Huawei believes it can supply 5G kit to UK despite US sanctions | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Huawei believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by White House sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of an emergency review on Tuesday next week.
The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit but fears a wider ban on its equipment will be unveiled to placate Conservative rebel MPs, who say the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk.
Downing Street indicated on Friday it was “very likely” that the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday after a technical review of the sanctions by the Tempemail Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
The US ban prevents Huawei from using American microchips or any chips designed with American software. The NCSC is expected to conclude that Huawei kit will no longer be secure because it will have to rely on untested chips.
The Chinese company said it could divert 20,000 of its existing reserve for use in the UK, but is unclear whether there would be any point in doing so. “We can help, but why should we lean in when we are getting screwed,” one insider said.
Any material concession to Huawei would enrage rebel Tories. They want Dowden to ban new Huawei kit from the end of this year and insist existing kit be ripped out by 2023 or shortly thereafter. Leaks have suggested the government would consider working towards a date of 2029.
“If Huawei thinks that any sweetheart deal that sees another five years of their kit installed can pass through parliament, they’re wildly mistaken,” said a source close to the rebel group.
BT and Vodafone this week warned that ripping out Huawei by 2023 could lead to signal blackouts. They also said the cost to the two companies would reach several billion pounds and could be passed on to consumers. O2, the other leading mobile phone group, does not use much Huawei equipment.
While the scope of the review is technical, the row has increasingly become geopolitical. This week Huawei’s UK chairman, Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP, said the company had “become a football between the United States and China”.
Donald Trump’s White House has pressed hard for the UK to abandon Huawei, which has supplied telephone equipment to BT and Vodafone since the middle of the last decade and is the market leader in 5G.
Huawei says it is a private company independent of the Chinese state. Britain’s spy agencies have said there are no hidden backdoors in its equipment, partly because they have been able to monitor its software at a special evaluation centre located in Banbury, Oxfordshire.
In January, Boris Johnson announced that Huawei would be capped at 35% of 5G and would be allowed to supply only non-core parts of the network.
Dowden has previously said he would delay the planned telecoms bill until after the summer recess if he announced a policy change next week. That has prompted speculation that the government intends to delay a vote on its plans until after the US elections in November. This claim was denied by Downing Street.
Labour accused the government of agonising over the decision. The shadow culture and digital secretary, Jo Stevens, said: “The Tories have dithered over this for years, lurching from review to review with no concrete action. In the meantime they have failed to invest in homegrown alternatives.”

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Real change or symbolism? What Silicon Valley is – and isn’t – doing to support Black Lives Matter | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Major technology platforms are re-examining how they interact with police forces and regulate hate speech online following the death of George Floyd and the weeks of protests that ensued.
From avatars and hashtags to policy changes and donations, here is what technology companies are saying about #BlackLivesMatter – and what they are actually doing to back up those statements of support.
Symbolism: “We stand with the Black community,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in an impassioned 31 May post on the CEO’s personal page.
The platform also launched a section called “Lift Black Voices” where users can watch videos from Black activists and entertainers, donate to fundraisers for racial justice organizations, and read essays reflecting on the Black experience in America.

Donations: Facebook has committed more than $200m to support Black businesses and organizations, in part through cash and and credit grants to Black-owned businesses and in part through committing to buying its own business supplies from Black-owned suppliers.
Policy Changes: The company committed to increasing the number of Black people in leadership positions by 30% in the next five years and doubling the number of Black and Latinx employees overall by 2023. Zuckerberg also rolled out changes to hate speech enforcement on the platform, including prohibiting a wider range of hate speech in ads .
Major enforcement actions: Facebook in June removed hundreds of accounts related to the rightwing “boogaloo” hate movement.
Bigger picture: Despite all of those changes, more than 1,000 brands, including Coca-Cola and Unilever, pulled advertisements from Facebook for the month of July in protest of the company’s failure to address hate speech. Civil rights groups behind the boycott met with executives on Tuesday and said Zuckerberg declined to make concrete commitments to better policies.
Reports have found hate speech, white nationalism and conspiracy theories still thrive on Facebook. About 35% of Americans have experienced harassment online this year due to racial, religious or sexual identity and the majority of it – 77% – took place on Facebook, a 2020 report from the Anti-Defamation League found.
Symbolism: The official Twitter account changed its avatar from a blue to a black bird and changed its bio to #BlackLivesMatter – as did nearly a dozen other company accounts. Off the platform, Twitter posted tweets from Black users on billboards across eight US cities that have been at the center of recent protests. It also declared Juneteenth a corporate holiday for US-based employees.
Donations: CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged $1bn in Square equity in donations and posted a spreadsheet tracking his personal donations to date. Twitter as a company made a number of donations totaling more than $2.6m in free advertising to related causes, non-partisan organizations dedicated to voting access, and cash donations to non-profits benefiting the Black community.

Jack Dorsey. Photograph: François Mori/AP
Policy Changes: None.
Major enforcement actions: In May, Twitter added a warning label to a tweet from Donald Trump threatening protesters of George Floyd’s death for “glorifying violence”.
Bigger picture: Like many social platforms, Twitter still struggles to address hate speech. A spokeswoman said the company is “actively engaging with teams across the organization” to look at how to better engage the Black community and make sure non-white users feel safe on its service.
Symbolism: The Snap CEO, Evan Spiegel, sent an extensive memo to employees in which he acknowledged his privilege as a white tech executive and floated the idea of reparations. “In short, people like me will pay a lot more in taxes – and I believe it will be worth it to create a society that benefits all of us,” he wrote.
Donations: None.
Policy changes: Snap announced on 3 June that it would bar Trump’s posts from appearing in its Discover channel, citing its desire not to “amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice”.
Major enforcement actions: None.
Bigger picture: Snap was criticized for its release of a Juneteenth filter that asked users to “smile to break the chains”. It discontinued the filter and released an apology. This was not the first time the platform has been accused of insensitivity or outright racism in its filters. Former employees claim the company fostered a racist environment in which content made by non-white creators was rarely acknowledged and Black employees had to fight hard to have their voices heard.
Symbolism: CEO Susan Wojcicki released a letter to the YouTube community on 11 June saying the company was committed to protesting against the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and “so many others before them”. Through the month of June, YouTube’s Spotlight channel highlighted racial justice issues.

