As Jack Dorsey announced his company Twitter would drop all political ads, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg doubled-down on his policy of refusing to fact-check politicians’ ads. “At times of social tension there has often been an urge to pull back on free expression . . . We will be best served over the long term by resisting this urge and defending free expression.”
Still, Zuckerberg failed to delineate between freedom of expression and freedom of paid amplification of that expression — which inherently favors the rich.

During today’s Q3 2019 earnings call where Facebook beat expectations and grew monthly users 2% to 2.45 billion, Zuckerberg spent his time defending the social network’s lenient political ad policy. You can read his full prepared statement here.
One clear objective was to dispel the idea that Facebook was motivated by greed to keep these ads. Zuckerberg explained “We estimate these ads from politicians will be less than 0.5% of our revenue next year.” For reference, Facebook earned $66 billion in the 12 months ending Q3 2019, so Facebook might earn around $330 million to $400 million in politician ads next year. [Update: It wasn’t clear if issue ads and PAC ads were counted in Facebook’s 0.5% figure, but now the company says that number is just for ads run directly by politicians.]
Zuckerberg also said that given Facebook removed 50 million hours per day of viral video watching from its platform to support well-being, which hurt ad viewership and the company’s share price, Facebook clearly doesn’t act solely in pursuit of profit.

Facebook’s CEO also tried to bat down the theory that Facebook is allowing misinformation in political ads to cater to conservatives or avoid calls of bias from them. “Some people say that this is just all a cynical political calculation and that we’re acting in a way that we don’t really believe because we’re just trying to appease conservatives,” he said, responding that “frankly, if our goal was that we’re trying to make either side happy then we’re not doing a very good job because I’m pretty sure everyone is frustrated.” 
Instead of banning political ads, Zuckerberg voiced support for increasing transparency about how ads look, how much is spent on them and where they’re run. “I believe that the better approach is to work to increase transparency. Ads on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else. We have a political ads archive so anyone can scrutinize every ad that’s run.” 
He mentioned that political ads are run by “Google, YouTube and most internet platforms,” seeming to stumble for a second as he was likely prepared to cite Twitter too until it announced it would drop all political ads an hour earlier. He omitted that Linkedin, Pinterest, and TikTok have also banned political ads.
It doesn’t help that hundreds of Facebook’s own employees have called on their CEO to change the policy. He concluded that no one could accuse Facebook of not deeply thinking through the question and its downstream ramifications. Zuckerberg did leave himself an out if he chooses to change the policy, though. “I’ve considered whether we should not [sell politician ads] in the past, and I’ll continue to do so.”

Dorsey had tweeted that “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.” Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed support for Twitter’s move, while Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale called it “a very dumb decision.”
Twitter’s CEO took some clear swipes at Zuckerberg, countering his common arguments for allowing misinformation in politician’s ads. “Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents. But we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow.” Given President Trump had outspent all Democratic candidates on Facebook ads as of March of this year, it’s clear that deep-pocketed incumbents could benefit from Facebook’s policy.
Trump continues to massively outspend Democratic rivals on Facebook ads (Via NYT)
Miming Facebook’s position, Dorsey tweeted, “It‘s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!”
Twitter doesn’t earn much from political ads, citing only $3 million in revenue from the 2018 mid-term elections, or roughly 0.1% of its $3 billion in total 2018 revenue. That means there will be no major windfall for Facebook from Twitter dropping political ads. But now all eyes will be on Facebook and Google/YouTube. If Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki move in line with Dorsey, it could make Zuckerberg even more vulnerable to criticism.
Indeed, $330 million might not be a big incentive for Facebook or Zuckerberg, but it still sounds like a lot of money to earn from ads that potentially lie to voters. I respect Facebook’s lenient policy when it comes to speech organically posted to users, organizations or politicians’ own accounts. But relying on the candidates, press and public to police speech is dangerously idealistic. We’ve seen how candidates will do anything to win, partisan press will ignore the truth to support their team and the public aren’t educated or engaged enough to consistently understand what’s false.
