👓 Election Update | Facebook Newsroom

Read Election Update (Facebook Newsroom)
US law enforcement contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and believe may be linked to foreign entities.

This seems like a lot of lip service to me. I can’t imagine they’re doing much more than scratching the surface of what they should be doing.

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📺 The Facebook Dilemma (Part 2) | Frontline | PBS

Watched The Facebook Dilemma (Part 2) from FRONTLINE | PBS

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.

SEASON 37: EPISODE 4: 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.

This documentary focuses on just one of the major failings of Facebook and its attendant effects on society. If you’re using Facebook, you should watch both parts before continuing to support them.

I’m not quite sure what to label this particular type of failure. Tragedy of the commons? It’s painfully obvious that Facebook not only has no real idea how to solve this problem, but it’s even more telling that they don’t seem to have any desire or drive to solve it either.  The more I watch what they’re doing to their product and their users, the more I think that they have absolutely no ethics or morality at all. In particular Mark Zuckerberg  is completely tone deaf in these areas, and as a result the entire fish stinks from the head.

The only solution may be massive regulation. The sadder part is that with both their financing and lobbying power, not to mention their social influence power which could be leveraged completely via dark posts, they could have a painfully out-sized influence on elections to get their own way.

I’m really worried that things will get far worse before they get better.

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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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👓 How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians | Project Information Literacy Research Institute

Read How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians [.pdf] by Alison J. Head, John Wihbey, P. Takis Metaxas, Margy MacMillan, and Dan Cohen (Project Information Literacy Research Institute)
Abstract: The News Study research report presents findings about how a sample of U.S. college students gather information and engage with news in the digital age. Results are included from an online survey of 5,844 respondents and telephone interviews with 37 participants from 11 U.S. colleges and universities selected for their regional, demographic, and red/blue state diversity. A computational analysis was conducted using Twitter data associated with the survey respondents and a Twitter panel of 135,891 college-age people. Six recommendations are included for educators, journalists, and librarians working to make students effective news consumers. To explore the implications of this study’s findings, concise commentaries from leading thinkers in education, libraries, media research, and journalism are included.

A great little paper about how teens and college students are finding, reading, sharing, and generally interacting with news. There’s some nice overlap here on both the topics of journalism and education which I find completely fascinating. In general, however, I think in a few places students are mis-reporting their general uses, so I’m glad a portion of the paper actually looks at data from Twitter in the wild to see what real world use cases actually are.

Perhaps there are some interesting segments and even references relevant to the topics of education and IndieWeb for Greg McVerry‘s recent project?

As I read this, I can’t help but think of some things I’ve seen Michael Caulfield writing about news and social media over the past several months. As I look, I notice that he’s already read and written a bit about a press release for this particular paper. I’ll have to take a look at his take on it tomorrow. I’m particularly interested in any insights he’s got on lateral reading and fake news above and beyond his prior thoughts.

Perhaps I missed it hiding in there reading so late at night, but another potentially good source for this paper’s recommended section would be Caulfield’s book Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The purpose of this study was to better understand the preferences, practices, and motivations of young news consumers, while focusing on what students actually do, rather than what they do not do.  

October 22, 2018 at 08:28PM

YouTube (54%), Instagram (51%) or Snapchat (55%)  

I’m curious to know which sources in particular they’re using on these platforms. Snapchat was growing news sources a year ago, but I’ve heard those sources are declining. What is the general quality of these sources?

For example, getting news from television can range from PBS News Hour and cable news networks (more traditional sources) to comedy shows like Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah which have some underlying news in the comedy, but are far from traditional sources.
October 22, 2018 at 08:35PM

Some students (28%) received news from podcasts in the preceding week.  

October 22, 2018 at 08:38PM

news is stressful and has little impact on the day-to-day routines —use it for class assignments, avoid it otherwise.” While a few students like this one practiced news abstinence, such students were rare.  

