Darren Walker, Ford Foundation president, talks about social justice, equality in the boardroom and how billionaires give away their money. This episode of “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” was recorded Dec. 13.
Meta to support creators hurt by Apple
By Mark Zuckerberg, Meta
As we build for the metaverse, we’re focused on unlocking opportunities for creators to make money from their work. The 30% fees that Apple takes on transactions make it harder to do that, so we’re updating our Subscriptions product so now creators can earn more.
We’re launching a promotional link for creators for their Subscriptions offering. When people subscribe using this link, creators will keep all the money they earn (minus taxes).
Creators will have more ownership of their audience — we’re giving the ability for them to download the email addresses of all of their new subscribers.
We’re launching a bonus program that pays creators for each new subscriber they get as part of our $1 billion creator investment announced this summer. More to come.
The cat’s (officially) out of the bag
By Andrew Bosworth (Boz), Facebook/Meta
Well the cat’s (officially) out of the bag: Our company is now Meta to better reflect who we are and our ambitions to help build the metaverse. Our org will become Reality Labs and our work is a key part of that future.
We’re focused on human connection and bringing people together. And we’ve believed in the power of new technologies to transcend space and time since our inception. The last 18 months have only strengthened our conviction. Allowing people who are physically apart to share experiences as if they were together in the same place is incredibly powerful. That’s what the metaverse will be about.
Today I want to share publicly why we made these brand decisions for the company, what it means for my organization, and where we go from here.
One year ago we changed our org name from AR/VR to Facebook Reality Labs as a way to encompass the expansive work we do. We’re updating our name again to Reality Labs for the very same reason — to better make the connection that our org is building the technology that will enable the future metaverse.
While our org name is changing, our mission remains the same: “to build the tools that help people feel connected anytime, anywhere.” When we wrote this mission statement, we wanted to ensure it reflected our work but was flexible enough to grow alongside our org. And it has — even as we’ve expanded to include new teams like Metaverse, AI, Workplace, and Developer Platform and expanded our scope and remit.
Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll cascade these name changes to Reality Labs Research and other teams, as well as to our internal and external sites.
Realigning our product branding
We’re bringing our brands and products closer to Meta, which is the umbrella for all our products and services. When people buy our products, we want them to clearly understand that all of these devices come from Meta and ladder up to our metaverse vision. That’s why we’re evolving our brand across our current lines of hardware in-market, as well as for all future products, in order to bring more consistency across the portfolio and more transparency to consumers.
VR will be the most immersive way for people to access the metaverse and as we look toward our goal of bringing 1B people into VR, we want to make it clear that Quest is a Meta product. For this reason, we’re simplifying our brand architecture and shifting away from the Oculus brand for our hardware. Starting in early 2022, you’ll start to see the shift from Oculus Quest from Facebook to Meta Quest and Oculus App to Meta Quest App over time.
We all have a strong attachment to the Oculus brand, and this was a very difficult decision to make. While we’re changing the brand of the hardware we are still going to use it in software around things like developer tools and studios. I can assure you that the original Oculus vision remains deeply embedded in how Meta will continue to drive mass adoption for VR today.
We’ll also expand Meta Horizon as the brand that will encompass all of our first-party immersive social experiences. You’ve seen this already with Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds. Soon you’ll see us shift from Oculus to Horizon Home, Horizon Venues, Horizon Friends, and Horizon Profile.
As we’ve focused more on work, and as we’ve heard feedback from the VR community more broadly, we’re working on new ways to log into Quest that won’t require a Facebook account, landing sometime next year. This is one of our highest priority areas of work internally.
Over the next few months, you’ll see a phased rollout of the brand across all the relevant products and services — including Facebook Portal to Meta Portal. This shift from one brand identity to another is not a trivial one, and it must be done thoughtfully to ensure brand equity and transparency.
It is daunting to think of how much work there is to achieve the metaverse vision we laid out at Connect. But I am comforted when I think of how much progress we have made over the last four years that I’ve been working with this team. That work laid the foundation for the broader metaverse vision that we are now focused on as a company. Not much will fundamentally change for our work or our deliverables in the near term, but over time this will serve as a unifying force.
By Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook/Meta
FOUNDER’S LETTER, 2021
We are at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet, and it’s the next chapter for our company too.
