If Then

Media Layoffs Are Trending

The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer on how Google and Facebook have squashed journalism.

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On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss a rather terrifying security flaw from Apple, a company that prides itself on keeping information well-protected. A bug was found in the video-chat app FaceTime that let snoops listen in on someone by calling them on FaceTime, even if the call wasn’t answered.


Then, the hosts are joined by Franklin Foer, a staff writer for the Atlantic, former editor in chief of the New Republic, and author of a book about what he calls “the existential threat of Big Tech.” They talk to him about the recent wave of layoffs in the media—including big cuts at BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Gannett newspapers—and how those tie into the dominance of companies like Google and Facebook over the way we get information now.


Stories discussed on the show:

Slate: “The California Energy Utility That May Have Sparked the Deadly Camp Fire Has Filed for Bankruptcy

The Verge: “Serious FaceTime Bug Allows You to Listen Remotely Before Anyone Answers—Apple to Fix ‘Later This Week’


Slate: “Apple’s Frightful FaceTime Bug Is a Reminder That We’re Never Really Safe Online

Wired: “Real Facebook Oversight Requires More Than a 40-Expert Board

Facebook Newsroom: “Draft Charter: An Oversight Board for Content Decisions

Slate: “BuzzFeed’s Layoffs Were Painful for Its Staffers—and Fatal to Its Self-Mythology

Don’t Close My Tabs:

April: “Pandora’s New Corporate Parents Gave Millions to Trump, GOP

Will: “Is Big Tech Merging with Big Brother? Kinda Looks Like It.

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

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.