Momo buys Tantan, China’s Tinder, for $600M as Chinese social networks consolidate

 WeChat is far and away the biggest messaging platform in China at the moment, and that is helping to drive a push among the smaller players to get together for better scale. Today, Momo, the Chinese location-based social networking app that has more recently made a big push into dating services and is traded on Nasdaq with a market cap of around $6 billion, announced that it has… Read More

Twitter is (finally) cracking down on bots

 Twitter is cracking down on bots after it announced changes to its API that will massively reduce the impact of services that allow links and content to be shared across multiple accounts, i.e. the software that powers Twitter bots. So that means an end to services that let those controlling large numbers of accounts to batch tweet, follow users, retweet or like tweets. Twitter will continue… Read More

Edtech company Kidaptive raises $19.1 million for its adaptive learning platform

 Edtech startup Kidaptive, an adaptive-learning company that begin its life with a suite of curriculum-focused iPad games for kids, announced today it has closed on $19.1 million in Series C funding, in a round led by Formation 8 and Korean education company Woongjin ThinkBig. The investment follows a deal with Woongjin that will see Kidaptive powering an English language learning system… Read More

Google’s Tez payments app now lets users handle their utility bills and more

 Google’s Tez payment service in India has got a major update that allows users to pay their utilities and other bills via the app. The service was launched last September for iOS and Android and it initially allowed for payments between bank accounts using India’s UPI (Unified Payments Interface) protocol. Now the app has gotten support to pay for bills from more than 80… Read More

How ad-free subscriptions could solve Facebook

 At the core of Facebook’s “well-being” problem is that its business is directly coupled with total time spent on its apps. The more hours you pass on the social network, the more ads you see and click, the more money it earns. That puts its plan to make using Facebook healthier at odds with its finances, restricting how far it’s willing to go to protect us from the harms… Read More

Telegram has raised an initial $850M for its billion-dollar ICO

 It looks like Telegram’s billion-dollar ICO has reached its first milestone after the chat app company raised an initial $850 million, according to a filing. A document submitted to the SEC earlier this week states that the money was raised “for the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes.” The security… Read More

People are trolling iPhone users with the ‘killer symbol’ that crashes their apps

 Surprise! Assorted jerks on the internet have weaponized the Unicode-based bug we reported yesterday to insta-crash apps running on an iPhone or a Mac. The result is somewhere between the old Alt + F4 trick and a script kiddie stunt, and it ranges from being annoying to rendering a device unusable, depending on the tenacity of the troll. Read More

Under Russian pressure to remove content, Instagram complies but YouTube holds off

 Instagram has taken down content posted by Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny under pressure from a government agency, while YouTube has yet to do so. Navalny and others have criticized Instagram for complying to what they call a politically motivated move to silence him. Read More

Chat app Kakao’s games business lands $130M from Tencent and others ahead of IPO

 Korea’s dominant messaging firm Kakao is back raising funds after its games business, a standalone unit that is headed for an IPO, pulled in $130 million (140 billion KRW) from Tencent and a range of other strategic investors. The company, which owns Korea’s top mobile messaging app and one of the country’s largest internet portals, operates a sprawl of business that… Read More

Senator calls on Tinder to fix a security flaw that lets randos snoop through your dates

 Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is nervous about Tinder. He may not be swiping on the service this Valentine’s Day, but with a new letter demanding that Tinder resolve some security issues, Wyden is looking out for everyone who is. Last month, a security report surfaced what it deemed “disturbing vulnerabilities” in the dating app. Wyden’s letter cites the research, demanding… Read More