China's SenseTime raises $620 million in latest funding round

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese facial recognition technology developer SenseTime Group Ltd has raised $620 million in its latest round of funding, valuing the company at more than $4.5 billion.

FILE PHOTO: SenseTime surveillance software identifying customers’ movement patterns at a department store runs as a demonstration at the company’s office in Beijing, China, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

The financing was led by Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Silver Lake and Tiger Global, it said in a statement.

Reporting By Sijia Jiang; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Edwina Gibbs

Google launches second app in China, woos top smartphone market

BEIJING (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google has launched a file managing tool in several Chinese app stores as it looks for fresh inroads into the world’s biggest smartphone market, where most of the internet giant’s top products remain banned.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The U.S. firm on Thursday released a China-specific version of ‘Files Go’, a storage management tool for smartphones, the second China-specific app it has released since its flagship services were banned.

The app, which has a small number of users compared to Google’s flagship search and app store products, is also the first it has launched on third-party Chinese app stores including those hosted by Baidu Inc (BIDU.O), Xiaomi Technologies Co Ltd and Huawei Culture Co Ltd 002502.

China has represented a black hole on Google’s global map since regulators began banning the company’s products in 2010 when it refused to censor results in line with local laws.

Its search engine is banned in the Chinese market along with its app store, email and cloud storage services.

China’s cyber regulators say restrictions on foreign media and internet platforms are designed to block influences that contravene stability and socialist ideas.

Google has been trying to expand its operations in China and has launched a dedicated artificial intelligence research hub in Beijing, but its return to providing consumer products has been slow amid tightening censorship regulations.

Google has, however, ramped up its China efforts recently. CEO Sundar Pichai has made several visits to the country and has spoken at two Chinese government forums since December.

Last year, Google released its ‘Google Translate’ app in China. It is maintained by Google’s local joint venture.

The ‘Files Go’ app, which helps users free up storage space, has been developed by Google’s Next Billion program that targets developing markets, including India and Indonesia, where there are a large number of people using low-end smartphones.

While Google’s consumer services are largely blocked in China, its Android operating system is used widely by top smartphone vendors, including Xiaomi and Huawei phones.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Andrew Lincoln Is Out: Can 'The Walking Dead' Survive Without Rick Grimes?

Credit: AMC

Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead according to a new report.

Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead sometime during Season 9.

According to Collider, Lincoln—who plays the lead protagonist, Rick Grimes, on the zombie drama—is on his way out and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) will take over as leading man.

We all knew this day would come, but it’s still a little surprising to hear that it’s finally happening. Apparently AMC has offered Reedus “substantial compensation” to take over the leading role.

This raises some big questions, not the least of which is the headline to this post. Can this show survive without Lincoln? Will a Rick Grimes-free Walking Dead even make sense? And, just as importantly, can Reedus really carry the show?

Daryl is a great wing-man. He’s the strong, silent type. Indefatigably stoic. He looks cool when he rides his motor cycle, and he grunts ominously at bad guys before shooting them with his crossbow.

But is he a leading man?

I’m having a hard time picturing what a Daryl-led Walking Dead would actually look like. Daryl almost never speaks. When he does, it’s in short bursts. He’s driven by emotional responses to every situation. I’m not sure he’s ever had a plan (not that Rick’s plans are very good.) I like Daryl as far as characters on this show go, but he’s not really a leader. He’s a loner.

Credit: AMC

Daryl is a lone wolf, not a team leader.

Maybe in a show about a small group of survivors on the road, Reedus could be the star. Sadly, that is no longer what this show is about. It’s about communities in the zombie apocalypse, just trying to make a go of it in this crazy world.

On the other hand, Rick hasn’t been a very good character in a very long time. He’s been written into a few too many corners over the years, and ultimately the show has only ever managed to have him run in circles. He’s never really grown as a character. He hasn’t become a better leader or a better father or really ever learned from his mistakes. While they’ve flirted with making him Evil Rick, the writers can never quite commit to him fully breaking bad.

So Rick Grimes has been in a state of character development purgatory, never really changing in meaningful ways that actually stick. Both his rivalries and his romances lack any depth. His obsession with Jesse was discarded as quickly as it began and the next moment he was in a relationship with Michonne. The whole Negan sequence has been a disaster.