Zuckerberg’s greatest mistakes have come from overestimating humanity. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to bring the world closer together. Without safeguards, Facebook’s tools can help tear it apart. It’s time for Facebook and Zuckerberg to recognize the difference between free expression and paid expression.
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Photoshop arrives on the iPad”},”content”:{“rendered”:”Adobe has released Photoshop for the iPad, after announcing that it would be bringing its popular professional photo-editing software to Apple’s tablets officially last October. Adobe said that it would be launching the app in 2019, and it has made good on that schedule with the release today. Photoshop for iPad is a free download, and includes a 30-day free trial u2013 after that it’s $9.99 per month via in-app purchase for use of just the app, or included as part of an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.nAs Adobe said right from the start, this initial version of Photoshop for the iPad isn’t at feature parity with its desktop editing software. It does, however, support Apple Pencil for iPad Pro and more recent iPad models, and it allows editing of PSD files. Adobe says it has focused on features that will benefit from touch and Apple Pencil input on this first release, including “core compositing and retouching tools,” with other improvements, including added support of brushes and masks, as well as things like smart selection, to come later.nFor what it’s worth (I haven’t spent any meaningful amount of time with the software), there are features like spot healing and clone stamp that can be highly useful for refining edits on the go available right now. A workflow that incorporates Lightroom on iPad can probably serve pros looking to maximize portability decently well, even if it can’t match the sheer range of things you can do on the desktop just yet. Plus, PSDs you store in Creative Cloud will be available to edit right where you left off everywhere.nRegardless of its current state, it’s good to see Adobe sticking to their schedule for developing and releasing Photoshop on the iPad, even if there’s still work to be done to ensure that it gets to a place where the iPad doesn’t feel like a backup option for when you’re unable to fire up a desktop or notebook computer.nAdobe is hosting its Adobe MAX 2019 conference this week, and there should be plenty of news coming out of that event, so stay tuned to TechSwitch for more from that show.nn”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”Adobe has released Photoshop for the iPad, after announcing that it would be bringing its popular professional photo-editing software to Apple’s tablets officially last October. Adobe said that it would be launching the app in 2019, and it has made good on that schedule with the release today. 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Horowitz on shocking rules and dramatic object lessons”},”content”:{“rendered”:”Ben Horowitz, co-founder of venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, has a new book out titled u201cWhat You Do Is Who You Are,u201d which takes a look at how to create culture at a company.nWe sat down with Horowitz last month to discuss some of the lessons he aims to impart and why he felt compelled to write about culture now u2014 including whether it has to do with the growing tech backlash against once-small companies that have taken over the world, and whose cultures are magnified exponentially as a result.nWe published parts of our chat here, where we talked about Uber and WeWork specifically. The rest, which dives more into practical advice for founders, follows. Our conversation has been edited lightly for length and clarity.nExtra Crunch: One of the problems we’re dealing with right now, that’s driving this big tech backlash in ways, has a lot to do with just how empowered founders are. And that seemingly goes back to them having more say than other shareholders via dual-class shares. How much power should these founders have?nBen Horowitz: I think it’s pretty important for tech companies to have some sort of long-term view of the business. Now, fast forward and Eric Ries has this new idea of a Long Term Stock Exchange, which basically says, okay, founders won’t have to have dual-class shares, but the shareholders and the founders will be in it together. So the shareholders have to vest their shares to get voting rights and if you hold the stock for years, and you can get some power, but you don’t get it right off the bat.nI think that that’s probably the optimal model. But I would say that, at least in my view, dual-class is still better than activist investors going after tech companies, because you can’t get to the next product. It’ll just make the company very short-term.nAlso, and maybe I’m talking like an old CEO, but I think one of the things that gets lost in the kind of conversation between founders and shareholders is employees. It’s very bad for employees when activist investors get control of the company and drive it toward