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YouTube Bans Ads for Politics, Alcohol, Prescription Drugs and Gambling on Homepage

BY J. CLARA CHAN | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren

Beginning on Monday, advertisers will have a new set of restrictions on the types of ads they can place on the “most prominent” slot on YouTube’s home page.

YouTube has banned ads related to politics, alcohol, prescription drugs and gambling from its “most prominent” ad slot on the homepage, according to updated guidelines posted to Google’s advertising support page on Monday.

Ads that depict or refer to alcohol, prescription drugs and gambling will not be allowed on the homepage. Political ads that endorse a candidate for office will also be outright banned, but others that are related to political issues will be reviewed case-by-case, according to Axios, which first reported the news.

The new restrictions announced on Monday will only apply to the homepage, meaning that rejected ads related to these topics may still appear elsewhere on YouTube or other Google-owned properties.

“We regularly review our advertising requirements to ensure they balance the needs of both advertisers and users,” a Google spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We believe this update will build on changes we made last year to the masthead reservation process and will lead to a better experience for users.”

YouTube previously adjusted its guidelines for its highly coveted masthead ad slot by barring advertisers from reserving the ad slot for full days. The change, which went into effect at the beginning of this year, was first announced in November after Donald Trump purchased the homepage slot for several days leading up to the election.

In April, YouTube said it had surpassed $6 billion in advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2021, representing a 50 percent year-over-year growth rate compared to the $4 billion in ad revenue that YouTube reported for the first quarter of 2019.

June 14, 1:55 p.m. Updated with a statement from Google.


 

 

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‘Pokemon Go’ Developer Niantic Teaming With Hasbro for ‘Transformers’ AR Mobile Game

BY TRILBY BERESFORD | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren 

Seattle-based studio Very Very Spaceship will lead game development on the title, which will enter soft launch in select markets before launching globally later this year.

Niantic is teaming with Hasbro and toy company TOMY to publish a real-world augmented reality mobile game in the Transformers universe.

Transformers: Heavy Metal is built using Niantic’s Lightship AR platform. The game will invite players to team up with Bumblebee and Optimus Prime and join the Guardian Network — a group of humans who have banded together in a war against the Decepticons — and engage in turn-based battles, either solo or with friends.

“Transformers is the perfect franchise for AR,” said Niantic’s CEO John Hanke, in a statement. “Battling and interacting with giant robots in the real world is an amazing experience. We want to live up to the high expectations of Transformers fans around the world and bring them a game unlike anything they’ve played before.”

Seattle-based studio Very Very Spaceship will lead game development on the title, which will enter soft launch in select markets before launching globally later this year.

Niantic, which is based in San Francisco, is known for developing Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.


 

 

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No more iPhone FaceTime FOMO: How Apple video calls are coming to Android

Alison DeNisco Rayome | CNET.Com

Troy Warren


 

FaceTime calls used to be only for iPhones. Soon, people with Android and Windows devices to join in. Here’s how.

The days when you needed an iPhone, iPad or Mac to join a FaceTime video call will soon be over. In a move widely seen as Apple’s answer to Zoom video calls, the software giant is making it possible for people who have Android phones and Windows laptops to hop on FaceTime calls — no iPhone required.

That isn’t to say that Apple devices are cut out of the process. In fact, they’re still so much part of the heart of FaceTime that the system will rely on the upcoming iOS 15 operating system to look and work more like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. In addition to being able to video chat people outside Apple’s bubble, FaceTime updates will include a new grid view and the ability to schedule calls.

Most folks will have to wait to try out FaceTime with Android and Windows users after the iOS 15 beta arrives next month, or when the finished iOS 15 product arrives in the fall. (Here’s how to download the developer beta version now.) But we can walk you through how you’ll be able to join FaceTime calls now, no matter what device you’re using.

How you’ll FaceTime using Android or Windows

The key here isn’t that the FaceTime app is coming to Android and Windows. It’s that you’ll be able to jump on a FaceTime call using a link. So, if you’re using an Android or Windows device and have a friend or family member with an Apple device, they can send you a link to join a FaceTime call through text, email, WhatsApp or a calendar invite. 

Once you get the link, all you have to do is click on it, and it will open in your browser. You’ll be able to join the call from there, without having to download a separate app or own an Apple device.

