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Mayor de Blasio's private email account … Expanding solar in Western New York  … and more of today’s tech news

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio | Shutterstock
The Latest

Mayor Bill de Blasio used a private email account for official business
This happened for at least his first 16 months in City Hall, including a period that sparked scrutiny for his missing messages with a top donor who later pleaded guilty to bribery (The City).

Amazon’s Twitter army takes on critics
The company’s FC (fulfillment center) ambassadors, introduced in 2018, frequently tweet to counter critics of Amazon, although the accounts themselves suggest that workers are frequently shifted in and out of their social media roles. Amazon would not answer questions about how many ambassadors it employs nor how their jobs work (The New York Times).

Solar power expands in Western New York
Niagara County continues to be the focus of local solar power generation efforts, as a California company this week disclosed a plan to cover 2,000 acres of land with solar panels in two largely rural towns (The Buffalo News).

Apple searching for massive NYC office space
Among the properties Apple has scouted in its quest for between 200,000 and 500,000 square feet of office space: the Norman Foster-designed tower rising on 34th Street and 10th Avenue – also known as 50 Hudson Yards (Curbed New York)

The NYPD has 82,473 people in its DNA database
Police have taken samples from people convicted of crimes, as well as from people who are only arrested or sometimes simply questioned. The practice has exposed the department to scrutiny over how the genetic material is collected (The New York Times).

Opinion

How Gamergate created a playbook for culture war
Five years ago, an angry 20-something ex-boyfriend set in motion a series of vile events that changed the way we fight online. It soon became obvious that there’s a sinister power afforded to those brazen enough to construct their own false realities and foist them on others (Charlie Warzel, The New York Times).

Video games are a red herring in gun debate
After the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Donald Trump and others trotted out the tired trope that video games are somehow responsible. What they didn’t offer up alongside that argument: any evidence (The Times Union).

Analysis

The problem of policing private online hate groups
Recent high-profile hate crimes are forcing technology companies to reassess how hate speech and harmful content manifests in closed groups online, with experts worrying that private online group forums may be festering hateful activity (Axios).

How Facebook catches bugs in its 100 million lines of code
Four years ago, Facebook engineers began building a customized assessment tool that not only checks for known types of bugs but can fully scan the entire codebase in under 30 minutes (Wired).

Profile

WeWork isn't a tech company; it's a soap opera
The We Company used to be called WeWork, but it changed its name. The new name was owned by We Holdings LLC, so WeWork paid $5.9 million to acquire “we” and changed its name last month – and We Holdings manages stocks and assets owned by WeWork’s founders. (The Verge).

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