Company Towns

The nouveau company town; Jack Dorsey's real character limit; and more.


  • Life in Facebookistan: In the insular remaking of cities and towns in the image of the tech companies that inhabit them Julianne Tveten finds a glimpse of ye olde “company town.”

    “Like George Pullman and Milton Hershey, the tech industry’s elites take all prisoners in their respective campaigns to expand, absorb, and dominate,” Tveten writes. “The tech company town, that most contemporary of neofeudalist wangles, is the next step in West Coast corporate behemoths’ quest to lure employees into a twenty-four-hour working existence—the totalizing successor to bottomless Indian food spreads, on-site bike-repair shops, and Frank Gehrized habitats. Its premise deviates not at all from that of its antecedents: a genial, painstakingly aestheticized service to workers, where beneficent corporate hands take the reins of the public good  for the well-being of the community. This time around, though, that community will be bridled with union–busting and data-harvesting apparatuses sure to make even the most paranoid techno-tyrant salivate.”

  • Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen, and Spencer Ackerman report for The Daily Beast that Russian operatives pretended to be American Muslims on Facebook and Instagram to push false and inflammatory ideas out to real American Muslims, things like: “memes that claimed Hillary Clinton admitted the U.S. “created, funded and armed” al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State; claimed that John McCain was ISIS’ true founder; whitewashed blood-drenched dictator Moammar Gadhafi and praised him for not having a “Rothschild-owned central bank”; and falsely alleged Osama bin Laden was a “CIA agent.””

  • Meanwhile, Facebook has also spoken up to defend itself against a recent tirade from the Twitterer-in-Chief claiming the platform is “anti-Trump,” Mike Isaac and Melissa Eddy report for The New York Times.

  • Heather Timmons reports for Quartz that Facebook hasn’t consulted any D.C. specialists on keeping elections free and fair, even as the evidence that the platform played a role in the 2016 election swells.

  • Daisuke Wakabayashi and Scott Shane report for The New York Times that Twitter is briefing members of the Senate and House intelligence committees today. “For three weeks, a harsh spotlight has been trained on Facebook over its disclosure that Russians used fake pages and ads, designed to look like the work of American activists, to spread inflammatory messages during and since the presidential campaign,” they write. “But there is evidence that Twitter may have been used even more extensively than Facebook in the Russian influence campaign last year. In addition to Russia-linked Twitter accounts that posed as Americans, the platform was also used for large-scale automated messaging, using “bot” accounts to spread false stories and promote news articles about emails from Democratic operatives that had been obtained by Russian hackers.”

  • Officials from Facebook, Twitter, and Google have been asked to testify publicly in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the use of their platforms by Russians to try to sway the election, Emma Loop and Alex Kantrowitz report for BuzzFeed. The testimony is scheduled for November 1.

  • Writing for Pando, Paul Bradley Carr offers a scathing critique of “Jack Dorsey’s character limit.”

  • James Willcox reports for Consumer Reports that a majority of Americans favor the net neutrality rules the FCC is working their hardest to dismantle.

  • Steve Downs details the kind of healthful activities that technology should encourage, not curb.

  • The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo profiles the man pitching angel investing to the upper-middle classes. “Mr. Calacanis is peddling a kind of populist movement for investing — he wants doctors, lawyers and other wealthy people, and even some in the middle class, to bet on start-ups, which he says is the best way to prepare financially for tech change,” Manjoo writes. C’mon now: Do doctors and lawyers really a populist movement make?

  • Attend: Emerge New York is hosting a one-day intensive training program on Saturday October 14 for women interested in running for office on a Democratic ballot. Learn more and register here.