MRC Weekly Digest – 16th April 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday April 16, 2021 Read More
Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday. For even more content on media, work, and politics, you can follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture. For now, here’s your weekly media news digest! _____ Online Event: Is it Time for a Data Union? **TODAY** Fri 16 April, 2021 @ 3:00 PM – Pay-what-you-can by ‘artivist’ collective the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC) in Bristol. Ever worried about what actually does happen with all that data about you on the internet? What do they really mean by ‘the algorithm’? Well we’re not sure either, but it keeps us up at night, so join us in the first of what will hopefully become a series of big conversations. We are going to hold a thoughtful, interactive chat with you live about what internet rights, digital direct action and data unions might look like. There will be contributions from experts and useful information to consider, but as a community we will be talking about what it means to protect a community, in the digital age… Tickets available now from Headfirst. The suggested donation of £4 will help us keep the School of Activism as accessible & low-cost as possible, £8 will subsidise a ticket for someone else – but no-one will be turned away through lack of funds.

This Week’s Media News

  • The Amazon union vote in Bessemer was overwhelmingly unsuccessful. In response, the RWDSU has stated they will file ‘unfair labour practice charges’ against Amazon for union-busting – which the company has denied. (The Guardian)
  • An exposé this week reveals how Amazon “strong-arms” partner companies into behaving in a certain way and accepting its terms: “Partners often acquiesce to Amazon’s demands, the executives and officials said, because of its power in a range of market sectors.” (WSJ)
  • Members of the Ziff Davis Creators Guild, comprised of editorial staff from Mashable, PC Mag, Ask Men, and Geek, staged a walkout this week to protest “bad-faith bargaining” by Ziff Davis and its general manager Mike Finnerty. (AdWeek)
  • Facebook, LinkedIn, and Clubhouse all suffered data breaches this week, with millions of users’ details scraped from their servers. Around 500 million users each from Facebook and LinkedIn saw their personal data compromised, as did just over 1 million Clubhouse users. (Business Insider)
  • Substack has announced Substack Local: “a US$1,000,000 initiative to foster and develop the local news ecosystem by helping independent writers build local news publications on the platform.” (Substack Blog)
  • After being fired from Facebook last summer, Buzzfeed released excerpts from Sophie Zhang’s whistleblower memo. Now she has spoken to The Guardian US in full about the company’s lack of action in preventing election manipulation around the world. (The Guardian)
  • Actor Zachary Horwitz (stage name: Zach Avery) has been arrested for a $690 million fraud. The SEC claims he lied about having exclusive deals with Netflix and HBO and manufactured company reports, duping several financial firms into backing him. (Bloomberg)
  • Over 500 Alphabet employees have signed an open letter demanding Google stop protecting employees accused of harassment. Former Google engineer Emi Nietfeld told the NYT that she was forced to have private meetings with, and sit next to, the man who harassed her. (The Verge/Medium)
The media response to Prince Philip’s death has generated a large volume of complaints this week. A number of sites made their interfaces greyscale, which hindered users’ ability to read them. This honest exchange on Twitter was quite funny. (Martin Belam’s blog)