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Last Week Online #33 – The party is over

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Being an internet company isn't very glamorous in 2019.

Hong-Kong protests force social media giants to take a stand against propaganda

There have long been concerns about China's capacity to spread disinformation through social media. But, up until now, we haven't seen the Chinese put anything into action. Twitter, Facebook and Youtube are all blocked in mainland China. Still, all three platforms have found Chinese accounts distributed false information around the protests in Hong-Kong.

Facebook and Twitter reportedly closed down thousands of accounts late last week. Youtube was the last to act, closing down 210 channels on Thursday. The platforms are now getting a lot of praise for taking an active role against state-sponsored propaganda and misinformation.

Previously facing similar problems with Russian content, Twitter decided to ban all advertising from state-controlled news outlets after China's state-backed media outlet Xinhua sponsored ads on the platform. Facebook, where China's government (through its state media agencies) has been a big buyer of ads, are not planning to follow this move.

Google orders employees to stop debating and do what they were hired to do

On Friday, Google published new workplace guidelines ordering its staff to avoid making misleading comments about the company, insult one another and from "disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story."

Google, being famous for its unrestrained culture and encouraging employees to speak their minds and engage in philosophical debates, currently employ over 100 000 people. The new guidelines read "Our primary responsibility is to do the work we've each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics."

The new rules are a marked departure from the open culture, shared with its silicon valley neighbours, that was once a model for corporate America.

Facebook launches tool for users' to get more control over their data

In response to criticism over users' privacy, Facebook introduced a new tool this week. The tool, Off-Facebook Activity, lets people better view and control the information that Facebook has collected about their browsing habits outside the platform.

Users can view the sites and apps that share data and customer information with Facebook, and they can disconnect the data from their account if they want. In a blog post, Facebook stated: "This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook."

Mark Zuckerberg, previously said the company would develop a tool that would give people the possibility to clear their browsing histories. But, Off-Facebook Activity is nothing close to that. Facebook will continue to preserve all browsing data of users on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger and is only giving people the option of wiping clean their browsing history outside the Facebook ecosystem.

Tool of the week: Airtable

Airtable is part spreadsheet part database – a bit like Google docs on drugs.

It's super simple to link different spreadsheets together, or have multiple views for the same content – like a calendar view, a list view and a "Trello" view. The best thing is: it's up to you!

Airtable comes with a variety of templates that you can start from, or you can create your own from scratch. And people use it for everything from creating organisation charts to content management platforms.

It is, of course, easy to collaborate with your colleagues in Airtable, as well as create input forms for your customers or colleagues to fill in. And, after you’ve designed and configured your Airtable base from the user-friendly graphical interface, Airtable provides an API that can create, read, update, and destroy records.

Airtable is almost too complex to describe in a couple of paragraphs. The best way is to take a look at their different demos and try it out yourself.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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