Welcome to the Mozilla News Beat, a glance at the internet news of the week in order of best-to-worst. Enjoy!
Stick To It
Sometimes, you just want to assume a blob position. Watch as this frog makes its way up a glass wall and then just blobs out. Who knew frogs could scale great heights and also be suction cups?
Traditionally, we’ve seen Europe be harder on giant tech companies than the U.S., but perhaps that’s changing. The U.S. Judiciary Committee voted this week to advance five bills that would address the dominance of companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much in the U.S. these days, but many seem to agree on this.
Via New York Times
Google confirmed this week that its Privacy Sandbox feature would be delayed until 2023. The feature would allow Chrome users to block third-party tracking cookies. TechCrunch notes that this gives the ad-tech industry additional time to adjust to a post-cookie world. In the meantime, though, if you’re in the market for a new browser, we’ve got one in mind.
This week, the world celebrated Amazon’s birthday by, you guessed it, buying a bunch of stuff off Amazon. In honor of the Amazon’s Prime Day sales event, we spoke with Kaili Lambe, senior campaigner here at Mozilla about why you should think twice about buying Amazon devices, even if they are discounted.
The Cost Of Savings
Amazon made $25.2 billion off subscriptions last year — that’s 3x the earnings of the NBA. Which makes sense. For many of us, Prime is too affordable to pass up, but Ellen Cushing over at The Atlantic lays out the true cost of the service. Cushing compares Prime to climate change: ubiquitous, problematic and born out of our addiction to convenience. Both are fueled by big companies that obscure the huge toll of these conveniences, the author writes, but make no mistake — there is a toll.
No Shoes, No Vax, No Service
Bars and restaurants that require its patrons be vaccinated are being spammed by anti-vax groups online. MIT Tech Review points out how a bar’s position in the Yelp rankings can be tanked by a wave of bad reviews. Even though Yelp has tools to detect fraudulent reviews, it doesn’t spot them all. Ultimately that can affect a bar’s business.
Ads That Watch You
Ads everywhere and computers tracking our facial expressions. Is this the world we want to live in? Uber and Lyft seem to think so. A group named Alfi struck a deal with the ride-share companies to put 10,000 tablets + cameras in the back of cabs. The company will track riders’ reactions to the ads. Luckily cab drivers are getting a cut of the profits, but that doesn’t make this any less creepy.
Symbolism In Symbols
If you’ve ever searched for the term “Africa” in Apple’s emoji picker, you may have noticed only four results: the globe, a couple flags and the emoji symbol for hut. Search “Europe” and you’ll see currency and a soccer ball and even a Disney logo-looking castle. Some are noting that the results reinforce stereotypes. As O’Plérou Grebet noted in their interview with Rest Of World, “I wouldn’t say the feature is racist, but incomplete.”
The News Beat
Ashley Boyd, Audrey Hingle, Will Easton, Xavier Harding
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