Credit: AMC

Speaking of Negan, will Rick’s departure also open the door for a more Negan-led show? Will Daryl and Negan be our new leading men together? Can Jeffrey Dean Morgan woo audiences? And what about the final of the Season 1 veterans, Carol? Melissa McBride is a good actress. Why not make her the lead?

Honestly, the whole thing is kind of a mess. I can’t blame Lincoln for wanting off the show, and I personally have lost my interest in Rick Grimes as a character. But without Rick, without Carl, what’s the point of this show exactly? Isn’t this supposed to be the story of Rick and Carl, a man and his son, navigating the zombie apocalypse? Without those two, it’s another story entirely. Audiences will have to decide whether it’s a story worth watching or not.

Something similar is happening on Fear The Walking Dead. Spoilers follow.

In that show, we’ve seen arguably the most central figure outside of Madison killed off. Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) was an incredibly important character and fan favorite, but he wanted off the show and now, slowly but surely, it feels more and more like a different story. Less about Madison and her children and more about the new characters and Morgan. That’s fine, I suppose, but it’s a big change and not everyone will like it. As much as I like the new characters, I’m not sure how to feel about it myself.

In  any case, if this report is true and Andrew Lincoln really is leaving The Walking Dead, it’s going to become something very different. It already went through a pretty major transformation when Negan and the Saviors showed up. In many ways, it’s already an unrecognizable show. It’s nothing like the earlier seasons. And it will only drift further from that with Lincoln out, and probably other major cast members to follow—Laura Cohen (Maggie) has a new show, for instance.

So we’ll see. After Season 8 I’m not sure that The Walking Dead can actually get any worse, so maybe this won’t be so terrible.

What's Being Done To Help America Sleep?

Why is it so hard for us to get a good night’s sleep? And is there anything new being done about a health issue that the American Sleep Association (ASA) contends affects up to 70 million American adults?

Shutterstock

Everyone agrees there’s a problem. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says insomnia is the most common sleep problem in adults age 60 and older. The ASA says deep sleep is important for memory consolidation, yet as human beings enter into middle age, the quantity of deep (or slow wave) sleep they achieve is known to decrease significantly.

If you suffer from them, you know. Sleep troubles can be brutal. They can last for days, months and even years; and they can mean a lot more than just having trouble falling asleep. They can mean you: take a long time to fall asleep, wake up many times in the night, wake up early and are unable to get back to sleep, wake up tired, and feel sleepy during the day. The NIH just confirms what the sleep-deprived already know: Often, “being unable to sleep becomes a habit. Some people worry about not sleeping even before they get into bed.” This too may exacerbate an already exhausting situation and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

So sleep seekers try reading, meditation and prayer, darkening their rooms, and even weighted blankets. Before they know it they’re wondering bleary-eyed along the sleep aid aisle in their local pharmacy or department store for over-the-counter medications. Some finally resort to calling the doctor and stepping up their medication game to a prescription sleep aid or better yet: scheduling a sleep study.

Many people desperate for better sleep think that the method and the outcome of a sleep study are pretty straightforward—and limited. Either they have sleep apnea, and are thus prescribed a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) system—the leading therapy for sleep apnea—to keep them breathing during sleep, or they don’t have sleep apnea, and, well, it’s start over with the list above.

But while there are still tens of thousands of people seeking better sleep in the United States, there are also many physicians and scientists trying to help them. And they’re getting better at it all the time.

There’s information on yoga and music and meditation. There are over-the-counter pills, therapeutic oils and gadgets you stick to your nose. There are studies on causes and effects and drugs. The National Sleep Foundation even offers information on mouth exercises to help you breath better and thus sleep better at night:

  • Push the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and slide the tongue backward. Repeat 20 times.
  • Suck your tongue upward so that the entire tongue lies against the roof of your mouth. Repeat 20 times.
  • Force the back of your tongue downward against the floor of your mouth while keeping the tip of your tongue in contact with your bottom front teeth.