One caveat to this update: To schedule or start a FaceTime call, you’ll need to have an Apple device and an Apple account. Then, you can create a shareable link to invite others, who can join from their browser on Android or Windows devices — no Apple account needed. But those participants won’t be able to enter the call until the Apple user who set it up approves them. 

Apple noted at WWDC that even on the web, FaceTime calls are always end-to-end encrypted. 


 

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Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook targeted by new pack of antitrust bills

Joan E. Solsman | CNET.Com

Troy Warren

The proposals, from a bipartisan group in the US House, target Big Tech’s might with the most meaningful effort to reform competition laws in decades.

 

US lawmakers unveiled a wide-ranging antitrust agenda Friday, aiming to rein in the competitive power of giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google with five bipartisan bills that would represent the most meaningful refashioning of antitrust laws in decades. The result of more than a year investigating competition in the digital marketplace, the bills target what lawmakers call the “unregulated power wielded” by Big Tech. 

The bills are aimed at the four tech titans, which collectively influence almost every aspect of online life, as well as the broader industry. If eventually passed into law, the bills would make it easier for the government to break up dominant companies, prevent them from snuffing out competition through preemptive acquisitions and crimp them from wielding different businesses with conflicts of interest.

Rep. David N. Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat and chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, said the slate of bills would “level the playing field” and ensure tech companies were held to the same rules.

“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy,” Cicilline said in a press release. “They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work.”

Facebook and Google declined to comment. Apple and Amazon didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. 

The immense market power of these companies, which together represent more than $6 trillion in market value, has confounded the basic principles that guided antitrust legislation in the US for a generation. Lawmakers have become increasingly concerned by the industry’s behavior and threatened to address it. In July, the chief executives of the four companies were hauled in front of Cicilline’s committee for a grueling six-hour hearing, an unprecedented public interrogation of Big Tech’s most visible leaders.  

Silicon Valley’s supporters argue the scale of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google has provided consumers with unprecedented innovation and sweeping technological benefits, often at lower cost. Critics of Big Tech counter that the industry’s extraordinary market power harms workers, suppresses smaller rivals and costs consumers in ways other than money. 

The bills in Friday’s legislative agenda, according to lawmakers, would:

Prohibit discrimination by dominant platforms — such as Apple’s App Store, the Google Play Store or all of Amazon’s marketplace — preventing them from exercising self-preference or “picking winners and losers online.”

Forbid acquisitions designed to squelch competitive threats, or those that would expand or entrench the market power of online platforms. 

Restrain dominant platforms from leveraging their control across multiple business types to give themselves unfair advantage and disadvantage competitors.

Promote more online competition by lowering barriers to entry and reducing the costs to businesses and consumers when they want to switch to a new provider. 

Update filing fees for mergers, the first increase in two decades, providing funds for both the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to pursue necessary antitrust action.

The US isn’t alone in curbing the powers of technology companies. Three years ago, the EU enacted comprehensive laws called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which are widely seen as a global gold standard for privacy. Australia requires tech companies to pay for news content linked to on their sites. China and India have also gone after tech companies.

The new bills escalate a fight that’s been brewing between Silicon Valley and Washington for years. 

All four of the tech giants face major antitrust battles. Google is the target of three major antitrust lawsuits, including a landmark case filed by the US Department of Justice, and another complaint from a bipartisan coalition of states. Facebook faces lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general. Amazon has been sued by the attorney of Washington, DC, for price fixing. Apple and Google have been sued by the maker of the popular game Fortnite for their app store policies.

Cicilline has led the charge in the House. July’s hearing was the culmination of a more-than-yearlong investigation by his subcommittee into the market dominance of the tech giants. During that time, the subcommittee gathered more than 1.3 million documents from the tech companies, their competitors and antitrust enforcement agencies. Following the hearing, the subcommittee released a 449-page report accusing the four companies of “abuses of monopoly power.”

The sizes of the companies are staggering.

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with a user base roughly equal to the world’s two most populous countries — China and India — combined. Amazon controls 38% of US online sales, while Walmart, its nearest competitor, has just shy of 6%. (Amazon also collects data on other retailers using its giant platform.) Apple’s App Store is a powerful gateway for software developers to find an audience with the company’s massive iPhone and iPad customer base. Google processes about 90% of all web searches globally. 

