FTC votes to review influencer marketing rules & penalties – TechCrunch

FTC votes to review influencer marketing rules & penalties – TechCrunch

Undisclosed influencer marketing posts on social media should trigger financial penalties, according to a statement released today by the Federal Trade Commission’s Rohit Chopra. The FTC has voted 5-0 to approve a Federal Register notice calling for public comments on questions related to whether The Endorsement Guides for advertising need to be updated.

“When companies launder advertising by paying an influencer to pretend that their endorsement or review is untainted by a financial relationship, this is illegal payola,” Chopra writes. “The FTC will need to determine whether to create new requirements for social media platforms and advertisers and whether to activate civil penalty liability.”

Currently the non-binding Endorsement Guides stipulate that “when there is a connection between an endorser and a seller of an advertised product that could affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement, the connection must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.” In the case of social media, that means creators need to note their post is part of an “ad,” “sponsored” content or “paid partnership.”

But Chopra wants the FTC to consider making those rules official by “Codifying elements of the existing endorsement guides into formal rules so that violators can be liable for civil penalties under Section 5(m)(1)(A) and liable for damages under Section 19.” He cites weak enforcement to date, noting that in the case of department store Lord & Taylor not insisting 50 paid influencers specify their posts were sponsored, “the Commission settled the matter for no customer refunds, no forfeiture of ill-gotten

Spaceflight Industries to sell its satellite rideshare launch business to Japan’s Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa – TechCrunch

Spaceflight Industries to sell its satellite rideshare launch business to Japan’s Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa – TechCrunch

Spaceflight Industries, owner of both Spaceflight, Inc. and BlackSky, is selling the Spaceflight, Inc. portion of its business to Japanese industrial corporation Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa . The pair will own the company in a 50/50 joint venture after its closing. The deal will see Spaceflight continue to operate as an independent business based in the U.S. and headquartered in Seattle, with the same mission of providing rideshare launch services for small satellite payloads.

Meanwhile, Spaceflight Industries will use the funds generated from the sale (the terms of the deal were not disclosed) to re-invest in its BlackSky business. BlackSky is an Earth observation company that deals in geospatial intelligence. It currently operates four satellites in orbit, with eight more planned to join its constellation sometime later this year.

The deal also means that Mistui & Co, which is one of Japan’s largest businesses and operates in infrastructure, energy production, IT, food, consumer products, mining, chemicals and more, will now be in the rocket launch rideshare business as well. Mitsui also has an aerospace arm that includes a space business which provides satellite development, launch and operation services. It noted in a press release that Spaceflight will become “the cornerstone” of its space strategy pending close of the deal.

Spaceflight has been offering its services since 2010, launching a total of 271 satellites on 29 separate rocket launches. In 2020, Spaceflight is planning 10 missions. The company’s business seems poised to grow as more launch providers and more small

Impala raises $20 million to build the API of the hotel industry – TechCrunch

Impala raises $20 million to build the API of the hotel industry – TechCrunch

Impala has raised another round of funding just a few months after raising an $11 million Series A round. This time, the startup is raising a $20 million Series B round led by Lakestar. Latitude Ventures is also participating in the round.

The company is building a service that works pretty much like Plaid, but for hotel rooms. The hotel industry relies on old-school “property management systems” to manage rooms, room types, pricing, extras, taxes, etc.

Instead of asking hotels to switch to an entirely different property management system, the company is upgrading those systems with a modern API. This way, you can build applications that query hotel data directly with a few lines of code. You get a standardized JSON response from the API.

Impala is currently compatible with a handful of property management systems. The company is still adding more systems in order to cover a wider range of hotels.

Three hundred hotels are currently working with Impala, such as Accor hotels (Mercure) and Hyatt-branded hotels. The company currently has a backlog of 3,500 hotels. It really shows that the industry has been waiting for a product like this.

While Impala is still focused on surfacing data in an easy-to-code manner, the company is already thinking beyond read-only data. The startup wants to let developers book rooms directly using the Impala API.

It could open up hotel bookings to many other services. For instance, you could imagine being able to book rooms on Lonely Planet’s website. Services

how the JPL works to secure its missions from nation-state adversaries – TechCrunch

how the JPL works to secure its missions from nation-state adversaries – TechCrunch

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory designs, builds and operates billion-dollar spacecraft. That makes it a target. What the infosec world calls Advanced Persistent Threats — meaning, generally, nation-state adversaries — hover outside its online borders, constantly seeking access to its “ground data systems,” its networks on Earth, which, in turn, connect to the ground relay stations through which those spacecraft are operated.

Their presumptive goal is to exfiltrate secret data and proprietary technology, but the risk of sabotaging a billion-dollar mission also exists. In the wake of multiple security breaches, including APTs infiltrating their systems for months on end, the JPL has begun to invest heavily in cybersecurity.

I talked to Arun Viswanathan, a key NASA cyber security researcher, about that work, which is “totally representative of infosec today” and “unique to the JPL’s highly unusual concerns.” The key message is firmly in the former category, though: information security has to be proactive, not reactive.

Each mission at JPL is like its own semi-independent startup, but their technical constraints tend to be very unlike those of Valley startups. For instance, mission software is usually homegrown because their software requirements are so much more stringent; for instance, you absolutely cannot have software going rogue and consuming 100% of CPU on a space probe.

Successful missions can last a very long time, so the JPL has many archaic systems, multiple decades old, which are no longer supported by anyone; therefore, they have to architect their security solutions around the limitations of

Netflix makes autoplay previews optional – TechCrunch

Netflix makes autoplay previews optional – TechCrunch

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Netflix’s horrible autoplay previews can be turned off

Netflix’s autoplay trailers are now optional. That’s it. That’s the news.

And here’s how to turn them off now: Click “Manage Profiles,” choose your profile, then untick “Autoplay previews while browsing on all devices.”

2. Instagram prototypes letting IGTV creators monetize with ads

Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it has internally prototyped an Instagram Partner Program that would let creators earn money by showing advertisements along with their videos. By giving creators a sustainable and hands-off way to generate earnings from IGTV, those creators might be inspired to bring more and higher-quality content to the service.

3. Carta debuts fund to invest in startups that tap into its platform

Carta has created an investing vehicle called Carta Ventures. The well-funded unicorn hopes to foster an ecosystem around its core products and services.

4. SoftBank-backed Fair puts the brakes on weekly car rentals for Uber drivers

When Fair laid off 40% of its staff in October, CEO Scott Painter promised it wasn’t shuttering its leasing services to on-demand fleets. But just one week later, Painter was removed as CEO and replaced in the interim by Adam Hieber, a CFA from Fair investor SoftBank.

5. Is your startup using AI responsibly?

Since they started leveraging the technology, tech companies