👓 Trump’s Lies Are a Virus, and News Organizations Are the Host | The Atlantic

Read Trump’s Lies Are a Virus, and News Organizations Are the Host (The Atlantic)
Journalists have become complicit in spreading the president’s falsehoods and conspiracy theories. Here’s how they can do better.

Either George Lakoff has gotten himself a great publicist, or journalists are starting to get wise to his message and spread it far and wide. This has to be the second or third article about some of his ideas I’ve seen in as many days.

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👓 20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About BuzzFeed News | BuzzFeed

Read 20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About BuzzFeed News (BuzzFeed News)
Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalists. Reporting that freed an innocent man from prison. Here are some facts about BuzzFeed News that you might not know. Support our journalism by becoming a member.

Interesting to see them advertising and reaching out like this just after announcements of them having financial issues.

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🔖 ❤️ GeorgeLakoff tweet on neutral language in journalism

Liked a tweet by George Lakoff   on TwitterGeorge Lakoff on Twitter (Twitter)
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👓 A Note on Steve King | Weekly Standard

Read A Note on Steve King (The Weekly Standard)
The congressman disputed a story we reported. We stand by it.

I’m curious about the statistics on the number of people that read this versus the number that listened to the attached audio. I suspect the latter was a tiny fraction, which means that to some extent that the outlet wins. In the end it’s nice to have access to the original sources of reporting like this.

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❤️ AnikaNoniRose tweet: Next white house press event with the president, only send your Black woman reporters.

Liked a tweet by Anika Noni RoseAnika Noni Rose (Twitter)
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Reply to It’s time for a new branch of public media by Ben Werdmüller

Replied to It's time for a new branch of public media by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967, which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, an independent public broadcaster had been established through grants by the Ford Foundation, but Ford began to withdraw its support. Here's what he said: "It...

I’ve been thinking very similarly along these lines for six months or more, but with a particular slant at journalistic enterprises. I’ve specifically been considering what would happen if small local newspapers and other journalistic outlets were running IndieWeb-esque platforms for their local communities. This would potentially help to moderate and encourage local conversations and consumption of local grown content and journalism and potentially improve the toxicity of general social media or massive issues like those that Facebook is facing with genocidal effects of their platform in Myanmar where they didn’t have any local presence or moderation much less people in-house who had language capabilities to even begin to deal with these issues. This type of mission could better empower entities to improve both local journalism by binding it to a different substrate as a financial model  and fix many of the issues we see with social media simultaneously.

This general idea also isn’t too dissimilar from Greg McVerry’s idea of having local libraries allow patrons to “check out” (aka set up) their own domains and social presences/identities using their library cards.

The difficulty I see is that as the world moves toward increased specialization, that looking for newspapers or even municipalities to oversee and maintain such infrastructure may be difficult. I already see issues with smaller outlets building and maintaining their own publishing platforms with simple out-of-the-box CMS solutions that are relatively easy-to-use and modify with simple plugins. (In a recent inventory of my local news sources, I’ll note here that nearly 100% of the local online news sources for my community are running on WordPress, but not all of them have a huge amount of technical knowledge about what and how they’re doing it in those spaces). The growth of content management systems like Ghost, which has a journalistic bent, also indicates that there isn’t a “perfect solution” to the CMS problem, much less the issues of running IndieWeb-like platforms/clusters based on simpler platforms like WordPress or even Known. There’s certainly a lot of space out there for third party companies to help grow and expand in both of these areas (community-based social platforms as well as journalism platforms and admixtures thereof.)

If local institutions or even governments did move in this direction, then their users are at the potential mercy of third-party businesses which may not necessarily be aligned with local values.  An example of something akin to this was covered recently in The Daily on their episode Taking Over Local News. I’m also reminded about of my poor experiences  with un-moderated third party platforms like Nextdoor.com can be.

Another microcosm to look at is how hundreds of thousands of public libraries are interfacing with the four or more media suppliers of e-books and what that financial model looks like as, if taken, I would suspect a similar trajectory for local social public media. Similarly looking at how municipalities interface with cable franchising can reveal some pitfalls to avoid moving forward with respect to monopolies and competition.

Certainly some additional thought about how to solve these issues at the smaller local and personal levels is welcome. Thanks for dipping into and expanding my surface area of thinking Ben.

👓 It’s time for a new branch of public media | Ben Werdmüller

Read It's time for a new branch of public media by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)
President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967, which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, an independent public broadcaster had been established through grants by the Ford Foundation, but Ford began to withdraw its support. Here's what he said: "It...
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👓 Reporters condemn White House decision to bar CNN’s Acosta | CNN

Read Reporters condemn White House decision to bar CNN's Acosta by Brian Stelter, CNN Business (CNN)
Reporters from many news organizations have expressed support for CNN's Jim Acosta after the White House revoked his press pass.

