Sony Corp. to launch an AI-based taxi-hailing service in Japan

 Sony Corporation said today that it will build an AI-based ride-hailing system in Japan in partnership with five taxi companies. The service will use artificial intelligence to manage taxi dispatches and forecast demand based on factors like weather, traffic and local events. Sony’s announcement came just before Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi, who is currently visiting… Read More

Facebook will verify the location of U.S. election ad buyers by mailing them postcards

 Facebook’s global director of policy programs says it will start sending postcards by snail mail to verify buyers of ads related to United States elections. Katie Harbath, who described the plan at a conference held by the National Association of Secretaries of State this weekend, didn’t reveal when the program will start, but told Reuters that it would be before the… Read More

The Rise of the Rest seed fund announces its first group of investments

 The Rise of the Rest seed fund’s first round of startup investments cover eight states that are usually overlooked by tech investors, including Kentucky, South Carolina and Ohio. The $150 million fund was launched in December by Steve Case and J.D. Vance, with backing from many of America’s most influential businesspeople, to support tech ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley, New… Read More

Alibaba signs deal with Disney to stream its animated shows in China

 Alibaba Group’s entertainment unit has signed a major licensing deal to show many of Disney’s animated series and movies on Youku, its streaming video service, and other platforms it selects. The agreement covers more than 1,000 episodes from Disney series, as well as many of its films, and means Alibaba is now the largest distributor of Disney animations in China. Read More

Tronc starts its new digital strategy with a majority stake in product review site BestReviews

 Tronc, the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, announced today that it now owns a majority stake in BestReviews, which publishes in-depth reviews of consumer products. In another announcement today, Tronc said that it intends to use funds from the sale of its California News Group, which included the Los Angeles Times, to focus on a new digital growth strategy that includes investing… Read More

Seattle says Facebook broke one of its campaign advertising laws

 Seattle’s election commission says Facebook broke a city law that requires it to disclose who paid for campaign ads. Reuters reports that the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission’s executive director, Wayne Barnett, said Facebook must reveal advertising spending information for last year’s city elections or potentially face fines of up to $5,000 per ad purchase. Read More

Leshi Internet says it must repay $890 million in debts by the end of 2018

 Leshi Internet, one of China’s largest video-streaming services, disclosed that it must pay back 5.62 billion RMB (about $890 million) by the end of this year. Leshi Internet’s (also known as Le.com) heavy debts stem from a financial crisis at its sister company LeEco, both of which were founded by Jia Yueting. Jia resigned as Leshi Internet’s chief executive officer last year.  Read More