Google News will allow free access to paywalled articles from news sites

As part of its $1 billion investment in partnerships with news publishers, Google will start paying for some paywalled content for its News Showcase program. News Showcase, a new addition to Google News that launched in October, displays story panels curated by publishers — but its not available in the US yet.

© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

News Showcase will “start offering people access to paywalled content in partnership with select news publishers,” says a Google blog post. Google will pay partners for limited access to paywalled content. To access that content, users will still have to register with the individual publishers.

Users in the US shouldn’t get too excited about free articles just yet. Google lists partnerships with publishers in several countries, but the US is not currently on the list. News Showcase went live in October in Brazil and Germany. Publications in other countries, including

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Cainhoy Peninsula development could threaten preservation of historical sites | News

CAINHOY — The history of the Cainhoy Peninsula is as old, as deep and as rich as that of Charleston itself — maybe even older.

Archaeologists believe Cainhoy’s history began more than 8,000 years ago — long before the first European settlers set foot on the North American continent, when Native Americans roamed the banks of the Cooper and Wando rivers hunting small game and searching the wetlands for oysters.

For a region that prides itself on preserving its past, the history of the Cainhoy Peninsula is in jeopardy of disappearing in the coming decades under the onslaught of development, which could see as many as 30,000 new residents descend upon this once pristine landscape.

Over the next 20 years, Cainhoy Plantation, which straddles Clements Ferry Road, is expected to add 9,000 new homes and turn the area into a city-sized community. When the last moving boxes are unloaded, it

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Facebook will start paying UK news sites for news stories

As with the US News section, the UK tab will offer a mix of personalized and curated top stories. Facebook will normally show top headlines and stories, but will add news digests with original and “authoritative” reporting during major news cycles. The tab will build on the success of the US site, Facebook said, “where we’ve found more than 95 percent of the traffic Facebook News delivers to publishers is new audiences that have not interacted with those news outlets in the past.”

Facebook didn’t say how much it would pay publishers, but some expect millions of pounds each year from multi-year details, The Guardian reported. That means Facebook could be paying tens of millions in the UK alone, much-needed revenue for struggling news outlets. It may also feature smaller local sites that

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Amazon details cause of AWS outage that hobbled thousands of online sites and services

A past AWS re:Invent conference. (GeekWire Photo)

A “relatively small addition of capacity” to the Amazon Kinesis real-time data processing service triggered a widespread Amazon Web Services outage last week, the company said in a detailed technical analysis over the weekend.

The addition of the new capacity “caused all of the servers in the fleet to exceed the maximum number of threads allowed by an operating system configuration,”  describing a cascade of resulting problems that took down thousands of sites and services.

The outage impacted online services from big tech companies such as AdobeRokuTwilioFlickrAutodesk, and others, including New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was also impacted by the outage.

It was an especially ill-timed incident for Amazon, coming just days before its annual AWS re:Invent cloud conference. Reliability has

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Amazon Web Service outage takes down major apps and sites

Screens show Amazon's logo

Amazon Web Services powers big players on the web. 

Getty Images

A prolonged outage of Amazon Web Services — a core component for a vast number of sites and apps — brought part of the internet to a halt Wednesday, as reported earlier by The Verge. The affected sites include not only major players on the web like Flickr, Adobe Spark and Roku, but at least three news outlets.

The Tampa Bay Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Capital Gazette all took to Twitter to inform readers of their AWS-related downtime. 

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Russia wants to ban social media sites discriminating against Russian news outlets


Vladimir_Timofeev, Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Russian government is working on a new law to block foreign social media sites inside Russia’s territory as repercussions for “discriminating” against Russian news outlets operating abroad.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are specifically mentioned in “explanatory notes” (Word document) accompanying the new draft bill, submitted last week for debate in the Russian Duma (state parliament).

Russian lawmakers say that since April 2020, state authorities had received complaints from editors of Russian news sites that had their social media accounts censored on the aforementioned sites.

“Media outlets such as Russia Today, RIA Novosti, Crimea 24 were censored. In total, about 20 acts of discrimination were recorded,” Russian lawmakers said.

The acts of discrimination referenced in the draft bill’s notes refers to rules introduced at Twitter and Facebook this year, and at YouTube in 2018.

The three sites have been showing special labels on the profiles

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Amazon Web Services Outage Takes Down Major Sites Including Roku, Flickr


Amazon Web Services, the e-commerce giant’s cloud service, has been hit with an outage that has disrupted large portions of the web including platforms like Roku, Flickr and Spotify-owned podcast service Anchor, among many others.

Key Facts

Grocery delivery service Shipt, robot vaccuum cleaner Roomba and the New York City Subway have also blamed disruptions on their apps and services to the outage.

Amazon said in a status update that its services are currently impaired due to issues at its Northern Virginia based “US-EAST-1 Region” servers.

Crowdsourced data on show the outage is also causing problems with Amazon’s e-commerce site and many of its services like Prime music.

The serverity of the outage has even affected Amazon Web Services’ health dashboard, preventing the company to update the current status of its servers.

Key Background


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Spokane cop suspended three weeks, loses prestigious roles after frequently accessing explicit sites on department computer

A longtime Spokane police officer who accessed hundreds of sexually explicit images using a department computer in 2019 was suspended for three weeks and relieved of duties managing a department program earlier this year.

Officer Dan Cole, who was hired by the department in 1986, was placed on paid administrative leave in January after city information technology staff reviewed his computer use in December, according to records requested by The Spokesman-Review.

His computer log showed visits to pornography and prostitution websites while on- and off-duty.

One other officer was found to have visited a prostitution website, but it appeared related to his work investigating human trafficking, according to investigative records. Computer records also showed he primarily visited the website’s homepage.

Cole, however, navigated deeper into a similar prostitution website to view specific photos and appeared to have searched the internet for explicit images, according to investigative records.

A panel of

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Facebook sues Turkish software developer who ran 20+ Instagram clone sites


Social media giant Facebook filed a civil lawsuit today against a Turkish national for operating a network of at least 20 Instagram clones.

According to court documents obtained by ZDNet, Facebook claims that defendant Ensar Sahinturk, a software developer based in Istanbul, used automation software running from thousands of Instagram accounts to scrape data from more than 100,000 Instagram profiles, which he later republished on his own sites.

Described as “Instagram viewers,” Sahinturk operated at least 20 clone sites where he listed Instagram photos and made a profit by showing his own ads.

Domains operated by Sahinturk included,,,,, and, according to court filings.

The earliest domains were created in August 2017, and many of the sites are still active today.

Facebook said it tried to avoid litigation by sending multiple cease & desist letters to Sahinturk in early 2019, but to no avail.

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Pub chain Mitchells & Butlers to close 20 sites

Closed pubs and restaurants in Shoreditch, east London, at the end of the first full week of the four week national lockdown in England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Mitchells & Butlers, which has around 1,700 locations across the country and is headquartered in Birmingham, did not reveal how many of its 44,000 staff would be affected by the move, the newspaper said. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

Mitchells & Butlers (MAB.L) is planning to close up to 20 of its pubs and restaurants in the UK, putting scores of jobs at risk, it has been reported.

The FTSE 250 bar and restaurant owner, which owns Harvester, Toby Carvery, O’Neill’s and All Bar One, is working with advisors CBRE to offload a number of leasehold sites that will face permanent closure if buyers cannot be found, the Telegraph reported.

Mitchells & Butlers, which has around 1,700 locations across the country and is headquartered in Birmingham, did not reveal how many of its 44,000 staff would be affected by the move, the newspaper said.

The company previously announced

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