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.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How China’s State-Sponsored Social Networks Control Misinformation—and Dissent

    State regulators around the world have responded to the proliferation of online rumors and propaganda on social media sites with a broad variety of actions. Australia, Brazil, and Indonesia have deployed government task forces and investigations, while Belarus, Egypt, Kenya, France, and Cambodia have criminalized specific types of misinformation.

    Elsewhere, the conversation is streamlined—and muddied—by more intimate relationships between state governments and social media platforms.

    In June, WeChat launched an in-app feature that users can search to check whether recent news stories have been debunked by WeChat’s own fact-checkers or volunteers. It also added a clever “Top Ten Rumors” page that lists fake news articles currently tearing through the messenger service.

    Superficially, WeChat’s debunking program appears apolitical.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook’s global monopoly poses a deadly threat in developing nations

    The social network has played a key role in enabling the spread of fake news in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, studies show, and fuelling murderous violence

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Satire from The Borowitz Report
    Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

    MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

    virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

    “These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Gabe Rivera / Techmeme News:
    Techmeme now publishing paid and free “Leaderboards” showing the most influential reporters around a specific news topic

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Canadian activist sues NSO Group, claims its spyware empowered Saudi officials to access WhatsApp messages with Jamal Khashoggi, possibly leading to his killing — London (CNN)In his public writings, Jamal Khashoggi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was measured.

    Jamal Khashoggi’s private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing

    In his public writings, Jamal Khashoggi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was measured. In private, the Washington Post columnist didn’t hold back.
    In more than 400 WhatsApp messages sent to a fellow Saudi exile in the year before he was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Khashoggi describes bin Salman — often referred to as MBS — as a “beast,” a “pac-man” who would devour all in his path, even his supporters.

    CNN has been granted exclusive access to the correspondence between Khashoggi and Montreal-based activist Omar Abdulaziz.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Special Report: How Iran spreads disinformation around the world

    LONDON/WASHINGTON A Tehran-based agency has quietly fed propaganda through at least 70 websites to countries from Afghanistan to Russia. And American firms have helped.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Simon Owens / What’s New in Publishing:
    When BuzzFeed relied on native ads it praised Facebook, but after failing to scale that business, it’s now alarmed by Facebook/Google like any other publisher — I can’t be the only person who was genuinely perplexed by the interview BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti gave to The New York Times last week.

    BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s increasing pessimism and why it matters

    I can’t be the only person who was genuinely perplexed by the interview BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti gave to The New York Times last week. In it, he floated the idea of a sort of mega-merger between several of the biggest digitally native news organizations, including Vice, Vox Media, Group Nine, and Refinery.

    The motivation behind such a hypothetical merger? A combined entity, with all the scale that comes with it, would be able to negotiate better rates for the content it supplies to major platforms like Google and Facebook. “If BuzzFeed and five of the other biggest companies were combined into a bigger digital media company, you would probably be able to get paid more money,” Peretti said.

    Peretti’s statements were pretty bizarre.

    But while Peretti’s proposal is bewildering and came seemingly from left field, this isn’t the first time he’s expressed frustration at the amount of money his company has been able to extract from the tech platforms.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:15 minutes ago
    Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says his crowdfunded news platform WikiTribune will hire journalists again in future, despite laying off editorial team in October — Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said there will be journalists working on his crowd-sourced news website Wikitribune again in the future …

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post:
    As digital outlets, which became entry points for young journalists after the demise of local newspapers, go under, journalism may lose a generation of talent

    The digital-media bubble is bursting. That’s hurting a generation of promising young journalists.

    “When you are a good manager, you bring someone in to do good work, with the understanding that they’ll be taken care of, and will have a future,” said Aram Zucker-Scharff, who writes, teaches and consults about the new economy of journalism. (Also the director of advertising technology at The Post, he made it clear in a phone interview Monday that he is not speaking for our mutual employer.)

    “But a lot of venture-capital-based media companies are built with the idea that your fate is to be fired,” he told me, although that reality goes unsaid.

