Connect with us

Tech News

How Facebook’s new unsend feature complicates your business

(TECHNOLOGY) Facebook now has a nifty unsend feature, but it could put a kink in your business in unforseen ways.

Published

on

unsend

Well, well, well, Facebook’s at it again. The social media giant has been in the news this month due to a scathing New York Times article on the leadership’s mishandling of the campaign interference crisis. While you were probably seething about Zuck and Sandberg, a new feature was quietly released – you now have the ability to unsend a message on Facebook Messenger.

The ugly origins of unsend

At first it may seem innocuous, but its origins are anything but innocent. In April, TechCrunch reported that some of Zuckerberg’s Facebook messages had been deleted; some messages were even to non-Facebook employees, and they were deleted due to “privacy concerns.” Hmm.

Unlike the current unsend feature, there was no “tombstone” message indicating something had been deleted. This was a clear abuse of power — and even worse, the messages could contain important information about ethical wrongdoings (perhaps related to Cambridge Analytica or the Russian election interference?) at Facebook. What was in the messages? The world may never know.

How unsend works

If you’re wondering how this new “unsend” feature works, here’s what you need to know:

  1. You can unsend any message in Messenger within 10 minutes of sending.
  2. This applies to text, group chats, photos, videos, and links.
  3. A “tombstone” message is displayed indicating a message has been deleted.
  4. You can’t remove a single text bubble (within a message) of something someone’s sent you.
  5. You have the choice when unsending to remove just for you, or remove for everyone.

What it means for your business

If you’re using Messenger for your business (especially Messenger chatbots), this could mean good and bad things, but the real implications are yet to be seen.

For customers that may tend to act out in anger and angrily message your business, you might see people unsend angry messages. This could be good for the egos of your customer service team, but you’ll also want to reach out and talk your customers down in those moments they’re frustrated.

But for most businesses, the legal effects on this new feature leave more questions than answers.

In short, your digital paper trail to CYA may be compromised with unsend. In a world where legal departments are already leery of Facebook, and rightfully so, this could make things a lot more complicated.

For instance, if you use a Messenger chatbot and someone claims discrimination based off the conversation and they used unsend, you’ll have less information to back up your story.

“But don’t worry!” Facebook tells us. “We’ll keep the messages on our server for a short period of time!”

A short period of time…? Are we talking one week, six weeks, one year? What does that even mean?

Overall, make sure to consider possible scenarios on how this change might affect your business.

Does this mean you might need to up your business insurance in light of more potential legal battles? Maybe. Does this mean you might need to shorten your response time to catch the angry customers or even potential customers before they unsend? Probably.

As this new feature rolls out, we’ll see more and more of the unknown implications coming to light. Regardless, make sure you and your business are prepared.

Elise Graham Kennedy is a staff writer at The American Genius and Austin-based digital strategist. She's a seasoned entrepreneur, started and sold two companies, and was on a TV show for her app. You can usually find her watching The Office on her couch with her dog and husband.

Business Finance

Personal finance steps every freelancer must take to avoid ruin

(FINANCE) The government shutdown showcased financial instability, but what do people that have no paycheck guarantee need to do to be secure?

Published

on

personal finance

In light of the recent government shutdown, there has been a lot of attention in regards to how missing paychecks impacts the average American. Most Americans don’t have a regular savings account and could not handle a $1,000 emergency, let alone miss practically a month of pay.

While things look positive for the backpay of those government workers, we all could benefit from some careful reflection about the precarious nature of our personal finances.

Particularly those of us who don’t receive a regular paycheck.

Entrepreneurs and those invested in the gig economy have volatile incomes, and literally no promise of a paycheck ever – that can impact your personal finances in a number of ways.

Variable incomes are normal for this group and can impact entrepreneurs in ways as simple as handling debt.

If this is you – here a few things to keep in mind that can help you deal with the volatility of living on a variable income and handling your personal finances.  

  • Set up an emergency fund. Start with 500 if you have too, and remember this an emergency fund for your personal expenses, not your business. If you have an emergency fund, make sure you identify what an emergency is and also be prepared to put money back when it comes out. If you have a hard time not spending money in front of you, put your money in a local bank or CU that you don’t have immediate access too.
  • Stick to a budget. when you can’t forecast your income appropriately, controlling expenses is so critical it’s the few things that are in your control.
  • Don’t mix business with personal. While you may be pouring your personal energy and time into your start up or gig, be careful about mixing expenses for two reasons: First, it messes up your budget. You need to have separate budgets for personal and business. Second, there could be tax challenges – consult a tax professional for more information. Here’s a little primer to get you started.
  • Save for retirement. There are tax benefits and come on, don’t wait till you can’t work anymore. Also, an IRA IS NOT AN EMERGENCY FUND.
  • Practice good financial behaviors. Automate bill pay. Online statements. Digital receipt tracking. The more you can automate your life, the better you are. You already have so many demands on your time, reduce that so you can spend more time doing what you love and what matters.
  • Consider diversifying your income. Either ensure you have multiple strings or a backup gig (even if it’s just uber driving); or be prepared to do temporary or contract labor during your slow seasons.

