After agreeing to a consent decree to protect user privacy in 2011, Facebook has been fined $5 billion for failing to obey the decree. It's the largest fine in the history of the Federal Trade Commission, but it didn't really hurt Facebook, as the stock market rewarded the social media company with a $6 billion stock bump. This leaves Leo to wonder if you can really fine Facebook enough to make it hurt and if the only way to punish the social media giant is to stop using it.
Speaking of the end of eras, Apple's iconic designer, Jony Ive, has announced he's leaving the company to begin his own startup. Ive designed the iconic gumdrop iMac, the iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch. But Leo says that perhaps his shining design achievement is the Spaceship headquarters at Apple Park. But his worst design were the butterfly keyboards on the recent MacBook Pro. And within days of the announcement Ive was leaving, Apple announced it would dump the butterfly keyboard in favor of scissor switches in the upcoming MacBook Pro in 2020.
June 29, 2007, twelve years ago, Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone. Apple hadn't invented the app store yet, so the original iPhone didn't really have but a few very basic apps. In fact, Steve Jobs thought everything would be done through websites, not apps. It was listed at $499 and people lined up three days before it launched to get one. But a smartphone wasn't really new, what did change the world was having a full-time connection to the internet in your pocket.
Leo doesn't really get what's going on, but it appears that Huawei is now allowed to be sold in the US. For the last few years, Huawei was declared as a "dangerous foreign entity," but now it appears that at the recent G20 summit, the President has officially lifted all restrictions. Which is puzzling, because recent news reports hint that Huawei has been up to no good. Huawei is much more vulnerable to hackers, perhaps even intentionally, according to a recent report.
The latest news about YouTube is that the federal government is investigating the streaming video portal for violation of provisions of the Child Online Privacy Act. The problems are in the recommendation engine, which veers to strange videos, even in the YouTube Kids channel. Numerous complaints to the Federal Trade Commission questions if YouTube is collecting data on kids under 13.
Target's computerized cash registers went down yesterday, leaving customers left holding the literal bag with no real way to pay for them. Some employees got around the problem by using their personal phones to check out using the online interface. Target assures it wasn't a data breach, but Leo isn't so sure about that. It has happened before.
Known as Project Libra, Facebook will launch its own cryptocurrency through partnerships with Visa and other companies. Leo says that while interesting, the problem is it requires users to connect all their financial information with their Facebook profile. Hmmmm. That's not going to fly
FedEx delivers for Walmart. Amazon delivers to UPS. Are major companies taking sides? Amazon says that customers don't really want choice because there are too many choices out there. So they offer "Amazon's choice" to make it easier for shoppers to buy what they want. The technique is called Dark Patterns and it causes changes in the algorithm. Once you order Amazon's choice, you start getting more results like that.
68% of Facebook investors want CEO Mark Zuckerberg removed. But the problem is, that Zuckerberg controls 61% of Facebook stock. Zuckerberg is a class A investor, and as such, he controls ten times more votes than Class B investors. Really, what's the point of giving them a vote?
After Google was slapped with a $5 Billion fine from the EU, the US Department of Justice has said it will open an anti-trust investigation on Google. Meanwhile, the FTC may be signalling the same for Amazon. But Leo says that it could do more harm economically than good, and maybe the best thing would be to break up both companies into smaller concerns that can compete.