short-term returns because often, everybody ultimately loses their job in those scenarios.nWhat about phasing out those dual-class shares over time, though, maybe over five, or seven, or 10 years, which is a decent amount of time for founders to transition their startups to publicly-traded companies?nI think that that would make sense if the people who got power were long-term investors. I just think that if you have short-term investors, making decisions about [a] technology company, the easier way to expand profits is to stop doing R&D because it’s not going to show up in the next two years. But long-term, that’ll spell doom. And I think that’s kind of the way these proxy battles have gone. It’s been like, ‘Okay, stop spending, stop investing.’nI don’t think the kind of cultural issues that companies have run into have much to do with voting power. I think it just has more to do some combination of lack of skill and how fast the companies are growing.nGoing back to the book, why weave in the cultural figures that you have u2014 Toussaint Louverture, Genghis Khan and Shaka Senghor [a contemporary who served time for murder and today is a criminal justice reform advocate]. There are so many people you could have included, and you focused on these three individuals.nIt’s a weird origin story, but Prince years ago put out an album called 3121, and he opened this club in Vegas called the 3121, and he would perform there, like, every weekend. And the show would start at 10 and he would show up at midnight or 1 a.m., but during that time in between, he would show these old films with these really interesting dancers in these elaborate clothes. And you’d just be watching these old guys, and then Prince would start to splice in [his own movies, including] “Under the Cherry Moon” and “Purple Rain,” and you’d go, ‘well those are the dance moves from those guys [in the older films] and that’s a quote from those guys,’ and you realize: that was what he was trying to express. And I thought, you know, I finally really understand him. And I thought, you know, [these three] have really influenced my views on culture [for a variety of reasons] and it would be a good way to tell this story.nIt’s fascinating how it comes together. Were you ever a teacher?nWhen I was in graduate school, I was a computer science kind of TA, so I taught the freshmen computer science, programming languages, and whatnot.nMy grandfather was a teacher u2014 he was fired actually during the McCarthy era for being a communist teacher; he was teaching junior high.nHe was a communist. So at least McCarthy got that part right. But it makes me very nervous, people wanting to remove people from their positions these days because of their points of view. My grandfather supported Stalin, and, like, Stalin was really bad. But I don’t think he should have been fired for being a teacher. I just don’t think it’s very good for society. Everybody’s got to be able to have a bad point of view. 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Europe overtook the U.S. in championing free markets”},”content”:{“rendered”:”The deregulation of major U.S. industries like telecom and energy in the 1970s and 80s sparked competition that lowered consumer prices and drove product innovation between competitors. Europe, on the other hand, lagged behind with more expensive internet, phone plans, airline tickets, and more until around 2000 when a major reversal of this trend began. Strikingly, when the EU strengthened deregulation and antitrust efforts to open its markets to more competition, it was the U.S. that reversed course.nAccording to a new book by French economist Thomas Philippon, Americansu2019 view of their country as the worldu2019s beacon of free market competition and Europe as an over-regulated region of lethargic corporate giants is out of date, and may be inhibiting our ability to recognize growing corporatism at home. Philippon, a professor of finance at NYU Stern who earned a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT, was named one of the top 25 economists under age 45 by the International Monetary Fund.nu201cIf you have nothing interesting or relevant to say, you can always take a jab at European bureaucrats. Itu2019s the political equivalent of complaining about the weatheru2026u201dnBased on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data, the U.S. now has more regulations for opening a new business than every EU country except Greece and Poland u2014 a complete reversal since 1998, when only the UK had fewer rules than the U.S. Per capita GDP growth in the EU outpaced that of the U.S. over 1999-2017. On a purchasing power parity basis, Americans have experienced a 7% increase in prices (relative to EU residents) for the same goods, due specifically to increased profit margins of companies with reduced competition.nnAn interview with economist Thomas Philippon, author of ‘The Great Reversal’nnThe reason for this divergence? According to Philippon, corporate incumbents in the U.S. gained outsized political influence and have used it to a) smother