The conventional wisdom is Apple’s limits on third-party tracking will damage Facebook’s ad business. But whether it actually does is far from certain.

When Apple released its new anti-tracking update this week, experts and commentators appeared certain it was terrible news for Facebook. The update asks iPhone owners if they want the apps they use to track them across the web. And given how Facebook’s ad business relies on tracking, this seemed devastating. “It’s certain to hurt,” Politico said. Revenue drops are coming, analysts predicted. Facebook itself disclosed the threat in financial filings.

But whether Apple’s update does much — or any — damage to Facebook’s ad business is far from settled. With third-party tracking limited, advertisers will still need to spend money…


After watching Amazon, Facebook, and Google get hammered by critics — and encouraging it when convenient — Apple gets its turn under the bright lights

SOPA Images via Getty Images

Apple’s life is getting complicated in a hurry. With a combination of masterful marketing and luck, the $2.22 trillion company managed to avoid the backlash that has targeted Amazon, Facebook, and Google in recent years. But its good fortune and public relations magic appear to be running out, and a reckoning seems imminent.

Apple’s problems were on full display Wednesday, as representatives from Spotify, Tile, and Match Group — all of whom rely on Apple to reach customers — castigated it before the Senate. Apple, they said, is abusing its market power, harming their products, and, most importantly, hurting their…


Big Technology

Some call it a scam. Others say it’s the best available option. Either way, the Facebook Oversight Board is about to decide whether Trump can use Facebook.

Hakan Nural/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Over the next few weeks, the biggest tech story will be the Facebook Oversight Board’s ruling on Donald Trump. Facebook suspended Trump indefinitely following the Capitol Riots earlier this year. And now the board — a 19-member body that can review and overturn Facebook’s content decisions — is about to decide whether to bring him back.

As we enter a frenzied news cycle over the board’s decision, the key question underlying it all will be whether we can trust this new entity, which Facebook set up last year.

Some call the board a necessary, Supreme Court-style institution that brings the…


Big Technology

The question isn’t what’s going to get automated. It’s what’s going to get automated last.

Elaine Kwon

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

As I wrote Always Day One, my book about tech giant culture, I learned of a massive automation program inside Amazon’s corporate offices called Hands…


Big Technology

Amazon delivery drivers and liberal city dwellers vote together. But for how long?

In his new book, Fulfillment, Alec MacGillis writes of an Amazon distribution center in Sparrows Point, Maryland that sits on land once occupied by a Bethlehem Steel plant. The story underscores how dramatically the U.S. economy has transformed in recent years. Instead of making things, many of our biggest companies now distribute things made elsewhere. We’ve moved from an economy of production to one of dispersion.

The shift from factory to fulfillment work is core to the American story right now. For the American worker, a factory job like one at Bethlehem Steel was dangerous, but it paid $30 to…


Big Technology

The two join Big Technology to discuss tech criticism, Cambridge Analytica, and how Facebook can begin to right its wrongs

Carole Cadwalladr and Yael Eisenstat

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Carole Cadwalladr and Yael Eisenstat are two of the most prominent Facebook critics worldwide. Cadwalladr is the journalist who broke open the Cambridge Analytica story for The Guardian and The Observer. Eisenstat, a former CIA officer, worked on election integrity…


BIG TECHNOLOGY

‘The main thing is you just never underestimate Amazon’

Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

Last week, Amazon announced it would expand Amazon Care — its employee-only health care service — to the public. The service lets you chat with nurses, move to video, arrange home visits, and get medication prescribed. Amazon delivers the medicine.

The company began piloting Care internally in September 2019, and it’s now opening it up to employers in Washington state, who can offer it to their workers as a benefit. Some already seem eager to jump in. “We’re in discussions with a number of companies,” an Amazon spokesperson told me.

Though Amazon is starting small, and trying to enter a…


Big Technology

‘Maybe we’re having a bust right now, but it’ll boom again’

Mat Honan

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

BuzzFeed News Executive Editor Mat Honan has long covered the way society interacts with technology. He joins Big Technology Podcast this week to discuss the “Zoom Class,” the rise of NFTs, and how San Francisco may change after the pandemic.


Big Technology

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are paying third parties millions to make their case. Sometimes we know about the money, sometimes we don’t.

The New York State Capitol building. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Stringer/Getty Images

When New York State Senator Michael Gianaris called a hearing last September to discuss his new Big Tech antitrust bill, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft all declined to appear. But as he sorted the schedule, the Progressive Policy Institute, a “radically pragmatic” think tank, asked to send a representative.

Alec Stapp, that representative, mounted a robust defense of Big Tech in prepared remarks at the session. But when Giannaris started asking about PPI’s funding, he clammed up. “In my role in research,” Stapp said. “I’m not privy to the full donor list or who gives how much money.”

Left…


Big Technology

Sophie Schmidt and Louise Matsakis tell Big Technology Podcast that North America and Europe must look outside to fix their problems inside

Sophie Schmidt and Louise Matsakis

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

In 2019, Sophie Schmidt founded Rest of World, a news site dedicated to telling technology stories about what’s happening outside of North America and Europe. After watching her father, Eric Schmidt, run Google for 10 years, she became convinced that…

Alex Kantrowitz

I write the Big Technology newsletter. Sign up here: https://bigtechnology.substack.com.

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