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Big Revolution - When evil is priced in

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Welcome to Thursday’s Big Revolution, coming to you from the UK, where Brexit is falling apart and an
 
November 15 · Issue #263 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s Big Revolution, coming to you from the UK, where Brexit is falling apart and anyone who wants to stay productive will stay away from the news all day.
There’s loads to share today, so let’s dig into it.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
  • The ‘Night Sight’ mode has launched on the Google Pixel 3. It makes photos taken at nighttime look better than any phone has managed before. They can sap the 'night atmosphere’ out of images though.
  • Google Maps is adding a feature that lets you send messages to businesses. It’s rolling out on iOS and Android. Businesses will need Google’s My Business app to start receiving messages.
  • Facebook Messenger is rolling out an ‘unsend message’ feature. Although only users in Poland, Bolivia, Colombia, and Lithuania will get it at first.
The big thought
Credit: Facebook
When evil is priced in
Google’s old ‘Don’t be evil’ rule was always about doing the right thing morally. By that measure, Facebook is evil.
Even if you set aside the myriad scandals it’s faced in the past couple of years, a new report from the New York Times should be enough set your ‘evil meter’ beeping.
It’s about how the company dealt with all those scandals internally. And yes, weaponising anti-semitism and blaming George Soros were just two of their tactics.
“While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.”
Oof. You really need to read it all as it depicts a company not set up to handle crises very well.
But here’s the thing – Facebook’s stock price was unaffected in the wake of the story going live. It seems investors have factored Facebook’s 'evil’ into its stock price, like investors in cigarette firms and fossil fuel companies do. 'You’ll get good returns, just ride out the scandals.’
It’s worth clarifying that individual Facebook staff aren’t evil (hello, subscribers who work there!) but the company’s culture has evolved into something nasty that – like Uber before it – needs a serious rethink.
Nick Clegg must be wondering if he’s taken the right job.
One big read
Period-tracking apps are not for women Period-tracking apps are not for women
Period-tracking apps sound like a great idea until you realise they benefit “men, marketers, and medical companies” more than women.
One big tweet
Jason Del Rey
The idea of a phone call is so foreign to my 5-year-old that he calls a phone number “a password”
2:48 AM - 15 Nov 2018
That’s all for today...
See you in your inbox tomorrow.
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