Amazon to Buy US Grocer Whole Foods Market for $13.7 Billion

HIGHLIGHTS
Amazon to acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion
Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under its brand
The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017
Online juggernaut Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion (approximately Rs. 88,300 crore), a strong move to expand its growing reach into groceries.

Amazon.com Inc. will pay $42 (approximately Rs. 2,700) per share for Whole Foods Market Inc., including debt. That marks an 18 percent premium to Whole Foods’ closing price on Thursday.

The deal comes a month after Whole Foods announced a board shake-up and cost-cutting plan amid falling sales. The grocery store operator was also under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners.

The grocery chain, known for its organic options, had been facing increased pressure from rivals, including European grocery chain Lidl, which is planning to enter the East Coast market, along with Aldi and Trader Joe’s.

Amazon to Buy US Grocer Whole Foods Market for $13.7 Billion

Amazon, meanwhile, has been expanding its reach in goods, services, and entertainment.

Whole Foods will keep operating stores under its name and John Mackey will as CEO, with headquarters in Austin, Texas.

The company, founded in 1978, has struggled to differentiate itself as competitors also now offer a plethora of fresh and organic foods, and has said customers may be choosing “good enough” alternatives closer to home. In addition to other natural and organic grocers, it has cited pressure from restaurant chains, meal-delivery companies and traditional supermarkets such as Kroger.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

YouTube Is Down, It's Not Just You

If you are wondering why YouTube is down for you, you are not alone, the world’s biggest video-sharing website is suffering an unknown outage currently and the users are unable to access the website.

The users who visit the website can see a 500 error along with a message saying, “500 Internal Server Error Sorry, something went wrong. A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation”, like the one seen below.

youtube-is-down

According to the DownDetector, the YouTube came down around 6 pm GMT. However, we do not have any clear reason for the site coming down. People at Hackread are keeping an eye on this situation and once the website is up or if there is an official statement about the incident from Google about the downtime we will be updating this article.

Update:

After being offline for more than 2hours YouTube came back, but, there has been no word from Google on this incident and why the website was down. Stay tuned and we will update Google’s comment on this issue.

Amazon to Face Tough Wal-Mart Test This Back-to-School Season: JPD

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s online sales is likely to grow double than Amazon.com Inc during the back-to-school season, helped by the Jet.com acquisition and competitive price offerings, industry research body NPD said.

An aggressive pricing and marketing strategy, coupled with the fact that Amazon’s business has reached maturity in back-to-school sales, will see Wal-Mart winning the online retail tussle this back-to-school season, NPD Chief Analyst Marshal Cohen told Reuters.

“With Wal-Mart’s new Jet.com investment, I would suspect that Wal-Mart is going to basically be able to increase the growth rate, probably almost double that of Amazon,” Cohen said.

Winning back-to-school, the second-biggest shopping season after the winter holidays, has become extremely important for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers as their store operations continue to lose customers to online shopping.

To close the gap with Amazon, Wal-Mart acquired online wholesale retailer Jet.com for $3 billion in 2016, through which it not only expanded its product assortment and added more than 400,000 customers, but also gained e-commerce know-how.

Cohen said he expects Wal-Mart to grow its online sales between 2 percent and 5 percent.

Jet.com provides Wal-Mart with a broader assortment of products than what a store has, including timely promotions and dynamic pricing, Cohen said.

Amazon to Face Tough Wal-Mart Test This Back-to-School Season: JPD

Wal-Mart’s online offerings have risen from 8 million items, at the start of 2016, to more than 20 million by the end of the year. In comparison, Amazon has more than 300 million products.

The world’s largest retailer has also started offering free two-day shipping on eligible orders, much like Amazon’s Prime subscription program.

Wal-Mart’s aggressive efforts to take on Amazon seem to be gaining momentum even as other retailers and department store chains struggle.

Online sales for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart rose 63 percent in the first quarter of this year, faster than the 29 percent growth during fourth quarter and 20 percent in the third quarter.

Online sales account for about 3 percent of the company’s total sales. Wal-Mart expects online sales growth of 20 percent to 30 percent in the second half of the year, and even faster in the next few years.

Why You Should Blog to Get Your Next Job

Think of the word “blog” and what comes to mind? Mommy bloggers? People posting funny cat videos? Well, no more. Today’s savvy job seekers are putting their skills to the test and blogging their way to success and job opportunities. Here’s why a blog can get you your next job.

