Facebook civil rights audit says white supremacy policy is ‘too narrow’

Facebook’s second progress report pertaining to the civil rights audit conducted by former ACLU Washington Director Laura Murphy is here. Over the last six months, Facebook has made changes around enforcing against hate, fighting discrimination in ads and protecting against misinformation and suppression in the upcoming U.S. presidential election and 2020 Census, according to the progress report.

While Facebook has made changes in some of these areas — Facebook banned white supremacy in March — auditors say Facebook’s policy is still “too narrow.” That’s because it solely prohibits explicit praise, support or representation of the terms “white nationalism” or “white separatism,” but does not technically prohibit references to those terms and ideologies.

“The narrow scope of the policy leaves up content that expressly espouses white nationalist ideology without using the term ‘white nationalist,’” the report states. “As a result, content that would cause the same harm is permitted to remain on the platform.”

Therefore, the audit team recommends Facebook expand its policy to prohibit content that “expressly praises, supports, or represents white nationalist ideology” even if the content does not explicitly use the terms “white nationalism” or “white separatism.”

In Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s note today, she acknowledges the recommendation.

“We’re addressing this by identifying hate slogans and symbols connected to white nationalism and white separatism to better enforce our policy,” she wrote.

Sandberg also noted how Facebook recently updated its policies to ensure people don’t use Facebook to organize events intended to intimidate or harass people.

“Getting our policies right is just one part of the solution,” Sandberg said. “We also need to get better at enforcement — both in taking down and leaving up the right content.”

Sandberg is referring to the fact that Facebook has sometimes wrongfully taken down content meant to draw attention to racism and discrimination.

As Murphy noted in her report, “the definition and policing of hate speech and harassment on the platform has long been an area of concern. The civil rights community also claims that a lack of civil rights expertise informing content decisions leads to vastly different outcomes for users from marginalized communities.”

Facebook now says it’s taking steps to address this. One step, Sandberg says, is to have some content reviewers focus just on hate speech.

“We believe allowing reviewers to specialize only in hate speech could help them further build the expertise that may lead to increased accuracy over time,” Sandberg wrote.

Additionally, Sandberg has formalized a civil rights task force at Facebook. This task force will live on beyond the audit in order to continue building more awareness around civil rights issues on Facebook.

And ahead of the upcoming presidential election, Facebook says it is working on new protections against voter interference and is adding a policy that prohibits “don’t vote” ads. That policy is expected to go into effect before the 2019 gubernatorial election. On the census side, Facebook is working on an interference policy that it expects to launch this fall.

In March of this year, Facebook settled with the ACLU and others pertaining to discriminatory job ads. Just days later,  the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Facebook was in violation of the Fair Housing Act through its ad-targeting tools. This case is still pending.

In the meantime, Facebook has since begun working on a new system so that advertisers running US housing, employment and credit ads will no longer be able to target by age, gender, race, religion or zip code.

When this system launches, there will be a limited number of options by which to target. Additionally, Facebook won’t make any new terms available without first running it by the ACLU and the other plaintiffs from the March 2019 settlement.

In order to implement this new system, Facebook will ask advertisers to explicitly note if the ad involves housing, employment or credit opportunities. If it does, advertisers will be directed to the new system. Facebook is also putting tools in place to identify ads that advertisers failed to flag.

Additionally, Facebook is working on a tool that will let users search active housing ads by the advertiser and by location, whether or not they are in the target audience. This is expected to be available by the end of this year. Down the road, Facebook plans to make similar tools available for employment and credit opportunities.

“Given how critical access to housing, employment and credit opportunities are, this could have a significant impact on people’s lives,” Murphy wrote in her progress report.

This audit began in May 2018 following one scandal after the other pertaining to misinformation, and Facebook’s policies and people of color on its platform. The first six months entailed Murphy conducting interviews with civil rights organizations to determine their concerns. This last six months largely focused on content moderation and enforcement. The civil rights audit is far from over, and Facebook says we can expect to see the next update early next year.

How to Write a Great Cover Letter

Image: Pexels

A few weeks ago a close friend of mine posted a job on Facebook that was available in her office that just happened to be a perfect match for a different friend of mine that’s looking for a new job. I passed the info along to friend number two and connected them together.

As is customary in such situations, friend number one offered to answer any questions friend number two might have about the gig. His only question, however, was one that surprised me. He asked, “Is this the type of office that reads cover letters.”

Advertisement

Apparently, his current office tends to throw cover letters in the trash and just focus on applicants resumes and what they’ve filled out in an online portal. He wanted to know if he should take the time to write something thoughtful in his cover letter or just send something short and sweet with the knowledge it would likely never or barely be read.

Advertisement

Her answer was something along the lines of “Dear God, please write a cover letter.”

This week Fast Company published a story on whether writing a cover letter is still worth it. The short answer? Yes, yes it is.

Advertisement

While there are definitely some places that don’t pay attention to cover letters, the majority of businesses still do. And they’re important. Anecdotally, I know the few times I’ve been involved in the hiring process for a position I’ve started with the cover letter and if it didn’t wow me, or at least interest me, I never made it to someone’s resume.

Beyond noting that cover letters are important, Fast Company made some suggestions on how to write a good one, starting with making sure you’re addressing that cover letter to the right person rather than a generic “Too whom it might concern.” Take the extra few minutes to figure out who the hiring manager is, or at least the right team. Put in the effort.

Advertisement

Beyond that, instead of kicking things off with a generic explanation of the job you’re applying for, use your opening graph to catch the person’s attention with an aspect of the job or company you’re excited about. Afterward, follow that up with specific examples of why you think you’re the perfect person for the job.

As we’ve noted before, it’s also important to know your audience with that letter, as well as knowing yourself.  

Advertisement

Keep things professional, but also try to keep things original, you want to stand out from the pack after all.

Avoid Traffic on July 4th By Leaving at The Right Time

Image: Pexels

This Independence Day, AAA expects a record-breaking 48.9 million people to hit the road, 4.1% more than last year. That means your chances for running into some epic traffic are better than they’ve been before.

That traffic is expected to happen not only on the roadways, but on planes, trains, and buses as well. Plane traffic is expected to be up 5.3% this year over last, and other modes of transportation are expected to rise .6%.

Advertisement

If you’re traveling by plane, the best advice is to try to arrive two hours before your flight, even if you don’t normally, in anticipation of extra long lines at check-in and at security. If you’re traveling by car, AAA has a rundown of some of the worst times to get behind the wheel.

Image: AAA

Advertisement

Its recommendations are unfortunately just for major cities; however, even if you don’t live in one of the cities listed you can get a decent feel for what the worst times might be in your area by looking at the stats for the city closest to you. In general, the late afternoon on the 3rd and the 5th tend to be the worst.

Bottom line: No matter how you plan to travel this July 4th, make sure to leave yourself a bit more time than usual, you’ll definitely need it. And if you can travel on an “off” travel day such as the 2nd or 6th, you’ll stand a much better chance of avoiding those massive slow downs.

