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Investors were clearly a little worried about yesterday’s announcement of a ‘broad’ antitrust investigation into Apple and other tech giants. AAPL stock dropped 1%, wiping $6.8B from its market cap, with similar falls for Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook.
Altogether, the lost value totaled $33B, but experts say that there’s little to worry about — and indeed, the announcement could even be considered good news for the companies …
The Justice Department didn’t name names, stating that at this stage it is a broad look at tech giants “to understand whether there are antitrust problems that need addressing.” However, given that the terms of the antitrust investigation are to look at the behaviors of “dominant tech firms,” it is clear that Apple is among those companies in the spotlight.
The Justice Department is opening a broad antitrust review into whether dominant technology firms are unlawfully stifling competition […]
The review is geared toward examining the practices of online platforms that dominate internet search, social media and retail services, the department said.
Many are seeing this as a threat to Apple, including Apple Card partner bank Goldman Sachs, which this month warned investors to avoid tech stocks which become subject to antitrust lawsuits.
However, experts cited by Business Insider disagree. An academic and antitrust lawyer were both of the view that this was a political announcement, the government keen to be seen to be doing something, even if it’s unlikely to lead to much.
“There is enormous political pressure on the agencies in Washington to be seen as doing something about big tech,” said Daniel Crane, a professor at the University of Michigan’s law school who focuses on antitrust issues. He continued: “This is their way of responding to the political pressure” […]
The announcement was an unusually public performance by a federal regulator which typically prizes confidentiality in such matters. That’s because it was basically a notice, intended particularly to a key figure in Congress, that the Justice Department will now be spearheading the antitrust investigations into the big tech companies, said David Balto, an antitrust lawyer in Washington D.C. with decades of experience working for and with competition regulators officials there.
For tech companies, the DOJs’ announcement was if anything, a subtle indication that the government may not come down as hard on them as it might seem, he said.
Indeed, Balto went further.
This is good news for the companies.
That’s because it’s the Justice Department, not the FTC, laying claim to the issue.
Having the Justice Department take point on antitrust review is actually a good thing for the tech companies, Balto said. The Department of Justice hasn’t filed a major suit under the Sherman Antitrust Act since the Microsoft case two decades ago. And the agency actually has fewer legal options when it comes to policing competition than does the FTC, he said.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to lose any more sleep that this is all with the Justice Department,” Balto said. “If anything, they’ll feel more comfortable in their legal position.”
For his part, Professor Crane says it doesn’t much matter which agency takes the lead — nothing much is likely to come of any antitrust investigation.
The courts have made it difficult for regulators to win antitrust cases, and even when such cases are successful, they tend to take many years to play out. Because of that, there’s little chance the big tech companies will be broken up anytime soon, despite the political pressure on them, he said.
“The kind of blockbuster, ‘let’s break them up’ case that is being trumpeted politically, I just don’t see that being in the offing,” Crane said.
Apple recently testified to Congress on the issue. The DOJ investigation isn’t the only antitrust battle facing Apple: iOS developers have filed a class-action suit over App Store practices; the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for another one by customers; and the European Union is investigating an antitrust complaint made by Spotify.
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Concern over TikTok videos
A piece in The Washington Post opens with the example of a teenagers with 5.9 million followers, most of whom are teenage girls between 14 and 18.
17-year-old Issey Moloney […] connected with people online as the pandemic isolated her from real-life friends. Eventually, she started making her own content […]
Some of her clips are general, such as a short ode to the relationship between mentally ill people and pasta, while others address real diagnoses, such as “signs you might have BPD,” or borderline personality disorder. Sometimes, people ask her to address particular conditions. She tries to to research for at least a week, checking websites and message boards and interviewing by direct message people who have the particular diagnosis […]
She has no official training and often talks about feelings that are to some degree universal, such as anxiety and depression. Commenters occasionally accuse her of pathologizing just “being a teenager” or encouraging self-diagnosis.
