An article by Max Read at New York Magazine made the rounds on Twitter this week: How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually
(Web). A lot of the issues Read brings up, like deepfakes, fake subscribers, and state-sponsored trolls, are both real and important; but what my feed seemed to focus on is that “The numbers are all fking fake, the metrics are bullshit”
(Twitter). I think that’s the wrong thing to take away form Read’s article. On a technical level, the only way to get perfect metrics for video views or detect advanced fake click botnets is to collect even more
, even creepier
personal data than many tech companies already do. Is this really the direction in which we want to push Silicon Valley? Although I have a few other issues with Read’s piece (some of the ways he “debunks” tech companies’ statements don’t really hold up), I’d love to hear what you all think of the article.
Speaking of privacy: The New York times had a big exposé on Facebook’s data sharing practices with other big tech companies. For example, the report claimed that Netflix and Spotify had read, write and delete access to users’ Messenger messages. This sounds outrageous, but in reality the integrations were just there for old, no longer available features for those apps to let users send messages without leaving the app. Because of that, I recommend reading Will Oremus’ take on this at Slate:
The real problem turned up by the Times’ reporting is that Facebook failed to pull the plug on this type of access until last year, even though many of the integrations had been abandoned years earlier. But that sloppiness, while inexcusable, isn’t the part that made headlines. What it does mean is that every Facebook privacy misstep from here on out is likely to be viewed as more villainous than it really is, including by people who have the power to do something about it.
Read the full pieces here:
Frederico Viticci at MacStories published his must-have iOS apps for 2018. My favorites from his list are Working Copy (a git client) and Pythonista (a Python interpreter). Check it out: My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2018 Edition
Sony is ramping up production of its 3D smartphone cameras, which use laser dot projections to measure distances to objects up to five meters away from the sensor. Huawei’s next generation of phones will use them, and Sony is hoping that more will follow suit. It’d be cool to see what sort of stuff app developers do with this if the sensor reaches a high enough level of penetration in the market. Yuji Nakamura’s report at Bloomberg: Sony Boosts 3D Camera Output After Interest From Phone Makers