Facebook, Big Tech Helping Prep You for Election Day--Tech Roundup

Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 2.

With the election just days away, the political frenzy is approaching peak status. Surely, most are excited for it to be over. But inevitably, many voters still on the fence are trying to figure out what name they're going to select on November 8.

Well, big tech is trying to make it easier for you when it comes to the political part of life.

Facebook (FB) is rolling out an election ballot preview, which lets users read about candidates and where they stand on the issues. Users can email themselves their choices later if they need it for reference. They can also share their results and ask their friends for opinions -- although that could be a slippery slope. 

You may remember Facebook was responsible for a spike in voter registration earlier this election cycle.

Alphabet (GOOGL) and Twitter (TWTR)  are also helping (the latter by direct messaging @Gov) voters find their correct polling station.

It's been really clear this year how much social media and technology is playing into the election. It makes me wonder -- and concerned -- about what 2020 will have in store for us.

Shares of Facebook closed at $127.17 Wednesday, down 1.8%.

Facebook and Alphabet are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells FB or GOOGL? Learn more now.
 


Microsoft (MSFT) announced that a security patch will be released on -- when else -- November 8 for its Windows platform and Adobe's (ADBE) Flash product after hacking group Strontium targeted the software.

However, there's been some drama surrounding the situation.

Google was actually the first big company to notice the error and it alerted both Adobe and Microsoft on October 21. While Adobe had a patch completed just five days later, Microsoft didn't finish its resolution fast enough.

At least, fast enough for Google.

After seven days -- as is the company's policy -- Google announced the hacking, which didn't sit well with Microsoft. Microsoft argued that the announcement put additional customers at risk because it hadn't yet come up with a fix for the issue.

In any regard though, the security issue will be fixed and hopefully nothing more comes of it.

Shares of Microsoft closed at $59.43 Wednesday, down 0.6%. 


Here's an interesting twist in the ride-hailing industry: Uber has teamed up with General Motors (GM) for the latter's Maven platform, which is a car-sharing service. The arrangement allows Uber drivers to "lease cars from GM's fleet in San Francisco," according to Bloomberg.

So why is this so interesting? Because GM is an investor in Lyft!

The current trial between GM and Uber will last for 90 days. GM initiated the same setup with Lyft earlier this year, but only appears to have selected Lyft because Uber didn't seem interested.

Think of it as GM's way of hedging the situation, I suppose. 

Further, GM has said its relationship with Lyft is more about self-driving technology than anything else. I wouldn't say this is a bad thing for GM -- not at all. But it did catch some in the industry off-guard because its investment and relationship with Lyft.

Shares of GM closed at $31.45 Wednesday, down 0.1%. 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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