Advertisement

Create Written Notes From YouTube Videos Instantly With this Chrome Extension

Image: Pexels

There are a ton of informative YouTube videos out there. When you’re watching one where you’re hoping to learn something; however, you have to take your own notes on the topic for later. Gnotes is an extension that can help with that.

When you’re watching a YouTube video you might want notes for, the Chrome extension can create those notes in real time.

Advertisement

Unlike a transcription app that would just transcribe the whole thing for you, Gnotes has you identify what parts of the video are important to you and then it creates notes specifically for that portion. For instance, maybe you watch a 15-minute video on how to do something, but you really just need information from the last few minutes written down.

The extension uses YouTube’s transcription feature to create the notes, so they’re not always perfect, but they can be helpful. Here’s a video explains how it works:

Notes are created as a Google Doc, that can then be edited. The notes it creates has a screenshot from the video to remind you what was happening, as well as a time stamp and link to get you back to exactly that point in the video if you need a little visual recap.

Advertisement

Notes can be downloaded as a Word file or a PDF and shared with others or saved to your phone or another device for easy access later on.

This is obviously not something you’re going to want or need to do for every video you watch, but for those where you need to write a few things down it can make that note-taking process go a lot easier.

Advertisement

Sunday’s Best Deals: Casper Mattresses, Sony Z9F Sound Bar, Fun Dip, and More

Best Deals of the DayThe best deals from around the web, updated daily.   

10% off Casper mattresses, $200 off the Sony Z9F sound bar, and a variety pack of Fun Dip lead off Sunday’s best deals from around the web.

Bookmark Kinja Deals and follow us on Twitter to never miss a deal. Be sure to read our guide on how to prepare for Prime day and bookmark our Prime Day deals hub to be ready for the big day.

Today’s Best Tech Deals

Summer is here and that means outdoor parties are all the rage right now. If you’re on the market for a wireless speaker to play your favorite music, you’re in luck. The POW Mo Expandable Wireless Speaker + Click Mount & Wallet is currently $20 off on Amazon right now. It is portable, water resistant, and it connects to any Bluetooth enabled device. It comes with a click wall mount, which means you can stick it anywhere – your fridge, the car, file cabinet, pong table, and more.


Pick up Samsung’s 512GB microSD card and never want for more storage on your Nintendo Switch ever again. With U3 write speeds, it’s ideal for 4K action cams too.

Advertisement

Let’s be clear here, 512GB is probably overkill for your Switch but $100 (the lowest price ever, by the way) is a small price to pay for never having to worry about the number of digital downloads you buy via the Switch’s online store, right?


Are you looking to upgrade your home theater to make it more like the movies? If you have the money, the Sony Z9F 3.1ch Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos is $698 on Amazon today. That is a massive $200 off. The sound bar has seven sound modes for advanced gaming, movies, music, news, and sport. It has built-in WiFi and easy Bluetooth streaming, as well as voice enhancement for greater clarity. You can even stream music, online radio, and podcasts from your Amazon connected device directly to your Z9F soundbar, just by asking Alexa.

Today’s Best Home Deals

August’s third generation Smart Lock lets you lock and unlock your door from using your phone, and you can get the silver model for just $99 today, the same price we saw on Black Friday,

Advertisement

Assuming you have your phone with you whenever you leave the house, an August Smart Lock-installed door will auto lock behind you and unlock as you approach. It’s especially useful because you don’t have to necessarily be home to grant or restrict access to people like dog walkers, maintenance workers, or other people who need to come into your house; just send them a guest key with the August app. And since it integrates with your existing deadbolt, you can continue using a physical key as well, if your phone ever dies.

Unlike previous August locks, this one doesn’t have Wi-Fi built in—it uses Bluetooth to talk to your phone—but you can add a Wi-Fi hub to your router to control it over the internet from anywhere. You can send guest keys without the bridge, but you can’t use Alexa or remotely lock or unlock the door.


Beyond the standard $50 discounts you hear about in the middle of every podcast, Casper mattresses don’t go on sale often, and Casper accessory deals are even rarer. But the Fourth of July’s 10% sitewide sale (live now) holds the promise of serious savings, if you still haven’t gotten rid of that old coil spring.

Advertisement

They’ve run the same deal for a few other holidays this year, but this is still a solid deal if you’re in the market for a great bed.

To get this deal, you have to buy a mattress (sorry, dog mattresses don’t count), so you can’t take advantage if you’re only shopping for accessories. But 10% savings on a standard Casper mattress works out to nearly $100 on a queen, or as much as $240 on the new, advanced Wave mattress. Just use promo code STRIPES at checkout to see the savings stack up.


Not everyone has the budget to buy a hot tub, we get it. But, if you’ve started saving or recently realized you could afford one, why not get a hot tub while they are on sale during Home Depot’s Special Buy of the Day? You can get thousands of dollars off select Lifesmart Hot Tubs today only.


You need absolutely no reason to buy this Fun Dip assorted pack other than the price. If you’re in the mood to rot your teeth right out of your head, you can get Fun Dip Assorted Flavor Party Pack, 48-Count for only $8 on Amazon.


Go to your favorite ice cream shop, and chances are, they’re slinging their scoops with the Zeroll 1010. The single, sculpted piece of non-reactive aluminum is the be-all, end-all of ice cream scoops, carries a Wirecutter recommendation, and is just to $12 on Amazon right now, down from its usual $14-$20


Sleeping is stressful. It can be hard for people to fall asleep and sometimes even harder to stay asleep. If you struggle with anxious sleeping habits, you’re in luck. Many people swear by weighted blankets when it comes to restless sleep. Right now, you can take your pick of the lot with over 35% off Anjee weighted blankets. You can choose from a variety of blanket weights for under $45.

Advertisement

The 12-pound blanket is $35 when you use the code JDVCMATK and clip the 13% off coupon. The 48″ x 72″ 15-pound blanket is $39 when you clip the 10% off coupon and use the promo code WYM92D58. The 60″ x 80″ 15-pound blanket is when you use the promo code NR6632EE and clip the 10% off coupon. The 20-pound blanket is $42 when you clip the 13% off coupon and use the promo code 7ZNLC2B3. What are you weighting for? Get it. Sorry, I’ll see myself out.

Today’s Best Lifestyle Deals

Need some red, white, and blue flip flops for all of the holiday festivities this summer, but don’t want to pay full price? Right now, you can get up to 60% Everything at Old Navy. These flag flip flops should do the trick!

Advertisement

On top of this big sale at Old Navy, you can stack additional savings. You can use the promo code MORE to get 30% off orders of $75 or more and 20% off all other amounts. However, the code is pretty restrictive, you cannot get a discount on Hot Deal, Today Only Deal, 2 Days Only Deal, Best Seller, Hi, I’m New, Licensed Product, Uniform, Jewelry, and Beauty merchandise.


Urban Outfitters does way more than just outfit you; the cool-kid superstore also hooks up your home and beauty routine with trendy stuff that’s sure to please any millennial. For a limited time, go all out on UO, since they’re taking up to an extra 40% off their entire sale section. That means a whole heap of extra discounted men’s and women’s clothes, accessories, home decor, and other miscellaneous items are down to highly reasonable prices, so shop now.


