Who Should Sit on Facebook’s Supreme Court? Here Are 5 Top Candidates

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this week the company will create an oversight board to help with content moderation. The move is a belated acknowledgement Zuckerberg is out of its depth when it comes to ethics and policy, and comes six months after he first floated the idea of “a Supreme Court … made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook.”

The idea is a good one. If carried out properly, a “Supreme Court” could help Facebook begin fixing the toxic stew of propaganda, racism, and hate that is poisoning so much of our political and cultural discourse.

But how would a Facebook Supreme Court actually work? Zuckerberg has offered few details beyond saying it will function something like an appeals court, and may publish some of its decisions. Meanwhile, legal scholars in the New York Times have suggested it must be be open, independent and representative of society.

As for who should sit on it, it’s easy to imagine a few essential attributes for the job: The right person should be tech savvy, familiar with law and policy, and sensitive to diversity. Based on those attributes, here are five people that Facebook should select if it is serious about creating an independent Supreme Court.

Zeynep Tufekci

(Julia Reinhart/ Getty Images)

(Julia Reinhart/ Getty Images)

A Turkish sociologist and computer programmer, Tufekci was one of the first to raise the alarm about the moral and political dangers of social media platforms. She is a public intellectual of the internet age, using forums like the New York Times and Harvard’s Berkman Center to denounce Silicon Valley’s failure to be accountable for the discord it’s fostered. Tufecki has also taken aim at Facebook’s repeated use of “the community“—a term that is meaningless to describe 2 billion users—to defend its policies.

Peter Thiel

(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty)

(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty)

An iconoclast who has built several public companies, Thiel is also a lawyer who started the venture capital firm Founders Fund. A gay conservative and a supporter of Donald Trump, Thiel is deeply unpopular with Silicon Valley’s liberal elites—which is why his appointment would ensure ideological diversity on Facebook’s Supreme Court. Thiel is an early investor in Facebook and a longtime board member, which gives him a deep knowledge of the company. He would have to give up these positions to preserve the body’s independence.

Judge Lucy Koh

Koh has presided over numerous high-profile technology trials and is highly regarded in Silicon Valley. Her work as a federal judge includes the long-running patent trial between Apple and Samsung, as well as a case involving an antitrust conspiracy between Google, Adobe, and other firms. Her work on the bench and inspiring personal biography made her the subject of a flattering 2015 Bloomberg profile. Koh’s familiarity with the political and legal strategies of tech giants would provide invaluable expertise for Facebook’s Supreme Court (provided federal ethics rules permitted her to do so).

Tim Berners Lee

(Nicolas Liponne via Getty)

(Nicolas Liponne via Getty)

Sir Berners Lee is a computer science professor at Oxford University and MIT, who is best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. Highly regarded in tech circles for his humility and vast knowledge, Berners Lee in recent years has become a vocal critic of the advertiser-based business models of the Silicon Valley tech giants. Appointing him to Facebook’s Supreme Court would show the company is serious about fixing its systemic problems with privacy.

Bozoma Saint John

(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Saint John, who was raised in Ghana, became a familiar name in tech circles when she became Apple’s head of music marketing after the company acquired her former employer Beats. She also worked at Uber before moving to the talent agency Endeavour. Saint John’s outspoken views on Silicon Valley’s white male culture would help inform Facebook’s Supreme Court in tackling hard issues of diversity.

Why We Need Women to Have a Larger Role in Innovation

Every once in a while I get a comment from an audience member after a keynote speech or from someone who read my book, Mapping Innovation, about why so few women are included. Embarrassed, I try to explain that, as in many male dominated fields, women are woefully underrepresented in science and technology.

The preponderance of evidence shows that women can vastly improve innovation efforts, but are often shunted aside. In fact, throughout history, men have taken credit for discoveries that were actually achieved by women. So, while giving women a larger role in innovation would be just and fair, even more importantly it would improve performance.

The Power of Diversity

Over the past few decades there have been many efforts to increase diversity in organizations. Unfortunately, all too often these are seen more as a matter of political correctness than serious management initiatives. After all, so the thinking goes, why not just pick the best man for the job?

