Amid a barrage of public attacks on Apple from Facebook over privacy measures, Facebook employees have expressed their displeasure with the direction of the campaign in comments obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Last week, Facebook launched a campaign in print newspapers explaining that it was “standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere,” and created a website encouraging people to “Speak Up for Small Businesses.”
Facebook argues that Apple’s privacy changes in iOS 14, which give users the option to opt-out of ad tracking, will harm small businesses that see increased sales from personalized ads. However, some Facebook employees are reportedly complaining about what they perceived to be a self-serving campaign.
BuzzFeed News obtained internal comments from one of Facebook’s private message boards and audio of a presentation to Facebook workers, revealing that there is discontentment among employees about the angle used to attack Apple’s privacy changes. One Facebook engineer, in response to an internal post about the campaign from Facebook’s advertising chief Dan Levy, said:
“It feels like we are trying to justify doing a bad thing by hiding behind people with a sympathetic message.“
Ahead of an internal meeting to explain the rationale of the campaign against Apple, Facebook employees asked and voted up several questions that focused on the consequences of the campaign on Facebook’s public image. The most popular questions asked reportedly all expressed skepticism or concern:
“Aren’t we worried that our stance protecting [small- and medium-sized businesses] will backfire as people see it as “Facebook protecting their own business” instead?“
“People want “privacy,” Facebook objecting here will be viewed with cynicism. Did we know this would be bad PR, and decide to publish anyway?“
“How do we pick a message that looks less self-serving?“
In response, Facebook vice president of product marketing Graham Mudd said that the company has been “really clear” that Apple’s changes do “have a financial impact on us,” in addition to small businesses:
“We’re not trying to sweep that under the rug. We are, you know, a profitable, big company and we’re going to get through this and adapt our products and so forth. But the real folks that are going to get hit by this are small businesses, and that’s why we made them the focus of the message.“
Following the presentation, many Facebook employees were apparently unconvinced. Some did not understand how Apple’s changes would negatively affect small businesses, while one highlighted that Apple’s privacy changes also prevent “malicious actors” from tracking people:
“We’re not going to… be the only ones that should be allowed to track people without their consent — any company can do that, even smaller startups and malicious actors.“
The same employee launched a scathing attack on Levy’s post, accompanied by a popular meme with the text “Are we the baddies?”
“The only thing I’m hearing, again and again, is “this is bad for the businesses,” and I’d really like someone at the top to explicitly say, “People are better off if they don’t know what we’re doing, if we don’t have to explain ourselves to them, if they don’t get a choice to opt-in or opt-out of our practices, if we obscure it as much as possible behind interesting features and then get them to accept surreptitious tracking on the back end as long as we downplay it.”
Other critics suggested that Facebook incentivizes opting-in to ad tracking in a positive campaign rather than attacking the notion of a choice to opt-in or out. Levy responded to criticisms explaining that the campaign was simply “not about our business model.”
“That’s Apple’s marketing working and convincing you to scapegoat us so they can decide how the internet should work — even beyond their devices. I’m an optimist who works in technology because I think tech can be a lever for democratizing access and giving opportunity. Including for businesses. And if you think this is going to stop with personalized ads… well, then I disagree.“
Other comments from employees highlighted that the spirited defense of small businesses was hypocritical because Facebook has repeatedly disabled the ad accounts of small business advertisers by mistake and increasingly uses automated customer support, leading to a plethora of public complaints from small businesses:
“[They] highlight that we’re probably not doing everything we can to “stand up for small [businesses]” when we don’t provide human customer service support to small advertisers.“
Facebook spokesperson Ashley Zandy responded to BuzzFeed News, insisting that the stories of small businesses are Facebook’s priority:
“Since launching this effort we have heard from small businesses literally around the world who are worried about how these changes could hurt their businesses. Because this is such a critical time for [small- and medium-sized businesses], we will continue to share those stories with the public and our employees.“
Following the launch of the campaign, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit organization that defends civil liberties in the digital world, called Facebook’s criticisms of tracking-related privacy measures “laughable.”
