Mark Zuckerberg

I ran digital ads for a presidential campaign, and Twitter is right to ban them

Aaron Bartnick Contributor Share on Twitter Aaron Bartnick (@AaronBartnick) served as Digital Director for Congressman Seth Moulton’s presidential campaign. He is currently completing graduate studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. As the digital director for Congressman Seth Moulton’s 2020 presidential campaign, I was responsible for everything the campaign did on the internet: the emails you claim to hate, the videos we hoped would go viral, the online infrastructure that supported organizers in the field, and more. But our biggest investment of both time and money, by far, was in digital advertising. For our campaign and many others, digital ads were the single biggest expense outside of payroll. Yet these ads are terrible for campaigns, toxic for democracy and are even ba...

Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage

Jessica Alter Contributor Share on Twitter Jessica Alter is co-founder and chairman of Tech for Campaigns, an organization building the lasting tech and digital arm for Democrats and has helped over 200 campaigns on this front since 2017. Jack Dorsey’s announcement that Twitter will no longer run political ads because “political messages reach should be earned, not bought” has been welcomed as a thoughtful and statesmanlike contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s greedy acceptance of “political ads that lie.” While the 240-character policy sounds compelling, it’s both flawed in principle and, I fear, counterproductive in practice.  First: like it or hate it, the U.S. political system is drowning in money. In 2018, a non-presidential year, it is estimated that over $9B was spent on the...

Twitter’s political ads ban is a distraction from the real problem with platforms

Sometimes it feels as if Internet platforms are turning everything upside down, from politics to publishing, culture to commerce, and of course swapping truth for lies. This week’s bizarro reversal was the vista of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a tech CEO famed for being entirely behind the moral curve of understanding what his product is platforming (i.e. nazis), providing an impromptu ‘tweet storm’ in political speech ethics. Actually he was schooling Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — another techbro renowned for his special disconnect with the real world, despite running a massive free propaganda empire with vast power to influence other people’s lives — in taking a stand for the good of democracy and society. So not exactly a full reverse then. In short,...

Facebook shares rise on strong Q3, users up 2% to 2.45B

Despite ongoing public relations crises, Facebook kept growing in Q3 2019, demonstrating that media backlash does not necessarily equate to poor business performance. Facebook reached 2.45 billion monthly users, up 1.65%, from 2.41 billion in Q2 2019 when it grew 1.6%, and it now has 1.62 billion daily active users, up 2% from 1.587 billion last quarter when it grew 1.6%. Facebook scored $17.652 billion of revenue, up 29% year-over-year, with $2.12 in earnings per share. Facebook’s earnings beat expectations compared to Refinitiv’s consensus estimates of $17.37 billion in revenue and $1.91 earnings per share. Facebook’s quarter was mixed compared to Bloomberg’s consensus estimate of $2.28 EPS. Facebook earned $6 billion in profit after only racking up $2.6 billion l...

In Mark Zuckerberg’s World, “Provenance” Means Nothing

Mark Zuckerberg (via Wikimedia Commons) To the supreme ruler of Facebook, nothing is sacred. Especially not language. During a summit at the Paley Center last week, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg gave a 40-minute address on his company’s latest innovation: Facebook News. Seated next to Zuckerberg was another media giant, Robert Thomson, the chief executive of News Corp — Rupert Murdoch’s conglomerate-empire that owns the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the Daily Telegraph, among other major outlets. About 10 minutes through his sermon, Zuckerberg arrived at a thesis — and a word of interest: “Provenance has been one of the key things I think we’ve talked about for years, the importance for people to know where the information is coming from … so that they establish that base ...

Facebook staff demand Zuckerberg limit lies in political ads

Submit campaign ads to fact checking, limit microtargeting, cap spending, observe silence periods or at least warn users. These are the solutions Facebook employees put forward in an open letter pleading with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company leadership to address misinformation in political ads. The letter, obtained by The New York Times’ Mike Isaac, insists that “Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing . . . Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for.” The letter was posted to Facebook’s internal collaboration forum a few weeks ago. Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies. The sentiments echo what I called for in a TechCrunch opinion piece on October 13th calling...

