We must consider secure online voting – TechCrunch

The list of states delaying primaries and elections is quickly increasing, with New Jersey adding local elections to the list. Even Congress — in a break from tradition — is rethinking what it means to vote safely in this new paradigm, stirring calls for remote voting for its upcoming legislation around the pandemic.

This debate, however, lacks important context: Many U.S. citizens are already voting online at home and abroad. In fact, 23 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow some voters to return absentee ballots via email, while five others permit some voters to do so using a web portal.

We are election officials in two states that require us to offer an online method to some of our voters. For these voters, the argument is not an academic one, but an issue of necessity — traditional voting methods simply don’t work for those living abroad, deployed in the military or those with disabilities. As election officials, it’s our duty to stand up for the constitutional rights of our citizens, whatever their circumstances, and the reality is that online voting dramatically improves the opportunities for these two groups to engage with our democracy.

We should not be debating whether online voting should exist, but rather asking: What is the most secure way to facilitate electronic voting? Because it’s already being done. And because it’s needed by some voting groups — whose volume might expand in the near future.

As a country, we currently have three million eligible voters living abroad, and only 7% cast ballots in the 2016 elections, according to the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s biennial Overseas Citizen Population Analysis. This same analysis found that removing logistical barriers to voting would raise participation by 30%. A different analysis separately found that while nearly one million active-duty military are eligible to vote, only around 23% of them actually did in 2018.

The traditional system of mailed-in absentee ballots and centralized polling places is failing these voters, and they aren’t alone among the disenfranchised. The turnout story is also grim for the 35 million U.S. voters with disabilities. An October 2017 Government Accountability Office report also found widespread barriers to disabled voting, such as machines that could have made it impossible to cast votes privately. It’s no wonder that, as a 2017 Rutgers University study found, disabled voting participation has declined in each of the last two presidential elections, dropping from 57.3% in 2008 to 55.9% in 2016.

New technologies offer promise to expanding and securing access for overseas citizens and voters with disabilities. Consider MacCene Grimmett, who is, at 106, Utah’s oldest voter. When she was born in 1913, women did not have the right to vote. Homebound since she broke her ankle two years ago and unable to hold a pen steadily, she was able to cast her ballot last year thanks to an app on a mobile device. The technology empowered her, helping her execute — independently, anonymously, securely and with dignity — her most basic duty as a citizen.

Pilots and tests are happening at different scales in localities around the country, and early results are demonstrating positive outcomes. In 2019,Utah County’s offering mobile-phone voting to overseas citizens resulted in a marked increase in participation rates. In fact, turnout rates for voters using the app overseas were higher than for those who went to the polls in-person on Election Day. Oregon also successfully permitted its citizens to use app-voting in 2019.

Importantly, all pilots include the ability to rigorously audit the results so we can ensure 100% accuracy along the way.

The challenge, ultimately, is how to continue leveraging technology in a secure and innovative way to maximize access. Safety is paramount: We are deeply aware that we live in an interconnected world where foreign adversaries and other malicious entities are using information technology to try to undermine our political system. It’s our responsibility to understand the environment in which we operate as we forge ahead.

But while these concerns can be valid, they should not outweigh both the necessity and potential benefits of internet-based voting. Just as we cannot place blind faith in the infallibility of our technologies, we also cannot fall into a senseless, all-encompassing mistrust that would both disenfranchise millions of voters and shake trust in our elections.

Rather than making sweeping judgments, we need to weigh each case individually. Why, for example, should Iowa’s failure, which involved poor training, lack of testing and trouble reporting caucus results on one specific technology platform by a political party adversely affect whether a disabled Utahn or an Oregonian soldier can cast their vote — and verify it — by app?

Expanding voter participation by ensuring ballot access for all citizens is paramount to protecting our democracy. In the 21st century, that will necessarily include electronic methods, particularly as we face challenges with voters abroad and contemplate emerging challenges at home like COVID-19, where large public gatherings — and long lines — spark new threats to consider.

We must continue trials and experiments to broaden access for voters, while hardening the system and making it more resilient, and that means beginning with small-scale pilots, seeing what works, stringently auditing the results and then employing that knowledge in new rounds of testing. App-based voting, for example, is already more secure than returning a ballot by email, and it also preserves voter anonymity in a way that email makes impossible (because whoever opens the email to hand-copy the vote onto a paper ballot for tabulation knows who sent it).