The truth is that there is abundant scientific evidence that diversity improves performance. For example, researchers at the University of Michigan found that diverse groups can solve problems better than a more homogenous team of greater objective ability. Another study that simulated markets showed that ethnic diversity deflated asset bubbles.

While the studies noted above merely simulate diversity in a controlled setting there is also evidence from the real world that diversity produces better outcomes. A McKinsey report that covered 366 public companies in a variety of countries and industries found that those which were more ethnically and gender diverse performed significantly better than others.

The problem is that when you narrow the backgrounds, experiences and outlooks of the people on your team, you are limiting the number of solution spaces that can be explored. At best, you will come up with fewer ideas and at worst, you run the risk of creating an echo chamber where inherent biases are normalized and groupthink sets in.

How Women in Particular Improve Performance

While increasing diversity in general increases performance, there is also evidence that women specifically have a major impact. In fact, in one wide ranging study, in which researchers at MIT and Carnegie Mellon sought to identify a general intelligence score for teams, they not only found that teams that included women got better results, but that the higher the proportion of women was, the better the teams did.

At first, the finding seems peculiar, but when you dig deeper it begins to make more sense. The study also found that the high performing teams members rated well on a test of social sensitivity and took turns when speaking. Perhaps not surprisingly, women do better on these parameters than men do.

Social sensitivity tests ask respondents to infer someone’s emotion by looking at a picture (you can try one here) and women tend score higher than men. As for taking turns while in a conversation, there’s a reason why we call it “mansplaining” and not “womensplaining.” Women usually are better listeners.

The findings of the study are consistent with something I’ve noticed in my innovation research. The best innovators are nothing like the mercurial, aggressive stereotype, but tend to be quiet geniuses. Often they aren’t the types that are immediately impressive, but those who listen to others and generously share insights.

Changing The Social Dynamic

One of the reasons that women often get overlooked, besides good old fashioned sexism, is that that there are vast misconceptions about what makes someone a good innovator. All too often, we imagine the best innovators to be like Steve Jobs–brash, aggressive and domineering–when actually just the opposite is true.

Make no mistake, great innovators are great collaborators. That’s why the research finds that successful teams score high in social sensitivity, take turns talking and listening to each other rather, rather than competing to dominate the conversation. It is never any one idea that solves a difficult problem, but how ideas are combined to arrive at an optimal solution.

So while it is true that these skills are more common in women, men have the capacity to develop them as well. In fact, probably the best way for men to learn them is to have more exposure to women in the workplace. Being exposed to a more collaborative working style can only help.

So besides the moral and just aspects of getting more women into innovation related fields and giving them better access to good, high paying jobs, there is also a practical element as well. Women make teams more productive.

Building The Next Generation

Social researchers have found evidence that that the main reason that women are less likely to go into STEM fields has more to do with cultural biases than it does with any innate ability. For example, boys are more encouraged to build things during play and so develop spatial skills early on, while girls can build the same skills with the same training.

Cultural bias also plays a role in the amount of encouragement young students get. STEM subjects can be challenging, and studies have found that boys often receive more support than girls because of educators’ belief in their innate talent. That’s probably why even girls who have high aptitude for math and science are less likely to choose a STEM major than boys of even lesser ability.

Yet cultural biases can evolve over time and there are a number of programs designed to change attitudes about women and innovation. For example Girls Who Code provides training and encouragement for young women and UNESCO’s TeachHer initiative is designed to provide better educational opportunities.

Perhaps most of all, initiatives like these can create role models and peer support. When young women see people like the Jennifer Doudna, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the star physicist Lisa Randall achieve great things in STEM fields, they’ll be more likely to choose a similar path. With more women innovating, we’ll all be better off.

Amazon Announces a Security Change That May Help Companies Using AWS to Avoid Data Breaches

Amazon is finally offering a simple way for its cloud services customers to lock down data stored at its Simple Storage Service (S3) with one fell swoop. This change should help companies in the Fortune 500 and mom-and-pops down the street avoid embarrassing breaches of data.

Customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS) routinely leave private files available for public consumption. That’s led to routine, sometimes costly situations for companies that find hackers or security researchers have retrieved customer information, databases containing user passwords, or even proprietary company secrets.

