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And the Most Underreported Story of the Week Award Goes To…

And the Most Underreported Story of the Week Award Goes To…

…Changes to Terms of Service. You might have noticed those notifications popping up all over when you open certain sites, et al: Oath/AOL/Yahoo, Twitter, Periscope (“On May 25 we’re updating our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You can see our updated Terms here”). The list goes on. And Yes, The GDPR Will Affect Your U.S.-Based Business.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation go into effect next month

No such thing as a coincidence. We wondered why the tech press didn’t take notice.

Reads the Updates to Periscope’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy: “We believe you should always know what data we collect from you and how we use it, and that you should have meaningful control over both. As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, and in preparation for the new EU data protection laws that take effect next month, we’re updating Periscope’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and consolidating them into Twitter’s. We want to empower you to make the best decisions about the information that you share with us… Read More...

The All Mark, All the Time Edition

The All Mark, All the Time Edition

Mark Zuckerberg got his hair cut, put on his big boy suit and best cherub-in-the-headlights expression and faced Congress, insisting, ad nauseam, lest the American public didn’t hear it the first several times, that “For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can do… It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm, as well.”

Meanwhile, this just in: Facebook is using AI to predict users’ future behavior and selling that data to advertisers, according to the MIT Technology Review.

Then again, he wasn’t under oath. Read More...

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

Wonder why Facebook is suddenly under attack from all quarters, given that the user information collected by Cambridge Analytica occurred well over a year ago, and that this was far from the first time Facebook had breached user confidentiality (although if you read the TOS, all your data belongs to Facebook, anyway)? Apple CEO Tim Cook, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, et al are all happily throwing Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg under the bus, so you might start wondering about the timing of all of this. And what you’re being distracted from otherwise noticing.

As Forbes says, Why Are We Just Finding Out Now That All Two Billion Facebook Users May Have Been Harvested? “The company acknowledged what (this article’s author) said many times before – likely the entirety of Facebook’s two billion public profiles (and quite a few private profiles) are archived in repositories all over the world by academics, companies and criminal actors, not to mention countless governments. The big story was not Facebook’s confirmation of this, but rather why the company took until (April 4, 2018) to confirm it.”

The Net Neutrality Factor

The tech cartel have been quietly attempting to reverse Net Neutrality, which, as we’ve said before and have written about and clarified in a past column, basically exempt the cartel/social media companies from being neutral and treating all content equally, via a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. Read More...

Mark Zuckerberg and the Apology Algorithm

Mark Zuckerberg and the Apology Algorithm

It took Mark Zuckerberg a few days before issuing an apology over the Cambridge Analytica hack. Odd, considering how much practice he has had over the years:

2007: Zuckerberg Saves Face, Apologizes For Beacon. To refresh your memory, Beacon was an intrusive, controversial ad system that compromised consumer privacy. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Instead of acting quickly, we took too long to decide on the right solution. I’m not proud of the way we’ve handled this situation and I know we can do better.” Oops, sorry. And nothing more to see here. As TechCrunch noted, (Zuckerberg) “also announced a new privacy control that lets Facebook members opt out of Beacon completely. Before, you had to opt out on a case-by-case and site-by-site basis… Maybe Zuckerberg is finally beginning to realize that he does not have permission to track his customers indiscriminately across the Web. Nobody does anymore.” Read More...

No is an Acronym

No is an Acronym

Investors hate to say no. They like to hedge their bets and keep their options open. But they will sometimes give you a hard and fast No. Still, that said, things change, so one never knows if it truly is a hard No.

For example, take Avner Ronan, founder of Boxee, a cross-platform freeware media center with social networking features that eventually spun out the Boxee Box. Et al, but more on that later. When he was going for funding, Ronen decided that Fred Wilson would be the perfect investor for Boxee, so he targeted Fred and did get the meeting, but Wilson said No. Undeterred, Ronen continued to send Wilson monthly update on their pivots and progress. The answer continued to come back as No. This went on for 18 months, until there came that one update that changed everything. Finally, Fred said ‘Yes!’ Read More...

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

Since memos seem to be top of mind these days, why fight it? Of course, we refer to the one that former Google employee James Damore wrote a while back, that led to his being terminated from the company, and the impending lawsuit that threatens to out a lot of practices and perhaps unwritten policies that Google would prefer not be aired in public.

It seems that memos will do that, once they’re out in the wild, and certain memos are harbingers of a deeper and more far reaching issues. Read More...

AI in the Age of Social Media Blowback

AI in the Age of Social Media Blowback

Elon Musk has been warning us about the dangers of AI for quite some time now, saying that we need to regulate AI before it becomes a danger to humanity, “famously comparing work on AI to “summoning the demon,” and (warning) time and time again that the technology poses an existential risk to humanity, according to The Verge.

The tech community has a bad habit of shooting first and asking questions later, also known as ask forgiveness, not permission, which has led to data collection and invasion of privacy.  And in case you missed it, If you’re using an Android phone, Google may be tracking every move you make. Read More...

Follow the Eyeballs: the Home Invasion Edition

Follow the Eyeballs: the Home Invasion Edition

Today, just a simple heads up/note to self: in case you missed it, Facebook is making a major change to the News Feed that will show you more content from friends and family and less from publishers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that, as a result, he expects that people will spend less time on Facebook. And that’s what a CEO wants, after all, right? After years of focusing on increasing the number or eyeballs and user engagement by adding feature after feature and basically minting money, suddenly, Zuck has pivoted and expects that you’ll spend less time on his platform. Nothing to see here, what, eh?

We well know that Facebook is all about eyeballs and recently announced that they’re developing ‘Portal’ gadget which will let it put microphones and cameras in people’s homes. “Rather than positioning the product as a “smart assistant,” Facebook insists that the mission behind Portal is unlike that of other competing tech. True to its mission — “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” — Facebook created Portal to reintroduce the positive effects of communication back into our lives (and our homes),” Inc reports. Read More...

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

While Mark Zuckerberg may or may not be angling to move into the White House at some time in the none-too-distant future, Capitol Hill clearly holds no fascination for him.

Apologies if we sound a bit redundant, but given the testimony of Facebook, Twitter and Google before a Senate subcommittee this past week, hard to ignore the Russian ad issue/conundrum and its larger implications.

Net States Rule the World; We Need to Recognize Their Power, posits Alexis Wichowski in Wired. “Net-states are digital non-state actors, without the violence. Like nation-states, they’re a wildly diverse bunch. Some are the equivalent to global superpowers: the Googles, the Facebooks, the Twitters….There are also hacktivist collectives like Anonymous and Wikileaks….Regardless of their differences in size and raison d’etre, net-states of all stripes share three key qualities: They exist largely online, enjoy international devotees, and advance belief-driven agendas that they pursue separate from, and at times, above, the law.” Read More...

The Ostrich Effect

The Ostrich Effect

According to Sheryl Sandberg in her exclusive interview with Axios, Facebook is not a media company. Argues Business Insider, “How would you classify a company that:

Most would call that a media company. And most would expect that company to adhere to the standards, safeguards, and rules that all media companies do… A company such as Facebook, which distributes media and makes money off it by selling ads is, by definition, in the media business.”

Didn’t they get the memo? Or see Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network? According to Sandberg, Facebook is a technology company, and can you name a major company out there today that isn’t driven by technology in some form? By Sandberg’s definition, Netflix, Hulu and Comcast would not be defined as media companies, either, and as Business Insider points out, “There are numerous reasons why Facebook would be reticent to admit it’s a media company. It could harm its sky-high valuation, which is currently at about $500 billion… It would also open Facebook up to regulatory rules in the US and other countries that it would rather avoid.” Read More...

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