CRN's weekly round-up of the tech stories that might have passed you by last week.
1. Facebook and Twitter's market meltdown
This year continues to be an annus horribilis for Mark Zuckerberg, as Facebook saw over $119bn (£90.7bn) drop off its market value, after the company told investors that user growth slowed in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and will continue to slow. the Guardian reported that this fall included a $17bn hit to Zuckerberg's personal fortune. The collapse in share price represented the largest ever one-day drop in a company's market value.
Twitter too saw falling user numbers this week, TechCrunch reported. The platform reported a drop of one million monthly users in its Q2, causing its share price to drop 17 per cent. It wasn't all bad news for the company, though, as it reported a record $100m revenue for its second quarter.
2. EU slaps more tech companies with fines
The European Commission is on a roll with fining large tech companies for breaching EU law. In the wake of the $5bn fine dished out to Google, the organisation has hit a number of tech and appliance companies with sizable penalties, reported The Verge. Asus, Philips, Pioneer and the Danon and Marantz partnership (now unified under the Sound United brand) all admitted to interfering with the pricing of online retailers between 2011 and 2015, so as to maintain artificially high prices on their products. Asus must pay $74m, Philips owes $35m, Pioneer $12m and Danon and Marantz were penalised to the tune of $9m.
3. Police facial recognition tech faces legal challenge
A civil liberties group has launched a legal challenge against the use of automatic facial recognition (AFR) technology by the police, reported the BBC. The technology is currently being piloted in London and uses CCTV and surveillance camera footage to record and compare facial characteristics to images on police databases. The civil liberties group bringing the action argues that AFR breaches individuals' rights under the Human Rights Act.
4. Microsoft ponies up $4m for female-led tech start-ups
The tech giant's MI2 venture fund is running a competition for business-focused tech start-ups led by women, with the two winners each receiving $2m in funding, reported CNet.com.
Microsoft's rationale behind the competition is based on research that companies founded solely by women represented only two per cent of all venture capital funding in the US last year. Of M12's own portfolio, companies founded by women represent only 7.5 per cent of its funding.
5. Emperor's abdication could trigger Y2K 2.0 in Japan
Japanese emperor Akihito's abdication next year could spell chaos for the country's technology sector, reported the Guardian. The Japanese calendar counts up from the coronation of a new emperor, using the name of the era they herald. Akihito's 30 years on the throne has seen huge changes and developments in technology, meaning that systems never had to deal with a switchover in era. Microsoft has compared the magnitude of the impending change to Y2K in the Gregorian calendar at the turn of the millennium.
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