The Circuit:

Facebook joins the Global Network Initiative: Facebook announced Wednesday that it is joining the Global Network Initiative, which asks companies to commit to certain standards when it comes to protecting the freedom of expression and Internet privacy rights.

In a release, Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage said, “Advancing human rights, including freedom of expression and the right to communicate freely, is core to our mission of making the world more open and connected.”

Adding Facebook and its large user base to the initiative, GNI executive director Susan Morgan said, “puts GNI in an even better place to press governments to fulfill their obligations to protect rights online.”

Facebook, teens and privacy : The Pew Center for Internet and American Life has found that Facebook’s appeal among young people is dropping, with the report noting that some teen users dislike that “drama” on the site but maintain their profiles to keep in touch with the teenage social scene.

The study also found that while teens are sharing more information about themselves then they have in the past, they’re also taking more steps to protect their online privacy. Sixty percent of teen Facebook users told researchers that they keep their profiles private and feel comfortable that they understand how the settings work.

Apple CEO defends tax strategy: Apple chief executive Tim Cook was defiant in his defense of the firm’s tax strategies before a Senate subcommittee, The Washington Post reported. While Cook said he believes that the U.S. corporate tax code could be reformed, he also was firm in stating that Apple pays the taxes it owes and does not use gimmicks to shift profits to lower-tax territories overseas.

Cook’s appearance on the Hill marked a departure from Apple’s traditionally hands-off approach to Washington, the report noted, something that Cook recognized in his testimony.

“While we have never had a large presence in Washington, we are deeply committed to our country’s welfare,” Cook told members of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Microsoft rivalries, old and new, come with new Xbox:With the new Xbox One, Microsoft is taking on not only Sony and Nintendo for the gaming sphere, but also Amazon, Netflix, Google and Apple in the race for who will dominate the living-room TV.

As the company unveiled its new console Tuesday, it focused heavily on the multimedia features, such as the ability to stream live television (though the company was light on details about how) or to make calls over Microsoft’s Skype service. The new focus shows that it’s looking to take on set-top box and smart television makers as well as its fellow gaming consoles.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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