Morning Consult Tech: Facebook’s ‘Dangerous Individuals and Organizations’ Blacklist Reportedly Includes 4,000 People and Groups
 

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October 13, 2021
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  • Facebook Inc. has blacklisted over 4,000 people and groups including politicians, charities, music acts and deceased historical figures under its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, according to a review by The Intercept of Facebook’s DIO list. The policy initially began as a way to prevent the spread of content that promoted terrorism, but critics say it has since expanded to the point that it disproportionately affects certain marginalized groups. (The Intercept)
  • Apple Inc. is set to cut its iPhone 13 production goals for the rest of the year by as many as 10 million units due to the global chip shortage, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Apple expected to produce 90 million new iPhones in the last three months of 2021, but its manufacturing partners are not delivering enough components, the people said. (Bloomberg)
  • The family of a slain journalist, whose 2015 murder was streamed on Facebook, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission urging it to take action as videos of the killing keep resurfacing on Facebook and Instagram. Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison Parker was killed alongside cameraman Adam Ward in Virginia while reporting, accused the company of violating its own terms of service by not removing videos of their murders and in doing so glorifying violence. (The Associated Press)
  • Russia has reportedly been excluded from the White House’s 30-country summit on ransomware, where the United States and others are expected to discuss how to combat cybercriminals. A senior administration official said the list of countries invited shows how “pernicious and transnational” the threat has become, and the summit comes as Russia has been accused of harboring ransomware gangs. (Axios)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

General
 

Facebook Claims Test SEC’s Reach

Dave Michaels, The Wall Street Journal

The controversy over what Facebook Inc. has said about social and emotional hazards stemming from its products could become a test of regulators’ growing interest in policing corporate risks that hurt reputations more than profits.

 

Blockchain, AI, Internet of Things Will Change Banking, RBC CEO Says

Kevin Orland, Bloomberg

Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer Dave McKay said he sees blockchain maturation, the spread of artificial intelligence and the so-called internet of things as three big technological developments that will change banking in coming years.

 

Tesla to expand presence in Palo Alto despite HQ move to Texas -source

Hyunjoo Jin, Reuters

Tesla Inc has agreed to lease office space from HP Inc near the electric carmaker’s current headquarters in Palo Alto, California, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

 

The Dangerous Promise of the Self-Driving Car

David Zipper, Bloomberg

Has the U.S. enjoyed a century-long “love affair” with the automobile, as Groucho Marx memorably put it in a 1961 television show? Or has the relationship been more like an increasingly toxic forced marriage?

 

As Shatner heads toward the stars, visions of space collide

Ted Anthony, The Associated Press

“Risk is our business,” James T. Kirk once said. “That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.” More than a half-century later, the performer who breathed life into the fabled Enterprise captain is, at age 90, making that kind of risk his own business and heading toward the stars under dramatically different circumstances than his fictional counterpart.

 

NASA’s massive next-generation space telescope arrives in South America ahead of launch

Loren Grush, The Verge

After more than two decades of delays and ballooning development costs, NASA’s next-generation space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, has arrived in French Guiana, South America — the site of the spacecraft’s planned launch later this year.

 

Waymo’s self-driving taxi struggles with left turns and puddles. But it’s still winning over some Arizona riders

Matt McFarland, CNN

Waymo says its self-driving vans have given tens of thousands of rides since the company launched a public robotaxi service in Chandler, Arizona a year ago.

 
Antitrust and Competition
 

Google Countersues Epic Over ‘Unapproved’ Fortnite Version

Malathi Nayak, Bloomberg

Google ramped up its antitrust battle with Epic Games Inc., countersuing the game maker for launching its blockbuster Fortnite game last year on Android and sidestepping the Google Play billing system.

 

Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show

Aditya Kalra and Steve Stecklow, Reuters

Amazon.com Inc has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers. The company has denied the accusations.

 
Telecom, Wireless and Internet Access
 

To Lower Costs, Wireless Networks Such as Dish and Rakuten Head to the Cloud

Megumi Fujikawa, The Wall Street Journal

These days, everything from student term papers to company personnel information lives in the cloud, the big computer farms operated by the likes of Amazon.com Inc. that hold and process data.

 

Google targets telcos with new distributed cloud infrastructure

Diana Goovaerts, Fierce Telecom

Google unveiled a new suite of Distributed Cloud solutions designed to extend its infrastructure across a variety of locations, targeting telcos with an edge offering capable of running 5G network functions as well as enterprise applications closer to users.

 

Is 5G Good or Bad for the Environment?

Kimberly Chin, The Wall Street Journal

Major U.S. wireless carriers have long touted the benefits of fifth-generation wireless networks, claiming faster speeds and reduced latency. But less attention has been paid to the environmental costs.

 
Mobile Technology
 

Apple’s Balancing Act in China Gets Trickier During Xi’s Crackdown

Vlad Savov, Bloomberg

In less than a year, China has upended the world’s largest internet sphere, throwing its biggest players from Alibaba to Tencent into a tailspin with a storm of regulatory measures to loosen their stranglehold over data and content. Yet Apple Inc., the largest of them all and an American icon, has sailed through mostly unscathed.

 

Apple to Host New Event Next Week, New MacBooks Expected

Talal Ansari, The Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. said Tuesday that it will host a new launch event on Oct. 18. The event, announced with the tagline “Unleashed,” was tweeted by Greg Joswiak, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple.