Mark Zuckerberg makes the case for Facebook News

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed cheerful and even jokey when he took the stage today in front of journalists and media executives (at one point, he described the event as “by far the best thing” he’d done this week), he acknowledged that there are reasons for the news industry to be skeptical. Facebook, after all, has been one of the main forces creating a difficult economic reality for the industry over the past decade. And there are plenty of people (including our own Josh Constine) who think it would be foolish for publishers to trust the company again. For one thing, there’s the question of how Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes different types of content, and how changes to the algorithm can be enormously damaging to publishers. “We can do a...

Daily Crunch: Zuckerberg has thoughts on free speech

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Zuckerberg on Chinese censorship: Is that the internet we want? The Facebook CEO spoke yesterday at Georgetown University, sharing his thoughts on speech and “how we might address the challenges that more voice and the internet introduce, and the major threats to free expression around the world.” Among his arguments: China is exporting its social values, political ads are an important part of free expression and the definition of dangerous speech must be kept in check. 2. Atlassian acquires Code Barrel, makers of Automation for Jira Sydney-based Code Barrel was founded by two of the fir...

An interview with Dr. Stuart Russell, author of “Human Compatible, Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control”

(UC Berkeley’s Dr. Stuart Russell’s new book, “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control, goes on sale Oct. 8. I’ve written a review, “Human Compatible” is a provocative prescription to re-think AI before it’s too late,” and the following in an interview I conducted with Dr. Russell in his UC Berkeley office on September 3, 2019.) “Human Compatible” is a provocative prescription to re-think AI before it’s too late Ned Desmond: Why did you write Human Compatible? Dr. Russell: I’ve been thinking about this problem – what if we succeed with AI? – on and off since the early 90s. The more I thought about it, the more I saw that the path we were on doesn’t end well. (AI Researcher...

How ‘the Internet broke America’ with The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz

When Elizabeth Warren took on Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook earlier this week, it was a low moment for what New Yorker writer Andrew Marantz calls “techno-utopianism.” That the progressive, populist Massachusetts Senator and leading Democratic Presidential candidate wants to #BreakUpBigTech is not surprising. But Warren’s choice to spotlight regulating and trust-busting Facebook was nonetheless noteworthy, because of what it represents on a philosophical level. Warren, along with like-minded political leaders, social activists, and tech critics, has begun to offer the first massively popular alternative to the massively popular wave of aggressive optimism and “genius” ambition that characterized tech culture for the past decade or two. “No,” Warren and others seem to say, “your vision is no...

PayPal is the first company to drop out of the Facebook-led Libra Association

PayPal has become the first company to walk away officially from Facebook’s Libra, a cryptocurrency and related association that it announced earlier this year with a chain of nearly 30 big names behind the effort to help build and operate services around it. “PayPal has made the decision to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations,” PayPal said in an emailed statement to TechCrunch. “We remain supportive of Libra’s aspirations and look forward to continued dialogue on ways to work together in the future. Facebook has been a longstanding and valued strategic partner to PayPal,...

Leaked Audio of Mark Zuckerberg Details Facebook’s Plan to Use Its TikTok Clone, Lasso, to Upend the Chinese Upstart

A leaked recording of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking to employees in July has revealed the social networking giant’s potential strategy when dealing with competitors, specifically the popular TikTok app. In a transcript of the recorded meeting, which The Verge first reported, a Facebook worker asked Zuckerberg about Facebook’s “plan of attack” on the video-sharing app, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, which currently maintains a private valuation of about $75 billion.   TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity with younger users who use the service to film themselves lip-syncing along to songs, and has been downloaded roughly 950 million times since it debuted two year ago. The rise of TikTok has not been lost on Zuckerberg, who noted that the app is “really the first consumer i...

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