SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley ended 2018 somewhere it had never been: embattled. Lawmakers across the political spectrum say Big Tech, for so long the exalted embodiment of American genius, has too much power. Once seen as a force for making our lives better and our brains smarter, tech is now accused of inflaming, radicalizing, dumbing down and squeezing the masses. Tech company stocks have been pummeled from their highs. Regulation looms. Even tech executives are calling for it. In the face of such a sustained assault, this might be a good moment for Big Tech to lie low. It could devote some of its mountains of cash — Apple alone has $237 billion in the bank — to genuine good works, and allay widespread fears it wants to control your data and your destiny. That is not the path the companies are taking. “The tech companies are not flinching,” said Bob Staedler, a Silicon Valley consultant. “Nothing has hit them on the nose hard enough to tell … [Read more...] about Big Tech May Look Troubled, but It’s Just Getting Started
Good Wednesday. Want this by email? Sign up here . How Facebook let Big Tech peers inside its privacy wall Facebook let some of the world’s largest technology companies have more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it had previously disclosed. That’s according to an investigation by Gabriel J.X. Dance, Michael LaForgia and Nicholas Confessore of the NYT, based on 270 pages of Facebook’s internal documents and interviews with more than 60 people. The breadth of the data-sharing was vast. “Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages. The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends.” Users often didn’t know. “Facebook empowered Apple to hide from Facebook users all … [Read more...] about DealBook Briefing: Inside Facebook’s Huge Data Giveaway to Its Big Tech Brethren
Good Tuesday. Want this by email? Sign up here . New discoveries on Russia and the tech giants The Senate Intelligence Committee released two huge reports on Monday that it had commissioned on Russian use of social media to disrupt the 2016 election and more. One is by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company; the other by Oxford University researchers. Here are some highlights, both about the Russian campaign and about how tech companies have behaved toward the Senate: African-Americans were targeted with relentless propaganda. We’ve heard plenty about Russian attempts to sway Facebook users who were on the political right, led by the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg. But the effort directed at black Americans was actually larger. Facebook and Twitter were just the tip of the iceberg. Russian operatives on Instagram may have been as effective, or more effective, than on Facebook. They were also on Reddit, Google+, Vine, Gab, Meetup, Pinterest, Tumblr and even … [Read more...] about DealBook Briefing: Did Big Tech Lie to Congress About Russian Interference?
New York (CNN Business)The recent stock market meltdown has hit the tech sector particularly hard. How hard? A sextet of well-known techs -- Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google owner Alphabet, Facebook and Netflix -- have lost a collective $1.1 trillion from their all-time highs. These companies, which some have dubbed the Fab 6, bounced back a bit with the overall market Wednesday. But they are in a correction, down more than 10% from recent peaks. In fact, several of them are even in bear market territory -- 20% or more below their highs. Investors are clearly reevaluating whether the tech sector, which has led the market's surge for the past few years, deserves to remain a leader on Wall Street. There are growing concerns that demand for high-priced gadgets like Apple's (AAPL) iPhones are beginning to slow. Read More Several iPhone suppliers have recently warned of weak sales and Bloomberg reported Wednesday that China's Foxconn Technology Group, which makes iPhones for Apple, … [Read more...] about More than $1 trillion in Big Tech value wiped out
New York (CNN Business)Facebook offered more of its users' data to companies including Microsoft and Amazon than it has admitted, according to a new report by The New York Times. The Times reported late Tuesday that it obtained internal Facebook (FB) documents that show how the social media giant arranged to share data with more than 150 companies. The deals helped Facebook gain more users, according to the report, and its partners were able to add new features to their products while effectively avoiding Facebook's usual privacy rules. Many of the partnerships ended years ago, but the details reported by the Times are striking. Amazon (AMZN) got access to Facebook users' names and contact information through their friends on the social network, according to the report, while Microsoft's (MSFT) search engine Bing was allowed to "see the names of virtually all Facebook users' friends without consent." Streaming services Netflix (NFLX) and Spotify (SPOT) had the "ability to read … [Read more...] about NYT: Facebook offered big tech firms more user data than previously revealed