When BetaKit hosted a group of prominent thought leaders for a podcast on coding education in Canada, the conversation invariably led to a debate on developer ethics and toxic culture. Following the recent (and continual) Facebook revelations (including allegations of grey hat, black hat, and anti-competitive behavior), two of those guests petitioned – nay, demanded! – a follow-up podcast on what’s got them so pissed.
Sage Franch (Crescendo) and Rohan Nair (Highline BETA) join this week to explain their disdain, what went wrong at Facebook, and why it’s more important than ever. I also asked how we fix what seems to be a widespread lack of education and training on proper developer ethics – to which the group struggled to land on a clear solution.
Yes, better (or rather, baseline) education is necessary, and a grassroots movement against irresponsible and possibly illegal behaviour (certainly bypassing tech standards to access user information without them knowing or consenting should be illegal), but is that enough? Can we count on a few, honest developers to say ‘no’ in the face of the demands created by venture capital-fueled business scaling?
If the power and broad reach of tech allows someone to ruin the world with the press of a button, don’t we need laws ensuring companies aren’t incentivized to build that button? Our developer guests say no, but I’m not so sure.
One thing we can all be sure about is that these are no longer simply ‘tech questions’. It’s time for everyone to get involved.
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This story was originally published on BetaKit.