Facebook wants to be the attention economy's central banker


Warren Ellis ruminates on the the way that the old idea that the Internet was birthing an "attention economy" has been transformed by Facebook, which has literally monetized attention, charging you money to reach the people who've asked to hear from you. Read the rest

Global coalition tells Facebook to kill its Real Names policy


The Nameless Coaltion, a global alliance of women's groups, LGBTQ groups, human rights and digital rights groups has asked Facebook to abandon its "Real Names" policy, which puts Facebook users in danger of reprisals including state violence, stalkers, and on-the-job harassment. Read the rest

Tell-all free-to-play-game dev's confessions


An anonymous developer for a free-to-play game explains how his company stalked its most prolific players, creating fake sexy-lady Facebook accounts to friend them in order to gain insight into their proclivities so that super-expensive, one-off virtual goods could be made and targeted to them. Read the rest

Who, exactly, is asking Facebook to censor things for us?


Today in Betteridge headlines: "Should Facebook Block Offensive Videos Before They Post?" Read the rest

Facebook spoof's "user data" for sale to the highest bidder—on eBay


After making a mocking Facebook spoof and getting folks like us to link to it, thedatadrive.com is selling the "bespoke user data" gathered from visits—as a thumbdrive, on freakin' eBay.

On August 4th, we launched The Data Drive (www.thedatadrive.com), a sprawling dystopian Facebook spoof fashioned out of paper cut-outs by Daniel Kolitz. The premise of The Data Drive was that Mark Zuckerberg had fled Facebook with all of its user data and now the company had to launch a "data drive" to replenish data stores. … What most of the coverage missed, however, was that The Data Drive really was collecting user data. The website featured two fields where visitors could anonymously enter any text they wanted. (The fields are on this page and this page.)

These submissions were sent directly to our servers for processing. Now we are thrilled to offer this cache of user data to the highest bidder. Own a piece of internet history!

Literally a data drive. Read the rest

Fix your Facebook privacy settings

Facebook's privacy settings remain mysterious and ever-changing. The idea is to lead users into a state of pervasive self-exposure that's fit for aggregation, without us realizing we've lost control. Wired's guide to raising your Facebook privacy shields will be good until at least this afternoon. Read the rest

The Data Drive, a dystopian Facebook spoof


At first glance, thedatadrive appears to be a charming cartoon version of Facebook. But it soon turns into a nightmare, distilled from the social network's brain-drilling efforts to force your attention to BRANDS. It's impossible to tell if and when the joke dissolves and actual marketing, presented as adbusters-esque antimarketing, starts up again. Which is the point, I guess! It's impossible to know, now that we are all living in the last chuckle of a dead French philosopher.

Turns out, though, that the spoof's heart is in the right place: it's the work of Daniel Kolitz, Adrian Chen, Alix Rule and Sam Lavigne, who are launching a new publishing venture—Useless Press— which promises "high-quality internet things."

Good luck! Read the rest

Escaping the new media cargo cult

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Ignore the Metrics

Moxie Marlinspike profiled in WSJ. Obama thinks secure messaging apps like the one he built are “a problem.”

[Wall Street Journal]

[Wall Street Journal]

The Wall Street Journal just discovered what some of us have known for a long time: Moxie Marlinspike is really cool, and the work he does is important. Read the rest

Let's turn everything into Facebook


Nick Bilton does not approve of how Twitter works. Read the rest

Why Facebook changed its friends icon


Caitlin Winner, design manager at Facebook, explains why she gave Facebook's friends icon a much needed update:

Next, I was moved to do something about the size and order of the female silhouette in the ‘friends icon’. As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in.

My first idea was to draw a double silhouette, two people of equal sizes without a hard line indicating who was in front. Dozens of iterations later, I abandoned this approach after failing to make an icon that didn’t look like a two headed mythical beast. I placed the lady, slightly smaller, in front of the man.

When she says "slightly smaller," she means it:

Do you have your own ideas for a redesign? Post them in the comments! Read the rest

On Big Data's shrinking returns

In my new Guardian column, I point out that the big-data-driven surveillance business model is on the rocks. Read the rest

Facebook can't trace revenge-porn poster


Because its policy is to delete data 90 days after an account closure, Facebook is unable to comply with a court order that it turn over information about the revenge-porn-posting user. Read the rest

What does Facebook learn about you when you rainbowify your profile pic?


When Facebook offered a "rainbow filter" for images, following last week's landmark Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage, people joked that it was probably another creepy social experiment. Well, probably, yes.

Even seemingly small online actions—clicking the “like” button, changing one’s profile photo—are being tracked and analyzed. Just like McAdam’s research on Freedom Summer shapes our understanding of support for marriage equality, Facebook's past research on marriage equality has helped answer a question we all face when deciding to act politically:

Does the courage to visibly—if virtually—stand up for what a person believes in have an effect on that person’s social network, or is it just cheap, harmless posturing? Perhaps the rainbow colors across Facebook will become part of the answer.

Previously: Facebook's massive psychology experiment likely illegal Read the rest

Anti-corruption journalist immolated by cops, allegedly under orders from minister

Jagendra Singh reported on corruption in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on his Facebook account, which allegedly prompted Ram Murti Singh Verma, a ruling party politician, to send police to his house to burn him alive; he died a week later of his injuries. Read the rest

If the FBI has a backdoor to Facebook or Apple encryption, we are less safe

It seems pretty clear the next battle in Congress will almost certainly be over encryption.

After lying and covering up, Facebook finally changes rules for inmates' pages

After at least four years of lying about its rubberstamp takedown process for prison authorities and omitting prison takedowns from its transparency reports, Facebook is finally bringing a crumb of due process to its treatment of prisoners. Read the rest

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