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How Using AI Can Be Your Marketing Boon

Kevin O'Keefe, a 20-year veteran of legal marketing, recently had an epiphany about artificial intelligence. Emerging from an annual Legal Marketing Association meeting, he realized it was the first year anyone had mentioned AI.

"AI and machine learning may have been discussed in relation to e-discovery, but this year there were multiple sessions with legal technology and software presenting on AI," he said.

What does that mean? It means lawyers haven't really been using AI to market their law firms.

Age Discrimination Is Built Into Some Job Search Websites

It makes some sense that a technical gaffe caused online job sites to winnow out older workers.

The drop down menu on one job site only scrolled back to 1956 for applicants to indicate a graduation date on their resumes. Most tech workers these days weren't even born back then.

Unfortunately for the online companies, the math did not work out right for Illinois' top prosecutor. Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent letters to six job sites about the problem, which involved potential violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

"Today's workforce includes many people working in their 70s and 80s," Madigan said. "Barring older people from commonly used job search sites because of their age is discriminatory and negatively impacts our economy."

On December 15th, shortly after appearing on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight,' Vanity Fair contributing editor and Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald checked his Twitter. What he saw sent him into a seizure.

Eichenwald, an epileptic, had been targeted by a Twitter user who messaged the journalist with a strobing .gif designed to trigger a seizure. In case the intent wasn't clear, the online assailant, under the account @jew_goldstein, included the message "You deserve a seizure." On Friday, FBI officials arrested the man suspected of being behind the attack.

Judge Approves $27 Million Lyft Settlement

A  federal judge has approved a settlement between drivers and Lyft for $27 million, but the case leaves a significant question unanswered: are the drivers independent contractors or employees?

The drivers sued the company in 2013, alleging they were employees entitled to reimbursement for expenses such as gasoline and maintenance. The company treated them as independent contractors, so they had to pay for those expenses.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said the $27 million settlement is better than $12.5 million, which he previously rejected, but it does not answer the big question.

"The agreement is not perfect," he said. "And the status of Lyft drivers under California law remains uncertain going forward."

Facebook Sued in Germany for Selfie Linked to Fake News Stories about Terrorism

With one selfie, a Syrian refugee has brought Facebook to a day of reckoning.

A German judge will soon decide what to do about Anas Modamani, who took a selfie with chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 and posted it on Facebook. The photo went viral as a symbol of Germany's open-door policy to refugees, but some fake news stories used the photo to link Modamani to terrorism.

Modamani, who sued for injunctive relief in Wurzburg, wants Facebook to prevent the photo from being shared and to delete all false news stories that have used it. Facebook's attorney told the judge it is not possible.

Yahoo announced last night that Marissa Mayer, the company's president and CEO for nearly five years, will step down from Yahoo's board after Yahoo's planned merger with Verizon is completed. Yahoo co-founder David Filo will also resign from the board of directors.

Once the merger is completed and following the sale of its core businesses, what remains of the company will change its name to Altaba, according to SEC filings. That is, if the deal goes through. Verizon could terminate or renegotiate its $4.8 billion purchase of Yahoo over recent revelations that more than one billion Yahoo user accounts had been hacked.

Snapchat, the video messaging app that's seduced millions of Millennials, is growing fast and set to grow even faster in the future. The app grew from 50 million active daily users in March 2014 to over 100 million less than a year later, a growth that is expected to help the company bring in over a $1 billion in revenue this year -- and growth that has fueled the company's $20+ billion valuation.

But Snapchat's user metrics might not be completely accurate, at least according to one recent lawsuit. A former Snapchat employee sued the company last week, accusing it of "an institutional pandemic" of misrepresentation regarding its growth metrics. The suit comes as the company is preparing for its much-anticipated IPO.

You Can't Serve Divorce Papers Through Facebook, NY Court Rules

It's fair to say you've been unfriended if your spouse tries to serve you divorce papers on Facebook, but it's not fair to say you've been served on Facebook.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine this week refused to accept service through the social platform in a divorce case. The wife said she couldn't find another way to communicate with her estranged husband, who hadn't updated his Facebook profile in two years.

"Granting this application for service by Facebook under the facts presented by plaintiff would be akin to the Court permitting service by nail and mail to a building that no longer exists," the judge said.

When Lan Cai was unhappy with her lawyers, the 20-year-old nursing student did what many Millennials do: she took to the internet. Specifically, Cai went on Facebook and Yelp to give the law firm a negative review. The firm, the Law Offices of Tuan A. Khuu in Houston, Texas, wasn't pleased with Cai's online complaint. They sued.

They didn't win that suit. Last week, a judge in Texas tossed the firm's lawsuit and ordered them to pay $27,000 to cover Cai's attorney's fees.

New 'Yelp Law' Makes It illegal to Gag Customers for Criticizing Businesses Online

Consumers who critique businesses through Yelp, TripAdviser, and other websites may breathe easier now that a new law is on the president's desk.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act, which Congress passed to stop businesses from punishing consumers who post negative reviews, received widespread support in both houses. The U.S. Senate approved the bill unanimously yesterday, sending it to the President Obama for signature.

"Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). "Every consumer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation, and the passage of our bill brings us one step closer to protecting that right."