Marketplace Tech-logo

Marketplace Tech

American Public Media

Marketplace Tech is a daily radio segment and podcast produced by Marketplace from American Public Media exploring the world of technology and the Internet.

Marketplace Tech is a daily radio segment and podcast produced by Marketplace from American Public Media exploring the world of technology and the Internet.


Los Angeles, CA


Marketplace Tech is a daily radio segment and podcast produced by Marketplace from American Public Media exploring the world of technology and the Internet.




261 South Figueroa Street #200 Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 621-3500


The EU is busy crafting a digital strategy. Because no one else is.

Host Molly Wood spoke with Mark Scott, chief technology correspondent at Politico, about the potential rules that Europe wants to put in place that might, Scott says, shape the way the digital ecosystem will be for the next decade. Specifically, they spoke about what this means for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an era when his company has been subject to lots of antitrust investigation.


SoftBank in Silicon Valley reallllly disrupts the scene

SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund started pumping a lot of money into the tech startup scene around 2018, but it has lost billions in recent months after the WeWork IPO disaster, disappointing returns from Uber, other SoftBank backed companies announcing layoffs or shut down. Now, SoftBank Group is apparently putting in billions of its own money to try to keep Vision Fund Two going. Molly Wood spoke with Paul Kedrosky from SK Ventures about what she called a burble in the startup economy.


FTC examining tech exits could change the landscape in Silicon Valley

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission said it would examine hundreds of past tech deals to see if they were hurting the competitive landscape. Big tech companies buy a lot of startups, either to acquire technology or to get their hands on hot engineering talent — a system that benefits venture capitalists. In fact, mergers and acquisitions is by far the most common way for VCs to make back their money and then some. If the FTC puts a damper on deals, it could be a problem. Molly Wood spoke...


Swipe right for safety features (and give up more data)

It was probably a busy weekend on Tinder with Valentine’s Day and all. Hopefully it was also a safe weekend on Tinder. The company last month announced a panic button feature for the app to let users report if they feel unsafe on a date, as well as a check-in feature to let your friends know where you are when you’re out with someone. But as always, there’s a catch. You have to share your location constantly to use the new features. Molly Wood spoke with Marketplace’s media reporter Jasmine...


Tech + old mattresses make gardens grow in refugee camp

Some 80,000 people live in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, the world’s largest for people fleeing the war in Syria. As the camp has evolved from a temporary tent city to a semi-permanent settlement of prefabricated houses, a surprising challenge has emerged: what to do with thousands of discarded mattresses. Chemist Tony Ryan from the University of Sheffield knew exactly what to do — use them to grow food. Amy Scott spoke with Victoria Gill, who reported this story for BBC.


FTC scrutiny of Big Tech digs into old deals

This week, the Federal Trade Commission demanded that the five biggest tech companies turn over years of information on some of their past acquisitions. They’re not focusing on the big purchases, like Facebook buying Instagram or Google buying Waze, its navigation competitor, but more on the tiny ones that were too small to be reported to antitrust officials. Molly Wood spoke with Diane Bartz, who covers antitrust for Reuters, about all of this.


Everything’s on Wikipedia. Misinformation, too. But Wiki says its editing process quickly shuts that down.

At any given time, Wikipedia’s army of volunteer editors might be fighting a raging battle to make sure that a page contains the truth. That’s happening this week on Wikipedia entries about the coronavirus. Considering the state of information online, Wikipedia’s goal of providing free information for no incentive other than providing information is reassuring, assuming it can beat back the trolls. Host Molly Wood spoke with Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees...


Virus video games are suddenly more popular than ever

The coronavirus in China is having a large impact on the economy and on many travelers — businesses, factories and stores are shut. With so many people staying home quarantined, they’re going online to entertain themselves. Health and fitness apps are seeing surges in downloads, but it’s video games that have seen the real leap in popularity. The strategy simulation game Plague Inc. jumped recently to the top of Apple’s App Store for games in China. Jack Stewart spoke with Marketplace’s...


How disinformation on YouTube gets into your “watch next” queue

An in-depth report last month looked at climate disinformation online and found that YouTube was spreading videos through its recommendation, or watch next, algorithms. Many of these videos are slick and professional, making them seem credible. Not only are these videos popping up to the top of recommended queues of YouTube’s billions of users, but they’re wrapped in regular ads from big-name companies who are unwittingly funding this disinformation. Jack Stewart spoke with David Roberts of...