In scientific circles, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recently compiled a list of the 10 most-viewed sleep research papers published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM) in the last year. That is, articles that captured the attention of the scientific and medical communities, as well as the media and the general public. These are the papers on the JCSM website—published by AASM—that received the most pageviews. They include information on what is being done and who is doing it.

They included:

  • Guidelines for physicians for evidence-based analyses of sleep aids.
  • Guidelines and recommendations for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea in adults.
  • Study results on the actual melatonin content of natural health products and supplements versus what is often listed on labels.
  • A new position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) on beginning the school day at 8:30 a.m. or later for middle school and high school students.
  • The first study to link binge-watching in young adults with poorer sleep quality, more fatigue and increased insomnia.
  • Updates to the AASM Scoring Manual for Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events.
  • The AASM’s position statement on the use of Home Sleep Apnea Tests (HSAT). These devices are diagnostic medical tools that help physicians provide high quality, sleep tests at home for select adult patients.
  • Information on the possibility of stronger levels of recommendations by the AASM regarding sedative-hypnotic drug use in the management of chronic insomnia.
  • Advice for the field of sleep medicine, including challenges and necessary changes and advances in sleep medicine.
  • The AASM’s Sleep and Transportation Safety Awareness Task Force response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and request for public comments regarding the evaluation of safety-sensitive personnel for moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland recently posted what the organization sees for the future of sleep clinical care and research, even calling this future “revolutionary.”

How Blockchain is Disrupting Supply Chain Management

Managing a supply chain isn’t easy, and that’s the case even when you’re running a small business. By the time that you start to look at larger national and international companies, the supply chain starts to look less like a chain and more like a web, full of interconnectivity and riddled with inefficiency.

Supply chain management is such big business now that all sorts of specialists are starting to crop up who make it their mission to iron out these inefficiencies and to save companies money. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other new technologies are already being applied to the challenge of optimizing the supply chain, but there’s another new technology on the block that’s ready to change the game.

I’m talking, of course, about blockchain, the technology which underlies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and acts as an unhackable, decentralized ledger. It’s been described as “a record-keeping mechanism that makes it easier and safer for businesses to work together over the internet.” You can probably already see why it has a lot of potential when it comes to supply chain management.

Boosting compliance

It’s true that blockchain was initially designed purely for financial transactions, but it’s also true that it’s a highly versatile technology with all sorts of potential use cases. When it comes to supply chain management, for example, it could make it easier for big businesses to track the whats, the whens and the whys for every single order on the supply chain. It could lead to the development of interoperable systems that allow you to get a much more accurate view of what’s going on beneath the bonnet of your company.

Because blockchain is effectively an incorruptible ledger, it makes it much easier to track your compliance efforts by recording every single step of the way. At the same time, blockchain data can be made readily available to auditors and other third-parties such as compliance officers. It’s a more open system, but the fact that it’s a more open system will help to force people to work within the laws and regulations that are in place to protect consumers. The only people who’d suffer would be the ones who were breaking the rules.

The shift towards blockchain is already starting to happen. For example, Maersk and IBM have announced a partnership in which they’re set to create a blockchain-based electronic shipping system which will allow companies to track their cargo in real-time. It’s expected to save the global shipping industry billions of dollars every year.

How blockchain would work for the supply chain

As an incorruptible digital ledger, blockchain could effectively store records for every product. It would add to its record every time a product changed hands, storing data such as who purchased it and for how much. Imagine a permanent history for every single product that would follow it from when it was made to when it was packed, shipped, displayed and sold.

The advantages to this are pretty obvious. Analysts could identify new ways to reduce delays and remove human error, saving both time and resources. The data could also be shared throughout the company, enabling different departments to work more closely together towards a common goal. It could fundamentally change the way you work.

Blockchain can help supply chain management in a variety of ways, from recording the transfer of assets to tracking receipts, purchase orders and other associated paperwork. It could also store other identifying data such as whether packages need to be handled with care or whether fresh produce is organic or not.

The benefits of blockchain for the supply chain

One of the big benefits of blockchain is that it makes data much more interoperable. Companies could more easily share information with manufacturers, couriers and other suppliers and vendors. This increased transparency can help to reduce delays and disputes, and it can also prevent shipments from getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. You can’t really lose them if they’re tracked in real-time.

