google
Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me

The story in the New York Times this week was unsettling: The New America Foundation, a major think tank, was getting rid of one of its teams of scholars, the Open Markets group. New America had warned its leader Barry Lynn that he was “imperilling the institution,” the Times reported, after he and his group had repeatedly criticised Google, a major funder of the think tank, for its market dominance. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won’t Tell Me How

Rebecca Porter and I were strangers, as far as I knew. Facebook, however, thought we might be connected. Her name popped up this summer on my list of “People You May Know,” the social network’s roster of potential new online friends for me. Read More >>

facebook
Do You Know How PYMK or Other Friend-Recommendation Systems Work? Tell Us

“People You May Know.” “Suggested Friends.” “Suggestions for you.” No matter what it’s called, most of the social networks have it: a feature that recommends other users for you to connect with. Read More >>

amazon
Surprise Echo Owners, You’re Now Part of Amazon’s Random Social Network

Since the Echo’s release in 2014, millions of people have given in to Amazon’s nonstop advertising and welcomed Alexa into their homes. Amazon’s original sell for the always-on, voice-activated device was that users could “ask Echo for information, music, news, sports scores, and weather from across the room and get results or answers instantly.” But in the last couple of months, it has evolved into something else: the hub for Amazon’s new social network. Read More >>

spam
I Gave Mattel My Email Address to Keep My Child Safe. They Used It to Send Me Spam.

Once I became a parent, I noticed for the first time that the products I was buying came with pre-addressed postcards. These postcards ask you to send in your contact information, so you can be informed if the product you bought is later deemed unsafe and recalled, so you don’t, for example, get killed by a whipped cream canister. Read More >>

uber
Uber Doesn’t Want You to See This Document About Its Vast Data Surveillance System

The ever-expanding operations of Uber are defined by two interlocking and zealously guarded sets of information: the things the world-dominating ride-hailing company knows about you, and the things it doesn’t want you to know about it. Both kinds of secrets have been in play in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco, as Ward Spangenberg, a former forensic investigator for Uber, has pursued a wrongful-termination lawsuit against the company. Read More >>