This sounds a bit like my college experience, though I didn’t avoid it because of stressful news (and there wasn’t social media yet). I generally missed it because I didn’t subscribe directly to publications or watch much television. Most of my news consumption was the local college newspaper.
October 22, 2018 at 08:46PM

But on the Web, stories of all kinds can show up anywhere and information and news are all mixed together. Light features rotate through prominent spots on the “page” with the same weight as breaking news, sports coverage, and investigative pieces, even on mainstream news sites. Advertorial “features” and opinion pieces are not always clearly identified in digitalspaces.  

This difference is one of the things I miss about reading a particular newspaper and experiencing the outlet’s particular curation of their own stories. Perhaps I should spend more time looking at the “front page” of various news sites?
October 22, 2018 at 08:57PM

Some (36%) said they agreed that the threat of “‘fake news’ had made them distrust the credibility of any news.” Almost half (45%) lacked confidence with discerning “real news” from “fake news,” and only 14% said they were “very confident” that they could detect “fake news.”  

These numbers are insane!
October 22, 2018 at 09:04PM

As a matter of recourse, some students in the study “read the news laterally,” meaning they used sources elsewhere on the Internet to compare versions of a story in an attempt to verify its facts, bias, and ultimately, its credibility.25  

This reminds me how much I miss the old daily analysis that Slate use to do for the day’s top news stories in various outlets in their Today’s Papers segment.
October 22, 2018 at 09:15PM

Some respondents, though not all, did evaluate the veracity of news they shared on social media. More (62%) said they checked to see how current an item was, while 59% read the complete story before sharing and 57% checked the URL to see where a story originated (Figure 7). Fewer read comments about a post (55%) or looked to see how many times an item was tweeted or shared (39%).  

I’m not sure I believe these self-reported numbers at all. 59% read the complete story before sharing?! 57% checked the URL? I’ll bet that not that many could probably define what a URL is.
October 22, 2018 at 10:00PM

information diet  

October 22, 2018 at 11:02PM

At the tactical level, there are likely many small things that could be tested with younger audiences to help them better orient themselves to the crowded news landscape. For example, some news organizations are more clearly identifying different types of content such as editorials, features, and backgrounders/news analysis.57More consistent and more obvious use of these typological tags would help all news consumers, not just youth, and could also travel with content as itis posted and shared in social media. News organizations should engage more actively with younger audiences to see what might be helpful.  

October 22, 2018 at 11:37PM

When news began moving into the first digital spaces in the early 1990s, pro-Web journalists touted the possibilities of hypertext links that would give news consumers the context they needed. Within a couple of years, hypertext links slowly began to disappear from many news stories. Today, hypertext links are all but gone from most mainstream news stories.  

October 22, 2018 at 11:38PM

“Solutions journalism’ is another promising trend that answers some of the respondents’ sense of helplessness in the face of the barrage of crisis coverage.62  

October 22, 2018 at 11:40PM

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👓 Friction-Free Racism by Chris Gilliard | Real Life

Read Friction-Free Racism by Chris Gilliard (Real Life)
Surveillance capitalism turns a profit by making people more comfortable with discrimination

Facebook’s use of “ethnic affinity” as a proxy for race is a prime example. The platform’s interface does not offer users a way to self-identify according to race, but advertisers can nonetheless target people based on Facebook’s ascription of an “affinity” along racial lines. In other words. race is deployed as an externally assigned category for purposes of commercial exploitation and social control, not part of self-generated identity for reasons of personal expression. The ability to define one’s self and tell one’s own stories is central to being human and how one relates to others; platforms’ ascribing identity through data undermines both.  

October 15, 2018 at 09:34PM

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👓 Some IndieWeb WordPress tuning | EdTech Factotum

Replied to Some IndieWeb WordPress tuning by Clint LalondeClint Lalonde (EdTech Factotum)
Been spending a bit of time in the past 2 days adding some new functionality to the blog. I am making more of an effort to write more, thanks in no small part to the 9x9x25 blog challenge I am doin…

Right now, I just want to write.  

You might find that the micropub plugin is a worthwhile piece for this. It will give your site an endpoint you can use to post to your site with a variety of third party applications including Quill or Micropublish.net.
October 14, 2018 at 01:01AM

My hope is that it will somehow bring comments on Facebook back to the blog and display them as comments here.  

