Jopwell raises $7.5 million to further its mission to diversify companies

Jopwell, the recruiting startup focused on diversity, has raised a $7.5 million Series A round led by Cue Ball Capital, bringing its total funding up to $11.75 million. Founded by Porter Braswell and Ryan Williams, Jopwell has an impressive group of investors, including Magic Johnson Enterprises, Andreessen Horowitz, Kapor Capital and Joe Montana.

This new round of funding will enable Jopwell to scale and take on more companies, Braswell and Williams told me. Jopwell’s primary focus has been on Fortune 1000 companies, but over the past two years or so, the company has seen demand from younger companies.

“Now that we’ve found success with that model, we know we can find success with smaller organizations of size and build out services that meet them where they are,” Braswell said.

To date, Jopwell has facilitated tens of thousands of connections between people of color and recruiters at top companies like Lyft, American Express, Conde Nast and Pinterest. Jopwell doesn’t disclose how many companies have made offers to candidates through the platform, but says there has been an increase in offers extended since 2015.

Jopwell itself is a pretty diverse company that is predominantly female (62 percent), 34 percent black, 28 percent Latinx, 21 percent Asian and 17 percent white.

“We are definitely an incredibly diverse organization which is why we’re successful,” Braswell said. “We are a true case study of how building a diverse company allows you to iterate and scale and succeed.”

Featured Image: Jopwell

Snapchat’s new Filters can transform the sky above your head

Snapchat’s latest augmented reality feature is another implementation of the tech that applies to the world, rather than the faces found in frame when you take a picture. They’re called ‘Sky Filters,’ and they can automatically detect sky in your images, and repaint them with totally different atmospheric looks.

The new filters are rolling out live starting today on both iOS and Android, Snapchat says, and will be rotating daily to slot in different effects, including different virtual weather, sunsets, starry skies, rainbows, storm clouds and other Sky Filters.

These new filters are available like any other – provided Snapchat recognizes available sky in the frame, they’ll show up when you swipe through the available filters along with any others post-capture.

Snapchat keeps rolling out new implementations of AR within its app, including the recent debut of animated 3D Bitmoji that interact with their environment, and the addition of World Lenses earlier this year to add other virtual objects and effects to the world around you.

Gem looks to CDC and European giant Tieto to take blockchain into healthcare

The blockchain is coming to healthcare.

Over the past year, the chorus of voices calling for blockchain’s adoption in the medical profession is growing increasingly loud.

Already, a pilot project from MIT’s Media Lab has shown great results in a pilot program with Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. There, the university has rolled out a blockchain application that creates a ledger for healthcare treatments on electronic health records.

Now, the Venice, Calif.-based company Gem is bringing that blockchain technology to a broader set of applications through work the company is conducting with the Centers for Disease Control and the European technology services company, Tieto.

Announced today, Gem will be working with the Centers for Disease Control on their 27-man blockchain application development team.

At the CDC, researchers are looking at ways to manage population health and disaster response by putting data collection and analysis operations on the blockchain.

The benefits of an immutable ledger in situations where there’s been a disease outbreak seem obvious, according to Gem chief executive Micah Winkelspecht.

The analysis is focused on disaster relief and response. The CDC is most interested in the ways in which environmental damage can affect population health, according to Winkelspecht.

Particularly, the degradation of data after it’s collected has become a problem the CDC would like to address. By putting the data in an immutable, blockchain-based ledger, it could go a long way toward ensuring data transparency and accuracy — or so the CDC’s thinking goes.

Meanwhile, Gem’s other project with Tieto is a bit more sweeping. Already integral in building out Northern Europe’s healthcare system, Tieto is now hoping to establish a patient record system, based on blockchain technology provided by Gem.

With Tieto, Gem is taking its first step toward letting users own more of their data and determine who they want to share that data with.

“We’re building a consent management solution on the blockchain for data sharing,” says Winkelspecht. “To exchange and share data from one party and one hospital to another you need to be able to get the users’ consent.”

Much of this is being driven by the passage of the General Data Protection Regulation, which is set to take effect in Europe next year.

The regulations demand that individuals have control over their personal information and how it’s managed and shared and stored and used by technology companies and third parties that would seek to buy that information.