Things are made worse when creators have financial motives to push a particular agenda.
Amateur creators hit back, saying that professional mental healthcare may be unavailable or unaffordable, and they are simply sharing their own experiences, and trying to help.
This is, undeniably, one of the reasons for the popularity of these pop-psych channels. But professionals point out that there is no way for a viewer to tell evidence-based content from the opinions or obsessions of someone with no genuine knowledge of the topic.Broader mental health concerns with social media
The broader issue is that social media apps may themselves be contributing to mental health problems.
There’s the obvious issue of highly curated content, where influencers portray an “Instagram-perfect” image of themselves or their lives. When viewers compare their own real life to these highly selective slices of someone else’s apparent experience, that can surface feelings of inadequacy.
Even Instagram’s internal research has identified this as a significant problem.
An internal report describes a number of ways in which Instagram is harmful to as many as 20% of teenage girls using the app. It can increase anxieties about physical attractiveness, social image, and money, and even increase suicide risk, according to Facebook’s own research […]
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” said one slide from 2023, summarizing research about teen girls who experience the issues.
“Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” said another slide. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”
Among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram, one presentation showed.
But apps like TikTok can also send users into a downward spiral.
After 224 videos into the bot’s overall journey, or about 36 minutes of total watch time, TikTok’s understanding of kentucky_96 takes shape. Videos about depression and mental health struggles outnumber those about relationships and breakups. From here on, kentucky_96’s feed is a deluge of depressive content. 93% of videos shown to the account are about sadness or depression.Trustworthy sources of help with mental health
If you find yourself struggling with mental health, there are a wide range of resources available to you. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing has collated a set of resources and helplines.
If you are considering suicide, or worried that someone close to you is, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is available to help. You can simply call or text 988 from any phone in the US. In other countries, simply Google “suicide helpline” for local help.
Photo: Eric Ward/Unsplash
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Due to the mistrust that traders and investors have for traditional FIAT currencies and the high inflation rate, everyone is starting to look into cryptocurrencies.
Although some investors might lean toward investing in well-established projects like The Graph (GRT) and Aave (AAVE), others see more potential in Sparklo. That’s because Sparklo brings an idea that no other crypto has sought. With Sparklo, investors can now trade in rare materials using crypto.Sparklo (SPRK) will bring a profitable marketplace to investors
Users can own bits or the entirety of precious metal assets by purchasing fractionalized or complete NFTs. Buyers will get the SPRK token for only $0.026 per token now and also with a 50% bonus which will end soon. The project is already in the second phase of the presale, which means that now is the best time to join. Analysts forecast that the coin will rise by 3,000% by the end of 2023 due to Sparklo’s innovation.
We recommend you become an early adopter of this project since we are confident it will succeed. Sparklo has already completed its KYC checks, so you can trust that they are transparent. Also, the Sparklo token will be secured for over three months since its liquidity will be locked for a lifetime. The InterFil Network has audited the smart contract, which makes it secure and we recommend you invest in the project now.The Graph (GRT) moves towards decentralization
The Graph (GRT) is currently making a strategic move to improve its platform for developers. Developers can create a variety of APIs since The Graph (GRT) makes it possible to query the Ethereum network. Also, according to a recent announcement from the project’s team, The Graph (GRT) project will discontinue its hosted service and switch to a decentralized network starting in June 2023.
This is a smart decision because The Graph (GRT) network’s centralized structure has been a drawback. As a result, The Graph (GRT) network’s ecosystem will draw in more developers, and investors’ faith in the venture will grow. The effect of this good news on the price of The Graph (GRT) token has yet to be seen. As of this writing, The Graph (GRT) is trading at $0.11. The Graph (GRT) has decreased by around 6% in the last 24 hours and the 48 hours price chart is also not looking good. Most of The Graph (GRT) investors have joined the Sparklo presale to make profits since there is no sign of hope for The Graph (GRT) now.Aave (AAVE) V2 temporarily blocked after bug
After a strategy featuring a flawed bug went live last week, Aave (AAVE) version 2 (V2) users are momentarily unable to access their funds stuck on the decentralized exchange’s deployment on the Polygon blockchain. According to security company BlockSec, the problem was brought on by an upgrade last week.
