Stories by Marisa Fernandez

The pitfalls of online personalization

Stranger things compilation. Several pictures of the main characters.
A Netflix orginal series, "Stranger Things." Photo: Netflix.

Concern over how Netflix tweaks promos for individual users — recently reignited by a Twitter thread questioning if race and gender are being targeted — highlights the challenges internet companies face when deciding just how much to personalize their services.

Why it matters: Netflix says its artwork personalization algorithms aren't based on race, ethnicity, gender or location, but on a user's viewing behavior. However, it's hard to say if viewers' preferences on genres or even minority actors have been picked up by algorithms that then personalize promotional artwork.

Rex Tillerson spent $1 Million in taxpayer money to fly across the U.S.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a suit and tie.
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent more than $1 million in taxpayer money for the use of military jets, and some for personal purposes, according to an estimate by American Oversight.

The details: Based on government documents the American Oversight obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Tillerson used military jets 15 times during his 14 months as secretary of state. Five of those trips were marked as "personal travel," while the rest do not have any explanation.

Sinclair confirms the launch of its own streaming service

Sinclair broadcast group sign.
Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images.

Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO Chris Ripley said at the NAB Show New York that his company’s rumored ad-supported streaming service, Stirr, will launch soon.

Why it matters: Sinclair is trying to grab a piece of the cord-cutting population, and will compete with dozens of local and national networks. CBS News already has an ad-supported news streaming service. This year, Fox News announced its own subscription service Fox Nation.