Digital Digest wc 26th November 2018
30th November 2018
Another rough week for Facebook
Things started badly for the world's largest social media platform...and arguably got worse.
After the New York Times exposed an alleged dirty tricks campaign, it was the turn of the UK Government to lay into Facebook. In an unprecedented move, Damian Collins, Chair of the culture, media and sport select committee compelled a consultant working for Facebook to hand over sensitive internal documents relating to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The seizure, reported by the Guardian, marks the increasing hostility between the UK's regulators and the US tech giant. Collins justified his actions, saying: “This is an unprecedented move but it’s an unprecedented situation. We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest.”
But then, on Tuesday...
The culture, media and sport select committee fired another shot across the bows of Facebook, this time targeting its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The UK, along with parliamentarians from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia and Singapore signed a joint declaration on 'the Principles of the Law Governing the Internet'.
The declaration puts on record concern about the corrosive impact of fake news on democratic processes. Given Facebook's recent issues, it was no great surprise they singled out Zuckerberg for special treatment.
Back in the US, an internal memo penned by former employee Mark Luckie went public, in which he argued Facebook is 'failing its black employees and black users'.
As we head towards the end of 2018, it would appear that the crises buffeting the company is taking its toll on staff morale. Hannah Kuchler, the FT San Francisco correspondent, examines what Facebook might be able to do in order to steady things in 2019.
Mixed fortunes for other big techs
Every cloud has a silver lining....
Did we reach 'peak Apple' when the iphone maker became the first company to break the trillion dollar valuation mark?
Well maybe so, with Microsoft's market valuation rising above that of Apple's for the first time in eight years this week. This might not be an isolated occurrence, according to the Financial Times, with Lex arguing that Microsoft vs Apple may be the tech equivalent of the Tortoise and the Hare.
Apple's mastery of design, innovation and marketing has always caught the public's imagination. But with sales of iphones slowing at a time when most businesses are yet to transfer their data to the cloud, industry observers think they can see which company has more room for growth in the future.
Dara Uber Alles
2018 has been a torrid year for many of Silicon Valley's leading lights.
The Information argues that if there has been one winner it is Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi. In its opinion, it's not that Uber faces easier problems to deal with necessarily than other tech titans, but rather Dara's style of leadership seems to be just the tonic for turning round internal morale, investor sentiment and public opinion.
The positive capital Dara seems to be building up will certainly come in useful for Uber, who this week received a £385,000 fine from the Information Commissioner's Office for its significant 2016 data breach.
The ride-hailing company also suffered a set back in its attempt to buy Deliveroo, the UK food delivery app. The crux of the matter looks to be the valuation Deliveroo is looking for. FT Lex argues that Uber is better off growing the market instead of taking out a competitor.
Spotify's Wrapped campaigns are becoming a major thing
The John Lewis Christmas ad may still be what defines our collective Christmas, but Spotify's Wrapped campaigns are fast becoming a major feature too.
Now in its 3rd year, the campaign draws upon user data during the year to create billboards as catchy as their playlists. Wired explores the campaign's popularity and the company's approach to data privacy.