Facebook pushes back against Biden remarks on COVID-19 misinformation

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Facebook continued its pushback Saturday against President Biden’s comment that social media platforms were “killing people” with COVID-19 misinformation, in a blog post from its vice president of integrity Guy Rosen. The post states that the “facts tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration in recent days.”
“At a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in America, the Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies,” Rosen wrote. “While social media plays an important role in society, it is clear that we need a whole of society approach to end this pandemic. And facts — not allegations — should help inform that effort.”
(The post was titled “Moving Past the Finger Pointing:…
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WhatsApp tests encrypted cloud backups on Android

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge When you’re using WhatsApp your messages are encrypted end-to-end, which means prying eyes can’t easily see what’s in them as they travel back and forth. However, if you keep a backup stored in the cloud, authorities can use a search warrant to have Google Drive or iCloud hand over access to the data. But WABetaInfo has reported previously that WhatsApp is working on the technology to independently encrypt your backups in the cloud, and says that in the most recent beta update on Android (2.21.15.5), the system has been enabled.
Opting in should keep your chat history and media securely backed up, with the significant caveat that if you forget your passcode / lose the 64-digit recovery key, then they’ll be locked away permanently — even…
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Xiaomi overtakes Apple as number two smartphone vendor for first time

A phone repair store at a technology market in Shenzhen, China. | Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge Xiaomi is now the second largest smartphone vendor based on worldwide shipments in the second quarter of 2021, according to a new report from Canalys. The Chinese company captured 17 percent of global market share, according to the research firm, just behind Samsung’s 19 percent but ahead of Apple’s 14 percent.
BBK’s Oppo and Vivo rounded out the list of top five vendors at 10 percent apiece. All five companies grew their shipments year on year, but what’s notable is just how much Xiaomi has managed to increase its volume — it shipped 83 percent more phones than in Q2 2020, whereas Samsung grew shipments 15 percent and Apple by just one percent.
We've moved up one more spot! Just in from @Canalys, we are now the 2nd largest smartphone…
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Retail stores are packed with unchecked facial recognition, civil rights organizations say

More than 35 organizations are demanding top US retailers cease using facial recognition to identify shoppers and employees in their stores, which companies have used to deter theft and identify shoplifters.
The campaign is aptly named Ban Facial Recognition in Stores, and has identified stores that have committed to not using facial recognition, like Walmart, Home Depot, and Target. It is now pressuring companies currently using the technology, or those who might use it in the future. Some companies that are currently using the technology, according to the website, include Apple, Lowe’s, Albertsons, Macy’s, and Ace Hardware.
Companies that might use it in the future include McDonalds, Walgreens, and 7-Eleven. A full list can be found…
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PC market growth slows amid global chip shortages

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge The PC market is showing early signs of its growth slowing down, after an impressive run of shipments throughout 2020. Both IDC and Gartner conclude that growth in the second quarter of PC shipments has slowed this year. Demand for new PCs is still above what we saw before the pandemic hit, but a mixture of softer demand and the effects of the global chip shortage mean it’s not growing as quickly.
“The market faces mixed signals as far as demand is concerned,” says Neha Mahajan, a senior research analyst at IDC. “With businesses opening back up, demand potential in the commercial segment appears promising. However, there are also early indicators of consumer demand slowing down as people shift spending priorities after nearly a year of…
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Redesigned iPad mini reportedly on track to launch this fall

The fifth-generation iPad mini from 2019. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Apple plans to release a new iPad mini featuring “the biggest redesign in [its] nine-year history” this fall, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports (via 9to5Mac). The new device is expected to feature slimmer bezels, a larger display, faster performance, and a design similar to Apple’s new iPad Air from last year, MacRumors notes. It could be a big shakeup for Apple’s smallest tablet, whose design has remained remarkably consistent since its debut in 2012.
The news tallies with Bloomberg’s previous reporting about the upcoming device, which it said last month could ditch the home button to allow for narrower screen bezels. Reports of an iPad Air-style design suggests it could use a Touch ID sensor built into a side-mounted power button. Last…
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Feds indict ‘The Bull’ for selling insider trading info on the dark web

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Nearly four years after the lights went out at AlphaBay, the feds are still charging people with criminal activities linked to the dark web marketplace. On Friday the SEC and the Department of Justice announced charges against Apostolos Trovias, a Greek national who they allege posted on dark web marketplaces using the nickname “The Bull.”
Trovias is facing charges of securities fraud and money laundering However, unlike drug dealers targeted in previous actions, the authorities allege Trovias used dark web forums as a way to troll for people willing to buy or sell insider trading information while hiding behind “anonymizing software, screen names, and bitcoin payments.”
On AlphaBay and other dark web sites like Dream Market or…
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Samsung quietly launched its free TV service on the web

Samsung TV Plus displayed on a screen. | Image: Samsung Samsung recently launched a web version of its free and ad-supported Smart TV Plus streaming service for live and linear programming as well as added casting support for Chromecast devices.
The streaming product, which was previously limited to Samsung TV and mobile devices, launched as a web service in the second quarter, Protocol reported Friday. It’s a curious new player in the streaming wars and launched with seemingly little fanfare, but the rollout makes an app that was previously limited to Samsung users now widely available to just about anyone.
Samsung did not have immediate comment about the launch when reached on Friday. However, a spokesperson confirmed the launch of the web version of the service to Protocol.
Samsung TV…
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WhatsApp will let you send images and videos in their ‘best quality’

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge A future version of WhatsApp will give more control over the amount of compression it applies to sent images and videos. WABetaInfo reports that the two features are currently in development for the Android app, and should eventually present three quality options when sending images and video. The options are “Auto,” “Best quality,” or “Data saver.”
If it releases in this form, it could let you force media to be more compressed if you’re worried about internet speeds or data caps, or lower the amount of compression to ensure images or video are sent in their highest possible quality. Currently, avoiding WhatsApp’s compression involves changing a file’s extension to send it as a document rather than an image or video (The Next Web has a…
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