Journalist and Media 2017

I have written on journalism and media trends eariler few years ago. So it is time for update. What is the state of journalism and news publishing in 2017? NiemanLab’s predictions for 2017 are a good place to start thinking about what lies ahead for journalism. There, Matt Waite puts us in our place straight away by telling us that the people running the media are the problem

There has been changes on tech publishing. In January 2017 International Data Group, the owner of PCWorld magazine and market researcher IDC, on Thursday said it was being acquired by China Oceanwide Holdings Group and IDG Capital, the investment management firm run by IDG China executive Hugo Shong. In 2016 Arrow bought EE Times, EDN, TechOnline and lots more from UBM.

 

Here are some article links and information bits on journalist and media in 2017:

Soothsayers’ guides to journalism in 2017 article take a look at journalism predictions and the value of this year’s predictions.

What Journalism Needs To Do Post-Election article tells that faced with the growing recognition that the electorate was uniformed or, at minimum, deeply in the thrall of fake news, far too many journalists are responding not with calls for change but by digging in deeper to exactly the kinds of practices that got us here in the first place.

Fake News Is About to Get Even Scarier than You Ever Dreamed article says that what we saw in the 2016 election is nothing compared to what we need to prepare for in 2020 as incipient technologies appear likely to soon obliterate the line between real and fake.

YouTube’s ex-CEO and co-founder Chad Hurley service sees a massive amount of information on the problem, which will lead to people’s backlash.

Headlines matter article tells that in 2017, headlines will matter more than ever and journalists will need to wrest control of headline writing from social-optimization teams. People get their news from headlines now in a way they never did in the past.

Why new journalism grads are optimistic about 2017 article tells that since today’s college journalism students have been in school, the forecasts for their futures has been filled with words like “layoffs,” “cutbacks,” “buyouts” and “freelance.” Still many people are optimistic about the future because the main motivation for being a journalist is often “to make a difference.”

Updating social media account can be a serious job. Zuckerberg has 12+ Facebook employees helping him with posts and comments on his Facebook page and professional photographers to snap personal moments.
Wikipedia Is Being Ripped Apart By a Witch Hunt For Secretly Paid Editors article tells that with undisclosed paid editing on the rise, Wikipedians and the Wikimedia Foundation are working together to stop the practice without discouraging user participation. Paid editing is permissible under Wikimedia Foundation’s terms of use as long as they disclose these conflicts of interest on their user pages, but not all paid editors make these disclosures.

Big Internet giants are working on how to make content better for mobile devices. Instant Articles is a new way for any publisher to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook. Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a project that it aims to accelerate content on mobile devices. Both of those systems have their advantages and problems.

Clearing Out the App Stores: Government Censorship Made Easier article tells that there’s a new form of digital censorship sweeping the globe, and it could be the start of something devastating. The centralization of the internet via app stores has made government censorship easier. If the app isn’t in a country’s app store, it effectively doesn’t exist. For more than a decade, we users of digital devices have actively championed an online infrastructure that now looks uniquely vulnerable to the sanctions of despots and others who seek to control information.

576 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New data shows that Russian propaganda may have been shared billions of times on Facebook
    http://nordic.businessinsider.com/reach-of-russian-facebook-propaganda-content-2017-10?r=US&IR=T

    A Columbia University social media analyst has published his findings about the reach and engagement achieved by Russia-linked Facebook pages during the 2016 election.

    The research, released on Thursday by Jonathan Albright, a propaganda and misinformation expert who heads Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, shines a light on the extent to which US voters were exposed to, and interacted with, politically divisive content pushed by Russia between 2015-2016.

    Albright analyzed Facebook pages like “Blacktivists,” “Being Patriotic,” and “Secured Borders” that were shut down by the company as part of its purge of “inauthentic” accounts linked to Russia. He also looked at “Heart of Texas,” LGBT United, and “Muslims of America.”

    These are the only six pages, so far, that Facebook has acknowledged have ties to Russia. The company shut down 470 pages linked to Russia’s shadowy Internet Research Agency early last month.

