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Snap Worked on a Camera Drone
According to The New York Times, which first broke the story, Snap Inc.—parent company of popular messaging app Snapchat—worked on a drone that could help users “take overhead videos and photographs, and then feed that visual data to the company.” It’s unclear whether this is something Snap was just experimenting with or if it will become available to consumers.
Twitter Adds More Anti-Abuse Tools
Twitter is continuing its promise to keep its platform a safe place for users. In a blog post, the company highlighted new measures it’s taking, one of which is leveraging its technology to reduce abusive content. Users will also be able to control what they see from certain types of accounts, such as those without a profile photo, via new filtering options.
Morgan Stanley Cuts Flipkart’s Valuation—Again
According to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Morgan Stanley dropped its valuation of India-based ecommerce platform Flipkart to roughly $5.37 billion as of December 2016, down from about $5.54 billion three months earlier. It was the second straight quarterly cut by the firm. However, local media report that Flipkart is currently in the midst of a new round of funding that would put its valuation somewhere between $10 billion and $12 billion. eMarketer estimates retail ecommerce sales in India—excluding travel—will grow 46.2% this year.
Costco Coming to France
Costco is closing in on the long-in-the-works debut of its first store in France. Scheduled to open in April or May in Villebon sur Yvette, Costco’s warehouse club concept will be a new experience (article in French) for the country’s consumers, according to LSA. Costco first announced a plan to enter the French market in 2009.
Brands in Singapore Find Their Programmatic Ads on Controversial Sites
Singapore’s The Straits Times reported that several of the country’s largest brands had discovered ads for their products were being shown on controversial websites—including some promoting hate speech and violence. The discovery prompted concerns that programmatic advertising methods were contributing to the placement of ads on websites that might damage the advertisers’ brand.
The Threat of Fake News to US Executives
Almost half of US executives believe false information about their company or wrong financial data is the biggest threat to their company, according to a new survey from organizational advertising firm Korn Ferry. Although less than 20% have felt the impact of fake news, almost four in 10 executives said their company has changed or is changing its email policies to protect against the possibility of incorrect information permeating outside company walls.
Japan’s Electronic Money Transactions Top ¥5 Trillion in 2016
Japan’s central bank reported that consumers in the country spent more than ¥5 trillion ($44.5 billion) last year on purchases made with electronic money. The Bank of Japan said the launch of Apple Pay in the country last October helped drive up transaction values. The bank defined electronic money as payments made using a mobile wallet or prepaid money card with an embedded chip.
China Mobile Sets Large-Scale 5G Trials
China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile service provider by number of users, announced a schedule to trial new 5G networks in Chinese cities, with plans to launch commercial services in 2020. China Mobile has been aggressive in launching and expanding its 4G services over the past few years. The company reported it had 552.2 million 4G subscribers as of January 31. eMarketer projects there will be 637.9 million mobile phone internet users in China this year.
—Cliff Annicelli, Rahul Chadha, Rebecca Chadwick, Rimma Kats
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