“The reality is your data is going from party to party all the time,” says Winkelspecht. “It’s being bought and sold without your knowledge. What we believe and what GDPR is enforcing is bringing that data back to the user to see how that data is managed and bringing that consent back to the citizen.”

Specifically, the project between Gem and Tieto will link genetic data stored in Nordic biobanks, personal health records at hospitals and individual citizens to create personalized medical records to enable more personalized medicine and treatments, according to the companies.

The idea is to give citizens the right to consent to have their genetic data linked to their personalized health records in a way that’s not anonymized so that the patients can receive better care.

Anthony Weiner jailed for 21 months for sexting underage girl
Former US Congressman Anthony Weiner departs US Federal Court in New York City following his sentencing.Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Weiner looked sombre as he left US Federal Court following his sentencing

Ex-New York congressman Anthony Weiner burst into tears as he was sentenced to 21 months in jail for sending sexually explicit messages to an underage girl.

He pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene material to a minor and agreed not to appeal against a prison sentence of 27 months or less.

Weiner, 53, quit Congress in 2011 over a sex scandal and was again exposed in his 2013 run for New York mayor.

His lawyers had asked a US District Judge for probation instead of jail.

But in sentencing Weiner, US District Judge Denise Cote said: “This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment.”

She also said Weiner “has a disease. He has a compulsivity. Some say a sex addiction.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAs a New York City mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner confronts a heckler

Acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon H Kim said in a statement that Weiner “asked a girl who he knew to be 15 years old to display her naked body and engage in sexually explicit behaviour for him online”.

“Justice demands that this type of conduct be prosecuted and punished with time in prison.”

In addition to jail time, Weiner was sentenced to three years of supervised release, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office.

Weiner’s lawyers contended the former politician had acted out of the “depths of an uncontrolled sickness” and was now seeking treatment.

In a letter to Judge Cote, Weiner said he felt “profound” regret for his crimes and that his misconduct had “crushed the aspirations” of his wife, Huma Abedin, and ruined their marriage.

Ms Abedin filed for divorce on the same day as her husband was found guilty in May.

She did not attend the sentencing, but asked for leniency on their son’s behalf in a letter to the judge.

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Anthony Weiner (L) and Huma Abedin split last year

The FBI began investigating Weiner last September after the Daily Mail reported that he had exchanged obscene messages with a North Carolina teenager.

The 15-year-old girl said he had asked her to undress on camera.

A month earlier, Ms Abedin announced she was separating from her husband after it emerged he sent a photo of himself in his underpants with his toddler son nearby.

The New York Post reported that Weiner had sent sexual messages along with the photo to an unidentified woman in 2015.

Once a rising Democratic star, he stepped down from Congress in June 2011 after a graphic image sent from his Twitter account went public.

Initially claiming his account was hacked, he eventually confessed to having lied.

Weiner also admitted indulging in explicit online exchanges with at least six other women and pledged to seek therapy.

He tried to revive his political career in 2013 by running for mayor of New York.

But his campaign imploded amid reports of further graphic online messages.

The investigation into Weiner’s sexting case played a role in last year’s 2016 presidential election, when authorities found emails on his laptop from Ms Abedin, who was a senior aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A separate FBI investigation into Mrs Clinton’s private use of email while she was secretary of state was closed after officials said nothing incriminating was found.

President Obama warned Mark Zuckerberg about fake news on Facebook, report says
File photo - U.S. President Barack Obama attends a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters with CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto, April 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

File photo – U.S. President Barack Obama attends a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters with CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto, April 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

President Barack Obama reportedly warned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the threat posed by fake news on the social network during a private meeting last year.

The Washington Post reports that Obama urged Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously during a private conversation at a meeting of world leaders in Lima, Peru, last November.

The meeting took place following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and nine days after Zuckerberg described the notion that fake news influenced the outcome of the election as “crazy,” according to the Washington Post.


Citing people briefed on the exchange, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Washington Post reports that Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem posed by fake news. The Facebook chief also reportedly told Obama that fake news messages were not widespread on the social network and there was no easy remedy to the problem.

“We appreciated President Obama’s attention to these issues,” explained Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for public policy and communications, in a statement emailed to Fox News Monday. “Their conversation was about misinformation and false news, which Mark had addressed the previous day in a post that outlined specific steps Facebook was taking to combat these challenges. The discussion did not include any references to possible foreign interference or suggestions about confronting threats to Facebook.”

