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Big Revolution - The dangers of bundles

Hello, my day started today with a call from BBC Radio Five Live, asking if I'd go on their breakfast
April 5 · Issue #39 · View online
Big Revolution
Hello, my day started today with a call from BBC Radio Five Live, asking if I’d go on their breakfast show to talk about the 5G spectrum auction in the UK. Nothing concentrates the mind like a frantic catch-up on a fresh announcement over breakfast, so you can sound relatively coherent about it on the radio a few minutes later!

Big things you need to know today
- Facebook says Cambridge Analytica may have accessed data on as many as 87m users. Cambridge Analytica disputes this, saying it’s no more than 30m (that’s alright then….?). Mark Zuckerberg also held a call with reporters in which he projected a contrite tone. It’s worth reading the highlights via TechCrunch.
- Meanwhile, Facebook has reined in API access to its data, and that of Instagram. The moves, to increase Facebook’s oversight of user data, immediately caused problems for connected apps. It locked Tinder users out of their accounts for a few hours, for example. This shows just how much power Facebook has, when a sudden change of direction can seriously impact other tech businesses without warning.
- Oh, and Facebook is making its Terms of Service and Data Policy clearer,  but it wants your feedback first.
- More than 3,000 Google employees have signed a letter in protest of the company’s A.I. tech collaboration with the Pentagon, the New York Times reports. The fear is the tech could be applied to drone strikes. 
- The winners of the first 5G spectrum auction in the UK have been announced. They’re… the same people who currently offer mobile services in the country anyway. Expect the first commercial 5G services to hit the UK around 2020 – the same as most of the rest of the world.
The big thought
Still from a promotional video by Medium.
The dangers of bundles
Medium CEO Ev Williams has written about his thoughts on the future of publishing, and he reckons it’s all about end users paying more. The rationale makes sense. When advertisers subsidise media, the audience gets the raw end of the deal. 
Williams points out that not every publisher will be able to charge an individual subscription fee. Only big names and highly specialist outlets will have that privilege. He sees bundled subscriptions that package a bunch of titles together as the solution for most publishers.
These bundles are likely something we’ll see more of. We can already see the likes of Blendle making inroads in parts of the world. But I do wonder in a broad sense, where the written word will figure in people’s purchasing decisions. If they have to buy subscriptions for music, movies, TV shows… maybe video games and social media services too. It all adds up. Will people want to buy multiple bundles of written content?
And if we choose different subscriptions to our friends, will we miss out on information other people will know? And does that just increase the filter bubble effect we already see in action thanks to only hearing the views of the narrow types of people we tend to follow on social media? And if we can’t afford them, and rely on free, ad-funded aggregators give us the highlights of paywalled content, do we trust the agendas of the aggregators?
I’m inclined to believe it will all work out more or less fine, over time. But given our experiences with social media over the past couple of years, we should go into any big shift in media consumption with our eyes open to the risks.
One big read
“Did We Create This Monster?” How Twitter Turned Toxic “Did We Create This Monster?” How Twitter Turned Toxic
A look at Twitter’s long-running balancing act between handling abuse and supporting free speech. For a long time it leaned far too far towards free speech, but that’s starting to change. But is it changing fast enough?
One big tweet
One take on the news that Tinder was down because of Facebook…
Kevin Roose
"Nobody can hook up tonight because the Mercers forced GOP candidates to use their preferred analytics firm in 2016" is a hell of a butterfly effect.
9:50 PM - 4 Apr 2018
That’s all for today...
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