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Big Revolution - Lobbying with lies

Welcome to Tuesday’s newsletter, brought to you from an iPad Pro on a train racing through England to
June 11 · Issue #442 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s newsletter, brought to you from an iPad Pro on a train racing through England towards London.
– Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Facebook has restricted the usefulness of Graph Search, a powerful way of searching users’ public data. This is frustrating for journalists, although Facebook says it will work to help find a solution.
  • Ubisoft has announced a subscription service that will let you play all the publisher’s games on PC and Google Stadia for $14.99 per month.
The big thought
Lobbying with lies
Did Google make $4.7 billion from the news industry last year? It did if you believe the New York Times, in a story that was based entirely on a report from the News Media Alliance, a US news industry lobbying group.
Scratch beneath the lede though, and you’d quickly see that this figure was total guesswork based off a figure from 2008. And given that Google News isn’t monetised, it’s incredibly questionable that Google made anything close to $4.7 billion from the news industry in 2018.
But if you’re a lobbying group trying to compensate for news publishers’ failings by blaming it all on Google, anything goes, I suppose.
As Mathew Ingram writes for the Columbia Journalism Review:
”The ad market changed in a number of ways—many having to do with an expansion of choice—and Google and Facebook took advantage of that. Newspaper publishers did not, for a variety of reasons. Asking Google or Facebook to pay back something they theoretically took from the industry is mistaking effect for cause. It’s also a mistake to think that bargaining collectively with the platforms will somehow produce revenue that will save the media industry from the change occurring all around it.”
There are plenty of reasons to criticise big tech companies, but a big, scary, made-up number that absolves you of any responsibility for your own existential problems isn’t one of them.
One big read

Cyberhate & The Rise of the Trolls – Thought Economics Cyberhate & The Rise of the Trolls – Thought Economics
There are some interesting thoughts about the nature of modern trolling here.
One big tweet
Nick Bilton
My son (4 years old), who has grown up watching us talk to Siri and Alexa, thinks you can talk to anything that has a screen or is plugged into the wall. This morning he told the toaster to order him a new lego set.
11:16 PM - 10 Jun 2019
That’s all for today...
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