicemail leaked in which he called his then-11-year-old daughter a “rude, thoughtless little pig.”

His daughter addressed the controversy in 2017 when she helped roast her father on Spike TV’s special, One Night Only: Alec Baldwin, with a playful threat for her dear old dad.

“I’m here to roast this big old ham I call my father,” Ireland announced at the show. “Speaking of pigs. Some of you may remember me as that thoughtless little pig you read about. That was a decade ago, and my dad and I are in a much better place now. He would never say something like that — because I’m 6’2″ and I would kick his a–.”

“The truth is, that whole awful period nearly killed him emotionally,” she added. “I wouldn’t see my dad that upset ever again … until I showed him my first tattoo. OK, my second tattoo. I couldn’t show him where I got the first one.”

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Facebook reveals data-sharing VIPs

Facebook has revealed business and organization names in which special rights to access users’ data was yielded, according to a publishing by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

The list exposure and publicized content transpire as a continued response to US congressional inquiries involving the social media company’s practices.

Reportedly, 61 companies were provided with a temporary exemption from a block on apps accessing details about users’ friends, while identifying 52 additional authorizations to tap data in an effort to “recreate Facebook-like experiences”.

Following a critical review of the practice by the Irish data protection commissioner, Facebook announced that access would be blocked from April 2015.

Presently, Facebook explains how a San Francisco-based company specializing in software for visually impaired users, named Serotek, was given an extra eight months access.

60 additional companies had been given shorter extensions to the deadline.

As part of a separate scheme, Facebook allowed certain hardware and software companies to access its members’ personal details in order to build their own “versions of Facebook or Facebook features”, according to Wall Street Journal reports.

Numerous “partnerships” remain active despite claims that they might breach privacy commitments made by Facebook to US watchdogs and the public.

In an earlier statement, Facebook reported its partnerships and engineering teams had reviewed and approved all the data-sharing agreements and had found no evidence of abuse.

The technology company also provided an update on its efforts to identify other Cambridge-Analytica-like situations, in which data about its users had been obtained “through improper means”.

While suspending nearly 200 apps to date, relating to five developers, Facebook confirmed various apps involved were described as “tests”, and never released to the public.

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Facebook begins internal testing of dating feature

Subsequent to announcing the new dating feature at the F8 Developer conference, Facebook is testing its dating product internally with employees.

Jane Manchun Wong, an independent app researcher who regularly uncovers new Facebook features by scouring the source code, found evidence of the product Friday and revealed the evidence on Twitter.

Accompanying the findings, Facebook confirmed to The Verge that the product is in testing within the Facebook app but declined to comment further.

“This product is for US Facebook employees who have opted-in to dogfooding Facebook’s new dating product,” a screenshot reads, using slang for employees testing out their own software. “The purpose for this dogfooding is to test the end-to-end product experience for bugs and confusing UI. This is not meant for dating your coworkers.”

Employees were required to use fake data for their dating profiles. The social media giant has plans to delete all data before the public launch.

“Dogfooding this product is completely voluntary and has no impact on your employment,” a screenshot reads, adding that the product is confidential. It also warns employees that its anti-harassment policies apply to the dating product.

Additional images display the sign-up flow for Facebook dating, including options to specify your gender, your location, and which genders you’re interested in matching with. Wong was able to fill in her own information but prevented from actually creating the dating profile.

Notably, the stock price of Match Group, which owns popular dating apps including OKCupid and Tinder, plunged 17 percent the day Facebook Dating was announced.

During the F8 Developer conference, the company revealed how Facebook Dating will allow users to create a separate profile for dating. When a user and another person using the service like one another’s profiles, each entity will be allowed to contact each other.

The company also described a feature that would let users create dating profiles visible for people attending the same social event, in hopes of generating more offline connections. “This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just for hookups,” Mark Zuckerberg said in his announcement.

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Microsoft retains Skype ‘classic’ support after backlash

Microsoft originally announced in July, encouraging users to upgrade to Skype version 8.0, has received an insurmountable rejection from current consumers.

The multinational technology company announced that classic Skype would be discontinued on September 1, generating a worldwide lament over the “upgrade” and clogged up the comments on the original discontinuation blog post.

According to Microsoft, the decision to continue supporting Skype 7 has been confirmed for “some time”.

The message that was left on the original post, as reported by Microsoft blog Thurrott, explains, “Thanks for all your comments – we are listening.”

Notably, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNET they have nothing more to share beyond the blog post at this time.