We’re not going to shame you into thinking you need Old Spice like those “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” commercials. But, you’d be kind of a fool to click past a deal like this. Right now, if you clip the $9 coupon, you can get a pack of six of Old Spice Body Wash for only $14. The price is great, but what is even better is not having to remember to buy body wash for the next couple of months.


You might remember Very Bradley as the brand of the paisley quilted tote carried by your great aunt, but in recent years, the retailer has expanded their prints beyond florals into more modern patterns. And I must admit, their solid bags, duffels, pouches, and other travel accessories are downright stylish. So consider taking advantage of the brand’s three different sales for the 4th of July. You can shop 30% off travel, 30% off the Fireworks Paisley pattern, and the 40% Off Summer Sale on select styles and patterns. There’s a reason that tote from years back is so memorable; these bags hold up. And there are patterns to please any taste — yes, including good ol’ paisley.

TODAY’S BEST MEDIA DEALS

At $8 per month for Prime members, Amazon Music Unlimited was already more affordable than Spotify Premium or Apple Music, but Amazon’s sweetening the pot for new members by offering four months for $1, for a limited time as part of the company’s lead-up to Prime Day.

This deal is even available to non-Prime members, though it’ll renew at $10 per month instead of $8. But either way, four months to stream the new Vampire Weekend and Carly Rae Jepsen on repeat for free? Yes please.


If you’ve never been an Audible member, you can still get your first three months for $15. But if you’ve been a member in the past, or you’re just ready to commit for a longer period of time, Prime Members can also save big on an annual membership as part of Amazon’s lead up to Prime Day.

For a limited time, Prime members can get an annual membership for $120, down from the usual $150, or $180 if you paid month-by-month. Plus, once you sign up, you’ll receive an email with a credit to get an Echo Dot to listen to your books with for just $.99.

Advertisement

As a reminder, every month, Audible members can choose one audiobook and two Audible originals to add to their library for free, and those titles will be yours to keep, even if you cancel your membership somewhere down the road.


It really does pay to be an Amazon Prime member. As Prime Day(s) rapidly approaches, Amazon has a new limited-time, exclusive deal. You can get three months of Audible for the price of one. That’s right, it is only $5/month (or $15 total) for a three-month subscription to Audible. The only catch? It is only for Amazon Prime members and only available to new Audible users.

Advertisement

Each month, you can download two Audible originals, and one audiobook of your choice for free, each of which will be yours to keep forever, even if you cancel your membership. Individual audiobooks frequently cost $15 or more, so you stand to save a lot on the latest hits.

Today’s Best Gaming Deals

Say what you will about the Xbox One, but Microsoft indisputably makes the best looking game controllers on the market. Their Sport White model is marked down to $56 today, from its usual $70. That’s still more than you’d pay for a standard controller, but look how pretty it is.


Tired of playing the same five games on your Nintendo Switch? Right now, you can get Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for $33 on Amazon today. You can dive right into 9th century England and battle demons and use magical powers you can’t IRL.

Tech

HOME

LIFESTYLE

MEDIA

GAMING

Deals You May Have Missed

The shower head that came preinstalled in your home or apartment is probably terrible, but if you don’t have the cash to upgrade it to a Delta In2ition, the Delta 75152 is a stunningly good option for just $18. That’s not an all-time low, but it is the best price we’ve seen since last year’s holiday season.

Aside from a single switch that toggles between 2.5 and 1.85 gallons per minute, this showerhead doesn’t have any notable features to speak of. But I can tell you from years of experience that its water coverage and ability to amplify low water pressure are incredible. Its four valves use Delta’s H2Okinetic system to agitate the water and create a full, perfectly dispersed wall of water, rather than four individual streams. It’s a difficult sensation to describe, but I absolutely recommend you try it for yourself. And why wouldn’t you at this price?


If you’re traveling abroad, you unfortunately have to throw your minimalist, front pocket wallet to the wind. But this Zero Grid RFID-protected passport wallet is just large enough to hold that oversized passport (and not a centimeter bigger), as well as cash and up to 10 credit cards. Get it for $11 today by clipping the $1 coupon on the product page, then adding promo code 546DC4AO at checkout.


If you have the room in your house, what the hell is stopping you from getting a ping pong table? Seriously, you can start so many epic ping pong tournaments to dominate your friends (or just play beer pong on it). Right now, you can get this EasyPoint Sports table for over $100 off at Walmart.


Got a birthday or anniversary coming up soon? If you need to order flowers online, our readers’ favorite online flower delivery service is currently having a Fourth of July sale. Right now, you can get 20% off sitewide at The Bouqs using the promo code FIREWORKS.

Advertisement

The Bouqs recently won our Co-Op this year. This is what one of our readers had to say about the online service:

bouqs.com offers a ton of promos/discounts, and I like that their offerings look like something I’d pick up from Pike Place Market, i.e., not the run-of-the-mill selection of bouquets. – nationalvervet


If you think all shower caddies are the same, you obviously haven’t seen simplehuman’s.

Advertisement

The shelves on this model can adjust up, down, and even sideways to make room for all of your grooming equipment, plus it includes two razor hooks on the side, and even dual suction cups to accommodate for uneven shower tiles. That’s a lot thought put into a household item that you’ve never thought about, and it’s $10 off today on Amazon.


Stranger Things seasons three drops in just a few days and we cannot wait. However, if you’re nostalgic for season one Eleven who barely talked in the first few episodes, you’re in luck. You can get this Eleven in Burger T-Shirt for only $6 on Amazon today. We love a good shaved-head Eleven.


2D Mario > 3D Mario don’t @ me.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has enough levels to keep you jumping and stomping until Mario Maker 2 comes out, and it’s down to $45 on Amazon today, the best price we’ve seen on this particular Switch game.


Doom is finally getting a sequel this year, and Amazon just inexplicably dropped preorder pricing of Doom Eternal town to $50 from the usual $60, for both PS4 and Xbox One.

If you already preordered, Amazon will automatically give you this price when your game ships, and if you order today and it inexplicably gets even cheaper, the same protection will apply.


Going on a camping trip soon? If you’re looking to snuggle while sitting by the fire, you can get a Kelty Low loveseat chair for $25 off right now on Amazon. Who doesn’t want to snuggle while they make s’mores?


J.Crew Factory is already marked down significantly compared to its regular J.Crew counterpart, but now, the Factory is taking its discounts to a whole new level. Men’s and women’s styles on the site are 50% to 70% off, kids’ styles are 50% off, and clearance items are on sale as well. To get 50% off clearance, you can use the promo code SPARKLE. The whole factory is currently stacked with summertime staples in that classic J.Crew aesthetic, so shop and save on those in-season styles now.


Forever 21 is already known for stylish, yet inexpensive clothes, but today, the brand is slashing prices even further by taking an extra 30% off sale items. Right now, select styles of sweaters, activewear, skirts, dresses and more are marked way down with promo code EXTRA30 — which means a good portion of the stock is under $10.

