Twitter violates womens’ human rights according to Amnesty International

Twitter has found itself under fire again. This time, it’s coming from Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization that focuses on human rights. Amnesty International’s new report, “#ToxicTwitter: Violence and abuse against women online,” details Twitter’s failures to ensure safety online and prevent violence and abuse toward women. What Amnesty International is trying to achieve with this report, the organization’s technology and human rights researcher Azmina Dhrodia told TechCrunch, is to look at why and how this is a human rights issue.

By framing it as a human rights issue, Amnesty International says it hopes to be able to push Twitter to enforce its own policies consistently and be transparent about how it’s doing so.

“Twitter’s failure to adequately and consistently enforce their own policies is leading women to either silence or censor themselves online,” Dhrodia told me. “So women are either leaving the platform, they’re thinking five or six times over before they post anything, they’re taking social media breaks. They’re coming up with a whole bunch of different coping mechanisms in order to avoid violence and abuse because they know by speaking out, it’s not going to be dealt with.”

Although Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly said the company is looking for help to address its issues around safety, Amnesty International says Twitter has declined to provide the organization with any “meaningful data on how the company responds to reports of violence and abuse.”

This report comes after Amnesty International’s 14-month investigation that combined quantitative and qualitative research. The report is based on interviews with 86 women and non-binary people, including journalists, politicians and everyday users across the U.S. and the UK about their experiences online.

“When talking to them about their experience of violence and abuse, Twitter came up consistently as the platform where most women had experienced violence and abuse and also where they felt it was the company that was doing the least to remedy the issue,” Dhrodia said.

The report goes on to outline some recommendations for Twitter moving forward. The f

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These are the 64 startups unveiled at Y Combinator W18 Demo Day 2

Microbiome therapeutics, Photoshop for augmented reality, and cancer treatments were some of the ideas presented at Day 2 of startup accelerator Y Combinator’s Winter 2018 Demo Day. YC is increasingly using its massive class size (141 startups this time around) to fund especially risky frontier technology and biotech moonshots, while tempering the portfolio with more predictable enterprise companies.

The accelerator still admits many international copycats of U.S. successes, and YC is also repeating itself a bit. The Podcast App pitched the exact same product and strategy as Breaker, which debuted at YC exactly a year ago. But there were plenty of ambitious and unique businesses unveiled today on the Mountain View Computer History Museum stage, and the room was — as always — packed with a who’s who of tech investors.

Check out our coverage of all 64 startups that launched on the record yesterday, plus our picks for the top 7 companies from yesterday. (Tomorrow morning we’ll have our favorites from today.)

Here are the 60+ startups that launched at YC’s Winter 2018 Demo Day 2:


Callisto is a sexual misconduct reporting software built for victims.

The company’s product works by asking people who are looking to report a perpetrator to give certain unique identifiers, like a LinkedIn profile or phone number. If two victims name the same perpetrator, they are put in touch with each other and then with with an “options counselor,” a lawyer who can give them options on how to proceed in handling the situation. The company says that victims that visit Callisto’s website are 5x more likely to take action. They’ve started by rolling out their product on college campuses and are now taking donation from investors to roll out the service to the startup community.


Bump is a peer-to-peer streetwear marketplace.

It’s the “eBay for Generation Z.” They’ve been rapidly building an online community, and achieved $25,000 revenue on $430,000 GMV already in the month of March. They claim to be profitable and also have a user community that’s engaged. Bump says that 600,000 messages

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Travis Kalanick is already back running a company with a 150M investment

Travis Kalanick, the former Uber CEO who was shown the door in June last year amid a series of major controversies, has already found his next leading role following his announcement of a new investment fund just weeks ago.

Kalanick said on Twitter that his fund would be investing $150 million to take a controlling interest in City Storage Systems, or CSS. He will also be running the company as CEO, according to Recode. It’s a holding company focused on redevelopment of distressed real estate. Kalanick resigned from Uber after facing a lawsuit with Waymo over trade secrets, an ongoing battle with existing shareholders Benchmark Capital, and the fallout from a harassment probe led by former attorney general Eric Holder. Uber brought on new CEO Dara Kosrowshahi in August last year.

