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Daily Crunch: Social media confronts election misinformation – TechCrunch

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You may have heard that the United States had a presidential election yesterday, with plenty of implications for the tech world, particularly with social media as one of the battlegrounds in the fight over the results. Meanwhile, major tech-relevant ballot measures, like California’s Proposition 22, also passed. I’ll do my best to cover it all in your Daily Crunch for November 4, 2020.

The big story: Social media confronts election misinformation

Here’s the good news: Election Day in the United States was largely free from disruptive cyberattacks.

The bad news? Well, we don’t have a winner in the presidential election yet — although Joe Biden is up 2% in the popular vote as I write this on Wednesday afternoon, and he’s leading narrowly in key battleground states. The uncertainty has created a big opportunity for misinformation, particularly from President Donald Trump and others involved with his campaign who are trying to cast doubt on the voting and vote-counting process while prematurely claiming victory.

As my colleague Taylor Hatmaker put it, this is a “nightmare misinformation scenario,” with the president and his campaign doing their best to “work the misinformation ecosystem he’s cultivated over the last four years.”

At least Facebook and Twitter are trying to stem the spread in different ways: Twitter has added warning labels to numerous Trump and Trump campaign posts (Trump and his campaign members aren’t the only ones getting warnings labels right now, but to be clear: They’re the ones spreading dangerous misinformation about the results — while the Biden campaign is, to put it simply, not). Facebook also added messages at the top of both Facebook and Instagram noting that votes are still being counted.

The tech giants

Apple, Microsoft and other tech stocks roar as the presidential election narrows to several states — At the close of trading today, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 3.8%.

Zynga reports record revenue and strong user growth while still losing $122M — The company predicted further growth in Q4, with revenue up 55% to $570 million.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Intel has acquired Cnvrg.io, a platform to manage, build and automate machine learning — Intel continues to snap up startups to build out its machine learning and AI operations.

Aveine’s Smart Wine Aerator is a huge upgrade for wine lovers, and could create some new ones, too — This gadget from a French startup offers variable, instant aeration, along with a connected app platform.

Hustle Fund, a pre-seed firm, closes $30M for a new fund — Hustle Fund was created by Elizabeth Yin and Eric Bahn, two former 500 Startups partners.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Will new SEC equity crowdfunding rules encourage more founders to pass the hat? — Companies can now raise $5 million via equity crowdfunding.

As tech stocks rally, bring on the IPOs — The Exchange has heard whispers that the late-November/early-December period could be active for new filings.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

CA ballot measure that keeps gig workers as independent contractors is projected to pass — Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash (the major backers of California’s Proposition 22) are getting their way.

Cannabis legalization measures set to pass in five states — Cannabis legalization was on five state ballots yesterday and ran the table.

Massachusetts voters pass a right-to-repair measure, giving them unprecedented access to their car data — Under the measure, once a person buys a vehicle, they own all of its data.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail on fraud charge – OrilliaMatters

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HONG KONG — Outspoken Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was refused bail on Thursday on a fraud charge amid a growing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city.

Jimmy Lai of Next Digital, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper, was among 10 people arrested Aug. 10 on what police said was suspicion of violating a national security law and collusion with a foreign country.

Lai, 73, was later released on bail but police raided his company’s offices in October and took away documents.

On Wednesday, Lai and two Next Digital executives were charged with fraud over accusations that they violated lease terms for Next Digital office space.

Lai appeared in court Thursday and was denied bail. His case has been adjourned till April 16.

Hong Kong police said in a statement Wednesday that it had arrested three men on charges of fraud, without naming them. It also said that one of them had been suspected of violating the national security law, and that it was still under investigation.

Beijing imposed the national security law in response to protests in Hong Kong that began in June 2019 over a proposed extradition law and expanded to include demands for greater democracy in the former British colony.

The sweeping legislation prompted more public protests and led to complaints that Beijing is violating the autonomy promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China and damaging its status as a business centre.

Apple Daily criticized the law on its front page on July 1, calling it the “final nail in the coffin” of the territory’s autonomy.

The British government had slammed Lai’s August arrest and said the security law was being used to crush dissent.

