San Bernardino Survivor's Husband To Judge: Terrorist iPhone “Unlikely” To Hold Valuable Information

Salihin Kondoker

NBC News / Via

As Apple and the FBI tangle over encryption in courtrooms and Congress, one family who nearly lost a loved one during the mass shooting in San Bernardino is speaking up.

Salihin Kondoker, the husband of Anies Kondoker, who was shot three times but survived the attack, has filed a friend of the court brief in the Apple vs. FBI legal dispute — on Apple’s behalf. In an impassioned letter to judge Sheri Pym, Salihin says he doubts there’s useful information on the confiscated iPhone, and worries that what the government is demanding of Apple will invite rampant government surveillance.

“In my opinion it is unlikely there is any valuable information on this phone,” Salihin wrote in the letter which was obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“This was a work phone. My wife also had an iPhone issued by the County and she did not use it for any personal communication,” Salihin continued. “San Bernardino is one of the largest Counties in the country. They can track the phone on GPS in case they needed to determine where people were. Second, both the iCloud account and carrier account were controlled by the county so they could track any communications. This was common knowledge among my wife and other employees. Why then would someone store vital contacts related to an attack on a phone they knew the county had access to? They destroyed their personal phones after the attack. And I believe they did that for a reason.”

Submitted to Judge Pym on Monday morning, the letter speaks to concerns about the device's value to the investigation — concerns apparently shared by those leading it. In an essay published last week, FBI Director James Comey appeared to concede that the device might not contain useful information. "Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists," Comey wrote. "Maybe it doesn’t. But we can't look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don't follow this lead."

In an interview with NPR, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan also expressed doubt that the confiscated iPhone holds within it information valuable to the FBI investigation. “I'll be honest with you, I think that there is a reasonably good chance that there is nothing of any value on the phone,” he said. “This is an effort to leave no stone unturned in the investigation.”

Below, Salihin's letter in full.

Some Amazon Prime Now Delivery Drivers Are Now Employees

Four months after a group of Amazon Prime Now delivery drivers filed suit against the company, workers at one of the retailer's Southern California shipping subcontractors have been reclassified as employees.

The lawsuit is ongoing, and the four workers who filed it no longer drive for Amazon. But the contractor they worked for — Scoobeez, a "real-time deliveries" company headquartered in L.A. — has since reclassified Amazon Prime Now delivery drivers throughout California as employees. Two Scoobeez workers confirmed to BuzzFeed News that they had been transitioned from 1099 to W-2 status, though they did not confirm the date on which the shift happened.

With Prime Now, Amazon is competing with UberRUSH, Google Express, Postmates, and other on-demand services that have been at the center of a recent spate of worker-misclassification lawsuits. A notable few on-demand companies, including Instacart and Shyp, have side-stepped further litigation by reclassifying their contractors as W-2 employees, who get more benefits and protections, but at greater cost to their employer.

The attorney in this suit, Beth Ross, was told by Scoobeez's counsel that Amazon pushed the subcontractor to reclassify the workers. "They were facing massive financial liability if they continued to do what they were doing," Ross said at a symposium at Berkeley Law School on Friday. In June, Ross won a $228 million settlement from FedEx in a misclassification case.

"Amazon went to [Scoobeez] and said, 'classify them as employees or you're fired,'" she said. Ross estimated that "maybe a couple hundred" Scoobeez workers had been impacted by the transition, which she said took place in late January or early February.

The most high-profile of the techie 1099 lawsuits, Uber's, will be decided at trial this June. In the meantime, investors in Silicon Valley are keeping an eye on the outcomes of other cases. The change for some Prime Now drivers suggests that even behemoths like Amazon are interested in avoiding the legal costs and bad press associated with misclassification fights.

Reached for comment, an Amazon spokesperson declined to provide one, citing the company's "longstanding practice of not commenting on discussions with suppliers." The company is facing a similar lawsuit from Prime Now drivers in Nevada; the contractor there is Courier Logistics Services. Scoobeez declined multiple requests for comment.

Ross filed the class action lawsuit just two weeks after Amazon launched its Prime Now offering, which she noted meant the damages the workers would receive would be relatively small. "I'm not doing this case for the money," Ross said.

Turn The New Facebook Emoji Reactions Into Trump Reactions

A Chrome extension so you can “LOL” or “Sad” to your friends’ posts with with The Donald.

You know how Facebook just added those new reaction emojis last week?

You know how Facebook just added those new reaction emojis last week?

Here's a Chrome extension that turns Facebook's new smileys into Donald Trump's face.

Here's a Chrome extension that turns Facebook's new smileys into Donald Trump's face.

The Chrome extension is made by Fran├žois Grante, the founder of another acutally useful Chrome extension called Email Hunter.

Why? Who knows. Don't ask WHY. What better way to show your friend you love their baby photo than with Donald's loving face?

Why? Who knows. Don't ask WHY. What better way to show your friend you love their baby photo than with Donald's loving face?

Of course, only YOU see Trump's face. Your friends with the baby just see the "love" reaction. It only changes the reactions for the person who is using the Chrome extension.

Or if my friend posts about wanting to see Steely Dan, I can be angry. Not just regular angry, but TRUMP-ANGRY.

Or if my friend posts about wanting to see Steely Dan, I can be angry. Not just regular angry, but TRUMP-ANGRY.

View Entire List ›

Google's Self-Driving Car Caused Its First Accident

Tony Avelar / AP

In an accident report made public on Monday, Google disclosed that its self-driving car had caused a crash earlier this month — the first known crash caused by one of its fleet. One of the autonomous Lexus SUVs that Google has been testing on the streets of Mountain View, CA, hit a bus when it tried to pull change lanes.

According to the account the crash was minor — the car was traveling at 2 mph when it sideswiped the public bus. However, with Google pushing to have its self-driving cars consumer-ready in the next few years, this is the first accident that finds fault with the autonomous vehicle. While Google's cars have been in accidents before, this is the first one where another driver was not at fault.

In the report, Google blamed sand bags in the road as the underlying cause for the accident. They were placed around a storm drain, and when the car detected them, it moved one lane over, hitting the bus in the process.

Tomorrow Google will release its own monthly report on the self-driving car program, in which it will address the crash. The company looks on the bright side of the incident, calling the crash "a tricky set of circumstances that’s helped us improve an important skill for navigating similar roads."

"We clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision," the report reads. "That said, our test driver believed the bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that."

