10 things in tech you need to know today | Digital Asia

Apps like Snapchat are addictive, insiders say.

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Apps like Snapchat are addictive, insiders say.
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Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

1. Silicon Valley insiders say Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are using ‘behavioral cocaine’ to turn people into addicts. A BBC documentary spoke to Silicon Valley designers and executives who said firms deliberately engineered their platforms to foster addictive behavior.

2. DeepMind created an AI that can beat humans at the multiplayer game Quake.The AI didn’t know the rules of the game but was able to learn quickly, DeepMind said.

3. Uganda has started taxing the use of social media, charging people 200 Ugandan shillings, or 5 US cents, a day. Uganda says it’s because social media is used to spread “lies”, but critics say it’s a way of suppressing free speech.

4. EU countries have expanded laws that allow them to extract and examine data from asylum seekers’ phones, potentially using that information against them. Immigration officials are using the data to verify people’s identities, and to ascertain whether they qualify for asylum, according to Wired.

5. Diane Bryant, the top Google Cloud exec who stepped down this week, struggled to find her role at the company, according to one source. The source told Business Insider that Bryant never had a defined role at the company, and shared a skillset with Urs Hölzle, the long-time Google infrastructure chief.

6. Venture capital firm Draper Esprit has entered Germany by investing in local firm Earlybird. The partnership gives Draper holdings in some of Earlybird’s portfolio companies, including cryptocurrency startup ShapeShift.

7. Google has claimed no one at the company reads users’ Gmail inboxes, after heavy criticism over third-party apps being able to read people’s private emails. There are a couple of key exceptions to this rule, including when Google needs to go investigate a bug or “abuse” of the platform.

8. Facebook is contradicting its long-held position that it is a neutral platform and not a publisher. In a court case against an app startup, Facebook argued that it was within its rights to revoke third parties’ access to data because this was an editorial decision.

9. Uber has relaunched a service in Finland after an alteration in local transport laws. Uber withdrew its service from Finland in 2017 thanks to laws that meant its drivers faced criminal prosecution.

10. Amazon is going to mimic traditional retailers and send a holiday catalogue to US homes this year. According to Bloomberg, it’ll be a traditional toy catalogue to capitalise on the closure of Toys “R” Us.

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