In recent decades, technology has given people the power to connect and express ourselves more naturally. When I started Facebook, we mostly typed text on websites. When we got phones with cameras, the internet became more visual and mobile. As connections got faster, video became a richer way to share experiences. We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But this isn’t the end of the line.
The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.
The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.
In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today. We made a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day.
In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You’ll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint.
Think about how many physical things you have today that could just be holograms in the future. Your TV, your perfect work setup with multiple monitors, your board games and more — instead of physical things assembled in factories, they’ll be holograms designed by creators around the world.
You’ll move across these experiences on different devices — augmented reality glasses to stay present in the physical world, virtual reality to be fully immersed, and phones and computers to jump in from existing platforms. This isn’t about spending more time on screens; it’s about making the time we already spend better.
OUR ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY
The metaverse will not be created by one company. It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies.
Our role in this journey is to accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, social platforms and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through our social media apps. We believe the metaverse can enable better social experiences than anything that exists today, and we will dedicate our energy to helping achieve its potential.
As I wrote in our original founder’s letter: “we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.”
This approach has served us well. We’ve built our business to support very large and long term investments to build better services, and that’s what we plan to do here.
The last five years have been humbling for me and our company in many ways. One of the main lessons I’ve learned is that building products people love isn’t enough.
I’ve gained more appreciation that the internet’s story isn’t straightforward. Every chapter brings new voices and new ideas, but also new challenges, risks, and disruption of established interests. We’ll need to work together, from the beginning, to bring the best possible version of this future to life.
Privacy and safety need to be built into the metaverse from day one. So do open standards and interoperability. This will require not just novel technical work — like supporting crypto and NFT projects in the community — but also new forms of governance. Most of all, we need to help build ecosystems so that more people have a stake in the future and can benefit not just as consumers but as creators.
This period has also been humbling because as big of a company as we are, we’ve also learned what it’s like to build on other platforms. Living under their rules has profoundly shaped my views on the tech industry. I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice for consumers and high fees for developers are stifling innovation and holding back the internet economy.
We’ve tried to take a different approach. We want our services to be accessible to as many people as possible, which means working to make them cost less, not more. Our mobile apps are free. Our ads model is designed to provide businesses the lowest prices. Our commerce tools are available at cost or with modest fees. As a result, billions of people love our services and hundreds of millions of businesses rely on our tools.
That’s the approach we want to bring to helping to build the metaverse. We plan to sell our devices at cost or subsidized to make them available to more people. We’ll continue supporting side-loading and streaming from PCs so people have choice, rather than forcing them to use the Quest Store to find apps or reach customers. And we’ll aim to offer developer and creator services with low fees in as many cases as possible so we can maximize the overall creative economy. We’ll need to make sure we don’t lose too much money along the way though.
Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.
WHO WE ARE
As we embark on this next chapter, I’ve thought a lot about what this means for our company and our identity.
We’re a company that focuses on connecting people. While most tech companies focus on how people interact with technology, we’ve always focused on building technology so people can interact with each other.
Today we’re seen as a social media company. Facebook is one of the most used technology products in the history of the world. It’s an iconic social media brand.
Building social apps will always be important for us, and there’s a lot more to build. But increasingly, it’s not all we do. In our DNA, we build technology to bring people together. The metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people, just like social networking was when we got started.
Right now our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone in the future. Over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards.
We just announced that we’re making a fundamental change to our company. We’re now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments: one for our family of apps and one for our work on future platforms. Our work on the metaverse is not just one of these segments. The metaverse encompasses both the social experiences and future technology. As we broaden our vision, it’s time for us to adopt a new brand.
To reflect who we are and the future we hope to build, I’m proud to share that our company is now Meta.
Our mission remains the same — it’s still about bringing people together. Our apps and their brands aren’t changing either. We’re still the company that designs technology around people.
But all of our products, including our apps, now share a new vision: to help bring the metaverse to life. And now we have a name that reflects the breadth of what we do.
From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first. That means that over time you won’t need a Facebook account to use our other services. As our new brand starts showing up in our products, I hope people around the world come to know the Meta brand and the future we stand for.
