Democrats take first stab at reforming Section 230 after Capitol riots

Photo by Erin Schaff for The Verge Senate Democrats unveiled a new bill Friday that could force tech giants like Facebook and Google to be held more accountable for harmful content that leads to real-world violence.
The SAFE TECH Act, introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), would overhaul Section 230 to the Communications Decency Act, a law that protects large tech platforms from liability over the content posted by their users. The Democrats’ bill would open new pathways for users to sue companies if content posted on their platforms threatens them personally with harassment, discrimination, or other forms of abuse.
The bill also prohibits Section 230 from applying to ads or other paid content on platforms, targeting a…
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The pandemic was inescapable at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

These Days. | Photo: Sundance Institute For the first time since its inception, this year’s iteration of the Sundance Film Festival wasn’t held in picturesque Park City, Utah. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the showcase turned into a virtual event. Promising directors were still on hand to showcase their work, but viewers were able to watch them from the comfort of their living rooms. It wasn’t just the way films were presented that changed, though. The pandemic also impacted how many of these movies were made and what they’re about.
The shift is most obvious in films that are explicitly about the pandemic, of which there are several. For instance, These Days is a short that stars Marianne Rendón and William Jackson Harper as two 20-somethings in New York struggling during the…
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You too can own a stonks figurine

He’s real, he’s here, and I am so happy. The stonks guy is now a five-inch-tall, $30 thing you can buy, complete with a line graph that’s forever up 69 percent. It first debuted last July, but don’t let that stop you.
Officially his name is Meme Man, and he’s the wonky former mascot of at least one surrealist meme page, though he began his life as a failed model of a human head over at 4chan’s 3D modeling board. Meme Man, however, has transcended his origins. You probably know him best in his banker config, confidently and wordlessly asserting that the Line Will Go Up and that numbers, by extension, can be trusted.
I’m not gonna lie to you: I have never wanted anything so dumb so badly before. Possibly that’s because of…
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Facebook prompt will encourage ad tracking opt-in ahead of Apple’s privacy push

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Facebook will begin showing a prompt on its mobile app for the iPhone and iPad that’s designed to convince users to allow ad tracking, in preparation for an upcoming privacy change in which Apple will force developers to obtain permission to track users across apps and websites in the future. The new screen, first reported on Monday by CNBC, will be shown to users globally starting today and will provide Facebook will early data on how Apple’s privacy change might affect the social network’s business, ahead of Apple’s planned update in early spring that will make the opt-in request mandatory.
The prompt will give users a page of information detailing why Facebook thinks a user should give the company permission to track them on iOS. The…
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NASA delays moon lander awards as Biden team mulls moonshot program

Photo by Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images NASA last week quietly delayed its plan to award two high-profile crewed lunar lander contracts, moving the finish line back two months for a crucial program under the Trump administration’s hasty timeline to get astronauts on the moon in 2024. With short funding from Congress and a new administration focused on more pressing national issues, the move was expected.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a team of aerospace giants led by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Leidos-owned Dynetics won a combined $967 million in seed funding from NASA last year to develop rivaling concepts for a human lunar landing system. It’s the space agency’s first effort to spend money on astronaut moon landers since the Apollo program in the 1970s.
Last Wednesday, NASA told the…
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Chromebooks just had their best year ever

According to analysts, Chromebooks had an incredible 2020, with the last quarter being the strongest ever for Google’s laptops (via 9to5Google). According to research firms Gartner and Canalys, over 30 million of the devices shipped last year, with somewhere between 11 and 11.7 million shipping in Q4 alone. Canalys says that’s a staggering 287 percentmore than were shipped in Q4 2019.
The firms disagree on how much growth this is when compared to 2019, but both estimate that it’s a lot: Gartner estimates that Chromebooks are up 80 percent, while Canalys says it’s 109 percent. For comparison, PC sales were up by 11 percent this year, which is the biggest growth the category had seen in a decade. This isn’t to give the impression that…
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You can watch the Snyder Cut while snacking on a $130 Justice League-themed meal kit

Image: Wonderland / Twitter Zack Snyder’s Justice League — known to fans as the mythical “Snyder Cut” — hits HBO Max on March 18th, and Warner Bros. is celebrating the at-home blockbuster relaunch in a unique way: with customized, themed $130 Snyder Cut meal boxes.
Described as “a first-of-its-kind, immersive, at-home dining experience” for customers in the US and the UK, Warner Bros. is teaming up with Wonderland Restaurants (a self-described “creative & innovation studio for the food and beverage industry”) to create the kits. Wonderland Restaurants is also currently working on Park Row, an upcoming high-end DC Comics-themed restaurant in London that was announced in early 2020.
The meal kits are designed to resemble the film’s MacGuffin-y Mother Boxes and cost…
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Facebook Oversight Board overturns hate speech and pandemic misinformation takedowns

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Facebook’s Oversight Board has issued its first round of rulings, upholding one removal and overturning four decisions involving hate speech, nudity, and misinformation. Together, the rulings take an expansive view of what users can post under the current policies, based on concerns about vague rules and protecting freedom of expression online.
The Oversight Board — composed of experts outside Facebook — accepted its first set of cases in December. While the original slate included six incidents, a user in one case proactively deleted their post, rendering the decision moot. Facebook has pledged to follow its rulings within seven days and respond to recommendations for new policies within 30 days. In a response to the rulings, Facebook…
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Netflix is getting Tomb Raider and Skull Island anime series

Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Netflix is working on yet another video game adaptation with a new Tomb Raider anime in the works. We don’t know much about the series just yet, but it will take place after the events of the recent trilogy reboot. (That series wrapped up with 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider.)
And there’s more anime on the way as well, with a series based on Skull Island, and set in the same universe as Legendary’s recent Godzilla and King Kong movies. The latest, Godzilla vs. Kong, is set to debut very soon. The tagline for the anime is: “A shipwrecked crew, an island of monsters, and one king to rule them all.” Both the Tomb Raider and Skull Island series are being produced by Legendary.
The announcements continue two trends for Netflix: a focus on…
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