Facebook rescinded an internship offer after a student hire exposed the real-time data mining its users are subject to on many devices. / Larry Wentzel
The Baffler,  August 13, 2015

Daily Bafflements

Facebook rescinded an internship offer after a student hire exposed the real-time data mining its users are subject to on many devices. / Larry Wentzel
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• In the scary world of innovation and its discontents, one Harvard student is mourning a lost opportunity to join the evil empire after Facebook rescinded his summer internship offer. The company reneged on their offer after discovering “Marauder’s Map,” an app that he developed, which allowed users to track their Facebook friends’ locations in real time. Facebook, hilariously, cried privacy foul, though the student says the app was intended to highlight the fact that many devices are sharing information about your GPS location by default. Apparently, this isn’t information Facebook wanted to see “highlighted” for the public. Alas, we all know, as Jacob Silverman wrote on the Baffler blog, that dataveillance is in.

• Meanwhile, innovator and billionaire extraordinaire Elon Musk may have to tighten the belt on his space travel budget. The futurist will pony up $20 million of his own funds on Tesla’s new stock offering to allay the fears of wary investors amid an electric car market that’s guzzling cash.

• Today in billionaires: MarketWatch brings you some easily digestible advice on how to become one. Citing the alarming increase in new billionaires over the past year, they warn “a skeptical person might say that’s further evidence the rich are getting richer.” (Well, yeah.) But, don’t fret: “a positive, go-getting person would say, ‘It’s easier to become a billionaire than ever before.’ And it is.” Lucky us.

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 November 8

Martin McDonagh's "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" finds moral complexity where it needed moral certitude.