I used to study Classics, and the word “meta” comes from the Greek word meaning “beyond”. For me, it symbolizes that there is always more to build, and there is always a next chapter to the story. Ours is a story that started in a dorm room and grew beyond anything we imagined; into a family of apps that people use to connect with one another, to find their voice, and to start businesses, communities, and movements that have changed the world.
I’m proud of what we’ve built so far, and I’m excited about what comes next — as we move beyond what’s possible today, beyond the constraints of screens, beyond the limits of distance and physics, and towards a future where everyone can be present with each other, create new opportunities and experience new things. It is a future that is beyond any one company and that will be made by all of us.
We have built things that have brought people together in new ways. We’ve learned from struggling with difficult social issues and living under closed platforms. Now it is time to take everything we’ve learned and help build the next chapter.
I’m dedicating our energy to this — more than any other company in the world. If this is the future you want to see, I hope you’ll join us. The future is going to be beyond anything we can imagine.
Billions of people use our services because we build the best tools
By Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
There’s a lot going on right now, and I just discussed it in our earnings call. I also talked about some of the new stuff we’re building. Here’s what I said:
Hey everyone and thanks for joining today.
We made good progress this quarter across a number of product priorities, and our community continues to grow. There are now almost 3.6 billion people who actively use one or more of our services, and I’m excited about our roadmap to keep building great new experiences for them.
As expected, we did experience revenue headwinds this quarter, including from Apple’s changes that are not only negatively affecting our business, but millions of small businesses in what is already a difficult time for them in the economy. Sheryl and Dave will talk about this more later, but the bottom line is we expect we’ll be able to navigate these headwinds over time with investments that we’re already making today.
Before I get to our product update, I want to discuss the recent debate around our company.
I believe large organizations should be scrutinized and I’d much rather live in a society where they are than one where they can’t be. Good faith criticism helps us get better. But my view is that what we’re seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company.
The reality is that we have an open culture where we encourage discussion and research about our work so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific to just us. We have industry-leading programs to study the effects of our products and provide transparency into our progress because we care about getting this right.
When we make decisions, we need to balance competing social equities, like free expression with reducing harmful content, or enabling strong encrypted privacy with supporting law enforcement, or enabling research and interoperability with locking down data as much as possible. It makes a good soundbite to say that we don’t solve these impossible tradeoffs because we’re just focused on making money, but the reality is these questions are not primarily about our business, but about balancing difficult social values. And I’ve repeatedly called for regulation to provide clarity because I don’t think companies should be making so many of these decisions ourselves.
I’m proud of our record navigating the complex tradeoffs involved in operating services at global scale, and I’m proud of the research and transparency we bring to our work. Our programs are industry-leading. We have made massive investments in safety and security with more than 40,000 people and we are on track to spend more than $5 billion on safety and security in 2021. I believe that’s more than any other tech company, even adjusted for scale. We set the standard for transparency with our quarterly enforcement reports and tools like the political ads archive. We established a new model for independent academic researchers to safely access data. We pioneered the Oversight Board as a model of self-regulation. And as a result, we believe our systems are the most effective at reducing harmful content across the industry. I think that any honest account of how we’ve handled these issues should include that.
I also think that any honest account should be clear that these issues aren’t primarily about social media. That means that no matter what Facebook does, we’re never going to solve them on our own. For example, polarization started rising in the US before I was born. At the same time, independent research shows that many countries around the world have flat or declining polarization, despite similar social media use there to in the US. We see this pattern repeat with other issues as well. The reality is, if social media is not the main driver of these issues, then it probably can’t fix them by itself either.
We should want every other company in our industry to make the investments and achieve the results that we have. I worry about the incentives that we’re creating for other companies to be as introspective as we have been. But I am committed to continuing this work, because I believe it will be better for our community and our business over the long term.
We can’t change the underlying media dynamics, but there’s a different constituency that we serve that has always been more important and that I try to keep us focused on: and that’s people.
Billions of people use our services because we build the best tools to stay connected to the people you care about, to find communities that matter to you, and to grow your small business.
And the reason we’ve been able to succeed for almost two decades is because we keep evolving and building. Facebook started in a dorm room and grew into a global website. We invented the News Feed and a new kind of ads platform. We became a mobile-first experience. And then we grew a whole family of apps that serve billions of people.