Apple Will Ask Congress To Step Into Fight Over Encryption

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

WASHINGTON – Bruce Sewell, Apple’s senior vice president and general counsel, will testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, seeking to persuade lawmakers that the FBI's demand that the company help it unlock an iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino shooter is reckless and without precedent.

Sewell will frame the court battle between Apple and FBI as an "extraordinary circumstance" and tell lawmakers that they, not a judge, should decide the thorny issues surrounding encryption, according to an advanced copy of his opening statements obtained by BuzzFeed News

“The FBI has asked a court to order us to give them something we don’t have,” Sewell will say. “To create an operating system that does not exist — because it would be too dangerous. They are asking for a backdoor into the iPhone — specifically to build a software tool that can break the encryption system which protects personal information on every iPhone.”

For more than two months, FBI technicians have attempted to gain access to the data held by Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone, looking for possible leads pointing to the people Farook had spoken to and the places he had been. Having exhausted its technical capabilities, the FBI has demanded, through a judge, that Apple design special software to disable and bypass several security features built into the phone.

The FBI has argued that the court order entails a very narrow search — a reasonable request of an American tech company to help federal law enforcement break into a single confiscated device.

Apple, however, maintains that this request involves far more than one iPhone. The company has argued that, if forced to create a special government-sanctioned operating system, there would be no limit to this new software’s application. Apple believes this represents an unacceptable risk to its customers across the globe.

“Should the FBI be allowed to stop Apple, or any company, from offering the American people the safest and most secure product it can make?” Sewell will say. “Should the FBI have the right to compel a company to produce a product it doesn't already make, to the FBI’s exact specifications and for the FBI’s use?”

Apple believes the answer to these questions rests not with a judge interpreting the All Writs Act, the 200-year-old statute invoked by the FBI. Instead, Apple insists that Congress should intervene and work through the challenges encryption poses to law enforcement.

"The decisions should be made by you and your colleagues as representatives of the people, rather than through a warrant request based on a 220-year-old-statute," Sewell will tell members of Congress.

Apple and the FBI, despite being locked in a bitter court and public relations battle, are somewhat in agreement on this point. FBI Director James Comey also believes the broader encryption debate that has been brewing for the past several years should be taken up by Congress. “I do think the larger question is not going to be answered in the courts — and shouldn’t be — because it’s really about who we want to be as a country, and how we want to govern ourselves," he said at a congressional hearing last week.

Sewell will conclude: “At Apple, we are ready to have this conversation. The feedback and support we're hearing indicate to us that the American people are ready, too.”

These Chewable Coffee Cubes Help Nerds Feel Like Nike Athletes

Dan Schwartzbaum / Via Nootrobox

The lobby of the WeWork on San Francisco’s Market Street looks like The Truman Show, but for startups: It’s the middle of the afternoon, and people are actually playing ping pong. The jug of complimentary “fresh fruit water” is icy and glistening. Stay in the same place long enough and the same Macbook-toting twentysomething is bound to loop by again.

On a sunny day in late January, Nootrobox co-founder Michael Brandt ventured onto this soundstage for startup utopia to talk about his company’s newest product: a line of chewable coffee-flavored gummy bites called Go Cubes. They, like all of Nootrobox’s wares, are nootropics: substances designed to make you think harder, better, and faster, also known as smart drugs. (Nootropics are typically marketed as dietary supplements, which are not reviewed by the FDA, although the agency has issued warning letters. Nootrobox says it only uses ingredients that the FDA has classified as generally safe.) Brandt strode into the lobby wearing a neon baseball hat that said “THINKING CAP.” See? It's unnerving when reality is too on the nose.

Go Cubes represent a big departure from Nootrobox’s other products, a trifecta of pills called Rise, Sprint, and Yawn, which are supposed to help you start the day alert, conquer deadlines, and ease into sleep, respectively, and come in spartan glass containers. The cubes, on the other hand, come in bright packaging that Brandt told BuzzFeed News was inspired by Winnie the Pooh’s honey pot and Keith Haring. Nootrobox raised the money for Go Cubes through an Indiegogo campaign and also has funding from Andreessen Horowitz. The geometric treats begin selling online today.

Each Go Cube contains as much caffeine as half a cup of coffee, as well as six grams of sugar. The nootropic elements are B-complex vitamins and l-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea. (L-theanine plus caffeine is a popular pairing to start with because the combination reduces jitters.)

Brandt hopes that Go Cubes will introduce consumers to the idea that “your smartness is something to be optimized,” he said. “Own the fact that when you’re going to get coffee, 80% of the time you’re doing it to enhance your work abilities somehow.” And if coffee drinkers are trying to “modulate” performance, “Wouldn’t you want something more precise than coffee?” he said. “That’s our whole hypothesis there.”

He opened up a fat jar of cubes before we made our way to a conference room, so that I could try one. It tasted sweetly dank, like the first sip of a cold brew coffee, but with a Haribo mouthfeel and no hint of bitterness. My editor later described the taste as “synthetic,” but said she loved it.

Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed News

Brandt believes that Go Cubes could be a breakthrough product. “We’re just trying to take over the world so that this is an iconic logo before anyone else can fast follow us,” he said, pointing to the Haring + Winnie design. “For every Coca-Cola, there’s a Pepsi and a bunch of others. That’s OK as long as we’re the Coca-Cola.”

Brandt was an associate product manager for YouTube, and his co-founder Geoff Woo is a former product manager at Groupon. Although Nootrobox’s line of pills is taking off, Brandt said he recognizes the limits of the company’s reach. “Ninety-nine percent of the world has never tried a nootropics in general, hasn’t heard about Nootrobox.” Chewable coffee seemed like a good gateway food. It looks approachable and it’s portable so you can take it “on a long road trip or when you’re going hiking or into outer space,” he explained, but didn’t specify the planet.

Later this week, Go Cubes will be available on Amazon Launchpad, a portal for all things startup or crowdfunded. Brandt said he got the Amazon introduction through Andreessen Horowitz, which has also invested in BuzzFeed. The most popular items on the launchpad right now include Sphero’s app-controlled BB-8 robot and FitBark, a dog activity monitor.

Nootrobox co-founder Michael Brandt at WeWork

Nitasha Tiku / BuzzFeed News

Roughly two minutes after we moved from the lobby to a conference room, I asked Brandt if it was possible to feel the effects already. I had walked into WeWork groggy, but suddenly found myself on a higher plane of mental acuity. Shit was coming together. Ideas were ~~~~connecting~~~~. Brandt and I had a sharp-angled conversation about unexplored corners of human physiology, the earliest uses of caffeine in Ethiopia, how to achieve peak cognitive performance, and Elon Musk’s theory about first principles. I felt like I was on office Molly.

