US legislator, David Cicilline, joins international push to interrogate platform power

US legislator David Cicilline will be joining the next meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’, it has been announced. The meeting will be held in Dublin on November 7. Chair of the committee, the Irish Fine Gael politician The congressman — who is chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law Subcommittee — will attend as an “ex officio member” which will allow him to question witnesses, she added. Exactly who the witnesses in front of the grand committee will be is tbc. But the inclusion of a US legislator in the ranks of a non-US committee that’s been seeking answers about reining in online disinformation will certainly make any invitations …

Former Cambridge Analytica director, Brittany Kaiser, dumps more evidence of Brexits democratic trainwreck

A UK parliamentary committee has published new evidence fleshing out how membership data was passed from UKIP, a pro-Brexit political party, to Leave.EU, a Brexit supporting campaign active in the 2016 EU referendum — via the disgraced and now defunct data company, Cambridge Analytica. In evidence sessions last year, during the DCMS committee’s enquiry into online disinformation, it was told by both the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica, and the main financial backer of the Leave.EU campaign, the businessman Arron Banks, that Cambridge Analytica did no work for the Leave.EU campaign. Documents published today by the committee clearly contradict that narrative — revealing internal correspondence about the use of a UKIP dataset to create voter profiles to carry out “national …

Facebook introduces Avatars, its Bitmoji competitor

Ditch those generic emoji. Facebook’s new Avatars feature lets you customize a virtual lookalike of yourself for use as stickers in chat and comments. Once you personalize your Avatar’s face, hair, and clothes, they’ll star in a range of frequently updated stickers conveying common emotions and phrases. From Likes to Reactions to Avatars, you could see this as the natural progression of self-expression on Facebook…or as a ruthless clone of Snapchat’s wildly popular Bitmoji selfie stickers. Facebook Avatars launches today in Australia for use in Messenger and News Feed comments before coming to the rest of the world in late 2019 or early 2020. The feature could make Facebook feel more fun, youthful, and visually communicative at a time when …

Startups net more than capital with NBA players as investors

Mary Ann Azevedo In February, we covered how digital sports media startup Overtime had raised $23 million in a Series B round of funding led by Spark Capital. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern was an early investor and advisor in the company (putting money in the company’s seed round). Golden State Warriors player Kevin Durant invested as part of the company’s Series A in early 2018 via his busy investment vehicle, Thirty Five Ventures. And then, Carmelo Anthony invested (via his Melo7 Tech II fund) earlier this year. Other NBA-related investors include Baron Davis, Andre Iguodala and Victor Oladipo, and other non-NBA backers include Andreessen Horowitz and Greycroft. I talked to Overtime’s CEO, 27-year-old Zack Weiner, about how the involvement of so many NBA players came about. I also wondered what they brought to the table beyond their cash. But …