Facebook Warned About Russia in 2014; Shopping on Phones Explodes, Top 5 Amazon Items; 10% iPhone Tariff Threat

Things just keep looking worse for Facebook when it comes to protecting user data. Businessinsider.com says a Facebook engineer warned the company in 2014 about a potential giant data issue involving Russia. This info is coming out after the British Parliament got hold of a cache of sealed Facebook documents. UK politician Damian Collins, who reviewed the documents, made the disclosure today at a hearing in front of the International Grand Committee. Mark Zuckerberg refused to show for the hearing, sending policy chief Richard Allen. Allen if this information had been given to an external body (like an agency of the US government) at the time. Allen refused to answer. The documents are sealed under court order in California, but they were published in the United Kingdom under UK parliamentary privilege.

A couple months back, a panicked friend told me ‘My phone is my life,’ as it was temporarily missing. That is more true that ever now. Cnet.com reports that total sales on smartphones through Cyber Monday was $2.2 billion, up from $1.4 billion last year! On Cyber Monday, phones accounted for 47% of traffic to online stores and 36% of actual sales. Overall Cyber Monday sales were $7.9 million, so the mobile component was substantial. Since the 1st of November $50.6 billion has been spent online, up 20% from last year!

Amazon has announced its 5 best sellers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Topping the list, according to bgr.com, the Amazon Echo Dot at $29.99 instead of $50 In the #2 spot, AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing Ethnicity (still on sale at $59 btw). The third place seller was the adored Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Programmable Pressure Cooker…still at $30 bucks off. Bose Quiet Comfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones bagged the 4th place spot…and those are now sold out. #5 was Michelle Obama’s new book Becoming, which is still available at a $20 discount.

Yesterday, Donald Trump threatened to slap a 10% tariff on iPhones and MacBooks imported from China, and the stock acted accordingly. Today, Tim Cook is visiting an Idaho school district with Ivanka Trump to talk tech. Coincidence? I doubt it. So far, Cook has gotten Trump to lay off Apple products. Macrumors.com says in 2016 Apple donated an iPad to every student, a Mac and iPad to every teacher, and an Apple TV to each classroom via its ConnectED initiative. Will a ‘charm trip’ with Ivanka keep tariffs off Apple products again? Stay tuned.

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Huawei Passes Apple to be the Avis of Smartphones; Facebook-100% Renewable Energy by 2020; Oculus Studies VR in Classrooms; Toyota Invests in Uber; Trump- Google is RIGGED

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has slipped past Apple to grab the #2 spot in smartphone sales. TechCrunch.com reports that a Gartner figure puts Huawei ahead in sales for the 2nd quarter. Huawei came in at 13.3%, up from 9.8% in the prior year, while Apple got 11.9%, off slightly from the 12.1% they had in 2017’s Q2. Samsung still stands tall as #1, at 19.3% this year, and 22.6% in 2017.

Facebook has announced they will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and be running on 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020. According to theverge.com, Facebook has signed contracts for more than 3 gigawatts of new solar and wind energy since 2013. Those projects are all on the same grids as Facebook data centers in Oregon, Virginia, New Mexico, and Sweden. Samsung has also pledged to be on 100% renewable by 2020 in the US, Europe, and China. Apple and Google have also purchased enough renewable energy to offset their global energy consumption since April.

Oculus is getting ready to study how virtual reality can be used in education. Cnet.com says they have kicked off a pilot program called Oculus Education, which will distribute Oculus Go and Rift headsets to schools, libraries, and museums in Taiwan, Japan, and Seattle. The first phase will center around training teachers and other instructors in the use of VR and gathering feedback, and how VR can fill unique needs in those institutions. In conjunction with the headset program, Oculus is releasing 3 new VR experiences centered around history, science, and culture. They are all available at the Oculus store.

Toyota is pumping $500 million into Uber as part of a self-driving car partnership. Businessinsider.com reports that Toyota had previously invested in Uber a couple years ago as part of an auto leasing deal. Uber is reportedly selling self-driving tech to Toyota, while Toyota is promising to collaborate with Uber in moving self-driving tech forward. We may be seeing a Toyota self-driving Prius Hybrid sooner, not later.

Donald Trump fired off another angry Tweet from the White House…this time accusing Google of rigging search results against conservatives. According to gizmodo.com, the Chief Executive Tweeted “Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?” He is claiming that ’96% of the results on ‘Trump News’ are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous.’ He went on to rail that it was a very serious situation and it will be addressed. It might help if he adjusted his view of ‘Fake News.’