Half an hour later, I started to crash. Brandt’s and my conversation grew sluggish. Overall, it felt like good part of a caffeine high, but a little higher, a little more focused, and without the dehydration. After a week or so of eating cubes, my peaks and valleys flattened somewhat, but I still felt like the cubes were effective.

My colleagues’ reactions were mixed. The same editor said the cubes “were like Adderall but less sweaty.” Another co-worker who had two cups of coffee before trying the Go Cube said: “OK, very suddenly, I’m jacked,” adding, “I kind of think I may need to go for a run.” One writer said she had been “depending on them to get over the 1pm lunch slump” and may be addicted. “WHAT SORCERY IS IN THOSE WEIRD CUBES ON THE TABLE. I’M SO AWAKE AFTER BEING SO TIRED,” said one of the journalism lab fellows, while another called the gummy bites sugar bombs of evil.

Go Cubes capitalize on a few shifting trends among tech workers, as well as widespread changes in workplace culture and health. That may sound highfalutin’ for a sugar-coated pick-me-up. But marketing and pedigree mean something in tech — otherwise columnists for top newspapers wouldn’t keep reviewing Soylent, earnestly asking each time if a venture-backed beverage could “replace” or “end” food.

Among Silicon Valley locals, the idea of smart coffee plays into the idealization of the hacker lifestyle and the drive to self-optimize — both of which tie into the industry’s insistence that personal fulfillment comes from work, rather than out-of-office pursuits. In terms of more mainstream phenomenons, Go Cubes fits thematically into Americans working longer hours and the growing anxiety around productivity, whether that’s keeping up with the pace of news and technology, or just one’s inbox. Oh, and our coffee addiction.

“Humans are the next platform,” Brandt explained. “Five or six years ago if someone was measuring their footsteps, they were a crazy person, right? That wasn’t a normal thing. But now your aunt or your cousin can have a Fitbit and they don’t consider themselves a biohacker, they just have an Apple Watch.” Brandt sees an increasing interest in treating ourselves like machines. “We want better insight into how our body is performing and we want better ability to affect it,” he said. “We want to be able to pull the levers.”

Dan Schwartzbaum

Venture capitalists and founders sometimes make analogies to computing in order to justify funding low-tech small businesses — perhaps because tech startups command higher valuations than, say, a power bar company.

People in the nootropics or quantified self “movement” use the word “stack” to describe their regimen of pills. Bodybuilders use supplement stacks, but in software, a stack is a set of applications or subsystems needed to build platforms or websites. (Rumor has it that Facebook prefers hired “full-stack” engineers.) Nootrobox sells all three pills together in a package called the Full Stack.

Another way to align your company with Silicon Valley is by having the same heroes. Brandt told me Nootrobox has modeled its approach after what Elon Musk calls "first principles" — in other words, stripping something down to the basics so you can be truly innovative. When it comes to coffee, Brandt said, that means: “What do people want? What actually works? What are the intended effects?”

The on-the-nose vibe around Nootrobox comes from the prevalence of all these startup tropes: for example, the tech industry’s infatuation with new entrants over experience and expertise. “We’re both pretty young, we’re 27, so for better or for worse, I think mainly for better, we don’t have huge decades of experience in supplements,” said Brandt. Consumers have found Nootrobox “refreshing,” he said, compared with the supplements industry, where companies tout proprietary blends that turn out to contain “whatever happens to be on deck.”

Then again, if channeling Elon Musk is what it takes to get to chewable coffee, more power to them. Whether Go Cubes goes mainstream or only lasts a month, it made me more aware of how mindless it is to reach for a cup of coffee when I just want to feel smarter.

Dan Schwartzbaum

Nootrobox rejected 200 other ideas — including selling Sprint as an energy shot and making a chewable version in fruit flavors — before arriving at the obvious conclusion of chewable coffee: “Coffee connotes a performance aspect that lemon just doesn’t,” said Brandt. He and Woo made a down payment for R&D with a factory in Los Angeles that does “truckloads a day of jellybeans, gummy multi-vites, and things like that,” Brandt said. They opted to coat the cubes in a fine layer of sugar so they don’t stick together, he said, spinning the jar around.

To make Go Cubes more mainstream, Nootrobox also changed the tone of its advertising. The commercial for the gummy bites is loud, friendly, and “super hammed up," whereas the commercial for the pills was designed to talk to “our tribe,” Brandt told me. “There’s something really fascinating when you look at a computer programmer or a really elite day trader — someone that’s really good at the work they do, that busts their butt, that puts in super long hours, like a Ph.D. in a science lab — and when you look at a person like that through the lens of how you would look at a professional athlete.” These elite workers are achieving the same marvelous levels of proficiency “as your Super Bowl athletes, but they’re doing it in Node.js and they work at some startup,” he said, referring to a popular tool for JavaScript developers.

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk may be international idols, but the universal need for validation persists.

The Nootrobox team “likes to think” that they're good at brain sports too, said Brandt. “No one has really talked to nerds like they’re Nike athletes, right? But I would like to be talked to like that.”

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9 Feels I Have About Samsung's New Galaxy Phones

:accidentally drops in toilet:

If you're looking for a new phone, you may have heard that Samsung announced their newest Android smartphones, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. ??

If you're looking for a new phone, you may have heard that Samsung announced their newest Android smartphones, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. ??

They're the best devices in Samsung's lineup right now, and they go on sale March 11.

Nicole / BuzzFeed / Samsung

Because the phones have cool features but are also expensive AF, you are probably suffering from upgrade indecision.

Because the phones have cool features but are also expensive AF, you are probably suffering from upgrade indecision.

I can help with this.

I got to play with both the S7 and S7 edge — and now I have some thoughts.

I got to play with both the S7 and S7 edge — and now I have some thoughts.

The Galaxy S6 is a fantastic phone, and the S7 is an improvement over it only slightly. The Galaxy S5 had many much-beloved features (namely water resistance and an SD card slot) that the S7 is bringing back.

If you already own an S5 or S6, stay tuned for in-depth reviews before the March 11 launch date from publications (like us!). Then you'll know for sure whether the incremental upgrades are worth it or just marketing gimmicks.

The phones cost ~$670 or ~$790 for the S7 and S7 edge, respectively. Know what you're getting into before you make the investment!

