Big Tech, Big Insurrection, Big Questions
By now, you’ve heard that the tech giants have pulled the plug on Trump, his allies, and sites like Parler that have been breeding grounds for radicalization, white nationalism, conspiracy theories, and the planning of violent riots. Pick up your whack-a-mole mallets. On Telegram, White Nationalists Are Trying to Radicalize Those Fleeing Parler (Mother Jones). The scale is staggering – Millions Flock to Telegram and Signal as Fears Grow Over Big Tech (NYT).
Vox explains how Parler went offline, and how it might come back and WIRED details how an Absurdly Basic Bug Let Anyone Grab All of Parler’s Data.
Another hair-puller – Buzzfeed reports that Facebook Has Been Showing Military Gear Ads Next To Insurrection Posts [screams into pillow]. While Vox notes Amazon is removing some right-wing militia and QAnon merchandise.
In a ‘tweetstorm’ Jack Dorsey said the Trump ban reflected ‘a failure’ to police online discourse (WaPo). And that while “this moment in time might call for this dynamic, over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.” WIRED’s Jen Golbeck says There’s No Excuse to Ignore Warnings of Domestic Terrorism.
Big tech joins a growing list of big banks and major corporations in the reckoning over political spending (NPR). And perhaps looking for brownie points, Apple announces new projects related to its $100 million pledge for racial equity and justice. (TechCrunch)
As miraculous and speedy as the development of the Covid-19 vaccines has been, there are still some key uncertainties. Quartz, among others, asks “Can you spread Covid-19 if you get the vaccine?” The new, more infectious strain is evolving (Reuters) and experts say that 50% of the U.S. needs to be vaccinated before the infection rate starts to change (Fast Company).
As for distribution, dosing, and stretching supplies? Scientists are divided over strategies and experts are worried (Nature / Fast Company). Some crafty (ie. questionable) researchers are taking a DIY coronavirus vaccine, and nobody knows if it’s legal or if it works (MIT Tech Review).
Fast Company reports tech giants want to help you prove you’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19. You’ll forgive my skepticism.
Some nice news: Dollar General is stepping up as an example of how companies should honor their frontline workers by removing barriers and paying them for the necessary time off to get vaccinated.
Don’t Forget About That Other Crisis
With all of the five-alarm fires burning around us and choking our newsfeeds, it’s easy to forget about the slow-burn existential crisis on our hands. Correction, quicker-than-we-realize-burn. The Copernicus Climate Change Service shows that 2020 Ties 2016 as Hottest Yet and U.S. Disaster Costs Doubled in 2020.