According to Aave (AAVE) community member BDGLabs, the core of the issue is that the v2 version utilized on Aave (AAVE) v2 Polygon (and Avalanche) is marginally different from Aave (AAVE) v2 Ethereum. Aave (AAVE) Network’s proposal for network governance demonstrates that a fix is currently in place. However, it is subject to the Aave (AAVE) community’s vote and allows Aave (AAVE) users to top up network funds. The AAVE (AAVE) coin price has decreased by 4% in the last 24 hours and currently trading at $62.92. While some investors hope it will bounce back, others have moved to the Sparklo project to make gains. The Sparklo token has already been projected to rise by more than 1000% in the year.Read more about the project below
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman responded to a request by the Federal Trade Commission as part of an investigation to determine if the company “engaged in unfair or deceptive” practices relating to privacy, data security, and risks of consumer harm, particularly related to reputation.
it is very disappointing to see the FTC’s request start with a leak and does not help build trust.
that said, it’s super important to us that out technology is safe and pro-consumer, and we are confident we follow the law. of course we will work with the FTC.
— Sam Altman (@sama) July 13, 2023
The FTC has requested information from OpenAI dating back to June 2023, as revealed in a leaked document obtained by the Washington Post.
The subject of investigation: did OpenAI violate Section 5 of the FTC Act?
The documentation OpenAI must provide should include details about large language model (LLM) training, refinement, reinforcement through human feedback, response reliability, and policies and practices surrounding consumer privacy, security, and risk mitigation.
we’re transparent about the limitations of our technology, especially when we fall short. and our capped-profits structure means we aren’t incentivized to make unlimited returns.
— Sam Altman (@sama) July 13, 2023The FTC’s Growing Concern Over Generative AI
The investigation into a major AI company’s practices comes as no surprise. The FTC’s interest in generative AI risks has been growing since ChatGPT skyrocketed into popularity.Attention To Automated Decision-Making Technology
In April 2023, the FTC published guidance on artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms, warning companies to ensure their AI systems comply with consumer protection laws.
It noted Section 5 of the FTC Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act as laws important to AI developers and users.
FTC cautioned that algorithms built on biased data or flawed logic could lead to discriminatory outcomes, even if unintended.
The FTC outlined best practices for ethical AI development based on its experience enforcing laws against unfair practices, deception, and discrimination.
Recommendations include testing systems for bias, enabling independent audits, limiting overstated marketing claims, and weighing societal harm versus benefits.
“If your algorithm results in credit discrimination against a protected class, you could find yourself facing a complaint alleging violations of the FTC Act and ECOA,” the guidance warns.AI In Check
The FTC reminded AI companies about its AI guidance from 2023 in regards to making exaggerated or unsubstantiated marketing claims regarding AI capabilities.
In the post from February 2023, the organization warned marketers against getting swept up in AI hype and making promises their products cannot deliver.
Common issues cited: claiming that AI can do more than current technology allows, making unsupported comparisons to non-AI products, and failing to test for risks and biases.
The FTC stressed that false or deceptive marketing constitutes illegal conduct regardless of the complexity of the technology.
The reminder came a few weeks after OpenAI’s ChatGPT reached 100 million users.Deepfakes And Deception
About a month later, in March, the FTC warned that generative AI tools like chatbots and deepfakes could facilitate widespread fraud if deployed irresponsibly.
It cautioned developers and companies using synthetic media and generative AI to consider the inherent risks of misuse.
The agency said bad actors can leverage the realistic but fake content from these AI systems for phishing scams, identity theft, extortion, and other harm.
