A recurring theme of this newsletter is that when it comes to large technology companies, congressional hearings are often unsatisfactory. Members fail to do their homework and bother us with their piss questions. Or play on cameras, interrupting witnesses before they can answer. For their part, technology leaders are working hard to make as little news as possible. They adhere closely to their talking points and when sold off-script, they claim ignorance and promise that their staff will consider later.
Today's hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, at which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discusses his company's plan to launch a cryptocurrency that offered all these tropes. (Although it must be said that unlike last year, this time around, members seem to have largely done their homework.) And the consensus view of the day's events ̵
During a grill congress, Republican reporter Ann Wagner (Missouri) challenged Facebook because it failed to stop child exploitation online. The reputation of William Lacey Clay (Missouri) ignited in Zuckerberg because of advertising policies, which he claims have led to discrimination against various social media communities. And in a tense exchange, Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks (New York) raised Zuckerberg for his company's role as the "accelerator in many of the devastating" political struggles around the world.
"Facebook was systematically found on stage. of crime, ”he began. "Do you think it's just a coincidence?"
There were a lot of changes that made many retweets when cropping and posting to Twitter. Like when Joyce Beattie's reputation pressures him into diversity efforts . Or respondent Sean Casten's hypothetical question about a Nazi politician . Or the reputation of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exploring the issues of the limits of political advertising on Facebook .
Yet, while there were times when the CEO found himself tongue-tied, for the most part, Zuckerberg did well. good. As New York Times & # 39; Cecelia Kang puts it :
5Hrs later, Zuckerberg succeeds in what he sets his goal to: Just take the heat. This means: don't cling when you are interrupted, defend Facebook without looking too protective, promise nothing and answer anything too controversial (Congresswoman, I will contact you) # Hearings101
– CeciliaKang ( @ceciliakang) October 23, 2019
Oddly enough, the cumulative effect of all excited exchanges was to put the nominal question at the center of the hearing – whether Facebook should be allowed to develop and release a new currency – feel strange as a side show.
Yet it is worth noting that it is precisely on some of the Libra issues that Zuckerberg seems to struggle the most. As Alex Heath writes in Information :
A roughly six-hour hearing saw Zuckerberg pondering questions from the Chamber's Financial Services Committee on how the outside association would be financed. Scales, what types of regulations should be applied , how Facebook plans to make money from Libra, and how policies like recovering fraudulent transactions will work. […]
What made Zuckerberg clear is that Facebook will not launch Libra without proper regulatory approval in the US and that Facebook will withdraw from the Libra Association if the group ultimately decides to move forward without the approval of US regulators . But Zuckerberg's testimony did not shed light on what specific laws under Facebook should govern Libra.
On the one hand, this hearing would always place Zuckerberg in the role of piny. On the other hand, if Facebook's case that Libra is a good thing for the world was to develop today, I'm not sure if it worked.
At this stage, it is difficult to say whether Libra remains a viable project. Over the last few weeks, it has proven to be a significant series of significant setbacks, culminating in the rejection of some of its most famous early supporters.
For their part, Facebook and the Libra Association said they had nothing to worry about – and could actually be "released". "I would be careful not to read the fate of Libra in this update," said David Marcus earlier this month, in tweet which struck me as having a great risk of not aging well. "Of course, this is not great news in the short term, but it is somehow liberating. Keep an eye out for more soon. Changing this dimension is difficult. You know you're something when so much pressure builds up. "
It's true that Facebook was expecting a lot of pressure here. Zuckerberg talked about it in the leaked audio I posted here earlier this month:
Public things, I think, are a little more dramatic. But for the most part it is a private engagement with regulators around the world, and these, I think, are often more substantial and less dramatic, and these meetings aren't played for the camera, but that's where a lot of discussions and details get mixed up. it's going to be a long way in. We kind of expected it – that's what the big engagement looks like.
The question is whether Facebook in fact, it gets better reception in private than it does in public. For now, there is little evidence available. In the meantime, for all its dramatization, the legislators who spoke today seemed sincere in their concerns about the chaos Libra may cause. and if they could vote to end the Libra experiment today, it seems likely that the majority would have.
Today in news that can influence the public perception of major technology platforms .
Trend aside : There was fodder for all parties seeking partial victory after today's large Libra hearing. But the project remains on an extended limb.
