The Facebook saga continues, Uber gives up on Southeast Asia, and Walmart expands its robot fleet.

 

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The Federal Trade Commision has confirmed that it’s investigating Facebook’s data practices on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica leak of 50 million Facebook users’ information. In a statement, the FTC says it takes the recent reports about Facebook and its privacy practices, “very seriously,” and is now investigating whether or not Facebook violated a consent decree it signed with the FTC in 2011. A violation of the consent decree could carry a penalty of $40,000 per violation. During his business trip to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he supports “well-crafted” regulation preventing the misuse of user information, and described the current situation around Facebook as “dire.”

Uber is waving the white flag in Southeast Asia and selling its business to the Singapore-based Grab. Grab, which operates in 191 cities in the region, about three times as many as Uber, says it will try to offer positions to all Uber staff in the region, most of whom are now on paid leave after the acquisition. As part of the deal, Uber will take a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab, while Uber’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab’s board.

And finally, there’s a lot of chatter online about Walmart’s robot fleet, which has now expanded to 50 of its stores across four states in the U.S. The six-foot-tall roving towers on wheels are equipped with cameras that can find shelving errors and detect out-of-stock items. Walmart’s vice president of innovation, John Crecelius, says the pilot program is designed to free up employees time to help customers, not take their jobs, and that some employees have even given the robots names and a name tag to wear.

That’s what’s trending this week. Hashtag Trending is produced by IT World Canada. Today’s episode is sponsored by Cogeco Peer 1, the company that enables businesses to unlock their IT potential. Learn more at CP1.com.

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