Summary of “Why We’re Better Off With Fewer Friends”

We never need to lose touch with anyone, ever again, as our Facebook friends and Twitter followers grow by the day.
The growth in the number of our friends has actually been accompanied with an increase in social isolation, as Sherry Turkle describes.
OK, so more friends on Facebook doesn’t appear to be a great thing; what about more friends in the real world? Should we try and gain more face-to-face friends?
Fewer Real Friends Unfortunately, in the US and elsewhere it seems we’re going down the popularity route, instead of building close relationships.
In 1985, a survey asked people about how many friends they had discussed important matters with.
Quality time spent with your 15 closest friends and family will have a direct impact on your happiness, health and longevity.
As Ed Diener and Martin Seligman found from an analysis of very happy people, the thing that united them was strong ties to close friends and family and a commitment to spending real face time with them.
There is definitely joy to be gained from throwing a great party with loads of people and following the lives of our otherwise long-lost friends.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Silicon Valley Can’t Fix Itself”

Parker, Rosenstein and the other insiders now talking about the harms of smartphones and social media belong to an informal yet influential current of tech critics emerging within Silicon Valley.
Its most prominent spokesman is executive director Tristan Harris, a former “Design ethicist” at Google who has been hailed by the Atlantic magazine as “The closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.” Harris has spent years trying to persuade the industry of the dangers of tech addiction.
As suspicion of Silicon Valley grows, the tech humanists are making a bid to become tech’s loyal opposition.
Tech humanists deserve credit for drawing attention to one of those problems – the manipulative design decisions made by Silicon Valley.
There is a good reason why the language of tech humanism is penetrating the upper echelons of the tech industry so easily: this language is not foreign to Silicon Valley.
Their success turned the Bay Area tech industry into a global powerhouse – and produced the digitised world that today’s tech humanists now lament.
Far from challenging Silicon Valley, tech humanism offers Silicon Valley a useful way to pacify public concerns without surrendering any of its enormous wealth and power.
Today’s tech humanists come from a tradition with deep roots in Silicon Valley.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A 2-Year Study of More Than 5,000 People Shows This 1 Activity Destroys Your Emotional and Physical Health”

“Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being,” the researchers wrote in a Harvard Business Review article.
“These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year.” Yikes.
Why is too much Facebook bad for your emotional health? Previous research has shown that the social network creates a sort of false peer pressure.
Since most people are cautious about posting negative or upsetting experiences on Facebook, the social network creates a misleading environment where everyone seems to be doing better and having more fun than you are.
What of Facebook’s magical ability to connect you to friends and family even when they’re far away? To help you find long-lost friends and relatives? To help you keep up on what’s going on with all the important people in your life? There’s lots of research to show that having a social circle and an active social life and community leads to better health and greater longevity.
In addition to negative self-comparison, the researchers note, increased use of Facebook and other social media tends to take up a lot of people’s time and can create an illusion of closeness.
To the extent that time spent on Facebook takes you away from real-world social gatherings, you lose the benefit of being in a community, the researchers say.
Limit your use to no more than the hour or so each day that the average Facebook user spends on the site.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why These Social Networks Failed So Badly”

Lots of corporations have competed with Facebook for the social media colonies, and their attempts aren’t missed; but Facebook’s monopoly also beat out the divey-er venues and communal spaces which elevated their members to five minutes of fame and triple platinum albums without sponcon.
In 2011, just like Friendster, CEO Mike Jones announced that they would no longer try to rival Facebook in social networking and described their new strategy as a “Social entertainment” site like Huffington Post, whatever that means.
One of many failed attempts to thwart Facebook, OpenSocial was conceived by an “Alliance” between Google, Myspace, and struggling social networks to combat Facebook’s amassment of games and apps by independent developers.
The ConnectU guys went on to try a few more ideas, like ConnectHi for high schoolers and Social Butterfly, a ConnectU feature which would allow you to integrate your connections from outside networks like Facebook.
In 2007, at which point Facebook had 31 million users, they sued Facebook for a laundry list of allegations including misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, and fraud.
In 2012, Kirsten Bischoff, co-founder of the micro social network HATCHEDit, warned that Path could easily become another “Excellent tool that was ahead of its time,” unable to compete with Facebook’s exploding user base-at that point, gaining about 50 million active monthly users per quarter.
Orkut ostensibly fulfilled the same basic needs, but observers/analysts/users attributed Facebook’s dominance to a number of factors: Facebook had more games, the feed, the like button or notifications, a more “Professional” look, mutual friends , and cultivated a following of international students and “Professionals” who brought Facebook back to India.
“Vic product vision was fear-based. ‘Google built the knowledge graph, and Facebook swooped in and built the social graph. If we don’t own the social graph then we can’t claim to have indexed ALL the world’s data.'”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook’s Audacious Pitch for a Global Cryptocurrency”

