The Allow-and-Ban Edition Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Gatekeepers Or Censors? How Tech Manages Online Speech, by New York Times

The differing approaches to Mr. Jones exposed how unevenly tech companies enforce their rules on hate speech and offensive content. There are only a few cases in which the companies appear to consistently apply their policies, such as their ban on child pornography and instances in which the law required them to remove content, like Nazi imagery in Germany.

When left to make their own decisions, the tech companies often struggle with their roles as the arbiters of speech and leave false information, upset users and confusing decisions in their wake. Here is a look at what the companies, which control the world’s most popular public forums, allow and ban.

The New Editors Of The Internet, by Dan Gillmor, The Atlantic

Bowing to their better civic natures, and the pleas of James Foley's family, Twitter and YouTube have pulled down videos and photos of his murder. They had every right to do so, and in my view they did the right thing.

So why am I so uncomfortable with this? Because it's not clear what's too vile to host. And, even more, because Twitter and YouTube are among a tiny group of giant companies with greater and greater power—and less and less accountability—over what we read, hear, and watch online.

Who gave them this power? We did. And if we don’t take back what we’ve given away—and what’s being taken away—we’ll deserve what we get: a concentration of media power that will damage, if not eviscerate, our tradition of free expression.

Beta Track

Why You Should Use iOS 12's Do Not Disturb At Bedtime All Day Long, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

iOS 12’s best new feature may be Do Not Disturb at Bedtime. That sounds boring, but ask anyone who has been using the beta and they’ll tell you that it rocks. Apart from being active overnight, the main difference between regular Do Not Disturb and the new “at Bedtime” flavor is that all notifications are hidden from the lock screen until you deliberately swipe up on the screen to reveal them.

Regular Do Not Disturb suppresses audio and vibrating alerts, but the notifications still appear on the lock screen. You’ll see them any time you pick up your iPhone or unlock your iPad. This can make the difference between enjoying your hooky afternoon at the beach in peace or worrying the whole time because you accidentally saw that Slack message from your boss.


Overflow 3 Review: macOS App Launcher Doubles As A Spacious Dock Alternative, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

There’s only so much room available to cram applications, folders, and documents into the macOS Dock. But don’t worry, there’s a way to add a second dock to your screen that’s even more spacious and powerful than the original.

Best Alternatives To Apple's Magic Keyboard In 2018, by Lory Gil, iMore

If you love the look of the Magic Keyboard 2 but don't love the feel, or maybe you were hoping for more than what comes in the box, we've got a list of keyboards that have a very similar design, but offer something a little different.

The Best Monitor For The MacBook Pro, by Jon Martindale, Yahoo

As great as the displays on Apple’s range of MacBook Pros are, notebooks can never quite live up to the grandeur and functionality of working or watching various media on a large-scale desktop display.

Instapaper Relaunches Premium Service As A Paid Subscription And Returns To The EU, by John Voorhees, MacStories

At the heart of Instapaper’s plan is a return to a paid subscription model.

Newton Mail App Shutting Down September 25, Service Offering Partial Refunds, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The company says that while it would love to keep the application afloat, the premium mail application market is simply not there.


Lawmakers Asked Apple To Reveal How It Tracks Its Users. Here’s What The Company Said., by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post

The firm said that its phones do not collect any location information from WiFi networks, cellular networks or Bluetooth when those capabilities are switched off. That reflects what Apple has said in its privacy policies.

The company did reveal for the first time how many apps it rejects from its App Store for failing to comply with its policies — nearly 40 percent of submissions don’t make the cut.

Apple’s Response To Congressional Privacy Inquiry Is Mercifully Free Of Horrifying Revelations, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

Apple has its flaws, but its privacy settings are thankfully not among them. It’s true what it says: it’s not a data-monger like Google or Facebook, and has no need to personally profile its users the way Amazon does. It may sell increasingly iffy hardware at truly eye-popping prices, and it may have lost its design edge (been a while now), but at least it isn’t, in this sense at least, evil by nature.

EU Taking Another Look At Phone Chargers Because They’re Still Not Standardized, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

EU regulators are planning to investigate if there's a need for a legal mandate to force phone manufacturers to use standard chargers. Should they do so, proprietary chargers—including Apple's non-standard Lightning connector on its phones—could wind up being prohibited.

Bottom of the Page

The long-term plan for Apple, surely, is neither the Lightning port nor the USB-C port. It's wireless, just like everything else. This new potential EU mandate is just going to strengthen Apple's resolve to get rid of cables.


Thanks for reading.