Developers Complain as App Store Feature Promotes Rip-Off Apps

One of the apps, called “Jelly: Slime Simulator, ASMR,” features a $13 per week subscription to get past its paywall, amounting to $676 per year. Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines state (with emphasis our own):

If we can’t understand how your app works or your in-app purchases aren’t immediately obvious, it will delay your review and may trigger a rejection. And while pricing is up to you, we won’t distribute apps and in-app purchase items that are clear rip-offs. We’ll reject expensive apps that try to cheat users with irrationally high prices.

This rule in practically unenforcible as there is no universal understanding of a clear limit between predatory and non-predatory pricing. Which is why legal systems tend to tell the difference by the effect of such pricing, not an absolute monetary value.

That said, highlighting an app in the App Store is editorial work that requires someone to make a conscious choice. In this space Apple could showcase its own set of values as a body of people and just avoid pushing apps that employ such tactics.

Xsolla fires 150 employees using big data and AI analysis, CEO’s letter causes controversy

“You received this email because my big data team analyzed your activities in Jira, Confluence, Gmail, chats, documents, dashboards and tagged you as unengaged and unproductive employees. In other words, you were not always present at the workplace when you worked remotely.”

Because, apparently, it’s not about the quality of the work you turn in but about the impression you give off while working on it.

Aleksandr Agapitov, CEO and founder of Xsolla, held a press conference and explained that the mass layoffs are due to the fact that the company has stopped showing 40% growth.

Then again, it’s not even about that now, is it?

She risked everything to expose Facebook. Now she’s telling her story.

But despite her repeated attempts to push for more resources, leadership cited different priorities. They also dismissed Zhang’s suggestions for a more sustainable solution, such as suspending or otherwise penalizing politicians who were repeat offenders. It left her to face a never-ending firehose: The manipulation networks she took down quickly came back, often only hours or days later. “It increasingly felt like I was trying to empty the ocean with a colander,” she says.

Notice the talk about suspending or penalising politicians who where repeat offenders. I’m always annoyed by how casually these scenarios are treated. Elected officials can surely be assholes (as pretty much everywhere in the world already knows) but it’s not up to a platform to substitute the law. Politicians should be reported to the authorities in such cases. A crime is a crime under the law. The more we use platform rules as legal substitutes the more we dig ourself into our collective hole.

You think I’m too skeptical? Keep reading.

On her last day, hours after she posted her memo internally, Facebook deleted it (though they later restored an edited version after widespread employee anger). A few hours later, an HR person called her, asking her to also remove a password-protected copy she had posted on her personal website. She tried to bargain: she would do so if they restored the internal version. The next day, instead, she received a notice from her hosting server that it had taken down her entire website after a complaint from Facebook. A few days after that, it took down her domain as well.

This is an employer that took down a website on the grounds that it hosted a password-protected copy of a memo it the company finds objectionable. And not only that, but did the extra step and took down the domain as well. This kind of behaviour is what keeps me skeptical. And yet Facebook took her memo down internally, faced backlash, reinstated it but in… edited form. So, no, I don’t expect and, honestly, I don’t want a platform being the arbiter for things we have laws for.

It was in keeping with a sacrifice she’d repeatedly made when policing election interference globally. She treated all politicians equally, even when removing the fake activity of one in Azerbaijan inevitably boosted an opponent who espoused homophobia. “I did my best to protect democracy and rule of law globally for people, regardless of whether they believed me to be human,” she says with a deep sigh. “But I don’t think anyone should have to make that choice.”

Here I took exception to the journalist’s characterisation of what constitutes sacrifice. Zhang absolutely did the right thing. Not disregarding the law when it’s to be applied to someone you don’t like, someone that hates you, someone that you oppose etc. is the point, not a sacrifice. Which is also why the problem with, say, trans rights, isn’t that they’re no laws protecting them but that someone ignores that the law affords the same rights to every citizen and that, by definition, includes trans citizens. Having the Press imply that honouring the rule of law when faced with disagreeable people is a sacrifice can only corrode belief in the same rule of law that protects the freedom of the Press.

So, yes, no one should have to make that choice. But everyone should try to think like Zhang when faced with such a choice.

Google+ class action starts paying out $2.15 for G+ privacy violations

This first Google+ data leak was active from 2015 to 2018 and allowed developers full access to the data from Google+’s “People” API, even for private profiles. This meant any developer could grab any Google+ profile info you’ve filled out, including your name, birthday, gender, email, relationship status, occupation, and a list of the places you’ve lived. Two months later, Google announced a second Google+ privacy bug that again exposed this People API data, but this time for a whopping 52.5 million users. The case was later expanded to cover all these people.

Personal data was leaked, the company knew and lied for years and for this breach in trust and security ends up paying out $2.15 per capita. Imagine an actual person sneaking off with your personal information and that person making it up to you in the with $2.15. Fair, no?