Libra, the new cryptocurrency proposed by Facebook last month, is intended to solve many of the problems that have beset Bitcoin.
According to David Marcus, who is leading the Libra project for Facebook, a stable global currency, unmoored from any particular country and conveyed over the Internet, will give the people “Who need it most” a frictionless way to move money across the world.
Jim Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut, and a former banker, worried that Facebook was actually proposing “a complete overhaul of the circulatory system of the global economy.” Marcus, who was the president of Paypal before joining Facebook, as vice-president of messaging, said that Facebook had no desire to compete with or challenge the dominance of sovereign currencies.
Any interest earned on the reserve will go to members of the Libra Association after operating expenses have been paid; during the hearing, when asked how much interest the venture might earn, Marcus said only that Facebook was “Not optimizing for that.” Holders of Libra will get no return on their money.
Facebook has more than two billion users, many of whom will be able to tuck their Libra into Facebook’s signature wallet, Calibra, which will be integrated into Messenger and WhatsApp.
To be sure, Facebook will be only one member of the Libra Association.
Facebook envisions the Libra Association growing to a hundred stakeholders by launch time.
“If Facebook can be a convener between them with payments, the relevance of Libra may be to lower that cost.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra, explained”

The only conclusion I have come to is that there is no stable definition of “Cryptocurrency,” so I am going to just call Libra a cryptocurrency for the sake of ease and keep it moving.
“The goal is for Libra to be more useful than any national currency, accepted in more places and with fewer complications; pegging it to a single national currency would only hold it back.” Unlike most stablecoins Libra isn’t pegged to one specific currency.
While there is a Libra Reserve, Libra doesn’t seem like it’s necessarily pegged to its value.
That’s because if you spend mostly Libra, perhaps because you buy most things online, you’ll only convert your Libras into dollars for when you need to spend IRL money, and the dollar will begin to seem annoying to you since it keeps moving up and down relative to the Libra.
The reserve will come initially from Facebook and its partners, but later, if you buy Libra for cash, your cash will be part of the reserve.
So any interest from Libra will go primarily to Libra and then to early Libra investors like Facebook.
Rep. Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, is asking House leadership to join her in demanding that Facebook halt Libra’s development until Congress reviews Libra, Bloomberg has reported.
So maybe that’s the answer: Starbucks launches StarBucks, its own branded cryptocurrency, and it just massacres Libra because we like and trust Starbucks, and we don’t like or trust Facebook.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Social media can hurt. Here are 6 ways to reduce its harms”

Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents believe that social media usage is related to social isolation and loneliness.
As a psychologist who has studied the perils of online interactions and has observed the effects of social mediause on my clients’ lives, I have six suggestions of ways people can reduce the harm social media can do to their mental health.
You’ll connect better with people in your life if you have certain times each day when your social media notifications are off-or your phone is even in airplane mode.
Commit to not checking social media during meals with family and friends, and when playing with children or talking with a partner.
If you find that going down a Facebook rabbit hole at midnight routinely leaves you depleted and feeling bad about yourself, eliminate Facebook after 10 p.m. Also note that people who use social media passively, just browsing and consuming others’ posts, feel worse than people who participate actively, posting their own material and engaging with others online.
People whose social media included inspirational stories experienced gratitude, vitality, and awe.
Pruning some “Friends” and adding a few motivational or funny sites is likely to decrease the negative effects of social media.
When used thoughtfully and deliberately, social media can be a useful addition to your social life, but only a flesh-and-blood person sitting across from you can fulfill the basic human need for connection and belonging.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Silicon Valley gamed Europe’s privacy rules – POLITICO”

