TWEAKS AND UPDATES
CNET: Meta reportedly shutters video speed-dating service before it exits beta. “Facebook parent company Meta has reportedly shut down its experimental video speed-dating service, Sparked, after less than a year of testing. Those who used the service were informed via email that it would shut down on January 20, 2022, according to TechCrunch.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
USA Today: Facebook may not like conservatives but the social media giant sure seems to help them. “‘That was fun,’ Bethany S. Mandel says, after a conservative publisher of children’s books was banned from advertising on Meta’s Facebook platform just days before Christmas, and then mysteriously reinstated this week after a national furor. Mandel is editor of Heroes of Liberty, which publishes books about conservative figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. We spoke by phone about the ban and the reinstatement as her five children played in the background.”
Ars Technica: Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands. “When Susan Schaap, 61, travels from her Dutch hometown of Zeewolde to the nearest city of Leylystad, the 30-minute drive takes her through vast tulip fields, interrupted only by wind turbines and sometimes sheep. But if Facebook parent company Meta’s plans are approved, her view would be replaced by the Netherlands’ largest-ever data center.”
CNN: ‘More soul searching:’ Facebook’s former elections boss speaks out about the platform. “Katie Harbath worked for 10 years inside Facebook, where she was most recently the company’s public policy director managing elections. Now, she’s the founder and CEO of Anchor Change, and on ‘Reliable Sources’ Sunday, she spoke out about her old company and its role in democracy.”
Mashable: Apple reportedly wants nothing to do with Zuck’s metaverse. “The metaverse, a VR playground Mark Zuckerberg is forcing down everyone’s throats, might threaten to consume us all over the next few years. However, it seems Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t buying what Zuck is selling yet. That’s if Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is to be believed, anyway.”
BuzzFeed News: Facebook’s Spanish-Language Moderators Are Calling Their Work A “Nightmare”. For years, Facebook moderators employed by third-party contractors have sought to expose poor working conditions, and their dissent grew louder during the pandemic as many were forced to return to the office with little to no safety net. But Spanish-language moderators say they face even worse treatment than their English-focused colleagues.”
SECURITY & LEGAL
The Guardian: UK data watchdog seeks talks with Meta over child protection concerns. “The UK’s data watchdog is seeking clarification from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta about parental controls on its popular virtual reality headset, as campaigners warned that it could breach an online children’s safety code.”
Rolling Stone: Revealed: UK Gov’t Plans Publicity Blitz to Undermine Privacy of Your Chats. “The UK government is set to launch a multi-pronged publicity attack on end-to-end encryption, Rolling Stone has learned. One key objective: mobilizing public opinion against Facebook’s decision to encrypt its Messenger app.”
The Local Switzerland: Swiss army bans WhatsApp due to privacy concerns. “Switzerland’s army has banned the use of WhatsApp whilst on duty, a spokesman confirmed Thursday, in favour of a Swiss messaging service deemed more secure in terms of data protection. The ban also applies to using other messaging apps like Signal and Telegram on soldiers’ private phones during service operations.”
TechCrunch: UK class action lodged against Meta seeks $3.1B for breach of competition law. “A competition legal expert, backed by a powerful litigation fund, is set to mount a multibillion-dollar class action suit against Facebook/Meta for breach of competition law on the basis that it abused its dominance of social networking in the U.K. for several years. If successful, the action would see Facebook having to pay $3.1 billion (£2.3 billion) in damages to Facebook U.K. users.”
Mashable: Meta is being investigated for alleged Oculus anti-trust violations. “Mark Zuckerberg can change his company’s name all he wants, but that won’t stop the government from looking into its business practices. The latest round of government probes into the company now known as Meta actually centers on Oculus, its VR hardware and software subsidiary, per Bloomberg. The FTC along with the state governments of New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee have spoken to VR developers about alleged antitrust violations.”
CNN: Here’s how US lawmakers could finally rein in Facebook. “Despite their agreement that something should be done to address Big Tech’s dominance -— and to crack down on Meta in particular — Democrats and Republicans are divided on what the core problem really is. Republicans accuse Facebook of anti-conservative bias, despite a lack of evidence, while Democrats are concerned that the company doesn’t do enough to protect against hate speech, misinformation and other problematic content. The stakes for action, or inaction, are only growing.”
Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!
Categories: afternoonbuzz, News
A few days ago, I got — from Meta — an “offer” to participate in a survey about Meta. It was quite amusing and quite transparent. The questions were rather leading; I don’t remember any specifically (shoulda done screen caps, damn), but the general sense of them was along the lines, “Do you agree that Meta is a positive force for change in society?” It seemed like such a blatant attempt to gather “evidence” in support of Meta (especially FB) practices, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the results offered in some kind of upcoming regulatory testimony.
Oh, at least they didn’t offer a “reward” for participating.