Mark Sullivan
Mark Sullivan
Fast Company senior writer Mark Sullivan covers emerging technology, politics, artificial intelligence, large tech companies, and misinformation. An award-winning San Francisco-based journalist, Sullivan's work has appeared in Wired, Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC News, CNET, and many others.Source
San Francisco, CA
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Facebook’s and YouTube’s algorithms might soon be a bit less mysterious

Facebook’s and YouTube’s algorithms might soon be a bit less mysterious

advertisementadvertisementFacebook and Google aren’t that interested in putting social content in front of you that will broaden your horizons or introduce you to a diversity of viewpoints. They’re interested in finding out what you like and then putting as much of that stuff in front of you as possible. In recent years these companies have put some guardrails around the kinds of content they’ll use for that, but the main idea is still the same.advertisementadvertisementFurthermore, the algorithms tech companies use to curate content live in a black box. They’re a secret, even though their...

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Mark Sullivan
Oct 19
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‘He’s actively cheating already’: Mary Trump reviews her uncle’s campaign

‘He’s actively cheating already’: Mary Trump reviews her uncle’s campaign

advertisementadvertisementI talked to Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, the morning after Tuesday’s presidential debate, perhaps the worst debate in the history of U.S. politics. The spectacle was made miserable by Donald Trump, a political animal whom after almost four years as our president we still don’t know quite how to handle.advertisementadvertisementMary Trump brings perhaps the best view of anyone into the inner workings of the brain of the man who simply would not stop talking on the stage on Tuesday night. She’s seen him from the inside of the family, has been burnt by him, and...

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Mark Sullivan
Oct 1
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‘He’s actively cheating already’: Mary Trump reviews her uncle’s campaign

‘He’s actively cheating already’: Mary Trump reviews her uncle’s campaign

advertisementadvertisementI talked to Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, the morning after Tuesday’s presidential debate, perhaps the worst debate in the history of U.S. politics. The spectacle was made miserable by Donald Trump, a political animal whom after almost four years as our president we still don’t know quite how to handle.advertisementadvertisementMary Trump brings perhaps the best view of anyone into the inner workings of the brain of the man who simply would not stop talking on the stage on Tuesday night. She’s seen him from the inside of the family, has been burnt by him, and...

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Mark Sullivan
Oct 1
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Why you should probably vote in person after all

Why you should probably vote in person after all

advertisementadvertisementMany of us thinking about the election read Barton Gellman’s excellent feature “” in The Atlantic this week. It scared the shit out of me.advertisementadvertisementWe already knew that Donald Trump and his minions had been working hard to sow doubt in the integrity of mail-in ballots, in a year when millions would like to use them to avoid the health risk of voting in person. They’re working to develop a pretext for declaring the election illegitimate in the event of a defeat. A contested election could result in two candidates showing up on January 20 to take the...

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Mark Sullivan
Sep 25
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Facebook would let Trump run ads on election night prematurely claiming victory

Facebook would let Trump run ads on election night prematurely claiming victory

Facebook banned political ads a week before the election, but it’s the period after the election that it should be worried about. Here’s why. At 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on election night, millions of ads could show up on Facebook saying something along the lines of, “We won—Donald Trump is president for four more years! MAGA!”—even if mail-in ballots haven’t been fully counted. There’s no law and no Facebook policy to stop the Trump campaign from falsely claiming victory in this way. The same goes for the many House and Senate candidates in the running this year. Facebook CEO Mark...

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Mark Sullivan
Sep 23
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Facebook would let Trump run ads on election night prematurely claiming victory

Facebook would let Trump run ads on election night prematurely claiming victory

advertisementadvertisementAt 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on election night, millions of ads could show up on Facebook saying something along the lines of, “We won—Donald Trump is president for four more years! MAGA!”—even if mail-in ballots haven’t been fully counted.advertisementadvertisementThere’s no law and no Facebook policy to stop the Trump campaign from falsely claiming victory in this way. The same goes for the many House and Senate candidates in the running this year.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that his company would not publish political ads in the week before the election because...

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Mark Sullivan
Sep 23
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Voting by mail is secure, but it has a seriously low-tech downside: your signature

Voting by mail is secure, but it has a seriously low-tech downside: your signature

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementBy now you’ve thought seriously about voting by mail. You’ve seen the long lines of angry and/or nervous and/or bored mask-wearing people outside of polling places, during the primaries, and you don’t want that to be you. What you might not realize is that while voting by mail is to be secure, it’s still a clunky, low-tech process governed by decades-old laws. And whether or not your vote is counted could easily come down to the way you sign your ballot.advertisementadvertisementOne of the main reasons absentee ballots get rejected is that the signature...

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Mark Sullivan
Aug 8
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That guy yelling during the antitrust hearing this week? Google funds him

That guy yelling during the antitrust hearing this week? Google funds him

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementWhen the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee hosted the Big Tech CEOs earlier this week, the hearing veered off into chaos several times. Each time it was caused by the hysterics of the GOP’s resident attack dog, Jim Jordan of Ohio.advertisementadvertisementJordan had no obvious understanding of, or interest in, tech antitrust issues, but used his time to harangue the CEOs about their companies’ alleged censorship of conservative viewpoints (an old saw that shows up every time Congress talks to tech)—particularly Google.While questioning Google CEO...

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Mark Sullivan
Aug 1
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How Slack could reshape the entire Big Tech antitrust debate in the U.S.

How Slack could reshape the entire Big Tech antitrust debate in the U.S.

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementThe House Judiciary Committee may now wish it had invited Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to join Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sundar Pichai at its on . Microsoft, after all, was the defendant in perhaps the biggest antitrust case against a tech company in the last half-century, during the “” of the 1990s and 2000s. And now the company may be set to relive the whole thing after Slack complained to the European Commission about how Microsoft markets its Teams collaboration...

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Mark Sullivan
Jul 28
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Mark Zuckerberg’s new work-from-home zeal is very, very convenient

Mark Zuckerberg’s new work-from-home zeal is very, very convenient

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementI’ve been to Facebook’s a number of times, and it’s easy to understand why employees don’t often leave. Inside the , you get the same feeling as when you’re inside some huge Las Vegas casinos—that there’s just no reason to go outside.advertisementadvertisementAll the basics are covered. Facebook provides big cafeterias with gourmet food, as well as freestanding food joints and coffee shops. The company does employees’ dry cleaning, offers massages, provides sleep pods and nap rooms, and takes care of as much as it can to keep its people thinking about work...

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Mark Sullivan
May 22
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How Apple and Google could overcome the biggest barrier to digital contact tracing

How Apple and Google could overcome the biggest barrier to digital contact tracing

UPDATES: advertisementadvertisementApple and Google announced a significant new step in their collaboration to help public health authorities . The companies say they’re ready to send out an application programming interface (API) that could let health agencies enlist the help of millions of smartphones in tracking the spread of COVID-19 from person to person.advertisementadvertisementThe API will let health agency apps use the Bluetooth in iOS and Android phones to detect and remember other smartphones that they’ve come near, in case the owner of one of the devices later proves to have...

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Mark Sullivan
May 21
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