News & Analysis

  1. Heyward 3

    Whisper CEO: Twitter’s “we’re just a platform” argument is bullshit

    During tonight’s Pando Monthly with Whisper CEO Michael Heyward, the conversation quickly moved to cyberbullying. Admitting “we’re not infallible,” Heyward rejected the argument that as a “platform,” a social network or gossip app has no responsibility to police content. Specifically, he called Twitter’s platform defense “bullshit.” “What happened with Robin Williams’ daughter [on social media] was disgusting,” he said. “The fact that it had to happen to Robin William’s daughter for anyone to care is wrong. It shouldn’t matter who it…
  3. Heyward 2

    Whisper launches “groups” feature in new iOS update

    Speaking a few minutes on stage at Pando Monthly, Whisper’s Michael Heyward broke some news: in today’s update of Whisper’s iOS app, Whisper rolled out new “groups” functionality, allowing users to curate their feed by topics. As examples, Heyward cited “Starbucks confessions,” Cross Fit and religious groups as the kind of things users might want to filter their feed to include. Once a user has selected their interest groups, Whispers about those topics take over their entire feed. The interview is still happening…
  4. elsewhere

    The Ground Zero Mosque Was an Inside Job

    Mark Ames, currently of Pando Daily, formerly the senior editor of NSFW Corp, covered the Deak’s Family Spooktacular quite ably for both the New York Observer and Salon years ago; He’s still baffled by them. “Weirdest fucking story I’ve ever worked on,” Ames said via email, “that includes anything in weird-as-hell Russia.” — Gawker
  5. pando-inside-baseball

    Jason Calacanis Made a News Service For Tech Elites Because TechCrunch ‘Is a Joke’

    “You’re talking to LeBron James about guys playing in the rec league,” Mr. Calacanis said. “These guys are amateurs, I’m the fucking real deal.” — Beatbeat
  7. pando-breaking-news-small

    Twitter aims to raise $1.3B through private offering of convertible senior notes

    Less than a year after raising $2.1 billion in its November 2013 IPO, Twitter announced yesterday that it plans to raise a total of $1.3 billion in a hybrid offering of five and seven year convertible senior notes ($650 million each, expiring in 2019 and 2021 respectively). The unsecured, senior obligations will pay interest semi-annually in arrears and will be convertible into cash, shares of Twitter’s common stock, or a combination thereof, at the company’s option. In a press release on the private…
  8. educationmashup

    As questions arise over a $500M Apple deal, LA school district votes to destroy internal emails

    California’s largest school district just dealt a major blow to public transparency. According to the Pasadena public radio station KPCC, the Los Angeles Unified school district (LAUSD) has voted to destroy all internal staff emails after one year. The reason for doing so, according to the board’s new policy, is that, “Because the District relies on public funds, it is imperative for the District to minimize its costs and, therefore, dispose of information and Records in a timely manner.” That sounds…
  9. tweet

    Why I’m done being outraged over tasteless 9/11 brand tweets

    It happens every year. On September 11, brands elbow their way into our communal remembrance of a national tragedy by posting tweets and other social media content related to that horrific event 13 years ago. Sometimes the posts almost verge on sincerity, relegating any explicit references to products or brand identity to the periphery. Other times they are tasteless and exploitative, offering up promotion codes like “FREEDOM” or “NEVERFORGET” so you can mourn in style in a half-price leather jacket. But there’s something else that happens every year…
  11. ApplePay

    The hidden brilliance behind the timing of Apple’s adoption of NFC

    There’s a brilliance to the timing of Apple’s adoption of near field communication (NFC) technology. For years, it was assumed that the company would never incorporate the short-range radio protocol into its devices, as they had seemingly opted-instead for Bluetooth LE – even as many Android manufacturers added it to their newest devices, with little impact on adoption. But, to many people’s surprise, the newly introduced iPhone 6 and iWatch product lines include NFC, in part to facilitate Apple’s intriguing…
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    Byliner acquired by Vook. Existing authors to get big royalty bump

    Earlier this year, I wrote about my experiences with Byliner, the ebook publishing house that had fallen on hard times. As a Byliner author, I’ve been trying for the past few months to find out what the hell is going on with my book. A few minutes ago, I — and presumably everyone else published by Byliner — got an answer. The company, including their backlist, has been acquired by Vook. I’m still digging into the exact…
  13. techtopusii

    Trial date set in Techtopus wage fixing case

    It’s on! Following her rejection of the Techtopus wage fixing settlement, Judge Lucy Koh has set a trial date for the case. Assuming there is no other settlement agreed in the next few months, the pretrial conference date is set for December 19th of this year, with the actual trial beginning on April 9th 2015. Meanwhile, attorneys for the tech companies involved in the suit — including Google and Apple — have filed a request for the 9th Circuit to…
  15. drew_houston_1

    Dropbox was asked not to inform users of 80% of its government data requests

    [Dropbox CEO Drew Houston] Dropbox has published a transparency report covering the period between January and July 2014, and it contains a surprising statistic: around 80 percent of the information requests it receives from law enforcement ask the company not to inform users about the requests. The secrecy with which the government asks tech companies to share information about people has been a key issue since the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs were revealed in 2013, with numerous…
  16. online music

    Deezer launches in the US. But will Americans pay $20 a month for streaming music?

    When discussing the on-demand streaming music wars between Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Beats Music, one service Americans often fail to mention is Deezer. Launching in 2007, the Paris-based company has been in the game longer than any of the above services except Rhapsody and, in terms of popularity, is Spotify’s closest competitor with 16 million users, 5 million of whom pay for the service. (Spotify at last count had 40 million free users and 10 million of those are paying customers). The reason Deezer…
  17. piracy-trends-1

    Spotify positions itself to take advantage of Australia’s declining piracy

    Australians aren’t pirating music as often as they were before, according to a study by Spotify that analyzed the rate at which consumers in the country illegally downloaded music via their mobile phones. And the company isn’t shy about its excitement at the idea of selling its service to everyone who have decided they would rather pay for their music, or at least suffer through a few ads, than download it for free. According to the study, a 20 percent decrease…
  19. lyft-removing-the-mustache

    Consumer spending data indicates Uber is far larger and growing faster than Lyft

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Uber versus Lyft is the most interesting rivalry in tech today. Both companies are insanely well-capitalized and both have delivered significant innovation to the marketplace. But unlike some more established players, (i.e. Apple versus Samsung, or Facebook versus Twitter) there’s still a degree of uncertainty about how this market will play out. Not only are there questions about how Uber and Lyft will compete amongst themselves for drivers, riders,…
  20. u2

    Apple offends music critics and iPhone owners alike with U2 album assault

    Here’s a thought: maybe companies that want consumers to be talking about new products, including one that represents the company’s first foray into a new market since 2010, shouldn’t force an album that no-one asked for into those same consumer’s existing phones and laptops. If only someone had told Apple that before the company decided to add U2’s newest album to everyone’s iTunes library, a move which, assuming someone’s devices are set to automatically sync with an iTunes account,…
  21. yasha

    Come see Pando in LA or San Jose tomorrow evening

    If you’re planning on being in either Los Angeles or San Jose tomorrow evening, here are your plans: In LA from 6pm tomorrow, Sarah Lacy interviews Whisper CEO Michael Heyward at the next installment of our Pando Monthly event series. Given our recent coverage of anonymous apps like Secret and, it’s sure to be a — uh — lively conversation. As I write this, there are just a few tickets left at the sponsored price (thanks Rackspace!) of $20.…

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