I too saw reports of an assault yesterday in the reporting of the incident and so went back to the video of the incident. If anything, the White House intern assaulted Acosta here.

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👓 White House suspends press access for CNN’s Jim Acosta | NY Post

Read White House suspends press access for CNN’s Jim Acosta (New York Post)
The White House suspended press access for Jim Acosta on Wednesday after the CNN reporter had a tense exchange with President Trump during a press conference. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders…

An incendiary article that leaves some details out for salacious effect. Having seen a portion of the press conference this morning, there’s a bit to be desired in this reporting that does a bit of “he said, she said” without giving a completely accurate picture of the story.

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🎧 The Daily: Unearthing the Truth in Myanmar | New York Times

Listened to The Daily: Unearthing the Truth in Myanmar by Michael Barbaro from New York Times

During a reporter’s trip to a part of the country where many Rohingya Muslims once lived, the government’s official narrative began to crack.

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📺 The Facebook Dilemma (Part 1) | Frontline

Watched The Facebook Dilemma from FRONTLINE

A major, two-night investigation of the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

The promise of Facebook was to create a more open and connected world. But from the company’s failure to protect millions of users’ data, to the proliferation of “fake news” and disinformation, mounting crises have raised the question: Is Facebook more harmful than helpful? On Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, FRONTLINE presents The Facebook Dilemma. This major, two-night event investigates a series of warnings to Facebook as the company grew from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room to a global empire. With dozens of original interviews and rare footage, The Facebook Dilemma examines the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

Some great journalism, but somehow I don’t think it’s as frightening as it should be.

It did spark some great debate within the house though.

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Deplatforming and making the web a better place

I’ve spent some time this morning thinking about the deplatforming of the abhorrent social media site Gab.ai by Google, Apple, Stripe, PayPal, and Medium following the Tree of Life shooting in Pennsylvania. I’ve created a deplatforming page on the IndieWeb wiki with some initial background and history. I’ve also gone back and tagged (with “deplatforming”) a few articles I’ve read or podcasts I’ve listened to recently that may have some interesting bearing on the topic.

The particular design question I’m personally looking at is roughly:

How can we reshape the web and social media in a way that allows individuals and organizations a platform for their own free speech and communication without accelerating or amplifying the voices of the abhorrent fringes of people espousing broadly anti-social values like virulent discrimination, racism, fascism, etc.?

In some sense, the advertising driven social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, et al. have given the masses the equivalent of not simply a louder voice within their communities, but potential megaphones to audiences previously far, far beyond their reach. When monetized against the tremendous value of billions of clicks, there is almost no reason for these corporate giants to filter or moderate socially abhorrent content.  Their unfiltered and unregulated algorithms compound the issue from a societal perspective. I look at it in some sense as the equivalent of the advent of machine guns and ultimately nuclear weapons in 20th century warfare and their extreme effects on modern society.

The flip side of the coin is also potentially to allow users the ability to better control and/or filter out what they’re presented on platforms and thus consuming, so solutions can relate to both the output as well as the input stages.

Comments and additions to the page (or even here below) particularly with respect to positive framing and potential solutions on how to best approach this design hurdle for human communication are more than welcome.


Deplatforming

Deplatforming or no platform is a form of banning in which a person or organization is denied the use of a platform (physical or increasingly virtual) on which to speak.

In addition to the banning of those with socially unacceptable viewpoints, there has been a long history of marginalized voices (particularly trans, LGBTQ, sex workers, etc.) being deplatformed in systematic ways.

The banning can be from any of a variety of spaces ranging from physical meeting spaces or lectures, journalistic coverage in newspapers or television to domain name registration, web hosting, and even from specific social media platforms like Facebookor Twitter. Some have used these terms as narrowly as in relation to having their Twitter “verified” status removed.

“We need to puncture this myth that [deplatforming]’s only affecting far-right people. Trans rights activistsBlack Lives Matterorganizers, LGBTQI people have been demonetized or deranked. The reason we’re talking about far-right people is that they have coverage on Fox News and representatives in Congress holding hearings. They already have political power.” — Deplatforming Works: Alex Jones says getting banned by YouTube and Facebook will only make him stronger. The research says that’s not true. in Motherboard 2018-08-10

Examples

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck parted ways with Fox News in what some consider to have been a network deplatforming. He ultimately moved to his own platform consisting of his own website.

Reddit Communities

Reddit has previously banned several communities on its platform. Many of the individual users decamped to Voat, which like Gab could potentially face its own subsequent deplatforming.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo Yiannopoulos, the former Breitbart personality, was permanently banned from Twitter in 2016 for inciting targeted harassment campaigns against actress Leslie Jones. He resigned from Breitbart over comments he made about pedophilia on a podcast. These also resulted in the termination of a book deal with Simon & Schuster as well as the cancellation of multiple speaking engagements at Universities.