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO. Photograph: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic for YouTube
Donations: The company announced a $100m creators’ fund to help “amplify” Black creators and artists.
Policy Changes: The company has not announced any policy changes since May.
Major enforcement actions: In June, YouTube suspended the account of the Proud Boys founder, Gavin McInnes. It also suspended other white nationalist and extremist channels, including those associated with American Renaissance, Richard Spencer , Stefan Molyneux and David Duke.
Bigger picture: The video platform has been a breeding ground for racism in the past, giving rise to an entire ecosystem of far-right influencers. A number of YouTubers have recently faced personal reckonings for racist behavior or videos in the past, including Jenna Marbles, who retired from the platform following criticism in June.
Symbolism: Google celebrated Juneteenth with a Google doodle. It also programmed its AI assistant to answer the question, “Do all lives matter?” by responding: “Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean that all lives don’t. It means black lives are at risk in ways others are not.”
Donations: Google made a series of financial commitments to improve racial equity totaling more than $350m, including financing and grants for Black business owners, funding for education in the tech world, and cash donations to non-profits.
Policy Changes: Google committed to improving leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30% by 2025. Google’s workforce is 51.7% white and 3.7% black, according to its 2020 diversity report. It also promised to “do more to address representation challenges ” by hiring new people in positions dedicated to the progression and retention of Googlers “from underrepresented groups”.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Major enforcement actions: None.
Bigger picture: Google has been criticized in the past for the lack of racial diversity among its staff, as well as for racial bias in its algorithms. It has also faced criticism from its own employees over partnerships with police forces, including being a donor to the Seattle police department.
Symbolism: CEO Steve Huffman posted a message in solidarity with anti-racism efforts. The site’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the company’s board and urged Reddit to replace him with a Black candidate.
Donations: None.

Policy changes: The company rolled out new content rules in June, sharpening its ban on hate speech and harassment.
Major enforcement actions: In concert with the announcement of its new rules against hate speech, Reddit banned about 2,000 subreddits in June, including r/The_Donald, the largest pro-Trump message board (known as a subreddit) on the site.
Bigger picture: Reddit has been criticized in the past for its tolerance, or even promotion, of hateful content. After the actions announced by Huffman, Reddit’s former CEO Ellen Pao tweeted that the company must do more to address the issue. “You don’t get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long,” she wrote.
Symbolism: Following the death of George Floyd, Amazon called for an end to “the inequitable and brutal treatment of black people” in the US and added a “Black Lives Matter” banner at the top of its home page. Its chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, posted on Instagram an email from a customer criticizing the BLM banner on Amazon’s home page, and said the emailer was the kind of customer he’s “happy to lose”.
The company also programmed its AI assistant Alexa to respond say, “Black lives matter. I believe in racial equality. I stand in solidarity with the black community in the fight against systemic racism and injustice.”

Jeff Bezos. Photograph: Pablo Martínez Monsiváis/AP
Donations: $10m to social justice organizations related to civil rights issues and fighting racism.
Policy changes: Under pressure from activists, the company announced a one-year moratorium on selling its facial recognition technology to police forces.
Major enforcement actions: None.
Bigger picture: The company faces continued criticism for its partnerships with police through its smart doorbell Ring, which allows police to request footage and images from citizens’ doorbells. There are currently more than 1,400 police partnerships with Ring in the US. Amazon has also been accused of suppressing worker organizing in its warehouses surrounding how it handled the Covid-19 pandemic, including smearing a Black worker as “not smart or articulate”, according to leaked memos.
Symbolism: Airbnb released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter and published an Activism and Allyship guide for hosts and guests.
Donations: $500,000 to the NAACP.
Policy Changes: Through a partnership with the online activist group Color Of Change, Airbnb will now collect data to measure and fight bias and discrimination on the platform. It also committed to making 20% of its board of directors and executive team people of color by the end of 2021, and it made Juneteenth a company holiday.
Major enforcement actions: None.
Bigger picture: The platform has faced consistent criticism for its racial biases. A 2019 experiment found that Black users were 16% less likely to be accepted as guests than white users.
Symbolism: Twitch released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter protests.
Donations: None.
Policy changes: A spokesman said the company was considering additional policy changes, including a review of its hateful conduct and harassment policies, enhanced offensive username detection, improvements to its “Banned Words list”, and “other projects focused on reducing harassment and hateful conduct”.
Major enforcement actions: The streaming platform has more diligently cracked down on hate speech in recent weeks. Twitch suspended Trump’s channel, which was used to stream his campaign rallies, for violating its rules against hate speech.
Bigger picture: Twitch appears to be the first major social media platform to actually suspend the US president for violating its rules.

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‘Too big to fail’: why even a historic ad boycott won’t change Facebook | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

On the evening of 13 July 2013, a few hours after George Zimmerman was acquitted over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza logged on to her Facebook account and typed a phrase that would change the world: “#blacklivesmatter”. A few minutes later, she posted again: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.”
That Facebook played a small role in the inception of a movement that may have become the largest in US history is the kind of story that the embattled company likes to point to when it makes its case that it does more good than harm. CEO Mark Zuckerberg boasted of the hashtag’s origin on Facebook in October 2019, when he delivered a speech about his view of free expression at Georgetown University.
But however much credit Facebook thinks it deserves, the days of utopian thinking about the social media platform’s ability to foster positive social change are gone. On 8 July, the Black Lives Matter Global Network, an organization founded by Garza and two fellow activists, officially endorsed the Stop Hate for Profit boycott that has seen more than 1,000 companies forswear advertising on Facebook for at least the month of July in protest of its failure to combat hate speech. On the same day, a long-awaited civil rights audit excoriated Facebook for an inconsistent and often incoherent approach to protecting the bedrock values of an equal society, specifically citing that Georgetown speech as an ideological “turning point” with “devastating” effects.
The growing boycott and damning audit are just two expressions of a hardening consensus that Facebook is no agent of social progress, but rather an impediment to it. These criticisms are not just coming from leftwing activists or embittered competitors (a common dismissal of journalistic critique) but increasingly from Facebook’s own “community” of technologists, employees and former employees.

