Summary of “Network Effects Matter Less Than They Used To. That’s a Really Big Deal.”

Network effects can be direct: for example, Slack becomes more useful as other people also use Slack.
Network effects can also be indirect, meaning that one set of users benefits as more of another type of users joins a platform.
We have long taught that network effects can provide market power and sustained or even self-reinforcing competitive advantage.
What has changed? Why don’t network effects work as they used to?
For one thing, today network effects are not tied to a particular piece of hardware, like a desktop computer.
These examples remind us that network effects only really work as a source of competitive advantage if your product is also “Sticky.” Scale will not bring future competitive advantage through network effects if your customers can all leave tomorrow.
The theory is that data stored in one place can lead to lock-in which in turn will power up network effects.
Look at the iTunes Store, which was once my favorite teaching example of a sticky digital platform exhibiting network effects.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How do Apple’s Screen Time and Google Digital Wellbeing stack up?”

Apple and Google are both adding new dashboards, with options for more zoomed-out perspectives on how you’re spending your time, along with more granular views of how often you’re using individual apps – down to the minute.
Google does offer a separate app called Family Link that can do many of the same time-monitoring and app-blocking tricks, but it’s a separate app that parents have to go out of their way to install and enable, not something that’s built into the OS. Google and Apple are both updating their Do Not Disturb and notification features to put more options back in the hands of users, too.
While Apple is expanding the scope of Do Not Disturb to include location-based or event-based triggers, Google is making its version more powerful.
Information or action Overall, one could probably say that Google is taking a bit more of a brute force approach with its Digital Wellbeing program, whereas Apple’s approach is a bit more tilted toward simply supplying information to the user so they can make better decisions themselves.
Both are beta pieces of software, so there’s a very real chance that Apple and Google may make huge changes to how these features work by the time they’re released in the fall.
At the end of the day, Apple and Google are taking some real, introspective strides here when it comes to giving users information about how they use their phones.
Yes, there are certainly cynics who may feel that Apple and Google’s efforts are disingenuous – after all, these companies have always wanted to ensure that users, hardware sales, and, most importantly, profits go up ahead of anything else.
At least Google and Apple are starting to think about the problem.

The orginal article.

Summary of “SoFi and Robinhood: How to save money”

Speaking on a panel Tuesday at SoFi’s offices in downtown San Francisco, fintech designers shared with moderator and behavioral economist Kristen Berman exactly what challenges users face when it comes to navigating financial tech, and how good design can help users overcome these barriers.
SoFi Another challenge for these designers is helping their users even conceptualize the scale of large debts like student loans and credit cards.
So while Digit aims to help users saving small amounts of money in the short-term, it often has to overcome their bigger, looming concerns about their longterm goals.
Digit uses automation to help its users “Save money without thinking about it.” It just transfers money from a bank account into a Digit account.
Unlike automated bank transfers, Digit helps users figure out their savings goals and what the right amount of money is to save.
At Robinhood, which helps users invest in the stock market and cryptocurrency, the biggest user concern is “The fear of getting started,” according to Heather Breslow, lead user experience researcher at Robinhood.
Robinhood also offers new users a free share of stock so that they can become comfortable with the daily ebbs and flows of the stock market, without putting any of their own money on the line.
Whether it’s a set of tech stocks, or stocks from companies with female CEOs, Robinhood reduces the number of decisions that users have to make until they are comfortable taking control over their entire portfolio.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook starts its facial recognition push to Europeans – TechCrunch”