The path to entrepreneurship is rough. What we can learn from the very struggles of the federal employees and the government shutdown is that if the government can be unstable, those of you who work in the world of startups, gigs, and entrepreneurship, need to be even more on our toes. The “normal recommendation” for saving is 10% of your income, but normal may not be enough for you. Be prepared and save (more).

Disclaimer: I am neither a tax or investment professional. This is personal financial advice and I encourage you to visit a professional if you need more specific plans of action.

Continue Reading

Business Finance

Delivery startups skim customer tips to pay employees #wth

(FINANCE) Grocery delivery startups are flourishing, but stealing from employees isn’t a sustainable move…

Published

on

theft delivery startups

Popular grocery app Instacart has been using customers’ tips to pay its guaranteed $10/hour rate to employees, rather than using the tips as, you know, bonus money paid to workers on top of their normal pay. The way that you’d expect something called a “tip” to work.

According to the report, “Instacart confirmed that when its payment algorithm determines a driver should be paid below that guaranteed $10, the company uses the customer’s predelivery, ‘up front’ tip to cover the difference. The ‘up front’ tip is automatically set to 5% on the Instacart app; if the customer removes the tip, and the payout would be below $10, Instacart itself covers the cost.”

In this system, the customer’s tip for the deliverer subsidizes the company’s commitment to its employees. Once the change to the tipping policy was announced in workers began complaining about how it affected their earnings in 2017.

Even though the app’s customers have taken to social media to compare the policy to wage theft, the practice is actually legal. Because Instacart and other apps in the gig economy classify their workers as contractors instead of employees, they do technically still get 100 percent of the tips in their wages (even if the company doesn’t supply the same percentage of the wage they’d give the worker without the customer throwing in).

This kind of payment structure may be familiar to you if you’ve ever working in restaurants, bars, or another establishment that uses subminimum wages.

Sadly, Instacart is not the only grocery app that uses a dodgy tipping system. Shipt, DoorDash, and others have similar tipping policies. And they aren’t interested in changing them after all this week’s backlash.

If you’re concerned about making sure that you’re supporting the contractors for these grocery delivery services, some of the contracted workers have requested that you provide the tip in cash instead of tipping through the app and activating its algorithm.

Continue Reading

Tech News

How blockchain has the power to improve democracies

(TECH) Blockchain is changing the face of democracy with a magical fix to basically all the problems.

Published

on

blockchain

Despite our best intentions to be active, informed citizens in democratic practices, not everyone has time, figuring out how to be engaged can be confusing, and reps don’t always vote how you want. Plus, confidence in Congress is hilariously/depressingly low with all the scandals and thinly veiled corporate interests.

Well hooray for the future, because now we have blockchain technology to propel us out of the murky waters of representative democracy and into a more efficient liquid democracy.

A liquid democracy platform, also referred to as delegative democracy, has voters select a personal representative as a proxy for their vote. In our current set up, elected representatives vote for things on your behalf, and the best you can do other than running for office yourself is call in and ask them to vote your way.

With a liquid democracy, everyone votes on each piece of legislation.

You can assign a delegate to vote on your behalf by proxy when you’re not available. Personal representatives can be removed and reassigned at any time unlike set terms for elected officials.

The delegate can even select a proxy for their votes, creating a directed network graph, where voters and politicians are connected on a publicly verified blockchain. Anyone can be selected as a delegate as long as they’re a legal resident of your jurisdiction registered to vote.

Quick refresher course: Blockchain is essentially a decentralized digital list of records with timestamps and transaction data information. Each individual record is considered a block, which is cryptographically secured and resistant to modification.

Blocks contain a cryptographic hash of the previous block, creating a chain. Once recorded, data cannot be altered without network majority consent. As an open, peer-to-peer distributed ledger, blockchain is a permanent and efficient way to record transactions.

Used by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 for cryptocurrency exchange to create Bitcoin, blockchain has now expanded to the healthcare industry, banking, and now potentially democratic practices.

David Ernst, one of the leaders of the liquid democracy movement, founded United.vote, a platform established to get the ball rolling. The site helps connect voters to personal representatives, and provides a scorecard that tracks how elected politicians’ votes compare to constituents wishes.

“What if instead centralizing authority into the hands of a few strong men, we expanded political power to many, many more voices,” Ernst suggested at the 2017 CyFy conference.

His plan to expand power is liquid democracy via the United.vote platform, which he notes is backwards-compatible with our current system. Ernst is also running as an independent candidate for California Assembly District 19.

He was partially inspired by the Flux Party’s 2016 campaign in Australia, who tried to implement an issue-based direct democracy similar to liquid democracy. Although the party only got 0.15 percent of the vote nationwide, Ernst stands by the idea.

A liquid democracy via blockchain would theoretically increase accountability, participation, and representation.

Through direct participation and personal representation, elections would no longer be necessary.

Instead, voters simply choose someone to represent them, and can select a different person for individual issues. Delegation can be changed at any time, so you’re not stuck with someone if they end up being a total weasel.

So far, only a little over one thousand people have signed up for United.vote, but Ernst stated, “If I got elected, but only 20 people were actually using [the platform], I would still follow those people.”

Although the concept may be ahead of its time (and possibly a wishful Utopian dream), Ernst is confident that these changes can fix democracy.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories