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Millions Flock to Telegram and Signal as Fears Grow Over Big Tech

Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesman for a cryptocurrency think tank, has typically used the encrypted messaging app Signal to chat with privacy-minded colleagues and peers. So he was surprised on Monday when the app alerted him to two new users: Mom and Dad.“Signal still had a subversive shine to it,” said Mr. Agrawal, 32. “Now my parents are on it.”On Telegram, another encrypted messaging app, Gavin McInnes, founder of the far-right Proud Boys group, had just announced his return. “Man, I haven’t posted here in a while,” he wrote on Sunday. “I’ll be posting regularly.”And on Twitter, …

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Fringe Groups Splinter Online After Facebook and Twitter Bans

Just hours after rioters were cleared from the Capitol on Wednesday, there was already discussion about what would happen next on Parler and Gab, another social-media platform that has become popular with the far right.Mr. Trump was expected to take his megaphone to the platforms, and tens of thousands joined those sites expecting him to land there. But by Monday night, Parler was mostly offline. Gab had also become largely unusable, as a flood of new users and downloads appeared to crush the site, making it impossible to search for, or post, new items.Some groups have moved to …

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How Parler, a Chosen App of Trump Fans, Became a Test of Free Speech

Parler grew slowly until early 2020, when Twitter began labeling Mr. Trump’s tweets as inaccurate and some of his supporters joined Parler in protest. After November’s election, Parler grew even more quickly as Facebook and Twitter clamped down on false claims that the vote had been rigged. So many users signed up that, at times, they overloaded the company’s systems and forced it to pause new registrations.In total, people downloaded Parler’s app more than 10 million times last year, with 80 percent in the United States, according to Sensor Tower, the app data firm.Last Wednesday, Mr. Trump …

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Amazon, Apple and Google Cut Off Parler, an App That Drew Trump Supporters

Other platforms that host posts by right-wing influencers, including CloutHub and MyMilitia — a forum for militia groups — adjusted their terms of service recently to ban threats of violence.DLive was pressured by Tipalti, a payment company that helps it operate. Tilpati said in a statement that it had suspended its service until DLive removed the accounts that had broadcast the riots on Wednesday.Such third-party companies that help apps and websites function, from payment processors to cybersecurity firms to web-hosting providers like Amazon, have used their positions to influence how their customers handle extremist or criminal activity. In 2019, Cloudflare, a …

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Parler removed from Google Play store as Apple App Store suspension reportedly looms

Shortly after Twitter announced Friday afternoon that they were permanently suspending the account of President Trump, Google shared that they were removing Parler, a conservative social media app, from their Play Store immediately, saying in a statement that they were suspending the app until the developers committed to a moderation and enforcement policy that could handle objectionable content on the platform.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson said:
“In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that …

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The Tech That Will Invade Our Lives in 2021

Here’s what that means. Let’s say your family owns smartphones, several computers and a game console. If all of them are being used to consume heavy amounts of data — to stream video, for example — Wi-Fi 6 does a better job at providing bandwidth to all the devices at the same time as opposed to letting one device hog most of it.Efficiency is especially important because more of our stuff connects to the internet, from watches to television sets to bathroom scales to thermostats. On average, the number of internet-connected devices owned per person is expected to climb to …

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This Week in Apps: Apple bans party app, China loses 39K iOS games, TikTok births a ‘Ratatousical’

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion total downloads and $120 billion in global consumer spend in 2019. Not including Chinese third-party app stores, iOS and Android users in 2020 downloaded 130 billion apps and spent a record $112 billion. In 2019, people spent three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV.
Due to COVID-19, time spent in apps jumped 25% year-over-year on Android. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — …

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Robinhood Recaps From a Volatile Year

In 2020, wild fluctuations in the stock market caused by the pandemic turned millions of people into opportunistic investors. After stocks plunged in March, experienced traders and Nasdaq novices poured their dollars into buzzy tech companies like Tesla and Zoom, as well as businesses bludgeoned by Covid restrictions, including airlines, restaurants and cruises.To reflect a year of volatility and impulsive investments, Robinhood, the popular trading app that has spurred controversy by marketing itself to young people, released a year-end data dump for its users. A news release promised that the Robinhood Recap would be a “special personalized experience that will …

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The Tech That Was Fixed in 2020 and the Tech That Still Needs Fixing

To put it lightly, 2020 was rough. More than ever, we turned to our personal tech this year to help find respite, stay healthy and remain connected with the people we care about.Video chat apps, like Webex and Google Meet, became crucial work tools. After gyms shut down, virtual workout apps like Peloton transformed into must-have products. Electric bikes and scooters, once a source of frustration, found their moment when people sought alternatives to public transportation and ride hailing.Still, there was plenty of tech that let us down.Some of Amazon’s gadgets, like its Ring surveillance cameras, proved …

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Big Fines and Strict Rules Unveiled Against ‘Big Tech’ in Europe

Many in Brussels expect a drawn out fight, as the tech industry spends more than ever on lobbying. And while there is strong political momentum for new regulations, the policies may not be approved for years, with many stages of negotiations where the debate could snag.Mr. Lewis said the debate will be a test for the relationship between the United States and European Union, which was strained during the Trump administration on issues like digital taxes. A trade group representing big American tech companies, called the Internet Association, has already complained to U.S. officials in Washington about the …

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