15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook

Frank J. Guzzone CEO Mark Zuckerberg had recently pledged to spend 2018 trying to fix Facebook. But even the company’s nascent attempts to reform itself were being scrutinized as a possible declaration of war on the institutions of democracy. Earlier that month Facebook had unveiled a major change to its News Feed rankings to favor what the company called “meaningful social interactions.” News Feed is the core of Facebook—the central stream through which flow baby pictures, press reports, New Age koans, and Russian-­made memes showing Satan endorsing Hillary Clinton. The changes would favor interactions between friends, which meant, among other things, that they would disfavor stories published by media companies. The company promised, though, that the blow would be softened …

In an Ex-Googler’s Novel, Silicon Valley Runs on Male Ego

The Big Disruption, a satirical novel written by Jessica Powell, Google’s former head of communications, is set inside the lush and bountiful Silicon Valley headquarters of Anahata, a massive, 10-year-old tech giant in love with its own mythology about open-door board meetings and profound yet “napkin-able” ideas. Visionary CEO Bobby Bonilo deploys the company’s vast resources and intellectual firepower mainly to play catch-up with Galt, the hottest startup in the Valley, famous for creating apps and tools capable of “reducing all thought and opinion to easily shareable, bite-sized chunks.” The parallel to Powell’s real life is obvious. Anahata began as a search engine that couldn’t seem to get social networking right. The company takes a literal shot at the moon. …

Street battle: the activists fighting to save their neighbourhood from the tech giants

Facebook, Google and Amazon have not just colonised the internet: their hubs, campuses and offices are taking over huge sections of cities around the world. But campaigners from New York to Toronto and Berlin are fighting back Its a challenge out here. The way the tech companies are building and increasing their size is just pricing people out. Families who have been here for generations cant afford to be here any more. Theyre being pushed off into rural areas anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours away. JT Faraji is a 43-year-old artist who lives with his family in East Palo Alto, the northern California city on the edge of Silicon Valley. Just a stones throw away, …

Poll finds 82% of Americans think social media is a waste of time

Americans might be getting sick of social media.Image: Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images A whopping 60 percent of people in a new poll say they don’t trust Facebook to protect their data. The poll comes courtesy of NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, which also found that more than half of Americans view aspects of Facebook and social media in general in a negative light.  SEE ALSO: Facebook’s plans for a ‘high quality news tab’ sure sound like a swipe at Apple News+ That’s perfectly understandable, given Facebook’s reputation over the past couple of years. Privacy scandals have rocked Facebook on a regular basis, including the revelation that user passwords were stored in plain text …

Europe’s New Copyright Law Could Be Bad for Memes

You may soon see fewer memes online, especially if you live in the European Union. On Tuesday, the European Parliament passed a directive to overhaul copyright law in the European Union and put more pressure on the likes of Google, Facebook, and Instagram to keep copyrighted material like photos and videos off their platforms. Now it's up to each member country to write laws based on the directive. The laws will apply only in the EU, but it's possible that companies will try to comply with the directive globally, just as some companies, including Microsoft, say they are applying the EU privacy regulations outside of Europe. The most controversial part of the copyright directive makes platforms like Google and Facebook …

Why Tech Didn’t Stop the New Zealand Attack From Going Viral

At least 49 people were murdered Friday at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in an attack that followed a grim playbook for terrorism in the social media era. The shooter apparently seeded warnings on Twitter and 8chan before livestreaming the rampage on Facebook for 17 gut-wrenching minutes. Almost immediately, people copied and reposted versions of the video across the internet, including on Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube. News organizations as well started airing some of the footage as they reported on the destruction that took place. By the time Silicon Valley executives woke up Friday morning, tech giants’ algorithms and international content moderating armies were already scrambling to contain the damage—and not very successfully. Many hours after the shooting began, …

Why the hell is this Facebook outage taking so long?

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been down for hours and we don't know why.Image: NurPhoto via Getty Images Facebook is in the midst of its biggest outage in recent memory. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been down for users around the world for at least five hours.  The company hasn’t commented on exactly how many of its users are affected, but reports from downdetector.com, a website that tracks online service disruptions, indicates the issue is widespread, affecting users in North America, South America, and Europe. (Downdetector.com shares a parent company with Mashable.)  Besides Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the company’s advertising tools have also been impacted, according to its director of product, Rob Leathern. Users are also reporting issues with their …

This Big Facebook Critic Fears Techs Business Model

Longtime Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee met Mark Zuckerberg in 2006, when the Facebook CEO was just 22 and his two-year-old company still only catered to university students. Facebook was young, but McNamee was already convinced it was “the next big thing,” he told WIRED editor in chief Nicholas Thompson on Sunday during a keynote conversation at SXSW 2019 in Austin. “The thing that had killed every attempt at social apps before that [was] essentially that the ability to be anonymous allowed trolls to take over. I was convinced that Mark’s requirement of authenticated identity was literally the holy grail, it was the thing that was going to unlock this opportunity.” There was no investment opportunity at the time; McNamee …

Facebook leaks reveal unethical global lobbying strategies

Image: bob al-greene / mashable Facebook’s whole business model hinges on collecting data and breaching users’ privacy, so it comes as no surprise to learn that the company has been currying favor with politicians around the globe to stymie legislation that protects people’s privacy. Leaked internal documents from Facebook, reported on by The Guardian and Computer Weekly Saturday, outline a litany of ways that Facebook was using its power, money, and influence to sway politicians including a former UK chancellor, a former prime minister of Ireland, and a former president of India. SEE ALSO: Facebook’s search feature has some pretty creepy suggestions The leaks show specific tactics that Facebook used to get on the good side of politicians and push …