And there is so much more to build. Even with all the tools we have today, we still can’t feel like we’re right there together with the people we care about when we’re physically apart. We can’t teleport as holograms to instantly be at the office without a commute, or a concert with a friend, or in your parents’ living room to catch up. The creative economy and commerce tools are still nascent and there should be opportunity for millions of people to make a living doing work they love.
Our three product priorities remain our focus on creators, commerce, and building the next computing platform.
A big part of our work with creators is our focus on Reels. Reels is already the primary driver of engagement growth on Instagram. It’s incredibly entertaining, and I think there is a huge amount of potential ahead. We expect this to continue growing and I am optimistic that this will be as important for our products as Stories is. We also expect to make significant changes to Instagram and Facebook in the next year to further lean into video and make Reels a more central part of the experience.
One aspect of this is giving all our apps the goal of being the best services for young adults, which we define as ages 18-29. Historically, young adults have been a strong base and that’s important because they are the future. But over the last decade, as the audience that uses our apps has expanded so much and we’ve focused on serving everyone, our services have gotten dialed to be best for the most people who use them rather than specifically for young adults. And during this period, competition has also gotten more intense, especially with Apple’s iMessage growing in popularity and more recently the rise of TikTok, which is one of the most effective competitors that we have ever faced.
So we are retooling our teams to make serving young adults their north star, rather than optimizing for the larger number of older people. Like everything, this will involve tradeoffs in our products and it will likely mean that the rest of our community will grow more slowly than it otherwise would have. But it should also mean that our services become stronger for young adults. This shift will take years, not months, to fully execute, and I think it’s the right approach to building our community and company for the long term.
Our next product priority is commerce. Helping people discover new products that they’re interested in and reach customers inside our apps is going to unlock a lot of opportunities.
As Apple’s changes make e-commerce and customer acquisition less effective on the web, solutions that allow businesses to set up shop right inside our apps will become increasingly attractive and important to them. We’ve built solutions like ads that can dynamically point to either a business’s website or their Shop on our platforms depending on what will perform better for them, and that will help more businesses navigate this challenging environment.
Building a full-fledged commerce platform is a multi-year journey. Marketplace is already at scale and lots of people rely on it, especially now with supply chain issues that make it harder to get new products. Shops are getting more developed, and we have an exciting program planned for this holiday season where we’re working closely with a number of the businesses that have invested the most in Shops to identify what works to find new customers and grow their businesses even faster. Our plan is to then scale those solutions more broadly in 2022.
Beyond Reels and commerce, I also want to share some thoughts on our longer-term efforts to build the next computing platform and bring the metaverse to life. This is a major area of investment for us and an important part of our strategy going forward.
And I view this work as critical to our mission because delivering a sense of presence — like you’re right there with another person – that’s the holy grail of online social experiences. Over the next decade, these new platforms are going to start to unlock the kinds of experiences I’ve wanted to build since even before I started Facebook. Along with those social experiences I expect a massive increase in the creator economy and amount of digital goods and commerce. If you’re in the metaverse every day, then you’ll need digital clothes and digital tools, and different experiences. Our goal is to help the metaverse reach a billion people and hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce this decade. And strategically, helping to shape the next platform should reduce our dependence on delivering our services through competitors.
Building the foundational platforms for the metaverse will be a long road. We just released the 128GB Quest 2, replacing the 64GB model for $299. With EssilorLuxottica, we released our first smart glasses, and they’re off to a strong start as well. But bringing this vision to life isn’t just about building one glasses product. There’s a whole ecosystem. We’re building multiple generations of our VR and AR products at the same time, as well as a new operating system and development model, a digital commerce platform, content studios, and of course a social platform.
To reflect the significance of this for our business, today we’re announcing a change to our financial reporting. Starting next quarter, we’ll begin disclosing financial metrics for Facebook Reality Labs separately from our Family of Apps. This will provide investors with additional visibility into the investments that we’re making in augmented and virtual reality. In 2021, we expect these investments to reduce our overall operating profit by approximately $10 billion, and I expect this investment to grow even further for each of the next several years. Dave will share more about this later, but I encourage you all to tune into Connect on Thursday to hear more about our vision and our work here in more detail.
I recognize the magnitude of this bet on the future, and I’m grateful for the support of our investors, the creative community, and the thousands of talented people working on this effort inside our company to bring this inspiring future to life.
