What’s new in tech
Lithium-ion batteries can be dangerously flammable, but it’s common to find them selling on Amazon, said Alana Semuels in TheAtlantic.com. That’s where Nicholas Jones purchased what he thought was a replacement battery for his HP laptop in 2016, later to discover that “the lithium-ion battery in the laptop sitting next to him had ignited, setting his couch on fire.” More than half the products sold on Amazon are listed by third parties, so “batches of lithium-ion cells made in China that don’t pass inspection sometimes end up listed by sellers on Amazon.” In August, Amazon barred the sale of cylindrical lithium-ion cells not designed to be handled by consumers—the kind that have caused the most problems—but The Atlantic had no problem buying eight of them on the site in February.
Co-parenting apps can serve as a helpful intermediary between divorced parents, said Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal. Apps such as Talking Parents, coParenter, and Cozi “allow parents to document their compliance with the parenting plan,” and their use is increasingly encouraged by family-law judges. “The kids acclimate so much better,” said a family-law judge in Arizona. Some offer check-in features “so parents can prove that they picked up or handed off their children when and where they were supposed to.” Others even use AI “to flag messages written in an aggressive tone.” Some parents also like the fact that they can keep communications with their ex in one place—“better than having a message pop up in their regular inbox when they’re unprepared to deal with it.”
Facebook’s latest privacy promise
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised last week at the company’s F8 developer conference that privacy will now be “the defining pillar of his social network’s sprawling empire,” said Nick Statt in TheVerge.com, confirming a massive pivot away from the News Feed and public posts. “Zuckerberg knows he needs to regain the trust of the public”—a joke he made about the company’s reputation for privacy fell awkwardly flat—and the company took a step toward that by banning seven of its most controversial users, including Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan, in one of the tech industry’s most dramatic moves to punish high-profile extremists. Facebook also unveiled a redesign of its main app that’s “cleaner and less cluttered.”