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Tech and the Myth of Net Neutrality

Tech and the Myth of Net Neutrality

Mention ‘Net Neutrality’ and the tech uberlords are quick to whip the masses into a frenzy.

Merriam Webster defines Net Neutrality as “the idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination … a philosophical contest that’s being fought under the banner of “net neutrality,” a slogan that inspires rhetorical devotion but eludes precise definition. Broadly, it means everything on the Internet should be equally accessible—that the Internet should be a place where great ideas compete on equal terms with big money.—Sarah Rabil

For the tech uberlords, the demise of Net Neutrality means that their content will be sidelined or more costly to access, with preference going to the content provided by the big pipe owners: namely, the Comcasts and Spectrums (formerly Time Warner) of the world. Read More...

Tech and the Rise of the Beta Male

Tech and the Rise of the Beta Male

Facebook has been having to issue a fair number of apologies lately. Nothing new here: Facebook’s Ad Scandal Isn’t a ‘Fail,’ It’s a Feature, says Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times. “What does it take to advertise on Facebook to people who openly call themselves “Jew haters” and want to know “how to burn Jews”? About $10 and 15 minutes, according to what the investigative nonprofit ProPublica recently uncovered.”

Apologies were issued, but let’s do the math. “The Zuckerberg principle of management is push to the extreme, see what you can get away with, and then apologize and try to shift attention elsewhere. It has apologized for Beacon, psychological testing, faulty ad sale metrics, India strategy that smacked of colonialism. I think you get the point,” writes Om Malik. “Being open and transparent is not part of its DNA. This combination of secrecy, microtargeting and addiction to growth at any cost is the real challenge. The company’s entire strategy is based on targeting, monetizing and advertising.”

Nor was the latest bout of anti-Semitic advertising the first or only one. Lest we forget, Videos (posted to Facebook) teach would-be Palestinian attackers ‘how to stab’ a Jew, showing detailed instructional guidance on how to stab Israelis, methods for maximum bodily damage, and ways to create deadly weapons to carry out attacks. Read More...

The Real Deal on Fake News

The Real Deal on Fake News

The term ‘Fake News’ has been bandied about for a while now and quite a few of you have asked us to address it.

There are at least two categories of so-called fake news: staged fake news, which should be more accurately called a dramatization in some cases and marked as such, but not always, as in the case of ‘Rathergate, when former news anchor Dan Rather falsely reported a story, using faked documents to get his narrative across – documents which were proven to have been faked, yet which Rather later called ‘skewed but accurate’ (with his credibility shot, he ‘resigned’ from his anchor spot a year before his contract was over). This ‘Oxymoronic Journalism’ very much fits in with the latest iteration of the Fake News rubrick, which is something of a misnomer.

Truth be told, many media outlets and social networks/information sources, including both Facebook and Google, have an unmistakable agenda. Just this week Marc Andreessen stated that “Silicon Valley is extremely left-wing, extremely liberal,” claiming that the technology industry’s libertarian stereotype is largely inaccurate, and…criticiz(ing) his community for turning a blind eye at the middle of the country. “It’s really hard for a lot of people in Silicon Valley to even articulate the other side,” he said. Read More...

The New Normal

The New Normal

The big news last week was the Snap IPO – the biggest since Alibaba – which raised $3.4 billion for Snap, a company which managed to lose $514.6M last year and has lost money every year since it began commercial operations in 2011,” according to CNBC and, forest through the trees, “has warned that it will never make a profit.”

Facebook tried to buy Snap nee, Snapchat, a few years back for some $3B – pass – so they bought Instagram instead, for the now seemingly bargain price of $1B. Of course, Instagram didn’t have the number of eyeballs that Snapchat did at the time, but since Facebook, um, appropriated features that Snap had innovated – Stories comes to mind – Instagram’s popularity and growth has far outdistanced Snap’s. And remember: eyeballs/exponential growth are the holy grail of Silicon Valley investors and the market. We do know that Twitter has come up more than once in articles covering the Snap IPO, as how long did Twitter skate after the IPO, promising continued user growth, which never materialized. Au contraire, but they did go a good long time with nary a sustainable revenue model in sight, and a falling user base, which does go far in explaining the lack of a buyer for the company.

For the record, ‘growth potential,’ ‘eyeballs,’ – this is the language of Web 1.0, when it was all potential, all the time. The potential was there; the timing was off: the bubble burst. That was then and this is now, and we’re at the Too Big to Fail Stage in the history of tech. Read More...

The Things We Think and Do Not Say

The Things We Think and Do Not Say

This past week, not unlike Jerry Maguire, Mark Zuckerberg issued a mission statement, with some 5700 words on the goals of Facebook. To refresh your memory, there has been some speculation of late as to whether or not the Facebook founder is preparing a presidential run, presumably in 2024, but now it seems, he has decided that, instead, he wants to rule the world. According to Mashable, with his manifesto, Mark Zuckerberg just said he wants Facebook to save the world. Same difference.

Facebook has certainly been under the microscope lately. Between the so-called fake news (we say ‘so-called,’ as while Macedonian teenagers might have posted misinformation, news sources that don’t necessarily follow lock-step with the world view of the Silicon Valley/global elite were also conveniently lumped into this category and even the ethics of Facebook’s chosen outside fact-checkers are called into question) and streaming suicides, murders and gang rapes, Facebook has become a veritable online Roman Coliseum.

As Zuckerberg discusses the evolution of peoples from tribes to cities to nations, he’s no doubt considering that that’s the progression of Facebook as well, which is in parallel to the global community that Silicon Valley would like to see, with national boundaries as a leftover of a bygone or disappearing era, and isn’t Facebook, after all, a global community without boundaries? The social network does not suffer under the inconvenience of national barriers. Read More...

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