While some uses may be beneficial, the FTC urged firms to weigh making or selling such AI tools given foreseeable criminal exploitation.
It also warned against using synthetic media in misleading marketing and failing to disclose when consumers interact with AI chatbots versus real people.
If infected, users should update security tools and operating systems, then follow steps to remove malware or recover compromised accounts.Federal Agencies Unite To Tackle AI Regulation
Near the end of April, four federal agencies – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (DOJ), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the FTC – released a statement on how they would monitor AI development and enforce laws against discrimination and bias in automated systems.
The agencies asserted authority over AI under existing laws on civil rights, fair lending, equal opportunity, and consumer protection.
Together, they warned AI systems could perpetuate unlawful bias due to flawed data, opaque models, and improper design choices.
The partnership aimed to promote responsible AI innovation that increases consumer access, quality, and efficiency without violating longstanding protections.AI And Consumer Trust
In May, the FTC warned companies against using new generative AI tools like chatbots to manipulate consumer decisions unfairly.
After describing events from the movie Ex Machina, the FTC claimed that human-like persuasion of AI chatbots could steer people into harmful choices about finances, health, education, housing, and jobs.
Though not necessarily intentional, the FTC said design elements that exploit human trust in machines to trick consumers constitute unfair and deceptive practices under FTC law.
With generative AI adoption surging, the FTC alert puts companies on notice to proactively assess downstream societal impacts.
Those rushing tools to market without proper ethics review or protections would risk FTC action on resulting consumer harm.An Opinion On The Risks Of AI
FTC Chair Lina Khan argued that generative AI poses risks of entrenching significant tech dominance, turbocharging fraud, and automating discrimination if unchecked.
In a New York Times op-ed published a few days after the consumer trust warning, Khan said the FTC aims to promote competition and protect consumers as AI expands.
Khan warned a few powerful companies controlled key AI inputs like data and computing, which could further their dominance absent antitrust vigilance.
She cautioned realistic fake content from generative AI could facilitate widespread scams. Additionally, biased data risks algorithms that unlawfully lock out people from opportunities.
While novel, Khan asserted AI systems are not exempt from FTC consumer protection and antitrust authorities. With responsible oversight, Khan noted that generative AI could grow equitably and competitively, avoiding the pitfalls of other tech giants.AI And Data Privacy
In June, the FTC warned companies that consumer privacy protections apply equally to AI systems reliant on personal data.
In complaints against Amazon and Ring, the FTC alleged unfair and deceptive practices using voice and video data to train algorithms.
FTC Chair Khan said AI’s benefits don’t outweigh the privacy costs of invasive data collection.
The agency asserted consumers retain control over their information even if a company possesses it. Strict safeguards and access controls are expected when employees review sensitive biometric data.
For kids’ data, the FTC said it would fully enforce the children’s privacy law, COPPA. The complaints ordered the deletion ill-gotten biometric data and any AI models derived from it.
The message for tech firms was clear – while AI’s potential is vast, legal obligations around consumer privacy remain paramount.Generative AI Competition
Near the end of June, the FTC issued guidance cautioning that the rapid growth of generative AI could raise competition concerns if key inputs come under the control of a few dominant technology firms.
The agency said essential inputs like data, talent, and computing resources are needed to develop cutting-edge generative AI models. The agency warned that if a handful of big tech companies gain too much control over these inputs, they could use that power to distort competition in generative AI markets.
The FTC cautioned that anti-competitive tactics like bundling, tying, exclusive deals, or buying up competitors could allow incumbents to box out emerging rivals and consolidate their lead.
The FTC said it will monitor competition issues surrounding generative AI and take action against unfair practices.
The aim was to enable entrepreneurs to innovate with transformative AI technologies, like chatbots, that could reshape consumer experiences across industries. With the right policies, the FTC believed emerging generative AI can yield its full economic potential.Suspicious Marketing Claims
In early July, the FTC warned of AI tools that can generate deepfakes, cloned voices, and artificial text increase, so too have emerged tools claiming to detect such AI-generated content.