Jeff Barron / BuzzFeed

View Entire List ›

After ISIS Supporters Threaten Mark Zuckerberg, NYPD Sets Up Outside Facebook Offices

NYPD car with CTB (Counter-Terrorism Bureau) decal outside of Facebook's office

The New York City Emergency Services Counter-Terrorism group has set up outside of Facebook's offices at 770 Broadway in Manhattan, almost immediately following a report of a video made on behalf of ISIS threatening Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

The NYPD, reached by BuzzFeed News, wouldn't say whether the patrol is connected to the ISIS video.

A person working in the area snapped the photo above and said he spotted the patrol on Thursday, a day after the report surfaced. A day later, the patrol remains, he said.

"I asked the patrol person if they were here because of the recent threat to FB and Twitter and he said 'They don't really tell us why we patrol certain areas,'" the person said.

The 25-minute-long video, first spotted by Vocativ, contains a frame with Zuckerberg and Dorsey's pictures riddled with bullet holes.

Both Twitter and Facebook declined to comment.

Apple's $120 Million Patent Victory Against Samsung Overturned

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Samsung has finally scored a win in its long-running patent battle with Apple.

A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a 2014 verdict that slapped the South Korean tech giant with nearly $120 million in damages for violating Apple's patents on some iPhone features.

The ruling, from The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, essentially finds that the iPhone features at issue in the case were obvious ones that cannot be protected as intellectual property. As a result, Samsung will not be forced to alter any future designs of its devices.

The ruling also upholds an earlier $158,400 judgement against Apple for infringing one of Samsung's patents.

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a pitched battle over smartphone and tablet patents for years. Last December Samsung paid Apple more than $548 million for infringing the patents and designs of the iPhone, a judgement Samsung has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Apple declined comment.

Australia's Youngest Politician Rides A Hoverboard In Parliament

Exclusive: Australia’s youngest politician gets #agile.

Australia's consumer watchdog has launched an inquiry into hoverboards... but that hasn't stopped Wyatt Roy jumping on one for a whip around his Canberra office.

The wildly popular devices have been banned in the UK and the Victorian government wants the Turnbull government to ban them here. So BuzzFeed News decided to take one into parliament, and put the so-called "agility" of the government to the test.

The wildly popular devices have been banned in the UK and the Victorian government wants the Turnbull government to ban them here. So BuzzFeed News decided to take one into parliament, and put the so-called "agility" of the government to the test.

Alice Workman/BuzzFeed News

At 25, Roy is the youngest federal politician and the youngest minister in history. He's also had a big week after being named on the inaugural Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia.

At 25, Roy is the youngest federal politician and the youngest minister in history. He's also had a big week after being named on the inaugural Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia.

Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

View Entire List ›

Zenefits To Cut 250 Jobs, Mostly From Sales


Zenefits plans to cut about 250 jobs, or 17% of its employees, as the once high-flying startup seeks to remake itself after a period of breakneck growth, according to an internal memo this morning.

The cuts at Zenefits, the San Francisco-based human resources startup, are coming "almost entirely" from the sales organization and will heavily affect the sales development reps, who prospect for leads, CEO David Sacks told employees in the memo. The enterprise sales team, which focuses on the biggest customers, will be eliminated, he said. About a dozen of the cuts will affect the recruiting department, he added.

"We are letting go of many great people today, and it is not their fault," Sacks said in the memo. "It is no secret that Zenefits grew too fast, stretching both our culture and our controls. This reduction enables us to refocus our strategy, rebuild in line with our new company values, and grow in a controlled way that will be strategic for our business and beneficial for our customers."

The layoffs reflect the urgent challenges facing Zenefits, which offers free human resources software to small businesses and collects commissions after selling health insurance policies to those businesses. For much of last year, as Zenefits rapidly hired new sales reps, many reps regularly failed to hit their monthly quotas, former employees say. Sacks has previously said he plans to refocus the company on "the small business market where we have product‐market fit."

In addition to the job cuts, which Sacks called a "reduction in force," Zenefits plans to reset expectations for the sales reps who remain. This afternoon, he said, sales reps would be given new plans and quotas. "By expanding the size of territories and concentrating lead flow, the sales reps who stay will be in a great position to succeed," Sacks said.

Sacks became CEO earlier this month, succeeding Parker Conrad, the Zenefits co-founder, who had resigned in the wake of a number of compliance failures, according to the company. BuzzFeed News has reported that Conrad, early in Zenefits' history, created a program that allowed sales reps to shortchange a broker licensing requirement under California law.

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Inside The Obama Administration’s Attempt To Bring Tech Companies Into The Fight Against ISIS

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

WASHINGTON, D.C. — They flew in from New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to hole up in a windowless DC conference room for nearly five hours on Wednesday — representatives of the country’s top tech and entertainment companies brainstorming with U.S. counterterrorism officials to tackle one tough question: how to stop the spread of ISIS online.

The goal is a relatively uncontroversial one. The militant Islamist group has developed a keen propaganda machine and tech companies like Twitter have been going after accounts run by their supporters

But inside the conference room, as dozens of participants met and workshopped various tactics to battle ISIS’s seemingly inexhaustible PR machine, one thing became abundantly clear — there remains, inside the U.S. government, a huge cognitive dissonance. The DOJ called the meeting in the midst of rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country, fed by the campaign of Donald Trump, and yet failed to include more than a small handful of Muslims in the meeting. And while the meeting appealed for help from the tech community, tensions between Washington and Silicon Valley are at an all time high as the FBI seeks to set a precedent by forcing Apple to help them break into a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The stand-off between Apple and the FBI did not come up during the meeting, though the issues it involves are at the heart of the very things being discussed — as the role of technology in our lives continues its explosive growth, how will the balance between privacy and security play out in the new Silicon Valley-D.C. relationship.

The tension wasn’t lost on participants.

“It’s a weird time to come to out to the Valley and ask for help,” one tech executive told BuzzFeed News the week before flying out to the event.

Among the handful of Arab participants who took part in Wednesday’s event, the questions raised felt even greater.

“They wanted to figure out how to fight ISIS online, how to understand the psychology of those who support ISIS, and they invited almost no one who speaks for those of us in the Arab world, and from Arab communities, who have everything to lose from ISIS’ growing popularity,” said one Arab attendee, who estimated that less than 10% of the attendants were of Middle Eastern descent. “They don’t understand this community. That has been proven time and time again with their tone deaf messages. Why hold an event like this where there are ten white men outnumbering every Arab?”

