Weekly Roundup 10.15.2020

Posted in Newsletters

Welcome back to the weekly roundup. It was a big week for election news- Ridesharing apps like Uber are pushing hard for Prop 22, Memes are sewing disinformation (again!), and Twitter and Facebook are leaning that controlling online speech is not so easy.  

In other news, laptop shortages are making remote learning even more difficult for students, the DOJ is looking into a forced sale of Google Chrome, and a new season of the podcast Dissect will be examining Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet.   

2020 Election 

Memes, Misinfo, and the Election: What’s in a meme? That which we call a source of disinformation by any other name would still… smell as… disinformy? (Okay, listen, cut me some slack, I tried.) Memes are so far beyond the days of grumpy cats and success baby—they’re now an influence in our highest form of democracy, for better or worse.

You Can’t Escape Uber’s Lobbying: Sharing economy companies like Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Instacart are bombarding users with information on Proposition 22, a ballot proposal that will exempt sharing economy companies from providing benefits to their drivers in California. Users aren’t happy and the efficacy of the campaign is questionable. 

Fifteen Important Things to Say About Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Post’s Hunter Biden Story: Earlier this week, the New York Post published an article on alleged emails and photos from Hunter Biden’s personal laptop. Many reporters outside of the Post have questioned the veracity of the article, which resulted in Facebook reducing the reach of the story and Twitter banning any links to the story. Check out fifteen points The Verge makes about the article and the subsequent social media efforts to control online speech.  

Tech Policy 

Feds may target Google’s Chrome browser for breakup: DOJ officials are considering ways to limit Google’s power as they prepare for an antitrust lawsuit. The forced sale would result in the first court ordered break up of a US company in decades and would signal a new era in Big Tech.

The member of Congress who’s trying to stop QAnon: Recode interviews Rep. Tom Malinowski, who recently co-sponsored a resolution condemning QAnon in the House of Representatives.


The Digital Divide Starts with a Laptop Shortage: A shortage of affordable laptops is making it even harder for many students across the country to participate in remote learning. Shipment delays are pitting schools against each other, with wealthier school districts ultimately winning out. 


The Hydraulic Press Channel is the Internet Sensation of Our Time: We’ve all seen the #oddlysatisfying videos online- maybe it’s a power washer cleaning a deck or footage of a ceramic plate being made. But what about crushing things? Vice speaks with content creators Lauri and Anni Vuohensilta; they talked about the pros and cons of different social media platforms, and why people love to watch things get crushed.  

Dissect Sneak Peak: Because the Internet: A podcast about an internet sensation who made music about how the thing that was supposed to make us more connected is pulling us further apart. At a time when all of our interactions (ahem, school) are via Zoom, it feels more poignant than ever. Come for the good music, stay for the dissertation-level analysis of an iconic album about the internet generation.