The Black Lives Matter movement may have become the largest in US history. Photograph: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/REX/Shutterstock
Still, despite the unprecedented nature of the ad boycott, it seems unlikely that Facebook will fundamentally change. The company has weathered seemingly existential crises in the past and managed to emerge with its leadership team, market capitalization, and business model intact. “This is not yet the straw to break the camel’s back,” said Dipanjan Chatterjee, vice-president and principal analyst for Forrester Research.
“Facebook is too big to fail.”
A company with ‘quasi-sovereign power’
In 2017, as Facebook came to grips with the fact that it was being blamed for the election of Donald Trump, the company debuted a new mission statement: to “build community and bring the world closer together”. This summer, Facebook did just that, bringing together a diverse and unprecedented coalition of non-profit organizations and massive for-profit corporations in opposition to itself.
The precipitating event for the Stop Hate for Profit campaign was Zuckerberg’s decision to allow Trump to quote a racist 1960s police chief’s threat against the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to protest the alleged police murder of George Floyd: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Trump’s statement was widely read as having the potential to incite vigilante violence. The traditional media contextualized it with explanations of its historical resonance. Twitter hid it behind a warning label and prevented users from amplifying it. Facebook left it alone, with Zuckerberg reiterating his belief that “we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies”. By dint of Trump’s position in government, Zuckerberg argued, the statement was not incitement but “a warning about state action”, and warnings of state action were allowed under Facebook policies, though that policy had never been “spelled out” before.

Zuckerberg’s reasoning was met with stunned disbelief by US civil rights leaders, as well as experts and advocates in free expression. That he would privilege the right of the most powerful person in the US to threaten violence against civilians over the right of those civilians to exercise their right to dissent remains a fundamental contradiction in Zuckerberg’s conception of free speech, one that operates in tandem with the company’s decision, announced by the company executive Nick Clegg in September 2019, to exempt the speech of politicians from its own third-party fact checking program.
This inclination to privilege Trump’s speech over others has continued with the company’s bizarre refusal to enforce its well-intentioned rules banning voter suppression against a president who is unambiguously using the platform to attempt to suppress the vote.

The Stop Hate for Profit boycott has seen more than 1,000 companies forswear advertising on Facebook for at least the month of July. Photograph: Sascha Steinbach/EPA
“Elevating free expression is a good thing, but it should apply to everyone,” the civil rights auditors wrote in reference to these policies. “When it means that powerful politicians do not have to abide by the same rules that everyone else does, a hierarchy of speech is created that privileges certain voices over less powerful voices … Mark Zuckerberg’s speech and Nick Clegg’s announcements deeply impacted our civil rights work and added new challenges to reining in voter suppression.”
The auditors also drew special attention to Facebook’s poor track record on identifying and banning hate groups. Until March 2019, Facebook argued that white separatism and white nationalism were distinct and less dangerous than white supremacy. Though Facebook reversed that policy, the auditors appeared frustrated that the company continues to define white nationalism too narrowly – and has ignored their suggestions for improvement in this area.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who led the company’s participation in the audit, said that the “two-year journey has had a profound effect on our culture and the way we think about our impact on the world”, adding: “It has helped us learn a lot about what we could do better, and we have put many recommendations from the auditors and the wider civil rights community into practice. While we won’t be making every change they call for, we will put more of their proposals into practice soon.”
Sandberg and other executives have also defended the company against criticism of its efforts on hate speech, arguing that they invest heavily in systems to remove hate and catch 89% of hate speech before it is reported. (“Ford Motor Company cannot say 89% of its fleet has seatbelts that work and still sell them,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.)
Whether Facebook will ever hit upon a more coherent approach to protecting the free expression of the powerless as well as the powerful depends on whether it ever comes to grip with its own role as the largest censor in the history of the world.
“Facebook is governing human expression more than any government does or ever has,” said Susan Benesch, a faculty associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. “They have taken on the task of defining hate speech and other unacceptable speech, which is a quasi-sovereign power … and we the public have no opportunity to contribute to the decision-making, as would be the case if the decisions were being made by a government.”
Indeed, despite company executives’ paying lip service to the concept of democracy from time to time, Facebook is structurally monarchical, thanks to Zuckerberg’s majority control of the company’s voting shares. Asked to describe the company’s decision-making process when it comes to Trump’s posts on a recent conference call with reporters, Clegg sounded less like a former deputy prime minister and more like a royal courtier when he explained: “For the most difficult decisions, there’s one ultimate decision maker, our CEO and chair and founder, Mark Zuckerberg.”
Change from the bottom up
One of Zuckerberg’s few concessions to criticism of his power has been the establishment of an “oversight board”, which will eventually be empowered to overrule him on certain decisions related to content takedowns. But the group appears to be in no hurry to step into the debate over Facebook’s handling of Trump, at least not before the November election. On 7 July, it responded to calls for its intervention with a statement that it “won’t be operational until late Fall”.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s stock price has already recovered from the hit it took when Unilever joined the ad boycott, suggesting that despite its success in generating headlines, the campaign is unlikely to have a lasting financial impact. “For some of the marketers that have joined the boycott, it is possible they were intending to pull back anyway for pandemic-related reasons,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal social media analyst for eMarketer. “In addition, we believe that other advertisers will actually increase their spending on Facebook in July, taking advantage of potentially lower ad prices in certain categories where advertisers have pulled out.”
Chatterjee, the Forrester analyst, concurred. “If you choose to be cynical, it is easy to see how a story about budget-crunched media cuts can easily be purpose-washed into a stand on social justice,” he said.
Chatterjee also pointed out that even as Facebook endures a “tongue-lashing in the US”, it continues to consolidate and expand its power abroad, such as through its $5.7bn deal with Jio Platforms in India, an investment that he expects will give it “unprecedented access to Indian consumers”. “#StopHateForProfit is a big deal in the context of US sentiment, but for Facebook there are also other big fish to fry,” he said.