 
Cybersecurity and Privacy
 

Google creates cybersecurity team to help respond to attacks

Jacob Knutson, Axios

Google announced Tuesday it has created a new cybersecurity team to help respond to and prevent cyberattacks against governments, critical infrastructure managers and other crucial companies.

 

U.S. agency submits initial recommendations on app data security to White House

David Shepardson, Reuters

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it submitted an initial set of recommendations on data security under an executive order signed by President Joe Biden.

 

Olympus probes apparent cyberattack, its second in less than a month

AJ Vicens, CyberScoop

Japanese technology manufacturer Olympus announced Tuesday that it was investigating “a potential cybersecurity incident” affecting IT systems in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

 

The Air Force remakes a squadron into a cyber-focused unit

Jackson Barnett, FedScoop

The Air Force transitioned a squadron that once focused solely on communications into a unit dedicated to cyberdefense, the latest tactical pivot that mirrors the department’s broader changes to modernize its force.

 

Biden Signs School Cybersecurity Bill

Jenni Bergal, Nextgov

President Joe Biden has signed a bill into law aimed at helping improve cybersecurity at K-12 schools and making them less vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

 

Woman Allegedly Hacked Flight School, Cleared Planes With Maintenance Issues to Fly

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

A woman allegedly hacked into the systems of a flight training school in Florida to delete and tamper with information related to the school’s airplanes.

 
Social Media and Content Moderation
 

Twitter is serving as a gateway to Gab’s conspiracy theories, study finds

Cristiano Lima, The Washington Post

Twitter is struggling to curtail covid-19 misinformation and hate speech originating from the fringe social network Gab and migrating to find massive audiences on the platform, according to a report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

 

Twitter debuts new ad features, revamped algorithm ahead of ecommerce push

Sheila Dang, Reuters

Twitter Inc on Tuesday rolled out new ad features and revamped the algorithm that decides which ads users see, as part of an effort to lay the groundwork to launch future ecommerce features, the social networking company told Reuters.

 

‘She opens the app and gets bombarded’: parents on Instagram, teens and eating disorders

Kari Paul, The Guardian

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Michelle noticed her teenage daughters were spending substantially more time on Instagram.

 

Senate Democrat presses TikTok on its handling of extremist content tied to Jan. 6

Cristiano Lima, The Washington Post

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) on Tuesday pressed video-sharing app TikTok for information about its efforts to curb violent extremist content in the run-up to and in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, expanding the panel’s probe into how social media may have contributed to the violence.

 

Twitter will now let you remove followers without blocking them

Amanda Silberling, TechCrunch

After testing last month, Twitter is rolling out a feature to all web users that will let them remove followers without blocking them.

 
Tech Workforce
 

Apple CEO’s Anti-Leak Edict Broke Law, Ex-Employee Alleges

Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

Apple Inc.’s restrictive employee handbook rules and Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s recent pledge to punish leakers both violate U.S. law, according to new complaints that a fired activist filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

 

Amazon Abandons Warehouse Plan Because San Diego Is Considering Worker Protection Law

Lauren Kaori Gurley, Motherboard

Amazon backed out of a last-mile distribution center project near San Diego, California, because of a proposed law that would require it to pay workers more and offer them stronger protections, Motherboard has confirmed.

 

OPM’s Telework Initiatives Dovetail with Climate Change Planning

Erich Wagner, Nextgov

The Office of Personnel Management says that its efforts to harness workplace flexibilities like telework and remote work over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic will also help agencies adapt to climate change.

 

Amazon, Google workers call for termination of Israeli military contracts

Chris Mills Rodrigo, The Hill

A coalition of Amazon and Google workers released an open letter Tuesday calling on their respective employers to pull out of a contract with the Israeli government.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

How to Keep Kids Safe Online? Ask Videogame Designers

Amanda Lenhart, The Information

I’ve spent the past year interviewing dozens of doers inside social media and game companies—product managers, engineers, and members of trust and safety teams. Along with my research partner, Kellie Owens, I asked people the basic question: Do these companies think about well-being, especially that of young people, when they design new products and features?

 

Lawmakers’ latest idea to fix Facebook: Regulate the algorithm

Will Oremus, The Washington Post

On Facebook, you decide whom to befriend, which pages to follow, which groups to join. But once you’ve done that, it’s Facebook that decides which of their posts you see each time you open your feed — and which you don’t.

 

Want to hire and retain tech workers? Give them salary calculators.

Michelle Ma, Protocol

What happens when tech companies give employees extreme visibility into how their salaries are set? Some employers are getting ahead of the movement toward transparency with new salary-calculator tools designed to show how the sausage is made, to a previously unheard of degree. These calculators are allowing some companies to issue “first and best” offers and cut negotiation entirely out of the recruiting process.

 

Spending Is Big Tech’s Superpower

Shira Ovide, The New York Times

I keep writing about the bonkers dollars that Big Tech companies are generating in revenue and profits. But what may be even more astounding is what the technology giants are spending to keep their businesses humming and growing long into the future.

 

Facebook’s moral failure shows the need for competition and is a test for Congress, write Reps. Buck and Cicilline

Reps. Ken Buck and David Cicilline, CNBC

Last week, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee turned whistleblower, testified before the Senate about the thousands of internal documents she disclosed to The Wall Street Journal showing how Facebook’s algorithms foster discord.

 
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