That includes the global consulting and management firm Accenture, which in October 2017 left four of its S3 storage areas, known as “buckets,” open to public examination and download. Over 137 gigabytes of data could have been retrieved, including 40,000 unencrypted passwords. Accenture’s cloud platform, hosted on Amazon’s services, include 92 of the Fortune Global 100 and three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. A security researcher discovered the public data and informed Accenture.

In August 2018, a researcher discovered that a company that sells surveillance software it markets for parents, Spyfone, left an Amazon S3 bucket publicly available, and intimate and personal data extracted from thousands of people its customers were monitoring were exposed, according to Motherboard. This included several terabytes of camera photos.

Last November, Amazon released a change that gave system administrators better notification about any storage buckets set to public access, using an orange label in its file-browsing dashboard.

The change released on Nov. 16, however, allows top-down control for an entire storage area, including disabling overrides for individual folders or files within it. This will prevent companies from leaving data open for global snooping—if they’re attentive enough to know about the new feature and enable it.

The number of security breaches due to customer settings at Amazon S3 has been so high that articles at tech sites devote themselves to listing them all.

Notable breaches include Uber, which exposed personal data of about 57 million customers in October 2016, and didn’t disclose the matter [until November 2017](Dara Khosrowshahi), after it had hired a new CEO; Deep Root Analytics, which exposed personal data on 198 million American voters; and the WWE wrestling entertainment firm, which exposed personal details of 3 million of its fans.

Google Thanksgiving Study Will Help You Avoid Lines and Find the Best Times to Travel

Google has released a new Thanksgiving study that aims at helping you save time on lines and travel.

The report, which was published on Thursday, evaluates data Google has collected from its services to find the best times to avoid crowds during Thanksgiving week. For instance, if you’re stopping at a bakery next week, Wednesday at noon will be the worst time to stop in. But if you can get there earlier in the week or late in the day on Wednesday, you’ll have an easier go at it.

The same holds true for liquor stores, which are generally busiest around the middle of the afternoon on Wednesday. And if you want to go shopping, a trek to the store early in the day on Thanksgiving is a good idea.

Additionally, Google used Google Maps data to analyze traffic patterns around the busy holiday. It found that, generally speaking, traffic spikes on the night before Thanksgiving. Interestingly, Black Friday traffic has the same traffic congestion as any Friday morning commute in most cities around the world. Traffic then picks up again on Sunday, when people travel home after the holiday.

To help you save some time, Google’s post also includes a tool for inputting a location to find out when to leave for a holiday road trip. In New York, for example, 4 a.m. on Wednesday is the best time to leave. But if you want until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, you’ll be in trouble.

Crowded Trades Are Unwinding, With One Big One Left To Go

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

?OpenStack: Beyond the cloud

Featured stories

At OpenStack Summit in Berlin, the OpenStack Foundation revealed more of its plans for its projects beyond the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud. These projects are: Kata Containers, a secure container approach; Zuul, a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) system; Airship, a front-end to Kubernetes; and Starling, an edge-computing cloud stack.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter’s top picks

Kata Containers

Kata “Containers” is something of a misnomer. Rather than true containers, such as LXC, Kara Containers are lightweight VMs designed to feel and perform like containers. Why bother? Eric Ernst, an Kata Containers Architecture Committee member, explained, they “provide the workload isolation and security advantages of VMs.”

To date, Kata Containers community biggest achievements include:

  • Support for major architectures, include AMD64, ARM, and IBM p-series.
  • Containers getting entropy via virtio-rng, which creates a higher quality randomness for random number generation.
  • Kata Agent now has optional beta seccomp support. This is a Linux system call and network security mechanism.
  • Better logging
  • NEMU hypervisor support. NEMU is an open source hypervisor fork of QEMU. NEMU modernizes QEMU for today’s 64-bit Intel and ARM CPUs. Intel started open-source NEMU to make a lightweight hypervisor that’s better suited for cloud deployments than QEMU.

Ernst concluded, “The Kata Containers community continues to work closely with the OCI and Kubernetes communities to ensure compatibility, and regularly tests Kata Containers across Azure, Google, and OpenStack public cloud environments.”


OpenStack is a beast of a project with multiple sub-projects. To build it, OpenStack created its own CI/CD: Zuul.

