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Big Revolution - No fools

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Welcome to Thursday's Big Revolution. Today I'm attending the Northern Tech Awards, which celebrates
 
March 28 · Issue #383 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s Big Revolution. Today I’m attending the Northern Tech Awards, which celebrates the biggest successes in the technology sector in the North of England.
– Martin at Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Microsoft has won the legal right to take control of 99 domains used by Iranian hackers. The company will now make domains like “outlook-verify.net” and “yahoo-verify.net" safe for those tricked into visiting them.
  • Huawei’s telecoms equipment poses “significant” security problems, a UK review has found. The company is widely considered connected to the Chinese government, leading to concerns its equipment could be used to compromise the national security of Western states.
The big thought
Credit: Quentin Rey on Unsplash
No fools
April Fools Day is nearly upon us, and for once I’m cautiously optimistic that the internet won’t be awash with bad tech jokes.
April Fools Day used to be fun online. Tech companies would announce fake products and occasionally products that seemed like jokes but were actually groundbreaking real ones (Gmail or Amazon Dash buttons, for example).
But then PR folk realised that an April Fools gag was a good way to get some easy coverage, and everyone from the most boring corporations to startups no-one’s ever heard of started doing them. And they’d pitch journalists under embargo about things that weren’t even real in the hope of a bit of lighthearted coverage.
And now, post 2016, it’s worse. In a world where it feels like everyone is lying to us all the time, trust in the media is through the floor, and ‘fake news’ is a phrase that immediately reminds us how fragile our democracies can be, tech companies pretending to launch A.I.-enhanced soap or self-driving tortoises just feels like unnecessary noise.
So it was refreshing to see that Microsoft is keeping out of it this year. The Verge reports:
“In an internal memo, obtained and verified by The Verge, [marketing chief Chris] Capossela explains that “data tells us these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles.” He encourages all teams inside Microsoft not to do any public-facing April Fools’ Day stunts.”
I hope other companies follow suit. And of course, journalists can do their bit by ignoring the whole sorry mess of a day.
It feels a little sad to say people shouldn’t have creative fun on the first day of April, but April Fools Day had become way too excessive and noisy in recent years. Maybe one day we’ll learn to have fun with it again, but until then, let’s turn the volume down.
One big read
What Happens If You Find Cameras in Your Airbnb What Happens If You Find Cameras in Your Airbnb
Who’s secretly watching you in your Airbnb rental? And is the company doing enough to stop them?
That’s all for today...
See you in your inbox tomorrow for more.
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