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Ban It, Divest It or Regulate It? Washington Looks for an Answer to TikTok

Hi, welcome to your Weekend!Interesting dinner table discussion this week: My 13-year-old daughter, hearing about Nancy Scola’s cover story on TikTok’s war in Washington, offered her prediction for what would happen if the U.S. took the drastic step of banning the app.“Every teenager in America would refuse to come out of their rooms,” she said. “They’d...

Character Seeks $250 Million in New Funding Amid AI Boom

Character, an AI chatbot startup founded by two former Google researchers, has told investors it wants to raise as much as $250 million in new funding, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. The pitch will test investors’ appetite for machine-learning startups as Microsoft’s multibillion-dollar deal with OpenAI casts a halo over...

Coatue-Backed ‘AI’ Shopping Startup Nate Has Slashed Most Staff and Disabled Key Features of its App

Nate, the shopping app that drew attention last year for overstating its use of artificial intelligence technology to power its transactions, has stopped processing payments on its app and has cut most of its workforce, according to three people directly familiar with the matter. The moves suggest Nate is poised to become the latest casualty among...

Bari Weiss Brings the Culture Wars Home

“I’m just putting my face on!” yelled the voice around the corner. Bari Weiss—former New York Times Op-Ed staff editor and writer and current founder of the controversy-courting new media company The Free Press—came streaming into her living room, hair wet, dressed all in black. She greeted me and two of her employees before beelining over to her...

‘We Haven’t Won Yet’: Stripe Finds Growth Has a Cost

Last fall, executives at payments giant Stripe gave employees an unusual warning: Look out for watermelons. The company had just scuttled a crucial project called Sonic, which was supposed to rewrite significant pieces of Stripe’s code in part to speed up transactions—an important step to reduce cloud computing costs and boost profit margins before...

Modern Media Companies Have a Delightful Problem to Solve

Sign up for Rosen’s newsletter, Parqor, part of The Information’s newsletter network. Fifteen years after Netflix launched its streaming-video service, it now has gaming and advertising offerings, both built under the purview of Netflix Chief Product and Operating Officer Greg Peters, who has lately been elevated to co-CEO. Peters is currently...

TikTok’s Last Stand: Can an Army of Lobbyists Quell a Washington Uprising?

There’s perhaps no one in Washington who distrusts TikTok quite as much as Brendan Carr. Carr, a 44-year-old Donald Trump appointee to the Federal Communications Commission, has spent much of the last year going around cable news and elsewhere calling for the hugely popular short-video app to be restricted, if not banned, over its ties to Chinese...

Apple Devising Software to Help Anyone Build AR Apps, to Drive Headset Sales

Apple is developing software to make it easy for users of its upcoming mixed-reality headset to build their own augmented reality apps, according to four people who have worked on the headset. With the software tools, Apple hopes that even people who don’t know computer code could tell the headset, via the Siri voice assistant, to build an AR app...

What Went Wrong at Wyre, the Crypto Payments Startup That Went From $1.5 Billion Deal to Last-Ditch Rescue

In early May, crypto startup Wyre rented out three houses in Arizona for an offsite for its product and engineering teams. Executives arranged a tour of the Grand Canyon nearby and rented all-terrain vehicles to ride around the area, one person who attended told The Information. There was good reason to celebrate: Weeks before, checkout startup...

Why DOJ’s Damaging Evidence Against Google May Not Be Enough to Break Up the Company

Justice Department lawyers on Tuesday revealed embarrassing details about Google’s conduct in the online ad industry as part of a new antitrust lawsuit. Despite evidence and allegations that Google rigged advertising auctions and effectively stole money from website publishers that rely on the company’s advertising tools, the DOJ will have a hard time...

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