for W3c validation
Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive.
Google acquired Fitbit – and your fitness data, but wait there’s more
Anne says: Last week, when Google acquired Fitbit, some of the concerns about how our health data was being used came to fruition. Many years ago when Fitbit burst onto the fitness tracking market (back in 2007), many people willingly signed up to their new way of nudging us to move, keep fit and track our steps. But a deeper read on the user agreement did mention that they (Fitbit) could collect your data and use it to inform product development and… other uses. It was fairly discrete and didn’t attach your username to the data – so, who cares? Well, fast forward to November 2019. Now Google has that data.
It’s been widely discussed over recent years that the big technology companies; Google, Apple, Amazon and Uber are all in a race to claim a slice of this enormous data market (reportedly worth US$200billion annually). The question we should all be asking – what do they intend to do with the data? And, is it anonymised or does our personal data become part of the data package?
We’re about to find out. Not only has Google acquired Fitbit, they’ve also gone into a relationship with Ascension (one of the biggest US health systems). There is a project, dubbed Nightingale, that is about developing (for free) a health platform that recommends treatments, plans and procedures. What’s scary is that it’s legal – under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Apparently, it’s legal to share data with business associates, without patient consent. Ouch!
It doesn’t give us, the users, much confidence in sharing our information with our health providers – let alone our Fitbit fitness tracker! Some people have asked: Why does it really matter? It matters – full stop. This sort of personal data, with medical information, could be used to profile people’s applications for jobs, insurance and much more. It’s a form of profiling that creates inequality based on health.
However, Wired has released an article this week that shows you how to manage your data, what can or can’t be seen, across the main devices producers including Apple and Google. Good luck with that… and maybe we need a total overhaul of our systems of record and who has a right to them?
Google Shakes Up Its ‘TGIF’—and Ends Its Culture of Openness
Christoph says: Whilst the reversal of Yahoo’s work from home policy made huge waves around the globe back in 2013, the reversal of Google’s iconic ‘TGIF’ format seems to have gone pretty much unnoticed. Well, it is not an entire reversal but more an adaptation to the current state of affairs at Google.
Google introduced its weekly employee all-hands meeting in 1999. The founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin ran those meetings up until they moved on to run the mother company Alphabet and Sundar Pichai took over as CEO of Google. What was unique about the format was the fact that there seemed to be a deep trust and openness among the growing workforce to ask and discuss even the most sensitive and perhaps controversial topics about product roadmaps or workplace issues. There seemed to be a special bond among Google employees, so that nothing was leaked.
Fast forward to today and Google seems to have become a ‘normal’ company. Employees have become very vocal inside and outside their work about issues and topics that they feel are in stark contrast to the vision and values of the company. In summer this year, Google banned political discussions from internal messaging forums. In late October Pichai told employees in a leaked video that the company was struggling with employee trust. Google is now adapting the TGIF format. General topics and business updates will be provided on a monthly basis. More controversial workplace topics will be discussed in smaller, more intimate circles.
Google had a large workforce of up to 80.000 employees even during Page’s and Brin’s tenure. Employee trust did not seem to be an issue. It seems to have deteriorated under the new leadership. The reasons for this could be manifold and complex, so I am not going to speculate on this. However, it does come to show how important Page and Brin were to employees. Initially, I thought Pichai would just want to get rid off a format in which educated and passionate employees would ask candid questions to the leadership team. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt though that he will work on the employee trust challenge. Thus, by offering smaller, more intimate formats to discuss contentious topics, Google management still has the opportunity to go into a direct and open dialogue with employees. I do not think that it’s the end of the famous Google culture but it’s definitely a wake-up call.
Salary transparency is key to the future of workplace wellness
Jakkii says: I actually want to share this one with very little comment from me (it happens sometimes… alright, it happens rarely). A while ago, I found myself part of an interesting discussion where, amongst other aspects to the discussion, both sides wanted to see similar outcomes including fairness and pay parity, but disagreed on whether salaries and/or salary bands should be disclosed upfront in job listings. Now, this piece is largely about salary transparency and disclosure amongst existing employees, but I believe the principles to be the same. And so, what I really want to know is – what do you think about the topic of salary transparency? What do you think of the argument that salary transparency can help to achieve pay parity? Have a read of the article and get in touch – I’d really love to know what you think.
