From the Facebook engineers doing this while working on facial recognition to Peter Thiel going after Gawker while funding Palantir, this seems like a near universal double standard in tech today.
In this vain almost every company in business is a technology company. Almost every company has software developers and writes software products. I work at a bank as a software developer to further the business of the bank. Wisely, my employer clearly claims to be a bank and not a technology company.
Examples of technology companies are companies that sell technology as their end product like NVIDIA, Intel, AMD, Apple, Micron, and so forth.
In my eyes, Facebook is a company of software and hardware engineers. They produce software as a service. That sure sounds like a tech company.
If regulations are what you're after, new ones should be created for their specific business.
No Salesforce, Box, Slack, Zendesk - these are examples of SaaS companies. Customer pay for those services, the service is the product being sold. With FB the user is the product being sold.
Yes and you just illustrated my point. Advertisers aren't buying software from FB they're buying access to FB users.
This is not strictly true.
FB makes Workplace, which is a sort of Facebook for internal and cross-company collaboration (competing with Slack): https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2017/10/26/f...
It just also happens to be something you can sell to others too.
It's infrastructure that enables the rest.
A company that makes radio program, and generates revenue by selling ad spots, is a media company.
A company that makes TV programming, and generates revenue by selling ad spots, is a media company. It's in the same line of business as the radio company, even though the radio company doesn't have any soundstages or camera operators.
And guess what, both of those companies stay media companies even if they start streaming sound or video in a browser instead of on the TV. That's just replacing the distribution team, a rather small part of their business by headcount. They're still media companies, because they make money by selling ad space in content.
The distinguishing feature of facebook is that it takes user-generated content, and generates revenue by selling ad space. That's the "social" in social media, it's what makes social media different from traditional media. But the other part is the same: They generate revenue by selling ad space inside the content that they manage.
You're confusing the business model (advertising) and the medium (software).
On the clearly non-tech company side are those which purely consume off-the-shelf products. Your neighborhood bodega probably does most of its business through computerized cash register and credit card terminal, but is unambiguously not a technology company.
Then there's a vast middle ground where the company engages consultants and maybe a small in-house IT cost center to integrate and operate off-the-shelf products. Some of the more sophisticated players have unique enough requirements that they start to commission their own technology (or at least customizations to their existing SAP, Oracle, etc). This could be done internally or through contractors, but not as a core competency. Emphasis is on meeting requirements as specified by the business and at the lowest cost. Most banks would fit in this category. People who operate the line of business run the company; IT are support staff who occasionally automate the even-lower-status support staff.
Then there are companies whose core competency is R&D, whose technology teams proactively develop and augment products on their own initiative, whose leadership views R&D as an investment/competitive advantage/core of the business rather than as a cost of doing business. This tends to reflect in the social status and compensation of engineers. Engineers (and product and design engineering management) run the company; everyone else is support staff for whatever drudgery engineering hasn't automated yet. This is what we say when we mean "technology company."
But the only way to be a pure technology company is to license your tech to others to commercialize, and even then, by your logic, that would make you a patent licensing company. Most tech companies have a line of business. It could be advertising, entertainment, retail, transportation, trading... anything under the sun. The difference is how they go about it.
The closest Facebook gets to this is feed ranking, but that has no real resemblance to anything a traditional media company does.
I don't think being a company that makes money by advertising makes you a media company. Google Search makes money from advertising, but is even more clearly not a media company.
Google is an ad company... with hobbies.
(Microsoft is almost certainly a "software company" even though they sometimes make hardware, and while Apple does make it's own software, it is indisputably a "hardware company".)
almost 15% of google's revenue in q4 2017 was hardware/cloud/subscriptions. there's possibly a bump in hardware since it's q4, but 'in the realm of 99%' is not close at all. and this is trending upwards.
(yes yes, googler here)
I do wonder if that statistic will change enough for advertising not to be the core of Google's business though.
Google and their cloud offerings are a little different. For the most part Google is an advertising company with expensive hobbies but it's always possible they'll figure out how to add another 800lb gorilla to their portfolio.
In all seriousness, does it really matter if Facebook is a tech company vs a media company? Their primary focus and energy spent is on tech, so let's just call it what it is. I don't see the glamour in being labelled a tech company.
You mean like agriculture? Writing? Stone tools? :-)
Sure you might spell out what you're doing in your TOS, but if your advertising sells a different story and you let people believe that instead, is that behavior ethical? I don't think so.
For some people, however, this might feel acceptable.
It is a bit of a shame because of we can't act ethically ourselves, I fear clumsy regulations will be created to correct us. We should have done better with the power we had.
Ethicists’ and Nonethicists’ Responsiveness to Student E‐mails: Relationships Among Expressed Normative Attitude, Self‐Described Behavior, and Empirically Observed Behavior
I'm not trying to say that everyone needs college, especially not with the costs it takes. I'm only trying to question what it is about our industry that seems to make unethical behavior so acceptable.
I believe that almost anyone can learn to code if they're interested, but self-teaching doesn't necessarily show you why you shouldn't use that to overpowered others.
A few courses are not going to fix these problems by a long shot.