It’s frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterized
By Mark Zuckerberg
I wanted to share a note I wrote to everyone at our company.
Hey everyone: it’s been quite a week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you.
First, the SEV that took down all our services yesterday was the worst outage we’ve had in years. We’ve spent the past 24 hours debriefing how we can strengthen our systems against this kind of failure. This was also a reminder of how much our work matters to people. The deeper concern with an outage like this isn’t how many people switch to competitive services or how much money we lose, but what it means for the people who rely on our services to communicate with loved ones, run their businesses, or support their communities.
Second, now that today’s testimony is over, I wanted to reflect on the public debate we’re in. I’m sure many of you have found the recent coverage hard to read because it just doesn’t reflect the company we know. We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted.
Many of the claims don’t make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? If we didn’t care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space — even ones larger than us? If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we’re doing? And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the US while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world?
At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That’s just not true. For example, one move that has been called into question is when we introduced the Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed. This change showed fewer viral videos and more content from friends and family — which we did knowing it would mean people spent less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing for people’s well-being. Is that something a company focused on profits over people would do?
The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction.
But of everything published, I’m particularly focused on the questions raised about our work with kids. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the kinds of experiences I want my kids and others to have online, and it’s very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids.
The reality is that young people use technology. Think about how many school-age kids have phones. Rather than ignoring this, technology companies should build experiences that meet their needs while also keeping them safe. We’re deeply committed to doing industry-leading work in this area. A good example of this work is Messenger Kids, which is widely recognized as better and safer than alternatives.
We’ve also worked on bringing this kind of age-appropriate experience with parental controls for Instagram too. But given all the questions about whether this would actually be better for kids, we’ve paused that project to take more time to engage with experts and make sure anything we do would be helpful.
Like many of you, I found it difficult to read the mischaracterization of the research into how Instagram affects young people. As we wrote in our Newsroom post explaining this: “The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal — including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues — more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse.”
But when it comes to young people’s health or well-being, every negative experience matters. It is incredibly sad to think of a young person in a moment of distress who, instead of being comforted, has their experience made worse. We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I’m proud of the work we’ve done. We constantly use our research to improve this work further.
Similar to balancing other social issues, I don’t believe private companies should make all of the decisions on their own. That’s why we have advocated for updated internet regulations for several years now. I have testified in Congress multiple times and asked them to update these regulations. I’ve written op-eds outlining the areas of regulation we think are most important related to elections, harmful content, privacy, and competition.
We’re committed to doing the best work we can, but at some level the right body to assess tradeoffs between social equities is our democratically elected Congress. For example, what is the right age for teens to be able to use internet services? How should internet services verify people’s ages? And how should companies balance teens’ privacy while giving parents visibility into their activity?
If we’re going to have an informed conversation about the effects of social media on young people, it’s important to start with a full picture. We’re committed to doing more research ourselves and making more research publicly available.
That said, I’m worried about the incentives that are being set here. We have an industry-leading research program so that we can identify important issues and work on them. It’s disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don’t care. If we attack organizations making an effort to study their impact on the world, we’re effectively sending the message that it’s safer not to look at all, in case you find something that could be held against you. That’s the conclusion other companies seem to have reached, and I think that leads to a place that would be far worse for society. Even though it might be easier for us to follow that path, we’re going to keep doing research because it’s the right thing to do.
I know it’s frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterized, especially for those of you who are making important contributions across safety, integrity, research and product. But I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what’s right and delivering experiences that improve people’s lives, it will be better for our community and our business. I’ve asked leaders across the company to do deep dives on our work across many areas over the next few days so you can see everything that we’re doing to get there.
When I reflect on our work, I think about the real impact we have on the world — the people who can now stay in touch with their loved ones, create opportunities to support themselves, and find community. This is why billions of people love our products. I’m proud of everything we do to keep building the best social products in the world and grateful to all of you for the work you do here every day.
The governments of the world should start acting against the Apple-Google duopoly in the smartphone market
By Pavel Durov, Telegram
The phones of 50,000 individuals, including human rights activists and journalists, have been targeted by surveillance tools that were used by numerous governments. These tools can hack any iOS and Android phone, and there is no way to protect your device from it. It doesn’t matter which apps you use, because the system is breached on a deeper level.