Blockchain is also much more scalable, offering an almost unlimited database that can be accessed from multiple touchpoints from around the world. It provides a higher standard of security and the ability to be customised to feed more specialized applications. Businesses can even create private blockchains to keep data internal and to share it only with those who they explicitly give permission to.

Still, private blockchains can only achieve so much, and most of the value from blockchain technology comes from the fact that it can tie together different ledgers and data points to provide one centralized bank of information. This can also help to fight fraud and other issues. According to Michael White, the former president of Maersk Line in North America, “One of the advantages of blockchain is the immutable record and trust people can have in it. If anything changes in a document, it’s immediately apparent to all.”

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is coming to change all sorts of industries, and supply chain management is only one of them. Nevertheless, it’s also one of the more obvious applications of the technology, and so you shouldn’t be surprised if you see it coming to a company near you sometime soon.

In many ways, it’s inevitable. Eventually, the industry will be forced to make a choice, and we’ll reach a point at which the short-term hassle of changing to newer systems will be outweighed by the long-term benefits. It’ll be the supply chain teams who are the fastest to react who will be able to reap the rewards, enjoying a boost in performance that’s comparable to the change from hand-written paperwork to electronic databases.

In the meantime, the best thing for supply chain teams to do is to keep an eye on new technologies and software as they’re released. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the underlying concepts of blockchain including how it works and why it’s so versatile. That way, you’ll be ready for the blockchain revolution when it comes. Good luck.

Father's Day 2018 Gift Guide, By Personality Type

, The worldview from Los Angeles Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
ToBoot

Up front: To Boot New York’s Belmont high tops (right) elevate the classic look with Italian suede

</div> </div> <p>High tops don’t get much more fashionable than <a href="http://www.toboot.com/shoes/Belmont/Grey" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.toboot.com/shoes/Belmont/Grey" rel="nofollow">The Belmont</a> by To Boot New York. Designer Adam Derrick upgrades the casual classic with Italian calf suede and padding at the ankle for a look that’s modern and elegant at picnics or premieres. Comes in natural grey and blue. $398.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Midnight Watch Man</strong></p> <strong> </strong> <p><strong></strong></p>

WatchGang

Think of WatchGang as Netflix for timepieces

</div> </div>

<p>LA-based <a href="https://watchgang.com/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://watchgang.com/" rel="nofollow">Watch Gang</a> is a Netflix-for-timepieces type subscription service with various levels from $29 to $299 a month that will send dad a for-keeps watch from both well-known and independent brands to build up his collection. Fans of the club include Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Piven. Each watch is valued significantly higher than the monthly subscription fee, and includes weekly giveaway offers, with a Tag Heuer every Tuesday and Rolex every Friday.</p> <p><strong>The Single (Track) Dad</strong></p> <strong> </strong> <p><strong></strong></p>” readability=”25.5928411633″>

Father’s Day gift guides tend to fixate on whiskey, hot sauce and maybe something for the office desk. So boring, right? Here are some distinctive products I noticed this year that dad will truly appreciate on Sunday, June 19. Because, come on, isn’t the father in your life worth more than just a jokey card about his dad bod? Here are some suggestions based on personality type:

The Chic-er Sneaker Guy

ToBoot

Up front: To Boot New York’s Belmont high tops (right) elevate the classic look with Italian suede

High tops don’t get much more fashionable than The Belmont by To Boot New York. Designer Adam Derrick upgrades the casual classic with Italian calf suede and padding at the ankle for a look that’s modern and elegant at picnics or premieres. Comes in natural grey and blue. $398.

The Midnight Watch Man

WatchGang

Think of WatchGang as Netflix for timepieces

LA-based Watch Gang is a Netflix-for-timepieces type subscription service with various levels from $29 to $299 a month that will send dad a for-keeps watch from both well-known and independent brands to build up his collection. Fans of the club include Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Piven. Each watch is valued significantly higher than the monthly subscription fee, and includes weekly giveaway offers, with a Tag Heuer every Tuesday and Rolex every Friday.

