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Tag Archives: catherine-shu

Google will match up to $1M in donations for Hurricane Florence relief

As cities in Hurricane Florence’s path deal with its aftermath, Google will match up to $1 million in donations to help with relief efforts. The disaster’s death toll is currently 35 people and about 343,000 people in North Carolina are without electricity. The hurricane caused widespread flooding and property damage throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.   Google drew attention to its Hurricane Florence donation campaign with a banner that appeared on top of Gmail for some users. Google has matched donations for other disasters before, including Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey last year. It’s also raised money for humanitarian efforts crises, like a 2015 matching program for up to $5.5 million in donations to provide aid to refugees in Europe. For that campaign, it temporarily added a “Donate” button to its search homepage. The company is partnering with non-profit Network for God to collect and distribute funds. All donations will be directed to the American Red Cross, which Google said it chose to work with “because of their strong track record and existing response in the region.” Other tech companies helping with Hurricane Florence relief include Amazon , which enabled Alexa users to make donations by saying “Alexa, donate to Hurricane Florence disaster relief” and sent trucks with food and donated items to affected areas, and Apple, which donated $1 million to the American Red Cross. Airbnb also offered free rooms to people fleeing the hurricane.  

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Marc and Lynne Benioff will buy Time magazine from Meredith for $190M

Another tech billionaire will scoop up a major news outlet. Meredith Corporation, which acquired Time Inc. in January, announced today that it has agreed to sell its eponymous magazine to Salesforce.com co-founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff for $190 million in cash. Meredith said in March that it planned to sell Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money as part of its goal to save $400 million to $500 million over the next two years and increase the profitability of its remaining portfolio of publications. In its announcement today, the company said it will use proceeds from the sale of Time magazine to pay off debt and expects to reduce its debt by $1 billion during fiscal 2019. Meredith’s acquisition of Time Inc. was controversial because it received financial support from Koch Equity Development , the private equity fund run by Charles and David Koch, known for backing conservative causes. The Benioffs, who are on the other side of the spectrum as supporters of progressive politics, are purchasing Time magazine as individuals. In other words, Salesforce.com, where Benioff serves as chairman and co-CEO, and other companies are not involved with the deal. Marc Benioff told the Wall Street Journal that he and his wife will not be involved in Time magazine’s daily operations or editorial decisions and added that “we’re investing in a company with tremendous impact on the world, one that is also an incredibly strong business. That’s what we’re looking for when we invest as a family.” Other tech billionaires who have purchased major publications include Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who bought the Washington Post in a personal capacity five years ago and Laurene Powell Jobs, whose philanthropic organization, Emerson Collective, acquired a majority stake in The Atlantic last year . (While Jack Ma was a driving force behind Alibaba Group’s acquisition of the South China Morning Post in 2016 , that acquisition was made by the company, not Ma.) Despite being one of the most famous and iconic news brands in the U.S., Time magazine has (like other print publications) struggled to cope with falling circulation and revenue as it invests digital properties. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the magazine’s editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, said “we’ve done a lot to transform this brand over the last few years so that it is far beyond a weekly magazine” and added that its business is “solidly profitable.”

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The Xbox Adaptive Controller goes on sale today and is also now part of the V&A museum’s collection

