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Donald Trump ads will take over YouTube for Election Day

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 21:00
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube’s homepage will feature ads in support of Donald Trump’s reelection campaign on election day 2020, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

Trump’s reelection campaign bought out YouTube’s masthead ad space for “early November” including election day, November 3, according to Bloomberg. By purchasing this highly trafficked ad space, the Trump campaign is betting that the visibility could aid his candidacy in some of the most important days leading up to the election.

This isn’t the first time that the Trump campaign purchased the coveted masthead ads ahead of important election events. Last summer, Trump’s reelection campaign spent between $500,000 to $1 million on the ad space ahead of the first Democratic presidential debate in June....

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Categories: Latest IT news

Twitter suspends 70 pro-Michael Bloomberg accounts for ‘platform manipulation’

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 20:40
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter announced Friday that it would suspend 70 accounts that posted content in support of Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

“We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Verge.

The dozens of accounts suspensions handed down by Twitter Friday focus on pro-Bloomberg posts pushing out identical messages. According to the Times, some tweets included “A President is Born: Barbra Streisand sings Mike’s praises,” as part of the body of the message. It is in violation of Twitter’s rules to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversation through the use of multiple accounts” or...

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9 new trailers you should watch this week

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 16:00
Photo: HBO

I recently watched The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg’s partly autobiographical film about a young filmmaker who gets wrapped up in a toxic and emotionally abusive relationship with an older man. While looking up where to stream it, Google presented me with its “top voted tags” for the movie (I have no idea how these are generated), which were: slow, boring, pretentious, overrated, confusing, strong acting, and “+3 more.” Perfect, I thought.

One fascinating technique the film repeatedly uses is to obfuscate the beginnings of things and drop us into events well past when they’ve begun. The entire beginning of the central romantic relationship is left offscreen, as is all but the ending of a very significant argument between the couple. It’s...

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Coronavirus email hoax led to violent protests in Ukraine

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 01:47
Photo by MAKSYM MYKHAILYK/AFP via Getty Images

An email that appeared to come from Ukraine’s ministry of health containing false information about coronavirus cases in the country led to a number of violent protests and standoffs with police, reports BuzzFeed News.

The email originated from outside Ukraine, according to a government statement, and it falsely claimed there were five cases of coronavirus in the country. In reality, there have been zero reported cases of the virus in Ukraine. But the email was sent the same day evacuees from China landed in the country, and some Ukranian residents protested the evacuees’ arrival by blocking roads that led to medical facilities and, in some cases, by smashing the windows of the buses carrying those evacuees.

Ukrainian authorities...

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Google addresses Huawei ban and warns customers not to sideload apps like Gmail and YouTube

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 00:41
Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Google on Friday evening published a support article meant to clarify the ongoing situation with Huawei. Last year, the United States government barred companies in the US from working with the Chinese hardware maker. “Google is prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices,” Tristan Ostrowski, legal director for Android and Google Play, wrote in the post, which was picked up by 9to5Google.

According to Google, there’s still plenty of confusion around what’s going on — and exactly which products are subject to the Google services ban.

We have continued to receive a number of questions about new Huawei...

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Twitter’s messy verification process is making candidates wait

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 00:04
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

On Friday morning, Jeff Sites, a challenger to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, didn’t have a blue verification badge on his official Twitter page. Sites had announced his campaign months earlier, so he should have been verified months ago. It caught the eye of one volunteer named Nancy Levine, who has been monitoring Twitter’s plan to verify all 2020 candidates, and has been lobbying Twitter on Sites’ behalf specifically.

After speaking with Levine, The Verge contacted Twitter to inquire about the nature of the delay; within hours, the candidate was verified.

Still, the Sites situation illustrates the ongoing messiness of Twitter’s verification process, which the platform touts as a key tool in preventing disinformation. Twitter says it has...

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NBCUniversal reportedly close to acquiring Walmart’s Vudu video service

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 00:03

NBCUniversal is in advanced talks to acquire Vudu, the Walmart-owned video service, according to The Wall Street Journal. Though the talks “may not result in a deal,” it sounds like NBCUniversal — part of Comcast, an investor in The Verge’s parent company Vox Media — has a number of ideas for what it would do with Vudu.

