WeeklyTech #89

The Disconnect of the Digital Life: How Social Media is Shaping Us and Can Impede Our Witness

Recently, I was reading a book and was impressed by the scholar’s careful exposition, nuanced approach, and charitable engagement with critics. Naturally, in the age of social media, I decided to look up the author online and was surprised by what I found. It seemed that the scholar was acting a certain way on one medium and a different way on the other. Social media tends to tempt a number of us to post things that we would never publish in a book, much less say in person to another human being.

The Rundown

Free expression in the digital age: Highlights from an expert discussionMark Jamison | AEI

Protecting us against government suppression of speech is not enough to secure meaningful free speech when so many powerful private-sector individuals and institutions are exercising speech-suppressive power that, as a practical matter, is beyond constitutional constraints.

The new lawsuit that shows facial recognition is officially a civil rights issue Tate Ryan-Mosley | MIT Technology Review

On January 9, 2020, Detroit police drove to the suburb of Farmington Hill and arrested Robert Williams in his driveway while his wife and young daughters looked on. Williams, a Black man, was accused of stealing watches from Shinola, a luxury store. He was held overnight in jail.

You can finally ask Facebook’s oversight board to remove bad posts. Here’s how.Rebecca Heilweil | Vox

Starting Tuesday, Facebook and Instagram users have a new way to try to get offending Facebook posts removed. The oversight board, a court-like body that the company has created to handle its trickiest content moderation decisions, has announced that users can now appeal decisions made by Facebook to leave posts up.

U.S. House committee approves blueprint for Big Tech crackdownDiane Bartz | Reuters

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee formally approved a report accusing Big Tech companies of buying or crushing smaller firms, Representative David Cicilline’s office said in a statement on Thursday. With the approval during a marathon, partisan hearing, the more than 400-page staff report will become an official committee report, and the blueprint for legislation to rein in the market power of the likes of Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O).

Europe eyes strict rules for artificial intelligenceMelissa Heikkilä | Politico

According to a draft of its upcoming rules, obtained by POLITICO, the European Commission would ban certain uses of “high-risk” artificial intelligence systems altogether, and limit others from entering the bloc if they don’t meet its standards.

Antitrust and Privacy Are on a Collision CourseGilad Edelman | Wired

In December, the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of states filed antitrust lawsuits against Facebook, alleging that as the company grew more dominant and faced less competition, it reneged on its promises to protect user privacy. In March, a different coalition of states, led by Texas,  accused Google of exclusionary conduct related to its plan to get rid of third-party cookies in Chrome.