Facebook co-founder calls for company to break up over ‘unprecedented’ power | Technology | The Guardian

A co-founder of Facebook has called for the government to break-up the company, warning that Mark Zuckerberg’s power is “unprecedented and un-American”.

Chris Hughes, who helped established Facebook after meeting Zuckerberg at Harvard University, wrote in the New York Times that Facebook’s acquisition of rival platforms had given Zuckerberg unparalleled power over speech.

“Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – that billions of people use every day,” Hughes wrote.

“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.

“It is time to break up Facebook.”

Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly users, according to its most recent earnings report, while WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, are each used by more than 1 billion people. Hughes’s appeal for tighter regulation comes as some lawmakers are calling for big tech companies to be reined in.

The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has pledged that if she is elected president she will break up Facebook, Amazon and Google, criticizing “anti-competitive mergers” such as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Hughes left Facebook in 2007 to work on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and sold his Facebook shares in 2012 – for half a billion dollars – but said he still felt “a sense of anger and responsibility” at the company’s omnipotence.

“The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech. There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of 2 billion people,” Hughes wrote.

Facebook has been plagued by scandal over the past year. In March 2018 it emerged that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and Brexit campaigners, had harvested millions of Facebook profiles to target users with personalized political advertisements. Just last month Facebook admitted to “unintentionally” uploading the address books of 1.5 million users without consent.

Hughes said the government should create a new agency to regulate technology companies and create “acceptable guidelines” for free speech on social media.

“If we don’t have public servants shaping these policies, corporations will,” he said.

“I don’t blame Mark for his quest for domination. He has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice. It’s on our government to ensure that we never lose the magic of the invisible hand.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This content was originally published here.

Demand a Climate Emergency Action Plan – Centre for Alternative Technology

An action plan for our changing planet

Measures that could help us reach net-zero include:

It’s vital that all emissions are included in this plan, and we must pay our historic debts. The UK and other long-industrialised nations grew wealthy on the back of burning fossil fuels; climate justice demands that we take ambitious action now, and provide both financial and technical support for less developed countries to help with mitigation and adaptation measures.

Please help us reach more people by sharing with your friends and family:

This content was originally published here.

The 20 best homes Instagram accounts | Technology | The Guardian

Best for kitchen hacks @reformcph
The Danish kitchen brand updates Ikea cabinets with simple, stylish cupboard fronts in sorbet shades.

Best for maximalists @degournay
These sumptuous, hand-painted murals and wallpapers are far too pricey to buy – just be inspired by shots of walls blooming with lemon trees or exotic birds. More is more.

Best for dining room style @richardleemassey
London’s most tireless restaurant-goer documents inspiringly beautiful places to eat, from humble caffs to top-end eateries – offering take home #interiorsinspo one meal at a time.

Best for snoopers @themodernhouse
This UK estate agent only sells homes that score high on the design scale. As exciting for nosy people as for those moving house.

Best for barefoot luxury @uxua
A hotel in Brazil whose beachy shots are interspersed with distressed interiors, soft linen, and tropical style.


Best for DIY ideas @grillodesigns
Young blogger Medina Grillo on updating her rented home in Birmingham; you can do a lot with a little.

Best for mid-century buffs @theatomicranch
Mid-century modern design in a gorgeous Palm Springs setting, where walnut sideboards sit alongside cacti. A Don Draper-inspired dream.

Best for brutalists @modernistestates
Take a tour of cityscapes, retro fonts and concrete buildings that have aged into their beauty.

Best for pared back palettes @daniellesiggerud
A former student of the minimalist architect John Pawson, Siggerud is now an architect based in Copenhagen, and in love with the many muted shades – and textures – of grey.

Best for real-life style @almostmakesperfect
Against a palette of peach, white, and pale brown, Los Angeles-based craft blogger Molly’s own home is a masterclass in staying stylish with a toddler in tow – complete with bespoke stairgate.

Best for colour lovers @farge_dagny
From her cabin outside Oslo, colour consultant Dagny Thurmann-Moe provides clients with modern ways to team colours. Full of ideas and shades that shouldn’t work together, but do.

Best for the unexpected @beau_traps
The brainchild of globetrotting dealer and interior stylist, Maxime Fisher, who discovers unusual, rare and unexpected interiors.

Best for prints @evasonaike
Designer Eva Sonaike draws on her Nigerian heritage to create bright and beautiful textiles – it will inspire you to be braver using print at home.

Best for globetrotting @hanyayanagihara
Booker-shortlisted author and magazine editor Hanya Yanagihara shares inspiring designs she discovers on her regular travels, from frescoes in Paris to cerise walls in Milan.