    Albright used Facebook’s own analytics tool, CrowdTangle, to assess the data, and downloaded the last 500 posts each account shared before being shut down. He also made public the full text of the posts, which were shared over 340 million times between the six accounts.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dieter Bohn / The Verge:
    Interview with Sundar Pichai on AI and how it’s used in Google products, like its Clips camera, Google Maps, and Android — ‘We feel huge responsibility’ to get information right — Unbeknownst to me, at the very moment on Monday morning when I was asking Google CEO Sundar Pichai …

    Sundar Pichai says the future of Google is AI. But can he fix the algorithm?
    ‘We feel huge responsibility’ to get information right
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/4/16405174/ceo-sundar-pichai-interview-google-ai-artificial-intelligence-interface

    Unbeknownst to me, at the very moment on Monday morning when I was asking Google CEO Sundar Pichai about the biggest ethical concern for AI today, Google’s algorithms were promoting misinformation about the Las Vegas shooting.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Steven T. Dennis / Bloomberg:
    Senate intel panel calls Facebook, Twitter, Google execs to testify at a Nov. 1 public hearing, says it’s up to firms to disclose contents of Russian-linked ads

    Russia-Financed Facebook Ads Had Diverse Targets, Official Says
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-04/burr-says-collusion-still-open-question-in-senate-russia-probe

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Paul Lewis / The Guardian:
    Former Facebook, Google, Twitter employees on how they fear the unintended and negative consequences of the attention economy-driven tech they helped develop

    ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/05/smartphone-addiction-silicon-valley-dystopia

    Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention

    Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat, which he compares to heroin, and imposed limits on his use of Facebook. But even that wasn’t enough. In August, the 34-year-old tech executive took a more radical step to restrict his use of social media and other addictive technologies.

    Rosenstein purchased a new iPhone and instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps.

    He was particularly aware of the allure of Facebook “likes”, which he describes as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure” that can be as hollow as they are seductive. And Rosenstein should know: he was the Facebook engineer who created the “like” button in the first place.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Axios:
    In email to advertisers, Facebook says it’ll manually review ads that target users based on politics, religion, ethnicity, or social issues before they go live

    Facebook tells advertisers more scrutiny is coming
    https://www.axios.com/scoop-facebook-tells-advertisers-more-scrutiny-is-coming-2493827891.html

    Facebook is going to require ads that are targeted to people based on “politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues” to be manually reviewed before they go live, according to an email sent to advertisers and obtained by Axios. That’s a higher standard than that required of most Facebook ads, which are bought and uploaded to the site through an automated system. It’s also warning that it expects the new policy to slow down the launch of new ad campaigns.

    Details are required by law to be publicly disclosed about political ads running on TV stations, including cable and satellite networks. But that requirement does not extend to digital platforms.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Shareen Pathak / Digiday:
    Inside Amazon’s push into advertising, as company prepares to open 2,000 person office, mostly for ad jobs, in New York

    How Amazon is readying its blitz on the ad industry
    https://digiday.com/marketing/amazon-will-soon-2000-people-advertising-new-york-city/

    Amazon continues to make serious inroads into the advertising business. Its latest move: a new office in Manhattan that it says will bring 2,000 jobs, mostly in advertising, to the city — and closer to Madison Avenue. Multiple media agency executives in New York said they’ve been hearing more from Amazon reps who are trying to sell them and their clients on Amazon advertising. Another executive said he’s hearing from Amazon more, and Amazon has hired programmatic specialists from his agency in New York.

    Amazon’s sales team for advertising is growing fast: It’s different from other platforms in that its team works cross-functionally across advertising and retail. For larger brands, Amazon has dedicated teams. The company has had a team in New York for many years but also has big ad presences in other places including Tokyo and Paris — “anywhere there are ad agencies in place,” said Saurabh Sharma, director of programmatic at Amazon.

    Amazon is increasingly trying to pitch to what the company dubs “non-endemic” advertisers — brands that don’t sell on Amazon.