The lack of voices from the Middle East at the event was raised repeatedly, with one attendee garnering applause when they asked why — in a discussion regarding ISIS’ appeal to young Arab-American Muslims — there was no one speaking to their appeal from within that community.

“The lens we use to look at things like radicalization or race issues or any social issue improves dramatically when we have more people from that community involved,” one attendee texted BuzzFeed News after the event.

Another attendee told BuzzFeed News by phone Thursday, “They are asking the wrong questions.”

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

The event was originally named “the Madison Ave. Project” reflecting the marketing and branding experts the White House hoped to call in. It evolved into the “Madison Valley Project” with the inclusion of tech companies, and finally the “Madison Valleywood Project” with the inclusion of film and entertainment industry leaders. Like its name, few thought the various sectors could, and would, come together.

Other media outlets, who were leaked a list of attendees, revealed that Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Google, Mediacom and Edelman were among those attending from Hollywood and Silicon Valley. In a statement, the Department of Justice noted that Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, and Senior Director for Counterterrorism on the National Security Council Staff Jen Easterly took part in the meeting.

“The Administration is committed to taking every action possible to confront and interdict terrorist activities wherever they may occur, including in cyberspace,” read a statement about the event released by the Department of Justice on Wednesday. We are using this engagement and others to enlist the help of industry leaders and experts in our effort to ensure we bring the most innovative private and public sector thinking to all aspects of combating terrorism.”

BuzzFeed News was invited to attend the event Wednesday, which took place at the Department of Justice with a reception afterwards, on the condition that it, like all in attendance, follow the Chatham House rule — attendees are free to use the information from the discussion but not identify those attending or the specifics of what they said. All people quoted in this article were spoken to before or after the event, under the condition that their names and titles be withheld. It was unclear why no other press was invited.

Most attendees were hopeful that something could be done to fight ISIS online, and saw current efforts to do so as lacking, with campaigns like the State Department’s message to potential militants — “Think Again, Turn Away” — being called “embarrassing” and ineffective.

“It’s a great thing for them to be doing but I felt like they were positioning it wrong. It’s not just about ISIS communication online, it’s about why that communication is effective,” said one attendee. “Why Arabs, even those like us that are second and third generation Arabs in the West, feel isolated. The content to fight ISIS has to come from the Arab World. You need people who understand what we are feeling and why, who understand what the actual messages are that can then be spread by Silicon Valley companies and Hollywood and everyone else gathered up at the White House.”

Yet it remained unclear, at the end of the meeting, how that anti-ISIS content would actually be produced — or what role tech companies would play in promoting content that opposed the propaganda spread by ISIS.

“We aren’t in the business of making content, someone else needs to be the one doing that at the start of the pipeline before we can get involved,” said one Google representative, who spoke to BuzzFeed by phone last week on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly on Google’s talks with the government..

Over the last year, the government has stepped up its overtures to Silicon Valley, meeting with tech executives in January on the subject of combatting ISIS online. The Department of Defense has opened an office in the San Francisco area, and the State Department has recently appointed its first representative to Silicon Valley. Tech executives who have met with the Pentagon team told BuzzFeed News that some of their requests have been “jarring.” In at least one case, the Pentagon spoke with several companies — who asked not to be named as a condition of discussing the meeting with BuzzFeed News — about tweaking their algorithms to promote certain types of content. Both Google and Facebook have made it clear that they would not make changes to their algorithms to bury results supportive of ISIS.

“That’s something that is always brought up in meetings. And it shows how little they understand us,” said the Google representative. “This is a pandora’s box we won’t open, because if we answer a request by the U.S. government to feature one search result over another what’s to stop other countries from requesting the same? What’s to stop each country from tailoring the search results of their citizens to their agenda? It’s not a path we are willing to explore.”

With much taken off the table, it was unclear, going forward, what concrete steps each party would take. When the hallways were emptied of guests and the final evaluations made, few were certain if there was any chance of success.

At its core, said many attendees, the issue was the basic distrust the tech and entertainment companies have in the government, which has been amplified by the unprecedented attempt to force Apple to help the FBI break into an encrypted phone, and the strong stance taken by tech companies including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to stand behind Apple.

“It’s like, you’ve been asked to partner up and dance with the bully at school who keeps trying to trip you in the hallways,” one attendee told BuzzFeed News after the event. “And even though you want to learn to dance there isn’t a lot of trust to build on.”

An attendee from the government side told BuzzFeed News by phone, “We need help, but it’s like, one part of government keeps fucking this up for other parts of government. We can’t seem to get it right.”

Google, Amazon, Microsoft To Support Apple In Court

The FBI's battle with Apple over an encrypted iPhone has inspired a legal alliance in Silicon Valley. Next week, Microsoft will file a "friend of the court" brief in support of Apple's challenge to the Justice Department, according to the company's top lawyer, Brad Smith. Yes, Amazon is working on amicus brief options,” an Amazon spokesperson told Buzzfeed News. Google will also defend Apple's position, according to people familiar with the matter.

FBI Director Says Battle With Apple Could Set Legal Precedent

Gabriella Demczuk / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that the legal battle between the agency and Apple over unlocking a San Bernardino terrorist's phone could set legal precedent.

Comey's comments came during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He called the current situation the "hardest question I've seen in government."

The government, through a court order, is demanding Apple build what the company considers a security-suppressing "backdoor" into the iPhone. Apple is challenging the order, but the government argues that Apple must comply.

“I do think that whatever the judge's decision is in California — and I’m sure it will be appealed no matter how it ends up — will be instructive for other courts,” he said. “And there may well be other cases that involve the same kind of phone and the same operating system.”

Whether the government's demands in San Bernardino will extend to other cases and devices — or only to one iPhone — has shaped a sharp disagreement between the Justice Department and Apple. The government insists that the case involves a very narrow search request. In contrast, Apple argues that if it's forced to help the FBI break into the phone, many similar requests will follow, putting their customers at risk.

While the FBI continues its legal battle with Apple over the San Bernardino iPhone, Comey believes that the bigger debate over the popular adoption of encryption and American law enforcement should not be settled by a judge.

“I do think the larger question is not going to be answered in the courts — and shouldn’t be — because it’s really about who we want to be as a country, and how we want to govern ourselves.”

Apple, meanwhile, agrees that Congress should ultimately rule on any national encryption policy. But the company has argued that the government should withdraw its demands in San Bernardino as policy makers find a path forward.

The FBI director acknowledged his agency was in continuous negotiations with Apple leading up to the court proceeding. And Comey was quick to say that Apple has been “very helpful” in the San Bernardino case and in broader conversations on law enforcement and national encryption policy.

