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US Government weighs in on Media Code

In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry to the new Media Code, that would force Facebook and Google to pay for news aggregated on their websites, the US government described the proposed legislation as:

unreasonable, impractical, “fundamentally imbalanced” and could run counter to the US-Australia free trade agreement, The Guardian reports.

The US position is the Media code may do “undue harm”, and seems to “unfairly attack” just two companies, Facebook and Google. They ask the Australian government to put faith in “market forces” to sort it all out. 

To be fair, the code does target just two companies, but both are effective monopolies in their field, so there’s not a lot of market force to challenge them… 

Anyway, hopefully this is the last time we need to talk about the code, due to be discussed in parliament again this Friday, until next week… 

Facebook did something it promised it wouldn’t do 

I know it’s hard to believe, but Facebook has been caught ignoring its own rules again

In the run-up to the 2020 election, Facebook brought in a bunch of “emergency” measures to prevent people from using the platform to spread misinformation or coordinate violence.

One such measure was to stop promoting private political groups to users. Zuckerberg testified under oath last October saying the company had stopped promoting political groups, and the company made the claim again in a January 11th blog post. 

Despite Facebook’s promise, the markup has found that the company continued to recommend political groups to its users throughout December and January. Trump voters were most targeted with 25% of all Trump voters.

In this study, receiving suggestions to join groups, like, “Rudy Giuliani’s common sense group” and another simply called “storm the capitol.” 

The study was based on users who have downloaded the Markup’s browser extension that shows how Facebook is targeting its users. 

You may recall that Facebook wanted to shut down this research, because it said it violated Facebook’s Terms of Service. 

Netflix has stunned Wall Street with a massive quarter 

The streaming giant added more than 8 million new subscribers worldwide.

You may recall that wall street was a little disappointed in Netflix last quarter.

While the company had grown throughout 2020 due to the pandemic. It was spending a hell of a lot of money as well. Investors were hoping that Netflix would rein in its spending.

It hasn’t done that, but it’s created so much wealth that it doesn’t really need to. Netflix has even hinted at a share buy back based on its profits. 

As we mentioned last week, Netflix has over 70 movies premiering this year on the platform, which will no doubt go down well while cinemas remain closed.

And finally, Ben Thompson of Stretechery has a long read on Intel’s future 

In his newsletter, Ben explains the last 20 years of Intel chips and how they did very very well in Google’s data centers and, therefore, many other data centers that copied Google’s model. 

But their dominance in the data center is just as easily taken away by AMD and ARM as their dominance in desktops. 

Ben argues that the company should be broken up. So that the “fab” plant, the plants that actually physically makes the chips is separated from the plant that designs them. 

It’s a long and nerdy post. But if you’re into chip making and you thought I did a bad job of explaining Intel’s possible year of work, then Ben has you covered.

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If you have questions or comments for the show, you can find us on Twitter @peterwells and @tessbennett – or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts with feedback. 

Thanks for listening, and we’ll speak to you tomorrow