Peter Thiel, went to Stanford and got not only his BA there, but also a JD. Alex Karp has a JD from Stanford. Harvard MBAs care about one thing (hint: it isn't you). Construction and large infrastructure projects are rife with corruption. Our political system is corrupt. Barack Obama didn't stand up to the status quo of institutional behavior. Doctors prescribe opioids to white trash and speed to kids. Prosecutors are "tough on crime" solely for their own career advancement. The Milgram and Stanford prison experiments... This isn't confined to tech, or people without higher education.
These seem like very different things. Palantir is a massive investigation software tool like many other BI/Analytics tools. Palantir doesn’t collect data, but use data others collect. It’s like complaining because Excel is used to analyze the Facebook data.
Are there examples of Palantir collecting data? Or violating user privacy?
I think Palantir is mostly a joke, overpaid consultants selling subpar technology backed by slick salespeople and PowerPoints. Like IBM.
Peter Thiel though, seems like less of a hypocrite and more like someone who just says and does whatever he thinks is personally advantageous, and screw everyone who isn’t Peter a Thiel.
Or they are in it for the money and are lacking in ethical integrity.
Leaks, when they happen, are only harmful to the employees if FB doesn’t pledge to stand behind employees. Zuck didn’t fire Boz, so why should other FB employees fear if FB was so committed to free expression as a core principle?
A company’s values aren’t proven when they exist in a safe space. It’s only when values operate in the real world — withstanding public scrutiny and even outrage — that we can know the company’s principles.
Under that threat, real discussion and debate is not possible, so I think it’s wise of employees to censor themselves.
I can't believe how terribly the media is spinning this. Obviously it's not Facebook's fault or responsibility if that happens. I mean, should we just shut down the internet and have spies listen to every phone conversation and reading every (paper) letter sent, just so that we can be sure that there won't be any criminals using any communication tools? Live in a totalitarian distopia? Thanks, I'll take my dose of "terrorism" in exchange for freedom from tyranny.
Funny if you compare this with another quote from the Fb memo:
>The work we will likely have to do in China some day.
For goodness sake, at one point they partnered with media companies to automatically share every article you read with your friends. Absurd.
The actual message of that post SHOULD be expressed as "we believe the advantages of having people interacting on social fora outweigh the problems" ...
a) is obviously true
b) is very, very different from the statement that was picked and spread
And, I might add, we are switching into a political climate where people can no longer safely express themselves for fear of the consequences of offending the "majority" opinion. (between quotes because ... well because Trump got elected. Even if that view is really majority it isn't majority by much, obviously)
What baffles me is that progressives actually seem to think that doing these attacks will further their cause. It is blindingly obvious that all these progressive efforts destroy what we stand for:
fake news, and making online fora censor themselves
anti-racism and especially the constant doxxing (and worse) instead of protecting and engaging people with these racist opinions (yes, protecting. really)
and the repression of economic reality. The news about it, the facts ...
I don't understand how any of these are progressive. And yet, the democratic party is at the core of all these efforts, and many progressives I know participate in them. The net effect of them is almost fascist.
There’s plenty of ways to defend Facebook in this without constructing strawmen.
Or are they just "deleting" them like they do everything else?
Yes, it might be a bit serious. When the first lawsuit was filed, a lot of stuff went under legal hold. Ask the legal department if it is ok to delete. If they say yes, it's their neck on the line, not yours. CYA CYA CYA.
That's over and done with, and ended with a similar event. People deleting their internal posts, or even demanding useful internal fora being taken down entirely. Problem is that there are a number of controversial/racist ... but fact ... well, facts (and of course some of these fora contained cartoons from the 80s that are ... more than a little bit sexist, for example. In some cases posted by what are now important professors or administrators). And you simply cannot risk "being seen" saying them. Especially not have a published source for something like that with your name prominently next to it.
Now we're supposed to point out papers that point out the problematic facts and expect people to read them (and then finding that you can't say anything about them). We have a few anonymous forums, and a few private forums. Even there, you have the problem that some people might use these statements against you outside of these forums, but at least it can't be some random student, or worse an outside journalist (that's worse because firstly outside journalists, frankly, almost always don't know what they're talking about, and their works are widely read and can even affect the university as a whole). We actually dedicate 2-3 lessons to warning students about racial sensitivities, to push them to check their work and make sure it doesn't point out racial, or god forbid, cultural, differences.
But the sometimes violent opposition to facts are the truly bad parts. Facts that don't fit (this year's flavor of) the social justice narrative can destroy careers. In some cases literally statements from particularly "caring" students made a few years back come back to bite them now (one instance was a (long) comment made a few years back about "white trash" middle Americans being victims of capitalism. Now these people are perceived to have elected trump ... they're still poor and need help, but now they're evil)
Hell, someone got reprimanded for saying people with black skin really are more difficult to see at night. He meant, of course, in the context of getting a neural net to do it automatically (and let's be fair here: they are).
And we have a problem: there are massive differences in performance between white and black students, and we both must ... and can't ... discuss that. That difference, especially that one is not going away no matter what we do, and everyone in that meeting knows that everyone is just going to blame us (and we're already letting some people cheat more than a bit). Privately I've checked, assuming the name points to the religion, you can classify people into their religions based on their grades 96% correctly. So there's big differences in academic achievement "based on religion" (I would say attitudes finding their origin in religions influence academic outcomes more than a little bit).
Let me just say it here: different races ... are different. Different cultures ... are different. Unfortunately not just in skin color.
con: it’s worth every penny.