Many of the early complaints about Skype 8.0 were that it forced users to upgrade to a new service completely devoid of the features that made Skype classic great. Those changes were made in an effort to make the desktop version of Skype’s UI appear a little more closer to Microsoft’s vision for the app on mobile.

It appears, for now, that Skype classic will continue being supported — at least until Microsoft can transplant much-loved features to its updated version.

While this seems mostly like a case of users feeling discontent with Microsoft’s more forceful exertion of control over a product many people many perceive the update works just fine, the legitimate complaints about the new Skype that may get more readily addressed now that Microsoft is actively listening to feedback and forestalling a discontinuation of Skype 7.

Presently, there are no reports involving the timeframes of the delay.

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Gmail messages ‘read by human third parties’

Google confirms private emails sent and received by Gmail users may be read by third-party app developers. Users with connected third-party apps may have unconsciously provided human staff permission to read private email messages.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the misrepresented permission allows employees of third-party apps to read users’ emails. An internal source explained to the newspaper how messages are typically processed by computer algorithms, resulting in several company employees reading “thousands” of email messages.

Edison Software revealed to the Wall Street Journal the premises for reviewing emails of hundreds of users as “building a new software feature”.

Firm eDataSource Inc additionally confirmed that engineers had previously reviewed emails to improve its algorithms.

As the practice was covered by their user agreements, the companies said they had not asked users for specific permission to read their Gmail messages.

“You can spend weeks of your life reading terms and conditions,” said Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey. “It might well be mentioned in there, but it’s not what you would think of as reasonable, for a human being in a third-party company to be able to read your emails.”

In a statement, Google says vetted organizations are the only permitted companies that may access messages, and only if users had “explicitly granted permission to access email”.

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‘Suicide challenge’ game targets teens across social media

A suicide game termed “Momo” is spreading on social media, prompting police in multiple countries to issue warnings about it. Argentina’s law enforcement investigates whether “Momo” is connected to the suicide of a 12-year-old girl, according to the Buenos Aires Times.

According to the Computer Crime Investigation Unit in the Mexican state of Tabasco, the game started on Facebook where members were “challenged” to communicate with an unknown number.

The “Momo” challenge asks people to add a contact via WhatsApp. They are then urged to hurt themselves or commit suicide.

It has been compared to the “Blue Whale challenge” that led to reports of suicides in Russia and the U.S., including a teenager in San Antonio.

The avatar for “Momo” is the image of a woman with grotesque features and bulging eyes from the work of Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, who is not associated with the game. The game uses the avatar as its main character.

“Don’t add ‘Momo’!” warned Spain’s Guardia Civil in a tweet.

Would be “players” are encouraged to add to their contacts one of several numbers associated with the game.

The game “controller” then sends violent images to the person over the messaging app, claims to know personal things about the “player,” and threatens the player if they don’t follow “orders.”

Players are often asked to kill themselves or post images and videos showing themselves committing suicide.

BBC News Portuguese language site’s Rodrigo Nejm of Brazil’s NGO Safernet said it’s unclear how widespread the game is but claimed it was most likely a form of “bait” used by criminals to steal data and extort people on the internet.


Alabama judge: It’s not against the law for teachers to sleep with students

An Alabama judge ruled that his state’s laws barring teachers from having sex with students are unconstitutional—provided that the students are of legal age. The judge accordingly dismissed charges against two former high-school instructors who were facing possible prison time for becoming physically intimate with students at their schools.

Judge Glenn Thompson was hearing the case of former high-school teacher Carrie Witt and David Solomon, an aide who worked at a different school. Witt was accused of sleeping with two students—one 18 years old and one 17 years old—while Solomon was accused of sex with a 17-year-old student.

Alabama’s age of consent is 16, but state law forbids adult school employees from “engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student” even if the student is 17 or older. Those who violate the law can incur jail time and a lifetime on the sex-offender registry.

Thompson stated that the law is unfairly written. It should take into account whether the sex was consensual and whether the teachers or aides had any power or authority that they used to groom or coerce the students into sex—and in this case, neither defendant did, he explained.

“It is this court’s finding that the law grants these students the capacity to consent until and unless there is some showing that authority was used to obtain illegitimate or coerced consent,” Thompson wrote. “If no such position of authority is alleged, the defendant must be permitted to show consent as a defense.”

Prosecutors said that they will appeal Thompson’s ruling to the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals. Whoever loses in that court could take the case to the State Supreme Court.

Teacher-student sexual relationships remain illegal, even when the students are of legal age, in many other states. Washington, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut all expressly outlaw them, and New Jersey enacted a new law prohibiting them in 2015.