Welcome to the 178th episode of the Inc. Uncensored podcast, hosted by Inc.'s editor-in-chief James Ledbetter.  

This week, I talk about how cybersecurity has taken center stage in politics after Russian intelligence officers have been indicted for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Now, Cloudflare, and other cybersecurity companies, are lending their software to official government election websites across the U.S. for free to help protect the integrity of the U.S. elections.

Senior writer Christine Lagorio-Chafkin explains how companies are making apps for Amazon's AI assistant Alexa to "entertain" your kids. There's a song about chickpeas, produced by a baby food company, that disturbingly "encourages children to take sips of their Sprout organic food pouches." Lagorio-Chafkin talks about the creepy idea of companies, thanks to Amazon, selling products to kids through branded content posing as entertainment.  

Jeff Bercovici, Inc.'s San Francisco bureau chief, talks about how Silicon Valley's belief in hyper growth above all else creates resentment. Bercovici argues that even when tech companies release products that benefit people and solve problems, this strategy of market domination quickly foments a backlash. Yet, the companies that alienate their users and antagonize public officials with blitzkrieg like expansion campaigns--Uber, Airbnb, and now e-scooter companies--are the ones that don't have any real competitors, he says.

If you want to read up on this week's Like Buttons, check out Issie Lapowsky's Wired feature about a researcher exposing fake news, The Wall Street Journal piece by Telis Demos about the pains of accidentally sending strangers money on Venmo, and the backlash against Mark Zuckerberg's comments about how Facebook won't necessarily ban Holocaust deniers.

As always, you can listen to individual episodes of the Inc. Uncensored podcast on the Panoply Network or on Apple Podcasts, where you can also subscribe.

Published on: Jul 20, 2018