Big Tech takes on Germany

“It’s problematic if people’s data are stored and transferred when they don’t constitute a crime, but the platforms that are suing have many other privacy issues,” he added.

Legal experts expect the DSA’s EU-wide regulations could come before the lawsuits reach their end, replacing Germany’s own content law. They warned that the German case could send a strong signal to negotiators about the potential future legal battles Big Tech might take on to erode the DSA.

“Negotiators will pretty much notice that that there’s a big, big data protection elephant waiting in the room and if they are too — let’s say — data insensitive, this would be a problem later on,” said Kettemann.

Lawmakers in Brussels are working on a similar but narrower guideline, requiring not just social media platforms but all hosting services to contact and provide “all relevant information” to law enforcement or judicial authorities over potentially serious criminal offenses that could lead to life-threatening situations.

This is what you get when you legislate so that private companies don’t just turn over data when there’s actual legal reason to but more and more proactively, essentially chipping in law enforcement. It’s ridiculous as governments seem willing to do anything so that they’re not accused of adding to their bureaucratic bloat, regardless of context and circumstance, as if “smaller government” is or should be the answer to everything.

Facebook loses users for first time ever, market cap drops by $200 billion

App Tracking Transparency

There was even bad news buried in the bad news. CFO Dave Wehner said that the hit from iOS’s App Tracking Transparency feature was a best guess. “We’re just estimating what we think is the overall impact of the cumulative iOS changes to where the 2022 revenue forecast is,” he said. “If you aggregate the changes that we’re seeing on iOS, that’s the order of magnitude. We can’t be precise on this. It’s an estimate.”

In other words, Meta, a company built on gathering and analyzing user data, doesn’t have a good handle on how many of its iOS users have enabled ATT.

I’d say this is proof ATT works as intended.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek defends Joe Rogan deal in tense company town hall

Joining Ek in-person at the company’s new Los Angeles headquarters, dubbed “Pod City,” were: Dustee Jenkins, Spotify’s head of global communications and public relations; Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising business officer; Gustav Söderström, chief R&D officer; and Paul Vogel, CFO.

Um. Same person in charge of content and advertising? Galaxy brain move there.

Ek reframed the conversation, both in his speech and external press release on Sunday, around the idea that Spotify is a platform — pure distribution technology for various audio creators to use without input from Spotify on what they share. He explained why he doesn’t consider Spotify a publisher of JRE, meaning it would assume editorial responsibility for what Rogan and his guests say. “I understand the premise that because we have an exclusive deal with him, it’s really easy to conclude we endorse every word he says and believe the opinions expressed by his guests. That’s absolutely not the case,“ he said. Spotify doesn’t “fit neatly into just one category,” Ek says. “We’re defining an entirely new space of tech and media. We’re a very different kind of company, and the rules of the road are being written as we innovate.”

The law isn’t being written as you “innovate” though and it’s not rocket science when you’re playing with whether you are a platform or a publisher.

“A publisher has editorial control over a creator’s content — they can take action on the content before it’s even published,” he says, like editing episodes, removing guests, or preventing one from publishing at all. Ek noted that Spotify does have editorial control over the properties it owns outright, like The Ringer and Gimlet, but emphasized the distinction between those studios and Rogan. “Even though JRE is an exclusive, it is licensed content. It is important to note that we do not have creative control over Joe Rogan’s content. We don’t approve his guests in advance, and just like any other creator, we get his content when he publishes, and then we review it, and if it violates our policies, we take the appropriate enforcement actions.”

The lack of editorial control per their deal with Joe Rogan, is Spotify’s problem, not anyone else’s as they decided to a) pay him money and b) host podcasts on their own servers which of course means they’re taking up some liability whether they like it or not.

Ek responded with the same messaging he employed earlier but added that “exclusivity does not equal endorsement” and said the solution to this problem might be signing more exclusives: “The real thing here is to try to go for an even broader set of exclusives that represent even more voices.”

The solution to this is to make up your mind about whether you want to be a platform or a publisher, soft (without editorial control) or not (with editorial control). Trying to act as somewhat of a publisher hoping to retain all immunities that come with being a platform isn’t a policy, it’s —at best— a fantasy that should never come to be.

Ek stuck with the message, though, ending his speech with a word of encouragement to employees: consider the company mission.

“So I think ultimately, this really comes down to two things. First, do we believe in our mission: 50 million creators and 1 billion users? And finally, are we willing to consistently enforce our policies on even the loudest and most popular voices on the platform? And I’m telling you, I believe both.”

And we happen to believe in the law. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

The Internet Is Just Investment Banking Now

Forget the hype around all things crypto. Set aside, for a moment, whether it makes sense to spend a fortune on an ape picture. Those matters are distractions. Let’s call things what they are: NFTs represent a first step in the securitization of digital assets. They turn digital data into speculative financial instruments. That shift has enormous implications because computers are in everything, and that makes anything a digital asset—your bank records, your Fitbit data, rings of your smart doorbell, a sentiment analysis of your work email, you name it. First the internet made it easy for people to conduct their lives online. Then it made it possible to monetize the attention generated by that online life. Now the digital exhaust of all that life online is poised to become an asset class for speculative investment, like stocks and commodities and mortgages.

NFTs might burn out, the crypto-collectible equivalent of Beanie Babies. But the more likely scenario is weirder and scarier: a securities market for digital data. Financiers, who previously turned everything, whether loans or hurricanes or payroll data, into bets, will likely go to town on all this fodder. But ordinary people may also become fledgling financiers of their—or others’—computer records. It is, in a way, the most honest turn of the internet epoch. From the start, online businesses have presented themselves as making culture, even as they really aimed to build financial value.

Now, at last, the wealth seeking is printed on the tin.

This is, by far, the most depressing scenario I’ve come across so far.

Analysing the major mobile game design and feature trends in 2021

The popular card game Phase 10: World Tour introduced renovation elements in its Halloween event, allowing players to construct and renovate their own Halloween theme park. Solitaire TriPeaks lets you renovate and clean up your estate on the Enchanted Island (main game environment) outside of the main card game, while the casino game Caesars Slots uses renovation elements in its Fortune Palace event.

Just combine the most addictive elements and you’re golden.

So why is this system suddenly getting so popular in mobile games? It’s a psychological pay-off to players when they’ve got something to show for all of the hours they’re investing in a game. Similar to renovation elements — in the sense that you’re continually working towards something more significant — collectable elements keep players engaged with games for longer by encouraging them to grow their collection of items.

Because in casino games the most important thing to be showing off is decorations. Just like in real casinos, right?

We never thought we’d see a Pokémon MOBA game in 2021, as we know that MOBAs are hard to monetize due to their lack of pay-to-win features.

Anything can be a weakness under a certain light, so of course being inhospitable a genre to pay-to-win features is a bummer in some circles.