Advertisement

That’s not the only deal that Forever 21 has going on right now. If the sale rack isn’t calling your name, you can also get 30% off full-priced swimwear with the promo code SWIM30. If you already had some items in your cart at Forever 21 that aren’t from the sale section and aren’t swimwear, you can at least get free shipping. For orders over $30, use the code FREESHIP30 and for orders over $75, you can get express shipping with the code EXPSHIP. Sadly, these promo codes cannot all be combined, but they give you a few shopping options.


Samsung’s “entry” level QLED TV for 2019, the Q60, isn’t 8K like its more expensive siblings, but it carries over many of the same impressive features, and is a fantastic display in its own right.

Advertisement

Today, you can get the 55″ version for a new all-time low $898 on Amazon and at Walmart, which is about $100 less than the previous lowest price. That includes Samsung’s Quantum Dot-enhanced panel for more vivid color, and even Samsung’s “Clean Cable” solution that offloads your ports to a separate box that’s easier to hide.


The best upgrade for an old PC is an SSD, and if you don’t need a ton of space, this 240GB model from PNY is down to $30 today, an all-time low. You could even stick it in a cheap enclosure, and use it as an ultra-fast portable hard drive.

Advertisement

If you have a desktop with ample storage, thanks to its built-in HDD, you can use a 120GB SSD to house the operating system.


Right now, you can pick up the Razer Nari Ultimate for just $150, the first discount we’ve seen on these particular gaming headphones. What sets this headset apart is its haptic tech, which means the ear cups will react and vibrate to things going on in your game.

Here’s what Kotaku had to say:

No one needs to have their head vigorously shaken while getting shot at in Call of Duty. Many people probably prefer to listen to “Marshmello” without coming away feeling like someone stuck a pair of tiny vibrating sex toys up their nose. I certainly did not imagine I would ever enjoy such things before trying out the Razer Nari Ultimate wireless haptic feedback gaming headset. And hell, if you took the Nari Ultimate away from me tomorrow and I never wore another haptic headset again, I wouldn’t miss it terribly. I do not need to feel sound, but damn, it’s a nice option to have.

These headphones typically sell for about $200, and they can work with almost every gaming device out there, including PC, PS4, Xbox, and your smartphone. Oh, and they’re wireless and have a retractable mic, so that’s a big plus, too.


Late last year, the iconic and reader-favorite Logitech G502 gaming mouse got an upgrade, and the new HERO model is on sale for an all-time low $52 on Amazon.

Advertisement

Everything you know and love from the old 502—the customizable weights, the 11 button layout, the RGB lighting—is still here, but the HERO model adds Logitech’s new 16,000 DPI HERO sensor, up from the previous model’s 12,000 DPI.


You don’t have to be a nerf-herding scoundrel to appreciate this deal on a 1414-piece LEGO Star Wars Solo: A Star Wars Story Kessel Run Millennium Falcon set. 

It’s down to $120 today on Amazon, which is about $50 off its original price.


Pick up a new pair of Ray-Bans from Nordstrom Rack, right now. Dozens of styles are discounted and, well, it’s summer. You’ll probably want one to go with your tan and that slight hangover you’re going to have.

Advertisement

Don’t forget, they’re not just fashionable—they’re also helpful in shielding your eyes from ugly people. Prices start at about $60, so start looking before the sun sets on this deal.


Why pull out a cutting board and knife when you can make chopping easy? You can chop nuts all day long with the Chef’n NutZoom Nut Chopper. You can roll this tool and mince nuts like pecans, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and more. Right now, the NutZoom is $9 on Amazon.


I’ll always stan a good rolling suitcase, but for quick weekend getaways, a grab-and-go duffel bag is worth its weight in gold, especially as airlines get ever more restrictive with their baggage policies. Azcoe’s Arx Weekender, now taking preorders on Kickstarter, looks like it’s going to be an exemplar of the weekender bag genre.

Advertisement

Made from a thick, durable ripstop material, and accented with leather handles and a reinforced leather floor that gives you a flat base for packing, the Arx feels like the type of bag that could last you for decades. It’s got big, chunky zippers, huge metal rings for attaching a shoulder strap, thick grommets holding the handles in place…and yet it looks elegant, rather than technical.

On the organization front, you’ll find an interior laptop pocket (which is sadly missing from far too many weekender bags, a shoe compartment with unapologetic metal air vents, and a few other assorted pockets both inside and out.

Advertisement

When the sample bag arrived at my doorstep, I still hadn’t taken a close look at the campaign page, and I genuinely thought it was going to be a $200-$250 bag. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that earlybirds are available for about $88 (after accounting for currency conversion). If you don’t already have something like it, you can get your order in now, with shipping expected in December.


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, you need absolutely no excuse to buy a candle. If you want 20 candles to cover every inch of your house, then buy yourself 20 candles. Though we’d advise you to buy your candles while they’re on sale, no one should buy that many candles at full price. Right now, you can get 50% Off Large Classic Jar and Tumbler Candles using the promo code EXTRA10.

Advertisement

If you plan to spend your summer in the sun, you’ll probably like Yankee Candle’s Catching Rays scent, which is $15 during this sale. Or maybe you’d prefer something soft and subtle like Beach Walk? You can check out Yankee Candle’s large two wick tumbler scents and large jar candles to find and get 50% off your favorites.


Celebrate the Fourth of July by taking advantage of eBay’s Home and Garden Essentials 15% off coupon. Use the code JULY4FUN during checkout to get markdowns on . Just a heads up though, you can use the code twice and the discount maxes out at $50.


You might remember hearing about Tide’s Eco-Box a few months ago. Rather than a plastic bottle of detergent that’s put inside a box and shipped to your house, it actually is the box. Compared to a traditional detergent bottle, it’s made with 60% less plastic and 30% less water, and honestly, it seems like an unambiguous step forward in eco-friendly packaging, one that we’ll probably be seeing more of in the future.

Advertisement

If you’re curious to check it out yourself, Amazon’s offering a 20% coupon, bringing the 96 load container down to $15 when you combine the deal with Subscribe & Save. Just remember to cancel after your first delivery if you don’t want to keep receiving it.


Obviously, you can slice an apple with a regular knife. But if that’s something you do often, Prepworks by Progressive’s dedicated slicer will save you a ton of time, and is a great deal at just $7.

Advertisement

If you want to make a snarky comment about this apple slicer and corer being a vile kitchen unitasker, I invite you to write it out on a piece of paper, then crumple it up and swallow it.


We occasionally see deals on individual Sonos refurbished products, but we’ve never seen a refurb sale like this.

Advertisement

For a limited time, you can grab a Sonos Play:1 for $119, a Sonos One with Alexa and Google Assistant for $139, a Play:5 for $399, a Playbar for $549, and a Sonos Sub for $549.

Note: If one color is showing up as out of stock, try the other.

The $119 Play:1 is the refurb deal we’re most used to seeing (though it’s been quite some time), but the others are extremely rare. Savings compared to buying them new range from $30 to $150, and you get the same one year warranty, free shipping, and free returns that you’d get with brand new speakers. So whether you’re starting your Sonos setup, or adding to the family, you’ll want to grab these before they’re gone.