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  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Paul Lewis / The Guardian:
    Former Facebook, Google, Twitter employees on how they fear the unintended and negative consequences of the attention economy-driven tech they helped develop — Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks who worry the race for human attention has created a world of perpetual distraction that could ultimately end in disaster

    Weekend magazine technology special
    ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/05/smartphone-addiction-silicon-valley-dystopia

    Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention

    I have two kids and I regret every minute that I’m not paying attention to them because my smartphone has sucked me in
    Loren Brichter, app designer

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Are smartphones really making our children sad?
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/13/are-smartphones-really-making-our-children-sad

    US psychologist Jean Twenge, who has claimed that social media is having a malign affect on the young, answers critics who accuse her of crying wolf

    Last week, the children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, launched a campaign to help parents regulate internet and smartphone use at home. She suggested that the overconsumption of social media was a problem akin to that of junk-food diets. “None of us, as parents, would want our children to eat junk food all the time – double cheeseburger, chips, every day, every meal,” she said. “For those same reasons, we shouldn’t want our children to do the same with their online time.”

    Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching – review
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/26/irresistible-why-cant-stop-checking-scrolling-clicking-adam-alter-review-internet-addiction

    A fascinating study by Adam Alter explains why many of us find our smartphones and computers so addictive

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  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    If Ads Don’t Work, Can Publishers Strike Subscription Gold?
    https://www.wired.com/story/ads-dont-work-can-publishers-strike-subscription-gold

    Tony Haile spent seven years trying to save the internet from click-based hell. As CEO of Chartbeat, a software and data provider to publishers, he showed editors, in real time, which stories were “trending” on their sites. He hoped the information would convince media companies and advertisers that their primary way of doing business online—through banner ads, sold through split-second digital auctions for fractions of pennies—could not last. At industry conferences, he presented chart after chart showing the emerging duopoly of Facebook and Google, the commoditization of quality journalism, and the perils of clickbait content strategies.

    It was hard to disagree. Analysts estimate that Google and Facebook captured all, or virtually all, of the growth in digital ads last year. Elsewhere, readers don’t look at display ads, let alone click on them. The average clickthrough rate is a measly 0.05 percent, so publishers covered their sites with increasingly obtrusive ads. In 2016, the use of ad blockers increased by 30 percent

    Chartbeat’s solution—selling ads based on metrics like time spent and engagement—failed to catch on.

    “Change is remarkably slow,”

    Publishers gave the product away for free to amass scale, then sold ads against clicks. In 2016 advertisers spent $72.5 billion on digital ads in the US.

    In the 90’s, no one foresaw the fraud, commoditization, ad blockers, brand-safety issues, or clickbait battles that now trouble the industry. The swirl of problems, combined with media industry’s revenue struggles, has conjured descriptions of an industry that’s “off the rails,” facing a “moral struggle,” and in danger of a “subprime advertising crisis.” Even industry insiders join the self-loathing.

    One venture capitalist has called digital advertising “a prank the tech industry played on the media industry.”

    Hence the renewed interest in subscriptions, despite the model’s mixed past record. Paid social networks like App.net and Diaspora flamed out despite hype, while subscription content startups such as Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish struggled or remained niche.

    The newcomers include Patreon, whose software platform allows bloggers, YouTubers and podcasters to collect pledges directly from their fans.

    San Francisco-based Scribd started 10 years ago as a free document-sharing site, amassing 100 million monthly visitors to its document database. That’s a sizable audience, but it’s a rounding error for Facebook and Google.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Mindfulness Meditation Can Save America
    https://www.wired.com/story/how-mindful-meditation-can-save-us-from-the-tribal-abyss

    More broadly, mindfulness meditation isn’t warm and fuzzy. In a certain sense it’s cool and clinical. It involves, among other things, examining your feelings and deciding whether to buy into them, whether to let them carry you away.

