Facebook is the AOL of 2021 | ZDNet:

Then one day, someone smart built a new technology that didn’t require people to sign away their information. Now, people could meet anyone they wanted and talk about whatever they wanted, not just what Facebook or its competitors said was okay. People felt more relaxed, too, because even though there were ads, people could meet up in Cyberspace without every single action they took being used to fuel an advertising machine.

This thought terrifies Facebook, but they already have the backup plan where they’re the Cyberspace that noone can escape… Where they’re the app store, the advertising, the provider of everything… They’re building it through their Oculus Quest products and there’s really little on the horizon that is attempting to compete there… And the “platforms” that are closest to competing are Fortnite and Roblox, both horrendous in their own rights.

Online Trolls Also Jerks in Real Life: Aarhus University Study:

Instead, their data pointed to online interactions largely mirroring offline behavior, with people predisposed to aggressive, status-seeking behavior just as unpleasant in person as behind a veil of online anonymity, and choosing to be jerks as part of a deliberate strategy rather than as a consequence of the format involved.

A decade and a half of instability: The history of Google messaging apps | Ars Technica:

I have tried nearly every stage of this, hoping to see Google bring back something like the “golden age” of federated, open-standards communication of it’s original Google Talk (RIP). I don’t think Google is capable of that thinking anymore, and it poisons every interaction I have with their products.

The Google Talk saga is a case in point. It feels like it’s for a company that doesn’t exist today. When Google Talk launched, there was an assumption that Google would dominate messaging, because back then, Google was seen as a disrupter and a company that put effort behind the new markets it entered. Today, no one assumes Google will be successful in a new market. And it’s because of what we outlined here, a list of so many low-effort projects.

Blizzard will rename Overwatch’s McCree, who was named after fired employee | Rock Paper Shotgun:

Overwatch character McCree is going to be renamed, the game’s development team have announced. The change comes after the character’s namesake, Blizzard developer Jesse McCree, left the studio amidst a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard by the State Of California which alleges workplace sexual harassment and discrimination at the developer.

“We built the Overwatch universe around the idea that inclusivity, equity, and hope are the building blocks of a better future,” begins the statement released through the official Overwatch Twitter account. “We believe it’s necessary to change the name of the hero currently known as McCree to something that better represents what Overwatch stands for.”

This is a start, but it’s cosmetic for all intents and purposes. Until devs themselves say that they’re satisfied with changes, I don’t see how the gaming public can support them.

7 hurt after 2 people exchange gunfire in Minneapolis:

I think I have figured out what all shootings have in common: guns.

And places that have fewer guns have fewer shootings (without a proportional increase in non-gun killings).

Seven people were injured, including one critically, after two people began shooting at each other outside a business in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood early Thursday, police said.

Police said the shootout happened at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday on the 3000 block of Lyndale Avenue South, a prominent thoroughfare in the city.

Police arrived to find what they called “a very chaotic scene." Three people at the scene had gunshot wounds. Officers were told that three others had been taken to an area hospital before police arrived, and a fourth person showed up at another hospital with gunshot wounds. All seven are expected to survive.

Investigators are working to determine if the injured people were suspects, intended targets or innocent bystanders. Police did not say what might have motivated the shooting.

Activision Blizzard have allegedly shredded documents related to their ongoing harassment lawsuit | Rock Paper Shotgun:

“DFEH is also informed and aware that documents and records have not been maintained as required by law of the DFEH’s Document Retention Notice,” the lawsuit alleges. “Including but not limited to documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel and emails are deleted thirty days after an employee’s separation.”

They further claim that, due to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), employees must talk to the company before coming forward to the DFEH. They also criticise Activision Blizzard for calling in the third-party legal firm WilmerHale to conduct their own “confidential” investigation, saying this “directly interferes with DFEH’s statutory mandate to investigate, prosecute, and remedy workplace discrimination and harassment violations.”

Despite listing a number of actions they’ve taken to make Activision Blizzard more “welcoming”, the employee group A Better ABK say that none of their demands for a better workplace have actually been met.

Hiding Images in Plain Sight: The Physics Of Magic Windows:

Covid: Most popular Facebook link in US spread vaccine doubt – BBC News:

The paper alleged the report had not been shared because of fears that it would “look bad for the company”.
The most-viewed link was an article published by a mainstream US newspaper reporting that a doctor had died two weeks after getting a Covid-19 vaccine. The link attracted nearly 54 million views.

The first quarter report also revealed that the 19th most popular page on the platform belonged to the Epoch Times, which has been accused of spreading right-wing conspiracy theories.

New Jeopardy host Mike Richards quits after podcast with sexist and antisemitic jokes surfaces | Boing Boing:

I bet LeVar Burton is still available to help too…

What I Learned While Eavesdropping on the Taliban – The Atlantic:

Because when it was too cold to jihad, that IED still got planted. When they had 30-year-old AK-47s and we had $100 million war planes, they kept fighting. When we left a village, they took it back. No matter what we did, where we went, or how many of them we killed, they came back.