However, experts warned that the marketing claims made by some detection tools may overstate their capabilities.
The FTC cautioned companies against exaggerating their detection tools’ accuracy and reliability. Given the limitations of current technology, businesses should ensure marketing reflects realistic assessments of what these tools can and cannot do.
Furthermore, the FTC noted that users should be wary of claims that a tool can catch all AI fakes without errors. Imperfect detection could lead to unfairly accusing innocent people like job applicants of creating fake content.What Will The FTC Discover?
The FTC’s investigation into OpenAI comes amid growing regulatory scrutiny of generative AI systems.
As these powerful technologies enable new capabilities like chatbots and deepfakes, they raise novel risks around bias, privacy, security, competition, and deception.
OpenAI must answer questions about whether it took adequate precautions in developing and releasing models like GPT-3 and DALL-E that have shaped the trajectory of the AI field.
The FTC appears focused on ensuring OpenAI’s practices align with consumer protection laws, especially regarding marketing claims, data practices, and mitigating societal harms.
For now, the FTC’s investigation underscores that the hype surrounding AI should not outpace responsible oversight.
Robust AI systems hold great promise but pose risks if deployed without sufficient safeguards.
Major AI companies must ensure new technologies comply with longstanding laws protecting consumers and markets.
Featured image: Ascannio/Shutterstock
Several cryptos have reached the moon, with Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) among the biggest altcoins to explode over the years. With several new cryptos, like Dogeliens (DOGET), on course to enter the cryptocurrency market, the chances of exploding are never ruled out.
Dogeliens (DOGET) seeks to deliver on several promises. However, one question enthusiasts seek answers to is whether the new cryptocurrency can explode like Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP). This guide provides experts’ perspectives about Dogeliens (DOGET) and explores Ethereum and Ripple.Ethereum: The Biggest Altcoin for a Reason
Ethereum (ETH) is one of the best cryptos for smart contracts. After its launch in 2024, Ethereum (ETH) gained massive global adoption, rising to become a leading crypto following its 2023 explosion.
At the time of writing, Ethereum (ETH) is the cryptocurrency market’s most popular altcoin and the second-largest crypto by cryptocurrency market capitalization.
Ethereum’s (ETH) rise to the moon is not surprising, given what the altcoin king brings to the table. Ethereum (ETH) popularized smart contract technology—the core of decentralized finance (DeFi)—revolutionizing the crypto space.
Ethereum’s (ETH) network provides a foundational framework for building crypto projects. With Ethereum (ETH), users can launch decentralized applications (dApps) that cut across payment systems, decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gaming, and more.
Many consider Ethereum (ETH) the best cryptocurrency to buy now, thanks to its capabilities and capacity to drive crypto development. Ethereum (ETH) is also a crypto user favorite due to its high-yield potential and dedication to enabling users to earn a passive income.Ripple: Bringing Crypto Solutions for Businesses
Ripple (XRP) continues to dominate cryptocurrency news headlines. As it provides the crypto community with solutions to several crypto-related problems. Ripple (XRP) has become one of the cryptocurrency market’s most adopted coins.
Launched in 2012, Ripple (XRP) is a sustainable crypto powering the XRP Ledger, an open-source, permissionless, decentralized network with fast speed and high scalability.
Ripple’s (XRP) dedication to helping organizations drive impact using crypto’s power makes it a platform for creating amazing possibilities and value. Per statistics, Ripple (XRP) is the 7th largest crypto by market cap—a testament to its explosion over the years.Dogeliens: Next-Generation Utility Meme Token
Dogeliens (DOGET) is a new BEP-20 meme token aiming to shake up the meme coin sector. The new cryptocurrency tilts towards Metaverse utility, drawing its inspiration from the leading meme coin, Shiba Inu (SHIB), to improve the meme sector with utilities cutting across NFT and DeFi.
