Track meme if you can

Random Weird Issue #4

Jonas Wendler

A couple of days ago Facebook scooped up the popular GIF database and search engine Giphy. So why the big price tag of $400 million for a site that basically lets users share memes?

Well, that’s the big question.

As with Instagram, it seems to be about market dominance. Plus, it is probably also about tracking. Sorry, I meant data intelligence.

Just like Facebook is integrated into a lot of major websites and apps (think of share buttons or advertising tracking), Giphy is also integrated in a lot of platforms. Plus, the gifs are being shared. Hence, Facebook can track you even more across the web. As memes are also tied to reactions and emotions, it might be beneficial for the Zuckerberg company to “evaluate” and target based on that.

But it’s easy to single-out Facebook here. While Facebook has Giphy, Google has Tenor (since 2018). As usual, the tech giants are gaining more and more control.

So almost everywhere where you have a GIF integration like Slack, Twitter, Tinder, Telegram, WhatsApp, or privacy-focused messenger Signal (though they have been one step ahead), the Facebook & Google can now track you even further. And I think Tenor is even used in Google’s keyboard on Android.

Track meme if you can. To paraphrase Obama: yes they can.


Segments

📈 Fantastic data and where to find them
[data, data visualization, data journalism]

..and something fun:

🕵️ I have nothing to hide
[privacy]

  • EasyJet got hacked with details stolen from 9 million customers. And for good manners, they did not disclose for a good half-year.

  • Privacy-washing: Apple always promotes itself as being a privacy-advocate. They do collect a massive amount of data. Siri, what’s the definition of hypocrisy?

  • “There is no clear evidence that paying for an app will actually guarantee protection from extensive data collection in practice.”

  • The NSA built and 24/7 updating graph/database of your social media info and connections. Pretty much what we always assumed.

🙅‍♀️ You did Nazi me coming
[against right-wing politics]

Words matter. Finally some use of the active voice:

…and at the same time, journalists are targeted.

🔥 It’s getting hot out there
[climate change]

  • Corona did have an effect on carbon dioxide emissions. That indicates, again, that it’s definitely possible. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Image

Source: WaPo

This and that

  • Get your Walkman (or Walkwoman?) and show your style - cassettes are back because they are very instagrammable 🙄

  • Facebook will let employees work more remotely - but with adjusted salaries.

  • Millions lost their jobs, while US billionaires got $434 billion more.

  • Jacinda Ardern Sold a Drastic Lockdown With Straight Talk and Mom Jokes”.

  • Looking at history, it will take a while till a Covonavirus vaccine.

  • Solid summary of a possible antitrust case against Google.

  • Co-ops try to set up alternatives to gig economy giants like Uber.