Vine cofounder finally releases his next viral video app: Byte

Vine cofounder finally releases his next viral video app: Byte

If you’re still mourning the loss of Vine, you now have a new video app to fill the void and, no, I’m not talking about TikTok.

That’s because Vine cofounder Dom Hofmann is finally launching byte, the video app that’s meant to be a successor to the video app that was mercilessly killed by Twitter in 2016. Hofmann has been teasing the app, which he has described as a “follow-up” to Vine, since 2017, though the self-funded project has run into delays.

“Today we’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and a new community for people who love them,” the company wrote on Twitter. “It’s called byte and it’s both familiar and new. We hope it’ll resonate with people who feel something’s been missing.” Read more…

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The debate over ‘American Dirt,’ Oprah’s book club pick, is bigger than ‘cancel culture’

The debate over 'American Dirt,' Oprah's book club pick, is bigger than 'cancel culture'

The first few pages of American Dirt, the new novel by Jeanine Cummins about a Mexican woman and her 8-year-old son who flee a drug kingpin for the southern U.S. border, begin with a jolt of adrenaline. The son, Luca, is standing over a toilet when bullets fly into the bathroom. He barely has time to register what’s happening — gunmen are murdering his family at a party — before his mother, Lydia, hurls them both into a shower stall to hide. It’s a gripping scene laid out with urgent prose. 

It’s no wonder why Oprah Winfrey, who selected it this week for her book club, said she couldn’t put the novel down after those first pages. The story follows Lydia, a middle-class bookstore owner who unwittingly befriends the kingpin who ultimately kills her family, as she tries to escape Mexico with Luca by her side. Critics say the book’s depiction of Lydia’s experience reads like a “cheap-thrill narconovela” and feels like “the work of an outsider.” Read more…

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New Jersey halts police use of creepy Clearview AI facial-recognition app

New Jersey halts police use of creepy Clearview AI facial-recognition app

New Jersey is ahead of the curve — at least when it comes to stopping its law enforcement from using the creepy and potentially biased facial-recognition app Clearview AI.

The app, which scraped billions of photos from the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Venmo, and other online platforms, drew the world’s attention last weekend following a detailed report in the New York Times. The app’s supposed capability to identify practically anyone from even low-quality photos frightened privacy advocates and officials. And today, one of the latter — New Jersey’s attorney general Gurbir Grewal — actually did something about it. Read more…

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Facebook official struggles to explain Bezos’ WhatsApp hack

Facebook official struggles to explain Bezos' WhatsApp hack

Facebook’s top policy official, Nick Clegg, has weighed in on the Jeff Bezos/WhatsApp hack, and he wants everyone to know… something. 

When asked about WhatsApp’s security in the wake of reports that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia hacked the Amazon CEO’s phone via a WhatsApp message, Clegg seemed to struggle with defending the messaging app’s security.

Speaking to the BBC, Clegg, a former UK deputy prime minister, attempted to shift blame for the incident onto Apple. But his meandering explanation wasn’t exactly clear.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operating, the operating, the phone itself,” he sputtered. “It can’t have been, it can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp.”  Read more…

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San Francisco Pride’s ban on Google, YouTube gets noped by the lawyers

San Francisco Pride's ban on Google, YouTube gets noped by the lawyers

The San Francisco Pride (SF Pride) legal team has determined that a vote last week to remove Google and YouTube as sponsors and participants in future SF Pride celebrations was not legally binding, per an emailed statement from the organization’s leader received by Mashable. (According to a Google spokesperson, the company has sponsored SF Pride celebrations for over a decade.) 

The previously announced resolution cited what “some voting members of the organization perceived to be inadequate protection from homophobia, racism, and harassment on Google’s platforms, particularly YouTube,” as formerly reported at Mashable. Read more…

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Watch Kyle the rooster totally lose it when it’s time to eat

Watch Kyle the rooster totally lose it when it's time to eat

Kyle is the baddest rooster on the farm, and we think this video proves it. It captures the moment a man’s life likely flashed before his eyes when he was out feeding his flock.

Kyle doesn’t play games when it’s time to eat. Out of seemingly nowhere, Kyle turns on the afterburners and charges at the videographer, who, against all odds, appeared to make it out unscathed. Cluck cluck, motherfucker. Kyle is, as it turns out, all of us when we’re hangry.

The video also features a delightful appearance from a bird named “Birdie Sanders,” who minds its business while the chaos ensues. What did we take from this? Never trust anyone (or anything) named Kyle.  Read more…

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Watch Jennifer Aniston have the most fun while terrifying unsuspecting ‘Friends’ fans at Central Perk

Watch Jennifer Aniston have the most fun while terrifying unsuspecting 'Friends' fans at Central Perk

Who’s your favorite friend from Friends? Answer wisely, because Jennifer Aniston might be hiding out of sight behind you, ready to pop up and scold an incorrect answer. The Friends star guest hosted Ellen and had what appears to be the time of her life surprising Friends fans at Central Perk.

After initially screaming loud enough to warrant police investigation, the fans were delighted to see Aniston, even if she didn’t care to hear how many people love Phoebe more than Rachel.

“You really film here?” asks one incredulous fan of the preserved set on the Warner Bros. lot. “I live here,” Aniston responds brightly. (Friends hasn’t filmed in 15 years, but she was kind enough to leave that part out).  Read more…

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