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Nym Health raises $14 million for its auditable machine learning tools for automating hospital billing

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A little less than two years after raising its seed round, the Israeli-based Nym Health has added another $14 million to its cash haul so it can roll out its technology developing auditable machine learning tools for automating hospital billing.

The new financing came from investors including GV (the investment arm of Google previously known as Google Ventures) and will be used by the company to expand its technology development and sales and marketing efforts across the U.S.

Billing has been a huge problem for healthcare systems in the U.S., thanks to complicated coding that needs to be entered to ensure insurance providers pay for the services medical professionals give to patients.

Nym claims to have solved the problem by developing technologies that can convert medical charts and electronic medical records from physician’s consultations into proper billing codes automatically. The company uses natural language processing and taxonomies that were specifically developed to understand clinical language to determine the optimal charge for each procedure, examination and diagnostic conducted for a patient, according to Nym.

The company was founded in 2018 by two former members of Israel’s 8200 cybersecurity unit of the army. Adam Rimon and Amihai Neiderman both wanted to work on something together and Neiderman was set on doing something in the medical space involving natural language processing. Rimon had just finished a doctorate in computational linguistics so the move into charting and medical coding seemed natural.

“Because of our approach we can generate full audit trails,” said Neiderman. “We can explain how we understood everything in patient charts.”

Having automated processes that are also auditable is important for healthcare providers in case they need to provide justification to insurance companies for the services they performed.

Nym’s software can’t address fraud if physicians are padding their bills with services they didn’t offer, but it can provide an audit and justification for the services that a hospital coded for — and potentially wring more money for hospitals that lose out thanks to improperly coded bills. “On the medical decision-making we never intervene. We assume that the physician is trying to do their best and they’re sticking to the protocol,” said Neiderman. 

Interest in developing better billing systems for healthcare is high among venture investors, considering that coding related denials of payment can cost hospitals $15 billion, according to Nym. It’s a service that brought attention not just from GV, but of Bessemer Venture Partners, Dynamic Loop Capital, Lightspeed, Tiger Global, and angel investors including Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner from Flatiron Health.

“Inaccurate coding is bad for everybody,” says Ben Robbins, a venture partner at GV.

Nym charges between $1 and $4 per chart it analyzes, and is already working with around 40 medical providers in the U.S., according to the company.

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TikTok’s QAnon ban has been ‘buggy’

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TikTok has been cracking down on QAnon-related content, in line with similar moves by other major social media companies, including Facebook and YouTube, which focus on reducing the spread the baseless conspiracy theory across their respective platforms. According to a report by NPR this weekend, TikTok had quietly banned several hashtags associated with the QAnon conspiracy, and says it will also delete the accounts of users who promote QAnon content.

Tiktok tells us, however, these policies are not new. The company says they actually went on the books earlier this year.

TikTok had initially focused on reducing discoverability as an immediate step by blocking search results while it investigated, with help from partners, how such content manifested on its platform. This was covered in July by several news publications, TikTok said. In August, TikTok also set a policy to remove content and ban accounts, we’re told.

Despite the policies, a report this month by Media Matters documented that TikTok was still hosting at least 14 QAnon-affiliated hashtags with over 488 million collective views. These came about because the platform had yet to address how QAnon followers were circumventing its community restrictions using variations and misspellings.

After Media Matters’ report, TikTok removed 11 of the 14 hashtags it had referenced, the report noted in an update.

Today, a number of QAnon-related hashtags — like #QAnon, #TheStormIsComing, #Trump2Q2Q” and others — return no results in TikTok’s search engine. They don’t show under the “Top” search results section, nor do they show under “Videos” or “Hashtags.”

Instead of just showing users a blank page when these terms are searched, TikTok displays a message that explains how some phrases can be associated with behavior or content that violates TikTok’s Community Guidelines, and offers a link to that resource.

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via TechCrunch

Media Matters praised the changes in a statement to NPR as something TikTok was doing that was “good and significant” even if “long overdue.”

