If Then

How Theranos Happened

The blood-testing startup’s scandal is a symptom of deeper problems in Silicon Valley, says the WSJ reporter who exposed it.

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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about GDPR, Europe’s sweeping new online-privacy legislation that took effect on Friday. They explain why it triggered an avalanche of emails to your inbox and what it means for the tech industry.

The hosts are joined by John Carreyrou, a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal. His new book, Bad Blood, chronicles his investigation into Theranos, the now-disgraced blood-testing startup, which sold faulty machines that may have put patients’ lives in danger. Carreyrou fills in some fascinating details in this bizarre story and reflects on what it tells us about Silicon Valley—and whether it could happen again.

On “Tabs” this week, Will digs into Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s attacks on the media and his idea to fix journalism by rating the credibility of individual journalists. April discusses the New York Times story about how Googlers’ quest to help stray cats has gone awry.

Stories discussed on the show:

Slate: What Is GDPR and How Will It Affect You?

Slate: The L.A. Times Isn’t Letting Europeans Read Its Site Thanks to the EU’s New Internet Rules

Slate: Elon Musk Is Gaslighting Us

Slate: Welcome to the Swamp: A former Department of Justice antitrust official says the problems with the AT&T–Time Warner Merger run much deeper than Michael Cohen.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou

Don’t Close My Tabs

Daily Beast: What It’s Like When Elon Musk’s Twitter Mob Comes After You

New York Times: As Google Feeds Cats, Owl Lovers Cry Foul

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.