Save big on refurbished electronics with Decluttr’s Fourth of July sale. On top of the reduced price of these products, you can use the promo code INDY15 to save an extra 15% off popular products like iPhones, MacBooks, Samsung Galaxies and more.

Advertisement

You have until the the 7th to take advantage of this deal, but I’d suggest you act soon… they have limited stock on the best stuff.


Batteries: you know you have them…somewhere. But somehow, the drawer you search always has three AAAs when you need four.

Advertisement

I’m not saying this battery storage box will solve all of your problems: you’ll have to remember where you kept it, and you’ll have to buy batteries to put in it. But it’ll at least give you a fighting chance of finding the batteries you need, when you need them. It even has a built-in tester, so you can get rid of (or better yet, recharge) the dead ones.

This is similar to another battery organizer we recently posted, but it’s actually cheaper at $12 with promo code 40KI1TR8.


Refurb UE Boom 2 (Twilight Magenta) | $78 | DailySteals | Use code KJBOOM2Graphic: Tercius Bufete

Summer’s here which means, more time by the pool. Luckily for you beach-loving, music lovers the UE Boom 2 is the waterproof sequel for one of the best Bluetooth speakers of all time, and DailySteals has it marked down to $78. This UE speaker is water resistant, can pair via NFC and you can even make a stereo system with a second UE Boom. Make sure to use the promo code KJBOOM2 on checkout to see the discount.


Avengers: Endgame is coming back to theaters two months after its initial release, but we still have gotten over watching it the first time yet. If you’re still trying to wrap your head around the end of an era, you can dive even deeper into the Marvel universe with this encyclopedia. For just $22, you can learn more about favorite characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain America, and of course, Iron Man. The Marvel Encyclopedia has a special touch, as the introduction was written by Mr. Marvel himself, Stan Lee.


Sure, the Fourth of July isn’t actually until next week, but that doesn’t mean the sales aren’t already upon us. All clearance is under $20 at American Eagle right now, including Men’s, Women’s, and Aerie. It is a great time to stock up on those AE Heathered flex t-shirts that are only available online, while they’re only $10. On top of the clearance sale, all swimsuits are BOGO and all shorts are 40-50% off.


Celebrate National Sunglasses Day (and complete your Tony Stark cosplay) with our exclusive discount on these Sperry Oak Island Polarized Browline Aviator glasses. Choose from three colors: Brown, Navy and Black, each coming down to a low $19 with the code KINJA15.

Advertisement

These particular glasses sell for around $80-$100 elsewhere, so this a particularly good buy. And don’t be scared off by the not-so-mainstream storefront; you can use Amazon and Paypal to checkout.


Cole Haan is definitely a brand that can make you think twice on account of the price. So when they kick off a Fourth of July sale, it’s the perfect time to act.

Advertisement

Hundreds of popular products are on sale for up to 60% off, including a few of our favorites: 2.ZERØGRANDs starting at $80, the sweater-like ZERØGRANDs with Stitchlite wool for $70, the versatile All-Day Trainer with Stitchlite, and a whole lot more. So shop now, and kick off your summer with a pair of great new shoes


From growlers and howlers to tumblers and camp cups, Miir makes some of our favorite drinkware around, whether you’re hauling it into the backcountry, or sipping from it at home.

Advertisement

Today on Amazon, most of their wares (including the wine bottle and wine tumbler, which are usually excluded from these sales) are about 25% off their regular prices (prices vary a bit by color, in some cases), and our readers can save an extra 10% on anything they sell with promo code KinjaDeals30. We’ll toast to that. A few favorites are below (along with their deal prices), but you can also just head over to Miir’s Amazon storefront and browse from there.

Bonus: Don’t miss out on the Limited Edition designs, which feature great artwork and bold colors.


25% Off Sitewide | Hydro Flask | Discount shown at checkout. Use code COLDH20 for free upgraded shippingGraphic: Shep McAllister

Vacuum-insulated bottles can keep drinks hot or cold all day long, and Hydro Flask makes some of the most popular options out there. Their wares don’t go on sale often, but from now through the Fourth of July, the entire site is 25% off, with the discount taken automatically at checkout. Every cooler, every coffee mug, every limited edition bottle, and every tumbler in every color imaginable is on sale (except for MyHydro custom bottles and the Journey Series), so drink up.

Bonus: Use promo code COLDH20 for free upgraded shipping at checkout.


Outdoor barbecues will be back before you know it, and you can be ready for that (and all of your other cooking needs) with a 15% discount on the best kitchen thermometer money can buy: the Thermapen Mk4.

You guys love the Thermapen because it displays the temperature in 2 – 3 seconds, has a 3,000 hour battery life, is waterproof, and is accurate within 0.7°F. Step back into the kitchen in just about any nice restaurant, and you’ll probably see some ThermoWorks gear in use.

Here are just a few readers gushing over it:

Thermapen Classic (or really any of the Thermapens). Bar none the best thermometer for cooking I have ever bought — accept no substitutes.

Somewhat expensive at ~$70-$120 range, but I’ve been using mine for years and years, and it still gives me an accurate reading in less than three seconds. Well, well worth the price. Especially excellent for the grill. – theburners

Without a doubt. No other thermometer comes close. I’ve said it before on Kinja that the Thermapen is the best piece of kitchen equipment I’ve ever bought. – the-return-of-samba00

This model doesn’t see significant discounts very often, and even then, deals on every available color are even rarer.


Don’t everybody thank me at once. Now is your chance to pre-order the Funko Pop! Deluxe Star Wars: Millenium Falcon with Han Solo. The Pop! figure is currently available for pre-order exclusively to Amazon Prime members. So, if you love Star Wars and don’t have Prime yet, you know what to do. With Prime Day coming up, you’d be smart to start your free trial now.

From a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away… The Millennium Falcon with Han Solo as a Pop! Deluxe from Funko! This Pop! Deluxe captures all the amazing little details of the iconic spaceship and is among the largest figures Funko has ever produced! Don’t miss out on your chance to own the ship that made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs as only Funko can deliver! The figure measures 5.5″ tall, is 10.5″ wide and 13.25″ long and come in a window box display. This item will surely become the center piece of your Funko Pop! Star Wars collection!

You can order the Funko Pop! Deluxe Star Wars: Millenium Falcon with Han Solo now for $65, but won’t be charged until it ships. This Pop! is set to release on October 21, 2019. Would you say “I know” if we told you that October 21st is also the late Carrie Fisher’s birthday?


4th of July is a great day for people to host barbeques and watch some fireworks. While it is always a fun time for humans, it isn’t always fun for animals. More pets run away around July 4th than any other time of year, often due to the fireworks being intensified by their heightened sense of sound. Right now, you can save on supplements that can help ease your dog’s 4th of July anxiety.

Advertisement

JustFoodForDogs now sells a Calm supplement, which is an all-natural blend of Valerian Root and Passion Flower to calm the nervous system by reducing stress. The supplements were designed by JustFoodForDogs’s team of veterinarians and can be used in common stressful situations for dogs, like separation anxiety. Until June 30, you can get 10% off the 12-count and 90-count of JustFoodForDog’s Calm Supplements using the promo code calmjuly4th.