The legislative package is a “huge step” toward holding dominant tech companies accountable for abuses of their unchecked power, said Robert Weissman, the president of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. “Big Tech should see this for what it is: Congress sending a clear message that the party is finally over for them,” he said in a statement. 

Smaller competitors lauded the move. 

Roku, which is currently in a standoff with Google over a deal to keep hosting the YouTube TV app on its streaming devices, called the bills a crucial step to curbing predatory behavior. “Roku has firsthand experience competing against and interacting with these monopolists,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve seen how they flagrantly ignore antitrust laws and harm consumers by leveraging their dominance in one line of business to stifle competition in another.” 

Spotify, which has been a vocal critic of Apple’s actions in its App Store, called the proposals a “clear sign that momentum has shifted” after “anticompetitive practices have gone unchecked for too long, stifling competition and threatening innovation.”

Supporters and representatives of the tech industry, however, warned that the bills could hurt US economic leadership in the world and hamper consumers’ access to free digital services. 

“The House bills would put the government in charge of industrial organization,” Matthew Schruers, the president of tech trade group Computer & Communications Industry Association, said in a statement. “They disregard the principles that have governed the US market economy and would stop successful tech companies from providing consumers with the products and services that improve their lives.”

A statement earlier in the day by Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican who is the ranking member of the committee, suggested the industry’s position would find little sympathy in Washington.

“Big Tech has abused its dominance in the marketplace to crush competitors, censor speech, and control how we see and understand the world,” Buck said. “Doing nothing is not an option, we must act now.”

— Richard Nieva contributed to this article. 


 

 

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Netflix Launches Online Shop With Show-Branded Merchandise

BY J. CLARA CHAN | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren

Netflix.shop launched Thursday with streetwear collections inspired by the anime series ‘Yasuke’ and ‘Eden.’

Netflix is diving into ecommerce with the launch of its first branded merchandise shop on Thursday.

Featuring streetwear collections, home decor, jewelry and other merchandise, the shop will allow Netflix — which does not run ads on its services — to access another revenue stream that capitalizes off the streamer’s popular shows like Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton and others.

As of the Thursday launch, customers can purchase items from collections designed by Nathalie Nguyen, Kristopher Kites and Jordan Bentley that are inspired by the anime series Yasuke and Eden. Later this month, merchandise inspired by the hit series Lupin will feature heavily on the shop and include products like hats, hoodies, throw pillows and side tables.

Prices range from $30 for a tee to $135 for an Eden-inspired clock. The store is only available in the U.S. at the moment, but Netflix’s vp consumer products, Josh Simon, in announcing the shop, said that the company plans to expand to other countries in the “coming months.”

“We’re always looking at how we can extend the world of our stories for fans, from apparel and toys to immersive events and games,” Simon said. “We’re thrilled to give fans a new way to connect with their favorite stories, and to introduce them to the next wave of artists and designers who embrace the power of storytelling in all its forms.”

This isn’t the first time Netflix has ventured into branded merchandise. Following the success of Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton, Netflix partnered with the clothing company Phenomenal to sell sweatshirts and long-sleeve tees for $59 to $60 with popular quotes from the show, like “I Burn for You” and “I Wish to Be Entertained.”


 

 

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Trump’s Executive Order Against TikTok, WeChat Dropped by Biden Administration

BY J. CLARA CHAN | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren

A new order says the U.S. will conduct “evidence-based” investigations of applications connected to “a foreign adversary.”

The White House on Wednesday revoked executive orders from the Trumpadministration that sought to ban TikTok and WeChat.

In a new executive order, the Biden administration has directed the Commerce Department to conduct “evidence-based” investigations of applications connected to “a foreign adversary” and “address any unacceptable or undue risks consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives.”

The order specifically named China as one of the “foreign adversaries” under scrutiny and pointed to concerns that U.S. citizens’ “personal information and proprietary business information” could be accessed through their personal devices. And in another apparent message aimed at China, which the U.S. has accused of engaging in human rights abuses, the White House’s order also included a provision for the U.S. to “impose consequences” on “persons who own, control, or manage connected software applications [who] engage in serious human rights abuse or otherwise facilitate such abuse.” It is not immediately clear what such consequences would entail.