    “It’s unethical,” he added. “You’re hiring them to be disposable cogs.”

    And, as he wrote in a widely read Twitter thread, “the numbers were never really there. Eventually they were always going to disappear as fraudulent traffic and metrics fell apart.”

    What worries him, and me, is the human cost — and the cost to tomorrow’s journalism — when this happens over and over again.

    With the tragic demise of local newspapers, places like Mic have become the entry point into the craft for a lot of young journalists. What’s more, their newsrooms have been admirably diverse, a diversity that their journalism has admirably reflected.

    As they go under, such entry points disappear. And the journalists who have been through this ugly process — sometimes more than once — burn out.

    “They are taking the brunt of this,” Zucker-Scharff said, “and it’s psychologically damaging.”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Warren P. Strobel / Wall Street Journal:
    CIA intercepts show MbS sent at least 11 Whatsapp messages to his closest advisor, who oversaw the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, before and after the murder — Conclusion that Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘probably ordered’ killing relies in part on 11 messages he sent to adviser who oversaw hit squad around time it killed journalist

    CIA Intercepts Underpin Assessment Saudi Crown Prince Targeted Khashoggi

    Conclusion that Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘probably ordered’ killing relies in part on 11 messages he sent to adviser who oversaw hit squad around time it killed journalist

    WASHINGTON—Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 messages to his closest adviser, who oversaw the team that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist’s death in October, according to a highly classified CIA

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Shannon Liao / The Verge:
    Tumblr says it will permanently ban adult content from its platform beginning December 17 — Tumblr is permanently banning adult content from its platform as of December 17th in a move that will eradicate porn-related communities on the platform and fundamentally alter how the service is used.

    Tumblr will ban all adult content on December 17th
    Existing posts containing porn will be switched to private mode

    Tumblr will permanently ban adult content from its platform on December 17th in a move that will eradicate porn-related communities on the platform and fundamentally alter how the service is used. The ban includes explicit sexual content and nudity with a few exceptions, the company tells The Verge. The new policy’s announcement comes just days after Tumblr was removed from Apple’s iOS App Store over a child pornography incident, but it extends far beyond that matter alone.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    eevBLAB #56 – Another Bullshit Copyright Claim

    A second bullshit false copyright claim on my Banksy analysis video.
    The blocked video:
    (if you can watch this video it means I won the copyright claim)

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Famous Internet Memes, Where Are They Now?

    Here are your favorite internet memes then and now. Join us while we catch up on the lives behind the most famous memes on the internet.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sci-Hub: Breaking Down The Paywalls

    The high prestige journals, and most past works, are stuck behind paywalls. Since 2011, Sci-Hub has taken science publishing open by force, illegally obtaining papers and publishing them in violation of copyright, but at the same time facilitating scientific research and providing researchers in poorer countries with access that their rich-world colleagues take for granted. The big publishing firms naturally fought back in court and won, and with roughly $20 million of damages, drove Sci-Hub’s founder underground.

    Surprisingly, Sci-Hub is largely the work of a single woman, Alexandra Elbakyan. Elbakyan studied computer science at university in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Rudy Giuliani, a Trump cybersecurity adviser, doesn’t understand the internet

    Welcome back to the latest edition of politicians don’t get technology!

    Rudy Giuliani doesn’t understand Twitter or the internet.

    It’s embarrassing enough that Giuliani inadvertently tweeted a link to a website criticizing Trump, but now he is doubling down on cyberstupidity by claiming that “someone to invade my text with a disgusting anti-President message.”

    created a hyperlink to

    Jason Velazquez — clicked through the link and, finding that it was blank, quickly registered the domain and created a website

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Rudy Giuliani Says Twitter Sabotaged His Tweet. Actually, He Did It Himself.

    After Rudolph W. Giuliani accidentally tweeted a hyperlink — and a prankster took advantage of it — the president’s lawyer accused Twitter of letting someone “invade my text.”

