Posts

Showing posts from 2019

Why doesn't Facebook simply filter out politics?

Image
This post was also published in VentureBeat. As the adage goes, don’t discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. Facebook’s genesis was for friends and family to share what was going on in their lives. Yet over the past couple of years, many Facebook newsfeeds have turned into “Trumpbook,” with a stream of outrage-focused political posts fueling Facebook interactions, especially during election cycles.
Facebook first claimed that its fake news issue was “crazy”, then repeatedly stated that their algorithm could discern fake news, and has since changed its tune — it has a war room where armies of contractors analyze ads and posts for validity.
But with recent advancements in machine learning, it is now possible to algorithmically filter out political news and advertisements using off-the-shelf machine learning algorithms. Topic categorization algorithms have been successfully identifying content for years and have become increasingly sophisticated and turnkey. The realistic go…

Payments will be Facebook's regulatory waterloo

Image
This post was also published in Entrepreneur.Facebook has had quite a run operating in the completely unregulated, wild world of social media, finally ending with a mea culpa that it needs government regulation in order to manage the massive social and democratic disorder it has created. With its new Libra cryptocurrency, Facebook wants to disrupt the most highly regulated industry on the planet: the payments and transborder payments markets.
In recent years, startups have made a habit of taking on regulators in order to grow, with Uber and Lyft as the posterchildren. Playing cat and mouse with much-hated, local regulators like the Taxi and Limousine Commissions of various cities and countries proved easy fodder in many jurisdictions and Uber and Lyft are now multibillion dollar public companies. 
However, once startups aggressively step into highly regulated industries like insurance or healthcare, regulators come down on them hard. The once high-flying Zenefits was kneecapped by vari…