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Business news briefs — Oct. 20

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MEDIA

Facebook changes rules

Facebook Inc. is lifting restrictions on teens to let them share more information publicly in a bid to regain the popularity it has lost to Twitter, Snapchat and other social networks.

Before the change, teens ages 13 to 17 could share information only with friends or friends of friends. Now Facebook is giving them more control over what information they share publicly.

“Teens,” the company said in a blog post, “want to be heard.”

With the new policy, teens’ privacy settings will automatically share information only with friends — but they will have the ability to change those settings.

Privacy watchdogs immediately cried foul. Facebook says its updated teen privacy policy now mirrors its competitors. The changes were to begin rolling out Wednesday.

Facebook is ubiquitous among teens. Some 94 percent of teens are said to have Facebook accounts.

But Facebook has been overshadowed in recent years even by its own photo-sharing service Instagram, along with other social networks that are seen as being a bit hipper than Facebook and where their parents don’t hang out.

Pew Research Center’s Internet Project recently found that many teens take their privacy very seriously. Teens who choose to change their settings will be asked twice if they are sure they want to share information that broadly, Facebook said.

— Los Angeles Times

TELEVISION

Hulu names CEO

Online video service Hulu named Fox executive Mike Hopkins as its new CEO, ending the speculation over the company’s leadership following Jason Kilar’s departure in March.

Andy Forssell, the former content executive who has served as interim CEO, will leave the company.

Hopkins was president of distribution for Fox Networks Group, where he oversaw Fox’s on-demand and digital offerings including through apps such as Fox Now.

Hopkins also served on the Hulu board for several years.

Hulu, based in Los Angeles, is owned by 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp.

BEVERAGES

New beer device

Heineken NV, the world’s third-biggest brewer, is taking a cue from Nespresso owner Nestle SA’s book by offering a beer-making machine for drinkers who want a freshly pulled pint at home.

The Sub, shaped like a beer barrel on its side, was unveiled in Paris and will be rolled out in Italy and France early next year, the company said. The device is loaded with replaceable two-liter Torps of beer — like a Nespresso cafe capsule — that can be kept in the refrigerator.

Heineken is seeking to attract urban, gadget-conscious men looking to trade up from a can of beer at home, said Francois-Xavier Mahot, senior director for global innovation. The Sub will retail at 249 euros ($340), with Torp refills available at 6 euros to 8 euros, the company said.

Heineken is seeking to get 6 percent of sales a year from new products. Heineken wouldn’t comment on how much was spent on the machine, which was three years in the making, saying only it was a “big” investment.

— Bloomberg News


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