An protest outside the US Capitol in Washington in 2018. The company has weathered previous crises. Photograph: Aaron Bernstein/Reuters
To the University of Virginia media studies professor Siva Vaidhyanathan, campaigners against Facebook need to come to grips with the global nature of its threat.
“One of the most frustrating things about the rise of Facebook criticism in the past three years has been its relentless focus on Donald Trump and the United States of America,” he said. “The US got off easy in 2016 – the same year that Rodrigo Duterte took over the Philippines by riding Facebook to victory, and two years after Narendra Modi took over India by riding Facebook to victory. Much of the world suffers from all of the Facebook maladies much worse than the US.”
Vaidhyanathan argued that solutions to Facebook’s ills cannot be achieved with oversight from above but will require a more fundamental shift from below.
“We have the potential to imagine radical interventions, and they have to be radical – they have to get to the root of Facebook,” he said. “The root of Facebook is the fact that it is a global intrusive surveillance system that leverages all that behavioral data to target both ads and non-ad content at us.
“Go for the root. If you can sever that, you pretty much destroy Facebook. It’s just a website at that point, and that would be lovely.”

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Removing Huawei by 2023 would cause data ‘blackouts’, MPs told | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

The UK would face mobile phone “blackouts” if networks were required to remove all Huawei equipment by 2023, a BT executive has told MPs.
Speaking to the Commons science and technology committee, Howard Watson, BT’s chief technology and information officer, said the proposed three-year timeframe for the removal of the Chinese firm from Britain’s mobile phone infrastructure was borderline unachievable.
“To get to zero in a three-year period would literally mean blackouts for customers on 4G and 2G, as well as 5G, throughout the country,” Watson said, citing the logistical difficulty of physically working on that many masts in a short timeframe.
Vodafone UK’s head of networks, Andrea Donà, corroborated Watson’s warning, saying the necessary works would create signal blackspots, “sometimes for a couple of days, depending on how big or how intrusive the work carried out is”.
Huawei has come under deep scrutiny for its links to the Chinese state, although the company has always insisted it is a fully independent employee-owned organisation.
In January, the UK government announced that despite those concerns, it would allow Huawei equipment to be used in the creation of Britain’s 5G network, but the requirement that no more than 35% of the total network could run on Huawei gear. The decision was a blessing to Vodafone and BT, since the two companies each have around 60% of their network currently operating on Huawei base-stations.
However, Boris Johnson is now thought to be preparing to cave in to Conservative backbench rebels opposed to the presence of Huawei in 5G networks and drawing up plans to reduce the Chinese company’s involvement to zero by 2023.
Last week, a former head of MI6, John Sawers, argued that strict US sanctions meant Huawei was more integrated with Chinese tech than ever, and now posed an unacceptable security risk.
As well as the blackouts caused by the work of switching to new suppliers, the change would be extremely expensive. But BT and Vodafone appear to have given up hope of winning in the long term, with both firms arguing in the commons only for a slow switchover – a change from their position at the beginning of the year.
Huawei’s claim to be independent wasn’t helped by the firm’s own showing in front of the committee, when the company’s UK chief executive, Jeremy Thompson, walked into a trap set by the chair, Greg Clark. Asked by Clark whether UK Huawei employees were free to express their views, Thompson replied: “Yes. Very much so. We have a management team in the UK like any other UK organisation and we are free to express our views, yes.”
Clark then asked: “So what is your view of the new security law in Hong Kong?” Thompson declined to answer.

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‘It’s hitting their pockets’: a lead organizer on the biggest corporate boycott in Facebook’s history | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Facebook is facing the biggest corporate boycott in the company’s history.
Following a call from advocacy groups working under the umbrella Stop Hate for Profit, more than 300 advertisers have pledged not to spend money on the platform for the month of July.
Although the boycott is unlikely to sink the company, it has received Mark Zuckerberg’s attention (about 98% of Facebook’s $70bn in annual revenue comes from advertising).
The CEO has been forced to address the campaign in company meetings and is meeting on Tuesday with organizers to discuss hate speech on the platform and demands behind the boycott.
Among the organizations participating is Color of Change, an online civil rights group that has been campaigning for racial justice on Facebook for several years. The Guardian spoke with the group’s president, Rashad Robinson, about organizers’ demands, the meeting, and what to expect from the movement next.

Color of Change has long targeted Facebook over its policies. What led to this boycott and how do you think it is different from past actions?
What we have done differently this time is to go directly to big advertisers who also have not been able to get changes from the platform: advertisers who see their ads on Facebook showing up next to white supremacist and white nationalist content and who have watched as Mark Zuckerberg has seen himself as too powerful to have to listen.
Color of Change has a long history of running corporate campaigns and corporate boycotts, so this is nothing new for us – it’s part of our DNA. But what is important here is that this really does stem from the fact that we had exhausted all other avenues.
We had spent hours upon hours back and forth with Facebook. We had been attacked by the company through paid operatives and still showed back up at the table. We did it all because we believe our elections and stopping hate is so critically important. But we got to the point where we have to say enough is enough.
So now the question is: Mark has thumbed his nose at social justice organizations. Will he continue to thumb his nose at big advertisers well?
Facebook has faced scrutiny from Congress as well as walkouts organized by its own employees. Why do you think the boycott has gained the most momentum – is it the economic incentive?

The cultural significance of so many big brands stepping away is huge

I think it’s hitting their pockets and hitting their stock prices. To be clear, it’s not really hitting its bottom line because of how insulated the model is. But I do think that the cultural significance of so many big brands stepping away is huge. It creates a sort of a singular experience for the leadership of being isolated in a new way, having to explain themselves in a new way. They also cannot just credit this to crazy outside activists, because you can’t really call Unilever and Coca-Cola crazy outsiders.
What do you think has shifted that has allowed this boycott to take off the way it has?
A lot of corporations that I’m talking to directly have made powerful statements about why Black lives matter. Many of them have tried to donate money to Color of Change and we don’t take direct financial support. So I tell the companies, “OK, if Black lives matter, I want you to stop advertising on Facebook.”
What changes is the boycott asking for?
We have a list of 10 full demands. One is that Facebook needs civil rights expertise in their C suite. They continue to make policy and products without any kind of understanding of voter suppression, of suppression of voices.

