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Tech Career Checklist: Aggressive Diversity, Cold Cash
May 14, 2018
I've become convinced that too many of us don't prioritize our employment choices properly. What recently drew my attention to this was a conversation I had with Dell's CFO Tom Sweet at Dell Technology World. We were chatting about Dell's problem attracting employees. Because Dell is a private company, few employees get stock or stock options -- they get cash instead. It seems that has put Dell at a disadvantage when competing for top folks.
Spotify's New Anti-Hate Policy Muzzles R. Kelly
May 12, 2018
Spotify has announced a new policy governing hate content and hateful conduct. The service identified as hate content anything that expressly and principally promotes, advocates or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual, based on characteristics including race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability.
Senate Action on Net Neutrality Could Change the Debate
May 11, 2018
All 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus have expressed support for a resolution to save Net neutrality, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, under the Congressional Review Act. The CRA is a legislative tool that lets Congress reverse federal regulations via a simple majority vote. For the resolution to become law, it also would need support from a majority of House members as well as the president's signature.
Solving Tech's Diversity Problem
May 7, 2018
I recently attended Dell Technology World, which shone a light on one of Michael Dell's passions: addressing the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Some time back he asked the most powerful woman at Dell, CCO Karen Quintos, to spearhead an effort to fix the problem. One of the leading experts on the problem, Howard Ross of Cook Ross, indicated it was getting worse -- not better.
Publishers Protest Google's 'Troubling' GDPR Policy
May 2, 2018
Four trade groups representing 4,000 publishers have blasted Google's approach to compliance with Europe's upcoming GDPR. The new rules are set to take effect at the end of the month. Under its new GDPR-compliant policy, Google, as a provider of digital advertising services to publishers, will have sole control over data sent to it by publishers or collected from publishers' websites.
What's Next With Facebook?
April 27, 2018
Facebook and other social networks appear to have crossed the line with respect to privacy and censorship. Facebook has been accused of helping one side while hiding the other side in many important debates. It has been accused of exposing the personal information of its users, violating their privacy. These perceptions are problems that must be fixed. What's the next step?
Fighting Fake News and Forging Real Diplomacy
April 23, 2018
Two new initiatives -- a concerted effort by Apple and a massive educational effort called the "Pro-Truth Pledge" -- could help eliminate much of the fake news BS that is really messing up the U.S. at the moment. On another front, President Donald Trump's plan to meet with Kim Jong-un reminds me of a pivotal meeting between former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and then Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Facebook Rolls Out European-Style Privacy Protections
April 19, 2018
Facebook has unveiled a comprehensive series of privacy enhancements designed to extend protections required by the European Union's GDPR to all of the social media company's users around the world. The updates, which include major changes to the company's terms and data policies, fulfill promises CEO Mark Zuckerberg made to House and Senate members in Washington D.C., Facebook officials said.
Planned Apple News Subscription Service Could Address Fake News, Pay Walls
April 18, 2018
Apple plans to launch a news subscription service within the next year. The new service reportedly will combine features from its recent Texture acquisition and Apple's existing news app. Texture's technology and its employees will be integrated into the Apple News team, which will build the new service. The company will split revenues with publishers.
Facebook and Google Could Be Nationalized in 5-10 Years
April 16, 2018
After I considered Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Senate and House committee hearings last week, it became very clear to me -- and I expect many in Congress -- that social media companies need to be regulated. However, I think this is only a step in the path that governments -- and I do mean more than the U.S. -- will take to ensure their effectiveness and protect their people.
The Internet Is Facing a Health Scare, Suggests Mozilla Report
April 14, 2018
Mozilla has launched the first full edition of its Internet Health Report. The report is "an open source effort to explore the state of human life on the Internet," said Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman. It consists of research and analysis about the Internet compiled by researchers, engineers, data scientists, policy analysts and artists in Mozilla's extended community.
Lawmakers Lean In on Facebook
April 13, 2018
Following two days of often contentious exchanges between members of Congress and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the focus in Washington and Silicon Valley has shifted from how Facebook plans to change its data practices to how to implement some of those plans. The company already has taken steps to give its 2 billion monthly active users more control over their data.
What Should We Expect From AI?
April 12, 2018
Fear mongering about killer robots and the recent deaths connected with Uber and Tesla autonomous vehicles have rekindled concerns about AI in the machines around us. We are well beyond answering Alan Turing's question, "can machines think?" There is now good reason to ask how we should think of AI, and what we should expect from it. There have been phenomenal advances in just the past few years.
House Critics Grill Zuckerberg Over Political Bias, Privacy
April 12, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday endured a second day of congressional criticism during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His appearance followed an intense session with two Senate Committees a day earlier. Some members of the House committee questioned whether Facebook tracked users offline. Some blasted what they claimed were repeated instances of censorship.
Zuckerberg Bobs, Weaves at Senate Hearing
April 11, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that the company failed to inform the FTC that Cambridge Analytica had gained improper access to personal data belonging to millions of Facebook members, despite its 2011 settlement with the commission over earlier complaints of unauthorized data sharing. Zuckerberg made the admission at a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
Researchers to Put Facebook's Role in Elections Under Magnifying Glass
April 10, 2018
A group of nonprofits have agreed to fund an initiative to study Facebook's role in elections and democracy. The organizations will pay the expenses of researchers, and Facebook will give the scholars access to proprietary data that has met the company's new standards for heightened user privacy protection. "This is a critical first step," said Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation.