Facebook users in Europe are reporting that the company has started giving them the option to turn on its controversial facial recognition technology.
Jimmy Nsubuga, a journalist at Metro, is among several European Facebook users who have reporting getting notifications asking if they want to turn on face recognition technology.
In Europe the company is hoping to convince users to voluntarily allow it to deploy the privacy-hostile tech – which was turned off in the bloc after regulatory pressure, back in 2012, when Facebook began using facial recognition to offer features such as automatically tagging users in photo uploads.
Under impending changes to its T&Cs – ostensibly to comply with the EU’s incoming GDPR data protection standard – the company has crafted a manipulative consent flow that tries to sell people on giving it their data; including filling in its own facial recognition blanks by convincing Europeans to agree to it grabbing and using their biometric data after all.
Under the EU’s incoming data protection framework Facebook cannot automatically opt users into facial recognition – it has to convince people to switch the tech on themselves.
A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed to TechCrunch that any European users who are being asked about the tech now, ahead of the May 25 GDPR deadline, are part of its rollout of platform changes intended to comply with the incoming standard.
In the meanwhile Facebook users are being socially engineered, with selective examples and friction, into agreeing with things that align with the company’s data-harvesting business interests – handing over sensitive personal data without understanding the full implications of doing so.
Depending on how successful those tests prove to be at convincing Europeans to let it have and use their facial biometric data, millions of additional Facebook users could soon be providing the company with fresh streams of sensitive data – and having their fundamental rights trampled on, yet again, thanks to a very manipulative consent flow.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook moves 1.5bn users out of reach of new European privacy law”

Facebook has moved more than 1.5 billion users out of reach of European privacy law, despite a promise from Mark Zuckerberg to apply the “Spirit” of the legislation globally.
A week later, during his hearings in front of the US Congress, Zuckerberg was again asked if he would promise that GDPR’s protections would apply to all Facebook users.
Worldwide, Facebook has rolled out a suite of tools to let users exercise their rights under GDPR, such as downloading and deleting data, and the company’s new consent-gathering controls are similarly universal.
Facebook told Reuters “We apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland”.
It said the change was only carried out “Because EU law requires specific language” in mandated privacy notices, which US law does not.
“This is a major and unprecedented change in the data privacy landscape. The change will amount to the reduction of privacy guarantees and the rights of users, with a number of ramifications, notably for for consent requirements. Users will clearly lose some existing rights, as US standards are lower than those in Europe.”
“Data protection authorities from the countries of the affected users, such as New Zealand and Australia, may want to reassess this situation and analyse the situation. Even if their data privacy regulators are less rapid than those in Europe, this event is giving them a chance to act. Although it is unclear how active they will choose to be, the global privacy regulation landscape is changing, with countries in the world refining their approach. Europe is clearly on the forefront of this competition, but we should expect other countries to eventually catch up.”
That means users will exist in a state of legal superposition: for tax purposes, Facebook will continue to book their revenue through Facebook’s Irish office, but for privacy protections, they will deal with the company’s headquarters in California.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to save your privacy from the Internet’s clutches – TechCrunch”

There are some practical steps you can take to limit day-to-day online privacy risks by reducing third party access to your information and shielding more of your digital activity from prying eyes.
Every data misuse scandal shines a bit more light on some very murky practices – which will hopefully generate momentum for rule changes to disinfect data handling processes and strengthen individuals’ privacy by spotlighting trade-offs that have zero justification.
Tell me more: Keyboard apps are a potential privacy minefield given that, if you allow cloud-enabled features, they can be in a position to suck out all the information you’re typing into your device – from passwords to credit card numbers to the private contents of your messages.
Tell me more: Choosing friends based on their choice of messaging app isn’t a great option so real world network effects can often work against privacy.
Tell me more: No connected technology is 100% privacy safe but Apple’s hardware-focused business model means the company’s devices are not engineered to try to harvest user data by default.
Roid is a more open platform than iOS and it’s possible to configure it in many different ways – some of which can be more locked down as regards privacy than others.
Action: Say no to always-on voice assistantsWho is this for: Anyone who values privacy more than gimmickry.
So it’s a great time to write to your reps reminding them you’re far more interested in your privacy being protected than Facebook winning some kind of surveillance arms race with the Chinese.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Instagram Looks Like Facebook’s Best Hope”