potential antitrust reviews and b) implement regulations that inhibit startups from competing against them. As a result, the U.S. regulatory system prioritizes the interests of incumbents at the expense of free market competition, he says.nPhilippon makes his case in “The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets,” released this past Tuesday by Harvard University Press. The book builds an argument from extensive data and pre-empts likely critiques by investigating numerous potential confounding variables or differences in research methodology. It is a compelling read for those interested in the dynamics of the overall innovation economy or the political debate over antitrust and Big Tech.nIncumbents over startupsnPhilippon, who was na states upfront that he isnu2019t claiming Europe is a bigger startup hub. In fact, he writes that u201cthe U.S. has better universities and a stronger ecosystem for innovation from venture capital to technological expertise.u201du00a0nWhat he does do is ring the alarm about a systemic shift in market consolidation in the U.S. that results in a small number of large incumbents charging high prices, an economy-wide prioritization of share buybacks over investments in innovation and government policy that inhibits competition from new entrants.nAn important take-away for readers: there’s a concerning trend toward more barriers to successful entrepreneurship, higher prices for countless goods and services that startups use, an overall decrease of corporate investment in new technologies and fewer potential startup acquirers.nThere are half as many publicly-traded companies in the U.S. as there were in 1997, and turnover within rankings of the top five companies per industry has declined sharply since the late 1990s as well.nMarket concentration isn’t due to superstarsn“The Great Reversal” considers that increased market concentration could be the result of “superstar” firms whose increased productivity is a win-win for shareholders and consumers alike. This has indeed occurred during the 1990s but the correlation between increased concentration and increased productivity ended around 2000 (with the exception of the retail sector). nCorporate after-tax profits as a percent of U.S. GDP were stationary for decades at 6-7% but increased to 10% in the last two decades, highlighting increased “rent-seeking” that shouldn’t occur if the leaders in most industries were facing the same amount of domestic competition or increased international competition.u00a0nFrom the 1960s through the 1990s, American companies poured an average of 20 cents from each dollar of operating profit into investments (R&D, capital expenditures, etc.). Since 2000, that’s fallen to 10 cents per dollar. With reduced competition, large companies are focusing less on advancing their product offerings and more on extracting profits for shareholders out of existing business operations.nBig tech isn’t exemptnMajor tech companies u2014 specifically Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft u2014 are the focus of multiple chapters of analysis by Philippon, who rejects the notion that these companies are somehow unprecedented relative to the leading companies of prior decades from an antitrust standpoint. They account for a smaller portion of U.S. GDP and stock market value, and they have similar profit margins. Network effects and accelerating economies of scales are not new concepts in economics u2014 existing antitrust regulations are capable of dealing with these companies. “,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”The deregulation of major U.S. industries like telecom and energy in the 1970s and 80s sparked competition that lowered consumer prices and drove product innovation between competitors. Europe, on the other hand, lagged behind with more expensive internet, phone plans, airline tickets, and more until around 2000 when a major reversal of this trend began. 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Separate from TechCrunch, he writes the popular Monetizing Media newsletter.”,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/mdvjguhwsa5ycxpmnicd”,”twitter”:”epeckham”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/133574219″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}}],”wp:featuredmedia”:[{“id”:1907908,”date”:”2019-11-04T11:38:23″,”slug”:”european-elections-brussels”,”type”:”attachment”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/02/how-europe-overtook-the-u-s-in-championing-free-markets/european-elections-brussels/”,”title”:{“rendered”:”European elections – Brussels”},”author”:133574325,”license”:{“source_key”:”getty images”,”person”:”picture alliance”,”person_url”:”https://www.gettyimages.com/search/photographer?family=editorial&photographer=picture+alliance”},”authors”:[133574325],”caption”:{“rendered”:”26 May 2019, Belgium, Bru00fcssel: Numerous European flags flutter in the wind in front of the Berlaymont building, the seat of the European Commission. 