When I said I wanted to share more of Mark Zuckerberg's staff questions and answers for you in this week's newsletter, I didn't think it would go like this .
Three days after we published leaked audio from a couple of July meetings on Facebook, Zuckerberg decided to livestream Thursday's all-round meeting to show the rest of the world what they really look like. And that meant including everything – the "fix of the week", where some describe solving some technical problems in the product; a "Faceversary" story, where someone celebrating 1
In between, there were questions and answers from real, live Facebook employees, who mostly seemed embarrassed to ask their questions in front of a global audience. (Additional points to the WhatsApp engineer who managed to ask two questions during the session, the last of which – "what do you think of Bernie Sanders & # 39; s comment that billionaires should not exist?" – was perhaps the (Zuckerberg's answer, which was initially "no", will also probably spur a round of thought around the web in the coming days.)
The context for all this, as Zuckerberg explained in preliminary comments at the top of the meeting , was a feeling that our leak had inadvertently exposed the fact that he tends to perform better in front of employees than he does with journalists. "I hold interviews, and I'm only worst in interviews, "he said while the staff laughed." I'm a robot and I don't think about sound bites. "He joked about the questions he gets:" Where do you go to connect yourself at night to recharge? "
Zuckerberg said the company had been angry p risen from the leak, as it was the first time in the company's history that a meeting with all hands had been recorded and shared with the media. ("A blog", which Zuckerberg called The Verge !)
"I think many of us internally were quite shocked by it," he said. “We want to be able to continue to do this and have them open. But then we got the second reaction that is, hey, you know, all the content that's there – we're behind. And maybe I said it in a slightly more unfiltered way than I would say externally, but basically we believe everything we said that was in there. "
People have been telling him for years that public perception of the company would improve if more audiences could see him the way he is in questions and answers," he said. And so he decided to broadcast this week's event. "This was an interesting forced feature," Zuckerberg said of my work, which is definitely happening on my Facebook Dating bio.
"I'm doing such a bad job in interviews, it's like, what do we have to lose?" Zuckerberg said, and the audience laughed and applauded.
Zuckerberg talked about the company's commitment to encryption in light of the news today that the US attorney general wanted the company to postpone its plans to roll out end-to-end encryption across the messaging apps. He lamented a ruling in the EU Supreme Court that could force Facebook to take down content found to be harmful outside the country where the ruling is made, in a battle for free speech.
To the employee who asked if Facebook would ever lose relevance, Zuckerberg explained that most of the largest companies in a given decades are no longer among the top 10 companies within the next decade.The odds are against Facebook, he said, though the company is working hard to curb them.
To the employee who asked how things went with Facebook Dating, He explained that 80 percent of people who used it in test countries came back every week, and gave the company confidence to launch it in the United States several weeks ago. It continues to grow, Zuckerberg said, but he would not say how quickly, citing
It was the question of billionaires, to which Zuckerberg answered quite directly by saying no, but he defended the system that allowed some individuals to grow enough to invest in scientific research and said that the alternative – 100 percent public funding – had its own problems.
To the employee concerned about the weekend's New York Times report on the use of social platforms to disseminate images of child exploitation, he explained the steps the company has taken to solve the problem so far and committed to do a lot more before Facebook tries to encrypt Messenger messages by default.  Then someone asked him about Senator Elizabeth Warren, who had gone after Zuckerberg after reading the comments he made in our previous report. How would Zuckerberg remain "impartial" given the flush? "God," he said, laughing to himself. "Try not to discourage her further."
I found his answer, which was quite long, somewhat difficult to follow. There were two parts: one about "principles", where he said he cared much more about giving people a voice regardless of individual political outcome. So with that logic, he wouldn't (say) artificially downgrade Warren's traffic if she pretended to break up Facebook, because he is promoting democratic debate above all else. The second point was about "empathy" – realizing that people, because of Facebook's size and power, are very dependent on what's going on there and often assume it's biased.