“Vudu’s ad-supported service would serve as a complement to Peacock,” which is NBCUniversal’s upcoming, standalone streaming service, according to the Journal. Meanwhile, the digital movie rentals and purchases business would be tied into Fandango. (Did you know the app you might often buy movie tickets with is owned by Comcast? Now you do.) Fandango also operates its own FandangoNOW streaming service, but it doesn’t...

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Friends cast will make millions of dollars to return for a reunion special on HBO Max

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 23:47

It’s the one where the gang gets back together — and all it reportedly cost was $3 million for each main cast member.

Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry will all return for a one-off special that’s set to debut along with HBO Max in May. The cast “will earn more than double their former per-episode fee for the reunion and be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million for the special,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, which was reporting based on anonymous sources. That’s more than double what the actors were paid per episode in the 10th and last season in 2004.

Friends is a big deal to HBO Max, and WarnerMedia as a whole. The company paid more than $425 million in 2019 to...

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Russia is interfering in Democratic primary to help Sanders, officials say

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 23:06
Photo by RINGO CHIU/AFP via Getty Images

Russia is interfering in the Democratic primary to help Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, US officials reportedly told the Sanders camp according to The Washington Post. According to a subsequent report by The New York Times, Sanders received the briefing about a month ago.

There are few details from either report about what substantive actions Russia took to advance Sanders’ campaign. The White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also been briefed on Russia’s latest interference efforts.

In a statement responding to the news, Sanders harshly criticized the Russian government and any efforts at election interference. “Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is...

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Fortnite will let players mute the Rickroll emote in order to avoid getting copyright claimed

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 22:11

Fortnite introduced its Rick Astley-inspired emote just one week ago, and the company has already rolled out an update to let PC players mute the music in response to complaints: creators said they were getting copyright claims over the licensed track that plays when the emote is used.

When a player uses the “Never Gonna” emote, part of Astley’s famous song, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” begins to play and their character starts dancing along. The addition marked one of the biggest songs backing a Fortnite emote — and that’s what led to trouble. YouTube creators who played Fortnite and uploaded videos that included the emote got caught by YouTube’s copyright detection system; essentially, the company that owns the rights to Astley’s track...

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Bethesda follows Activision in pulling games from Nvidia’s GeForce Now

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 22:04
Image: Nvidia

Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service has had a somewhat rocky launch since it exited beta earlier this month, and it’s getting even rockier. The company says it’s now losing games from major publisher Bethesda Softworks, which owns Bethesda Game Studios series like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls as well as id Software franchises like Doom. According to Nvidia, one title that will stick around is Wolfenstein: Youngblood, for reasons the company is not disclosing.

This announcement comes just a week after GeForce Now lost access to all Activision Blizzard titles due to a licensing dispute. Apparently, Nvidia had access to Activision Blizzard titles when GeForce Now was still in beta, but it never got full permission once the service...

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Company buying .org offers to sign a contract banning price hikes

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 21:12
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Ethos Capital, the company controversially buying the .org top-level domain, is trying to appease critics with a set of new rules. The legally binding agreements would ban steep fee increases for nonprofit domain holders, and they would establish an independent “stewardship council” that could veto attempts at censorship or inappropriate data use. The rules would kick in if Ethos successfully acquires Public Interest Registry (PIR), a nonprofit organization that manages .org.

ICANN, which oversees the internet’s top-level domains, is currently scrutinizing the acquisition. President and CEO Göran Marby previously expressed discomfort with the deal, and PIR announced today that it’s extending the review period until March 20th.

ICANN...

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Fortnite’s wonderfully weird personality is back in latest season

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 20:37

Fortnite is weird again — and I couldn’t be happier. The game’s latest season finally launched yesterday and, on the surface at least, it seems like a standard update. It has a new secret agent theme, with opposing factions and lots of new stealth gameplay options. But look beyond the well-tailored suits and you’ll find something even more notable: Fortnite’s offbeat personality is back in full force.

That’s something that was desperately missing from the previous season. When Fortnite kicked off its ambitious reboot to chapter 2 in September of last year, it felt exciting at first. Everything was new again. But that initial excitement eventually waned.

The first season dragged on for a long time — six months, or twice as long as a...

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Netflix’s Gentefied follows a Mexican American family in the heart of a gentrifying LA neighborhood

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 20:07

In Gentefied, everyone knows the score. That’s the dark joke about being a young person of color in the US, where access to information is more equitable than the power to use that information. It’s easy to know exactly how you’re being shut out of opportunity and hard to do anything about it. For the Mexican family at the heart of Gentefied, the game is clearly rigged, and winning it might cost more than it’s worth.