Monty Taylor, Zuul Maintainer, explained, “Zuul understands that deliverables are comprised of many related parts. It allows the expression and correct testing of patch series spanning repositories, allowing developers to add support in underlying libraries, features using those libraries in services and eventual exposure in a UI layer … and validate that it’ll all work BEFORE landing any of the changes.”

Zuul’s latest features include:

  • Supercedent Pipeline Managers: Pipeline managers were the first pluggable resource, but we just added the first new manager in six years. The supercedent manager is great for things like releases or docs builds where multiple trigger events should be collapsed rather than each event resulting in a job run.
  • Job Pause: Sometimes in a job graph, you’d like to set up a resource in one job, then reuse that resource in the dependent portions. Job pause allows a user to tell Zuul to pause the execution of one job and let its dependent jobs begin executing.
  • Dashboard React Rewrite: Zuul’s web dashboard was rewritten in React. It’s now much less resource intensive in the browser, but is also now a progressive web app, which means you can make it behave like an app on your phone.
  • Kubernetes Build Resources: In addition to OpenStack cloud resources and pre-defined “static” resources, we now support Kubernetes-based resources.

CNET: Black Friday deals 2018 | Best Holiday gifts 2018 | Best TVs for the holidays


Airship serves as a front-end to Kubernetes. If that sounds familiar, it should. OpenStack-Helm is an older sister project.

Airship has a single workflow for managing both initial installations and updates. An operator only needs to make a change to an Airship YAML configuration, and the Airship platform should do the rest. When managing complex IaaS projects such as OpenStack, anything from minor service configuration updates to major upgrades are all handled in the same way: By simply modifying the YAML configuration and submitting it to the Airship runtime.

Airship community has just released its Release Candidate. Version 1.0 is due out in early 2019. Want to kick its tires today? Airship in a Bottle lets you try all of the services in a single environment appropriate for testing in an Ubuntu 16.04 VM.

TechRepublic: A guide to tech and non-tech holiday gifts to buy online | Photos: Cool gifts for bosses to buy for employees | The do’s and don’ts of giving gifts to coworkers


Finally, StarlingX is a lightweight cloud infrastructure software stack for the edge. It’s designed to be used by in the Internet of Things (IoT), telecom, video delivery and in other ultra-low latency use cases.

According to Dean Troyer, a StarlingX Technical Steering Committee member, “New StarlingX services look and feel like OpenStack services and have already proven value in solving problems in real-world use cases.”

Sound interesting? OpenStack, and all its new projects, are always looking for more developers and companies that can deploy its technologies.

Related Stories:

This 1 Simple Thing Can Help After a Conflict

If you’ve been in conflict with someone today, there’s something remarkably simple that can help you feel better: a hug.

The power of a single hug

A recent study of about 400 people, published in the online journal PLOS ONE, found that hugs helped improve any negative effects caused by conflict. Receiving even one hug was linked with a smaller decrease in positive emotions and a smaller increase in negative emotions.

Previous studies have found similar results about the power of hugs, but this was the first study that did not focus on romantic or family relationships. Many of the hugs, therefore, came from others–such as friends and colleagues–but were still just as effective.

“We were not surprised to find that people who reported receiving a hug appeared to be protected against poorer moods related to experiencing conflict,” reported lead study author Michael Murphy of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The findings were the same for men and women, though women experienced more conflict and received more hugs over the course of the two-week study.

Receiving gentle touches from someone we love and trust releases serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin in our brains, hormones that help to modulate fear and anxiety, and encourage social attachment. Touch also communicates empathy and can have a painkilling effect.

The benefits of caring touch go even further: it can reduce stress and strengthen the immune system.

The importance of having people around you

Of course, receiving a hug requires being face-to-face with someone. These days, when so much of our work can be done remotely, it is still important for us to cultivate positive relationships with people around us. Having people physically near us can help us be healthier and happier–which helps us to better manage and bounce back from conflict and stress.

The lack of touch can have a corresponding effect. Loneliness, in addition to its obvious implications for mental health, also leads to increased illness and a 50 percent increased risk of early death. A review of more than 200 studies found that loneliness is deadlier than obesity and should be considered a major public health hazard.

So if you’ve had a hard day, ask a trusted colleague or loved one for a hug. Even if you haven’t had a hard day, you can offer a hug to someone in your life.