1. It’s your resume, only better: Everyone has a resume. But a blog allows you to highlight the skills on your resume, times ten. For example, if you’re a writer, you can flex your writing muscles and post examples of your creative writing. Even if you’re a tax accountant, you can write your thought-provoking opinions on some of the new tax laws or add a testimonial from a happy client. Just be sure what you write is accurate and well-supported.

2. It gives you a positive digital footprint: Whenever you apply for a job, the first thing a recruiter will do is investigate you online. Having a blog will give potential employers a fuller (and positive) picture of who you are and how you carry yourself, both personally and professionally. And unlike being tagged in an unflattering — and public — image of yourself on Facebook, your blog contains content that you can completely control to project yourself in the best light possible.

3. It helps you build a network: Employers are not only looking for employees who bring knowledge and a superior skill set to the table, but they also want someone who is well connected. So while you might have 500+ connections on LinkedIn, having a blog that has a dedicated readership shows that you know how to create — and keep — connections, both in the digital world and the real world.

4. It keeps you current — and sharp: If you’ve been scanning and searching the Internet for job postings for a while, it’s easy to let your skills slip a little. Blogging will not only keep your knowledge current, but it will also keep your skills sharp as you create cool new content for your readers on a consistent basis. It can also help you stand out as a career expert in your industry.

5. It makes you interesting to employers: When hiring managers read resumes every day, it can get really boring, really fast. If you have a blog that represents not only your skills but also (hello!) your personality, that makes you stand out more than the other seekers who submitted their resumes on fine linen watermarked paper. Suddenly, you become a person — and a possible job candidate they’ll call in for an interview.

Creating and customizing a blog makes you attractive to potential employers. It will help set you apart from other candidates and give you that added edge in finding a job.

Mashable Job Board Listings

The Mashable Job Board connects job seekers across the U.S. with unique career opportunities in the digital space. While we publish a wide range of job listings, we have selected a few job opportunities from the past two weeks to help get you started. Happy hunting!

Fix broken plugin content on the Web with NoPlugin

NoPlugin is a browser add-on for Firefox, Chrome and Opera that has been designed to fix web content that requires plugins on the Internet.

Plugins are on their way out, with all major browser developers having announced that classic plugins won’t be part of future browser versions anymore.

The web is moving to a HTML5 future, and plugins are a relic of the past. While Flash is still being kept around, at least for a little bit longer, depending on the browser that you are using, plugins other than Flash may not work anymore already.

See Firefox, DRM and the end of NPAPI, or Chrome launches without NPAPI plugin support for further information.

The removal of support for plugins however may have an effect on an Internet user’s web experience. While browsers may not support plugins anymore, plenty of sites out there still require them for some content.

plugin not supported

If you visit such a web page in a modern browser, you usually get an error message. Chrome for instance displays “this plugin is not supported”, and Firefox that the “video format or mime type is not supported”.

The disabling of plugins in browsers makes this content inaccessible. While plenty of sites are using HTML5 now for their content, it is fair to say that some sites will never be updated. Pages or sites that are no longer maintained for instance, or sites for which the operator cannot or won’t make the investment that is required.

NoPlugin

NoPlugin has been designed as a solution for this issue. It is a cross-browser, open source, WebExtension.

Basically, what NoPlugin does is scan web pages that you visit for plugin content (embedded content).  Note that the extension is limited to media content.

Depending on the content, two things may happen. If the browser can play the content without plugins, the embedded content is replaced with a HTML5 player so that the content can be played directly in the browser.

If the content cannot be played, a download option is provided instead so that the content can be downloaded to the local system and played in a local player then.

The message on the screenshot below for instance links directly to the media file so that you can download it to your local system (This page is trying to load plugin content here. Click to open it in your media player).

noplugin

A click on the open content button downloads the media file to the local system so that you can play it using any media player that supports the format (mov in this case).

NoPlugin may play mp4, mp3, m4a and wav files directly in the browser. Any other media cannot be played directly, but is provided as a download option instead.

Verdict

NoPlugin has been created as a remedy to make left-behind media sites that rely on plugins to play content work in modern web browsers. The use of the extension depends largely on your browsing habits.

If one of your favorite sites requires plugins for instance, you will benefit from NoPlugin provided that it detects the embed code correctly on it and provides you with a download or direct streaming option.

Now you: Do you need plugins for some stuff on the Internet?