Mysterious Disappearance of Zuck Posts Rings Another Facebook Alarm Bell
April 9, 2018
Facebook reportedly allowed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives to delete messages from recipients' inboxes and chat threads, but it did not disclose the practice or offer the same capabilities to users. Facebook began using the tool after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures to protect executive communications. Facebook later said it would make the feature available to all users.
Facebook Comes Up With a New Data Access Plan
April 6, 2018
Facebook has announced an update to its policies for restricting data access on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also discussed some of Facebook's new efforts to shore up user privacy protections in a 45-minute long Q&A with members of the media on Wednesday. Facebook will implement nine changes, which will allow users to set privacy levels and limit automatic data sharing.
Facebook Declares Open Season on Russian Trolls
April 5, 2018
Facebook has taken down more than 270 pages and accounts operated by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday. IRA trolls and ads were involved in Russia's attempts to interfere with the 2016 United States presidential elections, and the trolls have published hate speech and incitements to violence on their Facebook pages.
4 Ways SMB Etailers Can Manage Facebook Fears
April 3, 2018
Many SMBs, especially etailers, conduct a substantial amount of their business on Facebook. Eighty percent of U.S. businesses with 250 employees or less use Facebook for marketing, suggest results of a G2 Crowd survey eMarketer cited in a report released last month. Seventy-one percent of 351 U.S. businesses with 500 employees or less used social media, a Clutch survey found.
The Power of Social Media and the Coming Repeal of the 2nd Amendment
April 2, 2018
One of the most powerful political organizations in the U.S. is the National Rifle Association. The president of the United States recently claimed he wasn't afraid of the NRA, only to have an NRA spokesperson -- not the president himself -- later announce that the president had changed his mind. It was painful to watch the most powerful man in the free world be treated like a small child.
Snapchat May Risk Connecting Apps, Despite Facebook Uproar
March 31, 2018
Snapchat soon may have a Connected Apps feature that is similar to the functionality at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica brouhaha, which has sparked congressional scrutiny and consumer backlash. The latest beta features a new tab within the setting page. The page displays the following text: "These apps are connected to your Snapchat account. Choose an app to control what it has access to."
Trump Rails at Amazon Over Taxes, USPS, Local Retail
March 30, 2018
President Trump fired off a tweet critical of Amazon, implying that the administration may be mulling some type of regulatory action. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, one of the top newspapers in the U.S. and a major thorn in the president's side. Trump recently has been "obsessing" over the company and exploring different regulatory possibilities, according to reports.
Facebook Takes Baby Steps Toward Rebuilding Trust
March 29, 2018
Facebook has introduced a set of changes designed to empower members to protect their account information. The company has been at the center of an unrelenting firestorm following revelations that it allowed Cambridge Analytica to mine private data belonging to 50 million of its users without permission, which Cambridge Analytica then leveraged for political purposes.
New Firefox Extension Builds a Wall Around Facebook
March 28, 2018
Mozilla has announced Facebook Container, a Firefox browser extension that is designed to segregate users' activity on Facebook from their other Web activity, limiting Facebook's ability to track them and gather personal data. The extension is the culmination of more than two years of research into developing a more private browsing experience, Mozilla said.
Facebook Phone-Scraping Takes Users by Surprise
March 27, 2018
Facebook on Sunday confirmed that its Messenger and Lite apps for Android smartphones routinely collect call and text histories. The call and text history logging are opt-in features for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android devices, the company said in a post. The feature is designed to help users stay connected, and it improves the Facebook experience, according to the company.
Chaos Threatens Tech Takeover
March 26, 2018
The tech world experienced more insanity last week. We finally got confirmation from AMD that the CTS Labs security report was a tempest in a teapot, but the big question remained unanswered. A self-driving Uber vehicle killed a pedestrian, but we didn't ask the right questions. Facebook admitted that it gave our information to a bad actor, and we forgot what really would wake up Zuckerberg.
The Social Utility
March 24, 2018
If you study economic cycles, you can watch the evolution of a disruptive technology throughout its lifecycle, from a specific product to a competitive industry. The last phase in the evolutionary chain is the formation of a utility. For example, over a couple of centuries we've seen the evolution of electricity from a curiosity, to a business, to a group of public companies.
Brit Lawmakers Want Cambridge Analytica's Nix to Explain a Few Things
March 23, 2018
British lawmakers want Alexander Nix, the suspended chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, to return to Parliament for additional questioning in its fake news inquiry. The Parliament's probe led to disclosures that Facebook had allowed Cambridge Analytica unauthorized access to up to 50 million user records, igniting a firestorm over user data privacy and possible U.S. voter manipulation.
YouTube to Enforce Broad Ban on Gun-Related Videos
March 23, 2018
YouTube has announced that it will ban videos related to the sale or assembly of firearms, as well as certain gun accessories including bump stocks. Under the new rules, all videos that show how to construct or even repair a firearm are banned -- even those from long-established YouTube channels. The new policy also bans videos that show how to reload ammunition.
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Which tech social media influencer has the greatest influence on your thinking?
Blogger Robert Scoble
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg
Recode's Kara Swisher
Tech Evangelist Guy Kawasaki
Tesla and SpaceX's Elon Musk
Twitter's Jack Dorsey
Someone else