Facebook’s total focus on privacy could crowd out more important issues

F8 is a conference where Facebook executives talk about the future, and on Facebook, the future is flexible. In 2015, the future was video. The next year, the future was bots. The next year, the future was augmented reality, and also a project to let you listen with your skin. All those technologies eventually found their way into Facebook's products, somehow, well, all except for skin-related hearing. But none really diverted the company from its main product: an infinite source of interrupted updates with highly targeted advertising.

This year, the company tried to break with that tradition. Almost all the speakers in the opening speech of today's F8, starting with Mark Zuckerberg, repeated a version of the phrase "the future is private". Since Zuckerberg announced Facebook's move to private messaging last month, I have argued that the move represents a fundamental transformation of the company. On Tuesday, Zuckerberg tried to convince the world, and the skeptics within his own company, that he is serious.

One way he did it was through product launches. Zuckerberg's vision for a new Facebook may be better represented by a new design of the flagship application and the desktop site that will emphasize events and groups, at the expense of News Feed. Taken together, the design changes will push people into conversations in smaller groups and real-world meetings, and they will move away from public publications. The new vision of Zuckerberg also appears in the large number of ads related to messaging: a desktop version of Messenger; a redesigned mobile application built for speed; and a version of WhatsApp for the main speaker of the Facebook Portal.

However, just as important is the form of all these releases: as the basis of what he repeatedly called "the next chapter" of Facebook. "Over time, I believe that a private social platform will be even more important in our lives than our digital cities," he said during his opening speech. "So today we are going to talk about how this could be seen as a product, what it means to have the center of your most private social experience, [and] how we should change the way we run this company to build this."

One thing that Zuckerberg did not discussed on Tuesday in detail was the considerations that led him to move away from the model of public transmission of social networks. But he gave the general lines to Mike Isaac in New York Times :

"By far the three fastest growing areas of online communication are private messages, groups and stories," he said. Mr. Zuckerberg. . "In 2019, we hope that the number of stories that are shared will exceed the number of Feed Publications that are shared."

One way to see Facebook at this moment is like an unstoppable giant that gives reality to his will, no matter the consequences. (This is how many journalists tend to see it). Another way of looking at the company is from the perspective of its fundamental weakness: as a slave to constantly changing consumer behavior. (This is how employees are more likely to see it).

In the short term, the strength of Facebook is undeniable. The company is making record profits, the use of its products is at an all time high and continues to find new users around the world. But in his interview with Times Zuckerberg admits that the writing is on the wall. If the company wants to remain dominant, it has to refocus.

Last week, before turning his attention to the problems centered on the company, Zuckerberg sat down with the historian Yuval Noah Harari to talk about the effect of social networks on the big society. Yesterday, in this space, I wrote about some of the questions the historian asked the CEO:

Does Facebook want to "connect" people with a particular purpose, or just to keep them looking at a screen? How do you build a social network that improves cohesion among people around the world, instead of eroding it? How do you build artificial intelligence systems that do not serve as monitoring and control tools? Is the Internet economy undermining human agency and democracy?

These are striking themes, and any discussion about them would not fit perfectly into the joyful choreography of a developer conference. But they remained in my mind as I watched Zuckerberg gathering his audience. The company has new orders underway that, according to the CEO, will require Facebook to reorganize. It will break the old technical infrastructure and replace it with new code bases. He will discard his old gospel of public sharing and begin to preach privacy.

As you commit to a very difficult job, the questions posed by Harari and others will be prolonged. But while Zuckerberg works to strengthen Facebook against future challengers, I find it hard to imagine giving less than everything. And as Facebook transforms, how much attention will be left to the company to address all the social changes that arise from within?

More than F8

What else happened on the first day of the Facebook developer conference? Facebook asked the viewers live if they think the company cares about them. Facebook Dating is reaching 14 more countries, and is adding a "secret love" feature. Now you can send things through the Marketplace. The company's Spark AR platform has a boost.

Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S got mixed reviews, and now you can pre-order them. The portal is reaching more countries and is encrypting WhatsApp chats.

Instagram is redesigning its camera, adding a donation tag and allowing influential people to sell things through affordable labels. (It is also testing a version that hides the amount of "I like" a publication has, and some features against bullying.) WhatsApp is testing payments in India and is adding catalogs for companies.

Finally, I want to shout to the Facebook band, a group of incredibly talented musicians who work as Facebook employees in their London office. You will never play before a colder audience than a group of developers and journalists at 8:30 a.m. in a convention hall in San Jose, and even so, the group of the Facebook Band made my line of journalists jump on our chairs for a full hour before the main speech. . George Michael's "hit" of George Michael with Rihanna's "We Found Love" was a particularly inspired combination, I thought. If you ever have the opportunity to see the Facebook Band playing live, I recommend it.

Democracy

Technological lobbyists push to challenge California's Privacy Act of Milestones

Issie Lapowsky reports that, as expected, high-tech lobbyists want companies to dilute California's privacy law:

The California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, gives California residents the ability to request data that companies collect about them, require them to be deleted, and choose not to have that information Sold to third parties , among other things. But last week, the Consumer Protection and Privacy Committee of the California Assembly introduced a series of bills that would amend the ACFA or create exemptions for certain categories of businesses. These bills received broad support from business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, as well as leading technology lobbying firms representing Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. But privacy groups opposed them almost unanimously, sparking fears that state lawmakers are about to strip away the strictest privacy law in the country.

