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Reading news online over the past year, I came to realize that more or less every story now includes a beautiful woman. Tucked into modules with names like "around the web" or "you might like," there she is, demonstrating her bosom or backside or pearly-white smile. Often she is a celebrity, talking about weight loss, filing a lawsuit, or collapsing onstage. Other times she is a fitness guru,...

Russia's largest social network is under the control of Putin's allies, founder says

The embattled founder of VK, Russia's largest social networking site, said this week that the company is now "under the complete control" of two oligarchs with close ties to President Vladimir Putin. In a VK post published Monday, Pavel Durov said he's been fired as CEO of the website, claiming that he was pushed out on a technicality, and that he only heard of it through media reports. According to Durov, the site will now be under the control of Alisher Usmanov — Russia's richest man and the head of web giant — and Igor Sechin, CEO of a state-owned oil company and reportedly a close Putin ally.

"It's interesting that shareholders did not have the courage to do it directly," Durov, 29, wrote on his VK page. VK has more than 100 million users across Russia and nearby countries. It was launched in 2006, and is widely regarded as a "Russian Facebook" due to its similar design and functionality.

"We did a lot. And part of what’s been done can’t be turned back." Pavel Durov, VK


Facebook's friend problem

When I arrived at the University of Michigan in fall 2007, everybody said "Facebook me."

In the following days, even a passing meeting guaranteed that a friend request would pop up the next time I logged on to Facebook. I felt popular and informed, at all times abreast of what my hallmates,...


Google nabs drone company Facebook allegedly wanted to buy

For a moment, it seemed like Google and Facebook were about to pursue two different techniques to deliver internet signals from the sky: Google with weather balloons, and Facebook with high-flying drones. But now, it seems that Google will own drones as well. Google has just bought Titan Aerospace, the very company that Facebook was rumored to be acquiring.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Titan Aerospace team will work with Google's existing Project Loon ballon team, as well as the...


Heartbleed: the bug that put the internet on high alert

In the spring of 2014, the internet was rocked by what security researchers are calling a "catastrophically bad" bug. Known by the dramatic name Heartbleed, the bug left the widely-used, open source OpenSSL protocol vulnerable to attacks that...

Hacker successfully uses Heartbleed to retrieve private security keys

This morning, content distribution network Cloudflare gave some hope to those affected by the Heartbleed security flaw with an announcement that the bug might not be as bad as feared. In two weeks of testing, Cloudflare said, its researchers failed to exploit the bug to steal a website's private SSL keys, which secures the data sent to users. It issued a challenge to white-hat hackers to successfully retrieve the private security keys — and...

Facebook's latest government report reveals which countries censor its News Feed

Facebook today released its second global government transparency report, covering the period between July and December of last year. Apart from the regular numbers pertaining to government requests for user data, the social network is now — for the first time — revealing how often countries have restricted or had content removed from the site "on the grounds that it violates local law." India easily ranks as the worst offender here,...

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