“I want to be sure that people understand, there are no demons in this dispute or the larger dispute. Apple’s been very cooperative,” he said.

“We just got to a place where they were not willing to offer the relief that the government was asking for.”

Later, when asked to define the limits of the All Writs Act, the law invoked by the Justice Department to compel Apple to help the FBI, Comey mostly deferred to the expertise of government lawyers — but he did provide his own answer.

“I think these are reasonable questions because judges on both coasts, and probably lots of other places, are going to have to interpret what is the meaning of the All Writs Act and what is 'reasonable assistance,'” he said.

Comey also addressed the concern posed by Apple and its allies that the existence of an encryption backdoor — a “master key” — poses a grave security risk if the technology were to fall into the wrong hands.

“The code that the judge has directed Apple to write works only on this one phone,” he said, rejecting Apple’s claim that the code the FBI wants written would hypothetically work on other iPhones. “And so the idea of it getting into the wild and working on my phone and your phone, at least the experts tell me, is not a real thing.”

Facebook Employees Replaced "Black Lives Matter" With "All Lives Matter" On Office Wall

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “several recent instances” of employees crossing out “Black Lives Matter” on Facebook’s walls were being investigated.

Mark Zuckerberg reprimanded Facebook employees for crossing off "Black Lives Matter" slogans and replacing them with "All Lives Matter" on a company building, according to an internal memo.

Mark Zuckerberg reprimanded Facebook employees for crossing off "Black Lives Matter" slogans and replacing them with "All Lives Matter" on a company building, according to an internal memo.

Manu Fernandez / AP

MPK refers to Facebook's building in Menlo Park, California.

"We’ve never had rules around what people can write on our walls — we expect everybody to treat each other with respect," Zuckerberg wrote, calling the incidents "disrespectful" and "malicious."

Instagram: @honestlyjulia

Here's the memo:

Here's the memo:

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Apartment Hunting Sites Padmapper And Zumper Are Merging

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

It's 2016. Rooms full of people are strapping virtual reality googles to their faces, automated personal assistants are appearing in our phones, and cars are starting to drive themselves. And yet we still search for apartments on a site that has barely changed since the late 1990s.

Plenty of smart people have tried to dethrone Craigslist, but their efforts have either failed outright or failed to grow big enough to become the new standard. Somehow, Craigslist — ancient, unlovely, and filled with overpriced schlock — remains the indispensable apartment-hunting tool for people in their 20s and 30s.

But hope springs eternal! On Thursday, two apartment-listing startups are expected to announce a merger that, they hope, will help them challenge the website with the purple peace sign.

Padmapper, which puts listings on a map, has been acquired by Zumper, a listings service backed by a big-name venture capital firm, the CEOs of both companies told BuzzFeed News. The price isn't being disclosed, but Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades said it's a cash and stock deal worth less than $10 million.

Zumper's mobile app.


For anyone trying to challenge the dominance of Craigslist, getting bigger is a logical strategy. Combined, Padmapper and Zumper had about 4 million visits in January, or about 2 million unique visitors, with each service contributing roughly half the total, according to Georgiades.

But the combined company is pinning its fortunes on more than just numbers. The San Francisco-based Zumper, which Georgiades started in 2011 between years at Harvard Business School, doesn't just show listings; prospective tenants can apply to listings through the Zumper app, and landlords can run background and credit checks through Zumper as well. Padmapper, which will keep its name and continue to exist separately, will incorporate the Zumper services into its own app later this year, Georgiades said.

"Craigslist has marketplace and liquidity. It's really hard to disrupt that by just having a pretty user interface," Georgiades told BuzzFeed News. "The only way you can beat Craigslist is if you change the paradigm."

Padmapper, which started in 2009 and was based in Mountain View, has gained fans for a simple but powerful reason: It shows you a map of apartment listings. (Craigslist introduced its own mapping tool in 2012.) Padmapper took listings data from Craigslist until last summer, when it agreed to stop doing that as part of a legal settlement with Craigslist; it now gets all of its listings from other sources.

Two of Padmapper's three full-time employees — the CEO and CTO — have joined Zumper.

The Padmapper mobile app.


Zumper, which has raised money from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has a slicker-looking interface and has focused heavily on its mobile app from the beginning. Georgiades said Zumper's customers skew toward higher-income young professionals, compared with Padmapper's base of college seniors or others moving into a first or second apartment. (Padmapper is also apparently big in Canada.)

"There was very little overlap" between the two groups of users, Georgiades said. Padmapper, he said, "had a very much younger demographic that we were interested in working with."

The thing that really distinguishes Zumper is its extra services for prospective tenants and landlords. The company makes money not only from promoted listings but also from the application process, by charging renters a $30 application fee. Some of that money goes to the credit check and background check providers, but it's "almost pure profit," Georgiades said. (He added that "it's still cheaper for renters than the current $40 they pay for paper-based systems.")

The goal, Georgiades said, is to make the process of renting an apartment more like the process of booking a hotel or an Airbnb: easy, seamless, and performed entirely on a mobile device.

"That's where we're really interested in exploring, and where no one is doing anything," Georgiades said. He paused, then added, "Definitely not Craigslist."

Amazon Pulls Hoverboards From Site After New Safety Warning

The online retail giant removed the two-wheeled devices after an official warning that “consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn.”

Stephen Brashear / AP

Less than a week after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sent out a scathing warning letter that hoverboards could be an "imminent hazard," Amazon has pulled all self-balancing scooters from its website.

A "hoverboard" search on Amazon as of Wednesday returns only results for replacement parts and accessories for the devices.

Amazon / Via

Amazon's move to nix the two-wheeled transports comes after the CPSC issued new safety standards on Friday for the devices, saying "consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn."

The commission's warning came in the wake of reports of major defects, with many hoverboards catching fire while moving, and in one case even burning down a family's home.

Target, Wal Mart, and Toys 'R' Us have also stopped selling hoverboards since the CSPC announcement.

Amazon did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

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Twitter Suspension Of Anti-Feminist Writer Sparks Conservative Ire

A Twitter newly dedicated to curbing harassment on its platform is finding that its every action can result in a firestorm. Nearly a week after a little-known conservative writer was booted, the wider world of alt-right Twitter is now boiling in turmoil over his ouster. At least one high-profile tweeter, Adam Baldwin, has quit the platform in protest over the company's speech policies.