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why Smart People Are Vulnerable to Putting Tribe Before Truth

    Science literacy is important, but without the parallel trait of “science curiosity,” it can lead us astray

    What intellectual capacities—or if one prefers, cognitive virtues—should the citizens of a modern democratic society possess? For decades, one dominant answer has been the knowledge and reasoning abilities associated with science literacy. Scientific evidence is indispensable for effective policymaking.

    But the emerging science of science communication, which uses scientific methods to understand how people come to know what’s known by science, suggests that it is incomplete.

    Indeed, it’s dangerously incomplete. Unless accompanied by another science-reasoning trait, the capacities associated with science literacy can actually impede public recognition of the best available evidence and deepen pernicious forms of cultural polarization.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Giuliani can’t figure out how URLs work, blames Twitter for liberal bias

    “Twitter allowed someone to invade my text,” Giuliani tweeted.

    Rudy Giuliani, who briefly advised Donald Trump on cybersecurity before taking a role as his personal attorney, doesn’t understand how domain names work. And that lack of understanding led him to invent a ludicrous conspiracy theory about Twitter.

    If someone tweets out a valid URL, Twitter automatically converts it into a hyperlink.

    An Atlanta-based prankster named Jason Velazquez recognized the opportunity here and registered the domain name.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Russian accounts fuel French outrage online

    Hundreds of social media accounts linked to Russia have sought to amplify the street protests that have rocked France, according to analysis seen by The Times.

    The network of accounts has circulated messages on Twitter that focus on the violence and chaos of the yellow vest or gilet jaune riots

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    France to Probe Possible Russian Influence on Yellow Vest Riots

    Security services to look into social media, minister says
    Russian-linked sites increase targeting of French protests

    France opened a probe into possible Russian interference behind the country’s Yellow Vest protests, after reports that social-media accounts linked to Moscow have increasingly targeted the movement.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kommentti: Trafi julkaisi suomalaisten ajokorttitiedot netissä – Tämän kaiken ehdin saada kavereistani selville

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Miikka keksi, miten Trafin palvelusta ongitaan suomalaisten henkilötietoja – “Sehän on täydellinen identiteettivarkaus”

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google’s search data shows YouTube’s influence over this season’s hottest toys

    If there was any doubt about YouTube’s power to influence children, look no further than this year’s list of the hottest holiday toys, based on Google shopping search data. According to the search giant, at least four of the top 10 most searched toys were among those heavily featured in YouTube unboxing videos

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
    Latest recommendations for EU’s Article 13 seek to appease both the legacy copyright industries and the tech companies without actually addressing key concerns

    Latest EU Copyright Proposal: Block Everything, Never Make Mistakes, But Don’t Use Upload Filters

    As we’ve been discussing the “Trilogue” negotiations between the EU Commission, EU Council and EU Parliament over the EU’s Copyright Directive have continued, and a summary has been released on the latest plans for Article 13, which is the provision that will make upload filters mandatory, while (and this is the fun part) insisting that it doesn’t make upload filters mandatory. Then, to make things even more fun, another document on the actual text suggests the way to deal with this is to create a better euphemism for filters.

    When we last checked in on this, we noted that the legacy film and television industry associations were freaking out that Article 13 might include some safe harbors for internet platforms, and were asking the negotiators to either drop those protections for platforms, or to leave them out of Article 13 altogether and only have it apply to music.

    The latest brief description of the recommendations for Article 13 appear to be an attempt by bureaucrats who have no understanding of the nuances of this issue to appease both the legacy copyright industries and the tech companies. Notably absent: any concern for the public or independent creators.

    That’s why, throughout this document, they keep insisting that there will be no mandate for filters. But, there’s no way you can actually avoid liability without filters. Indeed, in order to appease the film and TV folks, the proposal now includes a notice-and-staydown provision. We’ve spent years explaining why a notice-and-staydown provision is not only unworkable, but would lead to tremendous amounts of non-infringing content being removed. Copyright is extremely context specific. The exact same content may be infringing in one instance, but protected in another. Yet a notice-and-staydown does not allow the protected versions. It requires they be blocked. That is outright censorship.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Huawei, Google and the tiring politics of tech
    Plus Oath price drop and the impossibility of Western infrastructure

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google CEO admits company must better address the spread of conspiracy theories on YouTube

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai admitted today that YouTube needs to do better in dealing with conspiracy content on its site that can lead to real-world violence. During his testimony on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, the exec was questioned on how YouTube handles extremist content that promotes conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and, more recently, a Hillary Clinton-focused conspiracy theory dubbed Frazzledrip.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook relaunches search ads to offset slowing revenue

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Congresswoman to Google CEO: When I search ‘idiot’ why do I get pictures of Trump?

    Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, who was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, tried to explain to the roomful of mostly tech novices how the algorithms take into account some 200 factors – such as relevance, popularity and how others are using the search term – to determine how to best match a query with results.

    The hearing mostly revealed lawmakers’ rudimentary understanding of how the Internet works and provided a platform for them to complain about unfavourable search results.

    Republicans on the panel also could not get past the claim that some person or people inside Google could not arbitrarily change search algorithms for political gain.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sam Levin / The Guardian:
    Some current and former fact-checkers say Facebook has ignored their concerns, that they have been used for PR, and that they have lost trust in the company — Journalists paid to help fix Facebook’s fake news problem say they have lost trust in the platform

    ‘They don’t care’: Facebook factchecking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties

    Journalists working as factcheckers for Facebook have pushed to end a controversial media partnership with the social network, saying the company has ignored their concerns and failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.

    Current and former Facebook factcheckers told the Guardian that the tech platform’s collaboration with outside reporters has produced minimal results and that they’ve lost trust in Facebook, which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work.

    “They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” said Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a factchecking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years. “They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck … They clearly don’t care.”

    Facebook now has more than 40 media partners across the globe, including the Associated Press, PolitiFact and the Weekly Standard, and has said false news on the platform is “trending downward”.

    “Why should we trust Facebook when it’s pushing the same rumors that its own factcheckers are calling fake news?” said a current Facebook factchecker

    “Working with Facebook makes us look bad,”

    A Facebook spokesperson repeatedly declined to comment on whether advertisers influenced factchecking

    Facebook fake news inquiry: the countries demanding answers

    Legislators from Argentina to Ireland feel the firm has failed to get a grip on the issue, and they are ready to step in

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Brian Heater / TechCrunch:
    Tumblr reappeared on the App Store this week, after being pulled in November over child pornography concerns and 10 days after announcing a ban on adult content — Tumblr is back. Sort of. The social blogging platform reappeared on Apple’s App Store this week, some three weeks after being pulled over child pornography concerns.

    Tumblr’s back in the App Store following porn ban announcement

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New York Times:
    Inside France’s plan to teach children about the downsides of internet, including spotting trustworthy info on Twitter, with 30,000 teachers trained per year

    In France, School Lessons Ask: Which Twitter Post Should You Trust?

    A group of teenagers recently swarmed into a room at Collège Henri Barbusse near Lyon, France, for a class typically dedicated to learning Spanish. But on that Wednesday, an unusual lesson awaited them.

    Five posts from Twitter were up on the board. The assignment: Decipher whether they were trustworthy or suspect.

    “She picks a topic, she exaggerates things, and then people will say, ‘She’s right, I should vote for her,’”

    The class was part of a novel experiment by a government to work with journalists and educators to combat the spread of online misinformation. France is coordinating one of the world’s largest national media and internet literacy efforts to teach students, starting as early as in middle school, how to spot junk information online.

    The French Culture Ministry has doubled its annual budget for the courses to 6 million euros (about $6.8 million), and the Education Ministry is adding an elective high school course on the internet and the media to the national curriculum, making it available to thousands of students. Some educators are calling for the courses to be mandatory, taught alongside history and math.

    “The younger you start, the better,”

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Emily Birnbaum / The Hill:
    YouTube says it removed 7.8M+ videos between July and September because they broke community guidelines and deleted 1.6M+ channels and 224M+ comments

    YouTube removed 58 million videos in latest quarter

    YouTube removed 58 million videos between July and September this year because they broke community guidelines.

    More than 7.8 million of those videos were taken down because they violated community guidelines. The other 50.2 million were taken down as YouTube removed 1.67 million channels.

    The online video platform said 72 percent of the videos removed for violating guidelines in the latest quarter were “spam or misleading,” 10.2 percent were removed out of concern for “child safety” and 9.9 percent were removed for including “nudity or sexual content,” according to its latest report.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Well Are You Protecting Your Brand from Digital Risk?

    Without an online presence an organization doesn’t exist, and having a website is just the baseline. Today, an organization’s Internet presence has expanded to include other digital channels. Companies of all sizes are actively using social media to engage with customers and build loyalty for their brand. Of the Fortune 500 companies, 98 percent use LinkedIn and 88 percent have a presence on Twitter, while more than 70 percent of small businesses use some type of social platform.

    The Internet is an essential tool to grow your business, but it also poses digital risks to your brand reputation and integrity through the following key ways:

    Online brand and social media abuse: Bad actors can spoof social media profiles of your company or brands, as well as take advantage of employee activity such as oversharing information about your brand or organization on social media.

    Malicious web domains: Cyber criminals will register and use web domains extremely similar to your actual domain names.

    Fraudulent mobile applications: Threat actors will take advantage of out-of-date mobile applications that you no longer maintain or will even create one for you that passes for a legitimate application. Malicious apps that impersonate brands may use spyware to steal information from users, ranging from banking information to login credentials.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Congresswoman to Google CEO: When I search ‘idiot’ why do I get pictures of Trump?

    ” I can assure you we do it without regard to political ideology. Our algorithms have no notion of political sentiment in it.”

    But Mr Chabot wasn’t having it. He told Mr Pichai that conservatives believe Google is “picking winners and losers in political discourse”.

    “There’s a lot of people that think what I’m saying here is happening,” he said. “And I think it’s happening.”

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Louisiana State University:
    Study shows that combination of articles defending journalism and fact-checking increased readers’ trust in the media while fact-checking articles alone did not

    Groundbreaking Research Shows Journalists Can Restore Media Trust

    In a first-of-its-kind study from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication, researchers discovered journalists can increase media trust by speaking out in defense of their profession while also doing more fact checking. Contrary to long-established practices in which journalists traditionally ignore attacks against their profession’s credibility, Ray Pingree, Ph.D., and his team found that the combination of fact checking and defending journalism had positive effects, but fact checking alone did not. This combination increased trust in and use of mainstream news, while also increasing confidence in the existence and attainability of facts in politics.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Washington Post:
    Leaked report prepared for US Senate provides exhaustive analysis of Russian disinformation campaign to support Trump during 2016 election and up to mid-2017

    New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation’s scale and sweep

    The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Timothy McLaughlin / Wired:
    How WhatsApp fuels fake news and violence in India, where a police officer says people can live without oxygen, “but without WhatsApp they will die”

    How WhatsApp Fuels Fake News and Violence in India

    The Indian government has cast much of the blame for these killings on WhatsApp.

    For WhatsApp, the timing of this unwanted attention is highly inconvenient. It is waiting for permission from Indian financial authorities to fully launch its mobile payments system. The system is currently in a beta version with almost a million users. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, is bullish on the fuller prospects. “All signs point to a lot of people wanting to use this when the government gives us the green light,” Zuckerberg said of the payment platform on an earnings call in late July.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    John Podhoretz / Commentary:
    Shutting down the Weekly Standard is an intellectual and political crime that enables its parent company to harvest its subscriber base for another publication — The Weekly Standard will be no more. There is no real reason we are witnessing the magazine’s demise other than deep pettiness …

    The Murder of the Weekly Standard
    An intellectual and political crime.

    The compact between the Standard and its readership was that it would reflect an expansive conservative vision of America and the world and would evaluate the politics of the present moment as honestly as its writers and editors knew how.