Representatives for President Obama have not yet responded to a request for comment on this story from Fox News.

Facebook’s battle against fake news comes amid investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which Russia denies.


Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it uncovered $100,000 in fake ad spending tied to Russian operatives during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. “In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies,” wrote Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos, in a post. “Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.”

While the vast majority of ads didn’t reference the election, voting, or a particular candidate, they did focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages such as LGBT matters, race, immigration and gun rights, according to Stamos.

Last week, Zuckerberg said that Facebook would release the Russia-linked ads to Congress. During a Facebook Live Chat, the Facebook CEO also said that the company would strengthen its ad review process for political ads.


Facebook announced a strategy to tackle fake news in December 2016, making it easier for users to report fake news when they see it, and harnessing fact checking. Earlier this year, Facebook also revamped its systems to make it harder for fake news to be spread and eliminate fake accounts.

Jason Mollica, a digital media expert and professor at American University in Washington, D.C, feels that Facebook did not initially realize the extent of the fake news threat. “If you look at how Facebook looked at it, they were very slow to the jump,” he said, adding that company’s efforts are improving. “I do believe that Facebook, Twitter, and these other social networks are doing the best job they can to resolve this fake news issue — they are never going to be able to solve it 100 percent.”

Mollica compares tackling fake news to finding a needle in a haystack. “It’s always going to be out there,” he said, adding that only a coordinated response between social media users and social media companies can truly combat fake news.

President Donald Trump has described the allegations of Russian meddling in the election as a “Russia hoax,” a theme he returned to on social media last week. “The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook,” he tweeted Friday.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

David Meade death threats in end-of-world trolling
David Meade
Image caption David Meade from Rathfriland in County Down is a mentalist – but did not predict the end of the world

Having the same name as a man who predicted the world would end on Saturday – last Saturday – has caused County Down mentalist David Meade no end of grief – even five death threats.

American conspiracy theorist David Meade claimed that Planet Nibiru would collide with Earth on 23 September.

David Meade, from Rathfriland, County Down, has been forced to dissociate himself from the claims.

Newspapers have incorrectly linked the claim to him on social media.

His picture has also been used in relation to the story.

Mr Meade, who now lives in Banbridge with his wife Elaine and their family, said: “About six or seven months ago we started getting the odd tweet here and there and I thought it was hilarious.

Skip Twitter post by @DavidMeadeLive

And I had a day of death threats, my site crashed with traffic. Still getting hundreds of threatening messages to my site every day.

— David Meade (@DavidMeadeLive) September 23, 2017

End of Twitter post by @DavidMeadeLive

“I think part of the source of the confusion, first of all, is that it is a pretty unusual way to spell Meade, with an ‘e’ at the end.

“But then also, when people were arriving on my site they were seeing things like ‘mentalist’, ‘mind reader’.

“That probably sounds like the sort of person that would predict the end of the world,” he confessed.

“The last two weeks have been extraordinary and actually it’s verging on worrying this morning.”

The father-of-two is both a lecturer in international business and an entertainer who “caught the bug” for mind-reading as a teenager.

His website has been so inundated with traffic that it has crashed three times, something he said was a concern, as he has five employees.

“Sixty percent of my work is in the United States, it is deeply worrying to think that this nonsense could be there online and could affect my business,” he said.

He has now received five death threats but said that he is not taking the threats seriously.

Skip Twitter post 2 by @DavidMeadeLive

Arrived here to talk about the end of the world? Well, read this before getting in touch pls 🙂

— David Meade (@DavidMeadeLive) September 24, 2017

End of Twitter post 2 by @DavidMeadeLive

His lawyer is in contact with a number of media outlets asking them to retract stories linking the County Down man to the story.

“A Fox news anchor linked directly to my Twitter feed, directly to my website, and, to date, has refused to apologise for it,” he said.

“My main concern is that no one seems bothered to correct this.”

The entertainer seems confident the Earth is not facing impending doom – from an unknown planet at least – and has offered a “1000%” refund on tickets sold for his upcoming tour “in the event of an apocalypse”.

Following the fact that the world did not end on Saturday, the American David Meade told the Washington Post: “The world is not ending, but the world as we know it is ending.”

“A major part of the world will not be the same the beginning of October,” he said.

