Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
July 10, 2020

Wrap up: the latest in technology

By WILLIAM XIE | March 1, 2018

Snapchat Responds to Petition 

Snapchat recently released a controversial update, entirely redesigning the user interface. Since then more than 1.2 million users on have signed a petition stating that the new features make the app more complicated. 

The petition, titled “Remove the new Snapchat Update,” proposes that Snapchat revert the app to its original interface prior to the 2018 update while also keeping new small features such as the new text fonts.

On Tuesday, Snapchat responded with a message to by acknowledging the complaints but also promising a new Friends page update, effectively dismissing the notion of reverting back to the old design. 

“Once you receive the update, you’ll be able to sort things like Stories, Group Chats, and Subscriptions, allowing you to further customize your experience on the app,” wrote Team Snapchat in its response. 

Belgium Judges Rule that Facebook Data Collection Violates Privacy 

In 2015, Facebook faced a fine of $268,000 per day for tracking non-users in Belgium. At first, the tech giant challenged the authority of the Belgian Data Protection Authority (DPA), but local judges backed the DPA. 

Recently Belgian courts have once again ruled that Facebook’s use of cookies and social plugins is illegal. Facebook tracks this invaluable data to direct appropriate advertisements to users.

“The cookies and pixels we use are industry standard technologies and enable hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow their businesses and reach customers across the EU,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement. 

Much of the data collection methods Facebook employs are concerning to privacy, because collection is largely invisible and not limited to the Facebook website. 

“Thus, the survey reveals that even if you have never entered the Facebook domain, Facebook is still able to follow your browsing behavior without you knowing it,” the Belgian Privacy Commission stated in a press release. After the ruling, the Commission posted a statement regarding the ruling on their website. 

“We are of course very satisfied that the court has fully followed our position,” the Belgian Privacy Commission wrote.

Dropbox to Go Public

The decade old file storing company Dropbox recently announced its initial public offering (IPO). Serving over 500 million users worldwide, Dropbox has an annual revenue of over $1 billion. It has filed to go public to raise $500 million. At an estimated valuation of $7 billion, this IPO will be the largest tech company to go public since Snapchat. 

In 2014, Dropbox had a private valuation of up to $10 billion. Last year, Dropbox reached a revenue growth of 31 percent, which was down nine percent from its astounding 40 percent growth in 2016. One of the primary reasons that explains this phenomenon is that only 11 million of the 500 million users own paid accounts and the conversion rate is low. Although Dropbox’s revenue growth has slowed, its net losses have improved over the years. As early as mid-March, we can see Dropbox go public under the tag “DBX.” 

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