Powered by the BNB Chain, Dogeliens (DOGET) will onboard the network’s core features, including fast speed, sustainability, and low fees. Utilizing many of the BNB Chain’s essentials, Dogeliens (DOGET) looks to enable its user community to interact effectively and create value in the Metaverse.
According to experts, Dogeliens (DOGET) is potentially the next cryptocurrency to explode in 2023.
Dogeliens (DOGET) has massive cryptocurrency market potential and a dedication to helping millions of users gain crypto knowledge via its University of Barkington.
Having reviewed Dogeliens’ (DOGET) features and offerings, several analysts hail the new cryptocurrency as one of the best crypto options for boosting portfolio profitability. Hence, Dogeliens (DOGET) is a cryptocurrency to buy now, especially for Metaverse, meme, and NFT lovers. The new cryptocurrency pre-sale is ongoing. So, rush now to buy while its token is still selling under a dollar.
Experts are bullish on Dogeliens (DOGET) exploding like Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP). Like the altcoin leaders, which have robust ecosystems helping users create value, Dogeliens (DOGET) aims to build a valuable ecosystem to benefit its users.To know more about Dogeliens (DOGET), visit the following links below:
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A lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Google is being accused of maintaining a monopoly through several exclusive business contracts and agreements that lock out competition.
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) October 20, 2023
This is the most significant action the federal government has taken against a tech company in the past 20 years.
Google has issued an official response to the lawsuit calling it “deeply flawed,” and claiming it does “nothing to help consumers.”
“Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
Google goes on to say that, rather than helping consumers, the lawsuit will artificially promote “lower-quality” alternative search engines.
In addition, Google hypothesizes the lawsuit will also raise phone prices and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.
Here’s a complete rundown of the DOJ’s accusations and Google’s response to each of them.Department of Justice Accusations / Google’s Response
Accusation: Google has agreements and contracts with businesses to promote its services.
“Yes, like countless other businesses, we pay to promote our services, just like a cereal brand might pay a supermarket to stock its products at the end of a row or on a shelf at eye level.”
On Android devices, Google has promotional agreements with carriers and device makers to feature its services.
This helps keep the operating system free, Google says, as well as reduce the price people pay for Android phones.
Rival apps are often preloaded onto Android devices as well.
Google notes that it doesn’t come preloaded on Windows devices, where Bing is the default search engine.
Accusation: Google pays Apple billions of dollars to be the default search engine on iPhones.
“Apple features Google Search in its Safari browser because they say Google is “the best.” This arrangement is not exclusive—our competitors Bing and Yahoo! pay to prominently feature, and other rival services also appear.”
“The bigger point is that people don’t use Google because they have to, they use it because they choose to.
This isn’t the dial-up 1990s, when changing services was slow and difficult, and often required you to buy and install software with a CD-ROM.
Today, you can easily download your choice of apps or change your default settings in a matter of seconds—faster than you can walk to another aisle in the grocery store.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Americans aren’t proficient enough with technology to install and use Google alternatives.
Google says that’s not true while pointing out many of the world’s most popular apps aren’t preloaded – such as Spotify, Instagram, Snapchat, Amazon, and Facebook.What Happens Now?
The historic lawsuit could stretch on for several years, according to technology policy experts at The New York Times.
For comparison, a similar lawsuit against Microsoft took over a decade to settle.
The investigation process which lead to this lawsuit took over a year on its own.
So we’re unlikely to get a satisfying conclusion any time soon, which makes this a particularly interesting story to follow.
It’s worth noting that Attorney General William P. Barr put immense pressure on the Justice Department to file this lawsuit before Election Day.
However, given how long the lawsuit may stretch on, reporters at the New York Times suggest it’s not politically motivated.
Sources: Google, The New York Times
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