Best for monochrome obsessives @_millergrey
This Newcastle-based blogger has an aversion to colour, and is drawn to anything that makes his rental home feel spacious and stylish. Airy whites and strong blacks abound.

Best for daydreaming @howieguja
Interspersed with shots of his local beach in Bellport, New York, are images of the coastal homes photographer Howie Guja comes across: think verandas, distressed wood and clapboard.

Best for culinary style @skyemcalpine
The food author’s main focus is recipes, but here she flits between her London and Venice apartments, documenting her clever ways with colour, texture and tablescapes.

Best for cheering you up @teklan
An art director, photographer, interior architect, set designer and colour addict, Stockholm-based Tekla Evelina Severin’s feed is perfect for an overcast day.

Best for small space living @contemporary_life
Swedish blogger Melia Malmquist has taken a dated city apartment and turned it into an olive green oasis, full of gleaming knick-knacks, high street bargains and a wealth of inexpensive ideas.

This content was originally published here.

‘They treat us like crap’: Uber drivers feel poor and powerless on eve of IPO | Technology | The Guardian

A lot of very rich people will get even richer when Uber goes public on 9 May in one of the most anticipated initial public offerings (IPO) to hit the stock market in 2019.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder, could see his 8.6% stake in the company valued at close to $8bn if the company is valued at $90bn plus. One early investor, the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, has a $3m stake in the company estimated to now be worth $400m. Uber’s current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, could make at least $100m from stock options on top of his salary of $45m in 2018.

Drivers, in the meantime, are feeling increasingly poor, angry and powerless. They charge wages have been cut ahead of the IPO and that the bonuses offered to long-term drivers by Uber and Lyft, its main rival, are inadequate.


A series of strikes organized by groups including Rideshare Drivers United is planned for 9 May in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Washington DC, London and other cities.

The Guardian spoke to drivers in the run-up to the share sale.

Hrant Goregian: full-time Uber driver for five years in Los Angeles

Goregian first started driving for Uber to supplement his income from a full-time job that he eventually had to quit in order to manage childcare duties for his two children. “What I feel Uber does is like if you throw a seed to the birds and bring them to the cage and close the cage on them. Uber made it seem so good. I purchased a hybrid car, then they started little by little to reduce the wages,” Goregian said.

Eight months ago his wife lost her full-time job. Goregian is currently struggling to support his family. “This month, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pay my mortgage,” Goregian said.

According to Goregian, Uber treats drivers as just something they have to deal with until technology for autonomous cars gets to the point where they can eliminate drivers all together. “They don’t listen to us,” he said.

Ali Razak: full-time Uber driver for five years in Philadelphia

When Razak first started driving for Uber five years ago, he said it was a great company, offering drivers several incentives to start working for them.

“Once Uber got [control of] the market, they changed in the worst ways,” Razak said. “The only thing drivers are asking for is fair pay. Uber is doing everything except fair pay.”

When he first started, Razak made 80% of the fees from his fares, with 20% going to Uber. “Now, they are charging anything they want. Some of my fares they charge more than 60% of the rider fare,” he said. His pay has decreased from about $1,500 a week after expenses five years ago, to between $300 to $600 a week, while often working more hours.

He dismissed the bonuses being offered to Uber drivers from the IPO. With over 8,000 trips, Razak will receive a $500 bonus. “They are doing nothing for the drivers. All drivers are asking for is fair pay, and that’s what Uber won’t give to us. They are not willing to be transparent. They are willing to change the logo, they are willing to advertise, to spend millions on lobbying, but they are not willing to pay the drivers fairly.”


Peter: full-time Uber driver for one year in Los Angeles

“I pretty much have the lowest cost of living you can imagine in Los Angeles. I used to be able to afford that,” said Peter, who didn’t want his last name used fearing retribution from Uber. “Recently, Uber cut rates per mile by 25%. Now I’m having to work longer and longer hours in order to make rent.”

Peter currently lives in a small room in a house with eight other people. He used to have some spare money left over at the end of the month, but says that’s gone after the rate cuts for drivers. Peter makes $1,200 a month after expenses, despite often having to work 50- to 60-hour weeks. He’s put 30,000 miles on his car in just the past year, noting that mileage will probably increase as he has to drive more to make the same amount of money he used to.

“I want people to know how powerless you feel when your income comes from a faceless app and when you open it up one morning, things are just different and you’re earning less money and there’s no boss you can talk to, you weren’t told about it, you just see your income is lower today and you just have to deal with it,” said Peter.

