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Big Revolution - Sometimes you should just hold back

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Welcome to all the new subscribers who have discovered Big Revolution over the past 24 hours. I hope
 
March 15 · Issue #18 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to all the new subscribers who have discovered Big Revolution over the past 24 hours. I hope you find it useful. Feel free to drop me a line with any thoughts by hitting ‘reply’ to this email.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- The people behind Wikipedia aren’t happy with YouTube. They weren’t consulted about the video platform’s plan to put Wikipedia links underneath conspiracy videos, and fear it will lead to more false information being posted to the site. There’s no simple solution to ‘fake news.’
- Controversial blood testing company Theranos is in meltdown after its CEO and former President were charged with “massive fraud” in the USA. People who defended the company when the Wall Street Journal first broke the allegations two years ago might be reassessing their tweets (more on that below).
- Wave those scams goodbye. Google is taking no chances, and is banning all cryptocurrency and ICO advertising from this coming June. Facebook recently made a similar move. Reddit gets to be smug though – it’s quietly banned such ads since 2016.
- Face scanning technology has reportedly been secretly tested at major US venues. As the EU gears up for the launch of the tough new GDPR privacy rules, this is a sign the USA should probably follow suit.
The big thought
Elizabeth Holmes: not the next Steve Jobs after all.
Sometimes it’s okay to not have an opinion
The news that Theranos has settled fraud charges will have some Silicon Valley VCs and cheerleaders eating their words. 
Many people spoke out against the Wall Street Journal’s initial reporting on the case two years ago, suggesting the company’s critics were anti-innovation or in the pocket of ‘big healthcare’ companies with an interest in not making blood tests quicker and easier.
What’s more, the compelling narrative of a 'female Steve Jobs’ (right down to the turtle necks!) who wanted to transform a stale industry, had many people hooked. Couple that with people’s general distrust of the media, and you can see why this looked like just another 'techno-panic’ story.
Still, those people look very silly today.
But you know what? Sometimes it’s okay to not have an opinion about something. Unless you were intimately involved in Theranos’ technology, or a reporter who had investigated them thoroughly, why would you nail your colours to a mast so decisively?
We live in a time when it’s easy to make statements on social media that look like fact even if they’re really nothing more than a gut, emotional reaction to some news. It can feel like we need to 'add value’ to every piece of news by passing judgement on it without really knowing anything at all about it.
Sometimes it’s better to just ride it out. Reserve judgement. I’m willing to bet most of Theranos’ defenders would value scientific method over religious fervour. Blindly supporting a tech company based off nothing but gut instinct flies in the face of that.
…And it risks making you look very wrong later down the line.
One big read
I remember this issue – back when being number one in the charts mattered.
The Guardian has a good look at the demise of the NME, the iconic music magazine that published its final print issue last week. The title’s missteps arguably go back 15 years or more, long before print really started to feel the full heat of internet publishing.
The story shows just how tough it is in the media now – not just to make money, but to maintain people’s attention, even if you were once the biggest name around.
One big tweet
I’m willing to bet neither Google or Facebook is thinking as deeply as this about their bans these ads, but still, it’s a point worth keeping in mind. If decentralisation gets a real footing, what happens to those who rely on centralised systems? 
Alex Kantrowitz
Interesting that Google and Facebook are both banning cryptocurrency ads. Of course, there's a ton of crypto scams, so they have a responsibility to address them. But the decentralization wave also poses a potentially legitimate threat to their businesses. So you wonder...
6:15 PM - 14 Mar 2018
That’s all for today...
Today I’m being an editorial consultant to a publisher – and part of my work I particularly enjoy. See you tomorrow for Friday’s edition of Big Revolution.
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