According to the Snowden revelations from 2013, both Apple and Google are part of the global surveillance program that implies that these companies have to, among other things, implement backdoors into their mobile operating systems. These backdoors, usually disguised as security bugs, allow US agencies to access information on any smartphone in the world.
The problem with such backdoors is that they are never exclusive to just one party. Anybody can exploit them. So if a US security agency can hack an iOS or Android phone, any other organization that uncovers these backdoors can do the same. Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what has been taking place: an Israeli company called NSO Group has been selling access to the spying tools that allowed third parties to hack tens of thousands of phones.
Since at least 2018, I have been aware that one of my phone numbers was included in a list of potential targets of such surveillance tools (although a source from the NSO Group denies it). Personally, I wasn’t worried: since 2011, when I was still living in Russia, I’ve got used to assuming that all my phones were compromised. Anyone who gains access to my private data will be utterly disappointed – they will have to go through thousands of concept designs for Telegram features and millions of messages related to our product development process. They won’t find any important information there.
However, these surveillance tools are also used against people far more prominent than me. For example, they were employed to spy on 14 heads of state. The existence of backdoors in crucial infrastructure and software creates a huge challenge for humanity. That’s why I have been calling upon the governments of the world to start acting against the Apple-Google duopoly in the smartphone market and to force them to open their closed ecosystems and allow for more competition.
So far, even though the current market monopolization increases costs and violates privacy and freedom of speech of billions, government officials have been very slow to act. I hope the news that they themselves have been targeted by these surveillance tools will prompt politicians to change their minds.
This is not the new normal
By Greta Thunberg
Deadly heatwaves, floods, storms, wildfires, droughts, crop failures…
This is not “the new normal”.
We’re at the very beginning of a climate and ecological emergency, and extreme weather events will only become more and more frequent.
After the catastrophic recent developments – especially in Western Europe – everyone seems to be talking about the climate emergency, and rightly so. But as soon as these tragedies are over we’ll most likely forget about it and move on like before.
Unless we treat the crisis like a crisis all the time, we will not be able to halt the climate emergency.
People in power are now trying to act responsibly, saying lots of beautiful words. Everyone seems to forget that they are the ones responsible for putting us on a pathway towards a several degrees hotter and destabilized planet.
My thoughts are with everyone affected by these events.
- Liège. Bruno Fathy/ Belga/AFP
- Bootleg fire, Oregon USA. KTVZ
- Walporzheim, Rhineland Palatinate. Credit unknown
We can and will do better
By Priscilla Zhan
I am trying to name my emotions right now. Relief that there may be justice for George Floyd and his family. Heaviness from the reality that justice often comes too late and is far from universal. Faith that we can and will do better.
My hope is that the outcome of this trial is a catalyst toward systemic change in the disproportionate policing of and indiscriminate violence against Black people, and all people of color.
Today, I am holding George Floyd’s family in my thoughts. Tomorrow, I’ll refocus on our work to build a more just and equitable world, together.
Rest in peace and power Mr. Floyd.
Autism is not a disease
By Greta Thunberg
Today is #AutismAwarenessDay. At the age of 12 I was diagnosed with Asperger, a form of autism. At that time I had no idea what it meant. When I and my parents told people I was autistic, they always reacted with shock since I didn’t fit into the stereotype of autistic people.
Today, so many (especially girls) remain undiagnosed. The reasons for that are often lack of awareness, prejudices and the fact that many still see autism as a “disease” or something that has to hold you back. That more people are diagnosed with autism etc isn’t because there is an “inflation” in diagnoses but since awareness is increasing and many highly sensitive people experience stress related problems in modern society which gives them reason to suspect they’re on the spectrum.
Almost everywhere there are very limited resources to give autistic people the necessary support. Without these adjustments autism can turn into a disability. But under the right circumstances it can truly be a gift and turn into something you – and society – can benefit from. Sadly, today the level of awareness is so low. So many go undiagnosed and will therefore not receive the help they need and may go their whole life believing something is wrong with them.
So let’s all join in spreading awareness. It could literally save lives. Autism is not a disease. It’s not something you ”have”. It’s definitely not ”caused” by anything like vaccine or diet. It simply means that you are a bit different from everyone else.
And in a world where everyone strives to act, think and look the same – being different is truly something to be proud of.
Thats why I’m very proud to be autistic.