‘FACEBOOK and FAKE NEWS’
Zuckerberg Asked to Answer
Facebook felt significant backlash in 2017, with many expressing discomfort about the social media giant’s oversight measures in preventing inaccurate posts. With the cloud of potential Russian meddling in that most democratic of institutions—the 2016 Presidential election—2017 found Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg announcing changes, including:
- Stronger technical systems to identify and classify misinformation in order to prevent it appearing on Facebook.
- Easier reporting from users to flag stories as fake.
- Third party verification from external fact checking organizations
- Warning labels on stories flagged as false by the Facebook community, higher standards for ‘related articles’ that appear under links in Facebook News Feed, and advertising policies that will detect and disrupt financially motivated ‘spam.’
Perhaps most interestingly, Zuckerberg also pledged to work with ‘old media’ journalists to better understand the way they check facts, and to learn from them.
Apple unveils iPhone X AND iPhone 8 the Same Day (and yes, Apple did slow older models down)
The world was watching Apple unveil the iPhone X (supposedly pronounced “ten”) in September 2017. At the same time, Apple released news of the iPhone 8, putting them, as some believed, in the singular position of making a current product obsolete before it was ever released.
With a 5.8-inch super retina display that was almost all screen—nevermind the now infamous ‘notch—‘ and new facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone, the iPhone X began shipping in early November with a new record starting price tag of $999.00.
As of late December, analysts cut shipment forecasts for the new device—something that was almost certainly not in Apple’s business plan. How much effect the PR nightmare and growing lawsuits in regards to Apple slowing down performance of older models had on iPhone X sales?
Anyone’s guess, but it couldn’t have helped.
In May, the WannaCry ransomware threatened and locked up thousands of computers in almost every country around the globe. Britain’s entire hospital network, Germany’s railway system and dozens of businesses and government agencies everywhere learned the hard way about the vulnerability in their computer systems.
And who was responsible for the mayhem? Said cyber-security firm Symantec: North Korea. The renegade nation denied the attacks, but one thing is for certain: the hijackers, whomever they were, demanded money to unlock the systems they attacked, in the form of Bitcoin.
And speaking of Bitcoin—the digital cryptocurrency—it had a good year all in all. It started off with the value of one bitcoin priced at less than $1,000. The performance continued to climb until literally off the charts—nearing $20,000 per Bitcoin before a big sell-off in December dropped the value to “only” around $14,000. As the year closes the value is rising again, again leading to ‘tulip mania’ talk of a Bitcoin bubble.
What a Switch! Nintendo Again!
Released in April of 2017, the Nintendo Switch just kept growing, and growing, finally taking the market by storm—according to Adobe the game console was the best-selling product the all-important day after Thanksgiving.
The Switch is a hybrid game console that can be played on a home big-screen TV and also as an on-the-go device. Development of games drove much of the demand, with nostalgic Nintendo titles including new Zelda and Mario, and lots of other games coming out every day.
And STILL MORE HACKING
Oh, Equifax. The company admitted that the data of nearly half of all Americans were compromised.
There was a lot of noise when the news broke, and eventually Equifax announced that their chief executive, Richard F. Smith, would retire. That shake-up—in response to the public, legal, investor and political pressure– was probably a smart move. Cries from lawmakers for tougher oversight of the industry faded fairly quickly afterwards, and now, a few months later, it seems like other than giving guidance on how to check to see if you yourself were hacked (you can do so here) and the ability to enroll in TrustedID Premier, Equifax has come out pretty clean all in all.
They say those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Looking back at 2017, one overriding theme has been the ability of technology to interrupt, re-rank, and recodify what it means to be in business. Technology—and the value of data—have never been more in the news, and this cycle is poised to only continue.
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