Ad dollars control the internet. Can they also fix it?
Image: Lisa Krymova
Good morning! This Wednesday, there's a new debate over facial recognition, Intel-free Macs might be coming soon, and your next office lunch will come in a box.
(Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to get Source Code every day.)
Twitter and Square are adding a new holiday to the calendar, Jack Dorsey said:
Following President Trump's executive order, four senators want the FCC to "take a fresh look at Section 230:"
The next phase of online dating is dating that's only online, Tinder CEO Elie Seidman said:
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna took what looked like a big stand on Monday. "IBM no longer offers general purpose IBM facial recognition or analysis software," he wrote in a letter to Congress, in which he also urged legislators to pass police reform and to start a national conversation about AI, facial recognition and more.
But IBM's still very much in the police business, as Protocol's Issie Lapowsky writes:
Still, it's telling that IBM decided to drop facial recognition projects, and that it won so many plaudits for doing so. And the discussion that Krishna wanted is already happening, to some extent: House Democrats are fanning a federal debate on the subject, as part of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
In the absence of broader regulation, cities continue to have their own debates. They're happening now not just because Clearview AI continues to creep everyone out, but because the protests make so clear the possibility for live, mass surveillance.
It's been rumored for years that Apple's planning to switch its Mac lineup to a homemade processor, rather than continuing to rely on Intel. Now, Bloomberg reported the switch could begin as soon as this year's WWDC, which kicks off June 22. (The announcement would likely come long before any product rollout, to give developers time to prepare.).
The last time Apple made a switch like this, it announced it was moving from PowerPC to Intel in 2005, released the first Intel Macs in 2006, and removed PowerPC support entirely in 2009.
Switching chips could change things for Apple, which currently owns about a tenth of the PC market. Look at smartphones: Apple's A-series chips are generally considered to be at least a generation ahead of Qualcomm's, both in performance and efficiency.
The switch will be tough, though. Mac OS is not only based on Intel but on decades of history, and thus tech debt. As developers discovered with Apple's Catalyst development technology, it's not always seamless to port apps from one architecture to another.
Join us for Protocol's Transformation of Work Summit on June 23 at noon ET for a discussion of where in-demand skills meet job opportunity. First speakers announced: Congressional Future of Work Caucus co-chairs Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Representative Bryan Steil (R-WI). This event is presented by Workday.
There are few groups more powerful in tech than the ad buyers. If you want to pressure Facebook to make a change, there may be no better way to do it than through the advertisers who give the company its billions of dollars.
So it's a big deal that marketing agencies are wary of working with Facebook again, even as they start to ramp up spending after a coronavirus slowdown.
This kind of handwringing happens with every Facebook scandal, and nothing has ever really come of it. Facebook remains a brilliantly successful advertising platform, and so far throughout its history dollars have handily beaten morals for marketers everywhere. Particularly for small businesses, there's really nowhere else to go.
But from what I've heard from companies these last few weeks, there's an urgency to the latest internal discussions that feels new. It just feels bad to them to be spending on Facebook right now — and that feeling doesn't seem to be changing yet.
Reddit is adding Michael Seibel to its board of directors, filling the spot that Alexis Ohanian left and said should be filled with a black candidate. Seibel is a partner at Y Combinator, a longtime investor in Reddit, and the co-founder of Justin.tv/Twitch.
Arm China has removed CEO Allen Wu after a whistleblower-prompted investigation found "serious irregularities." It plans to replace him with Ken Phua and Phil Tang as interim co-CEOs. Wu had been in the job since 2018, and at Arm since 2004.
SoftBank Investment Advisers laid off 15% of the Vision Fund's global staff — about 75 people — as it tries to rebound from the fund's disastrous performance in recent months.
In the next few weeks, you may go back to the office, even if it's just to grab the hoodie and mug you left there in March. If you work at Google, you'll be greeted by a temperature check at the door, spread-out offices and meetings, and a boxed lunch instead of the usual cavernous buffet. If you work in finance? Same thing, perhaps with more plexiglass around your desk. And some companies are planning to use apps to schedule workdays like a restaurant would schedule shifts. The days of the ultra-luxe office life appear to be well and truly over. But at least that boxed lunch is still free.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.