In an important move for inclusion in the gaming community, the Xbox Adaptive Controller , created for gamers with mobility issues, is now on sale . The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) also announced today that it has acquired the Xbox Adaptive Controller for display in its Rapid Response gallery dedicated to current events and pop culture. First introduced in May , the Xbox Adaptive Controller can now be purchased online for $99.99 . To create the controller, Microsoft collaborated with gamers with disabilities and limited mobility, as well as partners from several organizations, including the AbleGamers Charity, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Special Effect and Warfighter Engaged. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Adaptive Controller project first took root in 2014 when one of its engineers spotted a custom gaming controller made by Warfighter Engaged, a non-profit that provides gaming devices for wounded and disabled veterans. During several of Microsoft’s hackathons, teams of employees began working on gaming devices for people with limited mobility, which in turn gave momentum to the development of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. In its announcement , the V&A said it added the Xbox Adaptive Controller to its collection because “as the first adaptive controller designed and manufactured at large-scale by a leading technology company, it represents a landmark moment in videogame play, and demonstrates how design can be harnessed to encourage inclusively and access.” The Xbox Adaptive Controller features two large buttons that can be programmed to fit its user’s needs, as well as 19 jacks and two USB ports that are spread out in a single line on the back of the device to make them easier to access. Symbols embossed along the back of the controller’s top help identify ports so gamers don’t have to turn it around or lift it up to find the one they need, while grooves serve as guidelines to help them plug in devices. Based on gamer feedback, Microsoft moved controls including the D Pad to the side of the device and put the A and B buttons closer together, so users can easily move between them with one hand. The controller slopes down toward the front, enabling gamers to slide their hands onto it without having to lift them (and also makes it easier to control with feet) and has rounded edges to reduce the change of injury if it’s dropped on a foot. The Xbox Adaptive Controller was designed to rest comfortably in laps and also has three threaded inserts so it can be mounted with hardware to wheelchairs, lap boards or desks. In terms of visual design, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is sleek and unobtrusive, since Microsoft heard from many gamers with limited mobility that they dislike using adaptive devices because they often look like toys. The company’s attention to detail also extends into the controller’s packaging , which is very easy to unbox because gamers told Microsoft that they are often forced to open boxes and other product packages with their teeth.

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Meituan reportedly targets $55B valuation for Hong Kong IPO, leading to concerns that may be too high

Meituan-Dianping is reportedly aiming for a $55 billion valuation in its upcoming initial public offering in Hong Kong, but the company’s net losses and increasing competition from Alibaba are already raising questions about whether that is too ambitious, despite the company’s market leadership in China. Meituan-Dianping, which bills itself as a “one-stop super app” that offers everything from food delivery to travel bookings, has set an IPO price range of HK$60 to HK$72 (about $7.64 to $9.17), with a valuation of $46 billion to $55 billion, according to Reuters . That is still less, however, than the valuation of about $60 million it targeted earlier, according to a June 25 report from the Wall Street Journal . Meituan-Dianping runs the leading online marketplace for services in China by gross transaction volume and also acquired bike-sharing startup Mobike earlier this year. Meituan-Dianping was said to be valued at as much as $30 billion when it raised a $4 billion Series C round led by Tencent in October 2017. But the company’s tight margins and losses, much of which were incurred on marketing and user acquisition, are raising concerns about Meituan-Dianping’s valuation , especially after Xiaomi’s underwhelming debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July . Despite reports that it sought a valuation of $100 billion, Xiaomi ended up with a $54 billion valuation after raising $4.7 billion. A document filed today with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange didn’t provide more information about IPO pricing or valuation, but it did give some insights into the company’s financials. It said that Meituan-Dianping’s total revenues increased by 161.2% to RMB 33.9 billion in 2017, and by an additional 94.9% from RMB 8.1 billion in the four months ending in April 30, 2017 to RMB 15.8 billion in the same period of 2018. In 2017, the platform generated over 5.8 billion transactions, totalling RMB 357 billion in gross transaction volume. It served 310 million transacting users and 4.4 million active merchants, with each transacting user making an average of 20.3 transactions in the 12 months ending April 30, 2018. Meituan-Dianping recorded a gross margin of 9.3% for food delivery in the four months ending on April 30, 2018, while its second-largest business segment, in-store, hotel and travel services, recorded gross margin of 88% in the same period. Overall, the company had gross margin of 25.5% in that time frame. In the same periods, however, it also recorded high net losses

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Microsoft no longer taking new enrollments for its Surface Plus financing program

Microsoft has quietly ended its Surface Plus financing program about a year after it launched. In a message on its site, the company said it stopped taking new enrollments on August 31 “after much thought and consideration.” The change does not affect existing customers, however, who will still be covered by their current financing plans. Financed by Klarna, a Stockholm-headquartered online financial services provider, the Surface Plus financing program launched in August 2017 . It targeted students and other people who wanted an affordable way to own a Surface device, allowing them to spread payments over 24 months. The Surface Plus plan also enabled customers to upgrade to the latest device after 18 months, as long as they returned their previous device in good working condition. In a FAQ, Microsoft said existing customers will still be able to upgrade their Surface under the plan’s terms. The program’s end also does not affect existing warranty plans. Microsoft’s Surface Plus for Business payment plans launched around the same time as the Surface Plus program and it looks like it will continue . TechCrunch has contacted Microsoft for more information.

