Our Freedom of Speech is Under Attack

The Open Internet Needs Your Voice

Politicians are firing all cylinders against the Big Tech companies. Political or not, the open internet is under fire. Our freedom of speech is under attack.

Our Freedom of Speech is being Challenged

Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a foundational internet law. In the past few weeks, Twitter, Facebook and other major sites have been crossing the line of publisher vs news aggregator.

The best example of this fine line was crossed last month. David Sacks wrote a good piece on how 'facts' are being blocked by specific social networks. For example, the NYPost's recent article link was blocked on major sites but the New York Times expose on Trump's taxes had no restrictions. The problem is social networks cannot have all of the power to decide on what is 'true' or false.

But it's too late since they already crossed the line. Jack Dorsey, the Twitter CEO, fears that a change to Section 230 would “collapse how we communicate on the internet.” But Facebook has been more about its political about its stance and wants better internet regulation. Transparency with regulations is difficult to accomplish when you involve free speech.

Facebook needs to maintain its lead

The problem is both political parties are in favor of changing Section 230. And Facebook is a technology powerhouse that controls its users, unlike Twitter and Google. Mark Zuckerberg is in favor of more internet regulations because he owns a major internet social ecosystem and needs to lead the change.

But I don't think most consumers understand the long-term effects of this case. A change in Section 230 will impact every single website. The ability to distribute content will be very different if our voice is restricted.

Your voice matters.

Also, don't forget to find the nearest polling station to vote this weekend too! Every vote counts.

Big Tech beat earnings...again

This is a big earnings. On top of the four hour Senate hearing, Big Tech CEOs had to deliver earnings call before the election. Providing guidance is tough when the future is unclear.

A few months ago, blue chips threatened to pull ads off Facebook. Guess what? They came rushing back after that hiatus. In a virtual world, online ads are too valuable if you want eyeballs.

So, this week every single Big Tech company beat earnings. Every. Single. One.

A quick earnings recap:

  • Google's revenues rose 14% to $46.17B; net income jumped to $11.25B from a year-ago $7.07B
  • Amazon's operating income was reported at $6.20B (+94% Y/Y); expects Q4 revenue of $112B to $121.0B
  • Apple's Q4 revenue was up 1% Y/Y to $64.69B; Overall gross margin was 38%
  • Facebook's Revenues grew 21.6% to $21.47B; net income rose 29% to $7.85B.
  • Twitter's Revenue was up 14% Y/Y to $936M, driven by the ad spend; Total ad engagements were up 27% and cost per engagement decreased 9%.

Meaningful CEO Quotes

"We’re seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season," says Jeff Bezos.

CEO Tim Cook says the company decided not to issue current quarter guidance for the third time due to the continuing coronavirus uncertainties. Cook: "If you look at the case count, the case counts are climbing in Western Europe. They’re climbing in the United States. And so there’s still a sufficient level of uncertainty out there… we don’t believe that’s an environment to guide into."

My Tech Recommendations

If you haven't seen it yet, check out TrueVoice by Google. This is the future of videoconferencing for small businesses. First, Google is dominating voice. Second, the hardware upgrades you make today for remote work will be critical in the future.

P.S. This week I started reading a book about Marissa Mayer and the history of Yahoo, the original internet giant. Marissa is my all-time favorite tech CEO. And Yahoo once missed on the opportunity to buyout Facebook and Google for $1 billion each.

Turn up the Volume

Voice is the future of search. The demand for voice commerce is rising everyday. Since the invention of the radio, have been listening to others for updates. Today podcasts have surpassed the radio and dominate audio tech (read the former head of Amazon Studios thoughts on the future audio tech).

But podcasting is only one side of the equation.

Communication works best if it goes both ways. Amazon's Alexa isn't able to have a full conversation with users, just yet. But it's coming and it will blow right pass you.

Voice will Save you Time and Money

You see, consumers love to save time. And typing is inconvenient on the phone or keyboard. But speaking to your smart devices saves you seconds with every command. Whether it's opening an app, ordering food, or 'typing' a message. Each second adds up. And the savings are huge.

Right now I use my Google Assistant to transcribe my video messages in real-time. Then Google create written content for me, word for word, on my phone. This feature is only limited to Pixel devices. Tomorrow, every phone will have this feature.

The difference between Voice and other new technologies is consumers already have access to voice apps today. And it's only a matter of time before your phone begins talking to you!