Facebook Wins Dismissal of US Lawsuits Linked to Terrorism

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed two lawsuits seeking to hold Facebook Inc liable for supporting terrorist groups by letting them use its social media platform to further their goals, including violence against Jews.

US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn dismissed a $3 billion (roughly Rs. 19,450 crores) damages lawsuit by relatives of American victims of Hamas attacks, saying the federal Communications Decency Act regulating Internet content immunises Facebook from liability.

That law “prevents courts from entertaining civil actions that seek to impose liability on defendants like Facebook for allowing third parties to post offensive or harmful content or failing to remove such content once posted,” Garaufis wrote.

Garaufis also dismissed a lawsuit by roughly 20,000 Israeli citizens who feared harm from future violence. He said they had no legal right to demand changes to Facebook’s platform because they could not show any “actual or imminent” injury.

Facebook Wins Dismissal of US Lawsuits Linked to Terrorism

The decision is a setback to efforts to hold companies such as Facebook and Twitter Inc liable for failing to better police users’ online speech.

Robert Tolchin, a lawyer for both sets of the plaintiffs, said Garaufis appeared to sidestep limits under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act on aiding groups such as Hamas, a Palestinian group that the Department of State designates a foreign terrorist organization.

“There is a clash between statutes that the court needed to reconcile but ignored,” Tolchin said in an interview. “We are planning to appeal because we see major errors in the decision.”

 

In an email, Facebook said “there is no place on Facebook for groups that engage in terrorist activity or for content that expresses support for such activity, and we take swift action to remove this content when it’s reported to us. We sympathize with the victims and their families.”

Congress passed the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to regulate online pornography.

Garaufis said applications of that law in other contexts have arguably undermined incentives for internet service providers to remove content, but that it was enough for now to show that Congress’ “focus” was to limit liability.

The Brooklyn lawsuits drew notice after Facebook’s law firm Kirkland & Ellis initially assigned a junior associate to represent the Palo Alto, California-based company, prompting Garaufis to ask if it took the matter seriously.

Facebook quickly flew its deputy general counsel, Paul Grewal, a former federal judge, from California to Brooklyn, where he assured Garaufis that the company had “a very serious interest in keeping terrorism content off” its platform.

The cases are Cohen et al v. Facebook Inc, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 16-04453; and Force et al v Facebook Inc in the same court, No. 16-05158.

Facebook Moderation Guidelines Leaked, Show How It Reviews Hate Speech, Extremist Content

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Challenges such as revenge porn have overwhelmed Facebook moderators
  • It reviews around 6.5 million reports of potentially fake accounts a week
  • It confirmed that it was using software to intercept graphic content

Leaked Facebook documents show how the social media company moderates issues such as hate speech, terrorism, pornography and self-harm on its platform, the Guardian reported, citing internal guidelines seen by the newspaper.

New challenges such as “revenge porn” have overwhelmed Facebook’s moderators who often have just ten seconds to make a decision, the Guardian said. The social media company reviews more than 6.5 million reports of potentially fake accounts a week, the newspaper added.

Many of the company’s content moderators have concerns about the inconsistency and peculiar nature of some of the policies. Those on sexual content, for example, are said to be the most complex and confusing, the Guardian said.

Facebook had no specific comment on the report but said safety was its overriding concern.

Facebook Moderation Guidelines Leaked, Show How It Reviews Hate Speech, Extremist Content

“Keeping people on Facebook safe is the most important thing we do. We work hard to make Facebook as safe as possible while enabling free speech. This requires a lot of thought into detailed and often difficult questions, and getting it right is something we take very seriously”, Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management Monica Bickert said in a statement.

Facebook confirmed that it was using software to intercept graphic content before it went on the website, but it was still in its early stages.

The leaked documents included internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts, the Guardian said.

The newspaper gave the example of Facebook policy that allowed people to live-stream attempts to self-harm because it “doesn’t want to censor or punish people in distress.”

Facebook moderators were recently told to “escalate” to senior managers any content related to “13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix original drama series based on the suicide of a high school student, because it feared inspiration of copycat behavior, the Guardian reported.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the documents published on the Guardian website.

Twitter Users Experiencing Issues in Several Parts of the World

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Issues are being faced in several parts of the world
  • The service is not let users post tweets
  • Issues are affecting websites and apps alike

Twitter appears to be down. Several users, including Gadgets 360 staff, are facing issues posting tweets on the social network. The issue is affecting the Web interface, mobile website, TweetDeck, as well as the Android and iOS apps. Third party apps like TweetBot also appear to be affected.

