Everyone loves sloths, and that has led to a huge black market in their capture for use in "safari selfies," where eco-tourists travel to exotic locales and pose for social media posts with local fauna. Read the rest
A new report from the New America Foundation uses the current fear that Russian government elements manipulated the 2016 US election to explore the relationship between advertising technology, surveillance capitalism, and "precision propaganda," showing how the toolsuite developed for the advertising industry is readily repurposable by even modestly competent actors to spread disinformation campaigns. Read the rest
“Covered Social Media Activity that contains discriminatory, obscene malicious or threatening content, is knowingly false, create [sic] a hostile work environment, or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and will be subject to discipline up to an [sic] including termination of employment.”
From the Washington Post:
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It gets even more obscene.
Because Briskman was in charge of the firm’s social media presence during her six-month tenure there, she recently flagged something that did link her company to some pretty ugly stuff.
As she was monitoring Facebook this summer, she found a public comment by a senior director at the company in an otherwise civil discussion by one of his employees about Black Lives Matter.
“You’re a f------ Libtard a------,” the director injected, using his profile that clearly and repeatedly identifies himself as an employee of the firm.
In fact, the person he aimed that comment at was so offended by the intrusion into the conversation and the coarse nature of it that he challenged the director on representing Akima that way.
So Briskman flagged the exchange to senior management.
Did the man, a middle-aged executive who had been with the company for seven years, get the old “section 4.3” boot?
Illustrator Jacopo Rosati of Venice, Italy has designed tarot cards based on internet culture instead of the occult. His Social Network Tarots' "major arcana" includes The Russian Hacker, Dick Pics, and Fake News, not the usuals like The Fool, Lovers, and Death.
The cards are not meant to be played it seems, as the artist only presents them as beautifully silkscreened posters. It's unclear whether Rosati is selling them but if you were interested in getting one, you could try reaching out to him through his site. (Dangerous Minds) Read the rest
Social media platforms may be able to track and report on political advertisements from foreign entities, but will they divulge information on pervasive and personalized advertising from their domestic political clients?
This is a pressing question, because social bots are likely to continue to grow in sophistication. At a recent roundtable on the Future of AI and Democracy, several technology experts forecast that bots will become even more persuasive, more emotional and more personalized.
They will be able to not just spread information, but to truly converse and persuade their human interlocutors in order to even more effectively push the latter’s emotional buttons.
Bring together advances in neuroscience, the ability to analyze massive amounts of behavioral data and the proliferation of sensors and connectivity and you have a powerful recipe for affecting society though computational means.
Alexis Madrigal describes What Facebook Did to American Democracy and why it was so hard to see it coming. Foreign exploitation of Facebook's ad system in the 2016 election was just the end result of Facebook's filter bubbles and its wildly successful efforts to get media to fill them. tl;dr: the horse was already dead before Russia flogged it.
The information systems that people use to process news have been rerouted through Facebook, and in the process, mostly broken and hidden from view. It wasn’t just liberal bias that kept the media from putting everything together. Much of the hundreds of millions of dollars that was spent during the election cycle came in the form of “dark ads.”
The truth is that while many reporters knew some things that were going on on Facebook, no one knew everything that was going on on Facebook, not even Facebook.
Facebook's uncanny method is to trickle enough traffic to publishers so they chum it constantly with Facebookish content, but not so much that publishers can assimilate Facebook visitors into their own audience. Unfortunately for this clever and destructive arrangement, the new far-right sites represented such a cohesive emergent affinity group that Facebook's machinery was co-opted.
It's said (usually on Twitter) that no-one is better than Nazis at exploiting a libertarian dropout's ideological impostures. This sort of thing usually strikes me as pompous and vague, but Facebook so perfectly embodies it I'm going to need two leftist energy bars for breakfast this morning. Read the rest
Mike Monteiro writes about his experience of Twitter over the years, and the growing failure of its leadership to take responsibility for what it has become.
...when companies tell you they need to be more transparent it’s generally because they’ve been caught being transparent. You accidentally saw behind the curtain. Twitter is behaving exactly as it’s been designed to behave. Twitter, at this moment, is the sum of the choices it has made. Even when the coop is covered in chickenshit, the chickens will come home to roost.
Twitter never saw Donald Trump as a problem, because they saw him as the solution.
Trump is key because his threats have long passed the nebulous, never-quite-defined point where Twitter tends to eject toxic internet celebrities. So it looks like cowardice is at hand: Twitter's brass won't take him on because they're scared of him. And the obviousness of it is unraveling the last faith anyone has in Twitter to get anything significant done about the broader problems of abuse, harassment and general addicted-to-misery behavior on the site.
I still love Twitter and think it could be fixed, and that the people in charge of it are in an "impossible" place where all options lead to pain. I hope they wake up and find the strength to deal with it. Read the rest
Instagram's policy on nudity: "We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram."
Most people don't look at any news, or at one news site; using social media a lot (even without the intention of looking for news) means that sometimes you'll end up clicking a news link -- so heavy social media users, on average, are consuming a wider media diet than those who do not use social media. Read the rest
Binky is an app equivalent of a baby pacifier. It presents an endless scroll of image posts that you can "like" or "re-bink" (which does nothing). It's easy to comment on a post, too. You just press random letters on your keypad to automagically generate words that write out coherent sentences.