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FTC hammers Walmart over years of ‘facilitating’ money transfer scams

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Walmart for sitting by while scammers bilked customers out of more than $197 million, the agency alleged in a statement on Tuesday. It’s seeking a court order that would force Walmart to give money back to customers, on top of civil fines. In a brief response, Walmart described the lawsuit as both “ factually flawed and legally baseless .” Money transfer scams are widespread, and they can involve everything from promises to share an inheritance to lies about a family emergency . They happen just about everywhere, from Zelle , Venmo and Cash App to crypto ATMs and popular dating apps . In this case, the FTC alleges that Walmart “turned a blind eye to fraud” that went down inside its stores. The retail giant offers money transfer services under in-house brand names, such as Walmart2Walmart. Between 2013 and 2018, the FTC claims that Walmart failed to protect its customers in several ways, including by failing to train its staffers and using “

Tesla lays off nearly 200 Autopilot workers, shutters San Mateo office

Tesla has gutted the data annotation team working on Autopilot, laying off nearly 200 employees and shutting down the San Mateo, California office where they worked. The layoffs, first reported by Bloomberg , have been confirmed by sources who talked to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity. The cuts come amid a broader reduction of jobs at Tesla. However, these layoffs targeted personnel once deemed critical to the company’s Autopilot advanced driver assistance system and more notably efforts by CEO Elon Musk to further develop automated driving functions through the $12,000 optional FSD system. Until today, Tesla had hundreds of data annotation employees working on the Autopilot team in San Mateo and Buffalo, New York. The San Mateo office had a headcount of 276, and after laying off 195 staffers from all ranks — supervisors, labelers and data analysts — the team is left with 81 workers, who sources say will be relocated to another office. Most of the workers were in moderately l

Facebook and Instagram are removing posts offering to mail abortion pills

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, some Facebook and Instagram users planning to help distribute legal abortion pills are finding themselves censored. According to a Motherboard report , users on Friday began seeing Facebook remove posts offering to mail abortion pills — the same day that the Supreme Court issued the ruling. Remarkably, Facebook’s moderation on the issue was so aggressive that users saw their posts removed within seconds. One user observed that their account was suspended after a post that read “I will mail abortion pills to any one of you. Just message me.” Motherboard was able to replicate the phenomenon, also earning a 24-hour account suspension in the process. The key phrase for automated removal appears to be “abortion pills” as other posts with other combination of terms didn’t flag the platform’s moderation systems. The Associated Press reported similar behavior on Instagram, with some users seeing their posts offering

Pinterest pins down a new CEO: Google exec Bill Ready

After a 12-year run, Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann is stepping down from his perch as CEO of the popular image and link-sharing service. Following word of Silbermann’s departure, Pinterest’s stock price rose by more than 8% in after-hours trading. That initial pop may have been a sigh of relief from some investors, who’ve watched Pinterest’s stock steadily decline over the last year. Or, perhaps it’s a vote of confidence for Pinterest’s incoming chief executive: Google commerce boss Bill Ready.  In 2021, Pinterest announced a goal to steeply increase the number of women among its leadership ranks. Yet this transfer of power means another man will be in charge of a service that’s uniquely popular among women . More on this particular man: Ready most recently oversaw Google’s shopping and payments efforts . Earlier, Ready roamed PayPal’s halls as its chief operating officer, and before that, he ran Braintree (which PayPal snapped up in 2013 for $800 million). Ready is also a b

UK urgently needs new laws on use of biometrics, warns review

An independent review of UK legislation has concluded the country urgently needs new laws to govern the use of biometric technologies and called for the government to come forward with primary legislation. Among the legal review’s ten recommendations are that public use of live facial recognition (LFR) technology be suspended pending the creation of a legally binding code of practice governing its use, and pending the passing of wider, technologically neutral legislation to create a statutory framework governing the use of biometrics against members of the public. A handful of UK police forces have been keen adopters of LFR, which has led to civil rights challenges and ongoing condemnation by human rights groups. A year ago, the UK’s information commissioner also went public with concerns about reckless and inappropriate use of LFR in public places. Since then, we’ve also seen the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fine the controversial, U.S.-based facial recognition compa

Social care SaaS maker Birdie tops up with $30M

Birdie , a U.K.-based caretech software-as-a-service maker, has closed a $30 million Series B funding round led by investment firm Sofina, with Omers Ventures and Index Ventures also participating — the latter reupping its backing after leading Birdie’s Series A last year . Max Parmentier, co-founder and CEO of Birdie, said the latest tranche of funding will go on scaling into continental Europe where it’s started to sign partnerships with local care providers, as well as wider business growth. The new funding brings its total raised since being founded back in 2017 to $52 million. In Birdie’s home market of the U.K., where it’s been operating for around five years, it’s now working with some 700 care businesses whose staff are delivering “millions” of visits per month to the circa 35,000 care recipients (and 8,000 family members) being supported by its customers — with growth of 3x since the startup last raised. The SaaS platform provides care workers a suite of digital tools to su

Watch Rocket Lab launch NASA’s CAPSTONE mission to the moon live

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After repeated delays, the microwaved oven-sized CubeSat known as CAPSTONE may finally start its long journey to the moon. With this launch, NASA aims to begin the first chapter of its ambitious Artemis program, and lay the groundwork for what would be a first in human history: an orbiting crewed platform around the moon. Before the crewed platform, which the agency is calling “Gateway,” can launch, NASA is first testing a unique, highly elliptical orbit around the moon. That’s where CAPSTONE, or Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, comes in. The CubeSat will travel along that exact orbit (called a near-rectilinear halo orbit) for six months, gathering important data for NASA scientists. To get there, CAPSTONE will launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company’s site on New Zealand’s remote Māhia Peninsula. It’s “the highest mass and the highest performance Electron has ever had to fly by quite some margin,” Rocket La

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