This Week in Social Media
Politics, democracy and regulation
- Google transformed the political advertising world with its reversal on targeting
- ‘Governments are going to mandate’ fact-checking on Facebook: AAP boss
- Snapchat CEO says his company fact-checks political ads, unlike Facebook
- How social media set the agenda in the first impeachment hearing
- How the Washington Post’s TikTok became an unofficial 2020 campaign stop
- Arab Twitter: A tool for #freespeech or #surveillance?
- Christian Porter calls for Facebook and Twitter to be treated as publishers
- Twitter: Tory ‘fact check’ account misled
Privacy and data
- Why my friend became a grocery store on Instagram
- Americans and privacy: concerned, confused and feeling lack of control over their personal information
- Google and Facebook’s data collection models are a threat to human rights, Amnesty International says
- YouTube’s FTC-mandated rules for kids content infuriate creators
Cybersecurity and safety
- Is social media damaging to children and teens? We asked five experts
- Instagram cracks down on app that allowed users to stalk private profiles
- WhatsApp fixes bug that would have let hackers exploit devices using MP4 files
- Scam ‘healers’ are targeting online spiritual communities
- Disney+ accounts are being stolen and sold online
Society and culture
- Social media is helping those in rural communities feel less alone
- Tired of the social media void? Try connecting over poetry
- @lastmanstanley, TikTok’s weirdest creator, explains his process
- Inside the most watched YouTube channel in the world
- Teens are calling themselves “ugly” on TikTok. It’s not as depressing as you think.
- How ASMR videos went from a niche ‘tingle’ subculture to mainstream memes
- The Vanlifer who broke YouTube
- The moms of TikTok are deeply corny — and gloriously free
Extremism, trolling and hate speech
- Social media slurs could put Facebook in the courts under defamation push
- How machine learning can find extremists on social media
- Twitter to trolls: Say goodbye to your toxic lists
- Twitter under more pressure to ban white supremacists
- Women leaders driven offline and out of work by social media abuse
- Facebook gets about 500,000 reports of revenge porn a month, report says
- The behavior of 30,000 Reddit users shows we fundamentally misunderstand conspiracy theorists
Moderation and misinformation
- YouTube to update harassment and gaming policies, clarify changes to kids content
- Majority of anti-vaccine ads on Facebook were funded by two groups
- Pinterest has a new plan to address self-harm
- Every social media company should copy Pinterest’s newest feature
- So…Facebook’s got a boob problem
- Inside LGBTQ vloggers’ class-action ‘censorship’ suit against YouTube
Marketing, media, advertising and PR
- The overlooked purchase power of Pinterest
- Snapchat introduces extended play commercials
- How Conde Nast plans to make money from Instagram TV
- Ad buyers to TikTok: Make it easier to buy ads
- YouTube is working to bring advertising to edgier content as demonetization woes grow
- Social-media influencers: Incomes soar amid growing popularity
- Social Buzz: why isn’t social media marketing as much fun as it used to be?
- Just putting it out there: I’m a sucker for influencer marketing
- An 8-year-old made US$22 million on YouTube, but most social media influencers are like unpaid interns
- Facebook launches new safety tools for advertisers as criticism continues over false political ads
- You might be able to schedule tweets from Twitter’s web app starting today
- Facebook brings Stories to Facebook Dating
- TikTok tests social commerce
- Snapchat will invest $750,000 for AR influencers to create new AR lenses
- Snapchat Spectacles 3 Review: even smarter smart glasses
- Are Instagram captions more powerful than pics?
- Facebook is quietly testing an Instagram feed-like feature
Facebook’s Libra and Calibra
- Facebook’s Libra code chugs along ignoring regulatory deadlock
- Tech companies vying to be the next banks are facing trust issues
Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast
This week: calling bullshit, sexist credit cards and death predictions with Jevin West. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.
Our guest this week: Associate Professor Jevin West
The stories this week
Other stories we bring up