Money talks and Facebook is listening
Image: Alessio Jacona
Good morning! This Monday, advertisers continue to bail on Facebook, what Amazon gets from Zoox, and the movie-watching experience of the future.
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On Protocol: The startups of the future will have to decide — and live — their values from the beginning, Forerunner Ventures' Kirsten Green said:
Mixer learned the hard way that a few big-name deals isn't enough to build a community, cofounder Matt Salsamendi said:
There is no "back to normal" for business travel, Airbnb's Brian Chesky said:
Parler is the new favorite place of anti-Twitter conservatives, and CEO John Matze said everyone else will follow soon:
TikTok is changing the way young people talk about politics, Columbia professor Ioana Literat said:
Who needs the other side more: Facebook or its marquee advertisers?
Well, the game of chicken between the two sides is very much on. Yesterday, Starbucks became the latest company to say it's pausing all social media advertising — which means Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. (YouTube has been notably absent from most of these boycotts.)
In his post, Zuckerberg outlined a few changes to Facebook. Some of them, like labeling problematic content, were things he once said Facebook wouldn't do, and things he had thrown shade at Jack Dorsey and Twitter for doing. (Life comes at you fast in 2020.) He also promised to crack down on hate speech in paid ads.
One big domino left to fall? Procter & Gamble, the biggest advertiser in America. (My theory has always been that Marc Pritchard, P&G's chief brand officer, is actually the most influential person in tech.) From what I hear, these conversations are happening all over the company right now.
My big question going forward: Where's all this ad money going to go if not to Facebook? Ad sales teams at TikTok, YouTube, Google and Snap must be champing at the bit right now. Heck, maybe even Quibi will be a winner.
After it was announced that Amazon was acquiring Zoox, some people speculated that what Amazon was really buying for $1.2 billion was advanced autonomous warehouse robots. Zoox's custom-built vehicle can move forward or backward and drives itself. Sounds like the forklift of the future, right? Or, at the very least, a perfect last-mile delivery vehicle.
Zoox was valued at $3.2 billion about two years ago, which means Amazon's getting a significant discount even as self-driving continues to develop. Recently Waymo, Cruise and Tesla seem to have sucked all the air out of the space (Elon Musk even called Jeff Bezos "a copy 🐈" on Friday), which may have made it harder for others to survive and get funding.
A lot of execs talk publicly as if everything will be autonomous two weeks from now. Remember that Lyft chart that said nearly half of all rides would be autonomous … by 2020? Whoops.
So the question for Amazon, I guess, is: Will it be Zoox or Prime Air that sees the light of day first? I wouldn't hold your breath for either one, though.
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One feature in iOS 14 that didn't get talked about much is a new security warning, which pops up every time an app you're in reads the contents of your clipboard. And, it turns out that's a very common practice:
There are plenty of harmless uses for this, of course. Your browser offers to open a link you've copied; Pocket saves a link you grabbed from another app. It's not at all a new practice.
More than anything, it's a good example of what Apple's trying to do with all these pop-ups and messages. It wants to make users painfully, constantly aware of all the times their data is being collected, shining a light on the bad stuff to force developers to do better.
Many companies have been planning to reopen offices starting next week. As COVID cases continue to spike all over the U.S., look to see if companies push back — or cancel — those plans.
CCPA enforcement begins in California this week. I'm curious to see whether the state's ready to start picking fights from day one.
Time for the latest instalment of "the future happens inside Fortnite." We were supposed to be two weekends away from the grand reopening of the movie theater, anchored by "Tenet" and "Mulan." Now both those movies are coming out in August instead. Personally, I can't imagine sitting in a theater anytime soon — hard to eat popcorn with a mask on, you know? Besides, if Fortnite's Movie Nite experiment from this weekend is any indication, we can do just as well in the digital world. The idea of watching a movie on a screen within a screen while staring over my character's shoulder seemed ridiculous, but the whole experience of watching "Inception" in Fortnite turned out to be lively and fun and … not unlike a movie theater on opening night. And I can make my own popcorn, thank you very much.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.