Sadly, Aaron Davis is right that Facebook turned off their API access for this on August 1st, so there currently aren’t any services, including Brid.gy, anywhere that allow this. Even WordPress and JetPack got cut off from posting from WordPress to Facebook, much less the larger challenge of pulling responses back.
October 14, 2018 at 01:03AM

Grant Potter  

Seeing the commentary from Greg McVerry and Aaron Davis, it’s probably worthwhile to point you to the IndieWeb for Education wiki page which has some useful resources, pointers, and references. As you have time, feel free to add yourself to the list along with any brainstorming ideas you might have for using some of this technology within your work realm. Many hands make light work. Welcome to the new revolution!
October 14, 2018 at 01:08AM

the autoposts from Twitter to Facebook were  

a hanging thought? I feel like I do this on my site all too often…
October 14, 2018 at 01:09AM

I am giving this one a go as it seems to be the most widely used.  

It is widely used, and I had it for a while myself. I will note that the developer said he was going to deprecate it in favor of some work he’d been doing with another Mastodon/WordPress developer though.
October 14, 2018 at 01:19AM

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👓 How to Delete Facebook and Instagram From Your Life Forever | New York Times

Read How to Delete Facebook and Instagram From Your Life Forever by Brian X. ChenBrian X. Chen (nytimes.com)
Lost faith in Facebook and Instagram after data leakages, breaches and too much noise? Here’s a guide to breaking up with the social network and its photo-sharing app for good.

Not as in-depth and informative as I would have expected. I had kind of hoped for more history and background, but this is sort of cut and dried. The fact that there’s an article of this sort in the New York Times does signal a turning point for the quit Facebook movement.

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👓 Facebook Has Removed More Than A Dozen Big Conservative And Liberal Political Pages | Buzz Feed

Read Facebook Has Removed More Than A Dozen Big Conservative And Liberal Political Pages (BuzzFeed News)
Facebook said the pages were managed by a fake account and were spamming content from LifeZette, a conservative site.
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📺 Facebook: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) | YouTube

Watched Facebook: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver from HBO via YouTube

Facebook’s global expansion has been linked to political turmoil overseas, so maybe their ads should focus less on how they “connect the world” and more on why connecting people isn’t always the best idea.

Some solid reasons to completely abandon Facebook.

👓 Sorry, Sony Music, you don’t own the rights to Bach’s music on Facebook | Ars Technica

Read Sorry, Sony Music, you don’t own the rights to Bach’s music on Facebook (Ars Technica)
Public shaming forces publisher to abandon ridiculous claim to classical music.

When is the industry going to finally fix this issue of false positives like this. Surely in the case of Bach, it should be even easier?

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👓 Why It’s So Hard to Be a Working Mom. Even at Facebook. | Wired

Read Why It's So Hard to Be a Working Mom. Even at Facebook. (WIRED)
Opinion: I was a data scientist and mom. Then I had to choose.

For Facebook to say that they can’t do this is simply stupid and insane.

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I’m spending some time this morning unliking/unfollowing corporate accounts in Facebook in lieu of following their websites via RSS. Since Facebook’s algorithmic feed isn’t really helping them, prioritizing them, or presenting them to me the way I like (without inordinate work) it just feels so useless. For the most part I’m reading most of them elsewhere anyway.

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👓 Facebook is deleting timeline posts that users cross-published from Twitter | The Verge

Read Twitter posts on Facebook temporarily disappeared by Nick Statt (The Verge)
Oops
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👓 Reviewing “The Social Network” – Constructing Grand Narrative | Edge Perspectives with John Hagel

Read Reviewing "The Social Network" - Constructing Grand Narrative by John HagelJohn Hagel (Edge Perspectives with John Hagel)
The debate has begun. Many who know Mark Zuckerberg and his company are upset about the inaccuracies in The Social Network. Movie critics on the other hand love the movie. Few, though, are reflecting on what these two sets of reactions tell us about the moment we are living in. We live in the midst of a social revolution and this movie represents the effort of mass media to make sense of the changes going on around them. Facts are not important. It is about symbols, metaphors and mythologies. It is about constructing grand narratives to shape our understanding of why things are happening.

h/t Kevin Marks:

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