The Daily Stormer

Neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer was deplatformed by Cloudflare in the wake of 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Following criticism, Matthew Prince, Cloudflare CEO, announced that he was ending the Daily Stormer’s relationship with Cloudflare, which provides services for protecting sites against distributed denial-of service (DDoS) attacks and maintaining their stability.

Alex Jones/Infowars

Alex Jones and his Infowars were deplatformed by Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and Facebook in late summer 2018 for his Network’s false claims about the Newtown shooting.

Gab

Gab.ai was deplatformed from PayPal, Stripe, Medium , Apple, and Google as a result of their providing a platform for alt-right and racist groups as well as the shooter in the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in October 2018

Gab.com is under attack. We have been systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers, and several payment processors. We have been smeared by the mainstream media for defending free expression and individual liberty for all people and for working with law enforcement to ensure that justice is served for the horrible atrocity committed in Pittsburgh. Gab will continue to fight for the fundamental human right to speak freely. As we transition to a new hosting provider Gab will be inaccessible for a period of time. We are working around the clock to get Gab.com back online. Thank you and remember to speak freely.

—from the Gab.ai homepage on 2018-10-29

History

Articles

Research

See Also

  • web hosting
  • why
  • shadow banning
  • NIPSA
  • demonitazition – a practice (particularly leveled at YouTube) of preventing users and voices from monetizing their channels. This can have a chilling effect on people who rely on traffic for income to support their work (see also 1)
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🔖 The Oxygen of Amplification | Data & Society

Bookmarked The Oxygen of Amplification: Better Practices for Reporting on Extremists, Antagonists, and Manipulators by Whitney Phillips (Data & Society)

New Data & Society report recommends editorial “better practices” for reporting on online bigots and manipulators; interviews journalists on accidental amplification of extreme agendas

This report draws on in-depth interviews by scholar Whitney Phillips to showcase how news media was hijacked from 2016 to 2018 to amplify the messages of hate groups.

Offering extremely candid comments from mainstream journalists, the report provides a snapshot of an industry caught between the pressure to deliver page views, the impulse to cover manipulators and “trolls,” and the disgust (expressed in interviewees’ own words) of accidentally propagating extremist ideology.

After reviewing common methods of “information laundering” of radical and racist messages through the press, Phillips uses journalists’ own words to propose a set of editorial “better practices” intended to reduce manipulation and harm.

As social and digital media are leveraged to reconfigure the information landscape, Phillips argues that this new domain requires journalists to take what they know about abuses of power and media manipulation in traditional information ecosystems; and apply and adapt that knowledge to networked actors, such as white nationalist networks online.

This work is the first practitioner-focused report from Data & Society’s Media Manipulation Initiative, which examines how groups use the participatory culture of the internet to turn the strengths of a free society into vulnerabilities.

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👓 Civix Releases New Online Media Literacy Videos | Hapgood

Replied to Civix Releases New Online Media Literacy Videos by Mike Caulfield (Hapgood)
I worked with Civix, a Canadian non-profit, to do a series of videos showing students basic web techniques for source verification and contextualization. I had boiled it down to four scripts runnin…

As I read this and tinker around a bit with some of the resources, including one for canadafactcheck.ca mentioned within one of the videos and add the “Wikipedia” to the Omnibar or try the “-site:” trick, the results there aren’t very solid themselves. Similarly a search for NewsWise.ca is rough because there are dozens of similar products with the same name which makes me think about the phrase “Doctor heal thyself.”

On the idea of the “-site:xyz.com” trick, perhaps one could create a browser extension or a bookmarklet that would use javascript to take the URL in the browser bar and massage it to return the requisite string and then execute the appropriate search so that with a simple click of a button, anyone can “remember” how to do it?

Similarly with searching for the root URLs of particular outlets by clipping off the longer paths of URLs one could use a browser bookmarklet to accomplish this with a simple click and save the seconds involved with highlighting and pasting? The more dead simple and quicker it can be, the better off we are. I’ve documented a browser bookmarklet on my site that trims news article URLs down to the base URL: https://boffosocko.com/2017/03/27/to-amp-or-not-to-amp-that-is-the-question/

As an example of this type of functionality, albiet probably with a lot more programming and manual work, Brill’s company NewsGuard has developed a Chrome browser extension that is meant to provide visual indicators on pages and in search for levels of fact checking: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/newsguard/hcgajcpgaalgpeholhdooeddllhedegi?hl=en

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👓 A Roll-Up of Digipo Resources (4 September 2018) | Hapgood

Read A Roll-Up of Digipo Resources (4 September 2018) by Mike CaulfieldMike Caulfield (Hapgood)
One of the nice things about running a blog-fueled grassroots semi-funded initiative is the agility. The Digipo project has moved far and fast in the past year. But one of the bad things is all the…
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