He describes himself as a “Christian numerologist”, whose apocalyptic theory is based on a “numeric code” he said he found in the Bible.

Image copyrightPlanet X News
Image caption David Meade, the “Christian numerologist”

Mainstream Christian groups have dismissed his theories and have denied that Christians believed them.

He describes himself as a having studied astronomy and being a “specialist in research and investigations” and talks about a “Planet X”.

However, the US space agency said Planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, does not exist.

David Meade, the conspiracy theorist, said, however: “The existence of Planet X is beyond any reasonable doubt.”

He said Nasa discovered Planet X in the 1980s and that preparations for it striking – or closely passing – Earth were well under way in both the US and in Russia.

Poor coding limits IS hackers’ cyber-capabilities, says researcher
IS fighter waving a flagImage copyrightReuters
Image caption Cyber-attacks to aid IS’s aims have not been very successful, said a security researcher

Hackers working for the so-called Islamic State are bad at coding and hiding what they do, suggests research.

They produce buggy malware and easily crackable encryption programs, said senior security researcher Kyle Wilhoit at security conference DerbyCon.

In particular, he called three attack tools created by one large IS hacker collective “garbage”.

Their poor skills meant IS groups had switched to online services and the dark web for attack code, he said.

Little harm

While IS was very proficient at using social media as a recruitment and propaganda tool, its cyber-attack arm was nowhere near as effective, said Mr Wilhoit, a cyber-security researcher at Domain Tools, while presenting his work at the conference in Kentucky.

“ISIS is really, really bad at the development of encryption software and malware,” he told tech news outlet The Register, adding that the vulnerabilities found in all the tools effectively rendered them “completely useless”.

As part of his research, Mr Wilhoit analysed three separate types of tools created by hackers who were part of what is known as the United Cyber Caliphate (UCC). This was set up as an umbrella organisation for 17 hacker groups that had declared their support for IS.

All the tools had problems, he said.

  • the group’s malware was full of basic bugs
  • a secure email system it developed leaked information about users
  • the UCC’s web attack tool failed to take down any significant target

In addition, attempts to raise cash via donations of bitcoins have been diluted by fraudsters cashing in on the IS name and producing websites mimicking the appeals for funds.

Image copyrightHO
Image caption Drone strikes are believed to have been aided by poor IS security

“As it stands ISIS are not hugely operationally capable online,” Mr Wilhoit added. “There’s a lack of expertise in pretty much everything,”

IS also had a lot to learn when it came to hiding its activities online, he said. There were many examples of it sharing pictures of successful attacks, or which lauded its members, that still held metadata that could identify where the photos were taken.

Mr Wilhoit said that, during his research, he had found an unprotected IS server online that served as a repository of images the group planned to use for propaganda.

“You can basically mass export metadata from each of the pictures and get literally up-to-the-second information on where people are operating, because they are not really that great at operation security,” he said.

Many of the people involved with the cyber-arm of IS had been killed in drone strikes, said Mr Wilhoit adding that it was open to speculation about how location data to aid the drones was found.

Over the last year UCC had begun moving to attack tools used by Western cyber-thieves, he said.

“They know they cannot develop tools worth a damn, so they are going to use stuff that works, is minimally cheap and is easy to use.”

Gatorade settles over ‘misleading’ Usain Bolt water game
Gatorade drinksImage copyrightGetty Images

Sports drink Gatorade has agreed to pay $300,000 (£220,000) to the state of California over an app called Bolt! which featured a character based on Olympic medallist Usain Bolt.

In the game Bolt had to drink Gatorade to enhance his performance while water slowed him down.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the game made “misleading statements” about water.

The app was released in 2012 and is no longer available to download.

It was only available on Apple’s operating system and was downloaded 2.3 million times from 2012 to 2013.

It was briefly made available again in 2017.

Players were told to “keep your performance high by avoiding water” in a tutorial that accompanied the game, the Attorney General’s office said.

In a statement Gatorade’s parent company PepsiCo said the game was designed to “highlight the unique role and benefits of sports drinks in supporting athletic performance”.

“We recognize the role water plays in overall health and wellness,” it said, adding that it also markets bottled water brands.

Youth audience

Bolt! had an audience of mainly young people aged 13 to 24, the state added.

