The following is a selection from Big Technology, a newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz. To get it in your inbox each week, you can sign up here.
For years, Big Tech crushed the competition with relative impunity, squeezing every dollar from would-be rivals to reach unprecedented valuations. And while their anti-competitive practices may well continue, there are now five draft bills circulating in the House of Representatives that represent the biggest threat ever to their standard method of doing business.
The draft bills, which Big Technology obtained in full, contain just about everything Big Tech’s detractors have hoped for on the…
I care about monopolies for exactly one reason: self-determination. I don’t care about competition as an end unto itself, or fetishize “choice” for its own sake. What I care about is your ability to live your life in the way you think will suit you, to the greatest extent possible, and taking into account the obvious limits when other people’s needs and wants conflict with you realizing your own desires.
We live in a world of vast and increasing monopolization, with one, two or a few companies controlling everything from the arts (publishing, movies, music, streaming, comics, bookselling, movie theaters…
Just say that we “fix” Facebook, making it possible for you to take your data and go to a rival service, one that respects your privacy, pays its taxes, and isn’t bent on enclosing all digital spaces into its pervasive surveillance walled garden.
It’s an idyllic vision, but our problems are just getting started.
When you take a Facebook post with you to a new platform, do you get to take other peoples’ comments, too? On the one hand, it sure feels like “things people said to me about my stuff” is part of “my data,” but at the same…
This is Open Dialogue, an interview series from OneZero about technology and ethics.
I’m thrilled to talk with Mary Berk. Mary has a PhD in philosophy, a degree that includes a specialization in ethics, but spent her career working in Silicon Valley. Most recently, Mary was a product manager at Facebook and Instagram. Previously, Mary worked at Amazon, Google, Microsoft, eBay. Given Mary’s many years of experience and her disposition for critical thinking, she’s the perfect person to discuss whether Big Tech can care about ethics.
Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Evan: What got you interested…
By Adrianne Jeffries
Four years after offering special placement in a “top stories carousel” in search results to entice publishers to use a format it created for mobile pages, called AMP, Google announced last week that it will end that preferential treatment in the spring.
“We will prioritize pages with great page experience, whether implemented using AMP or any other web technology, as we rank the results,” Google said in a blog post.
After five years of Google Photos offering unlimited, free storage of “high-quality” compressed images, Google announced on Wednesday that its policy is changing. Starting next June, any new photos you upload will count toward the 15 gigabytes of free storage offered to every Google account. (Your old photos won’t.) After that, you’ll have to pay a subscription fee for Google One, its cloud storage service.
In one sense, that’s a totally reasonable policy change for a product that has become wildly popular since the initial free-storage offer. Storage isn’t really free or unlimited, after all, and 15 gigabytes is still…
We knew all of this was coming.
On Tuesday, New York Times tech reporter Davey Alba wrote that private groups are driving the vast majority of interactions on a viral piece of pro-Trump misinformation on Facebook, operating “beyond what researchers and journalists can see.”
“Only 2.5 percent of FB activity — likes, shares, comments — is visible on public FB,” Alba tweeted, citing CrowdTangle, a social media analytics tool.
As of Thursday morning, a massive Facebook group called “Stop the Steal” was raising funds to challenge election results across the country, falsely claiming that Democrats were stealing the election in states where President Trump has fallen behind.
On Thursday afternoon, Facebook banned the group on the basis of attempting to delegitimize the election process, and for its role in potentially instigating physical violence.
“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events. …
Editor’s Note: Surveillance capitalism is everywhere. But it’s not the result of some wrong turn or a rogue abuse of corporate power — it’s the system working as intended. This is the subject of Cory Doctorow’s new book, which we’re thrilled to publish in whole here on OneZero. This is how to destroy surveillance capitalism.
The most surprising thing about the rebirth of flat Earthers in the 21st century is just how widespread the evidence against…
Welcome back to Pattern Matching, OneZero’s weekly newsletter that puts the week’s most compelling tech stories in context.
On April 14, 1994, the CEOs of the seven big American tobacco firms sat side by side, facing a Congressional subcommittee hearing on their products’ health impacts. Rep. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, asked them one by one to answer a simple question: Do you believe nicotine is not addictive? All seven, under oath, confirmed that they did not believe nicotine was addictive (video). …
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.