DataDownload: Can Apple reinvent privacy?

DataDownload: Can Apple reinvent privacy? A weekly summary of all things Media, Data, Emerging Tech View this email in your browser

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Today — we’re thinking about data privacy. Maybe it’s because Apple’s new computers are so pretty (purple iPhone… mmmm). But that’s not the big Apple story. They’re going to change the way people are alerted too, and protected from data tracking. And that’s a big deal. The article about the death of content moderation is timely and relevant. Because the fact is that algorithms aren’t moderators, they have rules, not judgment. And humans are just overwhelmed.

Also, the Perils of De-Platforming panel we did for SXSW is now free, and out in the wild. Check it out, the conversation is pretty important, as Facebook’s Supreme Court considers whether to lift Donald Trump’s ban. We’ve got a good podcast this week, Land of the Giants always shares new, and deep, information and this is no exception..

It’s a good week to think about how we make things, and how they impact our lives. He says with his hands on an Apple keyboard, and an iPhone sitting to the left of it. Yes, the ghost of Steve Jobs lives on.


Steven Rosenbaum
Executive Director
The NYC Media Lab Must-Read Is Content Moderation a Dead End? “Virus scanners and content moderation are essentially the same thing — they look for people abusing the system (and consume a lot of resources in the process).”

Facebook now employs 30,000 human moderators to monitor content. While other social networks likely have a fraction of that, they also need human moderators. But it seems as the number of moderators grows, so does the content that needs to be moderated. Is this, as Ben Evans asks, a Sisyphean task? Pretty much yes. Instead, Evans suggests “to remove whole layers of mechanics that enable abuse”: “So, for example, Instagram doesn’t have links, and Clubhouse doesn’t have replies, quotes or screenshots. Email newsletters don’t seem to have virality.”

“Moving enterprise applications to the cloud created phishing, and a sandboxed OS creates a bigger market for zero-day exploits. But, we did manage to fix cities, mostly. So I wonder how differently newsfeeds and sharing will work in 5 years, and how many more new social companies will shift assumptions about mechanics and abuse.”

Benedict Evans / 5 min read Read More Facebook (FB) ‘Supreme Court’ Weighs Trump’s Social Media Fate

In 2018, Facebook announced that it was creating an independent oversight board, with the power to overrule Mark Zuckerberg in content moderation decisions. This January, the board, which consists of 20 people, including a former prime minister (Helle Thorning-Schmidt), a Nobel laureate (Tawakkol Karman), human rights activists (including Maina Kiai, pictured above), journalists, and academics made its first decision to reinstate four posts. Now Facebook’s “Supreme Court” will rule whether to reinstate Trump’s account.

“The board could recommend that Facebook change its policies — an approach it took in January, when it recommended the company ‘create a new community standard on health misinformation.’ Facebook has promised to uphold the board’s decision around Trump, but has not committed to implementing policy advice. It’s possible Facebook could find a middle-ground option between suspending world leaders’ accounts and letting them post rule-breaking posts without consequences.”

Bloomberg / 8 min read

Read more Tech+Media Apple Launches the Post-IDFA World to the Dismay of Advertisers

Apple’s “apocalyptic” — at least, to certain groups — update to their IDFA system goes into effect next week, forcing every app to ask users upfront if they’re fine with sharing their data with third parties. “If you opt-out, then advertisers will lose access to IDFA data and their ability to track you when you download games or make in-app purchases,” writes VentureBeat.

Facebook, mobile marketers, advertisers, brands, and game developers reeled upon hearing Apple’s announcement to wall up IDFA data behind a pro-privacy popup. But Apple’s Craig Federighi criticized the adtech industry “for its self-serving stance in a speech to European lawmakers and privacy regulators in December. He said opponents of the changes have made outlandish claims and that their real interest is in eroding the right to privacy.”

But Apple is looking out for its own interests too… “How much will this cost game devs? Based on numbers shared in the Apple-Epic antitrust lawsuit, the developer share of iPhone revenues last year was $38.7 billion. Some leaders have said the changes could cut revenues by 40%. If you take that down by 40% because mobile marketing is no longer effective, that’s a loss of $15.5 billion. Apple’s own cut will go down by $6.6 billion. But that may be worth it to Apple if consumers trust it more than other brands.”