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interview with economist Thomas Philippon, author of ‘The Great Reversal’”},”content”:{“rendered”:”Economist Thomas Philippon’s new book, “The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets,” went on sale this past week, highlighting the United States’ failure to block the country’s largest companies from inhibiting fair competition.nAlongside my review of the book, I spoke with Philippon to dig deeper into why entrepreneurs and venture investors should be concerned by his findings and to hear his response to some of the critiques he’s likely to receive from Silicon Valley.nu201cThe broad picture is that competition is good, but surprisingly fragile,” he said. “In today’s environment, the U.S. is moving from a place where it was at the forefront of having free markets that worked pretty well for most people to being a laggard in many industries.u201dnnHow Europe overtook the U.S. in championing free marketsnnHere’s the transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity:nEric Peckham: Does this analysis suggest that VCs should be looking for more opportunities in Europe, because startups have more opportunity there against incumbents, or youu2019re findings should be read to that level of individual decision making?nThomas Philippon: I would not go as far as that. The takeaway is that in the U.S. there are some industries where it will be extremely useful to have more competition. Look at the problem of ISPs and how expensive internet is. In New York City, you’re lucky if even have two options, a choice between Verizon FiOS and Time Warner Spectrum. The prices are $79.99, or $79.99. The barriers to entry are too high. It is too costly to go and compete with these guys.nYou laid out several options of how to potentially deal with the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) companies, as you framed it. One of which is to restrict them from acquiring so many small startups as a means of taking out potential competition early.u00a0nEntrepreneurs and VCs no doubt like that these big tech companies are so active in offering to acquire their startups and provide an attractive exit path aside from an IPO. Whatu2019s you case for those worried about inhibiting these big companies from acquiring so many startups?nWell, that’s a specific issue. There is definitely a drop in the number of public offerings in the U.S.. The number of traded companies in the U.S. is half of what it used to be. We’re not talking about 10% move. It happened through mergers and through a lack of IPOs.u00a0nAs a VC, you clearly like having more options as an exit strategy. So you know that being bought by an existing firm is a good option and has always existed as an option. On the other hand, if all the previous generations of incumbents had just bought each other, then you wouldn’t have the competitive landscape.nOne reason this is a tough question to answer is that I think competition is oftentimes a public good. Itu2019s in nobodyu2019s interest to protect it. We all benefit from it but it is in no individualu2019s interest to protect it.u00a0nCould there be other variables here driving the shift to fewer companies going public and more startups exiting through acquisition instead of IPO? Perhaps thereu2019s a greater premium in the market for the strategic value of a company as opposed to its underlying financial value, which means strategic acquirers are willing to pay a lot more than the public market would value a company. Or is there truth to this notion that’s been thrown around a lot in the startup world that public market investors just don’t understand how to value tech companies the right way?nWhy would that be more the case today than in the past? Why would there be that difference? There have been technology companies for a long time. The reason firms are going public less is because there is more private financing. Thereu2019s more money and more flexibility to get funding without going public. So I think that’s one reason.u00a0nAnd yes, probably some excessive regulation in public markets. That may be true, although the trend started way back before Enron so I don’t think that explains it very well.u00a0nThomas Philippon is the Max L. 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Week in Apps: iOS 13 complaints, Q3 trends, App Store ratings bug”},”content”:{“rendered”:”Welcome back to This Week in Apps u2014 the easiest way to keep up with everything that happened in the world of apps over the past week u2014 from the breaking news to the trends and all the other information an industry watcher needs to know. nThe app industry is as hot as ever, with 194 billion downloads in 2018u00a0and more than $100 billion in consumer spending. People spend 90% of their mobile timeu00a0in apps andu00a0more time using their mobile devicesu00a0than watching TV. In other words, apps arenu2019t just a way to waste idle hours u2014 theyu2019re big business, and one that often seems to change overnight.nIn this Extra Crunch series, we help you to keep up with the latest news from the world of apps.nThis week, we’re looking at that one iOS 13 bug everyone is