Facebook Audio Announcements; WordPress Will Disable Google FLoC-Security Concerns; Apple App Store Re-Admits Parler; Mastercard Acquiring Identity Verification Co

In a virtual event today, Facebook made a series of announcements, including the expected answer to audio platform Clubhouse. Facebook will be testing Live Audio Rooms in Groups, and expects to roll the feature out to all users of the Facebook app by summer. Facebook will allow users to charge for access to their Live Audio rooms via a single purchase or a subscription, which will allow content creators to monetize the feature. The social network is also working on a short-form audio clip feature called Soundbites, that will let users upload brief audio (they gave jokes as an example). Facebook will provide audio editing tools to edit the Soundbites. According to cnbc.com, Facebook is also working on an integration with Spotify that could let musicians more easily reach potential audience. That feature is being called Project Boombox internally. 

WordPress will automatically disable Google FLoC by default on WordPress sites. Bleepingcomputer.com reports that WordPress sees the tracking tech as a security concern. Google has been testing out the tech as an alternative to cookies, which are blocked more and more by sites. In a statement, they “said WordPress powers approximately 41% of the web – and this community can help combat racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and discrimination against those with mental illness with four lines of code.” WordPress plans to disable FLoC using the following four lines of code, which will cause the blogging platform to issue a HTTP request header tells the browser that FLoC should be disabled for the site.

After getting what they claim are improvements to the platform’s detection and moderation of hate speech and incitement, Apple is letting Parler back into its App Store. CNN says Apple notified Congress via a letter. Parler should be downloadable again shortly. A number of conservatives who left the app may not come back, after the massive leak of personal data that occurred last year. Parler is continuing to slug it out in court with Amazon, after being booted from Amazon Web Services, and being off line for a period of time. 

Mastercard is picking up Ekata, an identity verification company, for $850 million. According to techcrunch.com, the tech allows identifying the online identity of a person making a transaction in real time…using various elements that can indicate if the transaction is true or fraudulent as the party opens and account or transacts business. Ekta provides a score and other data that they claim predicts the likelihood that the person is who they say they are. Barring regulatory hold ups, the deal should close this Fall.


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