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Snap's big night, and everything you missed over the break

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Every good new year begins with a party, and so too does our first newsletter of 2018. It seems that
 
January 2 · Issue #54 · View online
The Interface
Every good new year begins with a party, and so too does our first newsletter of 2018. It seems that Snap rang in Jan. 1 with a $4 million party at LA Live, the collection of middling chain restaurants that surrounds the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Chris Mims had the easy (and, among journalists, representative) take: “Snapchat lost almost half a billion dollars in its most recent 3 month reporting period and 99 cents out of every new ad dollar goes to Google and Facebook but hey at least everyone had fun.”
It’s true that Snap had a bruising 2017. And it’s also true that its risky redesign still hasn’t shipped to most users, despite being announced in November. I can understand why some might look at a giant New Year’s Eve party and conclude that Evan Spiegel was fiddling while Rome burns. 
And yet the same facts that have journalists cranky strike me as actually-pretty-good reasons to throw an epic party. Facebook’s relentless cloning of Snapchat not only blunted the company’s business momentum — it also threatened to make it look doomed. That’s bad for morale, bad for recruitment, and bad for the media narrative around the company.
No party can turn that around. And yet flying in every employee from around the world, and treating to them performances from Drake and Diplo, may have been exactly what Snap needed as it began the year. A strict privacy policy was both in keeping with the company’s values and a guarantee that at least some of the 5,000 guests in attendance would violate it. Posts about the “irony” of Snap’s party being visible only on Instagram inevitably followed.
And if you’re Snap, how great is that? All the basics in attendance at your New Year’s bash promote it on Instagram, while everyone trying to find it in Snapchat itself finds only an exclusive club they can’t get into. Snap’s reputation as a private place for real friends is burnished, even as its party becomes the stuff of public legends. 
I’m not saying any of this was the point of the party — I hate that kind of cheap, 4-dimensional chess analysis. But writing off Snap’s big night as tech-bro cluelessness feels just as cheap. It’s going to be a big year for Snap — might as well start it off with a bang. 

Democracy
‘Fake News’: Wide Reach but Little Impact, Study Suggests
Iranians Turn to Telegram App Amid Protests - WSJ
Twitter Temporarily Locked Sheriff David Clarke's Account Over A Violent Tweet
Why did Google think LaVar Ball founded the NBA?
The Honest Ads Act has stalled
And now, here are the biggest stories in social media and democracy from over the break.
Dec. 25
Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options
Using Billions in Government Cash, Mexico Controls News Media
Dec. 26
Vietnam unveils 10,000-strong cyber unit to combat 'wrong views'
Dec. 27
Confessions of a Digital Nazi Hunter - The New York Times
Dec. 28
Facebook Removes Chechen Strongman’s Accounts, Raising Policy Questions
Facebook’s Uneven Enforcement of Hate Speech Rules
These Are 50 Of The Biggest Fake News Hits On Facebook In 2017
Dec. 29
How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches
Dec. 31
Rouhani urges protesters to eschew violence as anti-government unrest grips Iran
Jan. 1
Germany starts enforcing hate speech law - BBC News
Elsewhere
The Worst Job in Technology: Staring at Human Depravity to Keep It Off Facebook
YouTube Has A Massive Child Exploitation Problem. How Humans Train Its Search AI Is Partly Why.
Instagram Is Now a Dating Platform, Too. Here’s How It Works.
What @jack did on his holiday break
Launches
Snapchat Developing "Stories Everywhere” to Push Content Outside the App and Grow Users on Cheddar
Takes
Logan Paul Posted a YouTube Video of a Dead Body in Japan
Why Logan Paul Should Really Worry Us
The year we wanted the internet to be smaller
Should Regulators Force Facebook To Ship a “Start Over” Button For Users?
And finally ...
This is just a tweetstorm about the Great British Baking Show
Talk to me
Questions? Comments? Surreptitiously taken snaps from a New Year’s Party? casey@theverge.com 
Jan. 
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