This week, in addition to the Federal probe, “States to Launch Google, Facebook Antitrust Probes,” The Wall Street Journal et al reported. As one commenter said, “The real problem with both is their pernicious theft of our personal data and sales of that data to all sorts of entities looking to prod us, outrage us, excite us, sell us, etc. This is what their businesses have become: resale of stolen data.”
While we’re not big on conspiracy theories – we’re simply too busy to get sidetracked – we do love to follow trajectories to see where things may be going. Or to once again quote Wayne Gretzky, if you want to know where the puck is going, look to where it has been.
The news this week was the banning that has been happening with the social media platforms. War on Free Speech: Facebook Bans People It Considers “Dangerous”, and Twitter is at it, too. While the question seems to be coming up more and more – Is it time to break up Twitter, or regulate it as an edited platform (Big Tech Trying to Have it Both Ways as Platform and Publisher)?, and this would extend to all of the socials – let’s be honest, aren’t they publishers, after all? In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself is calling for regulation, and that should be concerning, especially given his focus, which is in lock step with that of the tech cartel, trust us. As Wired reported, Platforms Want Centralized Censorship. That Should Scare You.
So, why now?
Forest through the trees time, and Big Tech has gotten the four Ds down to an art, and yes, four – Deny, Deflect, Defend, Delay. Important, considering what else has been going on in tech to which not many people have been paying much attention: the rise of the Fakes, or as we prefer to call them, PHAkEs, which is our acronym for Post Human-Acknowledged Entities.
In a seeming change of heart, Mark Zuckerberg backs stronger Internet privacy and election laws: ‘We need a more active role for governments’, he said, and no, there wasn’t a sudden rip in the universe. Zuckerberg penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post entitled The internet needs new rules. Let’s start in these four areas, which are harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.
The editorial, no doubt, comes on the heels of the attention that Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon have been getting from Congress and various Presidential candidates, and as a result of the recent announcement that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube execs face jail and multi-billion pound fines over terror videos. “Australia could become the first country to introduce prison terms and fines if firms fail to speedily remove terror videos like the Christchurch massacre live-stream,” reports The Sun.
There’s currently a push on to reinstate Net Neutrality (U.S. Democrats unveil legislation to reinstate net neutrality rules). “The bill mirrors an effort last year to reverse the FCC’s December 2017 order that repealed rules approved in 2015 that barred providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes,” says the Yahoo piece.
The stated promise of Net Neutrality was a “free and open internet” and maintaining “the last mile.” That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.
In case you haven’t noticed, with the reversal of Net Neutrality in 2017, we haven’t witnessed “blocking or slowing down of internet traffic” by ISPs.
Erin Griffin recently wrote an excellent piece in The New York Times entitled Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work? “Never once at the start of my workweek…have I paused, looked to the heavens and whispered: #ThankGodIt’sMonday,” writes Griffin. Yet that is the culture that’s being bred, most explicitly at WeWork (now the We Company), where “Neon signs demand they “Hustle harder,” and murals spread the gospel of T.G.I.M. Even the cucumbers in WeWork’s water coolers have an agenda. “Don’t stop when you’re tired…
“It’s not difficult to view hustle culture as a swindle. After all, convincing a generation of workers to beaver away is convenient for those at the top.”
The tech industry – in particular, the FAANG stocks – have hit a strange inflection point. They’re taking a beating on Wall Street. And Facebook is under attack from all sides.
There was The New York Times piece (Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis), which was written with the assistance of no less than 50 sources.
An international committee of foreign governments has requested that Zuckerberg appear before lawmakers to face inquiries, particularly into disinformation, election meddling and privacy issues. Zuckerberg refused.
Jeff Bezos seems to have made certain people in Washington (DC) quite happy last week. Of course, our red flags always go up with any announcement.
The big news was that Amazon has agreed to give all warehouse workers a $15 an hour minimum wage, thus satisfying Bernie Sanders, who had been after the company – and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos – for quite some time. As the AP reported, Amazon jumps out ahead of its rivals and raises wages to $15, and Sander (D, VT), hailed it as “a shot heard round the world.”
This past week was Blockchain Week in New York, in tandem with back peddling on the part of the tech cartel. As Quartz noted, “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, long under fire for “programming people’s brains,” will testify before the European parliament about his company’s use of data. Not long after, transformative new European privacy rules go into effect that will give EU consumers far more visibility into what companies know about them.
“Now, tech CEOs insist they want to be part of the solution. On Tuesday, Facebook-owned Instagram confirmed a feature that will let users track their time spent on the platform. A week earlier, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a Digital Wellbeing initiative geared at helping people moderate their use of Google’s products and services by suggesting breaks from YouTube or batching notifications.”
We follow Max Levchin on Twitter. Last week, he posted an interesting series of tweets, based on an Edelman Trust Barometer Report that was released at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.
For the record, Levchin was co-founder and CTO of Paypal; former Chairman of Yelp; founder/CEO of Slide (acquired by Google and shut down); currently, founder of Affirm, and a long-time WEF attendee.
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.