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How Jack Dorsey spread the Juneteenth trend ‘like wildfire’

How Jack Dorsey spread the Juneteenth trend ‘like wildfire’

Good morning! This Thursday, Zoom pivots to privacy, Juneteenth comes to a calendar near you, and Kim Kardashian West gets a podcast deal.

Quick housekeeping note: Source Code is off tomorrow for Juneteenth. We'll be back Monday.

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People Are Talking

Sundar Pichai laid out a plan for Google to become a more diverse company, starting at the top:

  • "We're working to improve Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30% by 2025."

The Justice Department recommended big Section 230 changes, and Bill Barr explained why he's taking charge:

  • "Law enforcement cannot delegate our obligations to protect the safety of the American people purely to the judgment of profit-seeking private firms. We must shape the incentives for companies to create a safer environment, which is what Section 230 was originally intended to do."
  • Add this one to the pile of potential 230 overhauls that won't become law as they're written. Or maybe at all.

Chris Sacca is back in the VC game and hoping to fix the planet — but not by naming and shaming:

  • "We don't think guilt and shame change behavior at scale over the longterm. Instead, we will win by giving markets clean, decarbonizing options that are cheaper, faster, cooler, and easier. People who don't vote like we do nevertheless buy our stuff because it's just plain better."

The Big Story

Zoom finds a balance between privacy and policy

Say this for Zoom: The company's certainly quick on its feet. After creating a backlash for the umpteenth time this pandemic by saying its end-to-end encryption feature would be for paying customers only, then making it worse by saying that decision was made so Zoom could better cooperate with law enforcement, then tripling down by removing a Chinese dissident from the service at the request of the Chinese government, Zoom … changed its mind in a big way.

Yesterday, on day 77 of its 90-day plan to rethink its security plans, Zoom said it would enable end-to-end encryption for everyone on the service, and released designs for its encryption on GitHub. And, CEO Eric Yuan said, Zoom can do it without sacrificing its "ability to prevent and fight abuse on the platform."

  • Yuan said that Zoom talked to civil-rights groups, government organizations, child-safety advocates, encryption experts, and more since its initial announcement a few weeks ago. Clearly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, those groups told Zoom that more encryption is better.
  • Starting in July, when you schedule a meeting, you'll be able to choose to have end-to-end encryption. (There'll be a new button in the interface.) But there are limitations: Encrypted calls can't include regular phone callers, for instance.
  • For business accounts, administrators will be able to toggle encryption either for a specific user or the whole organization.

The challenges for Zoom here are similar to those Facebook faces in its privacy pivot: Privacy is a good thing, except when it protects bad guys. Zoom may not have the same sort of public-moderation issues, but full encryption would make it harder to keep out Zoombombers or figure out who's creating accounts en masse.

  • Most of Zoom's changes in recent weeks have been about giving admins and users more control — over who comes into a meeting and what they can do once they're in there. But the company still feels it needs ways to keep some tabs on the platform and its users.
  • In this case, Zoom users on free and basic plans will be asked to verify some information about themselves — like a phone number — in order to turn on the feature. Zoom's still trying to make sure it can weed out problematic users, so it's trading "info about your chats" for "info about our users."

Zoom's still tweaking the encryption system, and soliciting feedback on GitHub. "Until things are out the door, there's really no reason to cut off feedback," said Max Krohn, Zoom's head of security engineering.

  • I've seen a few people complain about Zoom collecting more information about users, but in general the reaction to this news seems to be that Zoom came around and did the right thing. Even if it took a few wrong turns along the way.

OOO

Juneteenth hits the holiday schedule

Tomorrow is Juneteenth, a holiday that 10 days ago was on few corporate calendars. Now, at least 340 companies have announced they will make Juneteenth a company-wide holiday. "Before Friday, we want to get over 500," Miles Dotson, co-founder of HellaCreative, told Protocol's Sofie Kodner.

  • HellaCreative is a group of mostly Black Bay Area tech creatives that came together on Slack during the pandemic for support and connection. After George Floyd's death, they launched HellaJuneteenth, and started putting pressure on their networks, with the ultimate goal of making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
  • "Our membership is representative of everybody, from LinkedIn to former Square employees to Google and Facebook. All those folks are represented within HellaCreative," Dotson said.
  • One of those former Square employees gave the group a direct line to Jack Dorsey, one of the first CEOs to announce the holiday. In his tweet on June 9, Dorsey linked to hellajuneteenth.com. "It spread like wildfire," Dotson told Sofie. "It was insane."

HellaJuneteenth is a useful resource if you want to follow Dorsey's lead. In addition to information about the history of Juneteenth, it includes a growing list of participating companies and templates for how to make the request for the day off to managers or set conscious out-of-office messages.

  • But Dotson, who grew up celebrating Juneteenth in his native Houston and has annually taken paid leave to observe the holiday in his professional life, said company holidays are only a start. Even within participating companies, for instance, it's unclear if contract workers will also get a paid break.
  • And will companies signing up to the holiday commit to it beyond this year? "Part of the form for adding you to our list is that you provide a representative contact for your company," Dotson said. "We hope companies expect that right around May next year, we'll be making phone calls to make sure that they're still committed for the long term."

