Guns in America, Seth Green’s Stolen NFT, and Snap’s Stock Collapse


Wiser! Newsletter #79: For 2 years, 50 senators have held up new background laws for buying guns. And the killing continues, decade after decade. I look at the role of lobbying and social media. Also, in this issue of Wiser!; Snap’s stock price collapse, Mark Zuckerberg just can not get away from Cambridge Analytica and someone stole Seth Green’s Bored Ape NFT!

There are now over 11,300 like-minded subscribers just like you who want to know what’s happening and what’s coming next in the digital economy. Thank you for your support. 🙏

This week I’m covering:

  • the Cambridge Analytica boomerang that Facebook can’t get away from
  • Snap, the tech firm latest to be hit by the run on tech stocks;
  • someone stole Seth Green’s NFTs;
  • some stuff about the Metaverse, TikTok and crypto.
  • Plus a short rant about guns in America,
  • a dozen snippets of insight and information

PLUS….Episode #2 of the Big Tech Little Tech podcast talks crypto, facial recognition, AI in the classroom and the end of the iPod.

Photo by Heather Mount / Unsplash

More American Kids Than Police Officers Will Die From Gunshots in 2022

Nothing new here: This subject may seem off-piste to my usual commentary, but there’s relevancy, just bare with me. (BTW, if you’re a gun lovin’ American you might want to unsubscribe now.)

How many more presidents will have to give speeches like this without legislative action?

The awful killing of children and teachers in Texas this week, just 2 weeks after the mass shooting in Buffalo, has yet again ignited the gun control debate. It is crazy that there is a debate at all! The United States of America is a nation that stands head and shoulders above any other when it comes to mass shootings

Already this year there have been 199 of them, hardly surprising when a quarter of Americans (81.4 million) own a gun.

On top of that, “gun violence” now officially outranks “car accidents” as the dominant cause of death of American children and adolescents ( according to recently released mortality data from the CDC.)

In 2019 and 2020 children’s firearm-related deaths increase by a whopping 29.5%, twice the national average. This increase was primarily driven by firearm homicides, which increased by 33.4% in the same time period.

Here’s the thing: Lobbying and Social Media play a role. These are both subjects that I have been covering for Wiser! (hence this piece for this week’s newsletter).

🔫 To read the full article, continue here…

Episode #2: Shaun and I discuss Bitcoin, Deepfakes, AI Surveillance, TikTok Attention, and the end of the iPod

🎙 For all episodes, go here.

Mark Zuckerberg is being sued for his role in enabling the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Back Story: The District of Columbia in the USA has sued Meta/Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, seeking to hold him personally liable for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica is the Boomerang that won’t stop coming back!

This relates to the privacy breach of millions of Facebook users’ personal data that became a major corporate and political scandal in 2016.

The lawsuit maintains that Mr Zuckerberg directly participated in important company decisions and was aware of the potential dangers of sharing users’ data (which is at the heart of the case involving Cambridge Analytica.)

Without Consent: UK tech company Cambridge Analytica was a political consulting firm that specialised in data mining. Using a Facebook app, they gathered details on as many as 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

The data breach allowed Cambridge Analytica to target and influence Facebook users during the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit referendum.

Here’s the thing: In 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook $5 billion for the Cambridge Analytica data breach. A few months later, Facebook paid UK’s Information Commissioner $0.5 billion for exposing its users to a “serious risk of harm.”

Now, DC attorney-general Karl Racine is going after Zuckerberg directly. However, it’s not Racine’s first rodeo when it comes to going for the CEO with majority control over the world’s largest social network. In 2018 Racine failed in his attempt to add Zuckerberg to a previous lawsuit filed against Facebook.

Day of Reckoning: IMHO, whether Racine succeeds or not is a mute point (he’ll probably fail). The real damage has already been done to Facebook’s reputation.

This is just the latest as the reckoning continues after a decade of behaviour that has, net/net, caused more harm than good.

w/Further Reading

Facebook’s New Values Are All About ME

Facebook v Apple: The Battle of Privacy Versus Surveillance

Follow Me on Facebook or Instagram

I post “get to the point” cards like these on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo by Alexander Shatov / Unsplash

Snap’s Stock Price Collapse

BackStory: Snap closed down 43% on its worst trading day ever earlier this week. Snap’s shares are now down over 80% from their high in September 2021.

The collapse was sparked by Snap’s warning that it will miss its 2nd quarter numbers. Snap only set the revenue and profits projections a few weeks ago, and now says they’ll miss them because of a “faster than expected deterioration in macroeconomic conditions”.

It sends a concerning signal that has wide implications for tech players in the digital ad market. Up until now, Snap had outperformed many of its digital ad peers, most obviously MetaFacebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Unsurprisingly/surprisingly (depending on your POV), the tech stock holding up best is Twitter. Thanks to the belief that Elon Musk will still go through with the buyout (although it’s unlikely it will be at the price Musk is committed to buying at).

Where’s My Bored Ape NFT Gone?

Back Story: Actor Seth Green’s Bored Ape NFT has been stolen in a phishing scam. And with it goes the commercial rights to use the character, called Fred Simian, as the lead character in his new TV show.

Blockchain records show that the scammer flipped the Bored Ape NFT straight away for c$200k. The anonymous buyer is called “DarkWing84”. Green has been tweeting his Twitter account trying to work something out and get it back.