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Tweetbot loses several key features ahead of Twitter’s API change

Twitter’s API changes won’t come out until tomorrow, but its ramifications are already being felt. Tapbots released an update today to Tweetbot for iOS that loses many of the Twitter client’s most popular or essential features. It also removed its Apple Watch app. In Tweetbot’s App Store release notes, Tapbots explained “on August 16th Twitter will disable parts of their public interface that we use in Tweetbot. Because Twitter has chosen not to provide alternatives to these interfaces we have been forced to disable or degrade certain features. We are sorry about this, but unfortunately this is totally out of our control.” The changes mean that Tweetbot’s timeline streaming is now disabled, so timelines will refresh every one to two minutes instead–a loss for people who want to see new tweets in real-time. Push notifications for Mentions and Direct Messages will also be delayed by a few minutes, while push notifications for Likes, Retweets, Follows and Quotes have been disabled altogether (Tapbots’ release notes say they are looking at how to reinstate some of those in the future). Tweetbot’s Activity and Stats tabs have been removed. As part of an effort to tighten control over how its services are used by third-party developers, Twitter announced in April 2017 that it will shut down User Streams, Site Streams and other APIs to prepare for the arrival of its new Account Activity API and other products. Other third-party Twitter clients that will likely be affected by the API changes include Twitterific, Tweetings and Talon, which along with Tweetbot protested in April that they hadn’t been given enough time or information to prepare for the release, which was originally schedule for June 19. In response, Twitter extended the deadline to August 16. Other apps that have already been impacted include Favstar, which went offline in June as a result of the API changes .

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Amazon is working with the FTC’s fraud investigation against Sellers Playbook

Amazon said today it is working with the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into consumer fraud allegedly committed by Sellers Playbook, a Minnesota-based business that claimed to help Amazon sellers make more money . FTC and the state of Minnesota announced today that they have charged Sellers Playbook and its owner Jessie Tieva and CEO Matthew Tieva , a married couple who are not affiliated with Amazon.com, with running a large business opportunity scheme. Specifically, the FTC and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office allege Sellers Playbook deceived consumers with a “get rich scheme,” marketing a system that it claimed could enable purchasers to make thousands of dollars per month selling products on Amazon. In their complaint, the FTC and state of Minnesota wrote the defendants “lured consumers into purchasing expensive business opportunities by deceptively offering consumers a ‘full-service, turnkey package’ for getting their ‘piece of the $400 Billion Amazon Pie,” but few, if any, of the system’s users achieved those earnings. In reality, most lost money. Meanwhile, Jessie Tieva and Matthew Tieva allegedly made more than $15 million between April 2017 and May 2018, with some consumers forking over more than $32,000. The FTC says Jessie Tieva and one of her businesses, Exposure Marketing Company (also known as Sellers Online and Sellers System), previously promoted and sold a similar “how to make money on Amazon” scheme called FBA Stores, which also resulted in many purchasers losing large amounts of money. Tieva “routinely made false and unsubstantiated earnings claims during her sales presentations at FBA Stores’ live events,” the FTC wrote in its complaint against Sellers Playbook. FBA Stores stopped operating in March after reaching a settlement with the FTC that included a judgement of more than $102 million. Amazon and the state of Washington also filed separate lawsuits against FBA Stores, accusing it of “preying” on consumers. (The Tievas are not defendants in the FBA Stores case). In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said “the entrepreneurs and small businesses selling on Amazon are incredibly important to us and our customers, and we aggressively pursue those that attempt to harm their selling experience. We invest heavily to protect the integrity of our stores and take action to protect customers and sellers, including working with consumer protection agencies and law enforcement.

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Kinside wants families to make the most of their dependent care flexible spending accounts