The Single (Track) Dad

Page 1 / 2

Gen Z Graduates Into A New World Of Work, Here Is Why You Should Care

, I research & write on longevity, generational trends & innovation. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 11: Media producer Oprah Winfrey addresses The USC Annenberg School For Communication And Journalism Celebrates Commencement at The Shrine Auditorium on May 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

</div> </div> <p>Generation Z, the leading edge of young people born after 1997, are now 21 years old. Many of them are graduating from college and listening to the well wishes and advice of graduation speakers. After the microphones are silenced and the last diploma is awarded, Gen Z will enter the workforce.</p> <p>Today’s workplace is undergoing an unprecedented rate of change placing new demands on workers of all ages. A new <em>high velocity workplace</em> is emerging – a world of work characterized by the rapid development of new knowledge, an accelerating rate of industry disruption and advancing technology.</p> <p>Graduation speakers are asking students <em>to be daring</em>, <em>to hone personal resilience</em> and more. My personal favorite is a <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/05/25/614518550/from-oprah-to-rex-tillerson-commencement-speeches-for-the-class-of-2018" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.npr.org/2018/05/25/614518550/from-oprah-to-rex-tillerson-commencement-speeches-for-the-class-of-2018" rel="nofollow">speech</a>, a mixture of practical and aspirational guidance, delivered by Oprah Winfrey to University of Southern California graduates. She advised the class of 2018 to “eat breakfast…make your bed…recycle…pay your bills on time…and to aim high.”</p> <p> </p> <p>But, in the <a href="https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/preludeangryyoungman.html" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/preludeangryyoungman.html" rel="nofollow">words</a> of another Baby Boomer, Billy Joel, not from a podium, but in song, sometimes “just surviving is a noble fight.”</p> <p>Surviving <em>and thriving</em> in the emerging high velocity workplace will require Gen Z graduates to confront the new realities of work – realities that are changing the rules of work for all generations. Here are four.</p>

<p><strong>School Is Never Out</strong></p> <p>Sorry graduates. You thought final exams were…well, <em>final</em>. The half-life of education is perhaps shorter than any previous generation perhaps placing&nbsp;Gen Z at a higher risk for professional obsolescence in fewer years than&nbsp;even the Millennials.</p> <p>Buckminster Fuller coined the idea of <a href="https://www.bfi.org/search?search_api_views_fulltext=knowledge+doubling+curve" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.bfi.org/search?search_api_views_fulltext=knowledge+doubling+curve" rel="nofollow">knowledge doubling</a> which suggests that knowledge, in a given field or human endeavor, doubles at a predictable, but accelerating rate. Fuller argued that in 1900 human knowledge doubled about every 100 years and by 1950 knowledge doubled every 25 years. A 2006 IBM <a href="http://www-935.ibm.com/services/no/cio/leverage/levinfo_wp_gts_thetoxic.pdf" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www-935.ibm.com/services/no/cio/leverage/levinfo_wp_gts_thetoxic.pdf" rel="nofollow">study</a> forecasted that human knowledge might be doubling every 11 hours! Today it is widely accepted that knowledge doubles, but at different rates in different fields. Medical education provides a startling example. One researcher projects that by 2020 medical knowledge might double every 73 days.</p>” readability=”50.2899262899″>

LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 11: Media producer Oprah Winfrey addresses The USC Annenberg School For Communication And Journalism Celebrates Commencement at The Shrine Auditorium on May 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Generation Z, the leading edge of young people born after 1997, are now 21 years old. Many of them are graduating from college and listening to the well wishes and advice of graduation speakers. After the microphones are silenced and the last diploma is awarded, Gen Z will enter the workforce.

Today’s workplace is undergoing an unprecedented rate of change placing new demands on workers of all ages. A new high velocity workplace is emerging – a world of work characterized by the rapid development of new knowledge, an accelerating rate of industry disruption and advancing technology.

Graduation speakers are asking students to be daring, to hone personal resilience and more. My personal favorite is a speech, a mixture of practical and aspirational guidance, delivered by Oprah Winfrey to University of Southern California graduates. She advised the class of 2018 to “eat breakfast…make your bed…recycle…pay your bills on time…and to aim high.”

