Week in Review for the Week of 12/30/19

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Week in Review for the Week of 12/30/19
Number 1039
Broadcast Date JANUARY 4, 2020
Episode Length 4:44
Hosts Rich Stroffolino

Snap will launch Bitmoji TV in February, Egyptian regulators approve Uber’s $3.1 billion acquisition of Careem, and YouTube stops personalized ads for underage users.


Snap announced it will launch Bitmoji TV in February 2020, featuring a user's customizable avatar in a full-motion cartoon series. The content will live in the Discover Tab of Snapchat, and feature the avatar of the users and friends. It is unclear how long episodes will be, how often they will be released, and whether they will include ads.
The Egyptian Competition Authority approved Uber's $3.1 billion acquisition of regional ride-hailing competitor Careem, the deal is expected to close in January. Careem will operate as an independent subsidiary under Uber, keeping an independent brand and management. As part of a deal with the ECA on the acquisition, Uber agreed to abandon exclusivity provisions with partners and intermediaries, share random samples of trip data with the trustee, and cap yearly fare increases and surge pricing. Uber must meet these requirements for five years, or until another ride hailing company gains significant market share in the country.
Postmates and Uber filed a complaint against Assembly Bill 5 in California federal district court. The companies argue that AB-5 violates several clauses in the U.S. and California constitutions, such as equal protection, because of how it classifies gig workers for ridesharing and on-demand delivery companies, without the exemptions it grants to workers who do “substantively identical work” in more than 20 other industries. AB-5 is due to go into effect tomorrow, January 1st. The companies, along with two "gig worker" co-plaintiffs, are seeking a preliminary injunction while the lawsuit is under consideration.
In response to the Federal Trade Commission's allegations that YouTube has been violating the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by tracking children’s data, the company plans to turn off comments, limit data collection on kid-targeted videos, and stop showing personalized ads on videos when parent company Google knows that the viewer is underage. In response to YouTube, some 175,000 content creators have sent feedback to the FTC, demanding that the agency rethink its strategy, which they say unfairly cuts them off from revenue.
The US Internal Revenue Service announced an addendum to its Free File agreement with the tax preparation industry, which provides a free tax prep tier for lower and middle-income households. The addendum now bars tax prep companies from “engaging in any practice” that would exclude their Free File offerings “from an organic internet search.” ProPublica reported last year that Intuit set it's robots.txt file on its site to not allow search engines to index its free offering. The addendum will also require tax prep companies to standardize naming of its Free File offering, and drops the prohibition on the IRS developing its own online tax filing system.
The Recording Industry Association of America announced that in 2019, streaming music accounted for 80% of the US music market, with over 61 million subscriptions. This compares to 2010 when streaming accounted for 7% of the market with 1.5 million subscribers. Physical and digital album sales accounted for 9% of the market each in 2019, down from 52% and 38% of the market in 2010, respectively.
TikTok released its first transparency report, reporting which countries submitted requests for user data and to remove content. The report shows that India and the US had the most takedown requests, with 11 and 6 government requests respectively. China was not listed in the report, but the scope was limited to TikTok and did not include data from other ByteDance-owned apps like the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin.
Mozilla announced it was rolling out updates Firefox to all users worldwide to be in compliance with CCPA. As of January 7th, users can now request that Mozilla deletes Firefox telemetry data stored on its servers directly from the browser, which includes information on how many browser tabs were open, and length of sessions. According to Mozilla's VP of global policy, trust and security Alan Davidson, the browser industry doesn't consider telemetry data to be "personal information" since it cannot be directly used to identify a user, but " we feel strongly that taking this step is the right one for people and the ecosystem."
Tesla will begin delivering its first Chinese-made Tesla Model 3s to customers at the Shanghai Tesla factory starting January 7. Tesla says its Shanghai-produced Model 3s will be 50% cheaper per unit of capacity than the ones made in its Fremont, California and Sparks, Nevada factories.


Preceded by:
"Firefox Adds The Ability to Delete User Telemetry Data for CCPA Compliance"
Week in Review for the Week of 12/30/19
Followed by:
"Amazon Partners with India's Second Largest Retail Chain"