The Woman Who Got Netflix to Let Users Turn Off Autoplay Videos

Last week, Netflix introduced the ability to turn off those annoying autoplay videos. Recode spoke to Sarah Hollowell, the woman who made it happen.

A week after her volley of tweets, Netflix retweeted Hollowell and announced the updated settings. This is a big deal, if you follow Netflix Twitter much. People reviled these autoplay previews so much that there’s a dedicated Twitter account collecting the complaints, including one widely circulated smirk from Knives Out director Rian Johnson. Outrage like this has spilled over to seemingly every corner of the internet. If you click through any of those links, you’ll also realize that people have been yelling at Netflix about this for years. There’s even a Change.org petition started by a Melissa Bryant, a passionate Netflix user from Maine, that racked up nearly 125,000 signatures in the past two months.

TMO UK Associate Editor Charlotte Henry (#4) - TMO Background Mode Interview

Charlotte Henry is a London-based technical journalist. A self-described media junkie, she writes about Apple — and now for the Mac Observer as well as our UK Associate Editor. She has also written for City A.M. (London’s daily business tabloid,) Computer Business Review, the Independent on Sunday and CapX. Her new book is: Not Buying It.

In this special episode, Charlotte and I discuss the various streaming TV services: Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, CBS All Access, Britbox, Peacock, and Quibi. We chat about our favorite shows, our experiences viewing, the pricing, and the prospects of success for the new guys on the block. Charlotte loves The Bold Type (Netflix). John waxes poetic about The Mandalorian and Star Trek: Picard.

Chinese Military Charged With Equifax Data Breach

Four Chinese military hackers have been charged with breaking into Equifax’s network and stealing the data of tens of millions of Americans.

The accused hackers exploited a software vulnerability to gain access to Equifax’s computers, obtaining log-in credentials that they used to navigate databases and review records. The indictment also details efforts the hackers took to cover their tracks, including wiping log files on a daily basis and routing traffic through dozens of servers in nearly 20 countries.

Reminder that Equifax executives did insider trading based on the breach. They are criminals.

Google Fighting $9 Billion Worth of EU Fines

Google will commence its efforts to have over $9 billion of fines from the EU overturned this week. Bloomberg News looked at the impending legal battle.

The EU’s General Court in Luxembourg will host a three-day hearing starting on Feb. 12 as the Alphabet Inc. unit seeks to topple a 2.4 billion-euro ($2.6 billion) penalty in 2017 for thwarting smaller shopping search services. Lawyers say the court clash will help set the scene for a broader crackdown on U.S. tech giants by Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner. Apple Inc. is separately battling her massive back-tax order and Amazon.com Inc. is currently being investigated for potentially favoring its own products over those of third-party sellers on its platform.

Edison Mail Uses Your Emails For Market Research

Popular Apple Mail alternative Edison Mail scans your emails for market research so companies can make “better investment decisions” among other uses.

On its website Edison says that it does “process” users’ emails, but some users did not know that when using the Edison app the company scrapes their inbox for profit. Motherboard has also obtained documentation that provides more specifics about how two other popular apps—Cleanfox and Slice—sell products based on users’ emails to corporate clients.

I did write about Edison Mail coming to the Mac last year, and noted that the company calls it “interesting research.”

Wikipedia War Rages Over Coronavirus Disinformation

Whenever a topic dominates the headlines it blows up on Wikipedia with users and editors battling to have proper information on the site. The coronavirus outbreak has been no different, Wired reported.

Over a few weeks, the English-language version of Wikipedia witnessed the creation of at least six articles about the outbreak. Since the beginning of January, over 18 million people have read those entries. Countless others have found their way to articles indirectly related to the coronavirus, including those for Sars, Wuhan, “bat as food” – and even Corona beer, which has seen an uptick in editing. This frenetic surge in interest is a challenge for Wikipedia’s community of volunteer editors, who have to deal with a firehose of information about the health crisis constantly flooding the website, and inevitably fight off rumours and misinformation.