Facebook Freaking About WSJ & 60 Minutes Reveals; New MacBook Pros Soon; TikTok-Big Growth But Still Big Losses; Chip Shortage Will Continue; Iron-Flow Batteries-Might Replace Lithium-Ion

Facebook had gone into something of a crisis mode after the past week’s Wall Street Journal expose, and now that’s magnified by the appearance last night on 60 Minutes of the whistleblower, who passed a giant cache of internal documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The whistleblower, Francis Haugen, said in the interview that the company was more concerned about profits than the safety of its users…despite saying otherwise. She claimed that they adjusted the algorithms used right before the election to tone down hate speech and other toxic content, but then reversed those changes right after the election. Haugen noted that engagement means more profit to Facebook, and that it is easier to keep engagement levels up with more hateful, polarizing content. More engagement means more clicks on ads and more money. Interestingly, as I write this Monday morning, Facebook won’t load on my laptop, and the current news won’t load on my phone, either! (The outage involves Instagram and WhatsApp, too. It is still going on after over an hour.)

***Note: Facebook, IG, and WhatsApp came back online after over 6 hours. The platforms were still a bit wonky, though.***

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple is still on track to release the updated MacBook Pros with some version of their in-house designed M1 chip in the next month. According to macrumors.com, Gurman thinks it will still be an October event…although it could slip into early November. No one knows what the chip will be yet…M1X, or M2, but it will be a big boost in power, and more ports will be available…including a return to the mag safe charging port. Apple is widely expected to drop a 14 incher to replace the 13 inch Pro, and retain a 16 inch size. 

TikTok continues to grow, but is still losing buckets of money, as the Chinese company tries to scale up their workforce to deal with the increases in users. CNBC reports that the platform claimed 55 million users in 2018, and as of summer, is up to some 700 million. While they took in over $170 million last year, a bump of 545%, expenses also jumped…from $118 million in 2018 to $644 million last year. A lot of that is due to staffing…the platform grew from 208 in 2019 to almost 1300 last year. The ByteDance owned platform believes growth isn slowing already, in part due to competition from Facebook and Snap. 

Most prognosticators have been saying the chip shortage should ease next year. Now, it appears that it is going to stubbornly hang around a bit longer. Zdnet.com says we could not only be seeing continuing shortages, but that prices won’t really ease much. At best, the rate of increase in prices will taper off. For chip makers, it looks rosy…Gartner predicts they will have a 27% increase in revenue next year. The auto business will continue to hurt, due to their using older chips that manufacturers really aren’t wanting to produce in increased quantities…preferring to sell more profitable newer chips that are going into PCs and mobile devices. 

A company out of Oregon, ESS, is working on a new battery project for Spain. It involves 17 of ESS’s long-duration warehouse iron flow battery systems for a hybrid project. Interestingengineering.com reports that it will be storage for a solar farm. The tech is superior to litihum-ion in that iron is plentiful, and the company claims unlimited numbers of deep-cycle charging and discharging. In addition, there is much less risk for fire and explosion. The iron flow battery packs have a 20+ year life span…compared with 7-10 years for lithium-ion. The iron flow battery systems don’t degrade over that time either. Stay tuned, this could be a big deal in time. 


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