Digital Trends Live: Facebook controversy, FTC crackdown, and more

On episode 75 of Digital Trends Live, DT’s live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Drew Prindle hunkered down in the studio, hiding from the apocalyptic snow in Portland and breaking down the tech world’s biggest news stories. First up on the docket this time: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on businesses who pay for fake reviews on Amazon. The agency brought a case against Cure Encapsulations; according to the FTC “the defendants paid a website, amazonverifiedreviews.com, to create and post Amazon reviews of their product.” Fake reviews have been a bit of a nuisance recently — there’s a great episode of Reply All about the topic! — so it’s nice to know that the government is taking the issue seriously.

In other news, Facebook is back in the news, and for scandalous reasons. According to a report by TechCrunch, Facebook is planning to roll out a “Fan Subscription” service, which, like Patreon, offers users the ability to pay a subscription to view content from specific people or publications. Facebook’s blueprint is, apparently, to retain 30 percent of the revenue from subscriptions; the company also demands the right to offer free trials (for which content creators would not be compensated) and even offer the rights to creators’ content.

Later in the show, DT Senior Editor Les Shu sat down to chat with Steve Koepp, founder of the From Day One conference, which focuses on the ways companies can serve society. Koepp has a lengthy career in journalism, having worked for both Fortune and Time. The conference hopes it can help companies “build well-grounded values into their business — diversity, responsibility, transparency — and stick with them in an economy driven by disruption.”

Finally, Greg and Drew talked to Michelle Masek, head of marketing for Apeel Sciences, a company which is striving to help fruits and vegetables last longer. Their process slows down “how fast water is getting out,” and “how fast oxygen is getting in,” according to Masek, and it’s a fascinating topic given the staggering amount of produce that people waste each year.

Digital Trends Live airs Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. PT, with highlights available on demand after the stream ends. For more information, check out the DT Live homepage, and be sure to watch live for the chance to win occasional prizes.

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