“Making misleading statements is a violation of California law. But making misleading statements aimed at our children is beyond unlawful, it’s morally wrong and a betrayal of trust.

“It’s what causes consumers to lose faith in the products they buy,” said Mr Becerra.

Almost half the settlement ($120,000) will be used to fund research and education into water consumption and nutrition in young people.

PepsiCo said in a 2014 statement that it does not advertise in spaces where children aged under 12 make up more than 35% of the audience.

Analyst Jack Kent, from IHS Markit ,told the BBC the app store market had moved away from “branded entertainment” and games connected to a particular ad campaign.

“Mobile is a primary channel for reaching a youth audience, and the rise of branded apps highlighted that, but now there is more focus on reaching users through existing mobile social, entertainment and media platforms rather than just through dedicated apps,” he said.

Middlesbrough trader admits selling ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes
Brian Thompson
Image caption The judge told Brian Thompson that “all sentencing options” were open

A Middlesbrough shop owner has admitted selling modified TV boxes that allow access to subscription content such as Premier League football and films.

Brian Thompson, 55, had originally denied any offences and set up the prospect of a landmark court case relating to the sale of Kodi boxes.

However, at Teesside Crown Court he changed his plea to admit two charges related to their sale and advertising.

Kodi developers have said boxes should not be used to access blocked content.

Judge Peter Armstrong told Thompson, of Barnaby Avenue in Middlesbrough, that “all sentencing options” were open.

Thompson admitted one count of selling and one count of advertising devices “designed, produced or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures”.

He was granted unconditional bail ahead of his sentencing on 20 October.

Judge Armstrong told him: “I don’t know what the sentence will be, all options to the court will be open.”

What is Kodi?

  • Kodi is free, legal software that allows users to collect videos, music games and photos in one easy-to-use application
  • The software can be modified with third-party add-ons that provide access to pirated copies of films, TV series or provide free access to subscription television channels
  • The developers behind Kodi say they do not support the use of third-party add-ons that provide access to such content

Uber using aggressive tactics, says Sadiq Khan
Uber on phoneImage copyrightGetty Images

The Uber chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, has apologised for the “mistakes we’ve made” after the taxi-hailing firm lost its London licence.

He said in an open letter that Uber would appeal against the city’s decision, but accepts it “must change”.

Earlier, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Uber had put “unfair pressure” on Transport for London (TfL), with an “army” of PR experts and lawyers.

On Friday, TfL denied Uber a new licence to operate in London.

TfL cited concerns over public safety and security.

However, Uber says it has followed the regulator’s rules and works closely with the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Khosrowshahi, who took over at Uber less than a month ago, wrote: “While Uber has revolutionised the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way.

“On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologise for the mistakes we’ve made.”

In a letter addressed to Londoners, the new boss said the firm “won’t be perfect, but we will listen to you”.

Image copyrightStefan Rousseau
Image caption London Mayor Sadiq Khan chairs Transport for London

Mr Khan, who is also chairman of TfL, defended the organisation on Monday: “What you can’t do is have a situation where unfair pressure is brought on a quasi-judicial body, where there are officials working incredibly hard.

“I appreciate Uber has an army of PR experts, I appreciate Uber has an army of lawyers – they’ve also made aggressive threats about taking us to court.”

While Mr Khan chairs the TfL board, according to the organisation, he was not involved in the process of deciding whether to issue Uber with a licence.

That is handled by TfL’s taxi and private hire department.

Uber is keen to hold talks with officials from that department “as soon as possible”, Fred Jones, a senior executive with Uber in the UK, told the Today Programme.

Image copyrightGetty Images

Mr Jones said that Uber was “not clear” about the issues raised by TfL when it denied the company a licence.

One of the points raised by TfL was Uber’s “approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained” for its drivers.

That part of the process was not even handled by Uber, said Mr Jones. Instead, the drivers organised their own DBS check and took that paperwork to TfL.

TfL then reviews that application before giving the driver a licence allowing them to drive for Uber.

TfL would not elaborate further on its issue with the way in which Uber organises DBS checks, because that would be likely to come up when Uber appealed against the decision.

It would only repeat that it was Uber’s “approach” to DBS checks that was the problem.

More than 730,000 people have signed an online petition in a bid to keep Uber operating in London after its licence expires on 30 September.