These are the everyday successes that internet-based voting is producing right now. And they ought to be driving the discussion as we move forward slowly, responsibly and confidently.

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Los Angeles-based challenger bank HMBradley officially opens its virtual doors – TechCrunch

The Los Angeles-based digital challenger bank, HMBradley, opened its virtual doors to the public today, allowing the thousands of waitlisted would-be users to set up direct deposits and collect their sign-up bonuses.

The company is offering banking customers an up to 3% return on their savings based on the percentage they save of their quarterly deposits.

HMBradley also set up a new feature which allows users to save towards specific goals.

Backed by PayPal founder Max Levchin’s HVF Labs, along with Walkabout Ventures, Mucker Capital, Index Ventures, and Accomplice, to the tune of $3.5 million, HMBradley was designed to benefit savers, the company said.

Account holders with balances up to $100,000 can receive up to 3% annual percentage yields on their accounts. These account holders qualify by receiving one direct deposit and saving at least 5% of the total amount deposited in an account monthly.

HMBradley accounts are held through Hatch Bank, which is FDIC insured.

To qualify for the 3 percent rate, customers need to save over 20 percent of their income, account holders who save between 15 percent and 20 percent receive 2 percent of their cash per year, and those saving less than 15 percent but more than ten percent receive a 1 percent APY.

“We want to empower and protect every consumer financially to show them that a bank can be on their side, regardless of how much money they make,” said Zach Bruhnke, co-founder and CEO of HMBradley, in a statement.

Account holders have access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs around the country, mobile check deposit and around-the-clock support, the company said.

The company’s MasterCard comes with all of the standard features including zero liability protection and an ability to set up travel, fraud alerts, and cancel cards all through an online portal, the company said.

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Facebook deletes Brazil President’s coronavirus misinfo post – TechCrunch

Facebook has diverted from its policy of not fact-checking politicians in order to prevent the spread of potentially harmful coronavirus misinformation from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Facebook made the decisive choice to remove a video shared by Bolsonaro on Sunday where he claimed that “hydroxychloroquine is working in all places.” That’s despite the drug still undergoing testing to determine its effectiveness for treating COVID-19, which researchers and health authorities have not confirmed.

“We remove content on Facebook and Instagram that violates our Community Standards, which do not allow misinformation that could lead to physical harm” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. Facebook specifically prohibits false claims regarding cure, treatments, the availability of essential services, and the location or intensity of contagion outbreaks.

BBC News Brazil first reported the takedown today in Portuguese. In the removed video, Bolsonaro had been speaking to a street vendor, and the President claimed “They want to work”, in contrast to the World Health Organization’s recommendation that people practice social distancing. He followed up that “That medicine there, hydroxychloroquine, is working in all places.”

If people wrongly believe there’s an widely-effective treatment for COVID-19, they may be more reckless about going out in public, attending work, or refusing to stay in isolation. That could cause the virus to spread more quickly, defeat efforts to flatten the curve, and overrun health care systems.

This why Twitter removed two of Bolsonaro’s tweets on Sunday, as well as one from Rudy Giuliani, in order to stop the distribution of misinformation. But to date, Facebook has generally avoided acting as an arbiter of truth regarding the veracity of claims by politicians. It notoriously refuses to send blatant misinformation in political ads, including those from Donald Trump, to fact-checkers.

Last week, though, Facebook laid out that COVID-19 misinformation “that could contribute to imminent physical harm” would be directly and immediately removed as it’s done about other outbreaks since 2018, while less urgent conspiracy theories that don’t lead straight to physical harm are sent to fact-checkers that can then have the Facebook reach of those posts demoted.

Now the question is whether Facebook would be willing to apply this enforcement to Trump, who’s been criticized for spreading misinformation about the severity of the outbreak, potential treatments, and the risk of sending people back to work. Facebook is known to fear backlash from conservative politicians and citizens who’ve developed a false narrative that it discriminates against or censors their posts.

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Johnson & Johnson partners with BARDA to fund $1 billion in COVID-19 vaccine research – TechCrunch

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is partnering with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund over $1 billion in COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral treatment research and development, the company said on Monday.