The White House’s move to drop the orders against TikTok and WeChat, whose parent companies are headquartered in China, comes nearly a year after the Trump administration issued an executive order last August that forced the sale of TikTok’s U.S. assets to a U.S.-based owner. That sale, with Oracle and Walmart once expected to take a large stake in TikTok, has since stalled under the Biden administration.

Representatives for TikTok and Tencent, the owner of WeChat, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


 

 

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Roku Launching New Show to Recommend Your Next Binge-Watch

BY ALEX WEPRIN | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren

‘Roku Recommends’ will be a weekly show, co-hosted by former ‘Extra’ host Maria Menounos and ex-NFL player and TV host Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins.

Roku wants to recommend your next binge-watch, and it is launching a weekly show to help do so.

The streaming platform is launching Roku Recommends on Thursday, a 15-minute weekly program co-hosted by former Extra host Maria Menounos and former NFL player-turned-TV host Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins. New episodes will debut Thursdays on The Roku Channel.

The show will use “exclusive Roku data to highlight best bets and hidden gems across the Roku platform to help streamers discover what to watch,” according to the company. That means that every week the show will recommend programming on Netflix, Disney+, Roku Channel and elsewhere to viewers.

“When I turn on my Roku and decide what to watch, I am often paralyzed by this paradox of choice,” said Roku Brand Studio head Chris Bruss, in an interview, adding that the hope is the show will help guide Roku users to programming they may have otherwise missed or overlooked.

Roku Recommends is the first original program to be developed by the Roku Brand Studio, which the company launched earlier this year to create original programming with marketers in mind. To that end, Roku Recommends is launching with Walmart as its premier launch sponsor, with other advertisers on board as well.

“One of the things that I have heard so much over the years is that the biggest challenge that an advertiser has as television viewing is so rapidly moving to streaming, is that they can’t reach audiences who go directly into SVOD channels,” Bruss says. “You might have a brand with a great message to share with an audience, but if they go straight into Netflix or Disney+, you just don’t have an opportunity to get in front of those people.”

Roku Recommends will include sponsored segments (think Walmart branding attached to a kid-safe viewing recommendation), but also custom integrations, which Bruss says is “almost like a podcast live read,” with Menounos and Hawkins talking about a brand to viewers.

Roku launched its brand studio in March after bringing on Funny or Die’s entire branded content team (the rest of Funny or Die was subsequently sold). Funny or Die is also producing the program.

Roku has also been leaning heavily into original and exclusive programming in recent months, touting the original programming pipeline from its branded content studio, but also Roku Originals (previously Quibi originals), This Old House, and a first-window film slate from Saban Films.


 

 

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Tech issue, not cyberattack, causes major websites worldwide to go down

By Rich Barak – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tim Darnell – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Associated Press

Troy Warren

Multiple websites went offline briefly across the globe Tuesday after an outage at the cloud service company Fastly, a San Francisco-based cloud computing services provider that serves many major news organizations and companies.

Dozens of sites including The New York Times, CNN, some Amazon sites, Twitch, Reddit, the Guardian and the U.K. government’s homepage could not be reached. In Asia, cities including Hong Kong and Singapore were also affected, with users unable to access the CNN website. In China, where most foreign media websites are blocked, there was little discussion on the outage on social media platforms such as Weibo.

Fastly acknowledged the problem just before 6 a.m. ET. It said in repeated updates on its website that it was “continuing to investigate the issue.” Shortly after 7 a.m. it said a “fix for global CDN disruption issue has been applied.”

The company said it was a “technical issue” and “not related to a cyber attack.”

A number of sites that were hit early came back online. 

Visitors trying to access CNN.com got a message that said: “Fastly error: unknown domain: cnn.com.” Attempts to access the Financial Times website turned up a similar message, while visits to The New York Times and U.K. government’s gov.uk site returned an “Error 503 Service Unavailable” message, along with the line “Varnish cache server,” which is a technology that Fastly is built on.

DownDetector, which tracks internet outages, said: “Reports indicate there may be a widespread outage at Fastly, which may be impacting your service.” Many Amazon Web Service outages also were being reported.

As of 6:20 a.m. ET, The New York Times, Bloomberg and Amazon were down, but the sites were back up by 6:40 a.m.

