Platforms

Our working definition of a digital platform (with a hat tip to Harold Feld of Public Knowledge) is an online service that operates as a two-sided or multi-sided market with at least one side that is “open” to the mass market

What if Facebook Is the Real ‘Silent Majority’?

Listen, liberals. If you don’t think Donald Trump can get re-elected in November, you need to spend more time on Facebook. Since the 2016 election, I’ve been obsessively tracking how partisan political content is performing on Facebook, the world’s largest and arguably most influential media platform. Every morning, one of the first browser tabs I open is CrowdTangle — a handy Facebook-owned data tool that offers a bird’s-eye view of what’s popular on the platform. I check which politicians and pundits are going viral. I geek out on trending topics.

Tech's deepening split over ads and privacy

A new fight between Facebook and Apple over the mechanics of ad tech is surfacing an industry divide over user privacy and spotlighting longstanding dilemmas about the tracking and use of personal information online. Facebook warned advertisers jAug 27 that a coming change to Apple's iOS could devastate revenue for ads that sends users straight to the App Store to install an app — an approach that's used widely by developers including mobile game makers.

Facebook Says Apple’s New iPhone Update Will Disrupt Online Advertising

Facebook says privacy changes that Apple has made to its newest operating system will cripple Facebook’s ability to serve targeted ads to iPhone users while they use outside apps. The announcement, which Facebook made in a note to app developers, will affect its Audience Network business, which connects users’ Facebook identities with their off-platform activities. That enables the company to serve them ads on apps outside of Facebook’s. The changes go into effect with Apple’s new operating system for iPhone, called iOS14, which was released in beta form to developers recently.

Tech's 'Nightmare Scenario' for 2020

Social media companies say they’re preparing for a protracted battle against online misinformation come Election Day, particularly given there may not be an immediate winner. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity, said his nightmare scenario for the election is that bad actors use any delays in the outcome to stoke “fear, uncertainty and doubt” online. Unprecedented problems for an unprecedented election: “When we talk about the election, we talk about the leadup to election night, we talk about election day as a pivotal moment. This year is different,” Roth said.

Apple Judge ‘Inclined’ to Unblock Epic’s Unreal Engine But Not Fortnite

US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is “inclined” not to order Apple to immediately reinstate the Fortnite app as the companies faced off in their first courtroom showdown. Judge Gonzalez Rogers said that the dispute over Apple’s App Store isn’t a “slam dunk” for either side.

When regulators fail to reign in Big Tech, some turn to antitrust litigation

When it comes to keeping monopolists in check, the government has played the leading role, from President Teddy Roosevelt battling the railroad at the turn of the century to the Department of Justice taking on Microsoft in the 1990s.

New Digital Realities; New Oversight Solutions in the US

The digital marketplace is wide-reaching, complicated and self-reinforcing. The systems developed to oversee an earlier time are burdened by industrial era statutes and decades of precedent that render them insufficient for the digital present. In the absence of federal oversight, the dominant digital companies have made their own rules and imposed them on consumers and the market. Just as industrial capitalism operated—and thrived—under public interest obligations, so should internet capitalism be grounded in public interest expectations.

Trump’s Attacks on TikTok and WeChat Could Further Fracture the Internet

Trump-administration moves herald a new, more invasive American philosophy of tech regulation, one that hews closer to China’s protectionist one, though without the aims of censoring content and controlling the populace. The shift could hurt American internet giants like Facebook and Google, which have greatly benefited from the borderless digital terroir outside China, as well as Chinese internet giants like Tencent and Alibaba, which have tried to expand into the West.

Justice Department Disagreement Arises Over Possible Google Antitrust Suit

Some Justice Department staffers have expressed internal concerns over plans to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Google—and what they view as an aggressive timeline favored by Attorney General William Barr. The department has been moving toward bringing a lawsuit as soon as this summer, but some lawyers involved in the yearlong investigation have expressed a belief that the department doesn’t have a camera-ready case right now and needs more t

Apple cuts off Epic from its tools, endangering future Unreal Engine projects on iOS and Mac

Epic Games, locked in a legal battle with Apple and Google over developer payments, now says Apple is threatening to cut the company off from developer accounts and iOS and Mac development tools. This decision, expected to go into effect Aug. 28, might have widespread effects on App Store development.