Travis announced that he would be starting a new fund with his windfall from Uber shares sold in its most recent major secondary round. At the time, Kalanick said the new fund — called 10100, or “ten one hundred” — would be geared toward “large-scale job creation,” with investments in real estate, ecommerce, and “emerging innovation in India and China.” CSS has two businesses, CloudKitchens and CloudRetail, which focus on redevelopment of distressed assets in those two areas.

My new gig…

— travis kalanick (@travisk) March 20, 2018

The former is pretty interesting given that Uber has its own food delivery service, UberEats. Should Kalanick’s new venture find ways to acquire distressed food-related real estate — kitchens around a city, for example — there may be a natural overlap with his experience at Uber as it started to explore food. Having massive operating kitchens located in one area with a delivery fleet associated with it is one thing, but having an array of smaller kitchens redeveloped through a company like CSS could provide a kind of distributed network that might make it easier to get food from one kitchen to its delivery in a shorter period of time.

It’s not that we know CSS is focusing on that explicitly, but Amazon also bought a bunch of buildings for $13.7 billion, and now it has a two-hour delivery service in major metropolitan areas. Of course, Travis was shown the door at Uber, so it remains to be seen how this one is going to play out. The Information notes that CSS was

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After selling his company to Facebook for 19B Brian Acton joins deleteFacebook

Brian Acton, the co-founder of messaging service WhatsApp (which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion), is now joining the chorus of the #deletefacebook movement.

It is time. #deletefacebook

— Brian Acton (@brianacton) March 20, 2018

A tipster alerted us to the fact that Acton made the same call… on Facebook… as well.

Since the sale of WhatsApp (which has made Acton an incredibly wealthy man), Acton has been actively financing more secure (and private) messaging platforms for users.

Acton has already used some of his WhatsApp wealth to give $50 million to the Signal Foundation.

While some may say it’s hypocritical to reap millions from Facebook and then call for users to jump ship, Acton has always had a penchant for supporting privacy. Back in its earliest days, WhatsApp’s stated goal was to never make money from ads:

Why we don’t sell ads

No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they’ll see tomorrow. We know people go to sleep excited about who they chatted with that day (and disappointed about who they didn’t). We want WhatsApp to be the product that keeps you awake… and that you reach for in the morning. No one jumps up from a nap and runs to see an advertisement.

Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought. At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it’s all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out… And at the end of the day the result of it all is a slightly different advertising banner in your browser or on your mobile screen.

Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product. – June 18, 2012 — WhatsApp blog

It may be that this latest scandal was the straw that borked the camel’s back.

I’ve reached out to Acton for comment.

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Chargebee raises 18M to help businesses manage subscriptions

The subscription model is growing in popularity as a way to monetize a service, netting in trends in SaaS, media, e-commerce and other verticals that are in search of more predictable, recurring revenues. Now, a startup built to provide a subscription platform to businesses has raised a round of funding to grow. 

San Francisco and Chennai-based Chargebee has raised an $18 million Series C round to help companies manage recurring billing. The funding was led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management.

Chargebee works with payment platforms like Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, Adyen and others to help its 7,000 customers keep tabs on recurring revenue, with customers that include Okta and Freshworks as well as other businesses in digital media, e-commerce and SaaS. It also helps companies manage accounting and taxation compliance across 53 countries.

Chargebee has similarities to Zuora, which recently filed to go public. But Krish Subramanian, co-founder and CEO, tells TechCrunch that the two companies focus on different-sized customers. “Our focus on a business-user-first billing system that delivers a way to manage any exceptional billing scenario via the user interface makes us different from payment gateways as well as other billing systems.”

He also acknowledged that Chargebee competes with in-house billing solutions, but ultimately he hopes that its API integrations like those with Xero and QuickBooks help set it apart. “Just like how businesses don’t build their own CRM / help desk, we believe that businesses don’t need to build their own billing systems,” said Subramanian.

Harley Miller, vice president at Insight Venture Partners, is joining the board. They invested because they “saw a strong macro trend toward recurring revenue business models and their underlying need for flexible billing/invoicing solution not being well served.”

Subramanian is also very bullish on more businesses shifting to subscriptions. “You can see that even legacy technology businesses like SAP and Oracle are shifting towards recurring revenue model and it’s just the beginning of the shift of a $500 billion software market.”

But in competitor Zuora’s recent IPO filing, the company warned that there are no subscription market growth guarantees. “If the shift by companies

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