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Last Week Online #43 – Google or Facebook, who is the most evil?

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

An apartment in London, or Facebooks fine for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. What should cost more?

Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 million, buying its way into the wearable market

On Friday Google announced that it's buying Fitbit, a company focused on health and fitness wearables, for $2.1 million. Fitbit will be joining Google, not its parent company Alphabet.

Google has tried to get into the wearables market with its Wear OS platform, for many years, but most attempts have failed. So, in many ways, the purchase makes a lot of sense. Announcing the deal, Google's SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said that this is "an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market."

Rumours say that Facebook was also looking to buy Fitbit. A lot of Fitbit users seem happy with the fact that they ended up with the lesser of the two evils concerning exploitation of user data. Fitbit said in a press release that the company will continue to take user privacy for health and fitness data seriously, stating that "Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads."

Facebook pays United Kingdom fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook agreed to pay 500,000 GBP in a fine to the United Kingdoms data protection watchdog because of its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This is the maximum possible monetary penalty under the applicable UK data protection law. The scandal took place before Europe's GDPR framework came into force.

However, Facebook has not admitted any liability when paying the fine. Still, the settlement means that they are dropping their lawsuit against the Information Commissioner's Office. Facebook has previously claimed that there was no evidence that UK Facebook users' data had being misused by Cambridge Analytica and therefore appealed the fine.

US Government is looking into TikTok, claiming it is a threat to national security

With increasing tensions between Washington and Beijing over technology and trade, several US senators have recently raised concerns about the app TikTok. Senator Marco Rubio called for an investigation of the company, stating that "Chinese-owned apps are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Community Party." Apart from the issue of TikTok might censoring politically sensitive content, there are also questions around how it stores user data.

This has made the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) open up an interrogation of ByteDance's (the parent company of TikTok) $1 billion acquisition of US social media app Musical.ly in 2017. At the time, Musical.ly had about 60 million users in the United States and Europe. TikTok did not seek clearance from CFIUS when it acquired Musical.ly, which gives the US security panel scope to investigate it now.

ByteDance said it would keep Musical.ly separate from its family of Chinese apps. But less than a year later they merged Musical.ly with its similar service, called TikTok. TikTok has been downloaded more than 750 million times over the past 12 months – more than Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. 60% of its 26.5 million monthly active users in the United States are between the ages of 16 and 24.

Tool of the week: Dropbox Transfer

Previously, sending large files as a simple download has required a tool like WeTransfer. But with Dropbox having an existential update this summer, changing what they do in multiple ways. They have launched Dropbox Transfer, an easy way to send big files to friends and colleagues.

With Dropbox Transfer, you can send up to 100 GB of files, a lot more than what many other services allow. And it's done in just a few clicks. You have the option to drag and drop files to upload from your computer or - if you already have them stored in your Dropbox - you can skip the wait altogether.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

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


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