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Jun 3, 2022

Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Meta (née Facebook) after 14 years with the company


Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Facebook after 14 years with the company.The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta has been reviewing Sheryl Sandberg's personal activities, including a reported allegation from the Journal's sources that she used company funds to plan her wedding. But Meta spokeswoman Caroline Nolan denied Sandberg's departure was related to the review.


The tech sector and civil rights advocates achieve small victory in Supreme Court


The tech sector and civil rights advocates succeeded before the Supreme Court after a 5-4 decision to stop HB20 - a Texas social media bill - from going into effect. The Republican bill would give citizens the right to sue platforms with over 50 million users for censoring their content for political reasons, or based on their “viewpoint.” Many conservatives believe the larger platforms discriminate against conservative speech. Smaller social media companies catering to conservatives, like Parler, however, wouldn't be subject to the Texas law. 


So they’d be able to censor progressive speech. 


Justices Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch wrote the dissenting opinion, which Justice Kagan didn’t join. However, Justice Kagan was the 4th justice who voted to leave the Texas law in place. The Court didn’t provide the rationale for their decision. WashingTech filed an amicus brief in support of overturning the Texas law.

Period-tracking apps aren’t regulated

Yesterday Democratic Congresswoman from California Sara Jacobs introduced a bill called the My Body, My Data Act. The bill comes on the heels of the leaked Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade. In a post-Roe v. Wade world, there is a forseeable risk that period-tracking apps would send data to law enforcement in areas where abortions become illegal. \

University of Maryland: Nearly 2/3rds of Republicans want net neutrality rules

The University of Maryland published a report showing almost 2/3rds of Republicans would bring back at least some of the net neutrality rules the Trump administration overturned. Pure net neutrality rules would prevent internet service providers from discriminating against different types of traffic, prioritizing some traffic over others. Some conservative advocates want the same standard to apply to social media platforms. That means both the Twitters of the world and the internet carriers themselves could be held liable for discriminating against content, which, frankly would then have to be applied to broadcasters. 

Finally, a new paper from UNC argues that Gmail’s spam filter might exclude things the intended recipient actually wants to read. Conservatives jumped on the study and started saying it proves Google’s alleged anti-conservative bias. But the academics who wrote the study say that interpretation takes the study out of context. Obviously, mis and disinformation and hate speech filters have a completely different design, it’s a whole different set of keywords, but, sometimes you just have to listen and let people have their say.

That’s it for this week! I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend and week! Happy Summer! 

And remember, stay safe & informed. Have a great weekend.