Instagram relied on Facebook for its success, but now Facebook may depend on Instagram for its longevity.
“We had a dashboard that had a live updating number of who signed up for Instagram per minute. That was growth for us.” Once the acquisition closed, only a few months after Facebook’s initial public offering in 2012, Zuckerberg installed members of the Facebook growth team at Instagram.
A spokeswoman says Instagram “Initiated and drove the creation of Stories internally and was not pressured.” Systrom acknowledges there was “Tension” over the direction of Instagram, which he’s grateful for.
One Kolkata shopper told an Instagram researcher, Ashlee Edwards Brinegar, that she didn’t feel as if her life was interesting enough to post on an Instagram account.
During the meeting, Kevin Weil, Instagram’s head of product, pointed out that if Instagram got local celebrities and cricket stars to use the less-polished Instagram Stories, it might teach everyone else how to do so.
On LinkedIn, when employees change jobs from Facebook to Instagram, they list Instagram as a separate company.
Some of his followers asked, what about Instagram? Instagram was “Borderline” but “Probably okay,” Musk tweeted, “As long as it stays fairly independent.”
Roger McNamee, an early Facebook investor who’s now one of the company’s loudest critics, says Facebook “Used its dominant position in social media to grease the skids for Instagram” and has intentionally tweaked Instagram to make it more Facebook-like.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can Social Media Be Saved?”

If we’re really serious about changing how social networks operate, far more radical interventions are required.
Here are three possible ways to rescue social media from the market-based pressures that got us here.
Create a Social FederationAnother radical approach would be to make social networks work more like email – so that independent apps could seamlessly work together with one another, across a common protocol.
Mastodon, a decentralized Twitter-like social network, has gotten more than a million registered users since its debut in 2016.
Experimenting with more decentralized models could give social media users a sense that platforms represented their interests, rather than those of a faceless corporation.
In a blog post last year, the venture capitalist Hunter Walk proposed an interesting idea: a legally mandated “Start over” button that, when pressed, would allow users of social networks to delete all their data, clear out their feeds and friend lists, and begin with a fresh account.
I’d go even further, and suggest that social networks give their users an automatic “Self-cleaning” option, which would regularly clear their profiles of apps they no longer used, friendships and followers they no longer interacted with, and data they no longer needed to store.
Making social graphs temporary, rather than preserving them forever by default, would undoubtedly be bad for most social networks’ business models.

The orginal article.

Summary of “On ‘The Palace,’ you can be anyone you want to be”

The Palace, as envisioned by creator Jim Bumgardner, was a place where users could create avatars and chat semi-anonymously.
Bumgardner had been dreaming up a chat server like The Palace since the mid ’80s, though at that time, it was more of a text-based bulletin board called “The Mansion.” He finally created The Palace while working at Time-Warner as a lead programmer in 1994, and after a year in development, The Palace’s main server opened in 1995.
Clothing varied – users edited avatars using The Palace’s prop editor – but one thing was always the same: you rarely saw the eyes.
The Palace avatars became known as “Dollz,” or digital paper dolls, in the next evolution of avatars.
A user looking to save slots, perhaps, for accessories, could manipulate pixels atop the naked body to save space – a move that would become very important in The Palace’s avatar editing contests, which propelled the servers’ growing traffic.
Most avatars stood naked on their boxes awaiting the judge’s theme, revealing what was often banned on The Palace’s servers – a naked body.
Some tried to challenge cultural standards of beauty within The Palace’s dollz rooms: an improv performance group, Desktop Theater, tested norms by entering doll spaces with a crudely drawn avatar, challenging users to consider fat bodies or queer expression.
Non-white avatars, like fat bodies on The Palace, were rare, though Greenwood acknowledged there was a demand for them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is Facebook for old people? Over-55s flock in as the young leave”

In 2018, 2.2 million 12- to 17-year-olds and 4.5 million 18- to 24-year-olds will regularly use Facebook in the UK, 700,000 fewer than in 2017, as younger users defect to services such as Snapchat, according to eMarketer.
A surge in older users means over-55s will become the second-biggest demographic of Facebook users this year.
The report says that while Facebook has so far been successful in keeping hold of younger users shifting to services such as Instagram, which it bought in 2012 for $1bn, defectors are now increasingly heading to upstart Snapchat.
The largest growth will be among older users, with 500,000 new over-55s expected to join Facebook this year.
There will be 6.4 million 55- to 65-year-old-plus regular Facebook users this year, the biggest demographic save for 16- to 34-year-olds.
Last month, Facebook announced a major overhaul of its news feed algorithm to prioritise what friends and family share, while reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands.
Last month, Facebook revealed a $4.3bn profit for the final quarter of last year, a 61% year-on-year rise.
Overall, Facebook remains the most popular social networking site in the UK by some distance with 32.6 million total regular users this year.

The orginal article.