While TikTok’s ban did tackle many of the top searches results and tags associated with the conspiracy, we found it was overlooking others, like Pizzagate and WWG1WGA, for instance. In tests this afternoon, these terms and many others still returned much content.

TikTok claims what we saw was likely “a bug.”

We had reached out to TikTok today to ask why searches for terms like “pizzagate” and “WWG1WGA” — popular QAnon terms — were still returning search results, even though their hashtags were banned.

For example, if you just searched for “pizzagate,” TikTok offered a long list of videos to scroll through, though you couldn’t go directly to its hashtag. This was not the case for the other banned hashtags (like #QAnon) at the time of our tests.

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via TechCrunch

The videos returned discussed the Pizzagate conspiracy — a baseless conspiracy theory which ultimately led to real-world violence when a gunman shot up a DC pizza business, thinking he was there to rescue trapped children.

While some video were just discussing or debunking the idea, many were earnestly promoting the pizzagate conspiracy, even posting that it was was “real” or claimed to be offering “proof.”

[embedded content]

Above: Video recorded Oct. 19, 2020, 3:47 PM ET/12:47 PM PT

Other QAnon-associated hashtags were also not subject to a full ban, including WWG1WGA, WGA, ThesePeopleAreSick, cannibalclub, hollyweird, and many others often used to circulate QAnon conspiracies.

When we searched these terms, we found more long lists of QAnon-related videos to scroll through.

We documented this with photos and videos before reaching out to TikTok to ask why these had been made exceptions to the ban. We specifically asked about the two top terms — Pizzagate and WWG1WGA.

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via TechCrunch

TikTok provided us with information about the timeline of its policy changes and the following statement:

“Content and accounts that promote QAnon violate our disinformation policy and we remove them from our platform. We’ve also taken significant steps to make this content harder to find across search and hashtags by redirecting associated terms to our Community Guidelines. We continually update our safeguards with misspellings and new phrases as we work to keep TikTok a safe and authentic place for our community.”

TikTok said also that the search term blocking must have been a bug, because it’s now working properly.

We found that, upon receiving TikTok’s confirmation, the terms we asked about were blocked, but others were not. This includes some of those mentioned above, as well as bizarre terms only a real conspiracy fan would know, like adrenochromereptilians.

We asked Media Matters whether it could still praise TikTok’s actions to ban QAnon content, given what, at the time, had appeared to be a loophole in the QAnon ban.

“TikTok has of course taken steps but not fully resolved the problem, but as we’ve noted, the true test of any of these policies — like we’ve said of other platform’s measures — is in how and if they enforce them,” the organization said.

Even if the banned content was only showing today because of a “bug,” we found that many of the users who posted the content have not actually banned from TikTok, it seems.

Though a search for their username won’t return results now that the ban is no longer “buggy,” you can still go directly to these users’ profile pages via their profile URL on the web.

We tried this on many profiles who had published QAnon content or used banned terms in their videos’ hashtags and descriptions . (Below are a few of examples.)

What this means is that although TikTok reduced these users’ discoverability in the app, the accounts can still be located if you know their username. And once you arrive on the account’s page, you can still follow them.

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via TechCrunch

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via TechCrunch

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via TechCrunch

These examples of “bugs” or just oversights indicate how difficult it is to enforce content bans across social media platforms.

Without substantial investments in human moderation combined with automation, as well as tools that ensure banned users can’t return, it’s hard to keep up with the spread of disinformation at social media’s scale.

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Microsoft’s new Xbox iOS app now lets you stream Xbox One games to your iPhone or iPad

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Microsoft’s Xbox app update for iOS and iPadOS is now live, allowing Xbox One owners to stream games to their devices. A new Xbox app is available in the App Store that includes a remote play feature, which lets Xbox One console owners stream their games to an iPhone or iPad.

Remote play is different to Microsoft’s xCloud service, which streams games directly from servers instead of your own Xbox One console. This Xbox remote play feature will only connect to your own Xbox console, not to xCloud. It’s similar to Sony’s own PS4 Remote Play feature that’s also available on Android and iOS.

