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Facebook could change the face of politics, Amazon launches monthly Prime option, Apple gives iPhones three years, Microsoft’s Captionbot is crap at identifying photos, and a Fallout game arrives on YouTube.

Facebook Could Affect Elections

Facebook could, if it wanted to, try to affect the outcome of elections such as the U.S. Presidential Election currently taking place. And some employees seem keen to do so. That’s the logical conclusion to draw from the revelation that Facebook employees recently asked their CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017?”

This was the fifth most popular question put forward for Zuckerberg to answer during a recent Q&A session. We don’t know how Zuckerberg answered this question, and probably never will. However, Facebook has since issued a statement saying:

“We encourage any and all candidates, groups, and voters to use our platform to share their views on the election and debate the issues. We as a company are neutral — we have not and will not use our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote.”

This is a clear, unequivocal commitment never to meddle in politics, but it flies in the face of Zuckerberg’s recent rant against “people” who sound suspiciously like Donald J. Trump. During his F8 keynote speech, when Facebook also launched its army of disappointing bots Facebook Brings Bots to Messenger, HTC Launches the HTC 10... [Tech News Digest] Facebook Brings Bots to Messenger, HTC Launches the HTC 10... [Tech News Digest] Facebook wants you to message bots, an introduction to the HTC 10, Microsoft makes the Blue Screen of Death useful, Periscope lets you doodle on your live streams, and the Flyboard Air flies through the... Read More , Zuckerberg said:

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others.’ I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases even for cutting access to the internet. It takes courage to choose hope over fear. People will always call you naive but it’s this hope and optimism that’s behind every important step forward.”

So, Facebook as a company is maintaining political impartiality Sick of Politics? 3 Powerful Ways to Clean Up Facebook Sick of Politics? 3 Powerful Ways to Clean Up Facebook You're probably using Facebook wrong. But don't feel bad — so is practically everyone else. An unconfigured Facebook page can be desperately annoying — but there are ways to clean it up. Read More , its boss has made his feelings perfectly clear. And what’s to stop Facebook nudging elections a certain way in the future? With more than 1.6 billion users, this is one of the few tech companies with the pull needed to exert such influence. And if it did it would be devastating for democracy.


Pay Monthly for Amazon Prime

Amazon is now offering more options when it comes to Amazon Prime. The premium service, which brings a host of benefits 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now Scratch the surface. Amazon Prime has so many more benefits that people have forgotten about or simply don't realize exist. Read More to customers, was previously only available as an annual subscription priced at $99. However, now, Amazon Prime can be paid for monthly, and Amazon Prime Video can be paid for separate to everything else.

The annual Amazon Prime subscription still costs $99, while the monthly Amazon Prime subscription costs $10.99-a-month. That works out to $131.88 for one year. Amazon Prime Video 10+ TV Shows That Make Amazon Prime Worth the Money 10+ TV Shows That Make Amazon Prime Worth the Money Netflix is undoubtedly the king of the movie and TV show streaming services. However, Amazon Prime has some fantastic television shows that make it worth the asking price. Read More , which is now available as a standalone service with none of the other extras, costs $8.99-a-month. That works out to $107.88 for one year.

We will have a full article on this in the coming days, helping you decide which option is right for you. In the meantime, it’s a good reminder of Amazon Prime is a good deal Is Amazon Prime A Good Deal? Is Amazon Prime A Good Deal? Amazon Prime seems like a great deal, but is it? We dig into the benefits to figure out if they're worth the $99 per year. Read More .

Apple Expects iPhones to Last 3 Years

Apple expects your iPhone or iPad to last for three years under normal usage conditions. That is at least according to a FAQ about Apple’s relationship with the environment. The company was asked, “How does Apple conduct its Product Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Assessment?” To which it replied:

“To model customer use, we measure the power consumed by a product while it is running in a simulated scenario. Daily usage patterns are specific to each product and are a mixture of actual and modeled customer use data. Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for OS X and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices.”

This doesn’t mean your iPhone is designed to fail after 1096 days (as conspiracy theorists may now tell you). Instead, it’s just that Apple expects you to upgrade Should You Choose The iPhone 5s Over The iPhone 6? Should You Choose The iPhone 5s Over The iPhone 6? Before you go straight for the new iPhone 6 or even the 6 Plus, why not look into the iPhone 5s instead? That's what I did – and I couldn't be happier. Read More after that relatively short space of time, whether or not the hardware is still going strong.

Microsoft Launches Another Crappy Bot


Microsoft has launched another bot, this one designed to describe everything it sees in a photo. Unfortunately, CaptionBot isn’t very good at its job, with plenty of people flagging up extremely wrong, and sometimes offensive, results.

It’s an artificial intelligence Attention, Internet! The Best Movies About Artificial Intelligence Attention, Internet! The Best Movies About Artificial Intelligence Hollywood has released a lot of great movies exploring the issues of artificial intelligence over the years, and here are 10 of the best movies about AI we recommend you move Heaven and Earth to... Read More bot, which means it should get better as it feeds on more information. However, having already killed its teenage chatbot Tay Facebook Drops BlackBerry, Uber Begs to Be Hacked.. [Tech News Digest] Facebook Drops BlackBerry, Uber Begs to Be Hacked.. [Tech News Digest] BlackBerry loses another supporter, Uber pays you to hack it, Toonz animation software goes open-source, Microsoft tweets like a teenager, and proof that Apple fans will believe any old crap. Read More off for tweeting some shocking things, Microsoft is taking a gamble letting CaptionBot loose on the Internet.

Choose Your Own Fallout Apocalypse

And finally, you can now play a Choose Your Own Adventure-style game on YouTube. Even better, it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure-style game based on Fallout: New Vegas. You get to watch a story unfold, making decisions at various points which redirect you to the next video. If you mess up, you simply return to the start and try again.

This is an amazing idea that must have taken months to put together. After all, every decision creates a new branch in the storyline, and every single branch has to lead somewhere. Luckily, the time and energy spent making this YouTube adventure should pay dividends, as it’s likely to grab you and refuse to let go the same way it did me. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Should Facebook be allowed to get involved in politics? Can you see the appeal of paying monthly for Amazon Prime? How old is your current smartphone? Has CaptionBot accurately described a photo for you? How did you fare at the Fallout YouTube game?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: David Mulder via Flickr

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