Issue 1342 - Tuesday 13th April, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Facebook allowing dictators to run rampant pumping themselves up with fake accounts

The Guardian has dropped a fat article outlining Facebook's double standards when it comes to governments manipulating its platform to shape how the public perceive them and their actions. According to whistleblower Sophie Zhang (who worked as a data scientist in Facebook's integrity department) Facebook "acted quickly to address political manipulation affecting countries such as the US, Taiwan, South Korea and Poland, while moving slowly or not at all on cases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia, Mexico, and much of Latin America" because "it is not considered enough of a PR risk to Facebook". The article's example of how Azerbaijan's state media uses dozens of sock puppet accounts is eye opening.

FSF does a poor job explaining why they re-elected Richard Stallman to its board

The Free Software Foundation's board of directors put out a statement trying to explain why Richard Stallman was returned to the board. Their justification is that the FSF reckons Stallman is just too much of a genius to leave out and that his "global network of connections is invaluable". Regarding Stallman's long history of gross comments and inappropriate behaviour, "a majority of the board feel his behavior has moderated and believe that his thinking strengthens the work of the FSF in pursuit of its mission". Looks to me like the FSF will just slide further into irrelevancy. Who wants to be involved with an organisation with a bloke like Stallman hanging around it?

Please don't piss your money away on baseball card and fancy watch NFTs

NFTs are still a thing! Major League Baseball saw how popular the NBA's Top Shots have become and decided to team up with Topps to sell "official blockchain-based versions of classic Topps baseball cards" on the WAX blockchain. They're literally images of baseball cards, some of them with animations. You buy em in packs of 6 for US$5 and can then trade them for money on the market (with MLB and Topps taking a cut each time). Watch brand Jacob & Company are also getting in on the NFT action, selling a 3D animation inspired by its Epic SF24 travel watch, for US$100,000. According to Jacob & Company, NFTs "help push the limits of creativity by freeing watchmakers from material constraints". Mmmhmm, sure thing buddy.

Something I Saw On The Internet

What happened to mainstream media tech coverage in Australia?

Seamus Byrne made me realise that the mainstream sources of news in Australia have totally dropped the ball on covering technology. He raises the point that there's cash and space in publications for stuff like cars, food and sport, but no longer is there a substantial area dedicated technology like we had in the late 90s and early 2000s. Sure, they cover the big event here and there (often poorly), but there's literally fuck all in-depth coverage from competent writers with expert knowledge about the way technology is reshaping society before our eyes at a time when it's needed the most.


The End

📻 Get Off The Internet - Le Tigre

😎 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon.

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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.‚Äč