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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back in 2017, still reeling from the revelations about Facebook’s role in spreading misinformation around the presidential campaign, Facebook realized that these groups were the one truly good thing going for the platform – and announced its new mission.
Facebook was attempting to “Make the world more open and connected.” Now, the aim was “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” There would be a new focus on increasing the number of people in “Meaningful” groups, defined as “The most important part of someone’s experience on Facebook.” In 2017, 100 million people were involved in meaningful groups.
As Facebook evolved and expanded, so too did the types of collectives: First, there were pages; then came joinable groups.
Today, groups can be public; private; and “Secret” – the type you can only find if someone in the group invites you.
Like so much else on the internet, they are affinity groups – either geographically or culturally – and when a group gets too big, or too broad, it’ll divide itself into something that feels more intimate.
As this same woman points out, “Most mom groups are toxic garbage, so the fact that these AREN’T like that is precisely what makes them special.” Keeping a group secret is the most efficient way to keep a group “In line,” whatever that might mean for a particular set of people.
Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of Facebook groups out there that don’t work this way.
Part of the reason women who’ve been on Jeopardy need a Facebook support group, after all, is because Facebook itself made it so easy for abusers to find them.
The orginal article.
The list of Advertisers, a feature Facebook added for transparency, is incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t an expert in advertising, and leads to the unsettling realization that, fuck, man, our data is out there and trafficked without our consent and being used by advertisers in ways we have no clue about.
It turns out this long list of advertisers represents several sides of digital advertising that extends beyond Facebook: traditional ad targeting, influencers and sponsored content, and advertisers on Facebook who leverage personal data from the giant data brokers.
Until a few months ago, Facebook used large data brokers, like Acxiom and Oracle, as partners in its advertising platform to power its Partner Categories feature for advertisers.
Basically, anonymized personal data from these data companies was baked into the Facebook Ad platform, accessible to advertisers from big digital marketing agencies to one-person businesses selling hand-knitted beer koozies.
The value of this tool, especially to businesses like local car dealerships and realtors, was that it imported another layer of data – previous home purchases, credit scores, shopping activity – beyond what could be found on a Facebook profile alone, so that advertisers who need data like that could get more precise with their targeting on Facebook.
“I can’t figure out why, it’s just such random car dealers,” said Steve White, CEO of Clarivoy, a car marketing agency, as he looked over his own list of advertisers on his personal Facebook account.
Facebook removing third-party data was a pro-privacy move, and showing this page of advertisers is a great transparency measure.
It is currently working on new ideas about how the page should look – perhaps bundling all the advertisers who use the same data broker together, for example, and separating advertisers with first-party data.
The orginal article.
Although many older Americans have, like the rest of us, embraced the tools and playthings of the technology industry, a growing body of research shows they have disproportionately fallen prey to the dangers of internet misinformation and risk being further polarized by their online habits.
With more and more older people going online, and future 65-plus generations already there, the online behavior of older people, as well as their rising power, is incredibly important – yet often ignored.
As a result, it’s now essential to better understand the effects of social media, loneliness, and a lack of digital literacy on older people, according to Vijeth Iyengar, a psychologist focused on aging at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Dipayan Ghosh, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.
“With recent evidence that older adults are much more likely to disseminate fake news compared with their younger counterparts, coupled with the projected growth for this population segment in the decades to come, it is crucial to advance our understanding of the factors affecting the ways in which older adults engage with these platforms and how in turn these platforms are affecting how they function in society,” they wrote in a recent article for Scientific American.
Kevin Munger, a political scientist who studies the online habits of older Americans and their effect on politics, painted a stark image of the reality for many older Americans and their relationship with the internet.
Older Americans are more likely to live in rural communities and this can bring with it a sense of isolation that makes the internet seem like the best, or perhaps only, way to connect with others.
That means the question of how to help older people adapt to the internet and new digital environment isn’t just about supporting today’s seniors.
Munger says one response we might see to an increasingly older internet population would be for “Tech companies and other established elites to take a paternalistic approach.”
The orginal article.
Ten minutes later, he had written and published what would become Facebook’s most-shared story of 2019 so far.
It’s a 119-word local crime brief about a wanted suspect, and the man who wrote it never intended for it to reach a national audience, let alone amass more than 800,000 Facebook shares in the six weeks following its publication-nearly twice as many as any other piece of English-language content this year.
It beat out, among other extremely viral stories, TMZ’s report of Luke Perry’s death, CNBC’s breaking story about the end of the U.S. government shutdown, and an aggressively SEO-optimized Daily Mirror story about the viral “Momo challenge.” The original news brief that Savage’s post was based on, by KWTX 10’s weekend anchor Ke’Sha Lopez, was nowhere on the list.
In 2018, Facebook announced a set of major algorithm changes designed to prioritize news from “Trusted” and “Local” sources, and to boost content shared by users’ friends and family over content published by professional Facebook pages.
According to CrowdTangle data provided by Facebook, Savage’s story on the suspected child predator racked up more than 50,000 shares on the original US 105 FM post alone-even though the station’s Facebook page has only about 7,000 followers.
While Facebook couldn’t confirm exactly what aspects of its algorithm helped the story on its way, Savage’s crime brief appears to have ticked nearly every box that the social network is trying to prioritize.
While it was clear from reading the story that it was about Waco and Central Texas, the headline just said the predator was in “Our area.” Anyone who read the headline without reading the story might reasonably have thought the story was about their area, even if they were far from Texas.
For all the handwringing around Facebook stepping back from the news in 2018, NewsWhip’s analysis found that engagement levels for web content on Facebook so far in 2019 have bounced back to 2017 levels.
The orginal article.