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Timothy B. Lee

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 10/09/2012

Facebook proposes new settlement over ads #thecircuit

Facebook settlement: In a filing with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Facebook proposed a revised settlement with users who took issue with the company’s “Sponsored Stories” advertisements.

As Reuters reported, the agreement — as originally proposed — had been rejected by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg because it did not include any cash for Facebook users, only Internet privacy-focused charities. In a statement to The Washington Post, a Facebook spokesman said, “We believe the revised settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and responds to the issues raised previously by the court.”

Under the new proposal, Facebook would pay $20 million in settlement fees, the report said. The settlement covers around 125 million people, and charities may still get the money if it is logistically too difficult to pay each class member.

Pew study: On Tuesday, The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a study that found 88 percent of registered voters own a cell phone of some kind and are using the devices to get information about the 2012 election.

According to the report, 27 percent of registered voters surveyed have used their phones to keep up with election news, while 19 percent have sent text messages related to the campaign. Five percent, the study found, have received text messages from campaigns.

Meanwhile, smartphones have played their own particular role in this election — at least 35 percent have used their phones for a quick fact-check on a candidate’s claim.

Facebook want button: Facebook has introduced a new retail feature — “Want” and “Collect” buttons.

The buttons are part of a new Facebook feature called “Collections,” a tool that allows businesses to showcase goods on their pages and sell them through Facebook. According to a report from TechCrunch, Facebook is running three tests through Collections, which display different words — Like, Want or Collect — to users and post collected items to different peer groups on the network.

Facebook will be showing each of the buttons to roughly a third of its network.

The report said that Facebook doesn’t charge retailers to post Collections and doesn’t take a share of the money made through the feature. The feature does, however, benefit Facebook by encouraging its users to like individual business pages in order to see the latest from a particular store.

Huawei reacts to report: Chinese telecommunications company Huawei came out swinging after the publication of a House panel report on cybersecurity. The report said that Huawei and fellow telecommunications company ZTE had not cooperated with a probe into whether the companies had ties to or could be used for Chinese cyberespionage.

William Plummer, Huawei’s vice president for external affairs, denied the accusations and denounced the report as “quite strong on rhetoric” and “utterly lacking in substance,” the Post reported.

In an interview, he told the Post that there had been one incident where Huawei equipment was linked to a malicious virus, but it did not involve the transfer of U.S. customer data.

By  |  12:34 PM ET, 10/09/2012

 
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