Tech 2.0 for Thursday, April 25, 2013

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 4/25/2013 11:32 am

A few minutes, 12 words -- and $134 billion dollars worth of stock. That's what the immediate damage adds up to when it comes to the hackers who sent a false tweet on The Associated Press Twitter account on Tuesday. The report -- that there were explosions at the White House and that President Barack Obama had been injured -- led investors to start dumping stocks -- and caused the Dow Jones industrial average to plummet for a while. But as experts look closer at the situation, it appears computers were as much to blame for the stock drop as the false tweet. Most trades these days are done by high-speed computers -- many of which are programmed to respond to data, news -- and yes, even tweets -- to execute trades in fractions of seconds. But some experts say the computers took their cue to dump stocks from human traders who took a moment from their work stop and digest the false tweet.

Facebook says that an independent audit found its privacy practices sufficient during a six-month assessment period that was part of a settlement with federal regulators. Facebook Inc. said it submitted the findings to the Federal Trade Commission on Monday. The audit was required as part of the social networking company's settlement with the FTC last summer. The settlement resolved charges that Facebook exposed information about users without getting the required legal consent. Facebook provided a copy of its letter to the FTC along with a redacted copy of the auditor's letter, to The Associated Press. Facebook says the redacted portion contains trade secret information and does not alter the auditor's findings. The name of the accounting firm is also redacted. The audit covered written policies as well as its data.

Microsoft is inviting journalists to an Xbox event at its Redmond., Wash., headquarters that will likely shed light on its next video game console. Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday that the May 21 event will reveal a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. Nineteen days later Microsoft plans to reveal more details about its games at the E3 video game expo in Los Angeles. Microsoft says the event will be broadcast on and on Xbox Live and on Spike TV in the U.S. and Canada. In February Sony Corp. gave some details about its next gaming machine, the PlayStation 4, at a New York event. Nintendo's latest game console, the Wii U, launched last fall. All three are trying to position their devices as entertainment hubs.

For many people, it has become the place to buy music. But that sure wasn't the case 10 years ago when Apple launched its iTunes music site. At the time, the music industry was being battered by online piracy -- as file-sharing sites like Napster and LimeWire spawned a generation of music fans to expect that online music was -- and should remain -- free. In the past decade, iTunes has nudged millions of users to buy music, as well as TV shows, movies books and magazines online. The service is now available in 119 countries.
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