    Obviously, America could stand for people to be a little less susceptible to getting carried away by their feelings. But the contribution mindfulness can make to bridging the great tribal divide is more powerful than that simple formulation suggests. To appreciate this potential, you have to understand how subtle the psychology of tribalism is.

    Tribal psychology involves, at one level, some obvious ingredients: rage, vengeance, loathing—the kinds of raw emotions you might imagine when you imagine tribes literally at war. But the psychology of tribalism also involves—in fact, I’d say, it mainly involves—cognitive biases that warp our perception of the world.

    Cognitive biases have gotten a lot of attention in the popular psychology literature over the past decade.

    Consider the role confirmation bias can play in “fake news,” false or deeply misleading information that spreads widely, typically via social media.

    Such information is sometimes spread cynically and knowingly. But often it is spread unknowingly, by people who click “retweet” or “share” without first investigating what they’re sharing. A

    Indeed, if you pay close attention at the moment you’re sharing this kind of news on social media, you may observe a sequence of feelings: a positive feeling upon seeing the news, the subtle but palpable urge to spread it, and the feeling of gratification you get upon spreading it—a gratification that is deepened if this addition to the nation’s discourse then gets a lot of retweets, shares, or likes. These are the feelings that can make you part of the fake news problem.

    Obviously, meditation won’t singlehandedly end fake news. But I think it would reduce the fuel supply for false and slanted information. And that could make a big difference, because the problem with such information isn’t just that it confuses the people who believe it. It also has an unfortunate influence on the people who don’t believe it—the people in the tribe who didn’t spread it. It reinforces their belief that the people in the other tribe are, at worst, knowingly lying and, at best, deeply confused.

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  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ask Slashdot: Is Deliberately Misleading People On the Internet Free Speech?
    https://yro.slashdot.org/story/17/10/08/2348249/ask-slashdot-is-deliberately-misleading-people-on-the-internet-free-speech

    Under a myriad of different internet sites and blogs are these click-through adverts that promise quick “miracle cures” for everything from toenail fungus to hair loss to tinnitus to age-related skin wrinkles to cancer. A lot of the ads begin with copy that reads “This one weird trick cures…..” Most of the “cures” on offer are complete and utter crap designed to lift a few dollars from the credit cards of hundreds of thousands of gullible internet users

    So the question — is peddling this stuff online really “free speech”? You are promising something grandiose in exchange for hard cash that you know doesn’t deliver any benefits at all.

    Long-time Slashdot reader apraetor counters, “But how do you determine what is ‘true’?” And Slashdot reader ToTheStars argues “It’s already established that making claims about medicine is subject to scrutiny by the FDA (or the relevant authority in your jurisdiction).” But are other things the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theatre?

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Washington Post:
    Google finds Russian-bought ads worth tens of thousands of dollars on YouTube, Gmail, DoubleClick, which were part of effort to influence the 2016 election — SAN FRANCISCO — Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company’s platforms in an attempt …
    he Switch
    Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/google-uncovers-russian-bought-ads-on-youtube-gmail-and-other-platforms/

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New York Times:
    Analysis shows that much of the content found on Russia-linked Facebook pages used in 2016 election was taken directly from Americans — YouTube videos of police beatings on American streets. A widely circulated internet hoax about Muslim men in Michigan collecting welfare for multiple wives.

    How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape U.S. Politics
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/technology/russia-election-facebook-ads-rage.html

    YouTube videos of police beatings on American streets. A widely circulated internet hoax about Muslim men in Michigan collecting welfare for multiple wives. A local news story about two veterans brutally mugged on a freezing winter night.

    All of these were recorded, posted or written by Americans. Yet all ended up becoming grist for a network of Facebook pages linked to a shadowy Russian company that has carried out propaganda campaigns for the Kremlin, and which is now believed to be at the center of a far-reaching Russian program to influence the 2016 presidential election.

    A New York Times examination of hundreds of those posts shows that one of the most powerful weapons that Russian agents used to reshape American politics was the anger, passion and misinformation that real Americans were broadcasting across social media platforms.