"It's a real moment to at least understand how many people are coming from," he said. "It's going to be the most important thing. We want everyone to have a voice. This is a great learning moment to remember."
Then someone asked him if Facebook should ever hold a climate change hackathon, and he said that it had already done.
By and large I would say the surprise broadcast succeeded with the terms Zuckerberg set for him, it actually showed him looser and in a better mood than he usually looks when interviewed by people like me He moved confidently around the room, his jokes landed.
Some people assumed the event was aggressively staged, but Zuckerberg said they had only informed most people that it would be public 15 minutes before the broadcast aired and after having listened to both the private recording and watched the public broadcast I was struck by how little difference there was between them. It was an honesty to the event that resonated. "I make no promises to do so Zuckerberg said, but everything went well enough that I could easily see him doing just that.
When the afternoon's questions were over, the slick marketing video that was queued began to play. The first image on the screen was a small group of Facebook users splashing around in the water. It turned out that they were swimming with sharks.
Today in news that can affect public perception of technology platforms.
Trending up : Facebook's counterterrorism teams have been shifted to fight white supremacist activity more directly. (David Uberti / Vice )
Trending sideways: TikTok banned political advertising, reflecting a taste of politics between the two core districts: teenagers and the Chinese government.
Trending down: Apple banned an app used by Hong Kong protesters to track police activity and find nearby demonstrations. (Kieren McCarthy / Register )
⭐ Attorney General William Barr asked Facebook to postpone plans to roll out encrypted messaging services across the family of apps, citing vulnerabilities. The letter was signed by Barr's colleagues in the UK and Australia, and it could set up a major encryption battle. The new move is to focus on child safety rather than terror as a pretext. Ryan Mac and Joe Bernstein report:
"Security enhancements in the virtual world should not make us more vulnerable in the physical world," the letter states. "Businesses should not deliberately design their systems to prevent any kind of content access, even to prevent or investigate the most serious crimes."
The letter asks Facebook to prioritize public safety in terms of encryption design by enabling law enforcement access to illegal content in a manageable format and by consulting with governments in advance to ensure that the changes will provide that access. While the letter acknowledges that Facebook – which owns Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram – captures 99% of the child's exploitation and terrorism-related content through their own systems, it also notes that "only numbers cannot capture the importance of harm to children. ”
⭐ Facebook may be forced to make damaging comments internationally, according to a new ruling by the EU Supreme Court. The decision came after an Austrian politician asked for an order to compel Facebook to remove comments that damaged her reputation. Here is Makena Kelly at The Verge:
In its ruling, the European Court of Justice affirms that companies such as Facebook and Twitter are not responsible for the content posted on their platforms, but that exemption does not prohibit the courts from ordering the companies to to take down illegal content. Late last month, this same court stated that Google does not need to remove links that have been removed from "right to be forgotten" requests around the world. But illegal content can be restricted internationally, according to Thursday's Facebook ruling.
Facebook opposed the ruling. "This ruling raises critical questions about freedom of speech and the role Internet companies should play in monitoring, interpreting and removing speech that may be illegal in a particular country," the company said in a statement.
