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Big Revolution - Watching out for bear traps

Welcome to Friday's Big Revolution. Today's edition is a challenge to write as I finally relented and
July 20 · Issue #145 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution. Today’s edition is a challenge to write as I finally relented and am getting a smart energy meter installed as I write this. That means the electricity (and thus my WiFi) is off. Will my laptop battery and mobile tethering data allowance hold out? Let’s find out…

Big things you need to know today
- Google’s ‘Fuchsia’ operating system is shaping up as a possible replacement for Android, Bloomberg reports. It’s currently under development by more than 100 staff,
- WhatsApp is to limit the number of times you can forward a message, in an attempt to reduce the spread of misinformation on the platform. The limit will be just 20 times (down from more than 250) unless you’re in India, where it will be five. India has a particularly serious problem with viral lies on WhatsApp.
- A leaked internal document confirms Apple’s new keyboard IS designed to improve reliability. The company hasn’t admitted this publicly, probably because of multiple ongoing lawsuits regarding the poor quality of recent MacBook Pro keyboards. MacRumors has the details.
- The UK government has warned that Huawei network and telecoms equipment may be a threat to national security, the BBC reports. This follows similar concerns about the Chinese company being raised by the US and Australian governments.
- Uber is now letting its drivers in LA and San Francisco sell snacks to passengers via a partnership with a company called Cargo.
- Amazon’s iPhone app now helps you identify screws, nuts, and bolts to help you order more. The Part Finder feature uses computer vision and is a result of Amazon’s 2016 acquisition of a startup called Partpic. There’s no word on an Android version.
The big thought
1898 illustration of a bear trap
Watching out for bear traps
BuzzFeed made a big splash with its story yesterday that Mark Zuckerberg called a valued customer to congratulate him on his success. Yes, he called Donald Trump after his 2016 election win.
Indeed, Facebook apparently views the Trump campaign as one of its best customers:
“While Facebook has been reluctant to publicly acknowledge how well Trump used its social network to reach voters, it has celebrated the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign internally as one of the most imaginative uses of the company’s powerful advertising platform. In addition to interviews with Trump campaign staffers and former Facebook employees, BuzzFeed News obtained company presentations and memos that show the social media giant viewed Trump’s campaign as an “innovator” of a fast-moving, test-oriented approach to marketing on Facebook.”
The story highlights an important point; many people increasingly want companies to take a moral stance – to be more ‘human’ and less impartial. And when it comes to the Trump presidency, with all the stories of Russian collusion, the poor treatment of immigrant children, the environmental neglect and all the rest, well – it’s hard not to take a stance. You’re either against Trump, or you wholeheartedly endorse him, in many people’s eyes.
In real life though, Facebook is like any big corporation. It has to 'cosy up’ to whoever is in office to make sure it is in the best position to make money for its shareholders. The big difference is, unlike 'Big Oil’ or 'Big Health,’ Facebook has the power to make or break a president by directly influencing the electorate.
If Facebook did take a clear anti-Trump stance, it would likely trigger a political storm of right-wingers calling for it to be broken up to limit its power. So, you can understand why Zuckerberg treads so carefully and appears so morally bankrupt.
His Holocaust denial misstep this week was an example of him focusing all his attention on treading so carefully that he missed where he was going and put his foot straight into a bear trap. He’ll have to hope that staying neutral on the Trump presidency doesn’t turn out to be the biggest, most painful bear trap of all
One big read
I Switched On All My Phone’s Settings For A 10-Year-Old And It Was Fantastic I Switched On All My Phone’s Settings For A 10-Year-Old And It Was Fantastic
An adult lives life online like a child – and finds it much more pleasant.
That’s all for today...
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I made it through this whole email without running out of battery or data (the whole smart meter installation thing did make today’s email a little late though, sorry about that). Back tomorrow!
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