This app also supports the ability to access an Xbox console over Wi-Fi, or even an LTE or 5G connection, too. The Xbox app will let you take control of your home Xbox, and you can also remotely start your console outside of your home. The Xbox will start up without a sound or the Xbox light at the front, and when you disconnect, it goes back into standby after a brief period of inactivity.

A new Xbox app arrived on Android recently, and this updated iPhone version includes the same new design and features. It also compliments the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, allowing players to quickly download or share game clips and screenshots. You can even manage console space and delete games from the app.

This new Xbox app is also a lot speedier than the previous iOS version, and its design matches the new dashboard and UI across Xbox in general. This new design is all ready for Microsoft’s launch of the Xbox Series X / S consoles on November 10th.

Microsoft’s updated Xbox app doesn’t change the xCloud situation, unfortunately. Apple extended an olive branch to allow services like Stadia and xCloud recently, but it included a big catch that would mean Microsoft would have to individually submit hundreds of games as separate apps using its streaming tech. Microsoft wasn’t amused by Apple’s new rules.

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Daily Crunch: Pakistan un-bans TikTok

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TikTok returns to Pakistan, Apple launches a music-focused streaming station and SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites. This is your Daily Crunch for October 19, 2020.

The big story: Pakistan un-bans TikTok

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked the video app 11 days ago, over what it described as “immoral,” “obscene” and “vulgar” videos. The authority said today that it’s lifting the ban after negotiating with TikTok management.

“The restoration of TikTok is strictly subject to the condition that the platform will not be used for the spread of vulgarity/indecent content & societal values will not be abused,” it continued.

This isn’t the first time this year the country tried to crack down on digital content. Pakistan announced new internet censorship rules this year, but rescinded them after Facebook, Google and Twitter threatened to leave the country.

The tech giants

Apple launches a US-only music video station, Apple Music TV —  The new music video station offers a free, 24-hour live stream of popular music videos and other music content.

Google Cloud launches Lending DocAI, its first dedicated mortgage industry tool — The tool is meant to help mortgage companies speed up the process of evaluating a borrower’s income and asset documents.

Facebook introduces a new Messenger API with support for Instagram — The update means businesses will be able to integrate Instagram messaging into the applications and workflows they’re already using in-house to manage their Facebook conversations.

Startups, funding and venture capital

SpaceX successfully launches 60 more Starlink satellites, bringing total delivered to orbit to more than 800 — That makes 835 Starlink satellites launched thus far, though not all of those are operational.

Singapore tech-based real estate agency Propseller raises $1.2M seed round — Propseller combines a tech platform with in-house agents to close transactions more quickly.

Ready Set Raise, an accelerator for women built by women, announces third class — Ready Set Raise has changed its programming to be more focused on a “realistic fundraising process” vetted by hundreds of women.

Advice and analysis for Extra Crunch

Are VCs cutting checks in the closing days of the 2020 election? — Several investors told TechCrunch they were split about how they’re making these decisions.

Disney+ UX teardown: Wins, fails and fixes — With the help of Built for Mars founder and UX expert Peter Ramsey, we highlight some of the things Disney+ gets right and things that should be fixed.

Late-stage deals made Q3 2020 a standout VC quarter for US-based startups — Investors backed a record 88 megarounds of $100 million or more.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

US charges Russian hackers blamed for Ukraine power outages and the NotPetya ransomware attack — Prosecutors said the group of hackers, who work for the Russian GRU, are behind the “most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group.”

Stitcher’s podcasts arrive on Pandora with acquisition’s completion — SiriusXM today completed its previously announced $325 million acquisition of podcast platform Stitcher from E.W. Scripps, and has now launched Stitcher’s podcasts on Pandora.

Original Content podcast: It’s hard to resist the silliness of ‘Emily in Paris’ — The show’s Paris is a fantasy, but it’s a fantasy that we’re happy to visit.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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