Regulate, regulate, regulate
12 Apr 2019
Lush: clean offline and online
“Cruelty-free soap that smells nice and comes in cool packaging is great, but why does it need to be on social media?” Pff, that sounds like an attitude from 2006. Being a brand on social media shows that you know what you’re doing and you want to connect with your customers.
No, it’s 2019 now and believe it or not, the online landscape has changed. As of next week, Lush UK are putting all their social media channels straight in the bin. While one of my initial reactions was, “hey that’s cool”, my other reaction was “who do you think you are? Reactivate your facebook page NOW”. Anyway, what does this mean?
- By next week you can talk to Lush via live chat on their site or over the phone (yes that tiny device in your hand still has the ability to make calls - don’t be stupid).
- Lush’s whole ‘thing’ is that they are distinctively non-evil, so I guess using social media was making them look increasingly hypocritical.
- This is one of those really clever ‘anti-marketing’ marketing moves, where a company turns around and decides that it’s too cool for the mainstream, thus making it even harder to see how they’ve tricked us into buying more of their stuff…
Lush obviously have a decent enough pool of loyal customers that they can afford to come off social media. All that a side, it’s interesting to see that as a company you can just… do this. Who needs social media anyway? It’s not cool anymore, and it’s run out of juice. One of Lush’s reasons for doing this is that they care about their community and want to maintain it. Hilarious, because wasn’t that kind of the original point of social media?
Yes trolling is bad but do you even know what it is?
This week the UK released a white paper that proposes tighter regulation of harmful content on social media platforms. While this is a step in the right direction, this feels a lot like the UK government are saying “I heard that these ‘trolls’ you speak of are not too great - shall we do something?” Great, thank you for finally waking up and not fully grasping the issue.
As we’ve seen, the self-regulation of social media platforms so far has been a flimsy, inconsistent mess. Sure, Alex Jones - who’s nonsense conspiracy theories have inspired a lot of hate - has been banned from twitter. But this white nationalist is not white-nationalisty enough for Facebook to restrict their content, despite their new ‘white nationalists are actually bad’ rules that they have recently… ‘imposed’.
I couldn’t agree more, Josh (Josh is a full stack dev at Metomic). Fining CEOs of big tech and removing harmful content sounds like a great idea but how are you going to achieve this? The UK government seem fully aware that there is ‘bad stuff on the internet’ but do any of them understand the nuance of, for example, trolling, and what it would mean to regulate something like that?
“We need to go deeper”
Facebook, Amazon, and Google are all sinking a lot of money into new ways to ‘get more internet’. Yes that’s right, you thought you had enough internet but it turns out you don’t. A quick look at what each scary tech giant is doing:
Facebook: imagine if the cable guy was actually… Simba?
Facebook are spending (apparently) $1bn on a giant subsea cable to go around the continent of Africa. The project is aptly named Simba. Sorry did I say aptly? I meant weirdly. This new cable is happening so that Africa get more bandwidth and it’s faster and easier to shimmy data around Europe. Sounds good for Africa, and also a great way for Facebook to keep funnelling our precious data where ever they like.
Amazon: cables are old-fashioned, let’s move to the sky
Cool idea. No wait I mean, scary idea. Amazon will literally put 3,236 low-orbit satellites into the sky in the next few years. These satellites (or, ‘menacing constellation of internet-robots’) will provide high-speed internet for communities that still do not have internet. This is good. But god dammit, Amazon - it’s like you ran out of areas to dominate on earth so now you’re expanding to space. This is what people who trembled at the fake blimp and drone video were actually scared of.
Google: no, cables aren’t always old-fashioned
Not fancy fibre-optic cables; Google are stringing a new one across the Atlantic and it will be able to send 250 terabits a second from Virginia to France. This is great because all I ever want to do is send a lot of data between Virginia and France very quickly and efficiently.
Okay so why is all this important? Well, better and faster internet is definitely good. But this is what keeps tech giants giant; they have the money and resources to lead the way, and therefore they will continue to dominate it.