The partnership is an expansion of an existing agreement between BARDA and J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies division.

With the agreement, the company is setting a goal of providing a global supply of more than one billion doses of the vaccine, which J&J expects to have in clinical trials by September 2020 at the latest. The first batches of the vaccine may be available for emergency use by early 2021, the company said.

BARDA’s partnership with J&J encompasses research and development of potential antiviral treatments in addition to the work that’s being done to develop a vaccine for the disease. Those efforts include development work J&J and BARDA are conducting with the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Belgium.

J&J said it had also committed to expanding its global manufacturing capacity, both in the U.S. and overseas. That additional production ability will help the company bring an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use, the company said.

Working with teams at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a part of the Harvard Medical School, Janssen Pharmaceuticals began its research into potential vaccine candidates back in January. Those candidates were tested at several academic institutions, the company said, which led to the identification of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate — and two potential back-ups.

Last week, Moderna Health, another pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine, said that it could have an experimental treatment available to healthcare workers as soon as the fall.

The Moderna vaccine uses messenger RNA, rather than doses of the COVID-19 virus itself, to inoculate against the disease. The use of mRNA means that the inoculation doesn’t expose recipients to the disease itself, so they’re not at risk of contracting the disease.

Last Monday, Moderna made the vaccine available to volunteer participants as part of the company’s Phase 1 clinical trials conducted in Washington state.

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Apple iPhone Price

If there is any one phone which came and instantly became a sensation it is undoubtedly the iPhone from Apple Inc. A product of the world’s most trusted and innovative brand Apple, the iPhone really took the markets by stride and never looked back since its launch in 2007. Apple’s iPhone reached the zenith of success in the shortest time period in spite of belonging to the high price band has been a proof enough that if the product is right and innovative then mere price hurdles can’t be an obstacle in attaining instant success.

Apple’s most distinctive product quality has always been great user experience and simplicity in design and that’s what makes it so remarkably different. At a time when the market was congested with fast selling brands like Nokia, Sony, Motorola, etc. the iPhone came with the most innovative concept of touchscreen technology which was user friendly and easily accessible. Although, touchscreen has been in use for past many decades but its use was limited to specific technologies but, iPhone managed to provide the widest platform to this touchscreen technology by making the phone completely touchscreen enabled. The simple and innovative design devoid of too many buttons and distractions iPhone became an instant hit and star in the eyes of the users and the craze became so high that people started queuing stores before the launch of new versions and the same has been maintained for the nine generations of iPhone’s released till date. Simple slate design, interactive interface, own operating system, high speed, great camera, exclusive and the biggest IOS app store are some of the features which have always made iPhone’s stand apart from the crowd and maintain their exclusivity.

Apple will be launching its new iPhone 7 and its variant 7s this year and the hype around the phone and its technology has already started building. People as always are curious about the new techniques that will be used in this installment of iPhone and the particular features that will adorn it.

The iPhone’s have always managed to provide faster speeds even with low ram due to their integrated circuits and advanced technology and with iPhone 7 and 7s the trend is expected to continue. With high resolution 12 MP primary and 5 MP secondary camera this phone will be a delight for the selfi lovers. Siri, the intelligent personal assistant, one of the most innovative and distinguishing attractions of iPhones is expected to be more advanced with natural language command and dictation and hence interacting with the phone is going to be much simpler than ever.

Apple iPhone Price

Source by Nitin Kumar

Airbnb will pay hosts $250 million to help cover cancellations due to COVID-19 – TechCrunch

Airbnb is committing $250 million to put toward hosts who have been impacted by COVID-19. That means if a guest cancels a reservation for check-in between March 14 and May 31 due to a COVID-19-related reason, Airbnb will pay the host 25% of what they would normally receive through their cancellation policy. Airbnb says this policy will apply retroactively to all cancellations during that period.

This is Airbnb’s way of making amends to its hosts — who may have felt blindsided by Airbnb’s policy that would enable guests to cancel reservations and receive a full refund. That policy, which is still active, lets guests who booked reservations on or before March 14 that begin anytime on or before May 31 to cancel and receive a standard refund or travel credit.