Sen. Kamala Harris wrote a letter to CEO Jack Dorsey asking him to ban Trump from Twitter. Harris cited the president's recent Twitter hire against the notifier at the center of the inquiry; New York's technical team discussed the merits of her reasoning. (Brian Feldman, Benjamin Hart, and Max Read / Intelligencer )
Silicon Valley appears to be heated to Elizabeth Warren, despite her largely anti-industrial sentiment . Warren still intends to break up large tech companies – but she receives small checks from tech executives. (Theodore Schleifer / Recode )
Snap and Twitter have been so successful this year that it could threaten the government's antitrust case against Facebook. Both have reported strong sales growth and sent share prices sharply. (Tom Dotan / Information )
Facebook reached a settlement with an app from New Zealand that developed fake likes on Instagram . The developer can pay as much as $ 9.4 million, a gain for Facebook's recently secured efforts to fight fraudulent third-party developers. (Tony Romm / The Washington Post )
The Department of Homeland Security announced a controversial plan to launch DNA testing of immigrants and enter their information into a criminal database. The plan could harm people booked at a detention center around the country. (Zoe Schiffer / The Verge )
Immigration and Customs Enforcement embrace big data in its quest to track down people who have entered the country illegally. Increasingly, the agency is developing intelligence based on their goals social accounts. (McKenzie Funk / The New York Times )
Hong Kong has banned face masks at public gatherings, adopted an emergency ordinance that had not been used for half a century. The move comes after a protester was shot in the latest round of pro-democracy protests on Tuesday. (Iain Marlow / Bloomberg)
President of France Emmanuel Macron rolls out a new digital identity program using face recognition technology. But the country's data regulatory authority says the program violates the European consent rule, and a privacy group is challenging it in court. (Helene Fouquet / Bloomberg)
⭐ Instagram launched Threads a standalone messaging app for close friends. It's an Instagram companion app that lets you quickly share messages, photos, and videos with your "close friends" list. It also encourages you to continuously share your location and other intimate details with friends, I wrote here for The Verge :
Or – and here's what Instagram actually wants – you can choose "auto status, "That will update your status all day as you move around. It is learned when you are at home and at work, for example, and then updates. Instagram says it will not store your exact location, but rather uses the information to create "context." If you are at work, you are probably stuck for a while.
If you do, the threads will collect the location, movement, battery level, and network connection to decide what status you want to share.
is a lot of with data to give up, and after years of Facebook scandals related to data security issues, some users may find that the tradeoff is not worth it, but it is also worth noting that other messaging apps, especially knelt Snapchat, really asking for the same permissions. Snapchat will not generate an automatic status for you throughout the day, but it will put you on a map with all your friends if you allow it. Ultimately, whether you choose to use features like these depends heavily on whether your social circle does.
"A study of 1,769 American undergrads found that those who left Facebook for a week consumed less news, experienced greater well-being … and, Facebook valued 20 percent higher, in monetary terms than they had before. they took their break. ”(Laura Hazard Owen / Nieman Lab )
Saudi Arabia banks luxury holidays for Instagram and YouTube influencers in an effort to The country is trying to build a tourism industry from scratch, but it is difficult when you are best known for human rights violations and murdering a dissident journalist. (Bill Bostock / Insider )
Google promised to provide 250,000 job training opportunities to American workers over the next five years as part of a White House initiative to expand education programs. CEO Sundar Pichai announced the announcement together with Ivanka Trump in Texas. (Lauren Feiner / CNBC)
YouTube is experimenting with a "self-certification program" that allows creators to report their own videos if the content is not advertiser-friendly. The goal is to give the creators more control over the video monetization process. (Richard Nieva / CNET )
TikTok exists outside of time – videos do not have timestamps, which allows them to go viral weeks or even months after they were posted. The app also covers the time displayed on your phone, which means you can quickly lose track of the hours you spent scrolling, the author notes. (Louise Matsakis / Wired )
Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey created an autonomous battery drone. The Interceptor was created by Luckey's defense company, Anduril and is designed to destroy other drones in the middle of the flight. (Russell Brandom / The Verge )
And finally …
Nickelback gives a quick end to Trump & # 39; Photograph & # 39; tweet
Here is just a perfect paragraph from our colleague Jon Porter:
Less than 12 hours after Trump used the Nickelback Photograph meme in an apparent attempt to divert attention from the rapidly evolving lawsuit against him, Twitter has removed the video from the platform. Under Trump's all-capped instruction on "LOOK AT THE PHOTOGRAPH!", A short message explains that the video was removed due to a claim by the song's copyright owner.
Time to say it, Donald Trump … goodbye.
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