Rashad Robinson. Photograph: Sonia Recchia/Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg spends his time lecturing us on freedom of expression. It’s such an arrogant thing for a billionaire to tell Black activists about freedom of expression, as if the fight for social change and progress that Black people have isn’t one of the baselines of freedom of expression. Part of that freedom is ensuring that our voices can still be heard in the face of powerful unchecked forces.
You’re meeting with Zuckerberg on Tuesday. How do you think that will go?
They reached out and asked for a meeting. We have been not shy about our demands we have not been shy about our campaign. I’m going in with open ears, they requested a meeting and I am looking forward to what they have to say.
I’m hearing stories coming that Mark doesn’t believe the advertisers are going to stick with it, Mark believes that it’s not a big deal. I want to see if he thinks the advertisers are just a bunch of punks that he can control, to see if he believes he is all-powerful and doesn’t have to have any accountability.
Why do you believe Zuckerberg has been so reluctant to change in the past?
I will say in my meeting with him: I often expect him to know more about some of the stuff than he does. I regularly leave the meeting thinking that I may know more about coding a platform, and about civil rights and voter suppression than he does – yet he’s making decisions on the most powerful platform that the world has known.
Are there any moves Facebook has made in recent years that you think were positive or that you think they should continue?
The audits have resulted in some policies that we have appreciated. They stopped some of the practices of discrimination in housing and credit and employment. They settled cases the ACLU and others had brought around housing, particularly where people could put up ads that were only targeted towards white people. They have gotten rid of a number of white nationalist closed groups.
But here’s the thing: they put together policies sometimes that are actually good but do not enforce them. Or they only enforce them against some people. It’s like having drug laws in New York City where you enforce them in Harlem but not on Columbia’s campus. It’s two sets of rules.
Are you personally a Facebook user?
Yes, I am personally a Facebook user and Color of Change has built an audience there. This is why it’s so important – I work to change a lot of things in this country that I’ve used, and that is part of living in a democracy in a country – you want a system to work better for you and everyone else.
It is important to know Facebook has 2.6 billion users. So just opting out of a platform that has such broad reach and has such a deep hold over the public – that has our data and sells our data – is not enough. I believe my job here is to make it better.
Do you think a social media platform that actually upholds civil rights is possible, and what would that look like?

The thing about civil rights is that you actually have to follow the rules of the road – they should not be dependent on the feelings of the individual person in power. So we need some new rules for our tech companies.
In the absence of that, we need Facebook to not put its hand on the scale of this upcoming election, and to ensure that their platform actually doesn’t do the things that it did in 2016, which supercharges with its algorithm voter suppression and misinformation and disinformation. We need them to be accountable for that, and to think about more than just money and growth.
Are you optimistic that Facebook will change as a result of this boycott?
I am optimistic that we have created a new public and cultural narrative around the dangers, and the harm being caused by Facebook, and a leadership that seems unwilling to do things that are responsible.
Whether it is employees at Facebook, the public, or advertisers, I think we have reached an age where people are more aware and being aware can lead up to greater action on solving the problem.
This interview was edited for length and clarity

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Chinese ambassador: UK ban on Huawei would damage trust | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

China’s ambassador to the UK has said a ban on the Chinese tech company Huawei from playing a role in developing the UK’s 5G network would damage Chinese trust in the UK and its belief that the UK can run a foreign policy independent of the US.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing in London, Liu Xiaoming warned Boris Johnson “you cannot have a golden era if you treat China as an enemy”.
Liu also defended his country’s new national security law and derided the UK’s offer to provide up to 3 million Hong Kong people with a path to citizenship, describing the move as a gross interference in China’s affairs.
A ban on Huawei would have many consequences, Liu said, including damage to the UK’s reputation as “a business-friendly, open, transparent environment”.

Huawei is a Chinese telecoms company founded in 1987. US officials believe it poses a security risk because the Chinese government will make the firm engineer backdoors in its technology, through which information could be accessed by Beijing. Donald Trump has banned US companies from sharing technology with Huawei and has been putting pressure on other nations to follow suit.
The UK has accepted there is some risk in working with Huawei, but security services do not believe it to be unmanageable. It has designated Huawei a “high-risk vendor”, but the company will be given the opportunity to build non-core elements of Britain’s 5G network. The head of MI5 recently said he was confident the US-UK intelligence-sharing relationship would not be affected if London gave Huawei the nod.
Much of the doubt surrounding Huawei stems from founder Ren Zhengfei’s time as an engineer in the China’s People’s Liberation Army from 1974-83. His daughter Meng Wanzhou, a senior Huawei executive, was arrested in Canada in December 2018 over allegations of Iran-sanctions violations.
Huawei insists the Chinese government has never asked it to build a backdoor into its technology, and has offered to sign a “no spy agreement” with countries adopting it. The trade rivalry between the US and China has intensified in recent years and the firm believes the White House is simply using it as a weapon in that larger fight.
Kevin Rawlinson

Photograph: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

In a reference to US pressure on the UK to rethink on Huawei, he said: “When you get rid of Huawei, it sends out a very wrong message. You punish your image as a country that can conduct independent policy. It means you succumb to foreign pressure and you cannot make your own independent foreign policy. I always say Britain can only be great when it can have its independent foreign policy.”
Liu added that the whole Chinese business community was closely watching the Huawei decision.
Ministers are due to provide an update on Huawei to MPs before the summer recess. It is widely expected that US sanctions pressure has forced the UK into revising its previous decision to give Huawei limited access to the 5G network. Additional US measures announced in May make it nearly impossible for foreign chip manufacturers to sell semiconductors to Huawei using US-made equipment.
Liu said: “If the UK chooses to pay a high price for poorer quality, or less quality, it is up to you. We have to work for the best and prepare for the best. Huawei will survive and prosper. The more pressure from so called superpower and from its allies Huawei will grow stronger.”
Huawei was operating in 170 countries, and if it was excluded from the UK, it would still be active in 169, he said.
A security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing last week makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist activities illegal, as well as foreign intervention in the city’s internal affairs. Activities such as shouting slogans or holding up banners and flags calling for the city’s independence is violating the law regardless of whether violence is used.
Although the Chinese government had threatened “corresponding actions” if the UK went ahead with plans to respond to the law by giving a pathway to British citizenship to up to 3 million Hong Kong citizens, Liu refused to spell out the consequences in detail, saying the government would wait to see the precise steps taken by the UK.

The British offer to Hongkongers, he warned, represented “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and openly trampled on the basic norms governing international relations”.
“No one should underestimate the firm determination of China to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development,” Liu said. “Attempts to disrupt or obstruct the national security law will be met with the strong opposition of 1.4 billion Chinese people. All these attempts are doomed to failure.”
Later on Monday a spokesman for Johnson urged China not to interfere if Hongkongers sought to come to the UK. “We are currently assessing the national security law and its legal ramifications in terms of extradition with Hong Kong,” the spokesman said. “There are already extensive extradition safeguards in the UK. The courts are required to bar a person’s extradition to any country if it would be incompatible with their human rights or if the request appears to be motivated by their political opinion.”
Asked whether Johnson believed the UK was still in a “golden age” of relations with China, the spokesman said there was a “strong and constructive relationship” in many areas. But he added: “This relationship does not come at any price. It’s always been the case that where we have concerns we raise them and where we need to intervene we will, as we have done on Hong Kong.”

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UK to Phase Out 5G Technology from Huawei | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Image sourced from Onties

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is reportedly planning to phase out the use of 5G network technology supplied by Huawei in as little as six months – this comes after the UK’s national intelligence agency, GCHQ, flagged new security fears over the Chinese technology company.
A report from the GCHQ is said to rule that new US sanctions on Huawei have had a ‘serve’ impact and will force the company to use untrusted technology that could make the risk impossible to control.
According to Bloomberg, UK officials have already set about drafting proposals to stop installing new Huawei equipment in the 5G network and to speed up the removal of technology that is already in place.
In response to the news, a spokesperson from the tech company says that “Huawei is the most scrutinized vendor in the world and we firmly believe our unrivalled transparency in the U.K. means we can continue to be trusted to play a part in Britain’s gigabit upgrade. It’s important to focus on facts and not to speculate at this time.”

Huawei and the US Trade War
The US Department of Commerce has ruled that Huawei may work with North American companies to develop standards for 5G and other innovative technologies – this comes after the US banned trade with the Chinese tech giant citing the potential threat of cyber-exploitation.
The new ruling allows Huawei’s “entity listing” – which restricts trade between the US and a foreign organisation deemed as a threat – to be amended so that it can “continue to participate in many important international standards organizations in which U.S. companies also participate.”
“As international standards serve as the building blocks for product development and help ensure functionality, interoperability and safety of the products,” states the US Department of Commerce, “it is important to US technological leadership that US companies be able to work in these bodies in order to ensure that US standards proposals are fully considered.”

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TikTok may be ‘data collection service disguised as social media’, Liberal senator says | Technology- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Popular video messaging app TikTok may be “a data collection service disguised as social media” that requires greater scrutiny by Australian users, the deputy chair of the Foreign Interference through Social Media inquiry has said.
Liberal senator Jim Molan made the comments to Guardian Australia after Nationals MP George Christensen accused TikTok of being “used and abused” by the Chinese Communist party and called for it to be banned.
TikTok Australian general manager, Lee Hunter, has said it does not share users’ data with foreign governments and dismissed similar concerns from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Aspi) that there are “[CCP] cells inside the company” as not credible.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a technology company headquartered in Beijing, and has 1.6m Australian users, most under 25.

TikTok has come under increased scrutiny due to leaks showing it censors material that harms China’s foreign policy aims or mentions its human rights record and the volume of data it collects on its users.
On Monday, Christensen posted on Facebook that TikTok “should be banned in Australia as should other online communication networks used and abused by Communist China’s intelligence/military apparatus including WeChat”.
Molan said he has “similar concerns” about TikTok but also believes that all social media companies must be more transparent about the amount of information they collect and how they protect users’ privacy.
“There are claims by people who have reverse-engineered TikTok that it’s a data collection service disguised as social media,” he said.
“It conducts GPS pinging quite regularly. And other nations – Australia and India – have banned its use in their militaries.
“It may not be what it seems to be … I think people should understand and be informed about what this form of social networking does involve.”

Molan said it was too early to consider a ban and instead encouraged individuals to exercise personal responsibility.
“If you want to be someone’s dupe, you’re likely to do the wrong thing,” he said. “Be your own person – it comes down to whether you mind being tricked.”
Jenny McAllister, the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media, told Guardian Australia “when we have national security and tech experts raising concerns about TikTok, we have to take those concerns seriously”.
“There have been credible reports that TikTok takes more data than its users would expect, and moderates content for reasons that its users may not be comfortable with,” she said.
“Social media platforms are a bit of a black box for the average user. All platforms should be more transparent about the way in which they use data and promote content.
“We want Australians to have confidence that the only thing to worry about when using TikTok is the quality of their dance moves.”
McAllister urged TikTok to appear before the select committee and accused the government of failing to show “leadership” in responding to the issue.
Hunter told Guardian Australia: “TikTok does not share information of our users in Australia with any foreign government, including the Chinese government, and would not do so if asked. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.”
“We always welcome the opportunity to meet with policy makers to talk about TikTok, including the steps we’re taking to make it an even safer and more creative place.”
Asked about Christensen’s comments, Brent Thomas, the director of public policy at TikTok Australia said “this is an extreme position from an MP with a long history of extreme positions”.

