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This week: Facebook hides the hoodies as 2021 brings the first cataclysm of Marc Andreessen’s tech prophecy
Facebook warning its employees not to wear company-branded clothing, first reported by The Information, tells you everything you need to know about the state of tech right now.
The dream of working for Facebook — and of signalling your elite status through a snazzy company hoodie — is now a dangerous liability; something to be concealed. The immediate reason is the moves by Facebook, Twitter, and other Big Tech companies to ban Donald Trump and to snuff out Parler, the social network favored by conservatives and the far-right. Trump loyalists are not happy, and Facebook is appropriately taking steps to protect its employees from misguided individuals.
A couple things comes to mind here:
1. This is a completely different level than the tech backlash of blockaded Google shuttles and shareholder meeting protests we’ve seen over the past decade.
2. This was probably inevitable.
Facebook board member Marc Andreessen declared back in 2011 that software is “eating the world.” And it appears he was right. Digital technology has overtaken everything, opening up exciting new experiences, new markets, and improvements in quality of life — as well as rendering long-established business models and established rules obsolete.
We know this will cause huge disruptions in labor markets, as automation decimates jobs and causes the extinction of entire professions.
But what’s become clear in the initial days of 2021 is that the first major cataclysm of Andreessen’s prophecy will not involve jobs, but rather, the idea of free speech.
The vast platforms created by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are unprecedented in size (roughly 42% of the Earth’s population uses a Facebook product), and the companies that run the platforms are gatekeepers with a power no media has ever before possessed.
Even some of the Trump’s most fervent opponents — from the ACLU to venture capitalist Fred Wilson — have said they were perturbed by the banning of the president, and what that decision could mean for others on the platforms.
And yet, the tech companies’ previous hands-off approach has allowed conspiracy movement QAnon to flourish and led toxic conspiracy theories to spiral out of control.
This is a much bigger issue than anything that can be resolved through changes to Section 230, or antitrust litigation. The very notion of speech is undergoing a tech-driven paradigm shift, and figuring out the right rules and principles for the new reality is going to be a process.
Will this take one year to play out? Five years? Longer?
It’s impossible to say. But however long it takes, tech companies …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Tech