🗓 What Happened on Tech Twitter in August

🤳 TikTok acquisition drama 🤬 Antitrust anger heightened ⛔️ Uber and Lyft almost shut down 🧠 Neuralink demoed mind-blowing technology 🤪 Tech Twitter turned into McCarthyists

Yo! ✌️ I’m Brett! I am a founder and former Cognitive Science researcher. Social Studies is a semi-weekly newsletter for people building great products for humans. It includes recaps of what happened on Tech Twitter every week plus deep analysis using frameworks from Psychology, Economics, and the other Social Sciences.

Welcome to the 245 new subscribers since last month!


✨ TLDR

🤳 TikTok acquisition drama - Trump ordered TikTok get acquired by the 15th of september or get banned. Hilarity ensued when random companies tried to buy.

🤬 Antitrust anger heightened - Big Tech stood trial for antitrust as the TikTok drama unfolded. Apple’s blocking of Hey and Fortnite demonstrated the problem.

⛔️ Uber and Lyft almost shut down - Judges ordered that Uber and Lyft classify drivers as employees. In response, they threatened to shut down. It worked.

🧠 Neuralink demoed mind-blowing technology - Musk unveiled his brain machine interface that he believes will save humanity from getting destroyed by AI.

🤪 Tech Twitter turned into McCarthyists - Everyone thought the CEO of Gumroad was behind a troll Twitter account. He couldn’t prove he wasn’t. Things got complicated.


🤳 TikTok acquisition drama

Read Facebook's TikTok Clone Wars and The Tik Tok Ban & The Future of Online Society

Trump said he would ban TikTok if it isn’t sold by September 15th. Virtually every company you could imagine seems to have been evaluating buying the social media company including some obscure players like Walmart and IBM.

Facebook and a handful of new startups have been looking to capitalize on the uncertainty by launching TikTok clones like Reels.

🤬 Antitrust anger heightened

Read Congress vs Big Tech, The Ecology of Antitrust, and The Epic Conspiracy

This TikTok drama was set in the backdrop of increasing scrutiny of Big Tech around antitrust. CEOs of Big Tech companies testified before congress and sweeping antitrust regulation was passed… jk, nothing substantial happened outside of a bunch of grandstanding.

Apple in particular had an egregious month of anti-competitive behavior.

Epic Games enabled their own payments processor in Fortnite to get around Apple’s fees and Apple (and Google) responded by suspending that app. It caused an uproar.

⛔️ Uber and Lyft almost shut down

Read How Uber's Psychological Weapon Saved 100,000 Jobs

A California judge ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify drivers as employees, which would basically entirely defeat the point of the ride-sharing companies. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft flawlessly pulled off one of their oldest tricks - pitting users against regulator - to avoid shutdown.

🧠 Neuralink demoed mind-blowing technology

Read Elon Musk's plan to save humanity by merging with machines

Elon Musk demoed his brain machine interface company, Neuralink, and it was mind-blowing.

Elon Musk believes that super-powerful AI will destroy humanity unless we merge with it - that’s why he’s building Neuralink.

🤪 Tech Twitter turned into McCarthyists

Read The Accidental McCarthyists of Tech Twitter

Tech Twitter was convinced that Sahil Lavingia was the person behind the loathed anonymous account, VC Brags. He denied it but many still believed. Unfortunately, there was literally no way for him to disprove his connection. Eventually, the VC Brags account apologized and shut down.


📚 Great reads in August


✨ Thanks

Stay safe from those fires, california friends! Have a great September!