    To be sure, it has never made money. Magazines like it never make money. But its circulation has always been extraordinarily healthy in opinion-journal terms. And within the giant corporations run by the wealthy men who started the Standard and then bought it—Rupert Murdoch and then Anschutz—its annual losses were a rounding error

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kelly Weill / The Daily Beast:
    Former far right extremists recall how they were radicalised by YouTube as teenagers, thanks to its algorithm which keeps surfacing extremist content

    How YouTube Built a Radicalization Machine for the Far-Right

    Former extremists say they were sucked in by propaganda as teenagers, thanks to an algorithm’s dark side.

    For David Sherratt, like so many teenagers, far-right radicalization began with video game tutorials on YouTube. He was 15 years old and loosely liberal, mostly interested in “Call of Duty” clips. Then YouTube’s recommendations led him elsewhere.

    “As I kept watching, I started seeing things like the online atheist community,” Sherratt said, “which then became a gateway to the atheism community’s civil war over feminism.” Due to a large subculture of YouTube atheists who opposed feminism, “I think I fell down that rabbit hole a lot quicker,” he said.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    As adult content ban arrives, Tumblr clarifies and refines rules

    Let’s talk about the grown-up stuff — the adult content that Tumblr says it’s banning starting today. The wording of the company’s initial plans was admittedly confusing, upsetting both artists and sex workers who have begun to rely on the platform as a kind of safe place for self-expression.

    The site issued a blog post today clarifying what had initially appeared to be a scorched earth approach to the explicit content as Tumblr frantically attempted to work its way back into Apple’s good graces. The note is a bit of a retread of earlier statements, while offering a much clearer vision of what things will look like on Tumblr’s end.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Russia’s online influence campaign engaged with millions for years

    It’s worse than companies admitted, report shows

    Russian efforts to influence U.S. politics and sway public opinion were consistent and, as far as engaging with target audiences, largely successful, according to a report from Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project published today. Based on data provided to Congress by Facebook, Instagram, Google and Twitter, the study paints a portrait of the years-long campaign that’s less than flattering to the companies.

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Vice vs. Sexy Cyborg: How US Journalists Nearly Ruined a Chinese Maker

    Vice published a profile on Naomi Wu, aka Sexy Cyborg, against her stated wishes. It’s a complicated situation, so let’s go over what happened and figure out what went wrong.

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Terrorist Content Regulation: Warnings from the UN and the CoE

    On 11 December 2018, three United Nations Special Rapporteurs published a joint Report on the European Union’s proposal for a Regulation to prevent the dissemination of terrorist content online.

    raises a number of serious concerns regarding the definitions used in the draft legislation and the competences and obligations it gives to national authorities.

    The congruent demands of international expert organisations highlight that substantial reform of the proposal is imperative to avoid sliding further into an already worrying trend of undermining the rule of law in the fight against terrorism.

    the analysis compellingly outlines the inherent dangers of “catch-all” labels such as “glorification of terrorism” and the use of counter-terrorism legislation to suppress political opponents

    Thus, both the UN experts and the Council of Europe Commissioner outline perfectly that the scope of counter-terrorism legislation needs to be clearly and narrowly delimited: If statements that offend or shock a population are no longer protected by the freedom of expression, open and democratic societies are not safeguarded, but endangered.

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Political Campaigns Weaponize Social Media Bots

    In the summer of 2017, a group of young political activists in the United Kingdom figured out how to use the popular dating app Tinder to attract new supporters. They understood how Tinder’s social networking platform worked, how its users tended to use the app, and how its algorithms distributed content, and so they built a bot to automate flirty exchanges with real people. Over time, those flirty conversations would turn to politics—and to the strengths of the U.K.’s Labour Party.

    To send its messages, the bot would take over a Tinder profile owned by a Labour-friendly user who’d agreed to the temporary repurposing of his or her account.

    By now, it’s no surprise that social media is one of the most widely used applications online. Close to 70 percent of U.S. adults are on Facebook, with three-quarters of that group using it at least once a day. To be sure, most of the time people aren’t using Facebook, Instagram, and other apps for politics but for self-expression, sharing content, and finding articles and video.

