Tech giant behavioral forks to fend off regulation

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After being made dependent on a lot of software services by online software makers who started with the best intentions, we, the general public, can’t really be blamed for feeling like we have to stick around when those same online software makers swap their altruism for limitless profiteering. Online software, like Facebook things, Twitter things and email client things and even office productivity things aren’t like cars that we physically molt out of from time to time expecting to lose familiar ground and engage a new learning curve.

EXTRA (6:51 length, mp3 format audio): A reading of Zuckerberg’s Friday 25th Commentary in the WSJ’s Opinion section.

We have expected our software to wear in really well like old sneakers pretty much forever. In a very unofficial poll, #techxiety has discovered that more anxiety comes from having to learn new things and software than from most other sources. So while we get comfortable with software’s role in our lives, software makers have become comfortable leading us quietly to the next great thing that better exploits our use of that same software. “Don’t spook the user,” seems to fit the idea.

Lately, the Twitter-guy and Facebook-guy (that brevity is explained in the episode) have made the rounds sooth-saying their user base. I never fell for it and thought it was pretty wasteful to travel around saying nothing substantive until it dawned on me that their words weren’t for my ears but to still regulator’s pens. (Or keyboards and whatever online office productivity the regulatory kids are using these days.) The regulators have spooked the online software makers when we couldn’t.

While I believe the regulators are more keeping up with the Jones’s in India and MacJones’s in Ireland than wholly representing what we techxiety suffering base wishes they would regulate upon, it’s the ends that matter in this situation. Through the filter of this revelation, we can see a wave of positive changes are en route.

Before the filter, actions and announcements just blended into background noise: Twitter’s happy you’re with them; WhatsApp will limit friendly chatter to an audience of five (except for Groups); YouTube will steer conspiracy videos and clickbait content down while trying to lure those audiences toward videos made by more reliable sources; Facebook’s extending encryption beyond WhatsApp to IG (Instagram) and Messenger; and on and on. Frankly, it was Facebook-guy’s WSJ Opinion piece that raised the flag for me with its strange, sooth-sayer wording and empahasis.

I’m a punk – a contrary podcaster who doesn’t buy mattresses very often (a little spoiler from the episode). If I hear the billionaire say A, I’ll immediately suspect B through Gamma. Some doubt is paranoia and some is justifiable; Amazon found that producing a copy of everything on Earth is very expensive, so they’ve asked product makers to do it for them. The idea isn’t new but the online software of their marketplace sort of is. So while vendors have become comfortable with Amazon’s role in their lives, Amazon has become comfortable leading them quietly to the next great thing that better exploits their use of the Amazon marketplace. (That should be a familiar sentence.) While you and I aren’t likely directly affected by the funky game that Amazon is playing (you’ll hear about it in the episode), it’s another case where regulators need to step up in the USA as they have abroad.

It’s a massive topic and it’s subject matter that directly affects how technology will affect the future that affects us. I actually manage to stop myself within a half hour unable to discuss everything. So, that said, tune in and stay tuned….

LINKS:
Mark Zuckerberg’s WSJ op-ed was a message to would-be regulators: Hands off our ad business
CNBC link to analysis of Facebook-guy’s commentary at WSJ
WhatsApp to begin limiting message forwarding to 5 individuals or groups to curb fake news
Facebook to reportedly unite Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram messaging, add end-to-end encryption
YouTube to stop recommending conspiracy videos that ‘misinform’ users
There’s an IPO loophole during the shutdown and you shouldn’t use it
The FCC Has Been Accused of Colluding With Telcos to Rig 5G Rules

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