    The Russian pages — with names like “Being Patriotic,” “Secured Borders” and “Blacktivist” — cribbed complaints about federal agents from one conservative website, and a gauzy article about a veteran who became an entrepreneur from People magazine. They took descriptions and videos of police beatings from genuine YouTube and Facebook accounts and reposted them, sometimes lightly edited for maximum effect.

    The Russians also paid Facebook to promote their posts in the feeds of American Facebook users, helping them test what content would circulate most widely, and among which audiences.

    “This is cultural hacking,” said Jonathan Albright, research director at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. “They are using systems that were already set up by these platforms to increase engagement. They’re feeding outrage — and it’s easy to do, because outrage and emotion is how people share.”

    Copying other people’s content without proper attribution can be a violation of the social networks’ rules. But the content itself — the videos, posts and Instagram memes borrowed and shared on the Russian pages — are not explicitly violent or discriminatory, so they do not violate the rules of those services. Instead, they are precisely the type of engaging content these platforms are hungry for.

    “The strategies are no mystery,” said Michael Strangelove, a lecturer on internet culture at the University of Ottawa. “Foreign powers are playing within the rules of the game that we wrote.”

    “The challenges posed by the dissemination of fake news and other harmful content through technology platforms are serious,” said Nicole Leverich, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn.

    ” they’re throwing seeds and fertilizer onto social media,”

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Doug Zanger / The Drum:
    Flipboard launches self-service program for publishers, will now highlight mobile friendly sites with a lightning bolt icon — Flipboard has announced a new publisher-centric, self-service platform with the intention of leveraging mobile standards and a program that rewards reader-friendly content on the platform.

    Flipboard debuts self-service program to expand publisher opportunity
    http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/10/10/flipboard-debuts-self-service-program-expand-publisher-opportunity

    Flipboard has announced a new publisher-centric, self-service platform with the intention of leveraging mobile standards and a program that rewards reader-friendly content on the platform.

    With an audience of more than 100 million a month, Flipboard is, essentially, giving all publishers, no matter the size, the opportunity to optimize content in a way that has been reserved for those who were part of a previous, more hand-crafted approach such as The New York Times and Washington Post.

    Flipboard, which aggregates content into digital ‘smart’ magazines, has seen a significant amount of its traffic coming from mobile, with parse.ly noting in August that “(Flipboard to publisher) traffic almost exclusively comes from a tablet, phone or other mobile device; 99.4% of Flipboard’s referrals in the first half of June were via mobile. In fact, when we narrow our scope to mobile consumption, Flipboard becomes the fourth most common referrer to sites in our network, right behind Twitter.”

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pierre Omidyar / Washington Post:
    Study: social media has become a direct threat to democracy in areas such as echo chambers, misinformation, manipulation, micro-targeting, hate speech — Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, is a philanthropist, technologist and humanitarian. He is a member of The WorldPost editorial board.

    Pierre Omidyar: 6 ways social media has become a direct threat to democracy
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2017/10/09/pierre-omidyar-6-ways-social-media-has-become-a-direct-threat-to-democracy/?utm_term=.cf1450bd7539

    The initial findings are detailed in a paper that identifies six key areas where social media has become a direct threat to our democratic ideals:

    1. Echo chambers, polarization and hyper-partisanship
    2. Spread of false or misleading information
    3. Conflation of popularity with legitimacy
    4. Political manipulation
    5. Manipulation, micro-targeting and behavior change
    6. Intolerance, exclusion and hate speech

    Just as new regulations and policies had to be established for the evolving online commerce sector, social media companies must now help navigate the serious threats posed by their platforms and help lead the development and enforcement of clear industry safeguards. Change won’t happen overnight, and these issues will require ongoing examination, collaboration and vigilance to effectively turn the tide.

    Is Social Media a Threat to Democracy?
    https://www.omidyargroup.com/pov/2017/10/09/social_media_and_democracy/

    The advent of social media introduced transformative platforms for people to share thoughts and information in entertaining and connective ways. But the benefits are increasingly being overshadowed by negative consequences as the monetization—and manipulation—of information threatens to tear us apart.

