SRAX Recap: Facebook faces lawsuit, Uber’s self-driving cars return, Amazon reviews deemed fake

In this week’s digital news, Facebook faces its first major lawsuit in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Uber’s self-driving cars return to Pittsburgh, and a new study reveals a majority of Amazon’s electronics reviews to be fake or bought.

Facebook faces legal ramifications

The attorney general of D.C., Karl Racine, filed a lawsuit against Facebook this week. As it turns out, the now infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal isn’t over. To clarify: the political consulting group, Cambridge Analytica, collected Facebook data from roughly 87 million people. They used a loophole in a Facebook app called “This Is Your Digital Life,” allowing them to access information of users’ friends. And while this case isn’t yet on the federal level, it’s a sign of more trouble down the road. Racine’s office had “discussions with a number of other states that are similarly interested in protecting the data and personal information of their consumers.” He did caution, however, that there is no formal roadmap of legal action to come. Above all, as Facebook’s blunders continue to be revealed, the AG could add additional charges to the lawsuit.

Uber’s self-driving cars are back

Uber’s self-driving car initiative is back in Pittsburgh, PA this week. The company received a letter from Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation authorizing their desire to start the operation back up. Consequently, manual testing of the vehicles has resumed in Toronto and San Francisco. In other words, Manual testing is practice for the tech team behind the operation. “Manual driving introduces new scenarios that our system will encounter and allows us to recreate them in a virtual world or on the test track to improve system performance,” Eric Meyhofer, head of the company’s Advanced Technologies Group, wrote. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the cars will operate on a short route between two of Uber’s office. And for the time being, teams of employees will “drive” the vehicles. The employees will monitor the cars from the inside, watching the tech in action to ensure safety.

New study reveals surprising number of fake Amazon reviews

A report released this week reveals some unsavory details for Amazon shoppers. The analysis comes from the Washington Post, claiming that a majority of reviews in certain Amazon categories are fraudulent. This study dovetails with a recent report from Fakespot, which lists the top 5 product categories with falsified reviews on Amazon as: wireless headphones/earbuds, phone cases and screen protectors, smart watches, phone charging cables, and third party apple accessories/any other known brand (Fitbit, Gopro, Garmin). Fakespot reports that inauthentic reviews actually dominate the product categories above. In addition, 61% of electronics reviews were revealed to be fake or paid, as are 63% of beauty products, and 59% of sneakers. Unfortunately, Amazon’s huge volume of product reviews has helped the site become the go-to destination for online shopping. In conclusion, whether this revelation will affect Amazon’s business remains to be seen.

German court finds Apple infringed on Qualcomm patent

A German court ruled this week that Apple infringed a hardware patent of Qualcomm. Apple can no longer sell some iPhone models in Germany. This case is Qualcomm’s third effort to ban Iphones, after similar attempts failed in the US and China. The judge ruled that phones containing a chip from Apple supplier Qorvo violated a patent. The patent in question has to do with a component called envelope tracking. The feature helps phones save battery while sending and receiving wireless signals. In sum, An excerpt from Apple’s statement demonstrates their position on the matter: “Qualcomm’s campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in everyday business, are harming innovation and consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior.”

Google funnels $1 billion into new NYC campus

Search engine giant Google announced plans this week to invest $1 billion in a sprawling New York City campus. Hudson Square, as it will be known, will occupy 1.7 million square-feet. The NYC office was the company’s first major office outside of California, and it employs roughly 7,000 people. Firstly, the expansion is an effort to make this office the central hub for Google’s Global Business Organization. The move will happen in phases. The company will move into two Hudson square locations by 2020, and the third building by 2022. This news comes just weeks after Amazon unveiled the location of their HQ2 in Queens. The employee count of both companies will rise dramatically as a result. Lastly, the new Hudson Square campus has the capacity to double the number of employees in New York over the next decade.





Published on December 21, 2018

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