Posts tagged tech-culture

cnbc
"The staff found, after a 16-month investigation into competitive practices at Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, that the four businesses enjoy monopoly power that needs to be reined in by Congress and enforcers."
Findings! This all sounds promising but I’m skeptical that we’ll see meaningful change. That monopoly power has been very useful to the government.
BuzzFeed News
"The company did not catch the page despite user reports, Zuckerberg said, because the complaints had been sent to content moderation contractors who were not versed in “how certain militias” operate. “On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team that was responsible for dangerous organizations recognized that this violated the policies and we took it down.”"
Blaming contractors when that’s the moderation system they designed? They can’t control their own moderation system? Facebook stock price is at an all time high so the company doesn’t have much incentive to change their systems. It’s working well for making money, working terribly for society.
The Verge
"At least two separate Facebook users reported the account for inciting violence prior to the shooting, The Verge has learned. In each case, the group and its counter-protest event were examined by Facebook moderators and found not to be in violation of the platform’s policies."
Facebook increases engagement by recruiting new members to groups like this. This is Facebook working as designed.
youdownloadtheappanditdoesntwork.com
"On June 15, Apple rejected an update to a previously-approved iOS app called Hey. The app is for a new email service created by a company called Basecamp.

The rationale for said rejection was that Hey offered a subscription via-website without also offering a parallel subscription via Apple's in-app purchase (IAP). Apple takes a 30% cut of IAP revenues during an app's first year, and 15% thereafter."
This site has dozens of examples of apps that you can download from the iOS app store that don't work without a subscription you purchase elsewhere. This makes the rejection of the new email app Hey seem like Apple is singling out a potential direct competitor rather than evenly enforcing an existing policy.

More background: Apple doubles down on controversial decision to reject email app Hey.

Update (6/23): We're all good here? Apple, HEY, and the Path Forward.
tbray.org
"Firing whistleblowers isn’t just a side-effect of macroeconomic forces, nor is it intrinsic to the function of free markets. It’s evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison."
Tech pioneer Tim Bray leaves Amazon over warehouse worker firings.
Postlight
Gina Trapani and the crew at Postlight are sharing their experience as they transition to working from home and find ways to be productive in our new world:
"Getting and giving tech support is one of the most helpful things technologists can do during hard times. Right now everyone feels a little powerless, but great software empowers people. When times are tough, the Settings area of the best apps give people a little bit more control of their world."
Their podcast had a great 20 minute episode about working from home recently too.
getrevue.co
Best summary I’ve read of the Twitter activist investor threat.
"But business ain’t beanbag, and “good enough” clearly isn’t cutting it for Paul Singer. Unless something changes dramatically, it would appear that Jack Dorsey is in for the fight of his life."
After bending over backward to not enforce Twitter policy for politicians, this is the thanks Jack gets?
stayinghome.club
This is a helpful look at how tech companies are responding to covid-19 through changes in policy and events. Great to see this leadership.
pages.gseis.ucla.edu
Timeless advice that applies to more than just computing.
"Most user interfaces are terrible. When people make mistakes it's usually the fault of the interface. You've forgotten how many ways you've learned to adapt to bad interfaces."
[via MeFi]
scholarship.law.duke.edu scholarship.law.duke.edu
Cory Doctorow on the legacy of Internet pioneer John Perry Barlow: “...treat the internet with the gravitas that it is due, as a system that could be a force for great human flourishing, but only if we ensure that it isn’t used to snuff out human dignity and agency.”
washingtonpost.com washingtonpost.com
Nice to see a tech company prioritizing something other than growth at all costs. Good for Salesforce for acting when our governments are failing us.
banking.senate.gov banking.senate.gov
image by @thedansherman
"...there exists a sphere of life that should remain outside public scrutiny, in which we can be sure that our words, actions, thoughts and feelings are not being indelibly recorded. This includes not only intimate spaces like the home, but also the many semi-private places where people gather and engage with one another in the common activities of daily life—the workplace, church, club or union hall. As these interactions move online, our privacy in this deeper sense withers away."
Maciej Cegłowski, owner and operator of old-school bookmarking service Pinboard (which I use to power posts like this) spoke to the Senate Banking Committee about online privacy. His thoughtful written statement is an excellent description of privacy in our current tech environment and has some ideas about how regulation could change things. I have no idea how this public statement came about, but I hope our leaders were listening. The gif here is by @thedansherman.
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