“We determined that we had to allow your guests to cancel and receive a full refund—including all our fees,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a letter to hosts today. “Please know this decision was not a business decision, but based on protecting public health. However, while I believe we did the right thing in prioritizing health and safety, I’m sorry that we communicated this decision to guests without consulting you—like partners should. We have heard from you and we know we could have been better partners.”

Beyond that, Airbnb is creating a $10 million fund for its superhosts and experience hosts. Employees contributed the first $1 million and Airbnb co-founders Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nate Blecharczyk are personally providing the other $9 million. Beginning in April, hosts can apply for grants up to $5,000. And for guests who want to show hosts their support during this time, they will soon be able to make payments directly to hosts.

Chesky is doing a video Q&A with hosts right now, which you can tune into here.

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Despite pandemic, gaming is well-positioned to withstand recession – TechCrunch

Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have led to a global economic downturn, but the gaming industry is booming.

With hundreds of millions of people sequestered in their homes, game usage has spiked. And while the economic repercussions will persist after people cease physical distancing, gaming is positioned to fare well during a recession.

Video game usage increased 75% during peak hours

Video game usage during peak hours increased 75% in the first week many Americans began staying home, according to Verizon data. Game distribution platform Steam set a record for peak concurrent users (more than 20 million) on March 16 without any notable new releases driving demand. Gaming chat platform Discord saw its servers go down briefly last week even after the company increased capacity by more than 20% to handle surging usage.

According to Siamc Kamalie, manager of hedge fund Skycatcher, “average time spent per user on mobile games grew 41% during Chinese New Year in 2020 versus 2019, and was up 18% versus the week prior to Chinese New Year in 2020.” (Chinese New Year is when widespread stay-at-home orders began in China.)

All of the gaming industry professionals I’ve spoken to over the last week noted increased popularity of their games, though most were wary of sharing their strong performance publicly, given the unfortunate circumstances.

People don’t just turn to games for entertainment; especially when in-person interactions are restricted and most of the most popular games are multiplayer in one form or another — games also serve as social hangout spots.

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Medtronic is sharing its portable ventilator design specifications and code for free to all – TechCrunch

Healthcare and biomedical engineering company Medtronic, which was in the news recently because Tesla CEO Elon Musk had discussions with the company about the automaker’s potential plans to build ventilator hardware in order to , but today it’s doing something potentially far more impactful. Medtronic is making the full design specifications, produce manuals, design documents, and in the future, software code for its Puritan Bennett (PB) 560 portable ventilator hardware available to anyone.

The PB 560 ventilator has a number of advantages, being a relatively compact and lightweight piece of equipment that can be easily moved around in installed for use in a range of different healthcare environments and settings. And it’s a design that was originally introduced in 2010, so it has a decade of qualified, safe medical use in treating patients under its belt.

There are plenty of efforts underway to produce ventilators, design new ventilators that manufacturers of other devices, like Dyson, can put into production, and others are trying to modify existing hardware to serve more patients. But this move by Medtronic makes freely available everything needed to spin up new production lines at existing manufacturers around the world – without any costs or fees owed to Medtronic.

It’s still obviously true that retooling a production line to build a different product is going to be an undertaking no matter what kind of design specifications you’re starting with, but this initiative by Medtronic is also intended to provide the resources necessary for anyone looking at what they can build today with a blueprint to spawn new and innovative ideas. Manufacturers might be able to look at Medtronic’s proven design and engineer something they can build at scale relatively quickly that offers the same or similar performance characteristics.

Medtronic says the design is particularly well-suited for “inventors, startups, and academic institutions” looking to spin up production in short order and create their own adapted designs.

“We are sharing the design specifications for the [PB 560] to enable participants across industries to evaluate options for rapid ventilator manufacturing to help doctors and patients dealing with COVID-19,” said John Jordan, External Communications Director at the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group at Medtronic.

He pointed out that while Medtronic produces other, more complex ventilator hardware, including the PB 980 and PB 840, these require “more than 1,500 components” that Medtronic sources from a variety of specialized producers, and that relies on “a skilled and specialized workforce” and “an interconnected global supply chain.” While those things remain true even for the PB 560 to some extent, its smaller, simplified design makes it the best candidate for companies newer to the field looking to pivot to ventilator manufacture with limited or no prior experience.

