Archive for July, 2018

Just 24 hours until prices go up for Disrupt SF 2018 passes

A lot can happen in 24 hours. Just ask Jack Bauer, the hard-charging protagonist from the TV drama series 24. Seriously, he had to save the world every dang episode. All you have to do is buy your pass to Disrupt San Francisco 2018 before the prices go up in — you guessed it — 24 hours. We want you to join us on September 5-7 at Moscone Center West, and we want you to get the best deal possible. You have until midnight PST on August 1 before the price hike hits. Depending on the pass you buy, you could save up to $1,200. Jack Bauer would take action, and so should you. Buy your ticket right now. What can you expect at Disrupt SF 2018? Plenty, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But sometimes it helps to hear what your peers found most beneficial. For example, Vlad Larin, one of the founders of Zeroqode, shared his Disrupt experience with us. “TechCrunch Disrupt was a massively positive experience,” said Larin. “It gave us the chance to show our technology to the world and have meaningful conversations with investors, accelerators, incubators, solo founders and developers.” If you’re more interested in a VC’s point of view, here’s what early-stage investor Michael Kocan of New York-based Trend Discovery had to say. “Attending Disrupt San Francisco helped me plug into that community and take the pulse of what’s going on,” he said. “It’s probably the best place for us to meet the most early-stage founders quickly, so that’s the biggest benefit for us.” There’s plenty of programming to keep you happy as you search for opportunity. Don’t miss an incredible roster of speakers talking about the most pressing tech and investment issues of the day. And take a peek at the conference agenda while you’re at it. Check out our first Virtual Hackathon — from thousands of submitted hacks, we’ll have the top 30 contenders showing their stuff at Disrupt SF. You’ll find more than 1,200 startups and exhibitors in Startup Alley — along with the startups that earned a TechCrunch Top Pick designation. We have Top Picks in each of these categories: AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Biotech, Fintech, Gaming, Healthtech, Privacy/Security, Space, Mobility, Retail or Robotics. And, of course, you don’t want to miss Startup Battlefield, the crown jewel of TechCrunch Disrupt. This year, we doubled the prize money to $100,000. The competition’s going to be intense! Disrupt San Francisco 2018 takes place on September 5-7. You have only 24 hours left before the prices increase. If you leap into action now, you won’t save the world, but you will save some money. Buy your pass today.

Facebook has found evidence of influence campaigns targeting US midterms

In a newsroom post Tuesday, Facebook revealed that it has detected evidence of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” designed to influence U.S. politics on its platform. According to Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity, Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, the company first identified the activity two weeks ago. So far, the activity encompasses eight Facebook Pages, 17 profiles and seven accounts on Instagram. Facebook stated that the activity “violate[s] our ban on coordinated inauthentic behavior,” though so far is unable to attribute the activity to Russia or any other entity with an interest in influencing U.S. politics. Facebook has been in contact with Congress and law enforcement about the discovery, which suggests that social platforms should expect to again detect the kind of coordinated disinformation campaigns that targeted the 2016 election around U.S. midterm elections this November. The company stated that more than 290,000 accounts followed one of the Pages it identified. The Pages in question were created starting in March 2017 and most recently in May of 2018. The most popular Pages displaying this kind of behavior were “Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being” and “Resisters.” The other Pages had less than 10 followers each and the Instagram account did not have any followers. That does not necessarily discount other kinds of potential activity, like commenting and messaging. According to Facebook, “They ran about 150 ads for approximately $11,000 on Facebook and Instagram, paid for in US and Canadian dollars” between April 2017 and June of this year. The Pages also made around 30 Facebook events. As Gleicher writes in the post, these accounts are operating more cautiously than the infamous Russian disinformation accounts around the 2016 election: For example they used VPNs and internet phone services, and paid third parties to run ads on their behalf. As we’ve told law enforcement and Congress, we still don’t have firm evidence to say with certainty who’s behind this effort. Some of the activity is consistent with what we saw from the IRA before and after the 2016 elections. And we’ve found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled last year, which is covered below. But there are differences, too. For example, while IP addresses are easy to spoof, the IRA accounts we disabled last year sometimes used Russian IP addresses. We haven’t seen those here. See the trippy propaganda images attacking the midterms on Facebook