Here’s my fail plan, said no startup founder ever

This week gave us a spectacular tech failure with the Shadow Inc. app that basically ruined the Iowa presidential caucuses. But tech failures aren’t always considered a bad thing in Silicon Valley. There’s a mantra here — fail fast — that suggests you should try things quickly as an entrepreneur and move on to the next thing with lots of great lessons in hand. Host Molly Wood speaks with Arielle Pardes, a senior writer at Wired, about how tech companies, even the small startups, should plan...


Iowa caucus debacle verdict: Sometimes, there shouldn’t be an app for that

Here’s what we know about what happened earlier this week at the Iowa presidential caucuses. The Iowa Democratic Party hired Shadow Inc., a startup company, that built an app that clearly hadn’t been tested well enough before it was deployed in the real world. Host Molly Wood spoke with Charles Stewart, a professor of political science at MIT and a member of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, and asked him what parts of the voting process do need tech innovation?


Airbnb is offering lots of experiences. Results may vary.

The company known mostly for its short-term rentals wants an even bigger share of the roughly $180 billion tours and activities industry. Airbnb just hired a former top Disney executive to run its Experiences business, all while it’s gearing up for an IPO expected later this year and grappling with concerns about safety and fraud. Marketplace’s Amy Scott spoke with Aric Jenkins, a staff writer at Fortune, about Airbnb’s challenges ahead of its potential IPO.


Harvesting tech shows up down on the farm as Brexit labor shortage looms

As it turns out, there are jobs where a human touch is — or has been — irreplaceable, like fruit picking. Soft, delicate fruits must be assessed for ripeness and then gently plucked without smooshing. But in Britain, one looming effect of Brexit is a shortage of cheap human labor, which has spawned a new flurry of interest in robots that can do the job.


What Facebook’s $550M facial recognition settlement might mean for users

About a decade ago, Facebook started automatically tagging people whose faces its algorithms had recognized in uploaded photos. It almost seemed like magic. This week, Facebook agreed to pay $550 million over claims that the tool violated privacy rights. The settlement was in Illinois, which has strict laws protecting biometric data. The social giant revealed the settlement agreement at the same time as its quarterly financial results this week. Natasha Singer, a tech reporter for the New...


Is the highly engineered Nike Vaporfly just a shoe?

World Athletics, the governing body for track and field, is set to announce whether it’ll ban certain types of shoes. In particular, Nike’s Vaporfly shoes have been prominently on the feet of athletes responsible for tumbling race records recently. Nike says that the $250 sneakers shave up to 4% off a runner’s time. But is that technology some sort of doping?


Off-Facebook is here, but you’re still there

Airbnb, Tinder, British Airways, Duolingo, Spotify and even Marketplace are just some of the hundreds of websites that Facebook says have shared my data with the social network. Just from those you can probably work out more about me than I might want to share. This is all part of Facebook’s Off-Facebook Activity, its new tracking tool that went into wide release yesterday. It lists all of the companies and websites that share activity, like views, purchases or even just when you open an...


Yes, tech is changing everything. A new book might encourage you to embrace that change.

We’re in a moment right now where we’re sort of mad at technology. Our phones are sucking up all our time and data; our social media platforms are spreading misinformation and divisive arguments; there are privacy and ethical dilemmas around every corner. But there are those who still believe that technological innovation will change our lives for the better.


Sure, you can have your data … after reaching out to 150 brokers

Now that the California Consumer Privacy Act is in place, lots of researchers and consumers are testing out their new rights under the law to find out what information data companies have about them. It’s now possible to ask companies to delete that data if you so desire, but to really scrub yourself out of the data machine, you’re going have to put in some work. Luckily, Laura Noren, a vice president at Obsidian Security, is using her machete to hack through the data privacy jungle for us.


The next wave of driverless cars won’t have pedals or steering wheels. Is that allowed?

This week, Cruise, the self-driving car subsidiary of GM, introduced Origin, a fully autonomous vehicle that has no driving controls whatsoever. It’s meant to be a rolling pod that carries passengers on demand, almost like a small bus or train car. But are companies allowed to operate cars without steering wheels on public roads? Both Cruise and Waymo have pushed the federal government to lift requirements on equipment like pedals, steering wheels and mirrors, and they are allowed in certain...


Why nonprofits are wary about a private firm buying the dot-org domain

Right now, registrations for websites that use dot-org — like Marketplace — are overseen by a nonprofit organization called the Internet Society. But in November, the Internet Society suddenly announced that it would sell control of those registrations to a one-year-old private equity firm called Ethos Capital for $1.1 billion. That made people worry about the future of nonprofits online due to possible interference with speech or even big price hikes. A group of internet pioneers proposed...