Kinside founders Rob Bircher, Shadiah Sigala and Abe Han The cost of childcare is one of the biggest financial burdens American families face. Even dependent care flexible spending accounts , pre-tax benefit accounts meant to reduce caregiving costs, can be an extra stressor because they involve filling out many forms. Kinside , a startup in Y Combinator’s current batch, wants to help by automating the claims process. It also serves as a childcare management tool, letting parents pay their care providers with a Venmo-like feature while making it simpler for companies to offer childcare benefits, like matching costs, that can help attract talented employees. Kinside is still in beta, but it’s already been adopted by several tech companies, including Le Tote. Kinside’s three founders—CEO Shadiah Sigala, COO Rob Bircher and CTO Abe Han—were motivated to launch the startup after realizing that dependent care FSAs (which can also be used for other caregiving-related costs, like elder care) are vastly underutilized. “Even though upwards of 70% of companies offer this FSA, we found in our conversations with numerous companies that maybe 10% of eligible parents are using this benefit,” Sigala says. “From an employee experience perspective, we are really taking on a very onerous, traditional FSA product and streamlining the payments process, not only for employers to offer this benefit very seamlessly, but also streamlining the process for parents to take advantage of this benefit.” One reason eligible employees forgo their dependent care FSA benefits is the claims process, which can take weeks to process and involves collecting receipts and uploading them onto a website (snail mail and fax are other options). As parents, Kinside’s founders have experienced firsthand the headache of dealing with dependent care FSA forms at previous jobs. “Some of the products we’ve seen already look a decade old, with multiple screens of input. They are really clumsy, so from a modern Web app and UX experience, Kinside brings it up to speed,” says Han. Kinside also takes advantage of the trio’s past experience in the payments and benefits space.

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Twitter says it does not shadow ban, despite complaints by Republicans

After President Donald Trump accused Twitter of “shadow banning” prominent Republicans , the company denied that it uses the practice, in which someone’s posts are made invisible or undiscoverable without them knowing. In a blog post titled “ Setting the record straight on shadow banning ,” Vijaya Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s legal and product leads, respectively, were blunt: “We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.” Twitter exists to serve the public conversation, enabling important discussions around the world to occur. Favoring one specific ideology or belief goes against everything we stand for. https://t.co/lioupj3aUF — Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) July 27, 2018 Gadde and Beykpour also addressed recent complaints, which gained more attention after a Vice article , that some accounts did not appear in auto-suggestions even when users searched for them by name. The two said the issue had been resolved and had affected “hundreds of thousands of accounts,” not just those representing certain ideologies. In fact, “most accounts affected had nothing to do with politics at all,” they wrote. Gadde and Beykpour said that the platform “ranking models take many signals into consideration to best organize tweets for timely relevance.” Twitter’s search engine shows users results from people they find interesting and popular tweets, while ranking lower “tweets from bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or divide the conversation.” “Bad-faith actors,” they added, are determined based on how authentic their account appears to be, the actions they take on Twitter and how other users interact with them (for example, how often they are muted, blocked, retweeted or followed). Gadde and Beykpour said the third criteria may have made it appear that accounts by Republican representatives were being disproportionately affected by the auto-suggestion issue. “There are communities that try to boost each other’s presence on the platform through coordinated engagement,” they wrote. “We believe these types of actors engaged with the representatives’ accounts– the impact of this coordinated behavior, in combination with our implementation of search auto-suggestions, caused the representatives’ accounts to not show up in auto-suggestions.” Gadde and Beykpour’s explanation, however, frustrated users on both ends of the political spectrum, who said the company has to do a better job of defining who “bad-faith actors.” Liberals argued (as many have for a long time ) that Twitter does not include enough bullies and troll accounts in its definition of “bad-faith actors,” while some conservatives continued to claim that the platform is biased against them. If what Twitter means by bad faith actors & manipulation is abusers, harassment, hate speech, then say that.

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Online learning platform Unacademy gets $21M Series C from Sequoia India, SAIF and Nexus

Unacademy founders Roman Saini, Gaurav Munjal and Hemesh Singh Bangalore-based Unacademy will add more educators to its online learning platform, which claims to be India’s largest, after closing a $21 million Series C. The funding comes from Sequoia India, SAIF Partners and Nexus Venture Partners, with participation from Blume Ventures (all four firms are returning from Unacademy’s Series B last year ). Originally a YouTube channel created in 2010 by Gaurav Munjal, Unacademy was officially launched as a startup in 2015 by founders Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh. It has now raised $38.6 million in total. While Unacademy offers a wide range of courses, its most popular offerings include preparation for important exams in India. Its platform includes two apps: one that lets educators create lessons and another that allows users to access them. Unacademy says it has 10,000 registered educators and three million users. Last month, the startup claims 3,000 educators were active on the platform and lessons were watched more than 40 million times. Many lessons are available for free, though last year Unacademy launched a paid service called Plus that gives users access to features like private discussion forums and live video classes for a per-course fee. Unacademy claims it has achieved six times growth in monthly revenue since launching Plus. The premium classes also help it differentiate from other online learning platforms like Mrunal , a popular site that provides free test preparation for Indian students. In addition to bringing on more teachers, Unacademy will use its new funding to expand key categories like pre-med, the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and the Common Admission Test (CAT), which are required by many post-graduate programs. In a media statement, SAIF partner Alok Goel said “Unacademy has demonstrated tremendous progress towards their goal of delivering personalized learning by connecting great quality educators and students on their platform.

