Thursday Tech Crawl: Five things we learned from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook hearing. Plus, Apple’s stumbling HomePod isn’t the hot seller it wanted.

Posted April 12th, 2018

Good morning, Austin! We have scrolled the internet to bring you the latest technology headlines. Here’s what’s happening:

Five things we learned from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook hearing

The Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was given a rougher ride on his second day of congressional testimony on Wednesday as he faced sharp questions about the tech giant’s ability to track its users’ movements, shopping habits and browsing histories and was at one stage compared to J Edgar Hoover.

During five hours of testimony, the billionaire entrepreneur revealed that his own personal information was among that handed over to the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which harvested the data of up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

The Democratic congresswoman Anna Eshoo asked Zuckerberg whether his data was “included in the data sold to the malicious third parties”. After a brief hesitation, the Facebook CEO replied: “Yes.”

Here are five things we learned.

Apple’s stumbling HomePod isn’t the hot seller it wanted

When Apple Inc.’s HomePod smart speaker went on sale in January, it entered a market pioneered and dominated by Amazon’s Echo lineup of Alexa-powered devices. Apple has been touting the HomePod’s superior sound quality but so far hasn’t enticed many consumers to part with $349.

By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter.

During the HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day.

Snap is testing commerce with Snapchat Discover publishers

Snap has been stepping up efforts to curry favor with publishers, especially as publishers continue to feel the impact of Facebook’s news feed changes. Its newest pitch: commerce.

Snap has begun testing a commerce function within a handful of Snapchat Discover publisher channels, according to a report by Digiday. A handful of Discover publishers have already tested this option, which lets users swipe up and buy a product from the recently launched store inside Discover that also offers Snapchat merchandise like sweatshirts and hats. Snap is not taking a cut of the revenue generated from sales at this time, according to a source.

Beyond the publishing partners that have tested commerce within Snapchat Discover, two other Discover publishers said Snap has approached them about commerce to let them know it’s coming and to gauge their interest.