Philip Ellis
News & Views
Tech News Roundup: June 16

Embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes indefinite leave of absence

Ride-sharing platform Uber has been facing criticisms of its working culture for months; just this week, a board member stepped down after making a sexist remark at a meeting about sexism. Following the death of his mother, CEO Kalanick has announced he will be taking a leave of absence: “If we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0,” he says.

Instagram wants influencers to clearly label their paid posts

Obscure guidelines over just how much or little influencers need to disclose that a post is an ad has caused some distrust between these social stars and their usually-loyal fans. Instagram is hoping to clarify this by asking that influencers include a “paid partnership” disclaimer on their sponsored content. “As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it’s important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content,” the company states.

Chatbots are dumb — for now

While the hype surrounding chatbots has yet to be fulfilled, new research from Facebook’s AI lab suggests that the addition of new skills, including memory and reasoning, may hold the key to making them genuinely useful.

Facebook rolls out GIF comment button to all users

Users have been able to engage in GIF battles via Messenger for months now using content from Gif search engines Giphy and Tenor. Now that will be made available in the Comments section of public posts, meaning Facebook threads will soon get a lot more animated, and more closely resemble threads on Twitter.

Gimlet’s new podcast puts you in the room as entrepreneurs pitch to investors

Apple’s native show ‘Planet of the Apps’ tried to combine the business reality show appeal of Dragon’s Den with celeb appeal by bringing in Hollywood stars as judges. Gimlet’s new podcast, ‘The Pitch’, takes a more realistic approach; listeners hear founders pitch their companies to venture capitalists, and are privy to deliberations as judges make real-time investment decisions.

Instagram profiles are the new homepage

Social media platforms have always been a place for self-curation, where users project their personal “brand.” Young Instagrammers are taking this one step further with their hyper-minimalist approach to what they select to show in public — and The Verge’s Nicola Fumo thinks brands should take note.

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