In a press release, Dr. Oscar E. Chavez, Chief Medical Officer of JustFoodForDogs said:

“If there was ever a day for preventative care when it comes to our beloved dogs, Fourth of July is it. Our Calm supplement is a balanced fusion of valerian root and passion flower that works to naturally enhance and increase the function of GABA receptors in the brain; this helps calm the nervous system by reducing stress in situations that commonly cause tension.”


It didn’t take long for true wireless earbuds to go from high-priced status symbols to affordable Amazon commodities, but here we are. TaoTronics’ SoundLiberty 53 headphones feature IPX7 waterproofing, five hours of battery life (and 40 if you include the charging case), and perhaps most impressively of all, Bluetooth 5.0 for a stable connection.

Advertisement

They’re a solid package for the usual $45, but for $33 (with promo code KINJASWM), it really might be time to cut the cord for good.


Jigsaw Massage is the exception to the expensive trend of at home massage therapy. By attaching to almost all T and U shank jigsaws, they avoideded creating a single use item, and instead made a clever attachment for a common tool, opening the door for at-home recovery to more athletes and those in chronic pain. Take an exclusive 30% off all bundles with code KINJABUNDLE.

Pictured: Shep using Jigsaw at Zach’s house after a hike.GIF: Shep McAllister

The discount brings the starter kit with a jigsaw and one massage head down to $70, and the complete cordless Pro kit with all three heads down to $140. There are also a few option in between to choose from.

Advertisement

I use mine plenty after long runs and speed work, and I like it both as an addition to, or in place of, foam rolling. But the most pleasant surprise came when I decided to start blasting my back and neck after hours of poor posture in front of the computer. Code should auto-apply at checkout.


With its modular design, free shipping in regular-sized-boxes, and attractive design, Burrow sits on the throne of the direct-to-consumer sofa industry, and you can score a rare deal on the couch (or chair, or ottoman) of your choice during the company’s Fourth of July sale, including the company’s brand new leather offerings.

GIF: Burrow

For a limited time, promo code FOURTH19 will get you the following discounts:

-$50 off purchases of $500+

-$150 off purchases of $1000+

-$250 off purchases of $1500+

-$350 off purchases of $2000+

-$500 off purchases of $2500

A loveseat, any couch, or a chair paired with an ottoman will get you over the minimum here. As always, you get to pick your fabric, your leg color, and even the height of your arms, and you also get a 30 day risk free trial, with a simple return process if you don’t like it.


Fourth of July is still a few weeks away, but REI is already popping the sale fireworks with discounts on all of your favorite outdoor gear.

Advertisement

The biggest discounts are generally going to be on REI’s own products, including the Passage 2 backpacking tent and the REI Camp Roll table, in addition to a ton of apparel.

Some great options elsewhere in the sale include Patagonia’s famous Black Hole duffels, reader-favorite Hydro Flask drinkware, and summer-ready swimwear from a variety of great brands.

If you have affinity for certain outdoor brands, you can also just head to REI’s All Sales page, and sort by your favorite brands.


Summer is (basically) here and that means 4th of July sales are kicking off. Instead of wasting money on cheap fireworks that will disappoint you, dive into the savings at Overstock’s 4th of July Blowout Sale. You can get up to 20% off select items and free shipping.

Advertisement

During this 4th of July sale, you can get 15% off select home decor, area rugs, furniture, garden and patio, and more. You can refresh your summer wardrobe with 20% off select shoes and clothing.


This month’s Humble Monthly games include Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and Moonlighter. And as always, more games will unlock every Friday until the end of the month.

Advertisement

If you’re not familiar, Humble Monthly is a $12 per month subscription service and releases a cache of PC games each month, plus 10% off in the Humble Store, and extra benefits on certain Humble Bundles. The best part? Even if you cancel your membership, every game you add to your Steam library is yours to keep.


If you’re having trouble sleeping, suffering from anxiety, or having trouble sleeping because you’re suffering from anxiety, Sunday Scaries CBD gummies could help. Jolie Kerr shared her thoughts on them for The Inventory, and now, our readers can save 17% with promo code GIZMODO17.

That applies to the regular gummies, the vegan versions, and the pure CBD tincture, with extra savings available if you buy in bulk, so your wallet can rest as easy as you will.


Our readers’ favorite VPN recently raised prices for the first time ever, and the company’s best-value (and Kinja Deals-exclusive) three-year plan is going away at the end of the week, so this is your last chance to subscribe at the best per-month price available.

Advertisement

Three-year plans aren’t available to the general public at all, but if you click this link, you can get three years for $99, which works out to just $2.75 per month. That’s only $9 more than it was cost to the price hike, and while shorter plan lengths are available, none come close to the per-month pricing of this three-year membership. For example, the publicly available two-year plan costs about $84, and a month-to-month plan will set you back $10 per month.

If you subscribe to the three-year plan today, you’ll be able to continue to renew it at the same price for the life of your subscription, so this is a great chance to lock in a terrific deal.


Firstleaf is an online wine club that learns your preferences, offers tons of great wines from around the world, and most importantly, saves you money compared to buying from the store.

Advertisement

Every new Firstleaf member gets an introductory delivery with six bottles of wine for just $40 with free shipping, and every box thereafter includes six bottles for $80, plus $10 shipping. But if you use this link when you sign up, you’ll get FREE shipping on every box for your entire first year. That’ll save you over $100 if you get a new box every month. At the very least, you should send Mom the trial box for less than $7 per bottle. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

Adopting a ratings system for social media like the ones used for film and TV won’t work

Internet platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter are under incredible pressure to reduce the proliferation of illegal and abhorrent content on their services.

Interestingly, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently called for the establishment of “third-party bodies to set standards governing the distribution of harmful content and to measure companies against those standards.” In a follow-up conversation with Axios, Kevin Martin of Facebook “compared the proposed standard-setting body to the Motion Picture Association of America’s system for rating movies.”

The ratings group, whose official name is the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA), was established in 1968 to stave off government censorship by educating parents about the contents of films. It has been in place ever since – and as longtime filmmakers, we’ve interacted with the MPAA’s ratings system hundreds of times – working closely with them to maintain our filmmakers’ creative vision, while, at the same time, keeping parents informed so that they can decide if those movies are appropriate for their children.  

CARA is not a perfect system. Filmmakers do not always agree with the ratings given to their films, but the board strives to be transparent as to why each film receives the rating it does. The system allows filmmakers to determine if they want to make certain cuts in order to attract a wider audience. Additionally, there are occasions where parents may not agree with the ratings given to certain films based on their content. CARA strives to consistently strike the delicate balance between protecting a creative vision and informing people and families about the contents of a film.

 CARA’s effectiveness is reflected in the fact that other creative industries including televisionvideo games, and music have also adopted their own voluntary ratings systems. 

While the MPAA’s ratings system works very well for pre-release review of content from a professionally- produced and curated industry, including the MPAA member companies and independent distributors, we do not believe that the MPAA model can work for dominant internet platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter that rely primarily on post hoc review of user-generated content (UGC).

Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

 Here’s why: CARA is staffed by parents whose judgment is informed by their experiences raising families – and, most importantly, they rate most movies before they appear in theaters. Once rated by CARA, a movie’s rating will carry over to subsequent formats, such as DVD, cable, broadcast, or online streaming, assuming no other edits are made.

By contrast, large internet platforms like Facebook and Google’s YouTube primarily rely on user-generated content (UGC), which becomes available almost instantaneously to each platform’s billions of users with no prior review. UGC platforms generally do not pre-screen content – instead they typically rely on users and content moderators, sometimes complemented by AI tools, to flag potentially problematic content after it is posted online.

The numbers are also revealing. CARA rates about 600-900 feature films each year, which translates to approximately 1,500 hours of content annually. That’s the equivalent of the amount of new content made available on YouTube every three minutes. Each day, uploads to YouTube total about 720,000 hours – that is equivalent to the amount of content CARA would review in 480 years!

 Another key distinction: premium video companies are legally accountable for all the content they make available, and it is not uncommon for them to have to defend themselves against claims based on the content of material they disseminate.

By contrast, as CreativeFuture said in an April 2018 letter to Congress: “the failure of Facebook and others to take responsibility [for their content] is rooted in decades-old policies, including legal immunities and safe harbors, that actually absolve internet platforms of accountability [for the content they host.]”

In short, internet platforms whose offerings consist mostly of unscreened user-generated content are very different businesses from media outlets that deliver professionally-produced, heavily-vetted, and curated content for which they are legally accountable.

Given these realities, the creative content industries’ approach to self-regulation does not provide a useful model for UGC-reliant platforms, and it would be a mistake to describe any post hoc review process as being “like MPAA’s ratings system.” It can never play that role.

This doesn’t mean there are not areas where we can collaborate. Facebook and Google could work with us to address rampant piracy. Interestingly, the challenge of controlling illegal and abhorrent content on internet platforms is very similar to the challenge of controlling piracy on those platforms. In both cases, bad things happen – the platforms’ current review systems are too slow to stop them, and harm occurs before mitigation efforts are triggered. 

Also, as CreativeFuture has previously said, “unlike the complicated work of actually moderating people’s ‘harmful’ [content], this is cut and dried – it’s against the law. These companies could work with creatives like never before, fostering a new, global community of advocates who could speak to their good will.”

Be that as it may, as Congress and the current Administration continue to consider ways to address online harms, it is important that those discussions be informed by an understanding of the dramatic differences between UGC-reliant internet platforms and creative content industries. A content-reviewing body like the MPAA’s CARA is likely a non-starter for the reasons mentioned above – and policymakers should not be distracted from getting to work on meaningful solutions.

It’s the end of movies as we know them (and I feel fine)

“How Will The Movies Survive The Next Ten Years?” demands the New York Times, in a series of interviews with 24 major Hollywood figures. Good question! I’ve been asking it myself, here, for six years now. Very unlike music, television, books, and home video, the theatrical movie experience has proved remarkably resistant to online disruption…

…so far.

I’ve argued before that Hollywood and Silicon Valley have many parallels: VCs are like studios, angel investors are like individual producers, founders are like directors, etcetera. However, they also have some striking differences. For most of the last 25 years, the cost to launch a groundbreaking, potentially world-shaking startup has decreased — though that may well be changing — whereas the total cost to make, market, and distribute a theatrical release has decidedly not.

Furthermore, movie theaters, built around repeat screening of 90-to-180-minute self-contained films, face new direct-to-streaming-services competition with far more range, from bingewatching 22-episode series to short clips on YouTube. Even in the arena of “movies” as we know them, this competition seems exponentially more intense every year — there’s no way “Bright” and “Bird Box” would have been direct-to-Netflix as little as five years ago — and will hit a whole new fervor with the launch of the Disney Plus launch date later this year.

We can analogize that, maybe, to some extent, to downloadable software vs. software-as-a-service. There can be only one winner, right? Right? And note that, despite the runaway successes of Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel, 2019’s US box office is still tracking a full 10% behind last year‘s. There may be a trend here.

It seems that Hollywood is finally aware of the change. Some striking quotes from that NYT piece: “This is the biggest shift in the content business in the history of Hollywood” — Jason Blum. “For a long time, people have been saying the business is changing, but that’s undeniable now” — JJ Abrams. “I don’t feel particularly optimistic about the traditional theatrical experience” — Jordan Horowitz, producer of La La Land. “There’s a lot more work, but it’s a lot harder to make money on anything.” — Elizabeth Banks.

…But with risk comes opportunity, especially for people who haven’t had much before.
“I’ve seen a lot of female filmmakers get opportunities at Netflix and Amazon that they haven’t gotten through the studio system. So I’m very, very happy about the new shape our industry is taking” — Jessica Chastain. ‘A really huge studio told us, “Hey, a woman of color should be the lead of this movie.” And we went, “Great!” I don’t think we would have heard that five years ago from a major studio’ — Kumail Nanjiani

Perhaps “Hollywood,” as the maker and purveyor of huge-budget, huge-footprint, in-theaters-everywhere entertainment, is indeed a dinosaur finally starting to diminish … but if streaming services are allowing more and more people to create scripted entertainment of every kind, on every budget, then their success is no bad thing. I don’t think movies are going to die. I think there will long be people like me, who so prefer the immersive experience of a theater to the in-passing one of streaming at home that we’re willing to pay for it.

But I can envision a future in which a Hollywood Movie is no longer the alpha king of cultural experiences — where, instead, shared worlds spread across many entertainment form-factors, including lower-cost ones, made by a diverse crowd of contributors, take prime position in our collective mindshare. In that future, theatrical releases become a relatively niche market compared to streaming.

In such future the theatrical business model will change, too, and rightly so. I’m still baffled why I couldn’t see the last season of Game of Thrones in any nearby theater, for instance. But there will be far more kinds of entertainment to choose from, undercutting the century-long dominance of “three acts in two hours,” from far more kinds of people. Even to a hardcore cinemaphile like me, the more I think about such a future, the more it seems better to me than the status quo.

Cozycozy is an accommodation search service that works with hotels and Airbnb

French startup Cozycozy.com wants to make it easier to search for accommodation across a wide range of services. This isn’t the first aggregator in the space and probably not the last one. But this time, it isn’t just about hotels.

When you plan a trip with multiple stops, chances are you end up with a dozen tabs of different services — on Airbnb to look at listings, on a hotel review platform and on a hotel booking platform. Each service displays different prices and has a different inventory.

While there are a ton of services out there, most of them belong to just three companies: Booking Holdings (Booking.com, Priceline, Kayak, Agoda…), Expedia Group (Expedia, Hotels.com, HomeAway, Trivago…) and TripAdvisor (TripAdvisor, HouseTrip, Oyster…). They all operate many different services in order to address as many markets and as many segments as possible.

Cozycozy.com wants to simplify that process by aggregating a ton of services in a single interface — you can find hotels, Airbnb listings, campsites, hostels, boats, home-exchanging apartments… You can filter your results by price or you can exclude some accommodation styles.