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Elon Musk tweets he’ll “bet ya a signed dollar” that Thai cave rescuer is a “pedo”

Elon Musk seems not only intent on burning all the goodwill he earned for trying to help last week’s Thai cave rescue, but rolling around in its ashes, too. In a series of extraordinarily offensive, now deleted tweets, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO called a British diver who participated in last week’s dangerous rescue mission a “pedo guy,” adding in another tweet “bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.” Musk’s tantrum was triggered by an interview the diver, Vern Unsworth, gave CNN International last Friday , in which he called the small submarine Musk had SpaceX engineers build a “PR stunt” and said Musk could stick it “where it hurts.” Though the submarine was intended to help the 12 boys stranded with their soccer coach navigate flooded cave passageways, Unsworth, who helped plan the rescue operation and recruited other cave diving experts, said it “had absolutely no chance of working.” Unworth added that Musk “had no conception of what the cave passage was like. The submarine, I believe, was about 5 foot 6 long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone round corners or round any obstacles. It wouldn’t hadn’t have made the first 50 meters into the cave from the dive start point.” When the reporter mentioned that Musk had gone into the cave on Tuesday, Unsworth said he was “asked to leave very quickly. And so he should have been.” The rescue mission, made even more challenging by monsoon season, claimed the life of a Thai Navy seal before all boys were saved last week. This is not the first time that Musk has clashed with a member of the cave rescue team. As confirmation came in that the last group of boys and their coach had been freed on July 10, the head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osatanakorn, told reporters that “although Musk’s technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission.” In response, Musk dismissed the credentials of Ostanakorn, who led the joint command center coordinating the operation and is former acting governor of Chiang Rai, the province where the cave is located. In a tweet he said Ostanakorn was “described inaccurately as ‘rescue chief'” and “is not the subject matter expert” ( the Columbus Dispatch reports  that Ostanakorn holds a Master’s degree from Ohio State University, where he studied geodetic engineering and surveying). Though Musk’s tweet about Ostanakorn was sharply criticized, many still gave him credit for his efforts. After all, engineering a submarine in a few days to save a group of children is an impressive and laudable feat. While Musk is known for going on strange Twitter rants , however, his attack on Unsworth is an entirely different stratosphere. In addition to defaming Unsworth in a particularly heinous way, the implication that a British diver would only go to Thailand, one of the world’s top diving destinations, for child sex tourism is problematic and arguably racist, as many have pointed out. Elon Musk implying that British expats who live in Thailand are all kiddie fiddlers? Erm… wow… isn't that kind of a little bit racist? — Robert Percy (@astweetedbyRP) July 15, 2018 Sure, Elon Musk calling a diver who help rescue 12 boys a ‘pedo’ just because he lives in Thailand is insulting, inflammatory and borderline libelous, but let’s not forget that it is also horrifically racist.

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Headout lands $10M Series A to help tourists book last-minute outings

Imagine being in a new city with a few hours to kill, but no idea what to do. Headout is a travel app that enables tourists to book outings at very short notice, in most cases on the same day. The startup announced today that it’s raised a $10 million Series A led by returning investors Nexus Venture Partners and Version One Ventures to support its ambitious growth targets. Over the next 18 months, co-founder and CEO Varun Khona says the startup wants to expand from 20 cities to 100 cities in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific. The app recently added French, German and Spanish in select markets and aims to have all of its inventory available in 12 languages by the end of next year. Its bookings includes sightseeing tours, museum tickets and shows. Headout’s Series A brings its total raised to $12 million. Its seed round was announced in 2015, when TechCrunch first profiled the company . The startup claims it has grown eight times over the past 12 months and is profitable. As it enters new markets, however, Headout will be up against a roster of competitors that also offer experience bookings for tourists. These include Klook, TripAdvisor-owned Viator, Get Your Guide and Airbnb’s Experiences feature.

