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    📱|Google reportedly exploring purchase of iconic …

    Google is reportedly negotiating to purchase the state-owned James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. If true, such a deal could spark a turnaround for the struggling LaSalle Street corridor, where many longtime businesses have recently departed, leaving behind huge vacancies. The state talked for years about selling the 1.2-million-square-foot office center and seemed to reach that goal when Chicago developer Michael Reschke agreed to buy it in March for $70 million. Reschke said he planned to spend nearly $300 million to renovate the Helmut Jahn-designed center, best known for its futur…

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    👍|Editorial: Elon Musk heralds ‘free speech’ for …

    Everyone loves free speech. Especially their own. Elon Musk, the world’s richest human and a prolific Twitter user, proudly calls himself a zealot for “free speech,” which takes on special meaning now that he apparently has sealed a $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter and take the company private. His famously flamboyant fascination with the social network’s power is facing mounting questions about what he really has in mind — and how it will square with the social, political and legal realities of a world that already likes to think of Twitter as if it belonged to them — or should. Issue one…

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    📱|Google to pay $100 million class-action settlem…

    Illinois residents who have appeared in a photograph on the Google Photos app within the last seven years may be eligible for a cut of a $100 million class-action privacy settlement reached by Google this month. The lawsuit alleges Google’s face grouping tool, which sorts faces in the Google Photos app by similarity, runs afoul of Illinois’ biometric privacy law. The law requires companies to get user consent for the use of such technologies. The settlement was filed in Cook County Circuit Court April 14, and Judge Anna M. Loftus issued an order granting preliminary approval of the agreement M…

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    👍|Commentary: Americans are united in wanting Con…

    Thousands of local papers have shuttered their doors in recent years, and those surviving are facing unprecedented challenges in remaining both economically viable and as the lifeblood of their communities. All the while, Big Tech monopolies like Alphabet and Meta — through sites like Google News and Facebook News — have come to dominate the news and publishing industries by expropriating the work of smaller and local operators via their news aggregator sites. The Founding Fathers enshrined protections for a press free from government regulation in the First Amendment to the Constitution becau…

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    👍|Nearly 1.6 million Illinois Facebook users coul…

    More than a year after a landmark $650 million Facebook privacy settlement was approved, checks for $397 each may finally be arriving for nearly 1.6 million Illinois users of the social media platform. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Hawaii issued a ruling Thursday upholding the class-action settlement over Facebook’s alleged violations of Illinois’ biometric privacy law. Barring further appeal, the money will go to Illinois class members within 60 days, according to Chicago attorney Jay Edelson, who filed the lawsuit against Facebook nearly seven years ago. “We’re gratified t…

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    👍|Commentary: Lawmakers should reject Instagram’s…

    Instagram recently announced that a central pillar of its response to teen mental health harms will be to create controls offering parents “to see how much time their teens spend on Instagram and to set time limits.” While this may sound empowering, it is, unfortunately, part of an unwelcome campaign to shift the burden of responsibility onto parents. Two decades ago, the tobacco industry used a similar strategy to deflect blame. For example, Phillip Morris (which has since changed its name to Altria) developed a series of parent-focused “anti-tobacco” materials with titles such as “Raising Ki…

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    👍|Editorial: Facebook flops and The New York Time…

    On Thursday, stock in Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, cratered a stunning 26% in a single trading day. And last Monday, The New York Times announced it had purchased a quirky but addictive puzzle named Wordle for a sum in the “low seven figures.” Those two developments are more related than they first seem. Facebook has run into a world of hurt, some of which are problems of its own making, some of which flow from the actions of competitors, but most of which reflect the public’s growing unease with the idea of “neutral” platforms embracing none of the normal responsibilities …

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    👍|Balancing Act: College decision day means Faceb…

    We spent the past 14 months filling our Facebook feeds with statistics and warnings and deeply personal, often terrible experiences brought on by a pandemic. College decision day — May 1; when graduating seniors commit to a school — marked a refreshing pivot to happier content. Proud parents flooded their social feeds all weekend with announcements about where their kids are heading in the fall. In Chicago, Friday was also the day Chicago Public Schools’ selective enrollment high schools sent out acceptance notices, so parents of eighth graders also got in on the action. “Especially this year,…

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    👍|Nearly 1.4 million Illinois Facebook users have…

    CHICAGO — Illinois Facebook users have until Monday to claim their share of a $650 million class action settlement over alleged violations of the state’s biometric privacy law.Nearly 1.4 million people had filed a claim as of Wednesday, which would make the expected payout about $400 each, Chicago attorney Jay Edelson said.In April 2015, Edelson filed the initial lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of plaintiff Carlo Licata, alleging the social media giant’s use of facial tagging features without consent was not allowed under Illinois privacy law.The case was moved to Chicago federa…

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    👍|Facebook to open first data center in Illinois

    Facebook plans to build an $800 million data center in DeKalb, Ill., that will rely solely on renewable energy and create about 100 jobs.The data center, a 505-acre project will use 80% less water than other data centers, the social media giant said.The Facebook-owned land can accommodate five buildings, and two will be completed by 2022. “As time progresses, we will decide if it makes sense for us to continue to expand,” said Rachel Peterson, vice president of data center strategy for Facebook.It will be Facebook’s first data center in Illinois. The company has 15 others globally. The 100 emp…