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The New York Times has published a damning article on Facebook’s various responses to allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the rise in hate speech, and various privacy snafus.

When Facebook users learned last spring that the company had compromised their privacy in its rush to expand, allowing access to the personal information of tens of millions of people to a political data firm linked to President Trump, Facebook sought to deflect blame and mask the extent of the problem.

And when that failed — as the company’s stock price plummeted and it faced a consumer backlash — Facebook went on the attack.

While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.

While I still use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, my activity has decreased considerably in recent months — something I plan to write about a bit more in the coming weeks. But I fully agree with Manton Reece when he writes: ​“Having your own domain name for blog posts and photos isn’t just about personal independence from the control of massive social networks. Owning our content is key to the way out of the current social network mess.”

If and when social media giants like Facebook ever disappear, it’ll be a net positive for humanity. (Though it’s a safe bet that something equally egregious will come along.)

Kara Swisher calls tech firms to task for their complicity in online hate speech:

Let me say it again: Social media platforms — and Facebook and Twitter are as guilty of this as Gab is — are designed so that the awful travels twice as fast as the good. And they are operating with sloppy disregard of the consequences of that awful speech, leading to disasters that they then have to clean up after.

And they are doing a very bad job of that, too, because they are unwilling to pay the price to make needed fixes. Why? because draining the cesspool would mean losing users, and that would hurt the bottom line.

A friendly reminder: for as ​“woke” as they claim to be, technology firms like Facebook and Twitter do not care about you. They don’t care about making your life better nor do they care about improving the world — not in any real, tangible sense. For all of their talk about freedom, justice, equality, and other such virtues, their coffers will always remain their ultimate concern.

Why doesn't Bandcamp have playlists?

Why doesn’t Bandcamp have playlists?

Speaking as a longtime fan and frequent consumer, Bandcamp’s utility would only be increased by the addition of some sort of playlist feature.
Oct 31, 2018

Internet Memories and Battle of the Bands ‘93

For better or worse, the internet has become a big collective memory organ.
Oct 25, 2018

It’s easy to be skeptical about the technology in our lives when we see how intrusive it’s become, how easy it is to surrender our lives and privacy to it, and how empty Silicon Valley’s utopian promises about free speech, community, etc., can turn out to be. But then you see your kid’s Sunday school class using video chat so that their friend, who’s currently battling cancer in a hospital in another city, can still participate, and you realize that there are times when technology really is a blessing.

Mat Honan’s review of the Pixel 3 is as much a critique of smartphones in general as it is a review of Google’s latest. ​“This is a great phone. I highly recommend it. But it’s no longer totally clear to me that the information systems we’ve built to help us navigate life are net beneficial to society. I mean, I think they are. But, Jesus. Jesus. What’s happening to us?” (That being said, I’d love for Apple to add that call screening feature to iOS.) Via

The impending war with the robots won’t be won in burnt out streets and urban hellscapes à la Terminator, but rather, on the dancefloor. Start working on your worm and running man while you still have time. And maybe your parkour skills while you’re at it, just to be safe.

Following a privacy breach that leaked the details of 500,000 users, Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+, their failed attempt at a social network. (Yes, yes… cue the ​“Google+ has 500,000 users?!” jokes.) Here’s the kicker: they never reported the breach because they were afraid of the repercussions. Just another reminder that big tech companies like Google and Facebook don’t really care about you. Via

Google won’t be shutting down Google+ for another 10 months, but you can delete your account now if you want to. Via

James Gunn's Offensive Tweets and Online Mob Justice

James Gunn’s Offensive Tweets and Online Mob Justice

Are we really OK with operating under the assumption that people can’t change and mature over the years?
Jul 20, 2018
Your Public Library as a Streaming Service

Your Public Library as a Streaming Service

If you haven’t been to your local library in awhile, then you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
Jul 8, 2018
Stop Relying on Internet Giants for Your Content

Stop Relying on Internet Giants for Your Content

Sites like Facebook and Google exert massive control over what we read and see. Maybe it’s time to start bypassing them.
Jun 10, 2018
Apple's iMac Turns 20

Apple’s iMac Turns 20

In a single stroke, Apple made computers fun, vibrant, hip, and personable again.
May 6, 2018
A Look at Gmail's New Design

A Look at Gmail’s New Design

Google’s popular email service gets its first major redesign since 2011.
Apr 26, 2018
Should Netflix care how much you watched <em>A Christmas Prince</em>?

Should Netflix care how much you watched A Christmas Prince?

We need to get over any notion we might have that online services like Netflix are neutral platforms, or platforms that care about us.
Dec 18, 2017
Thanks to A-ha's "Take On Me," I Finally See Augmented Reality's Potential

Thanks to A-ha’s “Take On Me,” I Finally See Augmented Reality’s Potential

This is truly a brave new world in which we live.
Sep 5, 2017
A Critique of Verizon's User Dashboard (or, That One Time When Verizon Almost Gave Me a Heart Attack)

A Critique of Verizon’s User Dashboard (or, That One Time When Verizon Almost Gave Me a Heart Attack)

User interface widgets should be clear, concise, and never demand more of the user’s time than absolutely necessary.
Oct 22, 2016
Google Play Music Has What I've Been Looking for Since Rdio Died

Google Play Music Has What I’ve Been Looking for Since Rdio Died

If you miss the way Rdio’s queue worked, Google Play Music has you covered.
Aug 2, 2016
Rest in Peace, Rdio

Rest in Peace, Rdio

Maybe someday, something will come along that matches Rdio’s simplicity and elegance, but I’m not holding my breath.
Dec 1, 2015
Music Doesn't Have to Sound Good to Be Good

Music Doesn’t Have to Sound Good to Be Good

The experience of listening to music is so much more than simply the music’s audio fidelity.
Sep 30, 2015