Tech News and Analysis from around the web
How Tunisian-based PR firm UReputation used social media platforms and websites to spread disinformation and influence elections in 10 African countries — In-Depth Research & Reports by Andy Carvin, Luiza Bandeira, Graham Brookie, Iain Robertson, Nika Aleksejeva, Alyssa Kann, Kanishk Karan …
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Several Facebook groups are grappling with inadequate and uneven moderation policies as members attempt to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement — Women like Jocelyn Kopac joined the Boss-Moms Facebook group to network and chat about life as both a mom and business owner …
We could probably get by with a lot fewer police, something the police might not want to ignore. When they beat up citizens they are not only hurting the citizens, they're burning our money. We are literally paying them to do this.
If we can't find the bad apples, we could just start firing police randomly. Maybe at that point, they'll see the value in helping find, remove and prosecute the bad ones.
Not getting enough coverage is that the stock market is back to where it was before the pandemic. How to interpret this? What message is it sending? Get ready, because this is harsh.
If you're unemployed, it says this. The stock market doesn't need you. Literally, that is its message customized for the unemployed. The market doesn't consider Depression-level unemployment to be a problem for the companies it values.
The value of having a standard language is simplicity for newbies. But it takes discipline to remove barriers, instead developers add them. Eventually (maybe now) the weight of the totality will force the whole thing to collapse.
- BTW there are many other virtues of simplicity, not just limiting barriers for newbies.
This is a familiar pattern. When I first got into software, I learned C on Unix. Simplicity. Heavily factored. Less is more. Then I looked at the jobs available in the real world, and they had a stack like the one in the cartoon. I went to UCSD Pascal on the Apple II instead.
Why? Because on the Apple II, the Woz machine, less is more. To display a character just write it to a location in the machine's memory. Again, a fresh slate. How many fresh slates would it take to get to networked apps? Lots. How many were actually needed if we had discipline?
One. But you have to have a culture where we only add features if we're adding functionality. I have a motto for this. "Two ways of doing something is worse than one, no matter how much better the second way is."
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:
Maryland-based Inky, which develops AI-powered anti-phishing technology, raises $20M Series B led by Insight Partners, bringing its total raised to $31.6M — Inky, a cybersecurity company developing products designed to protect against phishing, today announced it raised $20 million.
Citing Twitter and Snap's actions limiting Trump's reach, digital activists around the world urge both companies to do the same for politicians globally — Bowing to criticism that predates his presidency, Twitter and Snap have begun to limit how President Donald Trump uses their platforms …
JD and Walmart-backed Dada Nexus, which operates on-demand delivery services in China, closed just below $16/share offer, after raising $320M in upsized US IPO — - Legend Biotech, Shift4, Dada Nexus all exceed earlier targets — Listings come amid global IPO rush of more than $7.3 billion
Emily Bary / MarketWatch:
Shift4 Payments, which provides payments processing software for the hospitality industry, closed up 46% on first day of trading, after raising $345M in its IPO — Referenced Symbols — Investors voiced enthusiasm Friday for a payments business highly levered to an economic rebound.
The Official Microsoft Blog:
In an email to Microsoft employees, Satya Nadella promises more diversity by expanding connections with HBCUs and a more inclusive environment — An email from CEO Satya Nadella to Microsoft employees: — Seeing injustice in the world calls us all to take action, as individuals and as a company.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission:
Australian court fines Sony Europe ~$2.4M for denying customers refunds for faulty PlayStation games and for misrepresenting consumer rights — The Federal Court has ordered Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (Sony Europe) to pay $3.5 million in penalties for making false …
Jennifer Strong / MIT Technology Review:
Interview with Hamid Khan, founder of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, on racism in police surveillance, and his view that algorithms have no place in policing — Hamid Khan has been a community organizer in Los Angeles for over 35 years, with a consistent focus on police violence and human rights.
Kurt Wagner / Bloomberg:
In post, Zuckerberg vows to review content policies on state force and voter suppression, ensure content moderation diversity, and announces a new voter hub — - CEO to look at policies on voter suppression, state force — Facebook will launch a voter hub for vetted information
Maxwell Tani / The Daily Beast:
LinkedIn CEO apologizes after several anonymous staffers share opinions echoing the skeptics of Black Lives Matter at an internal town hall on racial injustice — The highly professional social network's internal Wednesday town hall on racial injustice looked more like what you'd see in a Facebook comments section.
Hannah Murphy / Financial Times:
Reddit pledges to honor Ohanian's request to appoint a black director, says it'll update content moderation policies to “explicitly address hate” within weeks — Founder to leave controversial discussion platform, saying resignation can be ‘act of leadership’
An internal poll and documents show widespread anxiety inside Facebook as employees questioned whether Facebook is in an “abusive relationship” with Trump — A week of internal debates shows widespread anxiety over how the company will handle abuse going into 2020 …
Sources: Asana raised about $200M by issuing convertible debt, with Dustin Moskovitz as main lender, ahead of its planned IPO via a direct listing in H2 2020 — - Dustin Moskovitz co-founded Facebook before he started Asana — Asana is aiming to do a direct listing as early as the fall
Nick Statt / The Verge:
Instacart changes how it handles tips, including deactivating customers who “consistently and egregiously” engage in tip-baiting, after a Congressional inquiry — The company let customers bait Instacart shoppers with big tips and remove them after the fact
Men are never going to understand what it's like to be a woman.
White people are never going to understand what it's like to be black.
But we can listen, empathize, and try to do what they ask us to do to help. That would be success imho.
In all mess around the Cotton op-ed -- to me, a lifetime reader, subscriber and former partner of the NY Times, someone with a complicated long-term relationship, the most important flaw in the pub that is its unwillingness to listen to criticism.
So there's a huge hole in the perception of the NY Times of the world it is contained in, the point of view of their community. What a loss, for all of us. We are smart, educated, thoughtful people. We, collectively, know and see far more than the people they employ.
This has been the opportunity of blogging and news -- a way to tap the minds of the world in a way that supports journalism. An opportunity news people gave up on before they even understood that the net gave it a new life.
We need journalism to be much smarter than it is. We know a free source of smarts. Use it.
PS: Also we have more money for you if you can listen.
Alan Kay once said the Macintosh is the first computer worth criticizing. Really eloquent, makes-you-stop-and-think type quote.
I was raised by parents who reacted as if criticism was an attack. If you don't deflect it, you will be hurt. They taught me that. I learned later in life that listening to criticism is the key to success. Alan Kay revealed a truth. We criticize something because we want it to be better. We are invested in it being better. Listen because you want to learn how to be better.
In software, we call such critiques bug reports. Some problems only happen on the users' machines. Or you may have learned to not do something that they do because they never learned not to do it. Or they use features in a way you would never think to, that seem natural to them. Or they don't read the docs (and btw, neither do you). People see facets of your creation that you can't see because your point of view is different from theirs. If you want to improve, if you want to see things that are possible that are invisible to you, you must pay attention to criticism and brush aside the fear it invokes.