Why We Want Tech Copycats to Fail

This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can do this Register here Getting it on weekdays.

One i is aware of Whether or not the current state of our technology is immutable.

Are Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and other tech giants InvincibleThe Will they forever earn a large share of our attention and money, shape how the economy and labor markets work and what people believe? Or is there room for others?

One way to find out these questions is to look for Tech copycats. When we do, I catch a glimpse of hope.

The story begins with TikTok. This is a rare example of an Internet asset that grew huge and was not owned by one of America’s tech stars. owned it… A huge Chinese Internet group Is called ByteDance. But he is still different.

There are a lot of concerns about TikTok, including what it is doing. Personal information of people.

But Tiktok’s popularity suggests that it is still possible to break through a fresh-faced Internet star.

Rip-off inevitably occurs with any success. Technology news outlet Information recently wrote about one of China’s Internet superpowers, Tencent, Trying and mostly failing to copy Doin, BiteDance version of Tiktok in China.

The efforts included Tencent’s widely used WeChat app, which requires people to use the company’s Doyen copycat if they send virtual cash envelopes, a common practice around the Lunar New Year Want to It is not clear if WeChat’s hand twisted.

Both Youtube And Instagram (owned by Facebook) has introduced its own TicketLock-like apps. My colleagues wrote about last year How much he disliked the Instagram version, Reels. It is difficult to tell how the reels are doing, but it has certainly not taken over the internet yet.

But having a second-class product – perhaps even a bad one – is not doom. A powerful company can create a hit through the will of the product, the willingness to spend millions like crazy and repeated exposures.

This same workplace chat app Slack, said Microsoft was trying to do this with software such as Slack. And this is what Facebook did with its video-and-photo montage “Stories” feature, which was copied from Snapchat.

sometimes Copywriters are very successful in technology – Just look at Microsoft’s Windows, iPhone or Facebook’s social network. (Also, sometimes rip-off is much better than the original.)

But this does not always work. Tencent’s WeChat is an unavoidable force on the Chinese Internet, but its popularity has not translated into success for the company’s Doyin clone. for now.

We have seen earlier that big leaps in technology can bring down the titans of the industry like Nokia, the cellphone pioneer. But boys, it definitely feels that tech giants today Too scared, So good at what they do – and, perhaps, skilled at Tilting the game to their advantage – that they simply cannot be beaten.

It would be better for all of us if Big Tech was not an absolute and unqualified force. I would look at the wreckage of TikTok’s clones as an indication that it is still possible for Big Tech to fail.


Facebook and its WhatsApp chat app received unwanted attention when they made a misleading update to a privacy policy. After thinking this for a few weeks, companies are still getting it wrong.

Quick catch: There was a mini global freakout last month when WhatsApp began informing people about whether new steps appear to force WhatsApp users to hand over their personal data to Facebook, which owns the app. is.

WhatsApp didn’t really change much, but its communications were terrible. And this was a moment for people to consider something they might not have seen before: Facebook already collects a lot of information What people do on whatsapp

In response to the play, Facebook and WhatsApp said they would Stop and criticize people’s criticisms. On thursday, whatsapp Reacted. It was better but still not quite right.

Whatsapp keeps saying What is this Is not do Along with people’s personal information – that message is erased so that no one pays attention to the content, and WhatsApp does not share your phone number with businesses. But whatsapp is still not saying It does With people’s personal information.

The simple thing is that Facebook collects information when people use non-Facebook apps on their phones. The company harvests people’s physical space even when they are not using Facebook. It keeps an eye on the people you have unfollowed, all the websites you visit and your contacts. Many of us understand this, even if we don’t want to accept Details of all.

Most of Facebook’s data harvesting also applies to WhatsApp, although Facebook says that WhatsApp contacts are not shared with Facebook.

So why can’t WhatsApp just say all this?

Here is the fundamental problem, I think: People on Facebook are not honest about how Facebook works.

When people draw attention to privacy on WhatsApp and Facebook, what they mean is that they want privacy From Facebook and its data monitoring machine. Facebook cannot give them that. As a communication to WhatsApp, Facebook won’t even say what the problem is.


  • Protecting people from surveillance, or enabling it? Software company Oracle offered to buy Tiktok and possibly help Chinese authorities stop the data flowing. But intercept Writing Oracle is also marketing its own software to Chinese authorities so that they can cut and analyze more data on their citizens.

  • You want to read about farmers hacking their tractors ?! (You do.) Big point in This vice article It is that companies like John Deere are using software locks so that it is impossible to repair our own belongings. Apple also does this.

  • Garfield is the soul of the Internet: Orange cartoon cat inspired Loads of clever internet remixes, A fan of The Guardian, Dan Brooks, writes for The New York Times Magazine. There are Garfield cartoons with Garfield Hata and panels generated by artificial intelligence with characters as tolling mollusks.

Get Elizabeth Ann, the first successfully cloned black-legged ferret. He is very cute, and can explain how to save the species from extinction. (The article also mentions a cloned horse named Kurt.)


we want to hear from you. Tell us what you think about this newspaper and what you want us to find out. You can reach us ontech@nytimes.com

If you do not already receive this newsletter in your inbox, Please sign up here.


Source link

Leave a Comment