Moral of the story: just because it’s an NFT, doesn't mean it is any less susceptible to being nicked. But, because it is a digital asset on a decentralised blockchain then there’s a footprint, a trail. Third-party marketplaces (like Opensea, where NFTs are traded) can place digital markers on the asset so that future transactions can be impeded, although not stopped entirely.

In a digital world, online security is everything. If you, like me, get loads of emails claiming to be from PayPal or eBay or Apple, ie., brands that you trust, and they ask you to reset your password or validate a $17.84 transaction you didn’t make… DON’T TRUST IT.

Wiser! On LinkedIn and Medium

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What does the Metaverse mean for you?

Curious about the Metaverse? And what does in mean for businesses and our digital lives in the next 10 years? Here’s some interesting reading:

Here’s some interesting reading:

1️⃣ The Metaverse sure feels like an Enterprise thing. Can a mass-market Metaverse dream come true? Source: Alex Kantrowitz

2️⃣ Web3 is our chance to make a better Internet. Source: Harvard Business Review

3️⃣ Microsoft wants to be build the “industrial Metaverse”. Source: YouExec

4️⃣ A whole new world? Exploring the Metaverse and what it could mean for you. Source: Deloitte

Crypto carnage, what carnage?

The next time someone says to you”crypto carnage”, or something similar about the end of Bitcoin, explain to them that all markets are down, it’s not unique to cryptocurrency;

📉 The Dow just posted its eighth straight weekly loss, which is its longest weekly losing streak since 1923!

📉The S&P has lost ground for seven straight weeks, its longest losing streak since 2001!

📉The Nasdaq has dropped more from its peak last November than when the world shut down because of Covid in the Spring of 2020!

Remember!: if you’d bought Bitcoin 2 years ago, you’d still be up 200%!

Kinda puts things into perspective, right?

TikTok users in the US are forecast to overtake YouTube users for time spent on each platform

Backstory: TikTok has already overtaken Facebook and Instagram, now it seems that it’s about to surpass YouTube.

So What?: TIME SPENT ON THE PLATFORM is the ONLY metric that matters in the Attention Economy. Remember, YouTube and TikTok earn money by selling advertising space. The more of your attention they can keep, the more ads they can put in front of your eyeballs. Which means the more money they can make.

Here’s the thing: in a strategic move to go after YouTube’s space, TikTok increased the max length of its videos to 5 minutes last year. Then, in February this year they bumped it up again to 10-minute videos.

And it’s working!

Over 40% of Gen Z spends more than 3 hours a day on TikTok.

Expect these attention economy platforms to continue to mimic each other’s features. Instagram and YouTube are going after TikTok’s short-form dominance with Reels and Shorts. Meanwhile, TikTok has eyes on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitch with a host of new features coming, including Reposting and live streaming.

Snippets of Insight and Information

🤖 Gizmodo has published the Facebook Papers, a collection of documents that together, explain how the Facebook algorithms work. Interesting reading… Source: Gizmodo

💰 In 2020, Mark Zuckerberg donated $419 million to fund making it easier for people to vote during the pandemic-hit US Presidential Elections. What started as a well-intentioned act of citizenship has turned into a right-wing conspiracy that gave Joe Biden the White House. You know I’m no fan of Facebook or the Zuck, but I cant help feel for him on this occasion. Hoist by his own petard! Source: Protocol

🪙 A16Z announced their 4th crypto fund. It’s a gargantuan $4.5 Billion and is the largest crypto fund, ever. Source: Forbes

🧬 UK finally opens antitrust probe of Google’s role in the adtech stack. Source: TechCrunch

🚨 The worlds leading facial recognition software firm, Clearview AI, has been fined more than £7.5m by the UK’s privacy watchdog. It’s a subject that we discussed in the latest issue of Big Tech Little Tech just days before this news broke. You can listen to it here 👉

🇸🇻 El Salvador president and Bitcoin aficionado, Nayib Bukele has revealed the layout of Bitcoin City. It’s a bold vision for the poorest and most deadly nation in Central America. Bukele plans to issue Bitcoin Bonds, a financial instrument to raise $10 billion to build the City. Source: Twitter

🚁 Walmart delivery will be coming from the sky soon in the USA. The retail giant is expanding its drone coverage to six states after extending its partnership with DroneUp. It seems that the $4 shipping fee is not enough to deter people from selecting that method of shipment, even for the very small items. Source: The Guardian

🏠 54% of workers, including executives, rate a four-day workweek as a top 3 benefit priority. Source: LinkedIn

🐦 Twitter has agreed to pay $150 million as part of a settlement with regulators over allegations that the social media company misrepresented the “security and privacy” of user data over several years. Source: TechCrunch

🚀 SpaceX raised $1.5 billion in its latest funding round with a valuation of $125 billion. It suggests the company may be immune to the latest Musk controversies, unlike Twitter and Tesla. Source: Wall Street Journal

🤑 Negotiations have stalled the OECD’s global tax deal on multinational corporations. Analysts now project the 15% global minimum tax rate won’t be implemented until 2024. Source: Reuters

🍎 Apple is reported to be in talks to buy video games publisher Electronic Arts. Also rumoured to be in the mix are Disney and Amazon. This follows the monster $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. Source: 9to5Mac

👋 Jack Dorsey has left the board of Twitter. The move had been widely anticipated after the Twitter co-founder stepped down as CEO last year. Man-child musk tweeted “Jack off Twitter board.” Source: Elon Musk on Twitter

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Rick Huckstep | Digital Futurist | Emerging Tech

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