Facebook blog post says even they wonder (and study) how it affects people

Playing nice – for now

It seems there’s a bit of détente – or maybe just some holiday retail spirit – seeping into the three-way wrestling match between Apple, Amazon and Google over streaming video. Following the recent appearance of the Amazon Instant Video app on Apple TV devices, Amazon has apparently relented and posted up the Apple TV streamers after a two-year blockade. In addition, Amazon is also now listing Google Chromecast units.

Of course, both Apple and Google devices compete with Amazon’s streaming app and their Echo devices to some degree, and the scuffle recently got a bit more pugnacious when Google yanked YouTube from devices like Amazon’s Echo Show, which has a video screen that’s just perfect for surfing around on YouTube’s vast ocean of content. Both Google and Amazon PR folks said they are happy to see things thaw out a bit; Apple had no comment. So far.

What’s the frequency, Mark?

There’s been a fair bit of criticism around how crazily addicting Facebook is lately, including from some former Facebook execs, and their guilt – or maybe Zuck’s conscience – has led to a telling blog post, and the creation of a new ‘Mute-like’ feature on the huge social network. The post, which went up today, is by Facebook Director of Research David Ginsberg and Research Scientist Moira Burke, and seems to note that Facebook is being used in two ways.

One way – the way they say is most beneficial – is when people use Facebook interactively by commenting on friend’s posts, hitting like (or otherwise) and otherwise engaging with the platform. They say research indicates that makes people feel pretty good. But when people use it passively – just reading posts and not interacting – it tends to make them feel bad. They also discuss a lot of other both harmful and helpful aspects of social media in general.

And that Mute button? It’s called Snooze, and will block news from any content source for 30 days at a time. The Snooze feature joins another filter called Take a Break, which is primarily designed to shield people from ex-romantic partners’ updates, while not totally unfriending them. Seems pretty useful.

The Force is with Rian Johnson

We know: it’s Star Wars day. The Last Jedi probably made back its entire production budget in midnight showings last night alone, and this weekend is going to be epic, but is it really worth your hard-earned cash? Hard-nosed DT movie critic Rick Marshall dressed up as a Stormtrooper and snuck into the theater early, and liked what he saw.

The Last Jedi clocks in at over two and half hours, and is chock full of twists, surprise deaths, unlikely alliances, some interesting metaphysics, and a surprisingly large serving of humor. There’s also a tender remembrance of Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia through the series, and who passed away after filming for Last Jedi was complete. As you can imagine, Star Wars The Last Jedi is playing pretty much everywhere. See you in line.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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