Alexander Dolhun is an intern with MRC TechWatch.
Alexander Dolhun is an intern with MRC TechWatch department. This is his first summer in D.C., and is pursuing an Economics degree with a minor in Law Foundations at The Ohio State University. After college Alex is looking to either continue his career in political journalism, work in law, or he will pursue a career in the financial industry.
Latest from Alexander Dolhun
A July 15 Facebook post from Webster complained that Sheriff Ed Gonzalez does nothing about the “criminal illegal immigrants” that inhabit Harris County, Texas. Shortly after posting, Gonzalez came out with a Tweet saying he “just got suspended from Facebook for seven days.”
As of July 15, Facebook will likely be facing a 5 billion dollar fine from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for privacy issues caused by the scandal. USA Today says “the company had violated a consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that entered into in 2011.” The fine is being sent to the DOJ for final approval today.
Have you heard about Amazon’s Alexa? She may have heard you. Reports came out in April that full time contract workers for Amazon in the U.S., Costa Rica, and Romania have been listening up to 1,000 audio clips, some of them lasting up to nine hours.
On July 8, Wozniak did an interview with TMZ in the Reagan National Airport in D.C. where he expressed his Facebook privacy concerns. Wozniak told TMZ, “I worry because you’re having conversations that you think are private... You’re saying words that really shouldn’t be listened to, because you don’t expect it. But there’s almost no way to stop it.”
In a press release on July 8, Instagram announced a new content policy designed to stop “hate speech.” Users will be warned when they post a comment or an update that might be considered “offensive.” An algorithm would monitor content before posting
If Facebook’s reputation has lost a lot of luster these last few years, it’s not for a lack of effort from executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. In fact, the pair have become so “intertwined” with keeping up the company's image that they have hired hundreds of public relations employees to manage Facebook’s reputation.
The donation website GoFundMe canceled a fundraiser that supported South Bend, Indiana, police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill. On June 16, Sgt. O’Neill shot an African-American man named Erick Logan and claimed it was self-defense. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) posted a fundraiser, only to be accused by GoFundMe of trying to “defend a hate crime.” The platform removed the fundraiser on July 2 after notifying the FOP.
Retail companies feel threatened by the rise of tech monopolies. Walmart, Target, Best Buy and others wrote a 10 page letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on June 30. The letter begged the FTC to investigate Amazon and Google for antitrust violations. Business Insider says Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) was attempting to “capitalize on the growing hostility towards big tech in Washington D.C.”
The Washington Post doesn’t like President Trump, and it really doesn’t like his tweets. So it’s hardly surprising the Post’s editorial board would love a new Twitter policy that potentially could silence -- or at least quiet -- Trump’s account. A June 29 editorial recalls last year when Trump tweeted about the firing of former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman and called her a “lowlife.”
On June 26, Google and the University of Chicago’s medical center were hit with a lawsuit over what Jay Elelson, founder of law firm Edelson PC, says he believes is the “most significant health care data breach case in our nation’s history.”
President Donald Trump says he feels “lambasted” by big social media platforms. The president views what big tech companies [Google, Facebook, Twitter] do online as an effort to make it harder to “get the word out.” On June 25, Trump told Fox Business, “I’ll tell you what, they should be sued because what’s happening with the bias ... The hatred for the Republicans: It’s not even like ‘Gee! Let’s lean Democrat.”
Eric Cochran worked at Pinterest for nearly two years, creating open-source code for a variety of apps. But with a June 24 op-ed in Newsweek, he’s exposing the censorship skeletons in the platform’s closet. Cochran says he was an idealist who “wanted to do good” with the technology he created. “I thought Pinterest could be different from its sibling tech giants. I hoped Pinterest might be a tech company that respected its users and was honest with them.”
Ever wonder what tech giants do to keep their proprietary information in house and away from other tech companies just as savvy as they are? Microsoft is one company that has kept an eye out for this. “Microsoft has a list of online services that it forbids its workforce to use,” according to Mashable, reporting on a story originally from GeekWire. This list includes programs such as slack, Google Docs, Amazon Web Services, and any other outside web sources.
Bloomberg says “it’s unrealistic to expect the board’s decisions will happen with the speed necessary to police the internet.” In order for the board to be effective, it will have to serve like an appeals court, evaluating decisions that have already been made.
With federal investigations looming and President Donald Trump making statements in favor of regulation, Big Tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are being forced to weigh their options.
Social media sites are already pretty effective at silencing conservatives. You’d think they wouldn’t require more coordination with the Democrats to continue. But technology’s biggest corporations are joining together to make sure that media is “responsible”. It seems they want more control over what is posted on the internet and what will be available to the public.
Do you let your kids browse YouTube unsupervised? A lot of the people who work there don’t. According to a June 17 Bloomberg article, “Four people at [YouTube’s parent company] Google privately admitted that they don’t let their kids watch YouTube unsupervised and said the sentiment was widespread at the company.”
On June 16, Google chose to acknowledge Father’s Day with a gender-neutral doodle that an article from Summit News says “depicted a family which looked something like a cross between Teletubbies and ducks.”