This kind of moral support, in the form of gentle physical touch, can make all the difference in our workplaces and homes. And because having close relationships has also been linked with longevity, we may even live longer when we reach out to each other and show that we care.

Exclusive: Dell taps banks to raise more cash for tracking stock offer – sources

(Reuters) – Dell Technologies Inc (DVMT.N) is working with investment banks to add more cash to a $21.7 billion offer to buy back a “tracking stock” tied to its software company VMware Inc (VMW.N) as it nears a deal with investors, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

A Dell sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

The move comes after several investors in the tracking stock, including billionaire Carl Icahn, said they would not accept Dell’s first offer, arguing it transfers too much value to Dell’s owners, founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake.

The acquisition of the publicly traded tracking stock would result in Dell becoming a publicly listed company without an initial public offering (IPO). Dell needs a majority of the holders of the tracking stock to approve the deal. A vote on the tracking stock offer has been scheduled for Dec. 11.

Dell issued the tracking stock in 2016 to buy data storage company EMC for $67 billion because it could not pay for the entire deal in cash and did not want to add to its debt burden. EMC owned a majority stake in VMware, which Dell inherited.

The security “tracks,” or depends on, the financial performance of VMware, and has been trading at a significant discount to VMware’s stock. This has emboldened investors such as Icahn to argue that Dell’s offer undervalues the tracking stock.

Dell has so far offered $109 in cash for each tracking share, up to $9 billion in total, with the remainder payable with 1.3665 shares of Dell’s Class C common stock for each tracking share. That is equivalent to a 41/59 cash-stock split. Dell has said it plans to use a special dividend from VMware to fund the $9 billion portion of the deal.

Dell and tracking stock investors are now close to a deal, according to the sources. Dell is hoping to conclude negotiations with owners of the tracking stock and table a new offer as early as this week, the sources said. Negotiations have focused on a valuation of between $120 and $130 for each tracking share, though a final decision has not been made, some of the sources added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Dell and Silver Lake declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal had reported last week that Dell was looking at improving on its tracking stock offer.

The tracking stock jumped 5 percent to $103.49 on the news, its highest level since it started trading in 2016.

The tracking stock battle has echoes of the $24.9 billion deal that Dell and Silver Lake clinched to take the company private in 2013, a transaction that Icahn also opposed. In that case, Icahn also managed to secure a slight improvement to the offer.

Michael Dell has turned to deal-making to transform his company from a PC manufacturer into a broader seller of information technology services, ranging from storage and servers to networking and cyber security.

As a public company, Dell could more easily use its stock as currency for acquisitions. While its debt has dropped from $57.3 billion following the EMC deal to $50.3 billion, it remains heavily indebted. The company continues to pay down debt and has told investors it aims for an investment-grade rating sometime next year.

Other investors that opposed the original tracking stock deal include P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, which earlier this month asked Dell to raise its offer by 20 percent. Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp is also not satisfied with Dell’s offer, sources have said.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis

How a TV Host’s Retweet Could Change Twitter

When MSNBC host Joy Reid saw a tweet decrying a racist incident this summer, she responded like many other people—she retweeted it.

The tweet in question came from an activist and showed a photo of a woman in a Make America Great Again cap appearing to berate a 14-year-old Latino boy. A caption implied she shouted “dirty Mexican” and “You are going to be the first deported,” and urged Twitter users to “spread this far and wide” because “this woman needs to be put on blast.”

Unfortunately for Reid, whose retweet broadcast the message to her 1.2 million followers, the tweet was wrong. The woman in the image, Roslyn La Liberte of Southern California, had said nothing of the sort.

The teenager in the picture later explained he and La Liberte had a civil conversation, and said the pair even hugged.

Five days after the retweet, Reid acknowledged the mistake by tweeting a news story that described what really happened:

By then, however, La Liberte had hundreds of vitriolic emails, which called her vile names and threatened to assault her. She also received menacing voicemails, including one from a man who shouted, “I will smack you upside your f**king head you stupid f***ing c**t.”

Sadly, this is all too common on Twitter: Someone posts a false and inflammatory tale, others retweet it, and an online mob descends on the unlucky target. This episode stands out, however, because La Liberte is suing Reid in federal court for allegedly defaming her with the retweet.

