Twitter CEO is thinking about giving the whole Twitter app an overhaul.
After putting both controversial Alex Jones’ account and his Infowars account on a read-only mode for a week after violating Twitter’s policy against inciting violence, Jack went to the drawing board and is reconsidering how the main features of the app could be tweaked so as not to enable the spread of false news, hate speech and harassment. Dorsey’s leadership style at Twitter is why their actions move slowly, he fosters caution. He encourages debate among his employees and waits for a consensus to emerge. Jack instead wrings his hands and punts on decisions that need to be made quickly such as banning Alex.
What Jack and his team are now experimenting on, include but are not limited to features that would promote alternative viewpoints in Twitter’s timeline to address misinformation and reduce “echo chambers,” such as labelling bots and redesigning the “Like” button and the way Twitter displays users’ follower counts. Twitter is also exploring how to surround false tweets with factual context by calling out on fake tweets and help people make judgements for themselves.
Twitter is crippling third-party clients by ending its legacy API support in what the company says is technical and business constraints it is facing. Some of the features on the mainstream app have come from these clients such as the “pull to refresh” and account muting. These apps won’t be dead but their features will be limited such as no longer sending push notifications and no longer automatic refreshing of timelines – making them useless to the 6 million users have installed these third-party Twitter clients
We introduced the Account Activity API as a faster & more streamlined way for developers building customer service and brand engagement tools, chatbots, + more. As this new API doesn’t include home timeline data, it is not intended as a solution for 3rd party clients
— Rob Johnson (@robjohnson) August 16, 2018
Google’s Project Dragonfly Drama
About Google’s censorship plans in China, Lokman Tsui, former Google Head of Free Expression said it is a wrong idea and that this move is a stupid one. It is obvious that for Google to operate in China, it will have to violate widely held international human rights standards. Brandon Downey, the former Googler who worked on the original censored Google search engine even got overwhelmed with guilt and penned an apology essay (Read it here) criticizing the censorship and calling on Google not to “make the same mistake twice” by launching Dragonfly.
Almost 1400 Googlers have jumped on the bandwagon and signed a letter to protest the development of the censored search engine and news app demanding more transparency, oversight, input, more power and more control from the company to understand the ethical consequences of their work. This puts them in conflict with Google but gets them to define the narrative with no pushback from Google. Weirdly, even Sergey Brin didn’t know about it until this conflict brought it to his attention in a meeting at Google that got stopped as details got leaked in a series of tweets. It ‘ll be fun to see how this pans out since Dragonfly isn’t going to cancelled anytime soon.
Sergey: "Dragonfly came to my attention, honestly, because of all this kerfuffle."
— kate conger (@kateconger) August 17, 2018
Other Interesting Tech Stories
Poll stickers from the photo-sharing platform will now be available for direct messages making it easy to ask your friends for fashion tips without spoiling what you’ll wear if you are afraid to ask on a public story. The new feature works similarly to adding the poll sticker to stories, but users will be able to select the users who receive the story.
Starting today, you can send a poll privately in Direct. Update your app to choose who you want to poll – whether it’s everyone in a big group thread or just your very best friend. Update your app now to try it! pic.twitter.com/Lfr6pwPDzI
— Instagram (@instagram) August 14, 2018
Facebook’s Story Problem and Opportunity
Stratechery explains why the social media giant might struggle to monetise this Snapchat clone feature as more users spend time here rather than on the platforms’ news feeds that are becoming less valuable to advertisers. [Read More]
Jan Koum, the WhatsApp co-founder, has continued to show up at least monthly at the Facebook office to secure his stock rewards of ~$450M after leaving in April. Mr Koum’s unusual arrangement with Facebook is one of the more lucrative examples of a Silicon Valley practice sometimes called “rest and vest,” in which the holders of stock grants are allowed to stick around until they qualify to collect a sizable portion of their shares. Who wouldn’t do the same, tbh?
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) August 15, 2018
The Redmond-based software giant will begin rolling out OneDrive’s new folder protection feature that automatically backs up your PC’s documents, pictures and desktop folders. It’s surprising that this feature wasn’t already part of OneDrive but glad it’s coming sooner rather than later making it a great new addition for Windows 10 users.
- There’s a subreddit with no titles, no text, no memes, just images that will make you go ‘hmm’, like this one:
- Also, check out;
I made https://t.co/jTDvjrm9az, a cyberpunk game you play by yelling at your computer like you're in a movie. It's an homage to the classic sci-fi "zoom and enhance" trope.
Play it in Chrome!
— Nicole He in Melbourne (@nicolehe) August 15, 2018
Clicked covers trending international and regional tech stories you might have missed from the past week. Read previous editions here.