Corey Roberts: full-time Uber Driver for three years in Philadelphia

“I love it, but they treat their drivers like crap,” Roberts said.

When he first started driving for Uber, Roberts said he was attracted by the flexible hours and the feeling of being his own boss. Three years ago Roberts said 80% of the fare went to drivers and 20% went to Uber. “Now they take half in some cases,” he said.

On 5 April, Roberts noted his driver account was placed on hold for an annual background check that normally takes just three days. His account was on hold for more than three weeks due to an error made by the background check agency. “Your account will just be off and they don’t do anything to help you with wages. I have bills starting to rack up.”

Roberts complained that issues with driver support are common, as the support representatives are outsourced out of the US and the Uber app immediately sides with customers over drivers. “You can give your best service to a customer and if they’re having a bad day they can give you a one star or make a false report,” he added.


Ben Valdez: part-time Uber driver for nearly four years in LA

Valdez is a part-time driver for Uber, working nights after his full-time job as a local college. The wages, Valdez explained, have declined over the four years he’s been driving for Uber.

“The only way I can make a profit is through surge pricing during events for high demands. That’s the only way I can make money, to drive during those peak times or I can’t afford to drive for Uber,” he said.

Vincent Suen: full-time Uber Driver for about two years in LA

Suen first began driving for Uber in between jobs as a restaurant server. A car enthusiast who likes to drive, the opportunity to make a living as a driver seemed more appealing to him than another restaurant gig.

“I wish I knew what I know now earlier,” he said. “I was blindsided. If I knew about the expenses, how expensive it is to do this gig, I would not have gotten into it in the first place.”

Two years ago, Suen purchased a 2017 Toyota Prius to start driving for Uber. In that time, he’s put 122,000 miles on his car.


“There are plenty of days where minus gas, I make less than minimum wage,” added Suen. When he first started driving, he was making $1,200 to $1,400 a week before expenses, but has struggled to continue making that even by increasing his work hours to 10- to 12-hour days, six or seven days a week.

Suen stopped driving for Uber about six weeks ago after his doctor diagnosed him with sciatica. “The doctor says my spine is not straight, due to sitting for long hours just from doing Uber,” he told the Guardian.

An Uber representative told the Guardian: “Drivers are at the heart of our service – we can’t succeed without them – and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road. Whether it’s more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers.”

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This content was originally published here.

City of Perth Briefcam technology to go live before June as part of $1 million Smart Cities trial | The West Australian

Video surveillance cameras that recognise your face, detect your gender, the colour of your clothes and how fast you’re travelling, and then track your movements, will be up and running in Perth by the end of the month.

The City of Perth will switch on the Briefcam technology in new surveillance cameras in East Perth as part of its $1 million Smart Cities trial. The technology, which also includes heat-mapping, will initially be tested in three of the 30 cameras in the new network, and potentially rolled out to more later.

City of Perth commissioner Andrew Hammond said the facial recognition technology would compare the faces of people captured on live footage with photographs supplied by law enforcement officials.

“The facial recognition capabilities will only be activated at the request of relevant law enforcement agencies,” he said.

The City of Perth will have the ability to move the detection and analytical capabilities between all the cameras in the network.

The Briefcam system uses “deep learning”, when a computer develops neural networks trained to recognise patterns, and “computer vision”, when a computer is trained to interpret and understand the visual world.

The software, which has been developed in Israel, will allow the City to be alerted if someone enters a restricted area defined by borders on the screen or if an object has been in the same spot for a certain time. It can also count pedestrians on footpaths and vehicles on roads.

The City of Perth is believed to have joined Border Force, which uses the technology at its passport gates at Perth Airport, as the only WA authority to use facial recognition surveillance on the public.

Chinese company Huawei is aggressively investing in the tech race, spending $21.2 billion on research and development last year. Hong-Eng Koh, Huawei’s global chief of public safety, said facial recognition alone was not sufficient because people could cover their face, so the company was supplying technology that does even more.

“Now we are meeting companies around the world, not just China, but in Europe, US, Israel that have different analytics, what colour you are wearing, how you are walking, what bag you are carrying, or your vehicle,” he said in a briefing in Shenzhen, China, last month.

How it works:

1: The Briefcam system can understand an entire scene and its background.

2: It detects, tracks, extracts and classifies every object or person.

3: Moving objects are separated from the video background, using artificial intelligence, and then tracked.

4: Objects are classified, for example people and vehicles, their attributes e.g. gender, carrying a bag, vehicle model, and saved in a database with their locations.

