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Why are we so bad at software engineering?

An app contributed to chaos at last week’s 2020 Democratic Iowa Caucus. Hours after the caucus opened, it became obvious that something had gone wrong. No results had been reported yet. Reports surfaced that described technical problems and inconsistencies. The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement declaring that they didn’t suffer a cyberattack, but instead had technical difficulties with an app.

A week later, we have a better understanding of what happened. A mobile app was written specifically for the caucus. The app was distributed through beta testing programs instead of the major app stores. Users struggled to install the app via this process. Once installed it had a high risk of becoming unresponsive. Some caucus locations had no internet connectivity, rendering an internet-connected app useless. They had a backup plan: use the same phone lines that the caucus had always used. But the phone lines were clogged by online trolls who jammed the phone lines “for the lulz.”

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General Tech

Elon Musk’s verdict on Facebook: It’s ‘lame’ and you should delete it

London (CNN Business)Elon Musk has taken another swipe at Facebook.Responding to a Twitter (TWTR) post by actor Sacha Baron Cohen calling for Facebook to be regulated over its content, the Tesla founder tweeted over the weekend, “#DeleteFacebook It’s lame.”Baron Cohen asked in his post why Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg was allowed to “control the information seen by 2.5 billion people,” when regulators would not permit one person to wield the same power over water or electricity supplies.”Facebook needs to be regulated by governments, not ruled by an emperor!” said the actor and comedian.Baron Cohen is a vocal critic of social media platforms, including Twitter and Google (GOOGL) video platform YouTube, describing them as “the greatest propaganda machine in history.” He has directed much of his ire at Facebook, which he says profits off propaganda by not fact checking political advertising.Facebook has defended its policy on political ads and says hate speech is banned from its platform, as is anyone who advocates for violence. The company did not respond to a request for comment on Baron Cohen and Musk’s tweets.