The law is “being implemented in a way that undermines freedom of speech,” the British government said in a report this month on the status of the 1984 agreement for Hong Kong’s return to China.

“It is imperative that this freedom is fully respected,” the report said.

Lai was earlier arrested in February and April on charges of taking part in unauthorized protests. He also faces charges of joining an unauthorized vigil marking the anniversary of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Zen Soo, The Associated Press


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Haligonians answer call on social media to show struggling eatery some love – CTV News Atlantic

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HALIFAX —
Dozens of people answered the dinner bell Tuesday in support of a struggling Mexican restaurant in Halifax’s north end.

A social media message about the difficulties facing Tako Loko prompted hungry Haligonians to line up down the street for a bite to eat.

On Wednesday, there was some extra prep work taking place in the kitchen at Tako Loko.

“Sold out, everything, so we’re going to do again … everything,” said owner Vicky Ruiz.

The spike in business was the result of one tweet that made the rounds on social media saying the owner is really struggling to keep the lights on and the doors open.

The result was a lineup of people down the street.

“I almost cried, I was happy, very happy because the people support us,” Ruiz said. “We had Uber Eats and we couldn’t take orders from Uber Eats and we couldn’t answer the phone because the line was two blocks here.”

Megan Smith and Nicole Carruthers live in the neighborhood and have been coming for months.

“It’s excellent,” they say.

It was so busy Smith and Carruthers couldn’t even place their usual order.

“I tried calling before five and they couldn’t take my order because they were that busy, it was awesome,” Smith said.

Some who couldn’t show up in person took up a neighbourhood collection and dropped the money off in a card.

The restaurant was scheduled to close at 9 p.m. but they actually ran out of food before that. Ruiz spent this morning at the grocery store, stocking up for tonight.

“It makes you proud of your local community, proud of Halifax and proud of people in the north end,” Carruthers said. “A lot of challenges have come out of this pandemic. It’s really nice to see people come out and supporting each other in a challenging time.”

Ruiz opened in March, just at the beginning of the pandemic. They stuck it out, but as COVID continued, the restaurant, like many others, started to struggle.

Ruiz has no plans to close her kitchen, and after the response yesterday, staying open will be much easier.

“I am a very hard worker and the people depend on this restaurant, they need a job,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz doesn’t know the person who put the post on social media but she has a message for him.

“Thank you, thank you, and free tacos for him,” she said.

He may however have to wait in line.

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail on fraud charge – The Globe and Mail

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Jimmy Lai arrives at a court in Hong Kong, on Oct. 15, 2020.

Kin Cheung/The Associated Press

Outspoken Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was refused bail on Thursday on a fraud charge amid a growing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city.

Jimmy Lai of Next Digital, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper, was among 10 people arrested Aug. 10 on what police said was suspicion of violating a national security law and collusion with a foreign country.

Lai, 73, was later released on bail but police raided his company’s offices in October and took away documents.

Story continues below advertisement

On Wednesday, Lai and two Next Digital executives were charged with fraud over accusations that they violated lease terms for Next Digital office space.

Lai appeared in court Thursday and was denied bail. His case has been adjourned till April 16.

Hong Kong police said in a statement Wednesday that it had arrested three men on charges of fraud, without naming them. It also said that one of them had been suspected of violating the national security law, and that it was still under investigation.

Beijing imposed the national security law in response to protests in Hong Kong that began in June 2019 over a proposed extradition law and expanded to include demands for greater democracy in the former British colony.

The sweeping legislation prompted more public protests and led to complaints that Beijing is violating the autonomy promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China and damaging its status as a business centre.

Apple Daily criticized the law on its front page on July 1, calling it the “final nail in the coffin” of the territory’s autonomy.

The British government had slammed Lai’s August arrest and said the security law was being used to crush dissent.

Story continues below advertisement

The law is “being implemented in a way that undermines freedom of speech,” the British government said in a report this month on the status of the 1984 agreement for Hong Kong’s return to China.

“It is imperative that this freedom is fully respected,” the report said.

Lai was earlier arrested in February and April on charges of taking part in unauthorized protests. He also faces charges of joining an unauthorized vigil marking the anniversary of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

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