Some of my favorite tech stories…
In this Fast Company long read, part of our end-of-the-decade series, I explored the history of Facebook’s like button and its enduring influence on advertising, culture, and commerce. Full Story
For this Fast Company long read, I went to Yangon, Myanmar, and spoke with free-speech activists fighting to change a regressive telecommunications law. The country is experiencing a wave of prosecutions for Facebook posts deemed to be defamatory or insulting to the military and government. Full Story
I wrote a long read for Backchannel about the evolution and future of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The law established crucial legal protections for websites, but over time has grown to become a protector of privilege and power. I spoke with the two lawmakers who wrote the statute about whether it still works as intended. Full Story.
As organic reach has declined in the Facebook news feed, nonprofits told me they were unable to share vital information with their members. Some say the huge social network has a responsibility to better accommodate the nonprofit sector. Full Article.
Yelp went on a defensive PR blitz in the wake of a forthcoming documentary (first reported by yours truly) in which business owners accuse the company of extortion and strong-arm sales tactics. Full Article.
Report from SXSW: I spoke with Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari Inc., about the future of out-of-home entertainment. With the rise of virtual reality, he thinks arcades are due for a comeback. Full Article.
Part of IBT’s three-part series exploring Amazon’s business model: I spoke with brick-and-mortar retailers who had lost the fight against the online behemoth, or were fighting tooth and nail to hold on. Full Article.
When a nonprofit group tried to share an IBT article criticizing Facebook’s news feed, Facebook refused to boost it, citing an improper reference to the Facebook brand. The incident revealed a little-known advertising guideline that allows Facebook to squash articles that reflect poorly on it. Full Article.
When Duane Reade tweeted a photo of Katherine Heigl walking out of one of its stores, the actress sued the drugstore chain for $6 million, claiming the tweet was tantamount to an endorsement. I spoke with legal experts about why the lawsuit is not as crazy as it sounds. Full Article.
I spoke with small-business owners frustrated over Yelp’s mysterious algorithm, which is supposed to filter out low-quality reviews. In many cases, entrepreneurs find that Yelp is filtering out perfectly good feedback and hurting their companies’ overall ratings. Full Article.
I spoke with a number of meteorologists who said they were no longer able to share critical weather updates on Facebook thanks to a dramatic decline in organic reach. Full Article.