When trying to post a tweet on the website or apps, Twitter users are greeted with various messages, ranging from “Internet server error” to “Sorry! We did something wrong” and “Tweet not sent. We’re sorry, we weren’t able to send your Tweet. Would you like to retry or save this Tweet in drafts?”

Those trying various tabs of the Web interface also report being greeted by an error message, as seen above – “Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing—we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

Twitter Users Experiencing Issues in Several Parts of the World

Crowdsourcing-based downtime tracking website Down Detector reports a major spike in reported problems at around 10:30am IST, and its live outage map at the time of writing this article showed error reports from several parts of the world, including the US, India, Europe, and Japan.

70 percent of the issues being reported are being faced by Twitter website users, while 21 percent are report issues via the Android app, and 8 percent are reporting issues via the iPad app, Down Detector indicates.

The micro-blogging service going down follows recent outages by Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The wide use of these services ensures that when they go down, there is much outrage and frustration voiced by users. Are you facing issues with Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Vine Users' Phone Numbers, Email Addresses Were Briefly Exposed, Twitter Reveals

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Twitter made its Vine Archive live earlier this year
  • Twitter turned Vine into a pared-down camera app earlier this year
  • Twitter has already informed affected users about the bug

If you might remember, Twitter converted Vine into a dedicated camera app earlier this year. Shortly after, the company made Vine Archive live to help users see all Vines available on the site since 2013. While this was a noble idea in theory, it turns out that a bug that affected the Vine Archive potentially exposed the phone numbers and email addresses associated with Vine accounts to third-parties in certain conditions.

Vine Users' Phone Numbers, Email Addresses Were Briefly Exposed, Twitter Reveals

Twitter has clarified that the bug in question affected the Vine Archive for less than 24 hours and has since been fixed. The social media company says that it has already notified all affected account holders for whom it had a verified email address on file, so if you weren’t notified, you most likely weren’t affected.

“While we have no information indicating that any user information impacted by this incident has been misused, it’s always a good idea to be cautious of emails or text messages received from unknown senders,” the company said.

 

To recall, Twitter announced in October last year that it would be discontinuing it video-sharing mobile app Vine as a cost-cutting measure. There were reports that the company was considering a sale of the service instead of discontinuation but Twitter went ahead to convert the app into Vine Camera on January 17.

In the Vine Archive, users can search for the Vines either by the year that they were uploaded or by their category. The categories mentioned on the site include Animals, Art, Comedy, Edits, Music & Dance, Sports, and Weird. Users can also choose to browse the Vines through categories Editor’s Picks, and Playlists such as “Do It For The Vine”, “Bruh”, and others. Users can also search for their favourite Vines by searching the name of their creator’s user name in the community section.

 

Twitter Co-Founder: I'm Sorry if We Made Trump's Presidency Possible

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Twitter’s Evan Williams told NYT that he wants to repair Internet damage
  • It includes cyberbullies, fake news, live-streamed violence, etc.
  • He also apologised for the victory of Donald Trump as US President

If anyone knows how important Twitter is to Donald Trump, it’s the president.

“Without the tweets, I wouldn’t be here,” he told the Financial Times last month.

To which Twitter’s co-founder says: Sorry about that, world.

Evan Williams, who still sits on the company’s board of directors, recently told The New York Times that he wants to repair the damage he thinks Twitter and the broader Internet have wrought on society in the form of trolls, cyberbullies, live-streamed violence, fake news and – yes – Trump.

Twitter Co-Founder: I'm Sorry if We Made Trump's Presidency Possible

“I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place,” Williams told the Times. “I was wrong about that.”

“If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry,” he said.

Is it true? Hard to say.

Since Trump became president, his incessant, aggressive and sometimes inaccurate tweets have seemed as much a liability as a political boon. His aides held a social media “intervention” a few weeks ago, according to The Wall Street Journal, trying to convince Trump that unfounded accusations like “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ ” could endanger him politically and legally.

On the campaign trail, Trump once described his rapidly growing Twitter following not only as a means to get the truth out, but also as a way to get even with his enemies.

“Someone said I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters,” he told a crowd in South Carolina, air-typing into a pretend phone. “If someone says something badly about you: Bing, bing, bing! I say something really bad.”