But, in the words of another Baby Boomer, Billy Joel, not from a podium, but in song, sometimes “just surviving is a noble fight.”

Surviving and thriving in the emerging high velocity workplace will require Gen Z graduates to confront the new realities of work – realities that are changing the rules of work for all generations. Here are four.

School Is Never Out

Sorry graduates. You thought final exams were…well, final. The half-life of education is perhaps shorter than any previous generation perhaps placing Gen Z at a higher risk for professional obsolescence in fewer years than even the Millennials.

Buckminster Fuller coined the idea of knowledge doubling which suggests that knowledge, in a given field or human endeavor, doubles at a predictable, but accelerating rate. Fuller argued that in 1900 human knowledge doubled about every 100 years and by 1950 knowledge doubled every 25 years. A 2006 IBM study forecasted that human knowledge might be doubling every 11 hours! Today it is widely accepted that knowledge doubles, but at different rates in different fields. Medical education provides a startling example. One researcher projects that by 2020 medical knowledge might double every 73 days.

Page 1 / 3

FBI Says You Should Reboot Your Home Office Router to Stop Russian Malware

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation recommended in a Friday statement that “any owner of small office and home office routers” reboot the devices, hopefully reducing their exposure to a widespread malware attack linked to Russian government actors. The FBI has reportedly seized a server used to escalate the infection, making rebooting an effective way to disable it.

A Cisco cybersecurity team said on Wednesday that at least 500,000 routers in 54 countries were impacted by the malware, known as VPN Filter. The software reportedly targets consumer-level routers used in home and small offices, and is able to both monitor local traffic and even wipe the routers, destroying them and cutting users off from the internet. Routers from Linksys, Netgear, TP-Link, and MikroTik were reportedly vulnerable – though again, the FBI is recommending rebooting all small or home office routers.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

According to reporting by The Daily Beast, VPN Filter is a product of a group known by names including “Sofacy Group” and “Fancy Bear.” The same group was allegedly responsible for the hack of emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, and has been strongly linked to the Russian government.

According to Ars Technica, the VPN Filter malware is “one of the few Internet-of-things infections that can survive a reboot,” because a persistent first stage of the infection can use automated remote systems to install or re-install its second or third stages.

The FBI’s seizure of one of those remote systems, hosted at the ominously-named domain ToKnowAll.com, means the attackers will likely have to use a much more labor-intensive method to re-infect devices after they’re rebooted. Rebooting will also, according to a Department of Justice statement, help the government teams “identify and remediate the infection worldwide,” apparently by tracking communications sent by infected devices after they’re rebooted.

Tesla seeks to dismiss securities fraud lawsuit: U.S. court document

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc on Friday asked a court to dismiss a securities fraud lawsuit by shareholders who said the electric vehicle maker gave false public statements about the progress of producing its new Model 3 sedan.

A Tesla dealership is seen in West Drayton, just outside London, Britain, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

In a filing in federal court in San Francisco, Tesla said that its statements about the challenges the company faced with Model 3 were “frank and in plain language,” including repeated disclosures by Chief Executive Elon Musk of “production hell.”

Tesla did not seek to hide the truth, its motion to dismiss said.

The company says its Model 3 has experienced numerous “bottlenecks” from problems with Tesla’s battery module process at its Nevada Gigafactory to general assembly at its Fremont plant.

Tesla is under pressure to deliver the Model 3 to reap revenue and stem massive spending that has put Tesla’s finances in the red. The ramp of the Model 3, Tesla said in the court filing, was “the first of its kind,” with difficulties likely to crop up after it got underway.

The lawsuit filed last October seeks class action status for shareholders who bought Tesla stock between May 4, 2016 through October 6, 2017, inclusive. It said shareholders bought “artificially inflated” shares because Musk and other executives misled them with their statements.

Tesla made such statements during the lead-up to, and early production of, its Model 3 sedan and failed to disclose that the company was “woefully unprepared” for the vehicle’s production, the lawsuit said.

A hearing is scheduled for August.

The Tesla response chronicled disclosures of production bottlenecks the company faced in its third quarter of 2017 when it fell short of its targets.

