Facebook Is a Global Mafia


What does Facebook want? To never pay a penny in taxes or fees, for starters. But the larger answer seems to be that Facebook wants the right to devour a country’s advertising market and freely tinker with the algorithmic dials governing what millions of people see. Anything that stands in the way of their autonomy to set a population’s informational intake—or that threatens to undermine the bottom line—is considered a threat. Facebook’s response in Australia shows that it’s not afraid to go nuclear to protect its market dominance and tens of billions in annual profits—a move that implicitly acknowledges that the company has too much power.

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Jacob Silverman — The New Republic

Conflict of Pinterest


IN 2015, PINTEREST—allegedly the kinder, nicer tech company—partnered with the consultancy Paradigm to increase diversity in the company, whose workforce remains only 4 percent Black. Yet even as the usual platitudes about diversity and inclusion and bringing change to the boys’ club that is the tech world were being mouthed on the outside, inside the company, a different and racist reality prevailed. According to a report in the Washington Post, a Black female employee, the only one on her team, was told by a white supervisor not to speak during meetings, after which the supervisor took credit for her work. Another executive “joked” that she should play the “servant” and “serve” the other members of the team.

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Rafia Zakaria — The Baffler

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This person does not exist


I was just visiting this website called thispersondoesnotexist.com

This website shows you an AI generated image every time you open the site or refresh it. The images are so real. Things are moving so fast that it is becoming scary exciting.

This will cause a major disruption in the pop culture. There will be celebrities who won’t exist. Their lives would be broadcast to us which will again be AI generated. Celebrities tailored to your taste. They will look like how you want them to look. They will do things that you want them to do.

There will be many other changes as well, most of which my mind can’t even fathom now.

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Who wins on the ephemeral internet?


What Snapchat unlocked was a desperate desire for users to not have their digital actions follow them around. Whether it was shitposts or thirst traps, the idea was that it didn’t need to live in your, or anyone’s, feed forever. That ephemerality, combined with the lack of gratification that typically comes with a main feed post, gave users the opportunity to have more fun and enjoy the internet without any of its traditional consequences. Why should we have to cling on to the minutiae of what we were posting? It treated the internet like a tool, not a catalogue. And through this it unlocked a new era: the Snapchat-cum-Stories framework of disappearing content that now exists on most mainstream platforms. 

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Sarah Manavis — New Statesman

The reason Zoom calls drain your energy


Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, says Petriglieri. Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” he says.

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Manyu Jiang — BBC

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What Are the Most Popular Discontinued Cars?


To see which discontinued cars have been most popular lately, we looked at a full year of CarMax sales, from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. The Jeep Patriot was our top-seller. The compact crossover SUV had a strong 11-year run, and thousands have been rolling off CarMax lots since production ended in 2017. The Chrysler 200 came in second among our best-sellers. The 200 was offered as a four-door sedan or two-door convertible from 2011 to 2014, then as a sedan from 2015 until it was discontinued in 2017.

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Priceonomics

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A Global Scramble for the Coming Coronavirus Vaccine


SII head Adar Poonawalla, 39, is planning to begin production of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine now. By autumn, he hopes to have produced 40 million doses, at which time it will become clear if it is granted approval – or not.

If it is approved, Poonawalla intends to make at least half of the doses available to India, with the rest going to countries that don’t have their own vaccine. If approval is not forthcoming, it will all be discarded.

Poonawalla’s company joined the project at its own risk. In the worst-case scenario, he might lose a few million euros of his multi-billion-euro nest egg. But should everything go well, he’ll be a hero by the end of the year – and have the reputation for being a visionary businessman.

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SPIEGEL International

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The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet


The judge quickly made clear that he saw Hutchins as not just a convicted criminal but as a cybersecurity expert who had “turned the corner” long before he faced justice. Stadtmueller seemed to be weighing the deterrent value of imprisoning Hutchins against the young hacker’s genius at fending off malevolent code like WannaCry. “If we don’t take the appropriate steps to protect the security of these wonderful technologies that we rely upon each and every day, it has all the potential, as your parents know from your mom’s work, to raise incredible havoc,” Stadtmueller said, referring obliquely to Janet Hutchins’ job with the NHS. “It’s going to take individuals like yourself, who have the skill set, even at the tender age of 24 or 25, to come up with solutions.” The judge even argued that Hutchins might deserve a full pardon, though the court had no power to grant one.

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Andy Greenberg — Wired

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We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn’t We?


The remoteness of the risk is always the hardest part to get our heads around. Our past moments of calm or our current nightmare, like the last coin flip or turn of the roulette wheel, tell us nothing about when the next one might arrive. One in 500 years isn’t a prophesy, just a probability. If anything, as Wolfe pointed out when I first met him over a decade ago, global warming, urbanization, and destruction of species habitats are only accelerating the speed at which the next pandemic may arrive.

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Evan Ratliff — Wired

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What Google searches tell us about our coronavirus thoughts and fears


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Which searches are trending?

There are things that are concerning for society like the spike in searches for “loneliness,” people searching for “having trouble sleeping,” “depression.” All of those things are concerning to me, and I worry for people that don’t have people with them or are feeling it. Then the other misinformation thing is really interesting, because normally around any political thing, you always see spikes and searches where people are trying to find out if a misinfo story is true.

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Rani Molla – Vox

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