complaining about, App Store Q3 trends, plus the latest revenue numbers announced by Apple and Google during quarterly earnings. We’ve also found a new product for figuring out what may have caused spikes or changes in an app’s history, and we’re tracking new information about Microsoft’s Xbox Console to mobile streaming service as well as Google’s Motion Sense.nAnd more!nTo keep getting this information, subscribe to Extra Crunch.nHeadlinesnEveryone is complaining about iOS 13 killing background appsnApple released iOS 13.2 with Deep Fusion this week. The release also included new emoji, Siri recording opt-out, bug fixes and security improvements. But it didn’t solve the background app bug.nAs a result, developers are angry and users are frustrated. A number of iOS 13 users are complaining about iOS 13’s aggressiveness in killing background apps and tasks, which is attributed to poor RAM management. This particularly affects apps like Safari, YouTube, Overcast and others. Users have lost Safari tabs, emails they were composing, or the video they were watching just after switching away for a minute.nnnIu2019ve noticed this since the first 13.2 betas, and Overcast users keep reporting it as well: background apps seem to be getting killed MUCH more aggressively than before.n(Especially on the iPhone 11 if you use the camera, presumably because it needs so much RAM for processing.) https://t.co/Qscmsj1OGYn— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) October 29, 2019nnThe complaints are all over Twitter, Reddit, and Apple’s own forums. A MacRumors post about this has over 400 comments.nThis has been a problem since the betas, but people were hoping they’d be addressed by the public releases. Apple hasn’t clarified what’s at fault here, but there’s speculation about the impact of the memory-intensive camera system.nAs TechSwitch editor Matthew Panzarino put it, it “feels like I’m back on iOS 3.”nnnOn this weeku2019s episode of @atpfm, I compared it to a toddler under a blanket. u201cYou canu2019t see me! Iu2019m invisible!u201d But on iOS 13.2, itu2019s actually true. As soon as youu2019re not looking at an app, it disappears from RAM.n— John Siracusa (@siracusa) October 31, 2019nnDeveloper Nick Heer of Pixel Envy says the bug isn’t catastrophic, but “it absolutely should be the highest of priorities to fix it. Itu2019s embarrassing that all of the hard work put into making animations and app launching feel smooth is squandered by mismanaged multitasking,” he says.nRadar filed.nConsumers spent more than $500M on photo/video apps in Q3nOutside of mobile games, entertainment and streaming apps are also pulling in the big money. But there’s another category benefiting from the shift to the subscription model: photo and video apps. In this category, you’ll find apps that promise to touch up photos, add filters that can make or break Instagram careers, as well as the video giants like YouTube and TikTok.nnIn Q3, the category grossed more than $500 million, up a whopping 75% year-over-year, says Sensor Tower. It’s also seeing an annual growth rate of 101% since 2016. Much of this is attributable to YouTube, which alone was responsible for 30% of the category’s revenue in Q3. (Just wait until TikTok takes in-app monetization seriously, though.)nnBut now, it’s not just the top apps that are growing. In Q3, 22 apps exceeded $3 million in gross user spend, compared to just 2 in Q3 2016. And 7 apps had more than $10 million in revenue, including TikTok, VSCO, Facetune 2, FaceApp, and PicsArt.n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”Welcome back to This Week in Apps u2014 the easiest way to keep up with everything that happened in the world of apps over the past week u2014 from the breaking news to the trends and all the other information an industry watcher needs to know. 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you react when your systems fail may define your business”},”content”:{“rendered”:”Just around 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time on February 28, 2017, websites like Slack, Business Insider, Quora and other well-known destinations became inaccessible. For millions of people, the internet itself seemed broken.nIt turned out that Amazon Web Services was having a massive outage involving S3 storage in its Northern Virginia datacenter, a problem that created a cascading impact and culminated in an outage that lasted four agonizing hours.nAmazon eventually figured it out, but you can only imagine how stressful it might have been for the technical teams who spent hours tracking down the cause of the outage so they could restore service. A few days later, the company issued a public post-mortem explaining what went wrong and which steps they had taken to make sure that particular problem didn’t happen again. Most companies try to anticipate these types of situations and take steps to keep them from ever happening. In fact, Netflix came up with the notion of chaos engineering, where systems are tested for weaknesses before they turn into outages.nUnfortunately, no tool can anticipate