The issue erupted when Robert Stacy McCain, a self-described anti-feminist writer, was suspended last Friday for “participating in targeted abuse,” according to a Twitter email he posted on his blog, which also said his account will not be restored. (Twitter would not comment on the email's validity.) It remains unclear what, exactly, he tweeted that led to the ban.

Some conservatives now argue that McCain is just the most recent victim of a new push by Twitter to police speech that unduly targets those on the right, and contradicts its long-standing commitment to free-speech. By centrally determining who can post and who can’t, they argue, Twitter is now acting as a sort of media censor.

And while it’s important to note that Twitter has banned people of all political persuasions, and that the crackdown does not seem agenda-driven, McCain is far from the only conservative to be affected. In January, for example, Twitter removed right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’s verification badge due to unspecified rules violations. All of which is giving some of its more outspoken users pause.

“In trying to lure new users with promises of ‘safety,’ [Twitter] risks destroying the sense of free-wheeling openness that attracted many of its existing users,” Robert Tracinski, a senior writer at The Federalist, wrote in response to McCain’s suspension.

Harassment is a complicated problem for Twitter and the people who use it. While it has tools for muting and blocking other people, vicious tweets can come in so fast and from so many angles that those tools are often ineffective. Also, problems can spill out from Twitter into the wider internet, and even into people’s very homes. It’s not uncommon for one person to post a target’s personal information to Twitter, for example, that ultimately results in a swatting attempt by someone else.

Twitter has been pushed to do more to curb this type of harassment on its platform for years, and has experienced some embarrassing public failures when it’s been unable or unwilling to do so. Zelda Williams, for example, quit the platform for a time after being harassed following the death of her father, Robin, in 2014.

Complicating matters, Twitter has long declared itself “the free speech wing of the free speech party,” so any effort to remove people or tweets inherently contradicts that stance, and unsurprisingly sparks protests from its users. The seemingly contradictory goals of openness and safety put Twitter in a difficult position. When a political voice like McCain’s says things that Twitter says violate its terms of service, the company has to make a difficult choice: Does it come down on the side of supporting free speech, or combatting abuse? In this case, the company chose the latter.

Twitter’s actions in this effort have serious implications, since much of the political discussion that once took place on the open web now takes place within the walls of social platforms. Losing your seat there is like getting kicked out of the town squares of old, you’ll have to work much harder from the outside to be heard.

“Our abusive behavior policy prohibits targeted harassment and violent threats, and we will suspend accounts violating that rule when they are reported to us,” a Twitter spokesperson said in response to a BuzzFeed News inquiry.

Earlier this month, when it unveiled a new Trust and Safety Council, Twitter made the case that finding the balance between speech and safety isn’t easy: “The volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power.”

No kidding.

Reached via phone Tuesday night, McCain said he’s not concerned the Twitter ban will silence his voice. “The thing is that I’m an innovative person and I’m a survivor,” he said. ”I’m a winner. I’ve been winning my whole life. The idea that my personal voice will never be heard again on Twitter. Ha! We’ll see.”

Still, he admitted he missed Twitter. “It was fun,“ he said. “But they don’t want me anymore. It’s kind of weird. This is a weird experience to be a hashtag.”

iPhone Hack Would Be "Software Equivalent Of Cancer," Tim Cook Says

Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook defended his company's to create software that would unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone in the harshest terms yet on Wednesday, telling ABC News that the hack would be the "software equivalent of cancer."

Last week, a federal judge ordered Apple to comply with the Department of Justice's request to help the FBI bypass Farook's phone encryption. But according to Cook and others, doing so would require Apple to write new code.

"We think it's bad news to write," Cook said in the interview. "We would never write it. We have never written it — and that is what is at stake here. We believe that is a very dangerous operating system."

The FBI needs Apple to override the lock because, according to experts, multiple failed password entries could result in investigators being permanently denied access to the phone's contents — or even erasing its data altogether.

Authorities have argued that unlocking the iPhone is a one-time request and a matter of national security. However, information security experts have accused the government of taking advantage of the San Bernardino shooting to create a precedent for tech industry capitulation on privacy matters.

"This case is not about one phone," Cook said. "This case is about the future."

Lawmakers In Congress Introduce Bill To Create Special Commission On Encryption

U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)

Alex Wong / Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Amid the encryption battle between Apple and the FBI that has captured national attention in recent days, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas announced Wednesday that they will advance legislation next week to create a special commission to study digital security issues.

Warner and McCaul said the bill will call for a 16 member expert panel, modeled after the 9/11 Commission and comprised of law enforcement officials, technology companies, privacy advocates and cryptologists.

“In many ways, the current litigation that’s taking place might not have been needed if we had this kind of approach a few years back,” said Warner, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “My fear is that we are talking past each other.”

The group will produce an interim report to Congress in six months, and a final report in one year, the two lawmakers said. The report will seek to address the challenges that encryption poses to law enforcement — a key point of dispute in the encryption debate.

Following the mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, the issue of encryption has taken on national prominence. Policymakers remain fearful that criminals and terrorists will exploit communication technology to conspire outside the reach of law enforcement.

“The whole point of the bill and the commission is to find a solution to a Paris-style attack where the attackers are using end-to-end encryption on apps to conduct a major terrorist operation,” said McCaul, who chairs the Committee on Homeland Security in the House of Representatives.

During the announcement, however, neither lawmaker had any solutions to share. “Believe it or not, in Congress, we are not always the experts,” McCaul said. “Particularly an issue as technical as this one, we don’t have the answers.”

Warner and McCaul insisted that the Commission would find a path forward.

Apple does not appear concerned about the prospects of a drawn-out Washington debate, as the iPhone manufacturer locks horns with the FBI in court. In a letter to customers this week, the company suggested that the government form a special commission of experts, and that “Apple would gladly participate in such an effort.”

When asked by a BuzzFeed News reporter, however, if the FBI should withdraw its legal challenge against Apple as Congress works to resolve digital security issues, Warner replied: “No, I think that case is going to be played out.”

In what may be a positive sign to tech companies and privacy advocates, Warner and McCaul emphasized their view of encryption as a vital tool in American society and rejected the common framing of encryption debates as “consumer privacy versus national security.” The two lawmakers also noted that the market for encryption tools is thriving outside of the U.S., and that any solution would have to include an international component.

Highlighting the current standoff between Silicon Valley and Washington, McCaul said, “There is no easy, knee-jerk legislative response to this.”