5: The information in the database can be searched, generate reports and send alerts.

6: The system allows hours of footage to be reviewed in minutes by simultaneously displaying events that have occurred at different times.

This content was originally published here.

How Effective Is List Segmentation?

Follow on from last post, where we introduced the concept of list segmentation.Lets have a look at how effective list segmentation is?

How Effective Is List Segmentation?

If you want to multiply your email marketing conversions you need to get more targeted subscribers, plus send more targeted information to them based on who they are and how they got on your list. The best way to do that is to use email marketing segmentation methods.


According to the Direct Marketing Association, almost 80 percent of return on investment comes from, segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.

Eighty percent. This is a very big number in terms of email marketing statistics. It’s important not to undervalue the meaning of this. This means that if you haven’t set up tagging, behavioural triggers, and other ways to segment your audience you can improve your conversions many times over just by doing this.

Just by doing something that you can automate you can make a huge difference in your return on investment. In other words, you can put this process on autopilot and see a great improvement in your email marketing results simply by using list segmentation.

Of course, it’s imperative that you understand the best ways to segment your audience before you do it. The best way to figure this out is to look at your customer buying cycle. Seek to segment your list members based on where they are in the cycle. You can do this using behavioural triggers and tags. Only segment in other ways when you know exactly why you’re doing it.

Another stat, this one from Campaign Monitor, states that each dollar spent on email marketing generates 38 dollars in return on investment. This is tremendous. This puts email marketing solidly in the lead for return on investment above all other marketing categories. No matter what anyone says, the money is still in the list.

Make use of your autoresponder

But, you can get a lot more money out of your list if you’re using basic and sound segmenting. Most autoresponder software like your Aweber or Get Response already offer the native the ability to set up segmentation of some kind. This will include tagging, or the ability to create sublists that will enhance your marketing efforts.

When you consider that a little more than 1/3 of online marketers aren’t segmenting their lists. That leave a lot of possibilities for you to command the marketplace by putting segmenting at the top of your priority list. Thankfully, with today’s technology, you can add segmentation in later for your old school list that will do wonders for your return on investment.

Round up

List segmentation is extremely effective because people like to feel important. They like to open an email and feel as if you can read their mind. If you set up different email series to run based on your customer’s behaviour and where they are in the buying cycle they will respond in amazing ways. So, yes, the answer is that list segmentation is very effective and every single person who has an email list should develop some sort of segmentation to help improve conversions.

I will continue with the subject of list segmenting next time, until then….


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List Segmentation, what is it about?

Hi Brian here again, how are you doing? I have had some queries about the topic of segmentation, people have been asking is it something I should be doing? How do I go about it? What is it, what’s involved? So here we go with an introduction.

What Is meant by ‘List Segmentation’?

Lets’s get started.

First a definition

Segmentation means to break up something into smaller pieces or elements.

For email lists this means:

This means categorising, or breaking it up into different groupings so that you only address particular groups for better responses and conversions.

The reason is that you can tailor your email series to that one type of person on your list. It’s very effective because people like reading messages that make them feel special, and addressing their interests

Let’s look at some examples

Demographics This is a typical way to segment your audience, but it might not be the type of segmentation that you need. For example, it might not matter if your audience is male or female for your product or service.

By Location Sometimes, you may want to segment by location so that you can market something to them based on where they are in their own language if you’re running an international business.

Social Media Connections Segmenting list members based on how you found them via social media is a great way to break up your list. You can make some assumptions about people who sign up via social media that are different which means you can try marketing to them differently.

Behaviour This is the best way to segment your list. When you segment your list based on list member behaviour you’ll have different lists based on the actions your audience takes. For example, if they downloaded your report about time management they will go on a list for people who downloaded that report. If they then buy something you’re promoting to that list, you’ll move them to yet another list.

Buying Cycle Another way to segment is based on where they are in their buying cycle. All your customers have a buying cycle. Some may have been curious for more information, some might have downloaded a freebie, or they may have purchased something.

Every Contact is Unique. If you can start thinking about your list members as individuals you’ll find it easier to market to them. You’ll be able to know just the right message to send them at any stage of their buying cycle.
Responsive List Members Another way is to separate them by how responsive they are. Do they open your emails? Do they click through to learn more? You can address them differently if you know they’re reading and put different subject lines if you know they’re not reading.

List segmentation is an important part of list building. You may need to try different methods to segment your list based on surveys, the freebie they download, the items they choose to purchase, how they interact with you on social media and more. That’s the great thing about email marketing. You can test numerous ideas without spending a lot of money or time setting it up.

Until next time….

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