Apple cracks down on apps sharing info on users’ friends

Apple Inc. changed its App Store rules last week to limit how developers harvest, use and share information about iPhone owners' friends and other contacts. The move cracks down on a practice that's been employed for years. Developers ask users for access to their phone contacts, then use it for marketing and sometimes share or sell the information -- without permission from the other people listed on those digital address books. On both Apple's iOS and Google's Android, the world's largest smartphone operating systems, the tactic is sometimes used to juice growth and make money. Sharing of friends' data without their consent is what got Facebook Inc. into so much trouble when one of its outside developers gave information on millions of people to Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy. Apple has criticized the social network for that lapse and other missteps, while announcing new privacy updates to boost its reputation Continue reading "Apple cracks down on apps sharing info on users’ friends"

Fortnite fever rises as video-game makers gather for confab

E3, the video-game industry's big trade show, is where companies typically showcase their newest titles, but it's the year-old free global hit Fortnite that's likely to be the talk of the convention in Los Angeles next week. The multiplayer shooting title released last year by closely held Epic Games has become a cultural phenomenon. It's attracted 45 million players worldwide and is generating hundreds of millions of dollars a month in sales from fans buying virtual avatars and accessories. That's as much as paid hits like Call of Duty from industry leader Activision Blizzard. Already some game-makers are adapting to Fortnite's battle-royale style of play. Activision, for example, will use E3 to show off its latest Call of Duty, due to be released in October, with an every-man-for-himself mode. Online game sites speculate that Electronic Arts will unveil a battle-royale version of its upcoming Battlefield V and that Nintendo Co. Continue reading "Fortnite fever rises as video-game makers gather for confab"

Snap shareholders can pursue claims IPO hid crucial facts

Investors who claim they were deceived when Snapchat went public last year will get a chance to pursue damages in court. Snap Inc., the maker of an application for ephemeral messages and videos, lost its bid to dismiss a securities lawsuit stemming from its initial public offering in March 2017. The next step for shareholders is to request class-action status, which would give them additional leverage to negotiate a settlement. The investors allege that prior to the IPO, Snap didn't reveal how much competition from Instagram, the photo-sharing app, was hurting its growth in the second half of 2016. They also say Snap failed to disclose a sealed whistle-blower lawsuit by a former employee who claimed inaccuracies in the company's calculation and reporting of daily active users. In addition, they said Snap misrepresented its use of "growth hacking," the practice of sending push notifications to subscribers to drive up Continue reading "Snap shareholders can pursue claims IPO hid crucial facts"

LeBron James’ ‘Chosen 1’ tattoo makes the Viral Video Chart

As LeBron James tries to find a way to power his Cleveland Cavaliers past the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finalsit's not looking good, but James has been phenomenalNike is promoting its association with the superstar by imagining the moment when he walked into a tattoo shop with an audacious design. James got the tattoo after Sports Illustrated put him on the cover in February 2002 with the legend, "The Chosen One." As always, the view counts on our weekly Viral Video Chart reflect both organic views initiated by consumers and paid views generated through ad placements. Continue reading at

Apple announces slew of new anti-addiction iPhone controls

Apple Inc. introduced features to help iPhone users put down their phones -- at least temporarily -- after criticism people were addicted to the company's flagship device and following similar moves to combat smartphone addiction by competitors. The slew of tools includes updates to "Do Not Disturb" and new ways to manage notifications. Instead of waking up to a string of notifications missed over night, users will get a new "Good morning" screen summarizing the alerts. There's also a larger array of controls for muting notifications and grouping alerts to reduce the number sent to a user. The most notable enhancement is called "Screen Time," an activity report showing how much time you're spending inside of individual apps, how often you pick up your phone and which apps are sending you the most notifications. People can set time limits on specific apps and get alerts reminding them to stop using Continue reading "Apple announces slew of new anti-addiction iPhone controls"

Spotify ends divisive artist policy after music-industry revolt

Spotify has rescinded a short-lived policy that penalized artists for misconduct, bowing to pressure from irate musicians and record labels. The owner of the world's largest paid music streaming service will no longer police artist behavior, but it will still remove hate speech, according to a blog post Friday. Spotify had enacted the guidelines last month, a move that included scrubbing R&B singer R. Kelly and rapper XXXTentacion from its playlists. Spotify's attempt to take a stand against sexual misconduct quickly turned into its first major crisis as a publicly traded business. Artists threatened to boycott the service, and the company's top liaison to artists discussed quitting. Continue reading at