Poway synagogue shooting: United States under attack by white supremacists acting as ISIS

Kelly Weill examines the connection between the 8Chan hate forum and the recent white nationalist terrorism:

After the shooting in New Zealand, 8chan users decorated the alleged killer as a "saint" and encouraged each other to commit shootings, including against synagogues, to prepare for the "Third World War" against the Jews, or to kill a journalist who criticizes the forum .

"As many people have noticed in recent days, 8chan is a terrible siege to encourage violence and hatred," said Sam Jackson. , an assistant professor who focuses on online extremism at the University of Albany. "That hatred and encouragement to violence can be a kind of baseline, a background noise, but periodically someone moves from participating in this terrible online situation to committing actions offline."

Christchurch-style terrorism arrives in American Shores

The Digital Forensic Research The laboratory examines the alleged shooter's online activity before and during this weekend's attack on the Poway Synagogue and finds that it is directly connected to last month's attack on two mosques in Christchurch. He also asks why 8Chan deserves a platform on the web given the frequency with which terrorists use it to recruit followers:

In this manifest act of terrorist attacks, some 8chan boards are now essentially identical in content to the hidden channels of Telegram used by the militants of ISIS. Both demonize their chosen goals, idolize extreme violence, and defend and commemorate mass murder.

USA UU Internet companies will not tolerate for a long time a popular and public website dedicated to the recruitment of ISIS. It is surprising that today they tolerate 8chan. The Internet service providers of EE. UU They would be attentive to the example set by ISPs in Australia and New Zealand after the Christchurch attacks, which have blocked 8chan and its representatives. Cloudflare, the US company that protects thousands of websites (including 8chan) from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks under its "neutral content" policy, may also reexamine its service commitment.

Facebook Frenzy: How the German right wing dominates Social media

Spiegel's journalists analyzed the publications of the German political parties on Facebook and found that the far-right party published more, and reached more people on Facebook, than any other:

While political polls indicate that party support is currently between 11 and 15 percent, 85 percent of all shared publications that originate in German political parties come from the AfD. The remaining 15 percent of these "actions" are divided between the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens in favor of the environment, the Left Party, the FDP in favor of business and the conservatives. The big tent parties of the countries (the SPD and the conservative combination of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU)) were only responsible for 2 to 3 percent of the shares each.

Elsewhere

The YouTube CEO addresses the main problems of creators, including the claims of copyright and the trend section

In a new blog post, Susan Wojcicki told YouTubers that the Service would try to ensure that at least half of all the videos in its trends section are made by YouTube native creators rather than celebrities and big publishers. Julia Alexander:

Creators have also complained that the YouTube Trends section, an important page for finding viewers, often skips their videos, instead shows sports highlights, movie trailers, music videos and night videos Those complaints are nothing new, but Wojcicki's blog marks the first time that a YouTube executive has addressed those frustrations extensively.

To deal with complaints, Wojcicki says that at least half of all the trend videos will come from YouTubers, "with the rest coming from music and traditional media." That does not mean that a very popular video is guaranteed to appear on the list of trends, but it addresses the concerns that YouTube is not prioritizing its own creators. Wojcicki says that YouTube is "close" to reaching that figure of representation.

Google YouTube to broadcast live Major League Baseball

Sure, why not:

Google YouTube reached an agreement with Major League Baseball for exclusive rights broadcasts games in the second half of the season , continuing with the expansion of live sports to the Internet.

K-pop Army Battle Royale

"The voting process of the Billboard Music Awards is being manipulated by non-authentic Twitter accounts", according to this analysis by Geoff Goldberg:

More than 20% of the accounts that tweeted, retweeted or were mentioned in tweets that include #FollowAnExoL are accounts that were created during three days (between April 18, 2019 and April 20, 2019, more) specifically

Releases

Twitter expands the list of live streaming videos, establishes content agreements with Viacom, ESPN, Live Nation, Univision and more

Twitter is still making video agreements, Todd Spangler reports:

In addition to new initiatives with previous partners , such as the NFL, ESPN, Viacom, Major League Soccer, Live Nation and Activision Blizzard, Twitter revealed an agreement with Univision Communications to bring more premium sports, news and entertainment content to Los us Hispanic websites of the American social network. In addition, Twitter is adding content from the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.

Take

How to regain control of Facebook

Charlie Warzel talks to a group of people about how Facebook can be significantly regulated: [19659051] In my column, a former FTC official argued that the agency could impose restrictions that could "change the way Facebook handles and shares the data." How would that be? Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, sent an email to say that most people "have no idea what the F.T.C. Actually I could do "to Facebook." So I asked him.

Rotenberg argued that the FTC rule is a golden opportunity to break Facebook, especially to split WhatsApp. "This is not only philosophical, it's actually an appropriate sanction and Fair, "he said.

These ads think they know you

The New York Times pulled out a bunch of ads where they simply tell people what the ad thinks about them, based on the orientation criteria from Times and it's really fun.

This ad thinks you're a man,

works in the media,

and cut the cable.

Wow, they grabbed me

And finally …

Tell me

Send me advice, comments, questions and memes from you saying "the future is private." [email protected]

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