You’re Right, This Is Terribly Stupid About Facebook And Google

We have a complaint here that Facebook and Google are profit seeking firms. Therefore they should never be allowed to do anything. That seems to be the gist of it at least. Because, you know, profit seeking is evil therefore everything should be done by public bureaucracies.

Which is to rather miss the point:

Giving tech giants the power to “solve” social problems would mean granting them an immense stake in almost everything that our society requires in order to function.

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It’s Amazing How Catholic Robert Reich Is

Yes, I am aware that Robert Reich isn’t genuflecting with those rosary beads as a matter of course.


He is, however, still being remarkably Catholic all the same. For he’s insisting that we proles out here, we common people, just don’t have it. The ability to deal with unfiltered reality. We need, instead, a priestly caste to explain it all to us.

Which is one way of looking at that Catholic and Protestant fight over vernacular versions of the Bible.…

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Of Course They’re Trying To Silence Breitbart

The only surprise here is quite how naked the insistence is.

Facebook’s launch of a new section on its flagship app dedicated to “deeply-reported and well-sourced” journalism sparked immediate controversy on Friday over the inclusion of Breitbart News, a publication whose former executive chairman explicitly embraced the “alt-right”.

Facebook News is a separate section of the company’s mobile app that will feature articles from about 200 publishers. Friday’s launch is a test and will only be visible to some users in the US.

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People Use A Method Of Communication To Communicate

In what I’m sure will be a terrible shock to everyone it has been found that people use a method of communication to communicate with each other. Telephones have been used to set lovers’ assignations, plot the downfall of dictators and to ask what’s on for dinner. Back when the letter post actually worked much the same was true. Before any mechanical aids people just talked to each other about the same things.

Now the same is true of Facebook:

Albanian crime gangs using Facebook to counter immigration raids and smuggle illegal immigrants into Britain

Given that they’re not actually sliding those illegal immigrants down the intertubes they must therefore simply be using Facebook to communicate.…

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The Bundesbank Agrees That Facebook’s Libra Could Be A Good Idea

The Bundesbank has let us know that they’re OK with the idea of Facebook’s Libra project. With the one important caveat, that we don’t lose the benefits of money laundering regulations in the process. Which is a problem as I at least am entirely convinced that Libra is an attempt to make an end run around such regulations.

On the basics of course the Bundesbank is entirely correct:

The Bundesbank in Frankfurt, the most powerful member of the European Central Bank, said it was “fundamentally to be welcomed” that libra and its rivals would force traditional banks to adapt and overhaul their often slow and expensive payment systems.

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So, Just How Much Is That Data Facebook Steals From You Worth?

My own view around here is that since it is Facebook itself which gives the data value – Facebook best being described as a system to add value to data – the value of our data is zero. But this is an attempt to be a little more specific than that:

Value of data: There’s no such thing as a free lunch in the digital economy
Wendy C.Y. Li, Makoto Nirei, Kazufumi Yamana 23 July 2019

Online platforms that provide services at zero monetary cost benefit greatly from the data these transactions generate.…

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AOC On Facebook’s Libra – Jeez, She Doesn’t Even Know What A Public Good Is

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is showing that she didn’t pay much attention in her economics classes – yes, her degree is in economics. For she’s trying to claim that a currency is a public good and in fact ought to be one. This being driven by a rather perverse idea that only governments should provide public goods.

No, a currency isn’t a public good. And there’s nothing at all to suggest that governments should or can be the only suppliers of public goods.…

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Why Zuckerberg Refused To Give Evidence To Parliament – Why Bother With The British?

Damian Collins is getting all hot under the collar about people not thinking he’s quite as important as he thinks he is. For Collins wants to make sure that anyone asked to come and give evidence to a Commons committee must do so – at risk of actual and real punishment if they don’t.

To which the correct response is, of course, bugger off matey.

The Zuckerberg issue is easy to explain:

Another snub came from Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook.

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Facebook Makes Profits From Our Data – So, Let’s Steal The Money

The latest proposal from the fertile minds on the left of the American political spectrum is that since Facebook makes money out of us we should go steal that money. Well, what do we expect from people on the left?

There being the occasional problem with the analysis of course:

For a general sense of the value of people’s personal data to these companies, we started with digital advertising revenue. In 2018, Facebook earned an average of roughly $110 in ad revenue per American user.

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Seriously Folks, You Can’t Invest In Facebook’s New Libra – Not For A Capital Gain You Can’t

The Telegraph manages to ask the top stupid question about Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency, should you invest in it? The answer to which being obviously not, for it’s not something that’s going to have a change in capital value, indeed it’s designed not to. Thus investing in the hope of one is going to be something of a mug’s game, isn’t it?

But, you know, the numerate people and the journalists, ever the twain are split:

‘Sell Bitcoin… buy Libra’ – should you invest in Facebook’s new digital currency?

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