New forms of data collection, including Facebook’s reintroduction of its facial recognition technology in Europe and Google’s efforts to harvest information on third-party websites, have been given new leases on life under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Smaller firms – whose fortunes were of special concern to the framers of the region’s privacy revamp – also have suffered from the relatively high compliance costs and the perception, at least among some investors, that they can’t compete with Silicon Valley’s biggest names.
The patchy record of Europe’s data protection overhaul – on the one-year anniversary of its implementation – has given industry an opportunity to blunt similar efforts outside the European Union to emulate the region’s new privacy rules.
“There has been a dramatic change both in the attitudes toward the tech firms and, I would say, in the views of European privacy law” – Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Almost 100,000 privacy complaints have been filed with national privacy regulators, though only a few have led to meaningful penalties, according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals, an industry trade body.
Officials urge restraint, saying that it will take time for the full force of Europe’s privacy rules to take effect and that companies are already changing how they collect people’s data because of potential blockbuster fines.
Even now, some privacy regulators aren’t convinced that people understand how their data may be used and that others could still have their digital information collected without consent.
That’s particularly true in the United States, where lawmakers and tech executives agree on the need for new privacy rules after years of Silicon Valley’s dismissal of such protections.
“There has been a dramatic change both in the attitudes toward the tech firms and, I would say, in the views of European privacy law,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a campaigning group in Washington, D.C. “Lawmakers are genuinely asking whether the U.S. needs a law similar to Europe.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Group Chats Are Making the Internet Fun Again”

Group Chats Are Making the Internet Fun Again Depending on how you count, I’m in between four and 18 active group chats, across half a dozen different apps that occupy most of my time on my phone.
In my life, group chats – on Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, Slack, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, or any number of other apps or platforms – aren’t simply additional modes of socialization, drawing on the IM conversation or the chat room.
Some of my group chats were created for utilitarian reasons, like planning a bachelor party, but have since outgrown the limiting stricture of “Having a particular reason to exist.” Most have been freewheeling and themeless since their inception, cast haphazardly and sustained by gossip and boredom and the opportunity to make fun of someone else’s typos.
The paradigmatic message of the group chat is one my friend Sam sent recently: “Wanna see something mildly funny?” In group chats, the answer is always “Yes.”
I learn personal news about friends from group chats more often than I do on Facebook; I see more photos of my friends through group chats than I do on Instagram; I have better and less self-conscious conversations in group chats than I do on Twitter.
I’m not alone: The Avengers are in a group chat; the actresses of Big Little Lies are in a group chat; Beyoncé is in a group chat with her mother and Solange.
Group chats have become so fundamental to daily life, in some cases, that they are the first place people turn for help: During the shooting at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on May 7, BuzzFeed News reported that students took to group chats to share moment-to-moment updates.
Every group chat contains recognizable archetypes – the out-of-it person who asks “Wait, what?” about every conversation; the member who keeps the group chat on mute, meaning they don’t get alerted every time someone sees a Cobb salad – and undergoes regular cycles of high and low activity, depending on the schedules and time zones of participants.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook almost missed the mobile revolution. It can’t afford to miss the next big thing.”

As the dust settled on F8 and Facebook executives started to look ahead to what was next, the company’s problem was suddenly obvious: While Facebook had been heads-down for nine months building and preparing for its big conference, the rest of the world was rapidly moving toward smartphones and mobile devices.
If Facebook wanted to survive, it would have to do so by riding that mobile wave.
Mobile devices are still far and away the most popular way people use Facebook services, but after two years of privacy debacles, misinformation campaigns, and political polarization, how they interact with those services is starting to change.
Facebook employees still use Microsoft Outlook for email and Quip for document sharing, instead of Gmail and the suite of Google document services the company used to use until around 2012 because, former employees say, Facebook executives never trusted Google.
What Facebook ultimately launched was a drastically scaled-down version of the original phone plan: a software program called Facebook Home that brought Facebook pictures and status updates directly to the phone’s home screen on Android phones.
“I think the reality is Facebook needs to be investing before it is a big thing in order to build some of the muscles to be competitive.”
If private messaging is indeed the next big wave of communication – and who’s to say it won’t be? – Zuckerberg laid the groundwork for that four years ago when he acquired WhatsApp and spun out Facebook Messenger into its own standalone product, a signal that it was important enough to exist outside of the core app.
Even if Zuckerberg has identified the next big wave, having a plan is different from executing a plan – and Facebook has two major obstacles working against it.

The orginal article.