La Liberte may have a case. While judges have been inclined to treat inflammatory tweets (including those of Donald Trump) as opinion or hyperbole—types of speech that don’t count as defamation—that doesn’t mean you can’t libel someone on Twitter. Falsely portraying someone as a vicious racist could certainly qualify.

Reid, of course, didn’t do that. Instead, she just used Twitter’s retweet button to repeat what someone else said. The law, however, might not see a difference between tweeting and retweeting.

Lawyer Ed Klaris, who runs a media and intellectual property firm in New York, doesn’t see a distinction.

“The traditional rules of re-publication apply. You as a tweeter are very much a publisher,” says Klaris. He likens the situation to a newspaper that prints a letter to the editor that contains false and defamatory information. In such a case, the target of the letter can sue both the letter writer and the newspaper.

Or, in the context of Twitter, La Liberte can sue the author of the tweet as well as Reid for republishing it via her retweet. Klaris isn’t the only one who sees it this way; a recent Hollywood Reporter story cites lawyers who think Reid will lose the case.

If a judge agrees with this interpretation, the consequences could be enormous. A victory for La Liberte would create a new danger not only for journalists, but for many other Twitter users who inadvertently retweet false information from time to time.

Courts Silent on Retweets

La Liberte’s lawsuit doesn’t specify how much money she’s seeking over Reid’s tweet, but does state the claim is worth at least $75,000.

There’s no guarantee La Liberte will prevail, of course. In response to a request for comment, her lawyers sent a document to Fortune, which argues the case should be thrown out, and that La Liberte should pay damages for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

This isn’t just wishful thinking. Reid’s lawyers are relying on a well-known law known as the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The law, broadly speaking, says “no provider or user of an interactive computer service” can be held responsible for what other people say on an Internet platform.

Many Internet entrepreneurs have relied on the CDA as a legal foundation for their business. For instance, the law ensures Facebook isn’t responsible for criminal threats posted by its users, or that a blog owner isn’t liable for defamatory rants posted by a trollish commenter.

How the law applies to retweets is unclear, however. Even though Twitter’s retweet button has been around since 2009, no court has decided whether those who retweet defamatory claims are shielded by the Communications Decency Act.

Professor Eric Goldman, who has written extensively about the law, says retweets are clearly covered.

“It’s not even a hard case. Retweeting is just a different technical way of sharing third party content with a broader audience,” he said, citing a pair of cases involving email. In those cases, courts sided with defendants who sent or forwarded defamatory content written by a third person.

Free speech scholar Eugene Volokh, who recently published a blog post on the email cases, shares Goldman’s view. In an interview with Fortune, he added that Reid’s case is strengthened by the fact her retweet didn’t include additional comment endorsing the opinions in the tweet.

Meanwhile, the New York lawyer Klaris disagrees that a judge will let Reid use the CDA as a shield. He argues that allowing the law to protect anyone who retweets a false statement is too broad a reading, and would make the traditional republication rule meaningless.

“Taken to its logical extreme, according to the defendant’s argument, a “user” (i.e. reader) of Fortune.com could cut an entire defamatory article and paste it to her own site without changing it and not be liable for defamation,” he said. “That outcome does not make sense.”

A Bigger Role for Twitter?

As it stands, the Reid case is troubling because either outcome will produce an unsatisfactory result. If La Liberte wins, millions of people will face legal jeopardy for the commonplace act of sharing what they see on social media—a situation that would chill free speech. But if Reid wins, there is little to dissuade people from contributing to online mob behavior of the sort that dragged La Liberte through the mud.

This raises the question of whether Twitter and other online platforms should do more to stop false and defamatory information from going viral in the first place. One idea for addressing the problem—incidentally, suggested by a former Fortune editor—is a warning system would let those in Reid’s situation respond more promptly by broadcasting a correction (as Reid did but only five days later), and by removing the original retweet or shared post from their social media feeds.

This wouldn’t stop people from sharing defamatory content altogether (it’s just too easy when all it takes is clicking “retweet” or “share”) but it would certainly mitigate the problem. But would the social media companies even consider offering such a notification tool?

