Tech

Facebook is updating how you can authenticate your account logins

You’ll soon have more options for staying secure on Facebook with two-factor authentication. Facebook is simplifying the process for two-factor verification on its platform so you won’t have to give the company your phone number just to bring additional security to your device. The company announced today that it is adding support for third-party authentication apps like Duo Security and Google Authenticator while streamlining the setup process to make it easier to get moving with it in the first place. Two-factor authentication is a pretty widely supported security strategy that adds another line of defense for users so they aren’t screwed if their login credentials are compromised. SMS isn’t generally considered the most secure method for 2FA because it’s possible for hackers to take con...

Square brings its Stand for iPad tablets to the UK

Square, the company that provides payments and other business services to merchants, is today taking another step in its gradual expansion outside of the U.S. Stand — one of Square’s key pieces of hardware, turning an iPad into a point of sale system — is launching in the U.K. It will sell for £64 (+VAT) and will be sold alongside existing products that Square offers in the U.K. — Square Reader, its Point of Sale app, Instant Deposit, Virtual Terminal and Cash app. (Square Register, the company’s all-in-one product for larger businesses that sells for $999, is not yet available outside the U.S.) The move comes just over a year after Square launched in the U.K., its first market in Europe, and also on the heels of a big move from two of its biggest competitors: last week, PayPal said it wou...

Apple reportedly partners with Volkswagen for self-driving employee shuttles

Apple has decided to work with Volkswagen for some of its self-driving car efforts, The New York Times reported today. The plan, according to the NYT, is to turn some of Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter vans into autonomous shuttles for employees. However, this project is reportedly behind schedule and taking up much of the time of Apple’s autonomous driving team. According to the NYT, Apple’s lengthy talks pertaining to partnerships with manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have ended. A Volkswagen T6 van Earlier this month, Apple’s fleet of self-driving cars registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles grew to 55 vehicles. That means Apple has the second largest fleet of self-driving cars in California, with General Motors’ Cruise coming in at number one. Apple’s standard a...

How [and why] I invest in startups

Ashton Kutcher Contributor A lot of people ask me how I choose to invest in startups. Stage? Revenue metrics? Sector? I’m not proactively funding at different stages. I’m proactively funding brilliant people trying to solve hard problems. Focusing on this simple goal of identifying and enabling amazing entrepreneurs to create a better tomorrow is the crux of my investment strategy. My startup investment “formula” A lot of venture funds try to optimize for returns. They run complex ratio economic models to determine what their diluted value will be at the end of the life cycle of the optimal and non-optimal case of every given company. I don’t do that. I just try to fund the best and brightest. I love working with the smartest and brightest people in the world on some of the hardest challen...

Tinder pilots Places, a feature that tracks your location for better matches

Tinder will now help you find matches with those people you may cross paths with in your day-to-day life. As promised earlier, the company today is announcing the launch of a new location-based feature that will narrow your list of potential dating prospects to those who hit up your same bar for after-work drinks, or who stop by your favorite coffee shop for their daily caffeine fix, or who work out at your same gym. Yes, that’s right — you no longer have to say “hello” in real life — you can match first, then speak. This is what it’s come to, friends. Even the “meet cute” story is now a dating app product. The feature, known as Tinder Places, was previously spotted during beta tests. Starting today, Tinder Places is formally being announced as a public beta test that’s underway in three c...

TechCrunch Include Office Hours with Betaworks in New York and SF

Betaworks is hosting TechCrunch’s Include Office Hours for the month of May. For the first time ever, Include Office Hours will be bi-coastal — held in San Francisco and New York on the same day at 2pm local time at each location. On Tuesday, May 29th, partners Peter Rojas and Matt Hartman will be meeting with startup founders in SF and NYC, respectively. Founders can apply here. TechCrunch started the Include program in 2014 with the aim of utilizing its networks to open opportunities for underrepresented and underserved founders in tech. One of the principal elements of this program is the Include Office Hours program. Throughout the year, TechCrunch joins with partners at various VC firms to connect with founders in private 20-minute meetings. Founders will get critical feedback and adv...