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Jim Steyer: the man who took on Mark Zuckerberg | Technology- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

With more than two billion users Facebook is bigger than Christianity,” says Stanford law professor Jim Steyer. “Their ability to amplify hate speech or white supremacy or racist messages is so extraordinary because of the scale of the platform.”
It’s a typically bold statement from the man who set up the Stop Hate for Profit (SHFP) campaign calling on advertisers to withdraw from Facebook for the month of July. More than 500 firms have joined the temporary boycott, including Coca-Cola, Adidas and Unilever.
Facebook’s stock price has taken a tumble, though it still remains high, and last week its communications chief, Nick Clegg, was busy trying to persuade anyone who’d listen that the platform has a “zero tolerance” approach to hate speech. But, he wrote in a policy statement posted on Thursday, “[w]hen content falls short of being classified as hate speech… we err on the side of free expression because, ultimately, the best way to counter hurtful, divisive, offensive speech, is more speech. Exposing it to sunlight is better than hiding it in the shadows.”
As far as Steyer is concerned, Clegg, the former deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, has become a mouthpiece for social destruction.
“Nick should be embarrassed for putting that forward,” says Steyer. “He and Mark would flunk a fifth-grade civics class with their libertarian ‘free speech trumps everything in society’ argument. The first amendment doesn’t apply to Facebook. The first amendment applies to government restrictions on speech in the United States.”
He says the campaign is not afraid to “shame people who do terrible things to our society,” as long as it doesn’t involve ad hominem attacks. As forthright as he is in his opinions, some of the heat is taken out of them by the fact he seems to call everyone by their first name. This may be because he knows everyone. A renowned networker, the ebullient 64-year-old has been said to be “connected to more big names than Kevin Bacon”. His “little brother”, as he calls him, is the billionaire former hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer who ran a conspicuously unsuccessful campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He dropped out in February, having spent $191m on advertising.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. ‘If he really wanted to, he could clean up that platform,’ says Jim Steyer Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Among the names he mentions is “Sheryl” – Sandberg, the number two at Facebook. Steyer likes to joke that he is “no longer invited to Sheryl’s Hanukkah party”, as a result of his 2012 book, Talking Back to Facebook.
It argued that Facebook, along with other social media platforms, had “a very significant and negative impact on the social, emotional and cognitive development of children”. Steyer is the founder of Common Sense Media, a non-profit organisation that promotes safe media and entertainment for children. A New Yorker, he started out as a schoolteacher in Harlem and the South Bronx, moved into civil rights – he did death penalty work with the lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson and ran the NAACP Legal Defence Fund – and began teaching civil liberties at Stanford in 1986.
Today, with his flowing blond hair and wearing an old T-shirt, Steyer looks every inch a Californian. On our Zoom call he even uses an image of a surfer’s wave for his screen backdrop. Since his book, his attitude towards Facebook has if anything hardened. Last autumn he found himself in conversation about social media with a new friend, “Sacha”, the comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen – best known for the satirical inventions Borat and Ali G. “He’s a very, very intelligent man,” says Steyer.
They were joined by Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League. Out of their discussion came the idea for SHFP. Steyer’s intention was to launch the campaign back in January but decided more partners were needed. In the event Baron Cohen made a cutting reference to Facebook’s CEO when he introduced JoJo Rabbit at the Golden Globes.

“It’s critical that the UK and Europe speak up – they’re incredibly important territories for Facebook

Jim Steyer

“The hero of this next movie is a naive, misguided child who spreads Nazi propaganda and only has imaginary friends,” said Baron Cohen. “His name is Mark Zuckerberg.”
It was the protests provoked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May that led civil rights groups including Colour of Change and NAACP to come on board with Steyer. “A lot of the white supremacist arguments being made and falsehoods about both Covid-19 and racial justice were on Facebook,” he explains.
The newly formed coalition’s strategy was to “hit Facebook in the wallet”. But it’s a very large and deep wallet. The company generates more than $70bn in annual advertising revenues, and most of that money comes not from major brands but from small businesses.
So far the boycott has been limited to the United States, which means many of the companies that have been vocal about withdrawing their advertising continue to spend money on Facebook elsewhere in the world. Indeed, some have simply shifted their advertising to Instagram (also owned by Facebook) or targeted Facebook users through the Facebook Audience Network.
Steyer is aware of these get-outs, but says he’s astonished by how quickly the campaign has taken off, far outstripping his expectations. In any case, he says, this is just the first stage. SHFP are now seeking a global response, and are looking to the UK and Europe to follow suit. They’ve set up a London office, headed by former Conservative culture minister Ed Vaizey.
“It’s critical the UK and Europe speak up,” says Steyer, “because they’re incredibly important territories for Facebook and the big tech companies, and there should be a universal rejection of hate speech and racism and mass disinformation because they’re actually undermining the norms of our democracy.”

