Microsoft Teams could be to Slack what Facebook was to Snapchat: a copier and a killer. The workplace messaging software Slack is losing ground to its biggest rival, Microsoft Teams, which has copied its way to popularity. Recode’s Rani Molla reports that the newly public Slack is staring down a market share that is mostly flat. Its adoption rates are also declining, and a number of big tech companies say they plan to abandon the service. At the same time, Teams, which emulates many of Slack’s functions, is seeing increased market share, relatively higher adoption rates, and low rates of defection, according to the data.
The big picture: Slack’s competition with Microsoft points to a larger issue of innovation and a concentration of power in tech, which is increasingly dominated by only a few juggernauts. Among other advantages, titans like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have existing user bases that are many times bigger than the newer companies they sometimes rival. These giants can also afford to charge less to crush their competition.
[Rani Molla / Recode]
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Instagram’s message to bullies: “Are you sure you want to post this?” Instagram has launched a new AI-powered feature that identifies negative comments before you submit them and asks if you really want to post. And if you think better of your comment afterward, Instagram has instituted an “undo” button. The features are Instagram’s response to heavy pressure to curb bullying on its platform. Still, neither update will physically stop a user from posting hurtful or offensive comments — Instagram’s top boss Adam Mosseri admitted the platform “can do more” to combat bullying.
- There’s more: Instagram announced a self-defense option called Restrict. It allows users to secretly identify accounts that target them and review or restrict these accounts’ ability to post on their content — all without outright blocking them, which can be detected and can attract more harassment. Messages from restricted accounts will also go to the “message requests” section of a user’s DMs rather than the main inbox.
What’s happening here: Vox reports that these new features from Instagram are nothing more than a shadow ban, “a moderation technique as old as forums, in which a user is prevented from posting publicly but still believes they are.”
[Miranda Bryant / The Guardian]
Time to worry about Zoom. Earlier this week, security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh exposed a flaw in Zoom, the video-conferencing company that recently went public, which “would allow someone to turn on your Mac’s webcam and force you to join a Zoom call without your permission.” In the post, Leitschuh said he discovered the vulnerability in March and urged the company to fix it, but, as of this week, the company has not fully resolved the security flaw.
- What’s the big deal? The flaw could expose to hackers up to 750,000 companies and the millions of people who use Zoom.
What to do now: To protect yourself, you can disable by default Zoom’s ability to turn on your webcam when you join a meeting … or maybe this is an excuse to start declining all those meetings.
[Emily Stewart / Recode]
Yes, Trump is violating the First Amendment by blocking people on Twitter. At least, that’s what the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided on Tuesday. According to the ruling, President Donald Trump cannot block Twitter users from following his personal account because it “is a public forum and blocking users is unconstitutional.” The court wrote: “Once the President has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with.”
The background: The ruling affirms a lower court’s ruling in May 2018 that Trump has been violating the Constitution by blocking his critics. The original lawsuit was filed in 2017 on behalf of a number of people Trump blocked on Twitter.
[Aaron Rupar / Vox]
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