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Tiger Global reportedly pours more than $1B into SoftBank, saying its shares are “undervalued”

Tiger Global has poured more than $1 billion into SoftBank Group, according to the Financial Times . The newspaper reports that the firm told investors SoftBank’s shares are “meaningfully undervalued.” In response to a request for comment, SoftBank sent the same statement to TechCrunch as other media outlets: “We continue to believe the market significantly undervalues our stock and we welcome the support from a sophisticated institutional investor like Tiger Global.” Tiger Global and SoftBank share several investments in common, including Alibaba, Flipkart and Uber. According to a quarterly investor letter obtained by the Financial Times, Tiger Global wrote that “the combination of a world-class set of assets trading at a record discount to net asset value strikes us as an odd anomaly that is unlikely to exist forever.” It also said that “in our view, the opportunity to buy the shares cheaply exists today because SoftBank’s stock has not appreciated in nearly five years, even though the value of its Alibaba stake has increased by over $90 billion, more than SoftBank’s entire market capitalization.” The Financial Times reports that Tiger Global believes SoftBank can create an additional $73 billion of value before tax if its $100 billion Vision Fund returns 2.5 times its original investment over the next seven years. Other growth prospects it cited include the upcoming initial public offering of SoftBank Mobile , its Japanese telecoms unit, and the potential merger of Sprint, which SoftBank holds a majority stake in, and T-Mobile, pending regulatory approval.

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The U.S. and ZTE reach a deal that will lift export ban

The United States government has made a deal with Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE that, once completed, will lift the ban preventing the company from working with American suppliers. The agreement eases tensions in the U.S.-China trade war because the seven-year denial order, which the Trump administration imposed in April after ZTE violated sanctions against North Korea and Iran, was a major point of contention between the two countries. Our statement on #ZTE and the escrow agreement: pic.twitter.com/w0Bbej1mAU — U.S. Commerce Dept. (@CommerceGov) July 11, 2018 According to a statement from the Commerce Department , once ZTE completes a $400 million escrow payment, the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will lift the ban. The Commerce Department says “the ZTE settlement represents the toughest penalty and strictest compliance regime the Department has ever imposed in such a case. It will deter future bad actors and ensure the Department is able to protect the United States from those that would do us harm.” Many U.S. lawmakers are still concerned about the security repercussions of the deal, however, and a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation last week that could potentially restore some of the penalties imposed on ZTE. The denial order was imposed because the Commerce Department claimed that ZTE violated U.S. laws against selling equipment containing American technology to Iran and North Korea, and not only failed to follow the terms of a 2017 agreement with the Department of Justice, but also lied to the U.S. The ban cut off access to several of ZTE’s key suppliers, including Qualcomm, and was severe enough that it was described as a “death penalty” for the company, which reportedly expected to lose $3 billion as a result . But ZTE quickly became a pawn in the U.S-China trade wars and the Trump administration said in May that the company could continue buying from U.S.

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Twitter’s CFO clarifies that its second-quarter user metrics won’t be affected by fake account purge

After a Washington Post report last week that Twitter’s fake account purge might affect its second-quarter user numbers, Twitter’s chief financial officer said on Monday that the clean-up will not affect its metrics. In a tweet, Ned Segal explained that most of the suspended accounts were less than 30 days old or caught at sign up and therefore never counted. Some clarifications: most accounts we remove are not included in our reported metrics as they have not been active on the platform for 30 days or more, or we catch them at sign up and they are never counted. https://t.co/nRIGE9EMcf — Ned Segal (@nedsegal) July 9, 2018 He added “If we removed 70M accounts from our reported metrics, you would hear directly from us. This article reflects us getting better at improving the health of the service.” On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Twitter has been suspending more than 1 million accounts a day in recent months, good news for people who have been calling on the platform to get serious about fake accounts that can potentially be used to spread misinformation. According to data reviewed by the newspaper, more than 70 million accounts were suspended in May and June, with that pace continuing in July. But the Washington Post also cited an anonymous source who said the clean up might “result in a rare decline in the number of monthly users” in the quarter that ended on June 30. Twitter’s stock price fell more than 9% to a low of $42.46 on Monday, but has been climbing back up after Segal’s clarification. The company’s next earnings report is scheduled for July 27.

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