This week, Eric and Micah discuss Facebook’s $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, rumors of an Apple-Tesla partnership, and Google planning to expand Fiber across the United States. Plus we preview next week’s Mobile World Congress, discussing the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Nokia X Android phone, and “the all new HTC One”.
Nancy Jo Sales, Vanity Fair
This year, 81 percent of Internet-using teenagers in America reported that they are active on social-networking sites, more than ever before. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and new dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Blendr have increasingly become key players in social interactions, both online and IRL (in real life). Combined with unprecedented easy access to the unreal world of Internet porn, the result is a situation that has drastically affected gender roles for young people. Speaking to a variety of teenaged boys and girls across the country, Nancy Jo Sales uncovers a world where boys are taught they have the right to expect everything from social submission to outright sex from their female peers. What is this doing to America’s young women?
In a troubling, and slightly depressing must-read feature, Vanity Fair’s Nancy Jo Sales talks with groups of teenagers about social media and its affect on their lives.
Joshua Brustein and Nicholas Summers, Businessweek
Twitter’s IPO will be a smaller affair than the social network’s was. Facebook’s valuation was around $100 billion when it went public, while one of Twitter’s investors valued the microblogging site at about $10.5 billion last month. The company brought in $245 million in revenue last year, with an operating income of $3.1 million, according to Privco, a research firm that studies private companies. EMarketer says Twitter’s ad revenue will be well over $1 billion by 2015.
Taking note of the debacle that was Facebook’s IPO in 2012, Twitter is taking a somewhat conservative approach with its public offering. It remains to be seen how the influx of investors will affect Twitter’s future dealings with third-party applications, and how the social network plans to further its monetization strategy.
Yahoo is attempting to procure Tumblr for $1.1 billion, and its board will meet on Sunday night to discuss the deal, according to Peter Kafka and Kara Swisher of AllThingsD — who at this point may have a direct line into Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s occipital lobe (Update: the deal has been approved by Yahoo’s board, says Kara Swisher). With over 100 million visitors per month, according to comScore, and 108 million blogs, according to Tumblr’s homepage, Tumblr could be a great acquisition for just about any major company. But what kind of company is Yahoo trying to become?
Jeffrey Rosen, New Republic:
As the world watched footage of the body of Christopher Stevens being dragged through the streets, YouTube reached a similar decision. Despite allegations that the riots had been caused by an Arabic-language version of the video posted on the site, it turned out that an English version of Innocence of the Muslims had been in circulation since July. YouTube had determined that the clip didn’t violate its terms of service, which by then were similar to Facebook’s: “Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech.
Jeffrey Rosen of The New Republic takes a look at Silicon Valley’s biggest companies and the battle over the future of the first amendment online.
That is a frozen piece of pizza, on the ground, covered in snow. I found it in the parking lot this morning as I was leaving school. I posted an Instagram of it.
At the outset of the new year, I set some social media goals for myself. Things like learning to better leverage Twitter as a networking tool, expanding my presence and my brand online, and trying to take more Instagram photos. I hoped to achieve that last one by taking at least one Instagram photo each day for the entire year. For the first few weeks, I did quite well. I started taking photos of everything, some days posting more than one. On occasion, more than five.
Amid all of the CES hubbub, Facebook has invited the press to a special event at their Menlo Park headquarters in California next Tuesday, January 15th, 2013. The invitation teases “Come and see what we’re building”, implying a major product unveil. Could this be a significant revamp or redesign of the Facebook website? The long-rumoured Facebook Phone? Or could it simply be an ad-network? Only time will tell, and CE will be reporting on the event next week, which starts at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM EST.
2012 has been a monumental year in technology. This year we’ve watched Facebook truly realize the complete “American Dream,” as it went through with an IPO that valued the social network at $90 billion in May, lost 47 percent of its value in 94 days, and subsequently began a slow ascent back to respectability. The Internet rallied its voice and defeated major legislation across the globe, including SOPA and PIPA that attempted to regulate the Internet. Major gadgets were released, including the Nexus 7, iPad mini, Microsoft Surface and iPhone 5. Copyright and patent laws around the world were put to the test as Apple and Android OEMs embarked on a game of ‘who can file lawsuits against each other in the most countries,’ with Samsung arising as the first victim of the lawsuits to the tune of $1 billion, which of course is being appealed.
All in all, it was a very eventful year in tech. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights.