Feds: Amazon staffers took bribes to prop up sketchy merchants, products (Mashable)

Mashable: Feds: Amazon staffers took bribes to prop up sketchy merchants, products. “Sketchy merchants have been bribing Amazon employees and contractors to reinstate unsafe and counterfeit products on the e-commerce site and manipulate reviews, according to the U.S. Justice Department.”

Tubefilter: Amazon To Begin Hosting Podcasts, Sets Exclusive Series With DJ Khaled, Dan Patrick, More

Tubefilter: Amazon To Begin Hosting Podcasts, Sets Exclusive Series With DJ Khaled, Dan Patrick, More. “Millions of podcast episodes are now available for free within Amazon Music in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan — and can be accessed whether or not listeners are paying Amazon Music subscribers. (Amazon Music offers both ad-supported and paid tiers, with an ad-free membership coming complete with an Amazon Prime subscription). Podcasts will be available via the Amazon Music app on Android and iOS, on the web, and via Amazon’s Echo smart speakers.”

BBC: Google and Facebook under pressure to ban children’s ads

BBC: Google and Facebook under pressure to ban children’s ads. “Tech firms have been urged to stop advertising to under-18s in an open letter signed by MPs, academics and children’s-rights advocates. Behavioural advertising not only undermines privacy but puts ‘susceptible’ youngsters under unfair marketing pressure, the letter says. It is addressed to Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.”

CNN: Senators demand recalls after CNN report finds Amazon’s own products are being flagged as fire hazards

CNN: Senators demand recalls after CNN report finds Amazon’s own products are being flagged as fire hazards. “Three senators are demanding the recall of any hazardous products branded with Amazon’s name after a CNN investigation found that dozens of AmazonBasics electronics remained for sale despite customers reporting the products had melted, exploded or burst into flames.”

CBS News: Amazon customers face price gouging, consumer watchdog says

CBS News: Amazon customers face price gouging, consumer watchdog says. “Shopping on Amazon for paper towels, rice or other products that consumers hoovered up during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic? You might be able to find them cheaper elsewhere, according to a report by a consumer advocacy group that raises concerns about price gouging at the e-commerce company.In a new report that compared the cost of 10 food, health and cleaning products found on Amazon.com last month with prices charged by other major retailers for the same items, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that the items on Amazon were often two to 14 times more expensive than the identical products sold by Target, Walmart and others.”

CNBC: Amazon is filled with fake reviews and it’s getting harder to spot them

CNBC: Amazon is filled with fake reviews and it’s getting harder to spot them. “From Facebook groups where bad actors solicit paid positive reviews to bots and click farms that upvote negative reviews to take out the competition, fake reviews are getting harder to spot. In July, UCLA and USC released a study that found more than 20 fake review related Facebook groups with an average of 16,000 members. In more than 560 postings each day, sellers offered a refund or payment for a positive review, usually around $6.

Amazon Echo Frames: We decided we don’t really want to wear Alexa (CNET)

CNET: Amazon Echo Frames: We decided we don’t really want to wear Alexa. “…the Day One Edition of Amazon’s Echo Frames is very much a beta product. If Amazon wants to truly lead in smart glasses, it needs to make big improvements on the frames’ sound quality, build and performance. Otherwise, the Echo Frames run the risk of joining the tech graveyard with Glass, Spectacles and the rest of them.”

Motherboard: Amazon Is Spying on Its Workers in Closed Facebook Groups, Internal Reports Show

Motherboard: Amazon Is Spying on Its Workers in Closed Facebook Groups, Internal Reports Show. “Amazon is monitoring the conversations of Amazon Flex drivers in dozens of private Facebook groups in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain, according to an internal web tool and reports left on the open internet and viewed by Motherboard. According to the files left online, Amazon corporate employees are getting regular reports about the social media posts of its Flex drivers on nominally private pages, and are using these reports to diagnose problems as well as monitor, for example, drivers ‘planning for any strike or protest against Amazon.'”

New York Times: Big Tech’s Domination of Business Reaches New Heights

New York Times: Big Tech’s Domination of Business Reaches New Heights. “American tech titans flew high before the coronavirus pandemic, making billions of dollars a year. Now, the upheaval has lifted them to new heights, putting the industry in a position to dominate American business in a way unseen since the days of railroads.”

Washington Post: I’ve worn Alexa-enabled glasses for two weeks. They’re driving me bananas.

Washington Post: I’ve worn Alexa-enabled glasses for two weeks. They’re driving me bananas.. “After two weeks with the $180 Echo Frames, I can report that you have to really love Alexa to want to wear it on your face. But the Frames offer a fascinating view of the state of the art in virtual assistants — and perhaps also the state of our dystopia. They’re one of Amazon’s first true ‘hearables’: wearable tech designed for hearing information, rather than seeing it.”

Voicebot: Amazon Launches Alexa Accessibility Hub

Voicebot: Amazon Launches Alexa Accessibility Hub. “Amazon has brought together all of the accessibility features and initiatives for the Alexa voice assistant into a central website. The new Alexa Accessibility Hub demonstrates the ways people with different kinds of disabilities can use Alexa as a helpful tool and the accommodations in place to make using Echo smart speakers and smart displays easier for people with disabilities.”

The Conversation: Lawmakers keen to break up ‘big tech’ like Amazon and Google need to realize the world has changed a lot since Microsoft and Standard Oil

The Conversation: Lawmakers keen to break up ‘big tech’ like Amazon and Google need to realize the world has changed a lot since Microsoft and Standard Oil. “The chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google testified before Congress on July 29 to defend their market dominance from accusations they’re stifling rivals. Lawmakers and regulators are increasingly talking about antitrust action and possibly breaking the companies up into smaller pieces. I study the effects of digital technologies on lives and livelihoods across 90 countries. I believe advocates of breaking up big technology companies, as well as opponents, are both falling prey to some serious myths and misconceptions.”

CNET: Lawmakers accuse tech giants of using privacy as a weapon to hurt competition

CNET: Lawmakers accuse tech giants of using privacy as a weapon to hurt competition. “In the last few years, online privacy and cybersecurity have become a public concern, with tech giants like Facebook, Google and Apple backing a national law on data privacy regulations. But lawmakers at an antitrust hearing on Wednesday accused the tech companies of being disingenuous with their support for privacy — arguing that they’ve used it as an excuse to snub out their competition.”

BBC: Amazon, Google and Wish remove neo-Nazi products

BBC: Amazon, Google and Wish remove neo-Nazi products. “Amazon, Google and Wish have removed neo-Nazi and white-supremacist products being sold on their platforms following an investigation by BBC Click. White-supremacist flags, neo-Nazi books and Ku Klux Klan merchandise were all available for sale. Algorithms on Amazon and Wish also recommended other white-supremacist items.”

CNET: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google CEOs lay out their antitrust defenses in remarks to Congress

CNET: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google CEOs lay out their antitrust defenses in remarks to Congress . “The CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google on Tuesday evening released opening remarks that cast their companies as icons of American ingenuity as they gear up for a highly anticipated antitrust hearing with legislators on Wednesday.”