Jim Steyer with Hillary Clinton last year. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
But is Facebook to blame for racism and hate speech? Is it the job of communication forums to police content? Until relatively recently, the social media giants have done a very effective job of presenting themselves as disinterested platform providers, no more liable for what takes place on their sites than a phone company is responsible for the conversations that occur between two callers. Using section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to make its case, Silicon Valley companies have successfully passed themselves off as internet service providers rather than publishers, which means they are not legally liable for user content. Steyer says it has become his “crusade” to remove this protection from companies like Facebook. “They’re the biggest publishers in the world,” he complains, “but they’re seen as utilities.”
A complicating factor – and one on which SHFP is applying pressure – is that social media, in particular Facebook, has eaten up most of the advertising revenue that traditional media, operating with all the restrictions and responsibilities that publishing entails, long depended upon. This economic component is just one part of a complex jigsaw of interlocking issues and causes that Steyer passionately maps out. It’s no coincidence, he argues, that the growth in unregulated social media has been accompanied by a growth in “authoritarian populism”.
He points to social media manipulation, electoral subversion, Russian dark ops and libertarian apologists. And he has little truck for the defence, made by Clegg, that as over 100 billion messages are posted on Facebook’s services each day, it’s impossible to capture every piece of hate speech (Clegg claims almost 90% of it is removed before it is reported).
“Don’t tell me they can’t figure that out,” says Steyer. “They’re a trillion-dollar company. If they really wanted to, they could completely clean up that platform.”
SHFP maintains that Facebook not only allows too much hate speech, but also has chosen Breitbart News as a “trusted news source” and has made the right-wing news website The Daily Caller a “fact-checker” (one of the third-party entities that review the accuracy of stories on Facebook). Both publications, says SPFH, have “records of working with known white nationalists.”
SPFH also admonishes Facebook for not actively helping to get out the vote. Is that their responsibility too?
“I didn’t put that there,” Steyer says, before accusing Facebook of allowing voter suppression messages aimed at African Americans. Clegg made a commitment on Thursday that “every Facebook user of voting age in the US will be given information, prominently displayed on the top of their News Feed, on how to register to vote”.
Nevertheless for Steyer, the company’s political leanings are clear to see. “Zuckerberg has his thumb on the scale for Trump,” he says.
Referring to the private dinners held between the Facebook chief and Donald Trump, and attended by the Trump-supporting libertarian billionaire and Facebook board member, Peter Thiel, Steyer believes the Facebook hierarchy has allowed the president to use “dishonest ads and misinformation” and spread hatred. Thiel last week let it be known that he won’t be backing Trump’s presidential campaign this year because of the economic damage wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Amid the Black Lives Matter protests, Twitter placed warnings on some of Trump’s tweets, including the line, notorious for its racist echoes, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.
Trump put the same message on Facebook and Instagram without any intervention. Zuckerberg said while he disagreed with Trump’s language, democratic accountability meant that the president’s words should be available for scrutiny.
“They’ve permitted him to have violence and hate…” says Steyer, before trailing off.
Having grown more animated in his denunciations, he is suddenly aware of moving too far from the stated agenda, and promptly issues a reminder that the campaign is politically nonpartisan. “It’s not Trump we’re focused on. It’s hate, misinformation and racism. All the platforms have responsibility, but the biggest offender is Facebook.”
Ultimately, he would like to see Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, broken up and subject to the same publishing guidelines as the old media on whose content it trades. But that, he concedes, will be a long struggle.
“I’ll be doing this for many years to come. I’m a young man, I like my job, and unlike my brother, I’m not going to be running for president. I look at this as a mission.”

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Facebook is out of control. If it were a country it would be North Korea | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

There is no power on this earth that is capable of holding Facebook to account. No legislature, no law enforcement agency, no regulator. Congress has failed. The EU has failed. When the Federal Trade Commission fined it a record $5bn for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, its stock price actually went up.
Which is what makes this moment so interesting and, possibly, epochal. If the boycott of Facebook by some of the world’s biggest brands – Unilever, Coca-Cola, Starbucks – succeeds, it will be because it has targeted the only thing that Facebook understands: its bottom line. And if it fails, that will be another sort of landmark.
Because this is a company that facilitated an attack on a US election by a foreign power, that live-streamed a massacre then broadcast it to millions around the world, and helped incite a genocide.
I’ll say that again. It helped incite a genocide. A United Nations report says the use of Facebook played a “determining role” in inciting hate and violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya, which has seen tens of thousands die and hundreds of thousands flee for their lives.

Facebook is not a mirror. It’s a gun. Unlicensed, out of control, in the hands of 2.6 billion people across the planet

I often think about that report. When I watch documentaries showing Facebook employees playing ping-pong inside their Menlo Park safe space. When I took a jaunt to the suburban Silicon Valley town earlier this year and strolled down the “normal” street where Mark Zuckerberg lives his totally normal life as the sole decision-maker in a company the like of which the world has never seen before. When I heard that Maria Ressa, the Filipino journalist who has done so much to warn of Facebook’s harms, had been sentenced to jail. When I read the Orwellian defence that our former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg wrote last week. “Platforms like Facebook hold a mirror up to society,” he said.
Facebook is not a mirror. It’s a gun. Unlicensed – it is not subject to laws or control – it is in the hands and homes of 2.6 billion people, infiltrated by covert agents acting for nation states, a laboratory for groups who praise the cleansing effects of the Holocaust and believe 5G will fry our brainwaves in our sleep.
People sometimes say that if Facebook was a country, it would be bigger than China. But this is the wrong analogy. If Facebook was a country, it would be a rogue state. It would be North Korea. And it isn’t a gun. It’s a nuclear weapon.
Because this isn’t a company so much as an autocracy, a dictatorship, a global empire controlled by a single man. Who – even as the evidence of harm has become undeniable, indisputable, overwhelming – has simply chosen to ignore its critics across the world.
Instead, it has continued to pump out relentless, unbelievable, increasingly preposterous propaganda even as it controls the main news distribution channels. And just as the citizens of North Korea are unable to operate outside the state, it feels almost impossible to be alive today and live a life untouched by Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.
The #StopHateForProfit campaign is focused on hate speech. It’s what has united six American civil rights organisations in the US to lobby advertisers to “pause” their ads for July, a campaign precipitated by Facebook’s decision not to remove a post by Donald Trump threatening violence against Black Lives Matter protesters: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
But this is so much bigger than Facebook’s problem with hate. And it goes far far beyond the US, though the role it will play in the US election is pivotal (and it’s worth noting that #StopHateForProfit’s demands don’t extend to stopping lies in political ads, a crucial necessity). Facebook’s harms are global. Its threat to democracy is existential.
Is it a coincidence that the three countries that have dealt with coronavirus worst are those with populist leaders whose campaigns exploited Facebook’s ability to spread lies at scale? Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

And if you don’t care about democracy, think for a moment about coronavirus. If and when a vaccine comes along, will enough people want to have it? Facebook is riddled with anti-vaxxing like it’s infected by antisemitism. If that’s a mirror, Nick, you might want to take a long, cold, hard look in it.
Zuckerberg is not Kim Jong-un. He’s much, much more powerful. “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough,” he is reported to have told employees last week. And although 500 companies have now joined the boycott, the Wall Street Journal reports this represents only a 5% dip in profits. It may turn out that Facebook isn’t just bigger than China. It’s bigger than capitalism.
It comes, in the end, down to us and our wallets and what we say to these brands. Because the world has to realise that there’s no one and no thing coming to the rescue. Trump and Zuckerberg have formed an unspoken, almost certainly unstated, strategic alliance. Only the US has the power to clip Facebook’s wings. And only Facebook has the power to stop Trump spreading lies.
Sometimes you don’t realise the pivotal moments in history until it’s too late. And sometimes you do. It’s not quite yet too late. Just almost.

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