It’s worth noting that Medtronic isn’t open-sourcing the PB 560’s design exactly: it’s issuing a special “permissive license” specifically for the purposes of address this global coronavirus pandemic, and its term ends either when the World Health Organization’s official Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is declared over, or on October 1, 2024 – whichever comes first.

Still, it’s a sign of the extent and seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis that for-profit corporations like Medtronic would even consider doing something like making a code technology they’ve developed free for broad public use, even if only for a fixed timeframe.

Any startup or hardware maker interested in checking out the plans for the PB 560 and potentially using them to build their own equipment can register here to agree to the license and get access to the files.

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WTF is the denominator effect? – TechCrunch

The last few weeks have just been dreadful for asset managers. Not only have the markets tanked the past few weeks (if slightly recovered from their lows since the signing of the U.S. stimulus bill), but the daily volatility of different assets is making it very hard to keep portfolios balanced. As an example, the key benchmark for oil is under $20 a barrel in the United States, a lot not seen in almost two decades.

So let’s talk about something that is quite stressful for a lot of VCs in this context: the so-called denominator effect.

Before we get to what the denominator effect portends for VCs, let’s define it. In the limited partner world, LPs are allocators of capital, which just means that they invest money in a collection of assets following a strategy. For instance, these LPs might have strategy of something like: “I want 60% equities, and 40% bonds” or perhaps something like “40% equities, 30% bonds, 10% VC, 10% hedge funds, and 10% natural resources.”

Every fund has its own goals. Some funds need more immediate liquidity to pay for operations (i.e. college endowments) while others focus much more on the future and don’t mind long hold periods on their assets (i.e. sovereign wealth funds). The role of a portfolio manager is to invest in assets in such a way as to match these objectives.

As part of operating any portfolio, a fund manager regularly rebalances it to make sure that the underlying assets align with the chosen strategy. If you personally use a modern asset management service like Wealthfront, then you are already familiar with this: every period (which could be months, quarters, years, etc.), the service transfers money between your assets to reset your portfolio back to its original strategy. So if you want 60% stocks, but your portfolio is at 70% right now, the service will automatically sell 10% of those assets in order to invest in other assets.

The primary fraction here is (the capital within an asset class) divided by (the total capital of the portfolio). Yes, it’s really simple math.

Here’s where it starts to get complicated though. Let’s say for illustration that you are managing a $1 million portfolio, and you have 70% ($700,000) invested in NASDAQ, which is relatively liquid, and the other 30% ($300,000) is invested in VC funds, which are highly illiquid since they can take ten years or more to be returned to you.

Let’s say your fund was balanced as of February 19, when the NASDAQ hit an all-time high close of 9,817.18. Since that time, NASDAQ has lost 20.57% in value according to Yahoo Finance. That means your overall portfolio is now worth about $856,010, or $556,010 for equities and still $300,000 for VC.

Even though you haven’t increased or decreased your investment in VC, your portfolio is now heavily skewed toward that asset class. Equities represent $556,010 / $856,010 = ~65% of your portfolio, while VC now represents ~35%, up from the intended 30% in your original strategy.

Given that skew, you should rebalance … but you can’t. Since VC funds have a ten-year fund cycle (if not longer), you can’t simply sell some VC assets and buy equities to rebalance your portfolio. The portfolio manager is effectively stuck.

That’s the “denominator effect” — a decline in the value of one asset should result in other assets being sold to properly rebalance a portfolio, but many assets like venture capital, private equity, real estate, natural resources and others can be quite hard to sell in the short-to-medium term.

Fractional ownership

That’s the outline of what the denominator effect is, but what does it mean in practice for VCs and ultimately for founders?

For VCs, the big challenge today is that many of their LPs are precisely in the situation described above, with over-investment in VC as an asset class and a huge liquidity crunch that they have to work through. LPs want (or in some cases, must) scale down their VC investments in order to make their funds function. Not only will they cut back investments in new funds, they don’t even want to invest in the funds they have already committed to.

The irony here is that given the declining valuations for a lot of startups, this is precisely the time to invest more. That’s the fundamental tension of the denominator effect — it isn’t about psychology or investor reticence driven by fear, but rather strategic considerations that are rational for a fund’s key objectives.

