It's been a tough week in tech journalism. In a world where everything and anything feels insignificant and unimportant compared to the George Floyd protests in the United States and the ever-raging COVID-19 epidemic. There is no getting around these two stories and it seems trivial to pretend otherwise. Here are our winners and losers of the week just gone.
Winner of the week: Twitter is breaking records
Twitter has long been the social network for breaking news, but for Jack Dorsey and Co., Christmas and birthdays are coming at once at the moment. This week, for the first time in months, it was not coronavirus that dominated the news, but growing unrest in the United States and around the world online as protesters demand justice for the death of 46-yeard-old George Floyd at the hands of a police officer and racial equality in society.
This week, K-pop fans banded together to drown out opposition to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Twitter, bombarding rightwing hashtags with gifs and clips of their favorite pop stars. The group action - collectively they are known as K-pop stans, slang for obsessive fans of South Korean pop music - meant that despite hashtags like #WhiteLivesMatter trending on Twitter this week, anyone viewing related tweets would be swamped with hilariously off-brand messages and anti-racism posts. K-pop stans, I salute you!
As a result of all of this, Twitter has just had its most successful week ever, achieving a record number of new installs of its app, according to two app store intelligence firms, Apptopia and Sensor Tower. Whilst the is a disparity between the exact number of installs reported by the firms, both agree that it was a record-breaking week for Twitter globally.
Loser of the week: no luck for Zuck
Over at Facebook, things are not going so well. On Tuesday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a video meeting with employees to talk about its decision not to censor or add fact-checking links to recent posts by Donald Trump the way that Twitter did. Reports suggested that an unusually large number of Facebook employees were unhappy with the way the call went, and a few hundred conducted a virtual walkout.
Later in the week, an 85-minute recording of the meeting was leaked to The Verge, giving tech readers an unprecedented insight into the workings of Facebook and how Zuckerberg runs his ship. Zuckerberg told employees that the decision to neither label or remove Trump's posts, such as the one that warned "when the looting starts, the shooting starts", was difficult but correct, much to the dissatisfaction of some employees.
Mark Zuckerberg has since officially responded to the leaked video, posting: "We’re going to review potential options for handling violating or partially-violating content aside from the binary leave-it-up or take-it-down decisions."
This is a situation that is not going to go away for Facebook, and there seems to be a growing tension between the social media giant's workforce and its top executives. The leaked video sheds light on how the company will react when the inevitable happens, and the situation is likely only going to get worse for Zuckerberg, as he struggles to justify Facebook's policy in the name of free speech.
Who were your winners and losers in tech this week? Share your thoughts below the line.
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Source: Tech Crunch