    A healthy democracy relies on informed and engaged citizens, and we hope this research empowers you with detailed information you need to better understand the current threats posed by social media.

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Shira Ovide / Bloomberg:
    In the last year, Google has paid partners, including Apple and Android device manufacturers, $7.2B to be the default search, over 3x what it paid in 2012 — Traffic acquisition costs raise concern about pressure on margins. — There’s a $19 billion black box inside Google.

    Peering Inside Google’s $19 Billion Black Box
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-09/google-s-19-billion-black-box-is-worrying-investors

    Traffic acquisition costs raise concern about pressure on margins.

    There’s a $19 billion black box inside Google. That’s the yearly amount Google pays to companies that help generate its advertising sales, from the websites lined with Google-served ads to Apple and others that plant Google’s search box or apps in prominent spots.

    Investors are obsessed with this money, called traffic acquisition costs, and they’re particularly worried about the growing slice of those payments going to Apple and Google’s Android allies. That chunk of fees now amounts to 11 percent of revenue for Google’s internet properties. The figure was 7 percent in 2012.

    The worry is the traffic toll will keep climbing and squeeze the plump Google profit margins investors love. Let me add a risk that is so far theoretical but nevertheless intriguing.

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook is trapped between free speech and fake news

    The trouble with Sandberg saying Facebook allows fake news ads
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/12/facebook-allows-fake-news/

    If the Russian-bought election interference ads hadn’t been bought by fraudulent accounts, “Most of them would be allowed to run” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said this morning. “The responsibility of an open platform is to allow people to express themselves” she said during the first of an Axios interview series with Facebook execs.

    “The thing about free expression is when you allow free expression you allow free expression” Sandberg said, noting that “we don’t check what people post” and that she doesn’t think people should want Facebook to.

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The end of oversharing
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/16/the-end-of-oversharing/?ncid=rss&utm_source=tcfbpage&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29&sr_share=facebook

    The early 2000s were the era of user-generated content.

    Inherent in this plan was the idea that UGC was somehow purer and more desirable than commercial communications. This era lasted from about 1993 until about 2008. This was the era of an unfettered Internet, of the Cluetrain Manifesto, and of open source everything. The ethos was pure anarchy in its best light. No one would control your output, no one would stand between you and your fans, no one would take a cut of your money. Bloggers, tweeters, and Facebookers would get rich simply because they existed.

    Inherent in this plan was the idea that UGC was somehow purer and more desirable than commercial communications. This era lasted from about 1993 until about 2008. This was the era of an unfettered Internet, of the Cluetrain Manifesto, and of open source everything. The ethos was pure anarchy in its best light. No one would control your output, no one would stand between you and your fans, no one would take a cut of your money. Bloggers, tweeters, and Facebookers would get rich simply because they existed.

    “Twitter was built at the tail end of that era,” writes designer Mike Monteiro. “Their goal was giving everyone a voice. They were so obsessed with giving everyone a voice that they never stopped to wonder what would happen when everyone got one. And they never asked themselves what everyone meant. That’s Twitter’s original sin. Like Oppenheimer, Twitter was so obsessed with splitting the atom they never stopped to think what we’d do with it.”

    Interestingly, I think we now know what they’d do with it. And what Facebook would do with it. And what the Internet would do with all of that UGC. They would sell our content to programmatic advertisers and put us directly in the crosshairs of every social media analyst with a fringe political agenda. And now the users who were generating that content are about to fight back.

    First, Facebook and Twitter (and Instagram, to a degree) should take defections by high-profile users seriously.