Bernie Sanders Isn't Talking About The Future Of Work

Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Bernie Sanders has stepped away from the campaign trail to join the picket line for corn processing workers in Iowa and Verizon employees in New York, the extension of a long career as a champion of American unions.

But the labor presidential candidate has been strangely silent on the issues driving much of the conversation about labor in the 21st century: The “gig economy” of Uber, Taskrabbit, Instacart and the growing array of other companies springing from Silicon Valley to change American labor.

When Sanders talks about labor, it’s from a 20th-century perspective, more about manufacturing jobs lost to China than warehouse jobs lost to robots or white-collar jobs lost to A.I. His website contains a single mention of Uber, in an aggregated Atlantic article titled ”Uber Is Not The Future Of Work.”

To some of his supporters and critics alike in the tech industry, it’s a notable gap.

The Sanders campaign uses "an old songbook,” Makerbase cofounder Anil Dash told BuzzFeed News. “It was written before the Internet, let alone before apps and the mobile economy."

Rick Burnes — founder and CEO of the venture firm Charles River, who has donated to both Sanders, and, to a much greater degree, Clinton — told BuzzFeed News that Sanders is "just trying to rely on the unions. That's not the direction of the work world.”

Sanders has many supporters in Silicon Valley which — outside a small sect of techno-libertarians — has long leaned left. Some of them, too, say they’d like to hear more about how he’d regulate the gig economy.

“I don’t think it’s turned out super fair,” said Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder, who backs Sanders, of the gig economy. It “would be nice,” Wozniak said, if Sanders addressed the issue.

Among Sanders’ campaign donors are at least 58 gig workers, especially Uber and Lyft drivers, but also Taskrabbit taskers, as well as people who make extra cash renting out their homes on Airbnb. Most gave under $50 — but a few gave considerably more.

Tim Or, a Seattle-based Lyft driver and Bernie Sanders for President volunteer, has so far given nearly $500 to the campaign. But Or doesn’t necessarily expect Sanders to address the gig economy on the campaign trail.

"I support Bernie Sanders first and foremost because of his willingness to reject big money. That's why I've donated so much to him,” Or told BuzzFeed News. While he said his support isn't contingent on Sanders addressing the future of work, “I would love if he mentioned the issues concerning rideshares.”

America's Sexiest Professions, According To Tinder


Gentlemen, if your love life isn't going anywhere, it may be time to learn how to fly.

And ladies, you may want to try physical therapy.

That's according to new data released by Tinder, which shows that male pilots and female physical therapists get swiped right on the dating app at the highest rate of any profession for their respective genders.

Tinder added occupation and education details to profiles last November, so the company knows which jobs generate the most interest among its users. Tinder has been downloaded over 100 million times, so this data comes from a massive amount of swipes.

Intriguingly, model didn't crack the top five for either gender, and founder/entrepreneur made the top three for each.

Here's the full rankings, per Tinder:

Most right-swiped jobs for women in the U.S.:

  1. Physical Therapist
  2. Interior Designer
  3. Founder/Entrepreneur
  4. PR/Communications
  5. Teacher
  6. College Student
  7. Speech Language Pathologist
  8. Pharmacist
  9. Social Media Manager
  10. Model
  11. Dental Hygienist
  12. Nurse
  13. Flight Attendant
  14. Personal Trainer
  15. Real Estate Agent

Most right-swiped jobs for men in the U.S.:

  1. Pilot
  2. Founder/Entrepreneur
  3. Firefighter
  4. Doctor
  5. TV/Radio Personality
  6. Teacher
  7. Engineer
  8. Model
  9. Paramedic
  10. College Student
  11. Lawyer
  12. Personal Trainer
  13. Financial Advisor
  14. Police Officer
  15. Military

A Complete Guide To The New Facebook Emoji Reactions

What they mean, depending on who’s using them.

Facebook now has emojis to select when you "like" something:

Facebook now has emojis to select when you "like" something:

When your friends use this: They don't care too much about you.

When your aunt uses this: She doesn't know what the other emojis mean.

When your crush uses this: Bad news. He/she's not into you.

When your ex uses this: This is a faint apology but also a passive-aggressive way of letting you know they've moved on.

When your friends use this: They love it.

When your aunt uses it:
She wishes you'd have kids soon.

When your crush uses this: Oh hell yeah, it's ON.

When your ex uses this: They are still masturbating thinking of you.

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Facebook Reactions Launch Today

It's not a Dislike button, but heck, it's pretty darn close.

Today, Facebook is rolling out a set of Like button alternatives, called "Reactions," that let you react to posts on its platform via a number of different expressions.

The Reactions are Facebook's answer to requests for a "Dislike" button. Many of the company's users asked for that button so they could engage with friends' posts when a comment or a like didn't make sense — take a post about a death for instance — and Mark Zuckerberg eventually came through.

The Like will remain, but now you can "Love," "Haha," "Wow," "Sad," and "Angry" posts too. Facebook is rolling these reactions out globally today.

In tests, Facebook tried a "Yay" and "Confused" too, but those two didn't make the cut.

"This is just the beginning," Facebook engineering director Tom Alison told BuzzFeed News. "The team is still going to be looking at how people are using this. We're going to be learning a lot. We're going to be iterating on this."

In its News Feed algorithm, Facebook will count each reaction in the same way it counts Likes, said Alison. Though that doesn't mean it won't change over time.

Facebook will also not offer any special ad targeting capabilities based on how people react to posts. However, that data may eventually be valuable to advertisers looking to target their messaging more finely. Imagine, for instance, being able to write one product message for someone who mostly uses Sad and another who mostly uses Wow or Love.

Facebook users picked Love more than any other reaction during the product's test phase. But Alison said that global events may cause shifts in the buttons' use. "You're going to see it change dynamically in response to things that are going on."

Google's New Robots Are Completely Terrifying

How long will YOU last in the inevitable robot uprising?

This afternoon, Boston Dynamics — a robotics company purchased by Google (now Alphabet) two years ago — released a new video of Atlas, its latest robot.

Atlas, a very human-looking robot, is 5'9", weighs 180 lbs. and can do a lot of human-like things, like walk upright.

Atlas, a very human-looking robot, is 5'9", weighs 180 lbs. and can do a lot of human-like things, like walk upright.

Boston Dynamics

It can go for a nice afternoon stroll to get a Starbucks.

It can go for a nice afternoon stroll to get a Starbucks.

Boston Dynamics

It can squat, no doubt making gainz on its robot glutes and quads.

It can squat, no doubt making gainz on its robot glutes and quads.

Boston Dynamics

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