“This is an ongoing legal issue. We don’t have a statement to share,” said a Twitter spokesperson in response to a question about Twitter’s obligations in the Reid case.

The response is not surprising. Social media platforms have long seen policing user posts as a political minefield, and are wary of becoming arbitrators in deciding what is defamatory or fake news.

In this vacuum of authority, Klaris predicts courts may become more willing to interpret the CDA in a way that curtails the law’s protection. He acknowledged, however, that they have declined to do so in the past and that it may be a matter for Congress.

Volokh, the free speech scholar, pointed to legal precedents establishing a broad scope for the law, and says any changes should come from lawmakers, not the courts.

Tesla's Booming Model 3 Sales and More Car News This Week

We spend a lot of time talking to researchers here at WIRED Transport. Those are the gals and guys filling the spreadsheets, tapping out the algorithms, and splaying in fear as they ride yet another roller coaster for science. This week, we spoke to engineers and developers who have sacrificed mind and body to solve problems, ones like car sickness and unfair school bus schedules. They want to create tools that work for disabled farmers, and electric trucks that drive themselves. Hard stuff, sure, but there’s fun to be had along the way.

Plus, we peeped Tesla’s newest sales figures, and wondered what cities’ scooter regulations might mean for autonomous vehicles. It’s been a week—let’s get you caught up.


  • In WIRED’s new series “Know-It-Alls”, we’re answering your most basic questions about transportation tech. First up: How do self-driving cars see, anyway? If you have a pressing query for our team, please send it to [email protected]

  • Looks like Tesla is a real automaker. Jack takes a look at a new report on monthly vehicle sales, which finds the Model 3 was one of the US’s top 20 most sold vehicles in the third quarter of 2018. Tesla was ranked fourth in luxury car sales during the same quarter.

  • Audi’s new A8 sedan comes with 24 cameras, radars, and a lidar setup, WIRED contributor Eric Adams reports. That might sound like overkill, but attempt to T-bone the $84,000 car and you’ll see what all those sensors (plus an active suspension) can do.

  • Swedish autonomous truck maker Einride’s newest creation is an electric, driverless hauler—with zero space for a human driver. Turns out you can make an electric truck much more efficient if you don’t have to think about the needs of pesky people.

  • If you saw Jaguar Land Rover wellness technology researcher Spencer Salter riding your local amusement park’s teacup ride while wired up to a bunch of sensors, now you know why: Salter’s trying to crack why people get car sick, and what the automaker can do to beat it.

  • One in five famers may be disabled, a real hardship in an industry built on manual labor. Contributor Nick Stockton talks to the people developing farmer-friendly tech—easy-grip tools, telescoping fruit tree tenders, customized forklifts—to help the country’s agricultural workers back on the job. And he wonders what happens next, now that the federal funding that supports its development might be on the White House chopping block.

  • The fees that cities are charging scooter companies right now might help them prep for autonomous vehicles, I argue.

  • In bizarre business news: Transit agency veteran Jay Walder, who has held big time positions the world’s largest and most innovative agencies, is moving on to…head up a hyperloop company? The tech doesn’t exactly exist yet, but he’d like to convince city governments to give it a chance.

  • WIRED Ideas Contributor and MIT media lab director Joi Ito writes about a Boston school bus scheduling algorithm he thought was unfair—until he learned more about the researchers, and their fight for equity in the Boston school system. The takeaway: People need to build technology that produces fair outcomes for all. But then, they have to explain their work in a way that everyone might understand.

Grab Some Snacks and Watch This Dazzling 34-Minute Video of the Week

In this inaugural episode of WIRED’s new original series, [De]constructed, motorcycle mechanic Matt Dawe takes apart a 1974 Harley Davidson “Shovelhead” motorcycle, piece by piece.

Stat of the Week


More fun news if you love electrics: Veloz, the non-profit coalition of carmakers, tech companies, advocacy groups, and California regulators, reports that Californians purchased almost half a million electric vehicles between 2011 and 2018. Plus, sales are picking up: In September, American electric car sales more than doubled compared to the year before.

Required Reading

News from elsewhere on the internet

In the Rearview

Think you love to solve problems? You’re nothing compared to the puzzlehunters that WIRED profiled in 2012. Their game involves a van, remote locations, and 26 mind-busting puzzles.