"Zeynep Tufekci"

How can networked protest movements hold power while staying flexible and inclusive?

Zeynep Tufekci (previously) is one of the most consistently astute, nuanced commenters on networked politics and revolutions, someone who's been literally on the front lines around the world. In a new book called Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, she sets out a thesis that (as the title suggests) explores the trade offs that political movements make when they use fluid, improvisational networks to organize themselves, instead of hierarchical, traditional organizations. Read the rest

The next iteration of Alexa is designed to watch you while you get dressed

The Echo Look is the next version of the Alexa appliance: it has an camera hooked up to a computer vision system, along with its always-on mic, and the first application for it is to watch you as you dress and give you fashion advice (that is, recommend clothes you can order from Amazon). Read the rest

Romania's anti-corruption protests are massive, growing, and they're playful and serious at once

When the government of Romanian PM Sorin Grindeanu announced that they would gut the country's anticorruption statutes, removing criminal sanctions for official corruption, the country erupted into mass protests. Read the rest

The surveillance economy has 67 days to disarm before Trump is sworn in

The Obama administration asserted the power to raid the massive databases of peoples' private, sensitive information that ad-based tech companies have assembled; the Trump administration has promised to use Obama's powers to effect the surveillance and deportation of 11 millions undocumented migrants, and the ongoing, continuous surveillance of people of Muslim heritage. Read the rest

Wikileaks' dump of "Erdogan emails" turn out to be public mailing list archives

Earlier this month, Wikileaks published a database of six years' of email from AKP, Turkey's ruling party -- but as outside experts have plumbed that database, all they can find is archives from public mailing lists, old spam, and some sensitive personal information from private citizens. Read the rest

Turkey: 6,000 arrested following coup, but that doesn't make it an inside job

The failed military coup in Turkey was bizarre, even (especially) by the standards of Turkish military coups (which is a surprisingly large data-set), and in the wake of the coup, 6,000 people were promptly rounded up and arrested including respected judges, powerful military leaders, prosecutors, and a whole list of others whose names seem to have been put on an enemies list long before any coup. Read the rest

Turkey: Military junta takes over CNN Turk studios, but broadcast continues and it's surreal

Turkey is in the throes of an attempted military coup at the time of this post.

Military officials aligned with the junta tried took over CNN Turk in Istanbul, minutes after the news network reported the death toll from Parliament, and word that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was flying back to the city after being briefly (?) sort of ousted from control.

Read the rest

Turkey coup: military says it controls country

An attempted coup is underway in Turkey. Earlier today, barricades were erected on bridges in Istanbul and jets were spotted flying low in Ankara; by 11:30 p.m., the Prime Minister said that the government remained in charge; shortly before midnight, the military—or at least part of it—said it was. Read the rest

Net Neutrality, Algorithmic Filtering and Ferguson

Zeynep Tufekci on Medium argues that the reason the world knows about Ferguson is because Twitter is such a powerful, unfiltered channel for real-time eyewitness reports.

Facebook isn't, and that sucks.

#Ferguson is a perfect example of why Net Neutrality and algorithmic filtering really, really matter.

[photo: David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff photog] Read the rest

When all the jobs belong to robots, do we still need jobs?

Zeynep Tufekci's scathing response to the establishment consensus that tech will create new jobs to replace the ones we've automated away makes a lot of good points. Read the rest

Turkey's twitter block an "anxiety-inducing technique"

Zeynep Tufekci suggests that Turkey's motives in blocking Twitter--where news of government corruption spread--are more strategic than most analysts believe.

The unending leaks of alleged wiretaps implicating the prime minister and his inner circle in a massive corruption scandal are certainly the target of the Twitter block, but not in the way most think. ... They are playing a different game. And to actually understand what’s going on, the story needs to be analyzed where it lives: the specifics of Turkish politics, the timeline of the block, and what Erdogan (and his inner circle) is saying to his throngs of cheering supporters.

The tl;dr: it's a kind of ostentatious public restraining order, issued to paint social media in a certain light: as a dangerous infection that does not respond to commands issued in Turkish. Read the rest

Why are the protesters in Gezi Park?

Zeynep Tufekci, a Turkish-American Princeton/UNC sociologist who studies social movements and the Internet is presently in Istanbul's Gezi Park at the protests. She follows up on her earlier piece on the "social media style of protest" with a long and thoughtful look at what the protesters on the ground in Gezi Park are doing and why they're doing it:

After talking to the park protesters for days here is a very quick compilation of the main complaints and reasons people say brought them to the park:

1- Protesters say that they are worried about Erdogan’s growing authoritarian style of governance. “He thinks we don’t count.” “He never listens to anyone else.” “Why are they trying to pass laws about how I live? What’s it to him?”

Erdogan’s AKP party won the last election (its third) and is admittedly popular with many sectors of society, including some who are now in the Park have voted for him. It has accomplished many good things for the country through a program of reform and development. Any comparisons with Mubarak and pre-Tahrir 2011 Egypt are misplaced and ignorant. The country is polarized; it is not ruled by an unelected autocrat.

However, due to the electoral system which punishes small parties (with a 10% barrier for entrance to the parliament) and a spectacularly incompetent opposition, AKP has almost two-thirds of the deputies in the parliament with about 50% of the vote. Due to this set up, they can pass almost any law they want. People said to me “he rules like he has 90%.”

So, that seems to be the heart of the issue.

Read the rest

What is the social media style of protest?

Zeynep Tufekci's essay analyzing the role that social media played in both the #OccupyGezi and the Arab Spring explores the differences and similarities between different uprisings, and has some very incisive things to say about what social media contributes to political change movements:

It was after the Gezi protesters were met with the usual combination of tear-gas and media silence something interesting started happening. The news of the protests started circulating around social media, especially on Twitter and Facebook. I follow a sizable number of people in Turkey and my Twitter friends include AKP supporters as well as media and academics. Everyone was aghast at the idea that a small number of young people, trying to protect trees, were being treated so brutally. Also, the government, which usually tends to get ahead of such events by having the prime minister address incidents, seemingly decided to ignore this round. They probably thought it was too few, too little, too environmental, too marginal.

On that, it seems they were wrong. Soon after, I started watching hashtags pop-up on Twitter, and established Twitter personas –ranging from media stars to political accounts– start sharing information about solidarity gatherings in other cities, and other neighborhoods in Istanbul. Around 3am, I had pictures from many major neighborhoods in Turkey –Kadıköy, Bakırköy, Beşiktaş, Avcılar, etc– showing thousands of people on the streets, not really knowing what to do, but wanting to do something. There was a lot of banging of pots, flags, and slogans. There were also solidarity protests in Izmit, Adana, Izmir, Ankara, Konya, Afyon, Edirne,Mersin, Trabzon, Antalya, Eskişehir, Aydın and growing.

Read the rest