Good morning. It's April 1, which means if you're on the internet, watch out for dumb jokes.
Zuckerberg testifying before Congress last year. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Facebook is aiming to grab control of efforts to regulate or break up the company, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg proposing his own global rules and a top Facebook policy exec dismissing calls to split up the company, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: Zuckerberg will likely be making the rounds in Washington to talk to lawmakers about the ideas he proposed in a Saturday op-ed, Facebook's VP of U.S. public policy Kevin Martin told Axios in an interview. Martin said drastic regulatory actions, such as splitting Facebook apart, won't solve issues around privacy and the spread of harmful content.
What they’re saying: Martin, who was also former chairman of the FCC under George W. Bush, said consumers wouldn’t benefit from regulators splitting the company from its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp.
The call to regulate content alarmed conservatives concerned about government censorship. Martin said critics have nothing to fear.
Details: Martin compared the proposed standard-setting body to the Motion Picture Association of America’s system for rating movies or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the private organization that supervises the securities industry.
Yes, but: Facebook is against efforts to limit the legal protections for user-contributed content that are embodied in section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Consumers consistently say they want more privacy, but they don't do much about it, Axios' Kim Hart writes.
Why it matters: That's the contradiction buried within the privacy debate. Survey after survey suggest that consumers care about preserving whatever privacy they have left — but few actually take steps to share less or delete the troves of data being collected about them online.
By the numbers: 92% of consumers say they should be able to control the information about them on the internet, per a recent PwC report.
But, despite high awareness of data scandals, an IBM survey showed most consumers don't take consequential action in response.
"People say they're worried, but they don't vote with their fingers, so to speak."— Jay Cline, PwC privacy leader
Case in point: Cline notes that even when legally mandated privacy protections are available, the response rates are low. For example, few consumers use their HIPAA rights to get access to medical records, or use the option under the law to delete medical records.
The big picture: "Some of these companies have so much power that we don't have much choice but to use their services — and we can't use these services without giving something up," says Jennifer King, director of privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.
Yes, but: Although the numbers are relatively small, consumers are starting to use privacy-conscious tools like ad blockers, virtual private networks and encryption. Google says 20 million people access the "My Accounts" hub that houses privacy and security settings every day.
What's next: California's privacy law, which takes effect next January, will be a litmus test for how badly consumers really want privacy — as well as for major companies' willingness to grant the same rights to users outside of the state.
Gmail launched April 1, 2004 — but the service was clearly no joke. For its 15th birthday, Google is adding a bunch of new features.
Why it matters: Gmail has become a force not just in consumer webmail, but also powering email for businesses large and small. Both Yahoo and Microsoft can tell you what happens if you stop being the coolest email kid on the block.
Speaking of April Fools' Day, be extra skeptical of what you read today. Some years back, tech companies started thinking they were hilarious comedians and began using the day to announce all sorts of fake products.
Flashback: A few were actually funny, like the Snapchat filter last year that looked like Facebook except the text was in Cyrillic (the alphabet used in Russia).
And this year, a couple of companies didn't even wait until April 1, showing they are both not funny and bad at reading a calendar.
Apple's announcement Friday that it was permanently cancelling its delayed AirPower wireless charging mat is definitely a serious and public misstep.
But it's important for Apple (and other companies) not to misunderstand the lesson for product management.
Between the lines: The wrong lesson would be to assume it just isn't worth trying to tackle hard problems, or find elegant solutions in a world where most products are cumbersome.
The bottom line: No one likes to be wrong, especially in public. But for a company like Apple, not being bold would be even worse.
That link we shared Friday to a video of seemingly happy ducklings tumbling down a water slide? Unfortunately, it's not as cute as it looks: The ducklings are stuck in a loop trying to get to some inaccessible food. Our apologies.
And now, on to something more fun — this guy makes 57 straight shots at arcade basketball in 30 seconds during a live NBA game.