    Early users of all social media joined because of that original promise of fame, fun, riches, and relationships. They leave now because the walled gardens are overrun by marketing and trolls. This can be said of every major platform. No one is safe. What works online? A repurposing of the original DIY ethos into

    So we stand on a precipice waiting to drop. What media social media gives rise to in the next decade is anyone’s guess – rich people are betting on VR but that’s still a tough sell. We are in an interstitial period, like the point in the late 1980s when you could still compare the nascent Internet to CB radio.

    compare the nascent Internet to CB radio. We don’t have maps to future territories. Will we collectively give up, splayed naked on the screen for all to market to? Will we turn inward using apps like Signal and Telegram to ensure no one can see us? Will we turn social media into more of a money-making channel for folks with six-packs and mischievous grins? Or can we expect something else entirely?

    What I know is that it is, in short, a turn toward the end of oversharing.

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Silenced by ‘free speech’
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/16/scaling-civility/

    Permitting abuse under the guise of “free speech” actually dismantles free speech by allowing perpetrators to bully victims into silence until they retreat. From these apps. From their causes. From their beliefs.

    Civil free speech is sacrificed in exchange for hatred, degradation and threats. Who can respectfully speak up for their convictions if they’re immediately shouted down?

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FCC CHAIR FINALLY SAYS AGENCY WON’T CENSOR TRUMP’S ENEMIES
    https://www.wired.com/story/fcc-chair-finally-says-agency-wont-censor-trumps-enemies?mbid=social_fb

    LAST WEDNESDAY PRESIDENT Donald Trump took to Twitter to suggest the government should challenge broadcasting licenses for stations that air “fake news.”

    Tuesday, six days after the president’s initial tweet calling for a challenge of NBC’s broadcast licenses, Pai finally assured the public that the agency has no intention of revoking licenses over critical reporting.

    “The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment,” Pai said

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook and Google competed for anti-immigration ad dollars during the 2016 election
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/18/facebook-and-google-competed-for-anti-immigration-ad-dollars-during-the-2016-election/?ncid=rss&utm_source=tcfbpage&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29&sr_share=facebook

    In a textbook illustration of the conflict of interest between Facebook and Google’s ostensible dedication to free speech and their ostensible espousal of progressive values, the internet giants reportedly took millions in advertising money from a major anti-immigration group at the same time as both were engaged in pro-immigration advocacy.

    Bloomberg reports that both companies worked with Secure America Now, which spent millions on ads on the platforms during the 2016 election. SAN’s ads were execrable scaremongering, invoking the phantom threat of Sharia law being applied worldwide

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Laura Hazard Owen / Nieman Lab:
    Pew survey of 1,116 technologists and other experts: consensus that current environment is conducive to misinfo; 51% say things won’t improve over next decade

    There is “nothing resembling consensus” about whether the online misinformation problem can actually be solved
    http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/10/there-is-nothing-resembling-consensus-about-whether-the-online-misinformation-problem-can-actually-be-solved/

    It can be nice to hear from experts (even the so-called experts) how things are going to shake out. But in the case of fake news and misinformation online, unfortunately, all we have is more uncertainty: 51 percent of “internet and technology experts” surveyed by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center think that things are not going to get better, according to a study released Thursday. Forty-nine percent, meanwhile, think that the information environment will improve.

    “Both camps of experts share the view that the current environment allows ‘fake news’ and weaponized narratives to flourish, but there is nothing resembling consensus about whether this problem can be successfully addressed in the coming decade,” Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center’s director of internet and technology research, said in a statement.

    The side that you fall on seems to depend on two main things: How much you believe in the goodness of human nature, and whether you think technology is a force for good or evil.

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Memo to Facebook: How to Tell If You’re a Media Company
    https://franksteele20171010.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/memo-to-facebook-how-to-tell-if-youre-a-media-company/

    On Thursday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg repeated a Facebook talking point that’s beginning to wear thin. Asked if Facebook is a media company, she resisted the characterization. “At our heart we’re a tech company, we hire engineers. We don’t hire reporters, no one’s a journalist, we don’t cover the news,” she said.