LPs have a couple of strategies on how to cope. One is that they sometimes have a bit of flexibility with their general partners to wait out the storm, since they can push them to slow down the pace of investing in order to reduce the volume of capital calls. In addition, they can halt the number of new funds they invest in or just stretch out the time it takes to make a new investment in order to spread their investments more evenly.

And then there is the secondary market, in which LPs sell their VC fund stakes in order to secure liquidity — a sliver of a market, but one that is quite interesting nonetheless. My colleague Connie Loizos talked a bit more about this angle last week, finding that these transactions will take some time to be consummated while the market discovers what startups are currently worth.

In short, due to the denominator effect, LPs are going to do whatever they need to do to rebalance their portfolios in the coming months. If the markets happen to rapidly recover, they might quickly reopen their investments in VC and other alternative assets. But if the markets stay sour for longer, then expect further downward gravitational pull on the VC asset class as portfolio managers reset their portfolios to where they need them. It’s the tyranny of fifth grade mathematics and a complex financial system.

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Facebook Messenger preps Auto Status location type sharing – TechCrunch

Facebook Messenger could soon automatically tell your closest friends you’re at the gym, driving, or in Tokyo. Messenger has been spotted prototyping a ported version of the Instagram close friends-only Threads app’s Auto Status option that launched in October.

The unreleased Messenger feature would use your location, accelerometer, and battery life to determine what you’re up to and share it with a specific subset of your friends. But instead of sharing your exact coordinates, it overlays an emoji on your Messenger profile pic to indicate that you’re at the movies, biking, at the airport, or charging your phone.

It’s unclear if or when Messenger might launch Auto Status. But if released, the feature could become Facebook’s version of the AOL Away Message, allowing people to stay in closer touch without the creepiness of exact location sharing. It might also help people coordinate online or offline meetups by revealing what friends are up to. Auto Status creates an ice breaker, so if it says a close friend is “at a cafe”, or “chilling” you could ask to hang out.

Back in 2016, I wrote about how exact location sharing had failed to become mainstream because knowing where someone is doesn’t tell you their intention. What matters is whether they’re free to interact with you, which none of the social networks offered.

A few products like Down To Lunch and Free have came and went in the meantime. Snapchat’s Snap Map and its acquisition Zenly both doubled down on precise location sharing, yet still we’re often stuck home wondering if anyone we care about is similarly bored and might want to hang out.

Facebook has been experimenting in this space since at least early 2018, when its manual Emoji Status was spotted. That allowed you to append an emoji of your choosing to your Messenger profile pic. Then in October Facebook introduced Auto Status, but only in the Instagram side-app Threads.

Some users were initially creeped out by the idea of Facebook relaying battery status. But Instagram director of Product Management Robby Stein explained to me that since you might not respond to a message if your phone goes dead or is left on the charger, it’s useful info to relay to friends who might be wondering what you’re doing.

Then earlier this month, reverse engineering master and constant TechCrunch tipster Jane Manchun Wong revealed a new, unreleased version of Emoji Status hidden in Messenger’s Android code. Then today, Wong showed off how she similarly spotted Facebook trying to port Auto Status to Messenger. That would bring the feature to over one billion monthly users compared to the relatively small base for Threads.

With Auto Status, you can “Let specific freidns see what you’re up to as you go about your day. Share location info, weather, and more, even when you’re not in the app.” Auto Status is only visible to a special list of friends you can change at any time, similar to Instagram Close Friends. And the feature shares “no addresses or place names. Just types of locations, like “at a cafe”. Movement (driving, biking, walking), venue (at the movies, airport), cities  (in Tokyo), and battery status (low battery, charging), are some of categories of what Auto Status shares.

A Facebook Messenger communications representative confirmed to TechCrunch that the Auto Status feature was being prototyped by Messenger, noting that “We’re always exploring new features to improve your Messenger experience. This feature is still in early development and not externally testing.” The company also tweeted the statement.

One of the biggest unsolved problems in social networking and messaging remains knowing whether friends are free to chat or hang out without having to ask them directly. Reaching out at the wrong time only to be ignored or rejected can feel awkward, intimidating, and discourage connection later. But if you have a vague idea of what a close friend is up to, you can more deftly plan when to message them, and be more likely to get to spend time together in person or just online.

That could be a cure to the loneliness that endless feed scrolling by ourselves can leave us feeling.

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