Facebook Irate About FTC Proposed Ban on Monetizing Youth Data; Microsoft Opens Bing AI for Public Testing; Google Accounts Can Now Be Passwordless; Shopify Reducing Head Count by 20%

Facebook has their pants in a bunch after the FTC announced that they haven’t been doing enough to comply with a 2020 privacy order. Arstechnica.com is reporting that the feds allege that Facebook’s Messenger Kids product misled parents on who could connect to chat with minors and misrepresented who had access to private youth data. Now, the FTC has proposed changes to the 2020 order that would prohibit Facebook owner Meta from launching new products on any of its platforms without procuring written FTC compliance confirmation and prevent the company from monetizing any of the youth data it collects across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus. Among the most drastic proposed changes are a blanket prohibition against monetizing data of users under 18 and a pause on launching new products, services, or features ” without written confirmation from the assessor” confirming full compliance with the FTC’s order. A Meta spokesperson responded “We will vigorously fight this action and expect to prevail.”

It seems that Microsoft and Google are moving to artificial intelligence at warp speed. Now, Microsoft has opened Bing AI to everyone to test…kinda. According to engadget.com, you will still need to sign into Bing on the Edge browser or Bing mobile apps to use the chatbot, but there’s no wait list…anyone can do it. Bing AI is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4. Redmond is adding several new features. For one, it can go beyond mere text responses to deliver charts, graphs and rich formatting. The Bing Image Creator, which taps into DALL-E to craft AI-generated pictures, also now supports the more than 100 languages that Bing’s standard search offers. Have at it, and enjoy interacting with our new, artificial intelligence overlords.

Google is moving to passkeys…a new cryptographic keys solution that requires a pre authenticated device. What’s that mean to you in plain language? They are dropping passwords in favor of things like Face ID and Fingerprint ID on trusted devices. Theverge.com reports that Passkeys are a safer, more convenient alternative now being adapted by Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other tech companies that are part of the FIDO Alliance. They can replace traditional passwords and other sign-in systems like 2FA or SMS verification with a local PIN or a device’s own biometric authentication — such as a fingerprint or Face ID. The cool thing is, the biometric data isn’t shared with Google…or other company…it lives in a secure enclave on the device. I have been using Apple’s biometrics for some time now, and it’s much easier and faster than remembering and typing in a slew of passwords. BTW, not all Google accounts will get the Passkeys bit…at least yet. I tried on a couple of commercial accounts, and it’s not available on those at this time. 

Shopify is cutting its workforce by 20%, axing about 2,000 employees. Techcrunch.com reports that they are also spinning off their logistics business to Flexport for some 13% in stock. Shopify already cut its staffing by 10%…about 1,000 people…just 10 months ago. Shopify is thought to have a total workforce of between 10,000 and 11,600 employees. They will be giving 16 weeks severance pay, plus an added week for every year they have been with the company, and will continue medical benefits for that duration. 

I’m Clark Reid and you’re ‘Technified’ for now. 

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