Special thanks to David McCabe for poring through Roger McNamee's nearly 300-page book yesterday. Especially when sources say he rarely has his book club assignment read on time.
Image: Penguin Random House
In his new book, due out next month, Facebook investor Roger McNamee reiterates his claims that the social network is bad for society while also offering fresh details on his efforts to bring regulatory attention to the company, Axios' David McCabe writes.
Why it matters: McNamee’s status as a one-time adviser to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has given him added clout among a chorus of critics.
Facebook is pushing back. "The reality is Roger McNamee hasn't been involved with Facebook for a decade," company spokesperson Jonny Thaw said.
What we're reading: "The time has come to accept that in its current mode of operation, Facebook’s flaws outweigh its considerable benefits," McNamee writes in one of the final chapters of "Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe."
The other side: "We take criticism seriously. Over the past two years, we've fundamentally changed how we operate to better protect the safety and security of people using Facebook," Thaw said.
The book also offers McNamee’s account of his work to bring attention to his criticism.
McNamee is a longtime investor who founded his last firm, Elevation, with Bono as a partner; he says he still holds shares of Facebook stock.
Our thought bubble: Though he claims to be a neophyte, McNamee is clearly attuned to the rhythms of media and politics — and used them to his advantage.
Some at Facebook responded to McNamee by bluntly saying that he's not as important to the company's story as he claims. "I've worked at Facebook for 12 years and I have to ask: who the fuck is Roger McNamee?" tweeted Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth last year (now deleted).
Go deeper: Read David's full story here.
Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images
The American Civil Liberties Union and its Northern California branch filed a lawsuit yesterday against 7 government agencies for concerns over social media surveillance.
Details: Per Axios' Haley Britzky, the ACLU alleges that the agencies are "investing in technology and systems that enable the programmatic and sustained tracking of U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike," raising concerns about privacy and free speech.
Go deeper: Location data is ground zero in privacy wars
Walmart has scrapped a plan to develop a new streaming service and will instead focus on its existing Vudu service, CNBC reported.
Background: The retail giant had talks that ended last year with former ePix CEO Mark Greenberg on a service that was aimed at "middle America," CNBC said.
The big picture: The move comes as tons of other companies are launching new streaming services, including Disney, AT&T Time Warner, Comcast NBC Universal and, in all likelihood, Apple.
Meanwhile, Walmart apparently is looking for a CEO to run some other stealth unit, according to Bloomberg.
A Fossil smartwatch using Google's software and sporting the Armani Exchange brand. Photo: Fossil
Google announced Thursday it is paying $40 million to acquire part of Fossil's smartwatch unit.
Context: It seems similar — on a smaller scale — to a 2017 deal in which Google paid $1.1 billion to acquire a portion of Taiwan's HTC, bulking up its in-house capabilities to boost its internal hardware team while retaining an ecosystem in which Google and others build competing Android products.
The bottom line: Fossil says that wearables are its fastest growing category, but it's fair to say none of the smartwatch makers, including Fossil, have been able to match the commercial impact of the Apple Watch.
What they're saying: Wired's Lauren Goode suggests that Google would be wise to release a fitness-oriented Android watch and says the Fossil deal could help.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A new breed of intelligent video surveillance is being installed in schools around the country — tech that follows people around campus and detects unusual behaviors, reports Axios' Kaveh Waddell.
Why it matters: This new phase in campus surveillance responds to high-profile school shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida, last February.
Background: Schools are experimenting wildly with technology in order to secure students, deploying facial recognition, license plate readers, microphones for gunshot detection and even patrol robots.
The tech the district wants is benignly branded "intelligent video analytics." It's already popular with police and retailers; now, it's appearing in schools.
Go deeper: Kaveh has more here.
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