every outcome.nIt’s highly likely that your company will encounter a problem of immense proportions like the one that Amazon faced in 2017. It’s what every startup founder and Fortune 500 CEO worries about u2014 or at least they should. What will define you as an organization, and how your customers will perceive you moving forward, will be how you handle it and what you learn.nWe spoke to a group of highly-trained disaster experts to learn more about preventing these types of moments from having a profoundly negative impact on your business.nIt’s always about your customersnReliability and uptime are so essential to today’s digital businesses that enterprise companies developed a new role, the Site Reliability Engineer (SRE), to keep their IT assets up and running.nTammy Butow, principal SRE at Gremlin, a startup that makes chaos engineering tools, says the primary role of the SRE is keeping customers happy. If the site is up and running, that’s generally the key to happiness. “SRE is generally more focused on the customer impact, especially in terms of availability, uptime and data loss,” she says.nCompanies measure uptime according to the so-called “five nines,” or 99.999 percent availability, but software engineer Nora Jones, who most recently led Chaos Engineering and Human Factors at Slack, says there is often too much of an emphasis on this number. According to Jones, the focus should be on the customer and the impact that availability has on their perception of you as a company and your business’s bottom line.nSomeone needs to be calm and just keep asking the right questions.n“It’s money at the end of the day, but also over time, user sentiment can change [if your site is having issues],” she says. “How are they thinking about you, the way they talk about your product when they’re talking to their friends, when they’re talking to their family members. The nines don’t capture any of that.”nRobert Ross, founder and CEO at FireHydrant, an SRE as a Service platform, says it may be time to rethink the idea of the nines. “Maybe we need to change that term. Maybe we can popularize something like ‘happiness level objectives’ or ‘happiness level agreements.’ That way, the focus is on our products.”nWhen things go wrongnCompanies go to great lengths to prevent disasters to avoid disappointing their customers and usually have contingencies for their contingencies, but sometimes, no matter how well they plan, crises can spin out of control. When that happens, SREs need to execute, which takes planning, too; knowing what to do when the going gets tough.”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”Just around 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time on February 28, 2017, websites like Slack, Business Insider, Quora and other well-known destinations became inaccessible. For millions of people, the internet itself seemed broken. 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pull back on free expression . . . We will be best served over the long term by resisting this urge and defending free expression.”nStill, Zuckerberg failed to delineate between freedom of expression and freedom of paid amplification of that expression — which inherently favors the rich.nnFacebook shares rise on strong Q3, users up 2% to 2.45BnnDuring today’s Q3 2019 earnings call where Facebook beat expectations and grew monthly users 2% to 2.45 billion, Zuckerberg spent his time defending the social network’s lenient political ad policy. You can read his full prepared statement here.nOne clear objective was to dispel the idea that Facebook was motivated by greed to keep these ads. Zuckerberg explained “We estimate these ads from politicians will be less than 0.5% of our revenue next year.” For reference, Facebook earned $66 billion in the 12 months ending Q3 2019, so Facebook might earn around $330 million to $400 million in politician ads next year. [Update: It wasnu2019t clear if issue ads and PAC ads were counted in Facebooku2019s 0.5% figure, but now the company says that number is just for ads run directly by politicians.]nZuckerberg also said that given Facebook removed 50 million hours per day of viral video watching from its platform to support well-being, which hurt ad viewership and the company’s share price, Facebook clearly doesn’t act solely in pursuit of profit.nnnnnnWe just shared our community update and quarterly results. Hereu2019s what I said on our earnings call. — Before we…nPosted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, October 30, 2019nnnFacebook’s CEO also tried to bat down the theory that Facebook is allowing misinformation in political ads to cater to conservatives or avoid calls of bias from them. “Some people say that this is just all a cynical political calculation and that we’re acting in a way that we don’t really believe because we’re just trying to appease conservatives,” he said, responding that “frankly, if our goal was that we’re trying to make either side happy then we’re not doing a very good job because I’m pretty sure everyone is frustrated.”u00a0nInstead of banning