The widespread outages reportedly were linked to a problem at Fastly, according to Jon Stone, a policy correspondent at Independent.

Other companies including Twitter, Target, Shopify and Spotify reported internet issues. 

An Amazon Web Services issue in November affected many of the nation’s most popular news sites, including AJC.com.

The organizations were saddled by website and app connection issues in November due to a widespread Amazon Web Services outage.

All major futures markets in the U.S. dipped sharply minutes after the outage hit almost exactly a month after a cyberattack that caused the operator of the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. to halt its operations.

Internet traffic measurement by Kentik showed that Fastly began to recover from the outage roughly an hour after it struck at midmorning European time — and before most Americans were awake.

“Looks like it is slowly coming back,” said Doug Madory, an internet infrastructure expert at Kentik. He said “it is serious because Fastly is one of the world’s biggest CDNs and this was a global outage.”

Fastly is a content delivery network. It provides vital but behind-the-scenes cloud computing “edge servers” to many of the web’s popular sites. These servers store, or “cache,” content such as images and video in places around the world so they are closer to users, allowing them to fetch it more quickly and smoothly instead of having to access the site’s original server. Fastly says its services mean that a European user going to an American website can get the content from 200 to 500 milliseconds faster.

The impact of Fastly’s trouble highlights the relative fragility of the internet’s current architecture given its heavy reliance on Big Tech companies — such as Amazon’s AWS cloud services — as opposed to a more decentralized model.

DownDetector, which tracks internet outages, posted reports on dozens of sites going down and said “there may be a widespread outage at Fastly.”


 

 

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UPDATE: Facebook Suspends Donald Trump’s Account for Two Years

BY ALEX WEPRIN | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren

The move comes after the tech giant’s oversight board ruling last month and will allow the former president to be reinstated in 2023 if certain conditions are met.

Facebook says it will suspend former President Donald Trump’s accounts for two years, with an opportunity to be reinstated in 2023 if certain conditions are met.

The decision came in response to the ruling from Facebook’s Oversight Board May 5, which upheld the company’s initial decision to suspend Trump but added that the company was not justified in imposing an “indefinite” ban.

“It is not permissible for Facebook to keep a user off the platform for an undefined period, with no criteria for when or whether the account will be restored,” the board wrote in its ruling, adding that the company had six months to justify the nature of the ban.

And so Friday, in a blog post, Facebook vp global affairs Nick Clegg announced the two-year suspension and outlined the criteria through which Trump may be reinstated:

“At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” Clegg writes. “If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”

Clegg added that once Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram are reinstated, “there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in the future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”

In its own statement following Facebook’s announcement, the Facebook Oversight Board said that it “is reviewing Facebook’s response to the Board’s decision in the case involving former U.S. President Donald Trump and will offer further comment once this review is complete.”

In addition to the announcement about Trump’s accounts, Facebook said that it will begin adding more clarity and transparency around its “newsworthiness allowance,” in which it allows posts to stay up even if they violate its community standards. Politicians have traditionally been given extra leeway when it comes to their posts on Facebook, but the company says it will end that practice: “We will not treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by anyone else. Instead, we will simply apply our newsworthiness balancing test in the same way to all content, measuring whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm by leaving it up.”

Reacting to Facebook’s decision, Trump released a statement blasting the decision: “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!”

President Trump’s accounts were suspended indefinitely from Facebook in January in the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Facebook Oversight Board, meanwhile, was created by the company to be an independent body specifically to weigh in on tricky or high-profile disputes.

Jun. 5, 3:50 a.m. Updated with statement from Donald Trump.


 

 

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Amazon Sidewalk’s privacy settings: What to know about sharing your home’s Wi-Fi

Ry Crist  | CNET.Com

Troy Warren


 

On by default and launching June 8, Sidewalk allows other people’s devices near your home to stay connected by borrowing a sliver of your bandwidth.

This Tuesday, June 8 will mark the launch of Amazon Sidewalk, a new feature that promises to keep your home devices better connected, especially around the edges of your property. The gist is that select Amazon Echo smart speakers and Ring gadgets will serve as bridges capable of connecting with other Sidewalk-enabled devices at long range using wireless Bluetooth LE or 900MHz LoRa signals — plus a small fraction of your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth. By doing so, these products will become part of a sort of mesh network, with your Echo acting as a middleman between your home network and, say, those smart lights in the backyard that sit right at the edge of Wi-Fi range.

