1. Facebook’s Privacy – Focused Future
On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a 3,200-word blog post announcing what could be a major shift in the future of Facebook. Over the next few years, Facebook will build a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform, shifting toward encrypted messaging instead of public posts. The idea is that messaging services on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook will work seamlessly together to be private, deletable, and safe. This announcement comes after a year when Facebook has experienced countless data privacy issues. “Frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services,” Zuckerberg admits. Here’s some of what went down in 2018: Cambridge Analytica accessed 87M users’ data without their knowledge; Facebook was forced to shut down accounts and ads linked to both the Russian and Iranian government; and fake news fueling violence in Myanmar was found on the platform. Now, Zuckerberg plans to take Facebook on a 180° turn. How will this affect Facebook’s business model? Facebook’s revenue model is built on ads that normally appear in news feeds and stories, so the company would have to redefine their strategy. The real bummer: deletable content means no more scrolling way back to find embarrassing posts on your friend’s Timeline.
2. Chinese Hackers Target Universities
Chinese hackers have targeted 27 universities to steal maritime technology that is being developed for military purposes. Universities across the U.S., Canada, and South Korea have been victimized, including MIT, University of Washington, Penn State, and Duke. The hackers used a “spear phishing” technique by sending emails that appeared to look like they were from partner universities, but contained malware that allowed hackers to access data when opened. Universities are an easy target for attackers because they own lots of military data but have way less security measures than military organizations themselves. Who are these Chinese hackers? While iDefense, the cybersecurity agency who reported the attacks, has not been able to link the hackers to the Chinese government, it is still a likely suspect given the type of data. China’s relations with the U.S. is rough right now between legal wars with tech companies Huawei and ZTE and ongoing trade disagreements. Erik Qualman was right: what happens on campus doesn’t stay on campus. What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube and then goes into the hands of Chinese hackers… privacy is dead!
3. Amazon to Close Pop – Up Stores
Just after announcing the launch of a grocery store chain, Amazon plans to close its pop-up stores. The pop-up stores are located inside of retail stores such as Whole Foods, Kohl’s, and shopping malls. The kiosks allow customers to experiment with products like Fire tablets and Echo Smart speakers as well as services like Prime Video and Audible. Soon, all 87 of the pop-up locations in the U.S. will go. “Across our Amazon network, we regularly evaluate our businesses to ensure we’re making thoughtful decisions around how we can best serve our customers,” an Amazon spokeswoman told CNBC. “After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program.” What about Amazon’s other physical stores? The company plans to expand the number of Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, and Amazon Go retail locations. Amazon 4-star stores include only products that have a rating of 4 stars or higher, and Amazon Go stores provide a cashierless experience to shoppers. Additionally, Amazon still plans to launch its chain of grocery stores. While closing its kiosks might sound like a step backward for Amazon, it’s really a step forward in a much bigger plan to expand its physical retail presence.