Two U.S. senators have written to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking why the company removed third-party VPN apps from its App Store in China (via CNBC). Reports that Apple had pulled the VPN apps first arrived in July, following regulations passed earlier in the year that require such apps to be authorized by the Chinese government.
In the open letter dated October 17, Senators Patrick Leahy and Ted Cruz write that China has an „abysmal“ human rights record when it comes to freedom of expression and free access to online and offline information, and say they are „concerned that Apple may be enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance of [...]
Spotify is expanding its music streaming service today with a new section of the mobile app and desktop site called RISE, which is „designed to identify and break the next wave of music superstars.“ Spotify said that each artist highlighted in RISE will be showcased through multi-tiered marketing and editorial programming, including within the app itself and promotion on social media.
Additionally, RISE artists will receive special, mixed-media playlists for users to listen to, as well as personalized behind-the-scenes audio and video content to share their stories. In the future, Spotify will host „experimental“ live events focused on its RISE stars, [...]
Last year, PayPal launched within Facebook Messenger as a way for users to shop and complete payments directly through the messaging app. Today, the two companies are expanding the focus of this feature and opening up peer-to-peer payments for Facebook Messenger users who have linked their PayPal account to the app.
With a rollout starting today, Facebook Messenger users will be able to tap on the blue plus icon within the app, then select the green Payments button, and choose PayPal to send money. This functionality will work in one-on-one conversations, as well as in group texts. PayPal said this will make it easy to split a bill, pay rent, and more.
Billboard has announced that its Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts — which measure singles and albums, respectively — will begin weighing plays made on paid subscription streaming services/tiers more than plays made on pure ad-supported services/tiers in 2018. This means services that only support paid subscriptions, like Apple Music, will receive a „greater emphasis“ in Billboard chart calculations.
The Billboard calculations will include plays made on paid subscription tiers of hybrid services as well, related to Spotify and SoundCloud. For the Hot 100 list, Billboard said that there will now be „multiple weighted tiers“ of streaming [...]