Tesla’s statements that its Model 3 production was “on track” in May and August of 2017 – which plaintiffs argue were false – were made before production problems began to surface, Tesla argued.

Tesla said its “good faith belief” in the Model 3 program is reflected in everything it has done: a $4 billion investment, the build-out of its Gigafactory battery factory in Nevada and the high-volume equipment it commissioned.

Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Peter Henderson and Grant McCool

Why Every Entrepreneur Should Care About Instagram's Recent Updates

At the moment, it’s hard to think of a social media platform on the market hotter than Instagram. With the app being within reach of growing to 1 billion monthly users by the end of 2018, it’s becoming more apparent by the day why Mark Zuckerberg pulled the trigger and acquired the photo sharing app back in 2012.

Recently, Instagram has continued its upward trajectory through a number of new updates and features. Just a handful of these updates include: 

  1. Updating the Discover tab to be hyper-personalized to each individual user.
  2. Creating a “guided search” which closely mirrors that of Pinterest.
  3. Rolling out native payments on the platform to allow for seamless discovery and purchase. This feature will, more than likely, exist to keep users in-app and strengthen Instagram’s click-to-buy feature called “Shoppable Tags”.
  4. Reservations to some restaurants are now being accepted on the platform through a partnership with the fast-growing app, Resy.

Why You Should Care

When it comes to social media, it can be tough to differentiate between trends and the countless amount of semi-useless updates and features these platforms seem to release every single day. That being said, take this one from a guy whose job it is to keep up with social media: this is certainly a social media trend every entrepreneur should be paying attention to.

The main reason for this is all these updates mentioned above point to one conclusion: Instagram is tripling down on eCommerce. With each change, Instagram is getting closer than ever before to reaching the “eCommerce promiseland”, which consists of entertaining, relevant discovery coupled with a seamless checkout process all in one app.

Instagram is also in a better position than any other social media platform to become the king of e-commerce thanks to their parent company being Facebook. The robust data Facebook has on their user’s consumer behavior is unprecedented, and Instagram will be able to capitalize on this information for years through targeted advertising. 

Caveats and Cons

As with all major trends, there do exist some caveats to consider prior to jumping on the bandwagon:

  1. Facebook’s screw-ups will inevitably effect Instagram. Because Facebook owns Instagram, any scandal that occurs (like Cambridge Analytica) will effect how the company conducts business on Instagram. 
  2. Pay-to-play. Due to the growing popularity of Instagram, the volume of content on the platform will only continue to increase, making the feed more cluttered than ever before. Because of this, if the history of Facebook holds true, it’s only a matter of time before Instagram becomes just as much a pay-to-play social media platform as Facebook has become.
  3. Best for physical products. At the moment, many of the Instagram updates mentioned in this article apply primarily to physical products, like merchandise, as opposed to all brands. If you’re a B2B brand, such as a consultant or IT specialist, all the features may not benefit you as much as a B2C brand at this point in time.

What You Can Do to Capitalize on the Opportunity

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. The best way to capitalize on this opportunity is to become more active and effective on Instagram as soon as you can. This will position you be able to sell to your engaged followers on the platform. Here are the best ways to get started..

  1. Bolster your sales on Instagram by integrating your profile with Shopify. You can get started on that process here.
  2. Experiment with influencer marketing on Instagram. For example, consider having an Instagram influencer wear your merch or use your product in their posts. This will enable you to see whether or not influencers are your best option versus selling directly from your own profile.
  3. Take advantage of Instagram Insights to see your audience’s behavior. Like anything else in business, data is king when it comes to knowing what your Instagram followers prefer. With Instagram Insights, you’ll be able to see recommended publishing times, your highest engaged posts, characteristics of your followers, and much more.
  4. Take advantage of links in Instagram Stories. Leverage links in your Stories by showcasing your product, then include a link where your most engaged viewers can purchase that product if they’d like to.

With the barrage of recent updates coming from Instagram, it’s apparent the social media powerhouse is doubling down on eCommerce. If you’re an entrepreneur, be sure and take advantage of this opportunity with these new features before everybody is doing it. Best of luck.