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Facebook is testing mini social networks focused on you and your neighbors

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Facebook’s next big play could be all about getting to know your neighbors. The company confirmed this week that it’s testing a new feature that encourages users to post and share news in miniature social networks focused on small geographical areas. Users can create special profiles that share limited information with their neighbors, while Facebook itself will use the detailed location data it collects from those enrolled to serve “more relevant” ads.

The feature, named Neighborhoods, is currently being tested in just a single market, Calgary in Canada, but it’s likely Facebook will roll out access more widely if the test is a success. Another hyperlocal social network, Nextdoor, has shown the viability of this model and is reportedly seeking an IPO with a valuation of between $4 billion and $5 billion.

Screenshots of the Neighborhoods feature were shared on Twitter on Tuesday by social media consultant Matt Navarra, while an earlier version of the feature was spotted in May by Jane Manchun Wong. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the test to Bloomberg, saying: “More than ever, people are using Facebook to participate in their local communities. To help make it easier to do this, we are rolling out a limited test of Neighborhoods, a dedicated space within Facebook for people to connect with their neighbors.”

The screenshots shared by Navarra show the onboarding process, with Facebook users prompted to “connect with neighbors.” Users need to confirm their location to be matched to their area (they can revoke access to this data afterward, though this will have a minimal effect in terms of privacy unless the user later moves away) and then create a limited profile that can be viewed by those nearby, even if they’re not Facebook friends.

A welcome screen for the feature tells users to remember five rules: “be inclusive,” “be kind,” “keep it local,” “keep it clean,” and “share valuable information.” Users can invite friends to join and are prompted to answer questions about their neighborhood and share pictures. Navarra reports that users can leave or switch neighborhoods at any time.

A focus on neighborhoods would match Facebook’s slow move toward smaller communities. In recent years, the company has put more emphasis on private and public groups, as opposed to more open sharing between a user’s widest circle of friends.

This change in strategy has not been uncontroversial, though. Facebook’s critics say its new focus on groups has amplified a number of unpleasant trends, from the growth of the anti-vax movement to militias using Facebook groups to incite violence. Moderating these groups has required more effort than Facebook is willing to give, and the same damaging dynamics could easily repeat themselves in neighborhood-focused enclaves. Nextdoor, for example, has been repeatedly criticized for inadvertently fostering racism on its platform, and Facebook’s track record does not suggest it would be able to avoid similar toxicity.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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