The company doesn’t work with hotels and doesn’t handle bookings directly. Instead, the service searches across all the usual suspects. When you want to book, you get redirected to the original listing on Airbnb, Booking.com, Hostelworld, etc.

The startup recently raised a $4.5 million funding round (€4 million) from Daphni, CapDecisif, Raise and many different business angels, such as Xavier Niel, Thibaud Elzière and Eduardo Ronzano.

Cozycozy.com co-founder and chairman Pierre Bonelli also previously founded Liligo.com. It is one of the most popular flight comparison website in France. It was acquired by SNCF in 2010 and then eDreams ODIGEO in 2013.

cozycozy com page de resultats

Week-in-Review: Auditing a dark age in Apple design

Hello, weekend readers. This is Week-in-Review where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure.

Last week, I talked about how YouTube was letting its commenting system turn from a festering wasted opportunity into a liability.


Screen Shot 2019 06 28 at 8.37.42 PM

The big story

Plenty happened this week, though most of the news signified something larger looming on the horizon, more on that in a bit.

One undoubtedly meaty news item was that Jony Ive, Apple’s most iconic executive persona, announced that he was leaving the company this year.

Ive has undoubtedly been a powerhouse of industrial design who has helped craft some of the most iconic products from one of the most influential tech companies. The issue is perhaps what Apple’s vision of industrial design transformed into in his final years at the helm.

Ive shifted away from managerial roles in 2015, but the Chief Design Officer’s influence has been evident it the past several years of very beautiful devices designed around the occasional flawed hypothesis.

Poor design is more than the oft-memed Apple Pencil jutting out of an iPad lightning port or the Mighty Mouse with a charger piercing its underbelly. The company’s aesthetic choices in how they curve their screens or shape their aluminum have stayed true but you don’t have to look too far to find a pattern of carelessness in a number of Apple’s device which occasionally have prioritized svelte profiles over actually even working.

Ive is design genius, but like all people we elevate with that title, he and his design ethos grew further disassociated with the public over time. All designers miss the mark occasionally, but an obsession with minimalism pushed the company in some troublesome directions that the company is only now coming to reckon with.

Apple’s design degradation is perhaps nowhere more visible than in the ill-fated AirPower. The device, which designed to charge your iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch simultaneously, was beautiful, but Apple’s aggressive design left physics in the rearview mirror. Ambition is one thing but letting function drive form to the point that you publicly announce a product that wasn’t physically possible showcases where Apple’s marketing showmanship butt heads with actual device capabilities. Apple abruptly cancelled AirPower this year, more than a year after its expected release.

If AirPower was a pithy signifier, the degradation of the company’s Mac line has been Apple’s abasement opus.

The problematic keyboards, the useless TouchBar and the shrinking number of ports on its laptops have defined the past five years of the company’s laptop line. There isn’t much that needs to be said about the anti-consumer design decisions that took Apple’s best generation of the MacBook Pro in the 2011/2012 era and cursed it with an unneeded rethinking.

The about-face that the company took on its Mac Pro line shows just how misguided its thinking was and how Ive and company let innovative design poison the good will it had built up with customers. The company’s 2019 line is a total rejection of the 2013 trash can which showcased some major design hubris.

These missteps don’t fundamentally complicate the legacy of Ive or Apple. The past decade has also seen thoughtful designs take shape from the Apple Watch to the iPhone X to the iPad Pro, but industrial design is a means to an end and the manner in which Apple has determined where the customer fits into its design ethos could perhaps use some rethinking as the company enters a new design era.

Send me feedback
on Twitter @lucasmtny or email
lucas@techcrunch.com

On to the rest of the week’s news.

space starship 4

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context.

  • SpaceX preps for a Starship payday
    Elon Musk is still trying to get SpaceX’s Starship off the ground, but the company’s leadership is already planning for the reusable rocket’s commercial heyday. Read more about the aggressive timeline here.
  • SF throws Juul the bird
    San Francisco doesn’t always operate on the right side of interacting with new technologies and startups, but the city government took final steps to be the first city to ban sales of electronic cigarettes, taking aim at Juul, which seems to be one of the more morally bankrupt SF startups out there. Read more on the ban here.
  • Reddit takes steps to isolate r/The_Donald
    Reddit has had a tough time growing up over the past several years, part of that has been a handful of problem communities on the site. This week, Reddit took the unique step of quarantining r/The_Donald after threats against public officials and members of the police. Read more about the quarantine here.
  • Tesla’s cell jealousy
    Tesla electric vehicles are awfully reliant on Panasonic’s battery cells and the company is investigating how it can reduce that dependency, though the company’s significant demands suggest that even if they succeed in the aggressive move, it would take an awful long time to scale to meet their needs. Read more on the report here.

GAFA Gaffes

How did the top tech companies screw up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of badness:

  1. Facebook’s head of spin makes a push:
    [Facebook makes another push to shape and define its own oversight]
  2. FB isn’t sure what to do:
    [Facebook’s content oversight board plan is raising more questions than it answers]

Extra Crunch

Our premium subscription service had another week of interesting deep dives. We had a story that should be interesting to a lot of younger founders that are scaling their entrepreneurial ambitions while they’re still in classes.

“…Once you have a job in an industry you want to be in, network like your life depends on it. Get to know the talented people around you and try to help them as much as you can…”

Here are some of our other top reads this week for premium subscribers. This week, we talked a bit about the future of marketplaces and you should think about naming your startup.

Want more TechCrunch newsletters? Sign up here.

Equity transcribed: SoftBank-backed startup cracks under pressure to scale

Welcome back to the transcribed edition of the popular podcast Equity. This week, TechCrunch writers Kate Clark and Connie Loizos were joined in the studio by Canvas Ventures’ general partner Rebecca Lynn.

This week, the crew talked about the big rounds raised by shoe resale marketplace StockX, which raised  $110 million at a $1 billion valuation. And Cameo, which provides personally recorded messages by celebrities and influencers to whomever will pay for them, raised $50 million at a reported $300 million valuation.

The group then discussed Brandless and the amount of money that SoftBank poured into it. Being the recipient of such large sums at an early age adds a lot of pressure to produce.

Kate Clark: …Brandless raised this $240 million round, only one year after launching. So they’re a very young company. And now fast forward another year, SoftBank is pressuring them to be profitable. But right now they’re only two years old. So I mean, what two year old startup is even at that point?

Rebecca Lynn: Well and what other SoftBank company is profitable?

Clark: Yeah.

Connie Loizos: Right.

Lynn: So I think when you look at this, I think for me as an investor, I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s happening here exactly. But for me this just really underscores the importance of having a very aligned set of goals and missions and values and everything else, when you sign up to work with an investor, right? I mean the company and the investor have to be sort of in lockstep. And when you have an investor that hasn’t been around for a really long time and you don’t know how they’re going to behave really in a downturn or when the company runs into bumps.

And I think that kind of behavior sort of through the highs and the lows is a really important thing that founders and other investors need to take a very close look at.

And finally they talked about WeWork’s latest acquisition, Waltz, a smartphone app and reader that allows users to enter different properties with a single credential.

Want more Extra Crunch? Need to read this entire transcript? Then become a member. You can learn more and try it for free.