TruStory, a new startup, just raised $3 million to identify ICO scams before they happen

Investing in initial coin offerings, or ICOs, is a minefield. This isn’t just true for people with absolutely no technical background but also for many investors who may be well-versed in tech but still struggle to understand many projects’ white papers. Enter TruStory, a platform for users to research and validate claims that people make online, whether in a blog post, white paper, website or social media post. The young company’s aim is to “bring authenticity back into the digital and decentralized world.” It’s a huge and growing opportunity. Though regulators around the world are cracking down on cryptocurrency fraud, the number of ICOs has skyrocketed and the funds raised through the mechanism are increasing. According to data collected last month by CoinDesk, ICOs raised $6.3 billion ...

Uber’s raising up to $600M in a secondary round at $62B valuation, Q1 sales grew to $2.5B

Uber’s CEO is in Paris this week meeting with the French president to talk tech in Europe and expanding its insurance coverage in the region, but back in the U.S. the company is moving ahead on another kind of expansion. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Uber is raising another secondary round of funding of up to $600 million, on a valuation of $62 billion. The fundraising development comes at the same time that Uber is also releasing its Q1 financials — which indicate that the company pulled in $2.5 billion in net revenues, with a net loss of $601 million, and negative EBIDTA of $304 million on a pro forma basis. Raising between $400 million and $600 million on a valuation of $62 billion (at $40 per share) would indicate that while Uber is recovering from the drop in valuation fro...

Elon Musk has a very bad idea for a website rating journalists

Elon Musk has, as I imagine he often does during meetings or long car rides, come up with an idea for a new thing. Unlike the Hyperloop, which was cool, and various space-related ideas, which we know he’s at least partly expert about, this one is just plain bad. It’s basically Yelp But For Journalism. Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda … — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2018 He may as well have said, I found this great can marked “worms” and I’m going to open it, or, I’ve determined a new method for herding cats. The idea of holding publications and people accountable is great. Unfortunately it is the kind of problem that does no...

It’s unconstitutional for Trump to block people on Twitter

A uniquely 21st-century constitutional question received a satisfying answer today from a federal judge: President Trump cannot block people on Twitter, as it constitutes a violation of their First Amendment rights. The court also ruled he must unblock all previously blocked users. “No government official is above the law,” the judge concluded. The question was brought as part of a suit brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute, which alleged that the official Presidential Twitter feed amounts to a public forum, and that the government barring individuals from participating in it amounted to limiting their right to free speech. After consideration, New York Southern District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald determined that this is indeed that case: We hold that portions of the @realDonaldT...

Comcast closing in on plan to challenge Disney’s Fox bid

Seems Disney might not be able to waltz into a 21st Century Fox acquisition, after all. Comcast this morning announced plans to launch its own bid from the movie studio, offering a vague outline for a planned bid. In a statement, Comcast says it’s in the “advanced stages of preparing” an offer for the bits Fox has agreed to sell to Disney. “Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney,” Comcast writes. “The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of ‘New Fox’ and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer.” The announcement of a potential bid follows a $52.4 billion all-stock offer posted...

Governments are cracking down on fake token sales

From Howeycoin to a Chinese study that found 421 fake token sales, governments and researchers are finally shedding light on bad actors in the token sale space. Take, for example, Operation Cryptosweep. According to an North American Securities Administrator’s Association, regulators in the US and Canada are looking into 70 token sales and may be taking action against as many as 35. They write: NASAA members from more than 40 jurisdictions throughout North America participated in “Operation Cryptosweep,” which to date has resulted in nearly 70 inquiries and investigations and 35 pending or completed enforcement actions related to ICOs or cryptocurrencies since the beginning of May. NASAA members are conducting additional investigations into potentially fraudulent conduct that may result in...