Netflix’s new half-hour dramedy from producer America Ferrera and writer / creator duo Linda Yvette Chavez and Marvin Lemus follows a trio of cousins who struggle to keep their grandpa’s taco shop afloat in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood. This is harder than it’s ever been: gentrification is sweeping through the...

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Twitter bot @real_human_vc is coming for your thought leaders

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 20:05
Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune

Spend enough time on Twitter and you’ll start to discern patterns in the scrolling chaos that feels a little like the internet’s id: the grudges, the feuds, the wet-brained political chatter, and the general flatulences tooted out by otherwise smart people. In other words: the state of play on the board. (As the editor Willy Staley might point out: there is a type of tweet for every type of guy.)

While much of Twitter’s utility is derived from its function as an echo chamber — and while a lot of the fun comes from seeing just how large your favorite prominent person’s blindspots are — the best stuff on the site comes out of people using the platform as it’s intended to be used, which is to say, as a broadcasting tool. There is a...

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Google Forms could secure Nevada’s caucuses, or throw reporting into chaos

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:53
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Nevada’s Democratic caucuses take place this Saturday, and the state may not be ready. In the wake of Iowa’s disastrous caucuses, the Nevada Democratic Party has scrapped its plans to use a reporting app called Shadow, but the replacement system isn’t inspiring confidence.

Over the past week, party officials have blasted social media requesting volunteers with a solid grasp on Google tools to help staff the caucuses as technical assistance. According to Bloomberg, the Nevada Democratic Party held another set of training classes on Thursday to teach volunteers how to use their iPads and new tools. In an even more concerning move, the party hasn’t pledged to release the final results the same day as the caucuses either, raising concerns...

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Arlo Pro 3 home security cameras now support Apple’s HomeKit

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:16
Image: Arlo

Arlo Pro 3 security cameras now support Apple’s HomeKit smart home platform, which lets you manage your gadgets (lights, cameras, etc.) through the Home app on your iOS device. The cameras originally launched last September without support for HomeKit, but it has now arrived.

If you want to use your Pro 3 with HomeKit, you’ll need to have it connected to an Arlo SmartHub base station version VMB4540. If you’re not sure which SmartHub you have, you can check by using the Arlo app or logging into your account on Arlo’s website. (Here’s a guide from Arlo on how to do that.)

Arlo says that HomeKit compatibility with other SmartHubs and base stations will be supported in the future.

The Arlo Pro, Pro 2, and Ultra also support HomeKit with...

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Google’s Stadia adds four SteamWorld games to its lineup

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:10
SteamWorld Dig 2

Google’s streaming-based Stadia game service has had a rocky start since it launched last year, but Google has been trying to bolster that with more games. The latest are four titles from the SteamWorld series: SteamWorld Dig, SteamWorld Dig 2, SteamWorld Heist, and SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech.

For those unfamiliar with the series, SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Dig 2 are more metroidvania-style exploration games that see players digging their way through a vast underground world. SteamWorld Heist is a turn-based strategy game with an emphasis on a bullet-bouncing mechanic. And SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a roleplaying card game.”

Of those four games, SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech will be...

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Google is indexing WhatsApp group chat links, making even private groups discoverable

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:06
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Invitations to WhatsApp group chats are being indexed by Google, making the invite links —including links to private group chats — discoverable and available to anyone who wants to join, Motherboard reports.

Journalist Jordan Wildon said on Twitter that he discovered that WhatsApp’s “Invite to Group Link” feature lets Google index groups, making them available across the internet since the links are being shared outside of WhatsApp’s secure private messaging service.

Motherboard was able to find private groups using specific Google searches (and the results included a lot of porn-sharing groups). Once they joined a group — which was intended for NGOs accredited by the UN — they had access to all of the participants and their phone...

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Ill-fitting gear puts female firefighters at risk, but that’s changing

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:00
California Department of Forestry firefighter Faith Qualtieri watches the Vision Fire. The fire ravaged 11,300 acres and cost over $3 million. | Photo: Raymond Gehman / Getty Images

As climate change fuels more devastating fires, all firefighters need gear that fits

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