    But with social media so deeply embedded in people’s lives and so unregulated, trusted, and targetable, these platforms weren’t going to be ignored by political operators for long. And there is mounting evidence that social media is being used to manipulate and deceive voters and thus to degrade public life.

    the highly automated nature of news feeds also makes it easy for political actors to manipulate those social networks. Studies done by my group at the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda Research Project have found, for example, that about half of Twitter conversations originating in Russia [PDF] involve highly automated accounts.

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, Copyrighted Works Will Enter the Public Domain
    A beloved Robert Frost poem is among the many creations that are (finally) losing their protections in 2019

    Read more:
    Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!
    Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The $75B-valued media company says it is victim of “malicious slander.”

    TikTok parent ByteDance sues Chinese news site that exposed fake news problem

    The $75B-valued media company says it is victim of ‘malicious slander’

    There’s worrying news from China’s online media world as ByteDance, the $75 billion company behind popular video app TikTok, is taking a news site to court for alleged defamation after it published a story about ByteDance’s fake news problem in India.

    U.S. tech firms have come to rely on media to help uncover issues, but Chinese tech news site Huxiu has become the latest litigation target of ByteDance, which reportedly surpassed Uber’s valuation after raising $3 billion.

    In the U.S., Facebook has responded proactively to issues raised by the media — for example by banning accounts that stoke racial tension in Myanmar — while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey went so far as to suggest that journalists sniffing out issues on his service is “critical” to the company.

  47. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook’s fact-checkers toil on

    Facebook is fielding so many problems, oversights, scandals, and other miscellaneous ills that it wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that its fact-checking program, undertaken last year after the network was confronted with its inaction in controlling disinformation, is falling apart. But in this case the reason you haven’t heard much about it isn’t because it’s a failure, but because fact-checking is boring and thankless — and being done quietly and systematically by people who are just fine with that.

    The “falling apart” narrative was advanced in a recent article at The Guardian, and some of the problems noted in that piece are certainly real.

    No bells, no whistles
    Facebook likes to pretend that its research into AI will solve just about every problem it has. Unfortunately not only is that AI hugely dependent on human intelligence to work in the first place, but the best it can generally do is forward things on to human agents for final calls. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the process of fact-checking, in which it is trivial for machine learning agents to surface possibly dubious links or articles, but at this stage pretty much impossible for them to do any kind of real evaluation of them.

    That’s where the company’s network of independent fact-checkers comes in.

    ‘They don’t care’: Facebook factchecking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties

    Journalists paid to help fix Facebook’s fake news problem say they have lost trust in the platform

  48. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Award-winning journalist Claas Relotius wrote fake news, German magazine Der Spiegel says

    An award-winning journalist who worked for Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s leading news outlets, has left the weekly magazine after evidence emerged that he committed journalistic fraud “on a grand scale” over a number of years, the publication said Wednesday.

    Spiegel published a lengthy report on its website after conducting an initial internal probe of the work of Claas Relotius, a 33-year-old staff writer known for vivid investigative stories.

    Spiegel said Relotius acknowledged fabricating parts of at least 14 stories,

    The German Journalists’ Union DJU called the case “the biggest fraud scandal in journalism since the Hitler diaries” that Germany’s Stern magazine published in 1983 and were later found to be forgeries.

  49. Tomi Engdahl says:

    censorship and fake news. No, I am not a conspiracy theorist but the number of media outlets caught lying recently is staggering.

    Der Spiegel ‘fake news’ reporter could face charges

    The German reporter Claas Relotius, accused by top news magazine Der Spiegel of faking stories, could now face embezzlement charges.

    Der Spiegel says it is filing a criminal complaint alleging he solicited donations for Syrian orphans from readers with any proceeds going to his personal account.

    Der Spiegel said last week that Relotius admitted faking some stories.

    The reporter, 33, has yet to comment on the embezzlement allegations.

    Relotius, who has been sacked, told the magazine he regretted his actions and was deeply ashamed. According to Der Spiegel, he admitted deceiving readers in some 14 stories.

    But he says many of the 60 articles he has written for the magazine are accurate.


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