VentureBeat / 7 min read Read More LVMH, Richemont and Prada Unite Behind a Blockchain Consortium. Back in 2019, LVHM — the owner of dozens of luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Hennessy — announced that it enlisted a full-time blockchain team to develop a distributed ledger for ensuring the authenticity of high-priced items. Now, Prada Group and Compagnie Financière Richemont are joining the conglomerate for the Aura Blockchain Consortium, “a nonprofit group that will promote the use of a single blockchain solution open to all luxury brands worldwide.”

“In this case, each product will be given a unique digital code during the manufacturing process that will be recorded on the Aura ledger. When customers make a purchase, they will be given login details to a platform that will provide the history of the product, including its origin, components, environmental and ethical information, proof of ownership, a warranty and care instructions. Bulgari, Cartier, Hublot, Louis Vuitton and Prada are already using the system.”

NY Times / 1 min read Read More Patreon/Substack != Growth

Bob Lefsetz’s diatribe against audience barriers like paywalls and subscriptions — at least in the context of growing your audience and gaining influence. This one really speaks for itself. We’ll leave you with a sample:

“Patreon is run by Jack Conte, who used to be half of Pomplamoose. He’s now telling creators to do what he couldn’t, i.e. make money from his art, even though Pomplamoose was actually pretty good, and very innovative with its marketing. If you want to make money, follow Jack’s lead, get out of the creative sphere completely, sell tools! Kinda like those people selling shovels and tents during the gold rushes, they’re the ones who made all the money.”

Lefsetz Letter / 8 min read

Read More What We’re Watching SXSW Online 2021: The Perils of De-Platforming

When Twitter made the decision to de-platform Trump, it was, according to Twitter, to mitigate “the risk of further incitement of violence.” Since then, a wide range of tech companies and platforms have restricted or removed speakers they’ve deemed dangerous.

The practice of de-platforming is praised by some and criticized by others, but many agree that the power and responsibility of Big Tech has led to a slippery slope.

nycmedialab (YouTube) / 55 min watch

Watch Now What We’re Listening To Podcast: How Google Transformed From a Quirky Tech Startup Into a Global Behemoth

“This season of Land of the Giants tells the inside story of Google’s journey to become one of the most powerful companies in the world.”


Listen Now Virtual Events Free Event: Discussing The Vegan/Alternative Meat Industry In APAC With Better Bite VC
Date: April 26, 8:30PM — 10PM EDT
There is no more important region than Asia when it comes to alt protein impact and opportunity. The event will cover the Asia Pacific landscape and activity, both from startup, innovation and investment/funding angles and share the experience of investing in the region. Register Here.

Free Event: Android Worldwide
Date: April 27, 8:30AM — 11:15PM EDT
“We’re an international group of developer communities coming together to make a joint impact. We’re passionate developers aiming to create highly engaging, inclusive, and fun experiences to help members learn, grow, and meet like-minded people.” Register Here. A Deeper Look Designed by Apple in California, Not Assembled in China

Eight words have graced millions of retail boxes over the years: “Designed by Apple in California Assembled in China.” The phrase is both a mark of pride and quality — a nod to Cupertino HQ’s design-led thinking that changed the consumer electronics world — and of tension: “Assembled in China.”

With a large chunk of Apple’s supply chain and manufacturing apparatus — and 15%-20% of their user base — located in the country, China has held power over Apple, all while the nation’s relationship with the US continues to deteriorate. This might be changing, however. AirPods Pro and the HomePod mini are already being manufactured in Vietnam (with other products rumored to start production), India already assembles the iPhone, and the US still puts together the Mac Pro (though, the sales are low).

“A handful of countries in Southeast Asia are now in a position to manufacture Apple products. Some of this is due to governments increasingly accommodating foreign investment. Another factor is Apple’s long-time and vital business partner, Foxconn, showing a renewed effort to diversify its own business and footprint outside of China.”

Above Avalon / 7 min read

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