    Facebook does not want to be viewed as a media company, which would bring a responsibility to the truth and potential accusations of bias. (Being a mere tech platform that surfaces content via algorithm does not). Admitting Facebook is a media company would require Facebook to take responsibility for its role in the spread of fake news, propaganda, and illegal Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

    To help Facebook executives who may be confused, we compiled this helpful guide:

    Are you the country’s largest source of news?
    Do you sell ads against content?
    Do you commission publishers and content providers to make original content for you to distribute?
    Do you have a massive workforce of content moderators?
    Do you work with fact checkers to suppress false news and hoaxes?
    Does your founder and CEO more or less admit it?
    Have you partnered with a media company to attract viewers to your own livestreaming platform?

    Reply
  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Twitter:
    Twitter unveils user safety roadmap through Jan. 2018: expand definitions of non-consensual nudity, update policy around hate, add info for suspended accounts — As we said last week, we’re updating our approach to make Twitter a safer place. This won’t be a quick or easy fix, but we’re committed to getting it right.

    A Calendar of Our Safety Work
    https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2017/safetycalendar.html

    As we said last week, we’re updating our approach to make Twitter a safer place. This won’t be a quick or easy fix, but we’re committed to getting it right. Far too often in the past we’ve said we’d do better and promised transparency but have fallen short in our efforts. Starting today, you can expect regular, real-time updates about our progress.

    Reply
  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tony Romm / Recode:
    Senate bill on political ads, called the Honest Ads Act, would regulate web firms with 50M+ annual visitors, require copies of ads and info on $500+/year buyers — An early look at the Honest Ads Act by Sens. Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar and John McCain — A trio of top Senate lawmakers …

    Here’s how U.S. lawmakers want to regulate political ads on Facebook, Google and Twitter
    An early look at the Honest Ads Act by Sens. Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar and John McCain
    https://www.recode.net/2017/10/19/16503006/facebook-google-twitter-russia-senate-political-ads

    A trio of top Senate lawmakers is commencing a new push today to regulate the political ads that appear on Facebook, Google and Twitter, as Congress seeks to thwart the Russian government from spreading disinformation ahead of another U.S. election.

    The new bill is called the Honest Ads Act, and it’s the brainchild of Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar. In recent days, they’ve also enlisted critical Republican support from Sen. John McCain. Their measure, in short, would require tech giants for the first time to make copies of political ads — and information about the audience those ads targeted — available for public inspection.

    The proposal arrives as congressional lawmakers continue to probe the extent to which Russian-aligned agents sought to co-opt Facebook, Google and Twitter before and after the 2016 presidential race.

    Reply
  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bloomberg:
    A look at Sundar Pichai’s challenges as Google struggles with criticism over fake news, sexism in its own ranks, fears of AI, and anti-trust cases in Europe

    Everyone’s Mad at Google and Sundar Pichai Has to Fix It
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-10-19/everyone-s-mad-at-google-and-sundar-pichai-has-to-fix-it

    The CEO is increasingly boxed in by regulators, tech critics on both the right and the left, and even his own employees

    “I find it difficult to walk and type emails at the same time,” he says. “I’m not good at multitasking.”

    That’s a problem, because being chief executive of Google lately has pretty much required world-champion grandmaster multitasking skills. Pichai has to run the world’s second-most-valuable company while managing political attacks and cultural blowups that seem to arrive every week. Since he was appointed Larry Page’s successor two years ago, he’s had to deal with a staff protest over the president’s immigration policy, a prolonged standoff with advertisers over unseemly videos on YouTube, a record regulatory fine, debates about gender inequality, and a growing sense around the globe that the tech giants—Google chief among them—are too big, too powerful, and perhaps too careless with the trust that their billions of users have invested in them.

    Then, of course, there’s the matter of fake news. In the past few months, investigators have homed in on Google, Facebook, and Twitter for the role they played in the confusion about what was and wasn’t real during an election that may have been swayed by a foreign government. Google, like its Silicon Valley brethren, has turned over evidence to federal investigators that Russian interlopers bought political ads on YouTube, AdWords, and other of its services last year; representatives from each company will testify before Congress on Nov. 1. “There’s clearly stuff which shouldn’t be happening which happened, so we should fix it,”

    Reply

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