political ads, Zuckerberg voiced support for increasing transparency about how ads look, how much is spent on them and where they’re run. “I believe that the better approach is to work to increase transparency. Adsu00a0on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else. We have a political ads archive so anyone can scrutinize every ad that’s run.”u00a0nHe mentioned that political ads are run by “Google, YouTube and most internet platforms,” seeming to stumble for a second as he was likely prepared to cite Twitter too until it announced it would drop all political ads an hour earlier. He omitted that Linkedin, Pinterest, and TikTok have also banned political ads.nIt doesn’t help that hundreds of Facebook’s own employees have called on their CEO to change the policy. He concluded that no one could accuse Facebook of not deeply thinking through the question and its downstream ramifications. Zuckerberg did leave himself an out if he chooses to change the policy, though. “I’ve considered whether we should not [sell politician ads] in the past, and I’ll continue to do so.”nnFacebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies.nnDorsey had tweeted that “Weu2019ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.” Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed support for Twitter’s move, while Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale called it “a very dumb decision.”nTwitter’s CEO took some clear swipes at Zuckerberg, countering his common arguments for allowing misinformation in politician’s ads. “Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents. But we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow.” Given President Trump had outspent all Democratic candidates on Facebook ads as of March of this year, it’s clear that deep-pocketed incumbents could benefit from Facebook’s policy.nTrump continues to massively outspend Democratic rivals on Facebook ads (Via NYT)nMiming Facebook’s position, Dorsey tweeted, “Itu2018s not credible for us to say: ‘Weu2019re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political adu2026well…they can say whatever they want!”nTwitter doesn’t earn much from political ads, citing only $3 million in revenue from the 2018 mid-term elections, or roughly 0.1% of its $3 billion in total 2018 revenue. That means there will be no major windfall for Facebook from Twitter dropping political ads. But now all eyes will be on Facebook and Google/YouTube. If Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki move in line with Dorsey, it could make Zuckerberg even more vulnerable to criticism.nIndeed, $330 million might not be a big incentive for Facebook or Zuckerberg, but it still sounds like a lot of money to earn from ads that potentially lie to voters. I respect Facebook’s lenient policy when it comes to speech organically posted to users, organizations or politicians’ own accounts. But relying on the candidates, press and public to police speech is dangerously idealistic. We’ve seen how candidates will do anything to win, partisan press will ignore the truth to support their team and the public aren’t educated or engaged enough to consistently understand what’s false.nZuckerberg’s greatest mistakes have come from overestimating humanity. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to bring the world closer together. Without safeguards, Facebook’s tools can help tear it apart. It’s time for Facebook and Zuckerberg to recognize the difference between free expression and paid expression.n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”As Jack Dorsey announced his company Twitter would drop all political ads, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg doubled-down on his policy of refusing to fact-check politicians’ ads. “At times of social tension there has often been an urge to pull back on free expression . . . 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He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.nnPreviously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.nnConstine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.nnConstine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.nnJosh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.nnConstine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.nn[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend’s social location-sharing startup codenamed ‘Signal’ that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch’s editors and has concluded. Constine’s fiancu00e9e Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine’s cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he’s since left and founded teen content studio Brat. 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He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.nnPreviously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.nnConstine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.nnConstine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.nnJosh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. 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