⭐ Google employees accused company executives of developing an internal surveillance tool to monitor their attempts to organize protests. The company said it's just a popup reminder to stop employees from automatically adding tons of people to meetings. Bloomberg's Ryan Gallagher also has:
Earlier this month, employees said they discovered that a team at the company was creating a new Google Chrome custom browser tool, installed on all workers' computers and used to search internal systems. The concerns were outlined in a note written by a Google employee and reviewed by Bloomberg News and three Google employees who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
The tool will automatically report employees creating an event calendar with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants, according to the employee's note. The most likely explanation, according to the memo, "is that this is an attempt by management to learn immediately about any attempts by the workers' organization."
US Attorney General investigating Facebook and Google said that the disintegration of big tech companies was "perfect on the table". He added that while the big ones aren't necessarily bad, "The big ones are bad." (Rob Copeland / Wall Street Journal )
Trolls trapped the campaign of Tulsi Gabbard – and Hillary Clinton fell for it. She claims that Gabbard is a "Russian asset" parroting conspiracy theories that originated on 4chan . Oleh. (Ryan Broderick / BuzzFeed )
Here's how a new bill aimed at loosening the control of big tech over consumer data would change the internet. Doing interoperable services can have some benefits for competition between social networks, argues this sharply – but maybe less than you might think. (Adi Robertson / The Verge )
Facebook has an unusual connection with the Menlo Park Police Department, it opens an investigation Vice . The company pays a special Facebook Unit $ 2 million a year to patrol the campus. (Sarah Emerson / Deputy )
YouTube closed the famous white nationalist news channel Red Ice – but Facebook and Twitter did not. Undoubted efforts underscore the need for large companies to coordinate, the piece claims. (Hannah Gays / Southern Poverty Law Center)
Government-sponsored hackers are changing their tactics to focus more on monitoring the iPhone iPhone and Android and misinformation campaigns on social media. They target mainly Hong Kong protesters and ethnic minorities, such as Uighurs. (Nicole Perlrot, Kate Conger, and Paul Mozur / The New York Times )
Hong Kong protesters are struggling to remain anonymous on heavily scrutinized streets and online. Police are now treating each protest as an illegal assembly, and protesters face up to 10 years in prison if caught. (Trey Smith / The Verge )
⭐ Google has achieved "quantum supremacy" with a breakthrough that can change computational processes. Their 53-bit quantum computer called Sycamore took 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would otherwise have taken the fastest supercomputer in the world in 10,000 years, says Gideon Litchfield at MIT Technology Review :  The calculation has almost no practical use – it spits out a string of random numbers. It was chosen just to show that Sycamore can really work the way a quantum computer should. The useful quantum machines are many years old, the technical obstacles are enormous and even then they are likely to defeat classic computers only for certain tasks.
But this is still an important stage – one that Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, compares to the Wright brothers' 12-second first flight.
Cheryl Sandberg says that the idea that Facebook contributes to a "bubble filter" is misunderstood. Apparently 26 percent of the news about people's emissions comes from opposing perspectives, a Facebook COO said on Tuesday's event. Meet (Kurt Wagner / Bloomberg)
Meet the People Who Really Love Mark Zuckerberg . During his free speech speech last week, fans flooded the live broadcast with adoring comments. Some people speculate that all this is fake, but there are indeed many stacks of Zuck out there, this piece reports. (Kaitlyn Tiffany / Atlantic )
The YouTube recommendation algorithm may not be responsible for radicalizing people, a new Penn State report says. The distribution of right content signals latent search among creators and viewers, not algorithmic influence, he argues. (Paris Martineau / Wired )
CNN is considering launching a digital news service to compete with Facebook and Apple . The project, called NewsCo internally (not to be confused with Knewz!), Is likely to be a mix of subscription and advertising content. (Jessica Toonkel / Information )
Facebook is still sorting out how to pay publishers featured in her upcoming news section. The company gives millions of publications such as Bloomberg and Dow Jones, but nothing to Reuters or the Associated Press. (Anna Nicolaou & Alex Barker / Financial Times )
Also: Amazon launches a news aggregation app for Fire TV users in the US. The app has custom content from outlets such as Reuters, CBS, Sports Illustrated and HuffPo. (Brian Heater / TechCrunch )
Egyptian activists have been protesting Twitter's content moderation policies after multiple politically active accounts were terminated. The campaign is called #WeWillSpeak. Some tweets may have violated the company's offensive content policies, though protesters have denied it. (Zeinobia / Egyptian Chronicles)
Twitter Counselor General Vijaya Gadde shares why in this short video the company allows bots and what to do with deep files. ( The Wall Street Journal )
The walls of Congress dissolve into endless blue emptiness as Zuckerberg informs lawmakers that there is no way to escape from Facebook on
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