Quick question. Which is worse for “democracy” and “discourse”: A prominent public figure, with a large following composed mainly of increasingly enraged (and generally well-armed) members of America’s dominant but shrinking ethnic majority, spending months issuing vocal and repeated calls for the elimination of certain religious and ethnic outgroups from the body politic; or the act of “unfriending” people with annoying or offensive beliefs on a social networking platform? The answer—or, at least, one Washington Post writer’s answer—may surprise you.
A group of 15-20 people wearing black clothes and hoods attacked the building housing Facebook’s offices in Hamburg, Germany, police said in a statement Saturday. Reuters reports that the vandals smashed glass, threw paint, and sprayed “Facebook dislike” on a wall. A Facebook spokesman said no one was injured.
In a savvy PR maneuver, today Mark Zuckerberg used the birth of his daughter Max to advertise to the world the fact that he’s decided to give away 99% of his Facebook shares (roughly $45 billion today) to charity (over the course of the rest of his life, not all at once). It sounds angelic, but it will probably end up being, mostly, a big waste.
The US Navy has chosen Facebook COO and corporate feminism brand ambassador Sheryl Sandberg to christen its newest attack submarine, the Virginia-class USS Massachusetts. “According to navy lore, sponsors are said to imbue a ship with their personalities,” the Associated Press reports. Lean in, sailor!
If you’ve ever used iMessage, the proprietary messaging platform for Apple devices such as the iPhone, you’ve probably developed an opinion (or a refined lack of opinion) about its “read receipts” feature. They’re based on a simple idea—what if you could automatically notify people that you had seen their messages?—yet have slowly become iMessage’s most controversial and divisive function. The app’s read receipts are the inspiration for unending teenage drama, the subject of ongoing public debate among professional writers, and the not-so-secret source of anxiety for many Millennial adults.
As every website has been attempting to inform you since 2012, copy-pasting several paragraphs of dense legal voodoo onto your Facebook wall does not somehow exempt you from the terms of service that bind all Facebook users. If Facebook decides it wants to start using your content in some way you don’t like, your legal options include: don’t put that content on Facebook. Or: stop using Facebook altogether. If you won’t believe us, please believe John Oliver.
The annual ritual of everyone you know sharing a meaningless copyright disclaimer on Facebook has begun again. And, just in case you didn’t get the message the first half-dozen times this has happened, you can’t opt yourself out of Facebook’s terms of service or change what they’re allowed to do with your content by copy-pasting some pseudo-legal boilerplate into your timeline.