Experience the ChatGPT ‘Make It More’ Trend: Generate Weird AI Images
AI art generators occupy a peculiar space, capable of rendering diverse scenarios, from a cosmic skateboarding dog to a coffee cup adrift in the ocean. Setting aside ethical considerations, some creations may not initially meet expectations, necessitating user prompts to refine the AI-generated output.
Yet, what if the aim isn’t to craft a polished piece of AI art? Enter the “make it more” trend, where ChatGPT users task DALL-E to generate an image and subsequently request the bot to amplify certain aspects. For instance, Justine Moore prompted DALL-E to create a bowl of ramen, then instructed it to make it spicier. The iterative process led to increasingly absurd results, culminating in a bowl of noodles shooting fire beams into outer space.
A Dad getting increasingly Dad-ier pic.twitter.com/1EUFECmnT3
— Justine Moore (@venturetwins) November 27, 2023
While the Make It More trend gains traction on ChatGPT and DALL-E, allowing users to experiment with various image transformations, it also raises concerns about resource utilization. The AI processing involved consumes power and energy, prompting considerations about the trend’s efficiency and environmental impact. Nevertheless, these prompts contribute to OpenAI’s ongoing efforts to enhance AI capabilities across platforms like ChatGPT and DALL-E.
Samsung Internet is Now Available for Download on Windows PCs
Samsung’s default browser, Samsung Internet, has expanded its reach to desktop computers and laptops, now available for download on the Microsoft Store. One notable feature is the ability for users to sync their browsing data between their Galaxy devices and computers.
Upon launching the browser, users can import their browsing history, bookmarks, and search engines from other applications like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge by signing into their Samsung Cloud account. The browser also supports add-ons and extensions from Chrome and Edge, accessible through the Chrome Web Store.
Samsung Internet for Windows offers familiar features such as incognito mode, light and dark modes, and ad-blocker support. The design elements show similarities to both Chrome and Edge, providing a sense of familiarity for users of those browsers. A useful security feature allows users to delete bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and other data upon signing out, catering to those who share computers.
Despite its promising features, the browser’s PC debut is marred by a lack of complete sync support. Currently, only browsing history, bookmarks, and search engines can be imported, with no support for transferring saved passwords from Galaxy devices to computers. This omission may be addressed in future updates.
In May, Samsung Internet received an optimisation update for Galaxy tablet users. Toggleable features were introduced, allowing users to control the placement of the browser’s address, bookmark, and tab bars. The update also included a warning for users with a high number of open tabs, informing them that opening another tab would result in the deletion of the oldest tab.
Google Clarifies the Cause of Missing Google Drive Files
Many Google Drive users recently experienced the unsettling disappearance of their files, prompting concerns. Google has now identified the root cause, attributing the issue specifically to the Google Drive for Desktop app. While assuring that only a limited subset of users is affected, the tech giant is actively investigating the matter and promises timely updates.
To prevent inadvertent file deletion, Google provides the following recommendations:
- Avoid clicking “Disconnect account” within Drive for desktop.
- Refrain from deleting or moving the app data folder, located at:
- Windows: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS
- macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS
- Optionally, create a copy of the app data folder if there is sufficient space on your hard drive.
Before Google officially addressed the issue, distressed users took to the company’s support forum to report deleted files. One user from South Korea highlighted a particularly severe case where their account reverted to May 2023, resulting in the loss of anything uploaded or created after that date. Additionally, the user emphasised that they had not synced or shared their files or drive with anyone else.
As Google delves deeper into resolving this matter, affected users are advised to heed the provided precautions. The company’s commitment to ongoing updates reflects its dedication to swiftly addressing and rectifying the situation. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of proactive measures to safeguard digital data, especially as users navigate cloud-based platforms such as Google Drive.
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