Archive for November, 2017

Must Read: @oliviasolon: Ashamed to Work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers

November 11, 2017 Comments off

[Editor Charlie sez:  Meet the 1% of the 1%]

When Danny Greg first moved to San Francisco to work at Github in 2012, he used to get high-fives in the street from strangers when he wore his company hoodie.

These days, unless he’s at an investor event, he’s cautious about wearing branded clothing that might indicate he’s a techie. He’s worried about the message it sends.

Greg is one of many people working in tech who are increasingly self-conscious about how the industry – represented by consumer-facing tech titans like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Twitter and Uber – is perceived: as underregulated, overly powerful companies filled with wealthy tech bros and “brilliant assholes” with little regard for the local communities they occupy. Silicon Valley has taken over from Wall Street as the political bogeyman of choice, turning tech workers – like it or not – into public ambassadors for the 1% [of the 1%].

“I would never say I worked at Facebook,” said one 30-year-old software engineer who left the company last year to pursue an alternative career. Instead, at dinner parties he would give purposefully vague responses and change the subject. “There’s this song and dance you learn to play because people are quick to judge.”

Like Wall Street before, the tech industry is a justifiable punchbag. “MBA jerks used to go and work for Wall Street, now wealthy white geeks go to Stanford and then waltz into a VC or tech firm.”

Read the post on The Guardian

MusicTechPolicy Monthly Newsletter is out! Subscribe here!

November 11, 2017 Comments off

The latest email only MusicTechPolicy Monthly newsletter is out!  Sign up by subscribing to this blog.  This month we focus on Spotify board member Sean Parker’s revelations about how the social platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram are all consciously based on addiction modalities.  Parker’s revelations are confirmed by Dr. Adam Alter’s shocking book “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

Wyden Tobacco

Chris argues that this is national crisis worthy of a Congressional hearing like the tobacco industry’s cultivated addictive powers conducted by consumer hero Senator Ron Wyden. Senator Wyden conducted one of the most famous hearings in history when he asked the CEOs of the tobacco companies to state whether nicotine was addictive.

We also take a look at the tragic humor of Sen. Al Franken’s examination of Facebook, Twitter and Google regarding their inexplicable participation in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Happy Birthday Devil Dawgs!

November 10, 2017 Comments off

“Come on, you sons of bitches!  Do you want to live forever?”  [GySgt. Daniel J. “Dan” Daly, USMC; near Lucy-`le-Bocage as he led the 5th Marines’ attack into Belleau Wood, 6 June 1918.  The Marines lost 1,056 enlisted and 31 officers that day. Gunny Daly was awarded the Navy Cross for his service in the battle, and also received the Medal of Honor on two other occasions.]

Check out @semperfifund!

The Fine Line or Twitter’s Multi-Million Ruble Pitch to RT

November 9, 2017 Comments off

So in existentially planet-shattering news, here’s a big reveal–Russia Today is a propaganda arm of the Russian Federation.  Shocking, I know.  That’s right, Russia Today is the Voice of Putin (or as the Russia Today cable channel is now known–RT–a pet name kind of like a cross between ET and Joe Camel).

But–but, you see Twitter DIDN’T know!  Those sneaky Russkies at it again!  Who could have tapped into the Silicon Valley big brain to figure out RT buying political ads was

Thanks to Olivia Solon reporting in the Guardian, we now know that the Twitter stupidity–the really dumb-as-rocks, insanely grabasstick, too wildly improbably even for Silicon Valley, one celled amoeba kind of stupid–was really the best thinking of the Twitter elites.

Yes, Twitter actually pitched RT for millions of advertising during the 2016 Presidential campaign.  But they did it Silicon Valley style–or rather in too-stupid-for-Silicon Valley-style–with a Powerpoint.

RT has released Twitter’s election advertising sales pitch, which shows the social media company vying for millions of dollars from the Russian state-funded news outlet in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election.

The publication of the pitch comes the day after Twitter announced it would stop taking advertising from all accounts owned by RT, formerly Russia Today, and Sputnik as US lawmakers continue to investigate the impact of foreign-sponsored “information operations” on the 2016 election.

Twitter said in a blogpost on Thursday that its decision was based on its own investigations and the US intelligence community’s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government.

That’s right–Twitter had to be told by the IC that RT was in cahoots with VP.  Who could ever have seen that one coming?  Can you imagine the gossip over breakfast at Buck’s?  Did you know…RT was controlled by Putin?  Yes!  The CIA says so!  Who knew?

But it gets better:

RT published Twitter’s slide deck to “set the record straight” and highlight how Twitter had pushed hard to get the Russian news organization to spend millions on the platform to expand the reach of its election coverage through a package of ads including promoted tweets, videos and customized emojis.

Yes, that’s right.  Emojis.

Hot tip for the Twitterati:  If someone wants to buy ruble-denominated emojis, run the other way.

It’s a very, very fine line.


City of San Francisco Stops Mission District Playground Soccer Field Permits

November 8, 2017 Comments off

In case you missed it, Big Tech’s takeover of San Francisco has been assessed a penalty kick:  According to the SF Examiner, Parks & Rec have stopped selling reservations on the Mission Playground soccer fields.

Nearly 300 people rallied outside City Hall on Thursday morning before the Recreation and Park Commission meeting in which the policy change was adopted, and the teenagers who appeared in the viral video spoke to the crowd.

“I used to think the parks were ours,” said Hugo Vargas, a 15-year-old Mission resident who was in the video. “Knowing that they’re selling our parks is not fair. … Mission Playground is not for sale.”

Now the field will be free to use for the community, Ginsburg said at the meeting. Youth soccer leagues will still be allowed to purchase permits to reserve fields.

“At the crux of this issue is a lack of play space for our kids,” Ginsburg said.

The decision to rescind pay-for-play soccer at Mission Playground came following a meeting with the teens from the video, he said.

“These youth convinced me and convinced my staff,” Ginsburg said.

As someone who spent some childhood years in the “legacy” San Francisco, let me say damn right.

Here’s the viral video that shows some bros, evidently from Dropbox, who couldn’t handle themselves on the playground as they tried to throw neighborhood kids off the soccer pitch.  Let’s just say there’s a side of San Francisco the bros know NOTHING about.  They’re lucky that someone was taking the video they complained of.

Must Read by @jamesbridle: Something is wrong on the internet [With YouTube Kids]

November 7, 2017 Comments off

Another YouTube fish story

The Values Gap redux:  Must read post by James Bridle on the truly bizarre goings on at YouTube Kids.

I’ve also been aware for some time of the increasingly symbiotic relationship between younger children and YouTube. I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else. I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.

But I don’t even have kids and right now I just want to burn the whole thing down.

Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level. Much of what I am going to describe next has been covered elsewhere, although none of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has really grasped the implications of what seems to be occurring.

Read the post on Medium.


Mark Zuckerberg’s Kremlin “Investors” — Artist Rights Watch

November 7, 2017 Comments off

The “Paradise Papers” reveal that Facebook took approximately $200 million of cash investment from the Kremlin. This huge chunk of cash came from the Kremlin’s VTD Bank was “funneled through DST Global”, an investment vehicle owned by oligarch Yuri Millner (known as “космонавт” loosely translated as “the spaceman”). The papers also show that Gazprom (the controversial Kremin-owned energy company) heavily funded an offshore company that partnered with DST Global in a large investment in Facebook and the notorious pirate site Vkontakte.


via Mark Zuckerberg’s Kremlin “Investors” — Artist Rights Watch

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