Sidewalk isn’t just for your outdoor lights and other smart home devices: It’s for everybody’s gadgets. If your neighbor uses a Sidewalk-enabled mailbox sensor that’s in range of the Sidewalk bridges in your home, that sensor may very well use your network to connect to the cloud. Amazon insists that those transmissions are tiny in size, thoroughly encrypted, and that no two Sidewalk users will ever be able to access each other’s networks or devices, but the idea is still raising lots of eyebrows.

Even more concerning for some: Sidewalk is enabled by default, so you’ll need to navigate to the Alexa app’s account settings section to turn it off if you don’t want to participate. When you do so, you’ll notice that Sidewalk actually comes with two separate privacy permissions: a main toggle for switching Sidewalk on and off, and a second toggle that controls something called “Community Finding.” Unlike the main Sidewalk permission, the Community Finding permission is off by default.

Amazon explains that this second permission is all about Tile trackers and other Sidewalk-enabled devices meant to help people find things. 

“If you also enable Community Finding, you have the option to help your neighbors by sharing your Bridge’s approximate location to provide benefits like helping them locate their pet,” an Amazon spokesperson says. “Neighbors using Community Finding won’t be able to see the exact street address of your Sidewalk Bridge. They will only see an approximate location. This setting will apply to all of your Sidewalk Bridges.”

It’s important to note that Amazon anonymizes that location data. If I had Community Finding turned on and someone dropped a wallet with a Sidewalk-enabled Tile tracker in it outside my house, they’d receive an alert with the approximate area where the wallet is located or the closest nearby intersection. That alert wouldn’t identify me or my home, and it wouldn’t allow that person to contact me or access my home network.

To recap, here’s what is and isn’t on by default with Amazon Sidewalk:

On by default

Localized Bluetooth LE connections between the Sidewalk bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices in your home

Long-range, Bluetooth LE and 900MHz connections between your Sidewalk bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices outside of your home, including other people’s devices

Long-range, Bluetooth LE and 900MHz connections between your Sidewalk-enabled devices and Sidewalk bridges outside the home, including other people’s bridges

Bandwidth sharing to send these signals to Amazon’s servers using your home network (no more than 80Kbps per transmission and 500MB of data per month)

Off by default, requires opting in to Community Finding

Location alerts that share your home’s approximate and anonymized location with other users when they lose a Sidewalk-enabled device like a Tile tracker within range of your Sidewalk bridge, or vice versa

For reference, here’s the full list of the devices that double as Sidewalk bridges, along with the protocols they’ll support. So far, only the spherical, fourth-gen Amazon Echo, the Amazon Echo Show 10, the Ring Floodlight Cam and the wired Ring Spotlight Cam include 900MHz radios, which can connect with devices from up to a half-mile away. (BLE transmissions max out at about 100 meters.) At launch, the only Sidewalk-enabled devices that can connect with those 900MHz radios are wearable sensors from CareBand designed to track people living with dementia, but more should follow suit in the coming months.

Amazon Echo (second-gen, 2017, BLE only)

Amazon Echo (third-gen, 2019, BLE only)

Amazon Echo (fourth-gen, 2020, BLE and 900MHz)

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (first-gen, 2019, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (second-gen, 2020, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Dot (first-gen, 2016, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Dot (second-gen, 2016, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Dot (third-gen, 2018, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Dot (fourth-gen, 2020, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (third-gen, 2020, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Plus (first-gen, 2017, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Plus (second-gen, 2018, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Show (first-gen, 2017, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Show (second-gen, 2018, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2019, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2019, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Show 10 (2020, BLE and 900 MHz)

Amazon Echo Spot (2017, BLE only)

Amazon Echo Studio (2018, BLE only)

Ring Floodlight Cam (2019, BLE and 900 MHz)

Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019, BLE and 900 MHz)

How to adjust your Sidewalk settings

To turn Sidewalk off (or turn Community Finding on), open the Alexa app and tap the More icon at the bottom right.

Tap Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk to find the main toggle for Amazon Sidewalk.

Tap Community Finding to find the second toggle for location sharing.

First published on June 3, 2021 at 8:50 a.m. PT.