A MESSAGE FROM WORKDAY

Workday

Protocol's Transformation of Work Summit

How can tech help identify and match in-demand skills with job opportunity? Hear from the Future of Work Caucus co-chairs Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Representative Bryan Steil (R-WI), followed by our expert panel with CEO of Jobs for the Future Maria Flynn, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies Matthew Sigelman, CEO of Colorado State University Global Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker, and Chief People Officer of Aon Lisa Stevens. Presented by Workday.

Register here

Software

What Adobe's learned about creative collaboration

Scott Belsky, Adobe's chief product officer, is in a permanently tricky spot. He's tasked with modernizing and improving his company's product portfolio — without angering the millions of people who rely on those products, have used them for years, and tend to dislike change.

On the heels of one of Adobe's biggest product announcements this year, full of new features for Creative Cloud users, I asked him how he balances moving forward with serving customers. One thing he told me: find new, lower-stakes places to experiment.

  • "Going in and putting cloud documents in Photoshop, and making it have co-editing live and work across multiple devices at the same time? That's a really tall order," he said. "So we did it in XD first!"
  • XD is a much newer app with much less muscle memory associated — Belsky called it his "tip of the spear" app. In general, if you want clues for the future of Adobe, look at XD. Same goes for the iPad and mobile apps, where fewer people rely on the software for their livelihood and thus Adobe can experiment more.

Collaboration's been a big focus for Adobe over the last couple of years, and has only ramped up while creative teams have been forced apart during a pandemic. Belsky was ready for that particular need. One that surprised him? How much people like watching other people be creative.

  • What some folks do for gamers on Twitch, others do for Photoshoppers on Adobe Live. "People want to watch people create," he said. "That's how we actually learn."
  • It's also a useful tutorial system for Adobe: By emphasizing what tools and features people are using, viewers learn the product much more quickly.

Belsky said his team is working on making it easier for people to work together inside Adobe apps — and to eventually stop worrying altogether about what device they're on or which app they're using.

  • "When all this stuff lives in the cloud, you can actually start doing all kinds of strange amalgamations and workflows with other products," he said. "There's no friction of some binary installed somewhere with different rules."
  • There's a lot of work to do to get Photoshop ready for that world, of course — but that's what's coming.

Number of the Day

120,000,000

That's how many dollars Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin are donating to scholarships at historically Black colleges and universities through Morehouse College, Spelman College and the United Negro College Fund. It's the largest gift of its kind ever. "We believe that investing in the education of Black youth is one of the best ways to invest in America's future," the couple said in a statement, adding that they hoped others would follow suit and help these schools catch up to the endowments and resources of predominantly white schools.

In Other News

  • Indian gig workers say they're being forced to use the country's semi-required contact-tracing app, called Aarogya Setu. A number of companies have made the app mandatory, even though the workers have serious privacy concerns.
  • A number of civil rights groups took out a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal, to start a campaign calling for advertisers to pull spending from Facebook. I'm hearing it's already causing waves in the ad world.
  • Lyft's going electric. It committed to all rides being in electric cars by 2030 — but many analysts and union reps say that's going to be virtually impossible for drivers to meet.
  • Microsoft has been calling for facial-recognition regulation for years — and as the ACLU found, also quietly pitching the tech to the DEA and other agencies for just as long.
  • Twitter is testing a voice-tweet option, and Vice asked the question on everybody's mind: What about the harassment? Twitter told me it's working on additional monitoring systems before bringing the feature to everyone, but this one's going to be tough.
  • Qualcomm made a $500 5G and AI kit for robots. After so many years as an essential part of the smartphone supply chain, the company is desperate to not miss the next wave.
  • Kim Kardashian West is the latest podcaster to hit Spotify. Under a new deal with the company, she'll co-produce and co-host a true-crime show for its platform. I wonder if she got the Full Rogan Money?

One More Thing

Now THAT is a back-to-work plan

While Google and Apple and other tech companies start to tiptoe back into their offices, the NBA went and made a plan. It starts this week, with players returning to their home market, and holy crap is it intense: virtual workout sessions, no hanging out with friends, constant COVID-19 testing, wearables for ensuring proper social distancing. It's a fascinating setup — and a telling one, if you want to understand what it's really going to take to bring your company back to the office. (Spoiler alert: You're not, at least not anytime soon.) Though there's some good news for the NBA: It's all happening in Disney World. So life could be worse.

A MESSAGE FROM WORKDAY

Workday

Protocol's Transformation of Work Summit

How can tech help identify and match in-demand skills with job opportunity? Hear from the Future of Work Caucus co-chairs Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Representative Bryan Steil (R-WI), followed by our expert panel with CEO of Jobs for the Future Maria Flynn, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies Matthew Sigelman, CEO of Colorado State University Global Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker, and Chief People Officer of Aon Lisa Stevens. Presented by Workday.

Register here

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to me, david@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your weekend, see you Monday.

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